By Guest Bloggers Danielle Rose and Bethany Fischer
What is Dressember?
Dressember started in 2009 when Blythe Hill decided to challenge herself by wearing a dress every day for the month of December. Her personal challenge turned into a movement in 2013 when she partnered with International Justice Mission to end slavery and human trafficking. Since then Dressember has spread internationally and thousands of advocates have helped raise over $5 million to bring freedom and restoration to those who have been enslaved. Participants wear a dress all month long and create a personal fundraising page to help raise funds and awareness around this issue. The issue being that there are over 30 million slaves in the world today and human trafficking is a $150 billion dollar business. With the donations, grants are given to twelve different organizations working to end slavery and human trafficking. Dressember, at its core, is about advocating for the dignity of all people and the freedom that dignity demands. In the past couple of years, the movement has grown to include men who commit to wearing a tie every day.
I learned about Dressember while scrolling through my Twitter feed a few years ago, it was actually that first year, in 2013. I had no idea that slavery and human trafficking were as large of an issue as millions of people and billions of dollars. Having never been much of an advocate for anything, I decided that wearing a dress was exactly the kind of advocacy for me: I owned a few dresses and it seemed easy enough. When someone made any comment about my dress, I mentioned Dressember. And if they asked about it, I would clumsily tell them about slavery and human trafficking. Now in year five, I’m a little more bold. I decided to run the Mistletoe half marathon in a dress with a sign on my back, “Dressember. It’s BIGGER than a dress.” I asked friends on social media to donate $13.10 to my campaign and during the race when a group of runners asked me about my sign, I (somewhat breathlessly) told them about the movement. I am so grateful to be a part of this movement, especially for the ways it moves me to think about and make a small sacrifice for others.
I had followed Bethany’s Dressember journey on social media for two years and always thought to myself, “Wow, she’s awesome! There’s no way I have enough dresses to do that”. Fast forward, and here I am in year three of participating in Dressember! So what changed my mind? I began researching how Dressember funds are used and discovered that some of the benefiting organizations provide counseling services for those who have been rescued from human slavery. As a professional counselor myself, this spoke to my heart. I signed up to join Bethany’s Dressember team in 2016, went through my closet, and pulled out all of the winter dresses. I had a total of six…hmm. I had to get creative mixing and matching leggings and cardigans with summer dresses to make it 31 days. I am happy to report that, so far, the fashion police have not shown up at my door! More importantly my sacrifice of wearing a dress everyday is minimal in comparison to those who have no choice over their lives each and every day.
Want to join the cause?
It’s not too late! You can visit dressember.org to find more information. You can participate and raise awareness of the cause with or without creating a fundraising page. If you’d like to support our team, you can find us here: https://dressember-2018.funraise.org/team/st-josephine-bakhit
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