On January 11, 2018, National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, American Airlines officially partnered with ECPAT-USA, a non profit policy group determined to eliminate human trafficking within industries, by signing the Tourism Child Protection Code of Conduct.
Through this signing, American Airlines agrees to these 6 tenents:
This is powerful!
During travel is when the trafficked and trafficker are most visible and vulnerable. If acknowledged, they can be easily separated. They are in public and in unfamiliar territory, sometimes taking the traffickers off guard. Airports are a huge hub for trafficking. Last year 2,000 suspected human traffickers were arrested and 400 victims were identified. With greater awareness through training and awareness these identifications will increase, showing promise in helping to curb the atrocity of human trafficking and the transport of people against their will.
I'm so thankful to hear of airlines participating in these policies. Delta has been involved in the fight against human trafficking since 2011, not only by raising awareness for their employees and passengers, but by providing donated essentials to human trafficking survivors and flyer miles to get them back home.
Learn more about ECPAT (End Child Prostitution and Trafficking) here.
Did you know there are men's punjammies™ out there?!? So exciting!
Something people most requested when we had our store were things for men. Fair trade products for men are simply lacking. Sudara, however, is changing this with their awesome punjammies™ for men!
We have a plethora of old cell phones laying around our house - flip phones, pull out texting phones, a blackberry, I think. I keep them mostly because I haven't known how to erase the data to recycle them safely. Anyone know how to do this?
I recently learned of a program that allows you to donate your cell phone and accessories (batteries, cords and chargers) to help survivors and victims of domestic violence in the United States. Verizon's HopeLine program donates cell phones with 3,000 minutes to domestic violence helping organizations across the United States to provide a lifeline for victims and survivors to the outside world. With these phones, the individual is able to stay connected to family members, law enforcement, employers and others beyond the control of their abuser.
The HopeLine program also refurbishes and sells phones to provide cash grants to domestic violence organizations to help further their missions of helping and preventing.
Since the inception of the HopeLine program, Verizon has collected 9 million phones, provided $14 million in cash grants and donated over 123,000 phones to domestic violence victims and survivors.
While this is an initiative by Verizon, they accept donated phones from any provider. The only thing they won't accept is a swollen, rancid phone, which I doubt anyone has laying around their house anyway. Any phone that can't be used to further this program is responsibly discarded.
Here's how to donated your used cell phone with purpose:
Want more details? Here's the link to the HopeLine program to find out more.
The past couple of years have brought about a cultural revolution, if you will, to my life, prompted by 2 significant events.
1. We brought our son home from Haiti. It wasn't his arrival, his "different from ours heritage", that prompted the change to begin. It was the diagnosis he carried with him, and my response to that, that created such a change from cultural expectations in our home. We had to learn to do things opposite from what we thought, opposite from what others thought, at times.
2. And my girls are growing and becoming young women. I think so much about what I'm reflecting to them. What are they seeing in me?
I was wrestling with something I created the other night and my oldest son said to me, after I remarked that I just wasn't good at it yet, "Mom, what aren't you good at?"
His question completely took me off guard. "Is that really what he thinks when he looks at me?" I wondered. I certainly don't see myself that way.
That very short conversation reminded me that I don't have to feel a certain way to reflect that characteristic. I don't have to feel confident or like I'm good at anything to reflect it, apparently.
I started going gray in my late 20s. By my mid 30s I was at least 30% gray and doing my darndest to keep that from "reflecting". I realized, that with that, I was spending a lot more time looking at myself critically, wondering how people were seeing me, what they were seeing. With that one aspect, just that one - my hair! - I was hearing more and more criticism from myself about myself that didn't need to be there.
I really do not want my girls to feel about aging how I feel about aging. I don't want them to think that the best time of their lives is about a 10 year window. I don't want them to think they are beautiful as long as they stay under a certain age or weight or have a certain look. I want them to know that they are beautiful - always.
