Advocating since 11-years-old: Jamie Beshears
As an avid knitter, baker, hiker, and reader, Jamie Beshears said her perfect day would be full of coffee, bowls of pasta, a fantastic film, smoked salmon, a retro cocktail, and reading in a tent before taking a nap. Where can we sign up as well?! Having grown up in a suburb of Dallas, Texas, Jamie was inspired by her parents for the genuine love and compassion they showed towards others.
She grew up learning that “...we all live through hard times; but it’s what we do on the other side that counts. You can make your defenses all around you, protecting you from hurt and insulating you from connecting with others, or, be brave (even when you don’t feel that way!) and use your experiences like a shield! Find the anguished souls, those bleeding from old wounds and painful pasts and see what use you can be!”
As a current resident of Hendersonville, North Carolina, Jamie truly exemplifies these values throughout her life, whether completing her Master’s degree in criminology, working as a yoga instructor, or raising $3,200 for Dressember. Talk about a go-getter!
Jamie’s passion to fight human slavery began at age 11 when she first learned about the sex trade epidemic. Even as a young girl, her heart broke to see the devastation human slavery brings. Those images remain with her to this day. She became a supporter of International Justice Mission (IJM), so when she found out that Dressember supported IJM, she was ready to jump in!
“I thought [Dressember] was a really creative idea to promote awareness through attire, spark conversations with strangers, show solidarity with the marginalized and make myself just a tiny bit uncomfortable to be reminded of all the luxuries I have!” said Beshears.
Jamie stated her Dressember experience has become so much bigger than herself. Each year, she creates a fun experience for her supporters as well, and reminds them that regardless of the amount of money that they are able to give, they are still actively part of freeing the oppressed and bringing justice.
“Rather than being burdened by what I cannot accomplish, I try to use the Dressember movement year-round to promote the cause [and] to remind people of what we are all doing together to make this end,” Beshears said.
After raising $3,200 for Dressember this year, Jamie felt particularly encouraged that even though her friends and family range on all ends of the political spectrum, everyone can agree on this issue.
“No one should live in slavery! Despite our differences, we can come together in unity for the oppressed,” Beshears mentioned.
Jamie’s passion to end slavery and creativity in trying new things each year for Dressember is truly inspiring. As for people who inspire Jamie, she particularly respects those who do the right thing when no one else is looking.
“The honest cashier who gives money back, the person who spots the $20 on the ground then flags down the owner, the woman who reads the contract and after spotting a mistake in her favor reports it anyway…that kind of person. Anyone who plants a tree knowing they won’t sit under its shade has my admiration,” Beshears said.
She also mentioned her husband inspires her with his integrity, wisdom, kindness, and the way he treats everyone as equals. She said she’ll keep him.
However large or small the action, whether through Christmas card conversations or Dressember fundraising, Jamie reminds us that we can all unite and participate in bringing justice and freedom to others.
As a result, Jamie generously shared 10 creative and unique tips for fellow advocates!
First and foremost, keep your foot in the game year-round by staying informed of news and rescues through IJM or the Dressember blog and share these resources and information with others.
Start a countdown to build momentum and excitement as Dressember draws near. Post on social media counting down the days, weeks, or months until Dressember begins, and feel free to add pictures of past Dressember outfits, quotes, human trafficking statistics, or anything else you fancy!
Be the first person to contribute. Jamie’s husband has always contributed first, and as someone who believes in the cause, don’t be afraid to throw the first donation out there and show your personal investment.
Give away prizes for supporters. For instance, Jamie awarded prizes for the first donor, horrid poetry for over a certain amount, baked goods for another amount, or posted ridiculous photos of herself (which she good-naturedly jokes isn’t difficult for her as she’s ridiculous) to bring laughs and notice.
Involve dresses in your Christmas cards! Christmas cards are a wonderful opportunity to keep the conversation going, especially as Dressember falls amidst the holiday season.
Thank donors on their personal pages, regardless of the amount. A warm, personalized thank you message is more meaningful in showing appreciation to your donors.
Reach out to people outside of social media. Over $600 of Jamie’s total amount came from people with no social media presence, so don’t forget those folks.
Break down exactly what costs what. This way, people can actively see where their donations are going.
Be true to yourself and stay focused on your goal! As Jamie said for her goal, “Looking cute is good, having love on Instagram is cool, but at the end of the day…show me the money!”
Try new things every year, and don’t be afraid to change it up!
This year, do something different. Take on the Dressember style challenge and pledge to wear a dress or tie every day in December. You'll challenge yourself, learn more about the issue of human trafficking and have a viable impact on those trapped in slavery around the world.
Registration opens October 1st, 2018
About the Author
Lauren Farris is a recent graduate from the University of Washington with a degree in Creative Writing and Sociology, and she's excited to partner with Dressember in the fight to end slavery. She also adores corgis, messy paint, mud, hiking in wildflowers, reading, traveling, and a good Lord of the Rings marathon.