"One simple YES": Mallory's Why
Fighting for the voiceless has always been important to me. Maybe it was growing up as the third child out of four, or perhaps it was being taught early on to question the many injustices that most of us take for granted. Whatever it was, I have always carried a strong desire in my heart to see the wrongs of the world righted, and for all people to receive the respect, autonomy and love they inherently deserve. In some ways, it feels as if I have spent a large portion of my short life just waiting for something to fight for, willing to learn what people are passionate about, and always being up to advocate for those who need help. This has taken shape in many different forms - from animal rights to feminism to environmental activism - but human trafficking was another story entirely. I didn’t know how much one issue could touch my heart or how freeing it can be to fight for the freedom of strangers. One simple ‘yes’ was all it took to open the door to a beautiful pathway that I could see only when I stopped looking for it.
It wasn’t until I found out about Dressember that I even heard of human trafficking. I was a freshman in college and was invited to join my school’s Dressember team on the eve of its beginning. Unfamiliar with the cause, but always willing to speak up for something good, I committed myself to a month of dress-wearing and told myself I would educate myself on the topic soon. I had no idea that this one small commitment would quite literally change my life.
The more I learned about the millions of people living in slavery right under our noses, the more distraught, angry and passionate for the cause I became. I started sharing my heart with my friends and my family - telling them that there are 40 million people currently enslaved; that this is an injustice so great that we cannot ignore it anymore; that we have a responsibility to speak up for our sisters and brothers that don’t have the ability to do so themselves. I was completely distraught that I had lived so much of my life blissfully unaware of what was happening in the world around me, and that I had never done anything to combat this huge injustice.
I kept educating myself, finding more and more organizations and people that were doing the good work of advocacy, rescue and restoration, and always questioning what else I could do to make a difference. Even then, it didn’t feel like enough. It was like I had been infected with this fire that had to light everything around it. Soon I was telling strangers in the library that human trafficking exists and striking up conversations with restaurant servers. My passion started to take me down new pathways, even causing me to change my major and start an International Justice Mission chapter on my campus. Despite my yearning to fight for justice in every matter, this cause had latched on to me and I couldn’t let it go. As Fabienne Fredrickson said, “The things you are passionate about are not random. They are your calling.” My calling had found me, and I became an advocate in the same way one might find themselves in the middle of an unexpected rainstorm on a hot summer day: seemingly accidental, yet entirely welcome.
Today, I am an advocate because I can’t help but be. I can’t bear the reality that my brothers and sisters are not free, because I know in different circumstances that could have been me. I want the whole world to sing of respect and love, to see the inherent value in each other, and to offer a place where all people might be safe and free. I am an advocate because I believe I can see the end of human trafficking in my lifetime, and it is up to all of us to make that dream into a reality. I am an advocate because as long as there are still people in slavery, there will still be a reason to fight. I urge you to give yourself up, fully, to the passions that strike a chord in your heart and light a fire in you like nothing else. They may take you on a wild ride, but perhaps that ride is the whole reason you are here in the first place.
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.