Information and stories on social activism.

Top 10 Quotes about Advocacy
Advocacy is when an individual or group supports and influences political, economic and social decisions. The goal of an advocate is to gain support in a certain environment to create change for the better. According to Culture & Creativity, it only takes 10 percent of a population holding a strong belief to persuade the remaining population to adopt that same belief. This means that with the right amount of support, help and a common goal to better the world, people all around the world can eventually live freely and equally.

Advocates have been contributing to the world’s success for centuries. While all of these advocates come from different backgrounds and places from all around the world, they all have one thing in common- a passion to change the world for the better. Below are the top 10 quotes about advocacy from powerful people and the short biographies of these people.

Top 10 Quotes about Advocacy

  1. “When the world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.”- Malala Yousafzai. Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani advocate and activist for female education and the youngest Nobel Prize laureate. In 2013, Malala and her father Ziauddin founded a campaign called the Malala Fund to win every girl’s right for 12 years of a free and safe education. Malala’s main focus is helping Afghanistan, Brazil, India, Lebanon, Nigeria, Pakistan and Turkey, countries in which most of the girls miss out on secondary education.
  2. “I learned a long time ago the wisest thing I can do is be on my own side, be an advocate for myself and others like me.”- Maya Angelou. Maya Angelou was an African-American singer, poet, memoirist and civil rights advocate and activist. Angelou won three Grammy Awards for her spoken-word poetry. These accomplishments are a few of the many reasons she was nicknamed “people’s poet” and “the black woman’s poet laureate.” Angelou is most notable for her activism through her poetry and music that were mostly about the themes such as women, love, loss, struggle, discrimination and racism.
  3. “Millions of people in the world’s poorest countries remain imprisoned, enslaved, and in chains. They are trapped in the prison of poverty. It is time to set them free.”- Nelson Mandela. Nelson Mandela served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999 and was a South African anti-apartheid political leader and philanthropist. Throughout his lifetime, Mandela remained a devoted advocate and activist for social justice and peace until his death in 2013.
  4. “No voice is too soft when that voice speaks for others.”- Janna Cachola. Janna Cachola is an actress and singer from New Zealand. Cachola made her debut in cult horror film Bella Bandida (2012) and Bad Romance (2014).
  5. “Advocacy groups and voters are not wrong to push candidates to declare their position clearly on policy issues. That is good citizenship. Hard questions should be asked of every candidate, every politician. And those public servants should be prepared to answer, but in their own words.”- Mark McKinnon. Mark McKinnon is an American political advisor, a reform advocate, media columnist and television producer. McKinnon is currently working on his show “The Circus: Inside the Greatest Political Show on Earth”, which shows the daily chaos of the White House with behind-the-scenes access.
  6. “All advocacy is, at its core, an exercise in empathy.”- Samantha Power. Samantha Power served as the United States Ambassador to the United Nations from 2013 to 2017. From 2009 to 2013, Power was a Special Assistant to President Obama and Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights on the National Security Council. During her time in office, Power’s team focused on issues regarding refugees, human rights and democracy in the U.S., Middle East, North Africa, Sudan and Myanmar. In 2016, Forbes listed her as the 41st most powerful woman in the world.
  7. “Capitalism does not permit an even flow of economic resources. With this system, a small privileged few are rich beyond conscious, and almost all others are doomed to be poor at some level. That’s the way the system works. And since we know that the system will not change the rules, we are going to have to change the system.”- Martin Luther King Jr. Martin Luther King Jr. dedicated his life to advancing civil rights and bringing people of different backgrounds together through his advocacy and activism. King is known as one of the most significant people of the American civil rights movement.
  8. “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”- Mahatma Gandhi. Mahatma Gandhi was an Indian activist and leader of the Indian independence movement. Mahatma Gandhi advocated for the freedom and civil rights of the Indian people. Throughout his lifetime, he constantly addressed issues such as poverty and discrimination through protests and meetings with officials. He also built a lot of schools and hospitals.
  9. “Every important change in our society, for the good, at least, has taken place because of popular pressure-pressure from below, from the great mass of people.”- Edward Abbey. Edward Abbey was an American author and essayist remarkably known for his advocacy of environmental issues, public land policies and anarchist political views. Abbey was known for writing about the world and the effects of civilization on American land.
  10. “Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”- Harriet Tubman. Harriet Tubman was a conductor on the Underground Railroad and he led slaves to freedom before the Civil War. Harriet Tubman, who was born into slavery, is one of the most notable women in American history for her courage and advocacy of women’s rights.

