If nothing else, being here at Dordt has taught me that dreams don’t have to stay mere dreams.
Last December, I was inspired by my RA’s participation in the Dressember project. Having joined a team with a couple other upperclassman ladies, my RA wore a dress every single day for all 31 days of December, celebrating the freedom to be feminine. Then, when people inevitably asked, “Hey, why do you look so nice?” the ladies on this Dordt team were able to share stories about women caught in the sex trafficking industry, women whose femininity is being abused and distorted daily. In simply choosing to wear a dress, thereby sacrificing a little comfort and a little warmth in these brutal Iowa winters, these ladies spoke for those whose voices have been silenced by oppression.
And they didn’t stop there.
These ladies also created a team fundraising site, where anyone inspired by this decision to dress up could financially support the reason for dressing up. All these donations went to the Dressember Foundation. In turn, Dressember donated all their funds to International Justice Mission, an organization that has been seeking to eradicate human trafficking worldwide since 1997. IJM has freed over 25,000 people from injustice, and they’re currently on the ground in 18 countries, primarily in Southeast Asia and Central America.
In doing some research, my boyfriend Cory (who has been my partner in organizing this whole endeavor) and I found that sex trafficking isn’t only a distant issue. There are over 35 million people trapped in slavery worldwide; 2 million of these people are children prostituted in the sex trade. These numbers are incomprehensible, and a small portion of these statistics comes from right here in Iowa. Only three and a half hours away, Des Moines is quickly becoming a hot spot for human and sex trafficking in the United States. With large-scale events such as the Iowa State Fair and the Drake Relays, and with as two major interstate crossings, Iowa hosts ample opportunities for trafficking. In fact, the I-80 truck stop is one of the largest sex trafficking locations in the nation. Yes, human trafficking is a global issue, but it also hits close to home.
So, fully inspired by these ladies initiative and fully heartbroken by what I’d learned, I decided that I wanted to participate in the Dressember project myself this semester. Then, when I received my job as an RA, I figured I’d make it a wing event. Then, the more I prayed about it, the more I felt like God wanted to use it as an all-campus event. I talked to the other girl RAs, Cory talked to the other guy RAs, and a passion was sparked. As a leadership team, we wanted to make this service project happen campus wide.
It’s a simple concept: using our ordinary routines of getting dressed and updating our social media to do something extraordinary. The more people we can get in on this powerful simplicity, the more funds we can raise, and the more lives we can change.
So starting December 1st, our campus community is joining the fight for human dignity. Participating Dordt ladies are wearing a dress, and participating Dordt guys are wearing a tie every day for the month of December. We’re taking selfies (and groupies) and posting them all over our media sites using the hastag #DCDressember. We’re answering the question, “Hey, what’s with the dress/tie?” We’re sharing video stories produced by IJM, true account of victims whose basic rights have been restored to them. We’re sharing our fundraising links, hoping that others will be as inspired as we are and manifest that inspiration in a monetary donation.
We’re starting the project on campus, where we can share dresses/ties and share in the excitement. Further, once Christmas break hits, we’re taking it home with us. We’ll continue to dress up for the entire month, raising awareness and raising funds all across the country.
Needless to say, we’re beyond excited to see what God is going to do this next month. We’re willing, and we’re setting our goals high – $15,000 high, to be exact.
Join us in our inspiration?
Join us in praying?
Join us in fundraising? Donate at http://support.dressemberfoundation.org/dcdressember?
Join us in the excitement when God brings redemption in our little efforts?
Join us in seeing this dream realized?
As always, it’s good stuff.