From Passivity to Passion: My Journey to Advocacy
Let’s set the scene: it’s my senior year of high school and I am passionate about...nothing really. I was pretty involved in a lot of things: church, band, FFA, 4-H, sports. But I put the bare minimum effort into just about everything I did. I only applied to two colleges and since I was only accepted to one that’s where I decided to go.
That began to change the moment I applied to travel to Cambodia with CIY Engage. The purpose of this trip was educational; we were going to travel to Cambodia, do Vacation Bible School with the local community, and visit with girls who had been victims of sex trafficking. I had heard about human trafficking, seen the documentary, bought the bag that helped support victims, but it wasn’t until then that I really began to genuinely care. From the time I applied to go to Cambodia I began using the topic of human trafficking for just about everything. If I needed to write a paper - that was my topic. If I needed to do a report - it was focused on human trafficking. If I needed to give a presentation - you bet I was going to find a way to work human trafficking into it.
The more I immersed myself into first-hand accounts, the less I could pretend like it wasn’t happening. When I left for Cambodia about two-weeks after graduating high school I had no idea that it would shape my future the way it has, but here I am, an intern for Dressember and more passionate about giving a voice to the voiceless than I have ever been.
I met little girls who had been witness to horrors no adult should, or would, ever have to see. It was really difficult for me to wrap my 18-year-old mind around all that I was learning and experiencing in this culture that was so different than my own - but in so many ways the same. You see, I shouldn’t have had to travel across the globe for that wake-up call, because it is happening here in the United States of America, too.
I came home a changed woman. I had no idea what to do with all this pent-up passion locked inside of me and I didn’t know where to turn to let it all out. I felt radically underwhelmed by my ability to tell others about what I had experienced.
But then, Dressember.
It wasn’t even a month until December started when I learned of what Dressember was, but I was in. I saw Dressember as an opportunity to share with others about the realities of human trafficking and about what I had experienced in Cambodia. The first year I participated in Dressember it was just my roommate and me that made up our team. Year two, it was my roommate and me, plus another friend. Year three, my team consisted of over 10 passionate, driven, inspirational people who all came together collectively for one goal: to advocate on the behalf of human trafficking victims all over the world.
The thing that keeps me coming back to Dressember again and again is the passion. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I could not keep pretending like human trafficking did not exist, and neither can you. Here’s the thing about passion - it’s contagious. It spreads like wildfire among people who are willing to see beyond themselves and open their eyes and hearts to the vulnerable. Dressember is full of passionate advocates who know that Dressember is more than a month-long social media campaign. It’s a lifestyle that consists of advocacy on the behalf of others, selflessness, creativity, inspiration, and of course, passion. Dressember is what happens when people stand together and say ‘no more’ to injustice. I want my whole entire life to be about seeing injustice end and bringing healing to the hurting. Dressember has given me an opportunity to live that out.
I could not be more thankful for the opportunity I have had to create content for Dressember’s blog. Writing was always one of my favorite subjects in school, but being able to do it for a platform that incorporates what I am good at and what I am passionate about? That’s been a lovely dream come true.
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
Sonsee Jenkins is a lover of animals (big and small), hand lettering, and writing. Her experiences include rehabilitating raccoons, writing for her school’s humanity department, and advocating for the oppressed. She attends a small university in Northeast Indiana and hopes to use her degree (and all her time working up to it) to end human trafficking.