To be an advocate is to have courage, independence and passion for the things that matter. These top 10 quotes about advocacy provide a glance at the passion these people had and have for their society and the future of the people. As the good saying goes: “if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.”

– Kristen Uedoi

Photo: Flickr

Social Responsibility definition
The concept of social responsibility has received increasing emphasis in business practice over recent years. It is a phrase commonly invoked, but just what is the definition of social responsibility?

At its core, being socially responsible means acknowledging accountability for the impact of one’s choices on the larger world. Businesses, in particular, are expected to make the welfare of society a priority when they make decisions, rather than focus exclusively on profit margins. This pertains not only to how companies spend money, but also to the ways in which they earn it.

Examples of socially responsible actions companies can take include:

  • Espousing fair labor practices
  • Incorporating ethical standards into contracts
  • Implementing environmentally sustainable practices
  • Matching employees’ donations to non-profit organizations

Definition of Social Responsibility

The definition of social responsibility, as the term is most commonly used, almost always pertains to business. Use of the phrase “corporate social responsibility” is so prevalent in recent years that it is frequently abbreviated to “CSR.” Even when social responsibility is mentioned on its own, a corporate element is often implied. According to a 2011 study by the MIT Sloan Management Review, sustainability has become a permanent component of 70 percent of business agendas. However, the concept of social responsibility need not be alienated from the individual.

The basic tenet of the idea is that those with the ability to affect change have an imperative to use it. For instance, in 2010, billionaires Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffet solicited 40 of the wealthiest Americans for donations to the Giving Pledge campaign, accruing a total of approximately $125 billion. As of September 2013, the list of pledgers has grown to 114. While this is an application of social responsibility on a grand scale, the principle remains the same–individuals recognized their ability to contribute positively to society and seized the opportunity.

The average person may not be considered powerful in the way that Buffet and the Gates are, but every individual does have the power to contribute. Socially responsible actions that ordinary people can take include:

  • Volunteering
  • Supporting socially responsible companies through informed spending
  • Conserving energy by carpooling or turning off unnecessary houselights
  • Contacting their political leaders in favor of legislation they support

While these contributions may seem minor, they are integral. From the standpoint of social responsibility, every individual plays a role in global events and has an obligation to use whatever influence he or she has.

– Emma Burbage

Sources: The British Assessment Bureau, The Christian Science Monitor, The Giving pledge, Harvard
Kennedy School

Photo: Photobucket

Top 10 Non-Profit Human Rights Organizations
Human rights are universal moral values that should protect individuals and allow them to live free and safe lives. Certain human rights include the right to life, freedom from torture, right to education, etc. These rights, however, are not always protected by regulations and laws, which can lead to ethical concerns. Non-profit human rights organizations focus on getting individuals the rights they deserve. Here are 10 non-profit human rights organizations.

