3.05.2014

Shopping With Love {Part 2}

Today is my day to write for the 40-Day Noonday Blog Train {Giveaway}.


Here is the rest of my talk on Ethical Consumerism + My giveaway and how you can enter to win.

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On November 24, 2012 a fire broke out at Tazreen Fashions Factory in the garment district of Dhaka, Bangladesh.

On the night of the fire, more than 1,150 people were inside the eight-story building, working overtime shifts to fill orders for various international brands. Fire officials say the blaze broke out in the open-air ground floor, where large mounds of fabric and yarn were illegally stored.
But on some floors, managers ordered the employees to ignore a fire alarm and continue to work. Precious minutes were lost. Then, as smoke and fire spread throughout the building, many workers were trapped, unable to descend the smoke-filled staircases, and they were blocked from escape by iron grilles on many windows. Desperate workers managed to break open some windows and leap to safety on the roof of a building nearby. Others simply jumped from upper floors to the ground. 117 died and 200 were injured. {Thanks, NY Times}

A factory building collapsed in April of 2013 outside Dhaka, killing more than 1,000 workers. That building was constructed with substandard materials and in blatant disregard of building codes. The factory owners again told workers to return to their jobs despite evidence that the building was unsafe,

I highlight these two recent tragedies for one reason:
1100 people have died because WE wanted shirts that cost $10.

Bangladesh has more than 5,000 garment factories, which employ over four million workers, many of them young women. Bangladesh handles orders for nearly all of the world’s top brands and retailers. It has become an export powerhouse largely by delivering lower costs, in part by having the lowest wages in the world for garment workers. Garments constitute about four-fifths of the country’s manufacturing exports, and the industry is expected to grow rapidly. {Thanks Again, NY Times}

Changing the practices of the garment industry will take a mountain of people voting with their dollars to change such an integral part of the global economy.


BUT it has always taken a mountain of people doing what is right at the cost of their own welfare, good, or interests to affect change.


We don’t hear about these tragedies happening in the USA often. That’s because we have labor laws and unions. We’ve had factory fires and tragedies (the Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire of 1911 that killed 123 women and 23 men). These events became a catalyst for labor unions and worker safety legislation. We are very lucky to currently live in an era of our country’s history...where this is not an everyday concern for you or me or our husbands or our children.

What happened as a solution to US public outcry against poor working conditions?
Every problem or bad practiced was simply exported to another developing country. We ended slavery HERE but essentially enslaved thousands of others in their own homelands all in the name of "good business."

These jobs are the only jobs available for so many men and women (and children) and they are only available because there is a demand overseas for inexpensive & fashionable clothing...and because we choose to turn a blind eye to the plight of the oppressed.

And there is a better way.
There is a gospel-centered way.
Buying ethically is not just a social movement. It calls us to be fair and just and mindful and purposeful. It calls us to go without plenty so that others can have something. It calls us to stand up for the oppressed. To shine a light in the darkness.

I wish I could put it in the back of my mind and choose to see it as just a social movement, but Ethical Consumerism is a kingdom movement.
Jeremiah 22:3
This is what the LORD says: Do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of the oppressor the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place.
                               
Zechariah 7:9
"Thus has the LORD of hosts said, Dispense true justice and practice kindness and compassion each to his brother;


Proverbs 22:22-23
Do not rob the poor because he is poor, Or crush the afflicted at the gate; For the LORD will plead their case And take the life of those who rob them.


Psalms 82:3-4
Vindicate the weak and fatherless; Do justice to the afflicted and destitute. Rescue the weak and needy; Deliver them out of the hand of the wicked.
                       
Luke 11:42
"But woe to you Pharisees! For you pay tithe of mint and rue and every kind of garden herb, and yet disregard justice and the love of God; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others.

The bigness and the enormity of social justice issues make them intimidating to us as individuals. I for one do not think that I am an elegant mouth piece for justice and change when I am elbow deep in dirty diapers and temper tantrums. But God has been very clear. He has never turned from the afflicted, the needy, the oppressed.

As a stay-at-home-mom, I feel like I am in a season where my children are my “ministry” and that I indeed will have to WAIT for any other, higher, calling - for these BIGGER things...And so I put these BIGGER things in the back of my mind. I discount them. They are not for me right now.
Proverbs 31:8-9
Open your mouth for the mute, For the rights of all the unfortunate. Open your mouth, judge righteously, And defend the rights of the afflicted and needy.

Isaiah 1:17
learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.

