Spotlight on Dressember Advocate: Hannah Britton
Hannah Britton was more than just the average college student during her time at Huntington University. Her passion for activism and steadfast resolve allowed her to spread a growing interest in fighting against human trafficking across the Indiana community. Becoming a Dressember advocate during her time at Huntington University provided her an outlet through which she could channel this passion and enlighten others about the plight of those still enslaved around the world. However, Hannah’s commitment to ending slavery involved more than just putting on a dress for the entire month of December. It involved fearless activism and striving towards unfathomable, remarkable goals.
After hearing about the Dressember challenge on December 1, 2016, Hannah decided to start fundraising the very next day. With high hopes and an ambitious personal goal, she set out on a mission to raise $500 for the fight to end modern-day slavery. Hannah did more than just set goals--she exceeded them in every sense of the word. By New Years Eve, she had raised nearly $100 more than her goal!
Hannah, who was eager to share her zeal for the challenge, decided to elicit the help of her friends the following year. She linked up with other girls who had witnessed the injustices of human trafficking during their time spent interning together in Nepal. These three girls, with Hannah’s guidance, formed an unstoppable Dressember team, “Nepal Love,” and set a goal of $3000.
Hannah recounts, “We knew it was a crazy goal, but I thought $500 was crazy the year before, and I only wanted to keep pushing.” Instead of letting passiveness and uncertainty drive her, Hannah resolved to let her past failures and successes combine into fearless motivation. While Hannah’s team initiative strengthened her advocacy this past year, she added another remarkable feature to her 2017 Dressember challenge. She sacrificed what many women regard as their most sacred treasure--her hair.
Hannah made the decision to shave her head this past December so that she could ignite awareness in her community. Not only would Hannah’s sacrifice mobilize public support, but the effort ended up raising $615 for just her hair! With the help of her cousin and beautician, Hannah put her hair into 50+ braids, each of which were cut off with the request of a $10 donation. With the help of friends, family, and social media, Hannah was able to share her campaign not only on her college campus, but throughout the Huntington, Indiana community.
In recognizing Hannah's perseverance, one of her professors helped her become featured on the local news channel. Hannah was beginning to become a local hero in her town, a hero who was illuminating an issue that is often relegated to the darkness. Her feature on the 11 o'clock news at Ft. Wayne News Station, combined with her social media campaign, allowed Hannah to share her story to a community that was more than willing to join the fight through their support.
Despite hitting her personal goal of raising $1000, Hannah remarks that money is not the most important contribution she could make. After receiving so many monetary donations from her community, she revealed, “It hit me in that moment, that yes, money is a huge means to putting an end to this horrid injustice, but conversation and education is so powerful.” Hannah reiterates in her story that this importance is in the “conversations” and awareness that result from activism.
In fact, Hannah reveals that people are still asking her about her hair months later. However, she is unsure of whether or not she should trim her hair or grow it back. Now, she says, "It's too dang easy to get ready in the mornings, not to mention all the fun I have experimenting with it.” But one thing remains fairly certain--her personal sacrifice did more than loosen the wallets of a sympathetic public. It stirred their hearts and forced them to acknowledge the existence of a grim reality many choose to ignore. Such an acknowledgment is the first step towards striving for slavery’s abolition.
In the end, Hannah’s team, “Nepal Love,” might not have met their lofty goal, but their decision to strive towards greatness is one we should all learn from. It is the setting of our goals that dictates how forceful and effective we are in making a difference. The higher we set our goals, the more likely we will be to create tangible change in the world. To this day, Hannah reflects on her 2017 Dressember experience in saying that, “Choosing to do something as ‘crazy’ as shaving my head has often brought me to thoughts of all the women, men and children that don’t have a choice of what’s happening to them. I stand with them.”
Interested in going into learning more about Hannah's Dressember "hair" journey? Check out these videos!
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
Sarah Beech is a junior at the University of Texas at Austin, who is studying psychology and government. She is most passionate about fighting against the various human rights abuses that occur around us. In her free time she likes to watch Netflix, hang out with her friends, and try new restaurants. Her favorite quote is, "Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game" (A Cinderella Story).