10 Non-Profit Human Rights Organization

  1. Human Rights Watch
    The Human Rights Watch was created in 1987 in order to shine a light on the human rights violations that were happening in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. The non-partisan, non-governmental organization has gained recognition from citizen movements and other humanitarian causes. It now has 400 staff members working around the globe. Human Rights Watch investigates abuse and effectively spreads this information, increasing public awareness and working with government officials and corporations to make a change.
  2. Human Rights First: Based in America, Human Rights First puts pressure on those in power, whether government or private companies, to combat social injustice. Like the Borgen Project, Human Rights First creates campaigns that not only inform the public on issues but also encourage them to email and call Congress in favor or against certain legislative laws. Examples of their campaigns include ending modern-day slavery, stopping Trump’s Refugee Ban, and closing Guantameno Bay.
  3. Human Rights Foundation: Unlike other non-profit organizations, the Human Rights Foundation focuses on closed societies. Closed societies are authoritative regimes and dictatorships that restrict individual freedom and expression. Established in 2005, the Human Rights Foundation promotes freedom and democracy by supporting activists and exposing political and social corruption in totalitarian governments.
  4. Ella Baker Center for Human Rights: Ella Baker was an activist and a leading figure during the Civil Rights Movement. The Ella Baker Center for Human Rights works with people of color to attack racial injustice in the U.S, specifically the prison system. People of color are disproportionately targeted by the police, so it isn’t surprising that they make up more than ½ of prisoners in correctional facilities. The Ella Baker Center for Human Rights breaks the cycle of incarceration by organizing campaigns around the country to protest in support of their freedom. Their recent victories include closing five out of the eight youth prisons in California, creating Books Not Bars, starting community safety plans and more.
  5. Refugees International: Refugee International was created in 1979 to protect Indochinese refugees. Since then, this independently funded, non-profit human rights organization has provided hands-on assistance to displaced refugee families. Advocates travel to areas in need to assess the situation and compile crucial resources for refugees.
  6. FINCA International: By giving small loans to the poor, entire communities can grow. FINCA International addresses poverty through microfinancing and social enterprise. There are 20 community-based microfinance banks placed across low-income neighborhoods throughout the world. These services help build small businesses that, in turn, improve economic development and sustainability.
  7. Mending Kids: Mending Kids is a life-saving, non-profit human rights organization that sends surgical teams to over 60 countries to mend children in need of surgical procedures. The surgical staff trains local doctors in developing countries to effectively provide more complex surgical procedures. For children who are facing serious, life-threatening problems, host-families are set up around the U.S. to care for them while they undergo medical procedures
  8. War Child: War Child is comprised of three major offices in the U.K, Holland and Canada. The organization protects children who have been and who are still being affected by armed conflict. War Child’s approach includes improving access to education, helping children understand their legal rights through training and programs and offering support to children who endured mental trauma during acts of armed conflict. In fact, many of the staff have also been survivors of armed conflict.
  9. Habitat for Humanity: Families around the world are struggling to find affordable, decent housing. Habitat for Humanity works in the U.S. and 70 other countries helping low-income families apply for homeownership. In the case of natural disasters, Habitat for Humanity works with local communities to supply resources for those whose homes were damaged.
  10. Polaris: Polaris is named after the North Star, which was used during slavery as a guide to freedom. Today, Polaris serves as an assistance hotline to victims and survivors of human trafficking. As one of many non-profit human rights organizations focused on human trafficking victims, Polaris builds public data sets to better understand human trafficking. With this information, Polaris designs strategies to target the system and engages law officials to enforce plans that will stop trafficking both nationwide and internationally.

This list is only a fraction of the organizations in the world trying to make a difference. There are many groups fighting for important causes like ending world hunger and poverty, providing clean drinking water and providing medical aid. If you are looking to donate or volunteer, one of these top 10 non-profit human rights organizations would definitely be a good place to start.

– Lilly Hershey-Webb
Photo: Flickr


Mother Teresa is well-known throughout the world for her humanitarian work — she aided poor people no matter their illness, religion or culture. Born in 1910 in Yugoslavia, she lived most of her life in India, then passed on in 1997. Mother Teresa was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 1979, the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1985, and posthumously, Pope Francis officially declared her as a saint in 2016.

Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa helped people so poor and ill that most others avoided them. She created rehabilitation homes for lepers, and rescued homeless people dying in the streets and gave them hospice shelter and love during their deaths.

While Mother Teresa helped anyone in need regardless of their condition, religion or culture, and her strong devotion to Jesus Christ motivated her work. She once said, “The work is only a means to put our love for Christ into action… to work for the poorest of the poor. So, my vocation was a continuation of belonging to Christ and being only His.” The following are five of Mother Teresa’s most inspiring quotes surrounding the issue of poverty.

