This will be my third Dressember. I am commiting to wearing a dress every day this month to bring awareness and funding to fight modern day slavery and I’ve invited some new folks to join me. Many have asked why I do this. Some have wondered what the point is and how it’s done, so I’ll do my best here to share what I know and why I am committing to this again this year.
According to the International Justice Mission, an organization that investigates and fights sex trafficking through rescue efforts internationally:
45 million people are trapped in slavery and oppression.
That’s five times the population of New York City.
This is happening today. This is not o.k.
Young girls and women are being sold and controlled as slaves. They live in small villages in Haiti, and in large cities right here in the United States. Sex trafficking is happening on highways in the Midwest, on dirt paths in rural Africa and in the parking lots of the largest sporting events in the world.
Our sisters (and brothers) have been coerced and convinced that oppression is the only option.
Many of us do not advocate or act on behalf of those forty-five million that are enslaved because we do not know. We do not know someone who has been a child slave or who has been trafficked into a dark underworld of corruption.
I have seen deep, desperate poverty. I have walked the dirt paths of Haiti and had conversations with women in their makeshift tents, I have hugged a women who once believed that prostitution was the only way to earn money to live. I have looked into her eyes.
I have prayed alongside my friend Jen as she travels each year to the Superbowl as part of rescue and prayer efforts. I have heard the stories of the rescues that happened on the streets of Phoenix and Los Angeles and in a tiny town in Iowa.
When we know the facts, when we look long and hard into the faces of the oppressed, we are called to action. Once we know, we have to act.
This is one video from the A21 website, another organization supported by Dressember and trusted in this battle.
Nicole could be my sister. She IS my sister.
And that’s why I’m wearing a dress every day in December. For Nicole and others like her. Because maybe I can shed some awareness on the millions caught up in this horrific violence, and maybe together we can raise some funding to fight the darkness. Maybe I can use social media and conversations to plant some facts and bring awareness. Maybe I could be a voice for the voiceless and my dress could be a sign that I see each woman, that I am here, that they matter. Maybe my dress could be part of a rescue.
It’s not a sacrifice to wear a dress every day, but it does take intentionality and thought and there might be situations where I would be more “comfortable” in jeans. But that’s a pretty luxurious thought, isn’t it? A little discomfort seems a bit ludacrious in the scheme of things.
Let’s get uncomfortable once in awhile to discuss the things that need to be talked about.
Here’s the scoop:
What is Dressember?
photo credit: Dressember
DRESSEMBER is a COLLABORATIVE MOVEMENT leveraging FASHION and CREATIVITY to RESTORE DIGNITY to ALL WOMEN.
Blythe, the Founder of Dressember says this: “The movement began with a dress, and then later became a campaign. I am someone who feels incredibly feminine and free when I wear a dress; I know that this isn’t the case for all women. Dressember is less about defining femininity and more about solidarity in dressing for a cause. My favorite stories are from women who hate wearing dresses but choose to participate in Dressember because of what it’s doing and what it represents. Often, the most powerful revelations come when we accept the vulnerability that comes when we step outside our comfort zone.”
How it works:
Wear a dress every day in December. It doesn’t have to be the same dress every day, although I have a few friends that share this commitment. Just wear what you have..no need to buy dresses!
You really only need one dress. I’ve chosen 5 dresses that I will alternate. Some of my friends will wear the same dress every day. This is inspiring. Plus, just think of how creative you can get with switching up looks with scarves, Vi Bella Jewelry, different leggings…and how not having to choose what to put on will be FREEING! Simplicity rules.
**I bought this maxi dress in wine from Elegantees. I LOVE this ethical clothing and their mission. They are the official Dressember dress company Love, love, love. (ethically made and with pockets…aahh…) I’m going to wear this dozens of ways.
Post pictures on social media wearing your dress, sharing statistics. For instance, this is what I posted with my first post during last year’s campaign:
I’ll be participating in #Dressember because I believe in grassroots efforts, in advocacy, and in the possibility of great change, one small act at a time. I believe in paying attention to where hurt exists and doing something tangible about it. I’ll be wearing a dress every day in December to show solidarity, linking arms with sisters around the world in an effort to raise awareness and financial support of those who are trafficked, abused, forgotten. When folks ask me why I’m wearing a dress I’ll be able to share stories of the forgotten. And that’s worth taking a selfie every day in the month of December. Wouldn’t you agree? Anyone want to join me? #Dressember #itsbiggerthanadress
Why It Works:
It Starts Conversations
It’s hard and uncomfortable to talk about issues of modern day slavery and sex trafficking. When I’m wearing a dress loading a yard-sale find into the back of my friend’s car? THIS will start a conversation.
Participating in Dressember can open the door to the opportunity to educate others about human trafficking. Whether someone would ask why you are crazy enough to wear a dress in a snowstorm, or why you haven’t worn pants in weeks, or by asking friends on Facebook to support your campaign financially, there are many opportunities to start a conversation about human trafficking and why it should be ended.
It raises money. A lot of money.
Collectively, Dressember advocates raised $924,142 last year. You can create a fundraising page or join a team and ask friends to donate. Wearing your dress can be a call to action. All proceeds go to the International Justice Mission and A21 – two longstanding and trusted human rights organizations that are working to bring rescue to victims of slavery, sexual exploitation, and violent oppression.
Who to follow and what to do in Dressember:
- Joining the movement? Join this Facebook group: Friends in Dresses. We’ll support each other here!
- Want to raise funds? Join my friend Jen’s fundraising team here. Tell your friends what you’re doing and why, and invite them to sponsor you! Every little donation helps.
- Follow Jen Sandbulte on social media. She will be doing daily live video devotions with her daughter Emma. Jen has been an advocate for this cause for many years and has beautiful insight on how to pray with our families about this difficult, hard-to-talk about issue. She is our prayer warrior! (And I am Emma’s FAVORITE aunt, clearly…) Twitter – @jensandbulte Facebook – jen hanno sandbulte
- Vi Bella Jewelry is offering a limited edition Sencia set named after the young woman who first inspired the company. We’ll giving $5 from every set sold directly to The Dressember Foundation. Get yours here
- Follow Dressember on social media. Search hashtags #itsmorethanadress #fashion4thefight #dressember a#itsmorethanadress and #dressember2016
- POST your pictures! I’ll be looking for you!
- Still have questions? Here are the FAQ’s on Dressember’s website.
Let’s do this! #itsbiggerthanadress