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Get To Know the People Making Freecember’s Wristbands!

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Freecember is honored to support the work of global organizations making a local impact. One of these is Common Good: Kolkata. For many families living in poverty are faced with decisions that no family would like to make. Decisions around when and who can eat, which child, if any, can go to school and even if the family can afford to stay together.

These are not uncommon decisions for millions of people around the world.

These ethically produced wristbands have been made by people that face decisions like this every day. They are the battlers of the world that keep striving towards a better life no matter how hard it is to believe that a different life is possible.

Families like this made these Limited Edition Freecember wristbands. And the money for them helps people have good jobs so they can make good choices for their families. And move that different life from possibility to reality.

Can little old wristbands really change the world? Maybe... They can certainly help make a world of difference for these families, this community and the Common Good.

Check out their story at www.common-good.world. Thank you for helping make the difference!

Click here to join in or donate in the USA. Click here to join in or donate in the UK.

Want a wristband? Email info@freecember.org

Yes, Virginia, There Is Slavery In The World Today

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"What's your ribbon for?" A young woman noticed and asked my about my "upside down" purple ribbon this week.

I told her it was to start conversations about modern slavery.

She was, I think, shocked. Taken aback.

She genuinely did not know there are millions of people in some form of slavery today.

It was affirmation there is a need for Freecember, to continue to raise widespread awareness, but even more importantly, informed action to address modern slavery / human trafficking and to support initiatives of Prevention, Intervention and Restoration.

Over the past few years, I've been learning so much about different forms of slavery, and learning about great organizations like International Justice Mission, Free the Slaves, Not For Sale, Polaris Project and Love 146 working to address slavery, I've become a bit immersed in it.

Like ... everyone knows about this, right?

I've come dangerously close to what the Heath Brothers call "The Curse of Knowledge," in their book Made to Stick, where "we start for forget what it's like not to know what we know."

In my core, I was encouraged about the importance of Freecember.

Here's the note I wrote to the young woman:

Thanks for asking about my ribbon this morning.

 

Modern slavery is a heavy topic, but there are things we can do to help stop it and great organizations making a huge difference helping people live in freedom.

 

A few years ago, I had no idea that slavery was a reality today and no clue what to do about it. Now I know some more and hope I can help more people find out not just about the problem, but also how they can be part of the solution.

 

Peace, Tate

 

Don't Run This Race Alone

Last weekend, a few of us ran in the Dorset 10k, probably the hardest 10k I can ever imagine running in my life. Beautiful and challenging. As I experienced the whole event and as I ran, I reflected on joining in the movement of people and organizations working to stop slavery:

  1. This is a lot harder than I was expecting. Sometimes it was all I could do just to keep moving forward. Once or twice I had to sit down and catch my breath.
  2. In the middle of the race, out in the middle of nowhere, there’s not a lot of fanfare. A group of four cheering, a man with his dog, someone running nearby.
  3. Because of a staggered start, there were people that had already been running for hours when we started and who would continue to run for hours after we finished. Half-marathoners already well into their race hi-fived 10k-ers, 10k-ers cheered on marathoners… and ultra-marathoners. It didn’t matter whether you were just about to start running or whether you had been running for a long time already, people encouraged and cheered each other on. Friends and strangers celebrated each other’s progress.
  4. “Three people are better than no people.” – F.L. Hamer. I like running alone with my music and my thoughts. But on this occasion, I was so glad two friends agreed to come with me. I don’t think any of us really knew what we were getting ourselves into. I’m glad had people to train with, gear up and get there with, people I knew who understood exactly what I was experiencing, and to debrief and celebrate with.

Don’t run this race alone.

The Fire and the Flood

19 March 2014 Who am I?

What difference can I make?

“You're just a minnow in a huge ocean."

Honest and true words, spoken in the tone of a realist.

Alone, I am small.

But am I insignificant?

What can one person do?

Am I on a wild goose chase?

But...

Have you ever felt simply and utterly compelled to do something?

In the face of proverbial overwhelming odds?

But ...

What if?

What if one becomes three?

What if three become 30?

And 30 become 300?

What can 300 do?

(My friend, both history teacher and film fan can tell you.)

I am only one.

But ...

I can’t not.

I simply cannot not.

I must.

I am compelled.

The same woman that said, "No one is free until everybody is free," also said,

"Three people are better than no people.”

And I am not alone.

In some ways, I feel like I am late to the fight.

Many fires are already burning.

Not only people in large and small, domestic and international non-profits, but people in governments and corporations and small businesses and schools and universities. And in communities and families and twos and threes. And Tim and Emma.

Yes, Tim and Emma. Two young people you’ve never heard of. Inconsequential? (I do not think that word means what you think it means.) Who have been getting together with a group of 7 people for two years. Who hosted a screening of a movie followed by a panel with the London Metropolitan Police, IJM, Hope for Justice & Sophie Hayes Foundation.