I write today to tell you that as Christians {or as people who believe in human dignity and equality} we have a calling to the least of these. That calling is now.  
We cannot physically be on the ground (right now) to rescue a family out of a brick kiln in India; We cannot picket the front lines of a garment factory in Bangladesh; We cannot break into the brothels worldwide and rescue children from their traffickers.

But we can shop. We ALREADY SHOP. We can buy things. We can protest with our dollars and our cents. We can raise our collective voice...as consumers.

I think most of you do what I do. We work the coupon, we save the money, we make the most out of what we have. We make a lot of the decisions when it comes to when and why and how and where purchases for our families happen. That is a lot of power in a global economy when the only voice that matters is that of the dollar.

All of the sudden we can take consumerism that doesn't recognize the gospel nor the love of Jesus Christ...and we can turn it on its head! And we can purchase the things we need for the good of others.
It’s not charity...it’s purchasing with a conscience. It’s purchasing with a purpose. It’s shopping ethically - consciously choosing to do the right thing.

So what does that look like - being an ethical consumer?

1. It means buying less, but spending just as much.That sounds unrealistic, wasteful, and “not worth the trouble.” But in essence what you are committing to doing is trading MORE “okay” stuff for less “I love this!” stuff.
My husband and I have made the decision to no longer buy something JUST because it’s a “good deal.” In saying that I mean that we no longer ‘settle’ on something we don’t love, or that doesn’t fit perfectly simply because it’s cheap.
It means I don’t eat a lot of chocolate. I have changed my life to reflect what I can afford to buy (when I factor in the TOTAL cost of the good).

We can no longer justify buying LOTS of cheap goods on the backs of slaves, rather than supporting another ethically sound business.

It means I live with less - which is incredibly freeing.

2. It means that I do my research and find companies who have ideals and visions that line up with my own (Toms, Warby Parker, Seamly, Noonday Collection) ...and I support them. It means that in doing that same research, I have to walk away from retailers that turn a blind eye to injustice. Which is not a FUN thing...I really like OLD Navy and Target, but I can’t support them.

3. It means (sometimes) I buy second hand. If I am buying my clothes from the local consignment shop or the goodwill - then I am not feeding the companies that turn a blind eye to the complete disregard for human life in their overseas factories. Along these same lines, you can organize clothing swaps among groups of women that you know. Everyone coming together and exchanging gently used clothes for gently used clothes. Costing nothing.  

4. It means that my family and I save money differently. Do you know that millions of people around the world live off $1 a day? Many of these men and women do not have the ability to save money in a way that enables them to get ahead or invest or create businesses. Work is never steady and the money is spent on basic necessities as soon as it is earned. Many men and women have formed saving clubs (a community savings system that pulls community money to benefit one family at a time) or they apply for microloans (traditional loans are next to impossible for many of the impoverished to get). Did you know that you can invest in the LIFE of someone else for as little as a $25, no-interest microloan with a 98% payback rate? $25. That is equivalent to 5 trips to Starbucks...changing someone’s life.
5. It means that I am a mouthpiece. As most of you know. I am an ambassador for Noonday Collection {a company whose vision is to provide men and women paths out of poverty by providing dignified employment in...FASHION}. Noonday Collection works with Artisans around the globe and is CHANGING LIVES. One thing I am good at is being loud. Noonday Collection allows me a platform, to enter into peoples homes and share the stories of the hundreds of lives that are being changed through...work. Not charity. Not ministry...dignified work.


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So, Here is my Giveaway. I want you to go to Noonday Collection and read our Artisan Stories. Fill your soul with stories of redemption and second chances. Post a comment below about your favorite story...and you will be entered to win a $50 Noonday Gift Voucher. 

{Contest will be closed to entries 03/08/2014 @ 10pm MT}

Thanks for Reading & Best of Luck!


Don't forget to check out yesterday's Noonday Giveaway (and Tomorrow's). {wink}




33 comments:

  1. the story of Embemebet and other Ethiopian artisans finding hope and a second chance at not only life, but a fulfilling and rich-in-community life, always brings me to tears. talk about redemption! and my Noonday pieces from Ethiopia have always been my favorite. beautiful and rich in the story they tell.

    thanks for the chance!

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    1. Ethiopian pieces are some of my favorites for that very reason :)

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  2. I love the story of the Ethiopian artists finding a second chance a life through their art and community. Love this company!

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    1. Thanks for reading - I LOVE this company too.

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  3. Lydia this is sooo beautifully written. Being an ambassador changed my life and although Im no longer in that role, Im delighted to always be an advocate for the oppressed and a consumer of all things Noonday! :) Just ordere the galaxy wrap yesterday.
    Coral's story was one that changed my heart and gave me new eyes to see artisans as fellow sisters. Our purchases impact people...thank you for reminding me of that

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    1. Beth - thank you for sharing and reading. I have personally loved "getting to know you" online.