5 of Mother Teresa’s Most Inspiring Quotes Regarding Poverty:

  1. During her Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech in 1979, she said: “I never forget a little child who taught me a very beautiful lesson. They heard in Calcutta, the children, that Mother Teresa has no sugar for her children; and this little one, Hindu boy four years old, he went home and he told his parents: ‘I will not eat sugar for three days; I will give my sugar to Mother Teresa.’ How much a little child can give. After three days they brought into our house, and there was this little one who could scarcely pronounce my name. He loved with great love; he loved until it hurt. And this is what I bring before you – to love one another until it hurts. But don’t forget that there are many children, many children, many men and women who haven’t got what you have. And remember to love them until it hurts… I can enjoy this, but I give up; I could eat that sugar, but I give that sugar… you would be surprised of the beautiful things that people do to share the joy of giving.”
  2. “If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.”
  3. “It is easy to love the people far away. It is not always easy to love those close to us. It is easier to give a cup of rice to relieve hunger than to relieve the loneliness and pain of someone unloved in our own home. Bring love into your home for this is where our love for each other must start.”
  4. During a speech in 1994 at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington D.C., she said, “I can never forget the experience I had in visiting a home where they kept all these old parents of sons and daughters who had just put them into an institution and forgotten them – maybe. I saw that in that home these old people had everything – good food, comfortable place, television, everything, but everyone was looking toward the door. And I did not see a single one with a smile on the face. I turned to Sister and I asked: “Why do these people who have every comfort here, why are they all looking toward the door? Why are they not smiling?” I am so used to seeing the smiles on our people, even the dying ones’ smile. And Sister said: ‘This is the way it is nearly every day. They are expecting, they are hoping that a son or daughter will come to visit them. They are hurt because they are forgotten.’ And see, this neglect to love brings spiritual poverty… When I pick up a person from the street, hungry, I give him a plate of rice, a piece of bread. But a person who is shut out, who feels unwanted, unloved, terrified, the person who has been thrown out of society – that spiritual poverty is much harder to overcome.”
  5. “There’s two kinds of poverty. We have the poverty of material; for example, in some places like in India, Ethiopia and other places, where the people are hungry for a loaf of bread – real hunger. But there is a much deeper, much greater hunger; and that is the hunger for love, and that terrible loneliness and being unwanted, unloved – being abandoned by everybody.”

A Light in the Dark

From providing makeshift recovery shelters and friendly hospices for sick homeless folk, to giving food to the hungry and friendship to the lonely or shunned, Mother Teresa was a kind light and safety-zone to thousands of poor people from all walks and creeds of life. Her body may have passed from this world, but Mother Teresa’s most inspiring quotes live on, influencing others to follow her example.

– Emme Leigh

Photo: Flickr

Mandela 100 FestivalSinger Beyonce and her spouse, rapper Jay-Z, will be among several major artists to perform at Global Citizen’s Mandela 100 Festival in December 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Other artists scheduled to perform are Ed Sheeran, Chris Martin, Pharrell Williams, D’banj, Femi Kuti, Sho Madjozi, Tiwa Savage and Wizkid. This latest concert campaign is said to be Global Citizen’s ”biggest campaign on the Global Goals to end extreme poverty ever.”

According to Global Citizen, the festival is to represent a celebration of Mandela’s legacy as an exemplary leader, his fight against apartheid, and his methods of non-violent protest that shaped the future of South Africa, setting an example worldwide. The Mandela 100 festival will be the first-ever musical event organized by Global Citizen in Africa

 A Global Initiative

As an organization that is composed of members worldwide, Global Citizen is a model example of a successful nongovernmental organization (NGO), a true grassroots movement. The organization has projected some major numbers for 2018: an estimated 2.25 billion people worldwide are expected to receive some form of poverty relief from Global Citizen, ranging from a year of free education for children to clean water for an entire community.

Global Citizen divides its goals into nine separate categories, each representing a broad set of issues that need to be resolved. They are:

  • Girls and Women
  • Health
  • Finance/Innovation
  • Education
  • Food and Hunger
  • Water and Sanitation
  • Environment
  • Citizenship

Global Citizen’s goal is to eliminate extreme poverty worldwide by 2030—just 12 years from now. And it seems that the organization may accomplish its goals, having secured a whopping $2.9 billion in funding from government organizations worldwide for 2018 alone.

How Everyone Can Help

But besides relying on funding from government bodies, Global Citizen asks that individuals take action as well, through twitter, email or petition. Global Citizen’s website offers a streamlined way for its constituents to influence representatives not only in their own country but in countries worldwide.

