An Advocates Guide To Sharing During Dressember
When you find a cause that strikes a chord in your heart and makes you want to fight for something, it’s normal to expect everyone around you to catch the same fire. However, this isn’t always the case. As much as we would love our passions to be universal and for all people to be enthusiastically fighting for the same thing, that’s not typically the reality. We might not all fight the same thing, but we can all still support each other in the many different movements against injustice. Even so, it’s easy to get frustrated when trying to share your passions when the response isn’t on par with your enthusiasm. So, here is a helpful guide on how to have conversations about injustice that are beneficial to you and everyone else.
Set Realistic Expectations: Most people aren’t going to become freedom fighters after a ten minute conversation and chances are you probably didn’t either. In fact, most people typically will need to hear something seven times for the information to actually change them. Don’t be discouraged if a conversation doesn’t end with your friend/family member signing on to a lifetime of freedom fighting. Even if it doesn’t feel like it, your passion, stories and information may plant a seed that will continue to grow.
Know your stuff: Although it may seem like enough to know that there are people out there living in slavery, and there is something we can do about it, statistics and information are also very powerful. So, brush up on your knowledge! Try memorizing a handful of facts that you can pull out in any conversation, which might help someone understand the weight of the issue, and why you feel so pulled to help. Some great resources are IJM, International Labor Organization and the UN. Or, check out the archives of the Dressember blog, which is full of great resources!
Your story is powerful: Now that you have some facts in mind, know that one of the most powerful tools we have is our own story. People can doubt, minimize and ignore, but they can’t argue your story. Tell them what it was that turned you into a freedom fighter! Then, let them know the impact it has had on your life trajectory, the empathy that you feel for victims of human trafficking and how you plan to continue doing your part. Try not to push anyone into something they aren’t ready for. Simply presenting your story can go a long way. While facts may alert us about the issue originally, it is the stories that stay with us over time and someone might need to hear yours. You might be surprised at how inspiring they will find it.
Be an example: The most common excuse I hear for why people don’t want to participate in Dressember is, “I don’t have enough dresses!” After years of explaining that all you really need is one or a really good thrift stor, or access to your friend’s closet, I realized that just saying those words wasn’t effective. So, this past Dressember I wore the same dress for all 31 days, to be an example of the fact that all you really need is one. If I could subject myself to a month of outfit creativity, some strange looks, and even a little smelliness, maybe I could inspire someone to give up some of their comfort for a greater cause. I found that people were at the very least intrigued, and at the most, willing to join the cause. Sometimes you need to put in the dirty work yourself to give others the opportunity to say, “Hey, maybe I could do that!” Not only will this push you past your limits, it will give others the inspo they may need to take that first baby step. And as you may know, a few baby steps can turn into a whole marathon pretty quickly without you knowing it. Next thing you know you may be running the Dressember 5k next year because if anything is true, it’s that you can do anything in a dress!
Now that you have some tools, go strike up a conversation! It is a wonderful thing to be able to share our passions, and although this alone won’t change the world it will certainly make a difference. And as much as you talk, remember to listen. We all have different passions close to our hearts and if all people were fighting for one thing, nothing else would get done. So keep fighting the good fight and encourage others to do the same, regardless of what they are fighting for. When we work together using our specific, unique abilities and passions, we take one step closer to a world free from injustice.
Raise your voice against slavery this December!
Commit to wearing a dress or tie every day in December. You'll challenge yourself, expand your knowledge on modern slavery, and be equipped to lead your community in the fight to end human trafficking. Registration is open for Dressember 2018 and fundraising has already started! Be a part of the impact for our local and global partners by creating your campaign page today!
About the Author
Mallory Mishler is a Michigander, studying Women’s and Gender Studies and Peace and Justice. She is passionate about using her voice to advocate for the freedom of all people, especially through creative mediums. When not writing, she can be found climbing mountains, caring for her plants, or painting on things that shouldn’t be painted.