For me, one of the things that came out of that hope was the decision to stop dying my hair. Of embracing the gray. What a LONG year that has been. I still really struggle with it at times. They still hear my "Holy moly, I'm gray!" comments. I don't have to love going gray to make a decision to go gray or to reveal confidence in just looking how I look. That decision has created a change in what my girls see. What my girls don't see anymore is me looking in dread at myself in the mirror. They don't see me only paying attention to that quarter inch that is there again, already! Paying the money to have someone put something on my hair just to reflect something that I felt was expected of me.
The girls ask me why I wear makeup and get highlights. For me, completely coloring my hair and wearing makeup feel different. I enjoy putting make up on and I want to actually be able to see my eyelashes. But, coloring my hair was a burden for me. An obligation. They require different mentalities from me.
I've learned, in this "journey to gray" and the need to be counter of cultural expectations with my son, to look for and embrace what I enjoy, more than I ever have. To think about what I really want. What I really want to do, what I really want to wear, how I really want to reflect who I am.
A lot of that has involved cutting things out and getting rid of things that aren't really my style or are really just in my way. Part of it has been embracing new hobbies and ideas. (Who knew woodworking was so stinking awesome?!?) And part of it has been learning so much more about myself and taking risks. Taking risks in doing things that look so opposite of what our culture seems to value - downsizing, going to lumberyards, going gray, narrowing my friend base, etc. (I no longer have any brunette friends. ;))
It was hard to have that mentality, though, and try to run a retail business. The last thing that would have allowed me to stay in business with DFC would be to have told you that you didn't need anything from my store. But, I don't sell shelter and water.
I didn't want to put pictures up of women with other women wearing my products because I didn't want to communicate the message that you can gain popularity, be in style, or do anything else those pictures are supposed to make you think you can do with a product. Instead, I showed pictures of my items on rocks and vintage doors.
The reason I started DFC was to give people purposeful shopping. To show them, you!, how to make a difference with something you will likely do anyway. You will likely wear or know someone who wears jewelry, pajamas, lotion, etc. Why not buy those things and help people at the same time?
I love the products that come with the fair trade mentality. Each fair trade product carries a story of the person who made it. When I shop, I think about how what I'm buying might reflect beauty. How can this necklace, that is my style, reflect the beauty within me, the creativity within me and the dignity, hope and creativity of the one who made it? When we wear something, use something, we are reflecting something or someone. Someone who may have gone through relate-able experiences to yours, someone you have been inspired by, someone who has created a message that resonates with you, through their talent and skill base.
Instead of thinking, or not thinking, about buying more "stuff", what if we become thoughtful about how our purchases reflect the beauty we want to show ourselves and others?
Over the summer I participated in a fun run and I thought I was to die on the course. No joke. Turns out 97 degrees, high humidity and one non-hydrating cup of caffeinated tea before hand, along with no prior history of running do not make a good combination.
After that run, that is now an annual commitment, I made a resolution. I decided that I was not going to suck that bad at running it next year. I started to do the couch to 5K program and after 27 runs I started to almost enjoy running.
But, while making a resolution "not to suck" might be a good reason to run for a time, I've been looking for purpose in it. I wanted a purpose every time I ran, not just during an occasional race.
My first (and only run to date) was a 5K benefiting International Justice Mission. The purpose of the run was to raise money while running for women and girls who can't because they are trapped in slavery and prostitution. After the run I kept thinking about those girls trapped in bondage and I started praying for them.
I decided that every time I ran I was going to pray for one girl to be set free from bondage. I don't know what God will do with that prayer, but I'm going to pray it anyway. Nothing may happen, except that I'll work off some Reese's cups. But then again, maybe He'll multiply my prayers. Wouldn't that be amazing?
My goal is to run 100 times this year. That's 100 girls if He answers it that way! And I have to say, it is a lot more motivating to run now that I feel like there is something to gain with each and every run.
Want to join me? Let me know if you're interested. I'd love to know I have some company!
If not, shouts of encouragement are always welcome! :)