Tim & Emma.

Who put up posters and passed out postcards.

Who kept striking flint to tinder.

And rekindled a spark.

In me.

Bring on the reinforcements.

Three people that care are better than no people that care.

Find two allies, friends, brothers and sisters in arms.

Light a fire where you are with what you have.

Am I a minnow? Perhaps.

Do I feel like one? Often.

But, I am a spark.

Only a single spark.

Alone, I cannot light a pitch dark room.

Alone, I give no warmth.

There are many things I cannot do alone, but I can light a flame that becomes a torch. I can be blown across rivers, over walls, through chain links and behind bars … until beacon fires burn in villages and cities, until a wildfire sweeps across fields filled with thorns.

I am potential.

Within me is the fire … and the flood.

I know there is a flood within me because every time I think about or write about modern slavery, the floodgates open.

A tear. Then weeping. Sobbing. Sometimes uncontrollably. In public.

There is a spark of life in every woman, man and child in slavery.

Perhaps it is only smoldering.

Being smothered.

Almost extinguished.

There is a spark in you, too.

(As I write these words, tears roll slowly down my cheeks. I’m sobbing ... in public again. I can’t not.)

...

Who am I?

Unknown?

Definitely.

Inadequate?

I feel like it.

Insignificant?

No.

What difference can I make?

A spark.

A drop.

By themselves, almost imperceptible.

But,

Without the spark, there is no fire. Without the drop, there is no ocean.

Let us become the fire & the flood.

Starfish and the Tide

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Starfish - The Vision27th March 2014

I'm crying on a transatlantic flight again.

I don't think the young man with the white corded headphones sitting next to me has noticed.

I'm alone for this journey, heading from London to Wichita to meet with some friends and advisers, to talk about the dream growing within me of helping end modern slavery.

This time I haven't been watching an animated movie. Tearjerkers.

And I don't feel physically, mentally or emotionally exhausted.

I've just been reading the true stories of Laura, Yuri & Mariamma and the violence and captivity they face in Kenya, Peru and India respectively, weeping for them and those who care about them.

I cry to varying degrees pretty much every day these days, flipping back and forth between

Heartbroken

&

Outraged

I wonder ...

What would it take to actually bring an end to these atrocities?

To bring freedom and safety to the 20 to 30 million slaves in the world today.

To bring an end to the pandemic affecting the lives of millions?

And it's not just stopping one perpetrator, it´s affecting

systemic and structural injustice.

It feels like too much.

And yet today,

Somewhere in the world, there is

A child who needs protection

A teenager who needs to be rescued

A young woman who needs support for restoration

A man forced to work in desperation

There are children, fathers, and mothers, sons and daughters

I can only think of the story of the boy walking along the beach with his father.

After a storm, the tide has gone out and has left hundreds and hundreds of starfish to bake in the scorching sun without protection, helpless to help themselves.

The son runs to and fro, picking up starfish one by one and flinging them back into the water ....

The father looks at his son and says, "My boy, look at all the starfish. So many. From here to the horizon. There are so many. There´s no way you can make any difference."

The child pauses for a moment, looks at the starfish in his hand, looks up at his Dad, looks back at the starfish, flings it into the safety of the sea

and innocently says,

"I made a difference to that one."

That is the picture I must keep before me as I am confronted by the sheer massiveness of modern slavery.

If I help protect, recover or restore just one human being, it is worth it.

And then I wonder ... what if we could change the story itself?

What if we could turn the tide?

What if the sea-level started to rise and began covering dozens, hundreds, thousands of starfish with the protection and nourishment they need, continuing to rise inch by inch, foot by foot, meter by meter, until every one of the millions of precious lives of enslaved today become the survivors.

Not helpless, but in need of help.

Could it be both/and?

What if we could Protect/Prevent, Rescue & Restore people by the ones and dozens,

and at the same time

Turn the tide for hundreds, thousands, and millions of people.

What would it take?

I think it would take you...

And me...

And another...

And another...

And another...

Doing what we can, with what we have, and who we are, where we spend our time.

The actions of everyday people banding together and doing what we can with what we have or can get our hands on, where we are or can get to, utilizing whatever resources, relational networks and influence we have on behalf of people being oppressed.

A little bit. Every day.

Maybe this isn't fair, but my gut says no one is neutral. I am either helping or hurting.

Unaware?

Indifferent?

Today, as I sit and read and write somewhere above the Atlantic Ocean, I am ...

Heartbroken

Outraged

Determined to help one starfish back in the ocean

and

To band together to turn the tide itself.

 

 

[Photo Credit: low tide in nungwi by Yoni Lerner]