Some of the most recent and significant contributions to Global Citizen have come from the U.K., Norway and the E.U. These nations gave £225 million, Kr.2.07 billion and  €337.5 million to Global Citizen’s Global Partnership for Education project, respectively.

Mandela 100 Festival: A Festival For The People

The Mandela 100 Festival begins on December 2, 2018, and besides the proceeds going toward Global Citizen’s international fight against poverty, the other goal of the festival experience is to ignite a passion in young people to feel empowered to make changes in the world. Global Citizen wants to involve youth, on an international level, in the fight against extreme poverty.

Global Citizen’s website states it wishes to “galvanize young, passionate people across Africa to pressure their leaders to make important strides.” In fact, the motto for the festival is “Be The Generation.” Considering that Global Citizen is expecting to end abject poverty worldwide in little over a decade, millennials may just become the generation to tip the scales in the ongoing fight to elevate all members of our global community.

– Jason Crosby
Photo: Google

Mandela Quotes on PovertyPoverty can be an all too common sight, particularly when images and statistics saturate social media placing a wedge of detachment between the impoverished and those not impoverished. There are more than 640 million people suffering from extreme poverty today. To each of these people, poverty carries a burden difficult to understand from the perspective of those that just hear, read or see it on the news. Poverty is a hardship that is not nearly as simple as lacking food, clothing or shelter.

Nelson Mandela, the former first black president of South Africa and anti-apartheid revolutionary, had constantly implored the world to re-open its dulled senses to the tribulations of poverty. From his years as a lawyer and human rights activist, he successfully overturned apartheid in South Africa and ventured beyond the borders to end the injustice of poverty in all nations.

“He proved that equal respect and treatment of every person is and must continue to be an achievable reality everywhere in the world,” Ruth Messinger, president of American Jewish World Service, said in a statement. “Nelson Mandela was a modern-day prophet for human dignity whose voice was heard around the world.” Below are the top five Nelson Mandela quotes on poverty that invite a renewed and clearer understanding of how his views on poverty can inspire the world.

Top 5 Mandela Quotes on Poverty

  1. “Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings.” – London’s Trafalgar Square in 2005.
  2. “Massive poverty and obscene inequality are such terrible scourges of our times — times in which the world boasts breathtaking advances in science, technology, industry and wealth accumulation — that they have to rank alongside slavery and apartheid as social evils.” – London’s Trafalgar Square in 2005.
  3. “Do not look the other way; do not hesitate. Recognise that the world is hungry for action, not words. Act with courage and vision.”
  4. “Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life.” – London’s Trafalgar Square in 2005.
  5. “In this new century, millions of people in the world’s poorest countries remain imprisoned, enslaved and in chains. They are trapped in the prison of poverty. It is time to set them free.”

These five quotes depict a powerful image of poverty that scrutinizes aspects of status beyond just its basic definition. Mandela chose to focus on an optimistic possibility of overcoming poverty as opposed to becoming overwhelmed by the tragedy of it. The attitude of those who witness poverty can be a force large enough to reinvigorate the world to push for the change it needs.

 

– Alice Lieu
Photo: Flickr

human trafficking relief organizationsAround the world, there is an ongoing epidemic that is often hidden in plain sight­: human trafficking. According to the United Nations, there are over 27 million slaves in the world today and this number threatens to increase as the demand for certain goods and industries increases.

Although this is a crisis is facing many people, there are several organizations that have stepped in to bring attention and relief to this global epidemic. The following are five human trafficking relief organizations that everyone should be aware of.

Five Important Human Trafficking Relief Organizations

  1. Freedom United: This organization works to combat human trafficking by encouraging direct involvement from people who visit its site. Freedom United does not exactly implement solutions to change and provide relief for victims, but rather it rallies for other people to get involved in order to produce change. The organization has made great strides in its efforts to end human trafficking which is why it is one of the five most important human trafficking relief organizations.

    Since its launching, it has acquired over 18 million actions taken to end human trafficking. The organization also has 5.9 million fans on Facebook and 79 global partners, including the United Nations University, helping to create effective change for issues facing the world’s most vulnerable.

