For most of my life, I’ve been around people just like me.
White, like me.
Middle class, like me.
Homeowner parents, like me.
Food on the table, like me.
Born in America, like me.
Cell phone at 14, like me.
Accelerated reading level, like me.
American dream chasing, like me.
Full bank account, like me.
The tears flow heavy as I write - not guilt tears, not pity tears - but tears of a girl who is beginning to understand that the odds were always in my favor.
Blonde hair & blue eyes & tan skin & propelled by every system I’ve ever been in.
I never realized that my background—my privilege—came with a responsibility.
I never realized that our freedom is tied together & I have an important role in the freedom & success of others.
I never realized until I met the three of them.
This past year, every Monday & Wednesday, three students bounced into a Denver public school tutoring room with full grins & a thirst to learn & told me stories of their favorite spanish soup & their dad who just got out of prison & their mom working two jobs with nine children & their dreams of becoming veterinarians & their football games they won & their grandma who has “poison in her stomach” & they talk & they giggle & they read & they tell me their hopes for their little lives…I breathed heavy & realized:
I am the true student in this classroom.
& I breathe heavy because the odds are NOT in their favor.
& I breathe heavy because facts are facts & a child who stays three years behind reading level needs someone propelling & believing in them to become a veterinarian.
& I breathe heavy because they are the brightest children I’ve ever known, yet everything I’ve learned in life is that “behind people” are “lazy people" & this brainwashed lie is shattering before my eyes.
& I breathe heavy
the odds are in MY favor.
& I didn’t earn those odds, but I must own them & I get to choose what I am going to do with them.
I will not be the educated white savior,
the rich girl helping the poor kids,
the charity for the needy.
I am the girl who has a shot at her dreams, who will use her voice, her hands, her heart to empower the dreamer boys & girls with no shot at theirs.
It started at a local level for me. Changed by 6 hours a week with 3 children. I encourage you—urge you—start to spend time with people not like you. In your community. Rub shoulders, share a meal, belly laugh with someone not your age, not your race, or not your culture. You will be changed by it & you will begin to see that maybe your way isn't the best or only way & those unlikely people will change you far more than you will change them.
Below is a global way to make a difference.
This shirt is the product of the heart/vision of some friends of mine at The Parative Project who understand our freedom is tied together. They will be moving their production to India & their Kickstarter to do so launches tonight (like now)!
The Parative Project exists to raise awareness on social injustice through conversational shirts about this issue. The goal behind every shirt is to serve as a conversation starter allowing you to share with others what is happening around the world. With every purchase, proceeds will be given to an organization that's fighting against the issue of human trafficking.
In moving their production to India, they'll be working with two new partners, Freeset and The Aruna Project. These organizations provide freedom to human trafficking victims through sustainable employment, opposed to government programs that often result in the women going back into the brothels. The designs they are featuring are words that speak to the women making the shirts, giving people the chance to encourage the women through those words.