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  4. One of the many "stories" i was touched by was Sidhama from india. I'm reminded of the hold so many woman are under. Ianguage, relationships, education but ultimately the bonds of Satan. What a great story of redemption.

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  5. I have always loved Jalia's story!

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  6. Matt W.2:29 PM

    I'm encouraged by those in the US.

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  7. I love the story about Jalia in Uganda. Her desire to help her own people really moves me.

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  8. Jenny from Peru. I love to see our shared interests of animal fibers and wearing our babies <3

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  9. Peru. Hello, that kid on Jenny's back is enough for me right there. PRECIOUS!!! I feel like I can so understand strapping a kid on and going about the day.

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  10. it makes me so happy that a place not far from where I grew up (Austin) has a program to work with the refugees. People who sought out America for a better life but due to lack of jobs/ language barriers and discrimination are struggling. I certainly wear my refugee jewelry proud.

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  11. I love Sidhama's story from India and also love the metal jewelry she makes but every story is important and precious. Thanks for posting this article that makes me see my consumerism in a brand new light!

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  12. My favorite story is of the Guatemalan women. I love that they can work at home, right alongside their children, because that is my story too. We are all connected.

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  13. I enjoyed reading Jalia's story. Such a good example for the women of Uganda.

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  14. Posting A Comment for a Friend (Shawna):
    I like the Noonday Collection because every piece is unique. In Equador, I love that she makes them from seeds. So cool to buy jewelry that is not a cookie cutter replica.
    Like the Noonday.

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  15. This was very enlightening! I enjoyed reading about the Sidhama from India who was able to use the cooperative as a means of breaking away from her abusive husband.

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  16. I read through each and every artisan story, and while Ecuador will always be the country of my heart, I kept coming back to the artisans in Ethiopia, who make beautiful jewelry out of the spoils of war. Helping them overcome poverty and live better lives is the heart of Noonday's mission. I love it!

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  17. I read through all the artisan stories - and proceeded to cry my eyes out and say a prayer for each and every one of them. What a wonderful mission. My favorite story is Uganda and hearing about people coming to Christ through this work that provides them with a life they wouldn't have otherwise. Beautiful.

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  18. I really loved the story of the woman in Guatemala. I've been there twice on mission trips and fell in love with the art of weaving while we were there.

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  19. sabrina smith5:42 PM

    I loved reading about the artisans in Ethiopia and Peru. In Peru I could imagine women working and enjoying doing it! and I was so touched by the Ethiopians struggling with hiv and having a good life in the face of illness and poverty.

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  20. Jalia's story inspired me

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  21. I loved reading about the Hill County Tribers. How inspiring to learn about this organization's mission of providing assistance and hope to refugees in Austin, TX.

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  22. Zed and Astrida in Rwanda are inspiring and a testament to the power and importance of love! What an incredible story.

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  23. Praying for Astrida in Rwanda as she supports her disabled husband and children. I am so thankful that Noonday pays her a fair wage for her labor. Praying for healing for her husband. Back pain hurts my heart.

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  24. Love hearing about the US and how in an age where most of the country is against letting more and more people in there are others out there embracing them. Who wouldn't want better opportunities for their family, after moving into the inner city God has truly opened my eyes to devastating circumstances in the US. Things that I never thought could exist here. You don't have to go to another country to have deep impact, you simply be Christ right where you are.

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  25. I was touched by the story of Astrida in Rwanda and how her family does not have to separate to find work!

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  26. I love the story behind all the recycled artillery pieces. What a beautiful picture of using what was once meant to harm and transforming it into something beautiful and life sustaining for the artisans.

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  27. Sidhama's story is both heartbreaking and hopeful (as are all of the artisans). I'm so glad to be wearing something she touched!

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  28. It's so hard to pick just one - I personally love the Ethiopian stories, Rwanda , and Uganda - for me those are personal because I have been there. But I also love the restoration of the India story as well. All these stories have such a common theme and thread. Restoration, Healing, Provision, Redemption. How can you just pick one. It's our story too! Love seeing his hand in all these stories. And each piece that comes from each of these artisans is so special because it was put together by these hands. Precious hands from precious people.

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  29. Paulina's story (Guatemala). I love that the designs and traditions of her culture can be demonstrated through the beautiful things she and others in her community make. And better still is the economic improvement they experience because of organizations like Noonday.

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  30. love the special needs artisans!

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