  2. Urban Light: Founded by Alezandra Russell in 2009, Urban Light is dedicated to helping a sector of human trafficking victims that is often overlooked by mainstream media: boys. This is the reason why it is one of the five human trafficking relief organizations everyone should know. After visiting Thailand, Russell decided to leave her home in Washington, D.C., and relocate to Thailand to begin Urban Light. Since its founding days, it has helped over 3,000 boys and has provided over 10,000 meals.

    A few steps included in its method to restore the lives of vulnerable young boys include: health, which provides victims with education and awareness resources as well as screenings to make sure victims are healthy; education, which provides victims with educational resources to help them finish their education; outreach, such as frequenting clubs and bars in Thailand where victims of human trafficking are usually located and providing them with the opportunity to leave their vulnerable situation in order to get help; and legal support, such as working with victims to help them obtain legal identification cards to devoid any illegal circumstances and providing the opportunity for victims to be represented in court.

  3. Abolishment 21st Century (A21): Founded by Christine Caine in 2007, this organization works with women and girls who are victims of human trafficking with its own unique campaigns. A reason why this is one of the major human trafficking relief organizations to know is because it is a multinational organization, assisting girls in nations in Europe, Asia, Africa as well as the United States and Australia.

    A21 uses a three-step methodhttp://www.a21.org/content/our-solution/gn9pjs to help victims reintegrate into society. The method includes:

    Reach: The reach method consists of the Walk for Freedom campaign, where volunteers host public demonstrations highlighting the harsh realities of human trafficking today. Other campaigns also include Can You See Me, which bears a similar approach to educate men, women and children of the harsh realities facing victims of human trafficking in the world today.
    Rescue: The next portion of A21’s mission focuses on collaborating with law enforcement and the government to help prosecute captured human traffickers. Representatives also help with the legal process by defending victims in court.
    Restore: The last method in its solution focuses on providing victims the opportunity to re-integrate themselves into society, by providing them with prime accommodations for recovery that include housing, medical treatment, top-class educational resources, counseling, employment and enterprise opportunities.

  4. Rapha House: Rapha House was founded in 2003 by Joe Garman after he witnessed the near trafficking of a young woman in Cambodia. Since then, Rapha House has served as a safe house for victims of human trafficking. The organization contains several programs to help young, high-risk victims as one of the five human trafficking relief organizations everyone should know.

    One of Rapha House’s programshttps://raphahouse.org/programs is Safety House, a facility where young girls are given free housing, education and meals to protect them from the exploitation they face in the outside world. Another program is Kids Club, which provides boys and girls from impoverished backgrounds with education, housing and healthcare needs. Training and Reintegration provide victims of human trafficking with the skills they need to re-enter society. The program includes vocational training, such as sewing classes, produce farming as well as business training, among other programs.

  5. Prajwala: Founded in 1996 by Sunitha Krishnan, this organization seeks to address human trafficking in India. Prajwala uses a course of action that includes prevention, rescue, rehabilitation and reintegration.

    For prevention, the organization has established Implementation Programs as well as Community Based Prevention Programs to combat the issue of human trafficking. The rescue method uses the following planned rescue operations: Rape Victim Support Program, Victim Witness Protection and VIKALPA, which is a police-NGO partnership that seeks justice for victims. Rehabilitation works by providing victims with psychological rehabilitation, economic rehabilitation and civic rehabilitation and reintegration works by providing victims with family reunions, marriage and independent living.

These five human trafficking relief organizations are just a small number compared to the larger amount of efforts established to help eradicate the statistics of human trafficking worldwide. Although great efforts have been made to address human trafficking, the world still awaits a day when slavery will be abolished for good, but it is up to those who are aware of the dire situation to make this happen.

– Lois Charm
Photo: Google

Fashion companies that address extreme povertySome would say that fashion is their life. Others say they don’t care about what they wear. For fashion companies that address extreme poverty, finding a middle ground can make all the difference. Companies like the ones below would argue that fashion can both impassion the apathetic and give cause to the already passionate.

Raven and Lily – Empowering Women. Alleviating Poverty.

Live thoughtfully. With this as one of her life axioms, Kirsten Dickerson created her unique and ethical brand of fashion, Raven and Lily, in 2008. In 2013, Dickerson met a group of female Afghan artisans living for decades as refugees on the Pakistan border. The experience moved her to expand her business.

Since then, Raven and Lily formed 17 partnerships throughout 10 countries while employing more than 1,500 women. Dickerson provides jobs and educational opportunities as well as an ethical and sustainable product. “We are genuinely trying to think through all levels of our production practices and how people on the planet are affected,” Dickerson said.

By providing steady employment, including fair wages and education, Raven and Lily has established itself among the fashion companies that address extreme poverty on the most foundational of levels.

Accompany – Where Every Purchase has a Purpose.

If asked about its mission, Accompany will say its first priority is to help human beings. Ranked among the fashion companies that address extreme poverty head-on, the organization has an uncomplicated approach to the way it does business. Its three-tier system ensures the products have a purpose by:

  • Being handmade.
  • Abiding fair trade practices.
  • Having philanthropy at the center.

The results of this system are exponential: cultural heritage is preserved for generations to come, self-sufficiency is rooted in a new-found education and services are provided to the community at large. In short, change happens.

Socially-conscious industries help create that change. When Jason Keehn founded the organization, his vision was to leverage a thriving industry for global communities in need. As they boldly proclaim on their website: Welcome to a New Style Culture. It’s a culture that seems to be shared by all fashion companies that address extreme poverty.

Apolis – Advocacy through Industry.

With Apolis, the name says it all—a name that means “global citizen.” When they created their company in 2004, brothers Raan and Shea Parton believed business could be the impetus for social change. They have taken that belief, along with their investment in people, and have created a model for other fashion companies that address extreme poverty.

A certified B Corporation, Apolis meets high standards with regard to social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability. When asked about their brand of activism, Shea Parton stated, “[it’s] really about how you can go into an impoverished country and find a resource or product or raw material that allows you to bring it into the marketplace and to give an opportunity rather than charity.”

This mindset likely formed from a young age, according to Parton, who says “our parents knew that if we stayed in Santa Barbara, we would never know how good we had it.” With constant travel to countries like Uganda and India, the Parton brothers learned perspective early on, and they have put their perspective into action.

Bloom + Grace – Beautifully Made. Ethically Sourced. Globally Minded.

Bloom and Grace was founded in 2013, a jewelry company resulting from an inspired founder. When Dani Lachowicz found herself working in sub-Saharan Africa, she seized an opportunity she knew would change the lives of children in developing countries. Partnering with the U.N. Foundation’s [email protected] campaign and with local artisans, proceeds from Bloom and Grace go toward life-saving vaccinations.

Just how life-saving are vaccinations in developing countries? Here are some facts:

  • A child dies every 20 seconds from a disease that can be prevented by a vaccine.
  • The World Health Organization, UNICEF and the Global Alliance for Vaccinations have already seen a 99 percent reduction in polio and a 78 percent reduction in measles-related deaths.
  • Increasing access to vaccines can prevent 1.5 million deaths each year.

It is Bloom and Grace’s hope to empower communities and to promote entrepreneurship, while also living up to their namesake by allowing children the opportunity to bloom by the grace of socially-conscious patrons.

Krochet Kids, Intl. – Creating Jobs. Changing Lives.

Kohl Crecelius, Stewart Ramsey and Travis Hartanov founded Krochet Kids, Intl. from a shared high school hobby of crochet. Krochet Kids Intl. looks for ways to empower people to rise above poverty and provides life-changing job opportunities for women in need in Uganda and Peru.

With each purchase, consumers are invited to meet the maker of their product and are encouraged to write a note of thanks and encouragement. With this very personal approach to business and a partnership with We Are Capable, an organization with 10 years of experience fighting extreme poverty, the organization is able to stay committed to its desired areas of impact:

  • Women in poverty-stricken regions
  • Job opportunities
  • Education

Fashion companies that address extreme poverty understand that behind every fabric is a face, and behind every accessory is an opportunity for access to those who wouldn’t otherwise have it.

– Daniel Staesser

Photo: Flickr

Top Civil Rights LeadersDuring the earlier years of U.S. history, slavery and oppression created some of America’s oldest top civil rights leaders. Susan B. Anthony, Chief Joseph, Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. are only a few of the many people who fought back in the face of adversity.

Paving the Way

1851: Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton are two big names in women’s civil rights. Together, they worked toward social and political advances for women. They established the American Equal Rights Association, which aimed to earn women and African American men voting rights. Other accomplishments were forming the Women’s Loyal National League, which gave women a political platform, and writing an amendment that was proposed to the Senate every year for 40 years. These two women are responsible for some of the rights American women have today.

1853: Harriet Tubman is one of the most well known civil rights leaders associated with U.S. slavery. Tubman helped more than 300 slaves reach freedom with the well-known Underground Railroad. Tubman saved her own money, and supporters donated funds to help her continue her mission to free enslaved African Americans. While Tubman is most famous for her work with the Underground Railroad, she also provided invaluable services during the Civil War.

1877: In an effort to avoid the slaughter and oppression of his tribe, Chief Joseph led the Nez Perce people on a 1,400-mile journey from the Wallowa Valley (now Oregon) toward Canada. This four-month long venture was treacherous for the Nez people. Many of the original 700 had lost their lives and the remaining could not continue, which forced Chief Joseph to surrender just 40 miles from the Canadian border. Although he admitted defeat in the end, Chief Joseph is one of the top civil rights leaders because he stood up to fight for what he believed in while facing an oppressive government.

These inspirational people carved the road for the next civil rights leaders to come a century later.

Civil Rights Movement

1955: Rosa Parks faced discrimination on a bus ride, where she was asked to give up her seat to a white man. She refused, which led to her arrest and her rise to civil rights leadership. Her wrongful arrest led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott, a protest by 17,000 African American citizens. This caused a substantial drop in revenue and a Supreme Court ruling to desegregate the Montgomery buses, because the law was deemed unconstitutional. Parks received severe backlash after the boycott and even lost her job as a tailor, but she still persevered. Parks is one of America’s top civil rights leaders because she continued the fight for African Americans and created change.

1963: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is maybe the most famous champion of human rights. He led peaceful marches and demonstrations protesting the discrimination African Americans faced in the U.S. His movement inspired the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and his words are often the inspiration of equality speeches today. Dr. King was faced with arrest, hate and violence from the people of Birmingham, Alabama. Yet he stood tall in the face of controversy and remained peaceful throughout his civil rights leadership. He preached of a world in which people were no longer divided by race, a message which still resonates with many today.

1965: Malcolm X faced racism all his life and channeled it through anger for a significant portion of his activism. He was known for a radicalized activism during the Civil Rights Movement and was viewed as a black nationalist who had an alternative approach to change. It was widely known that his delivery of the message of change contrasted Dr. King’s peaceful message. However, toward the end of his civil rights leadership, he had an apparent ideological change. Unfortunately, like many other civil rights trailblazers, he was assassinated before he could see a significant change in America.

The Fight Continues

The effortless work of past civil rights leaders has not ended; they merely passed the torch on to activists fighting today. Some of the current top civil rights leaders are:

Tarana Burke: Burke fights for the rights of victims of sexual assault and abuse. She is also the creator of the Me Too movement.

Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi: Creators of the Black Lives Matter group, which protests police brutality and institutional racism.

Chad Griffin: President of Human Rights Campaign, which is one of America’s largest gender and sexual minorities civil rights organization.

Nihad Awad: The leader of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, an Islamic advocacy organization that monitors hate crimes, profiling and discrimination against Muslim Americans.

Benjamin Crump: A civil rights attorney who speaks and represents cases for minorities who have experienced police brutality.

Michelle Alexander: Alexander is a civil rights lawyer who works against the systematic racial oppression of the African American men that disproportionately fill the nation’s prisons.

Throughout history, people have fought for their own civil rights around the world. Whether it was Nelson Mandela creating a national strike against the South African government, Malala Yousafzai journaling girl’s right to education, or Mohandas (Mahatma) Gandhi refusing to get out of his first-class seat on a train—activism is everywhere and has a ripple effect. Through protesting and standing up for their own rights, these former and current activists have made the top civil rights leaders list.

– Courtney Hambrecht

 

how to write the President

The President of the United States may seem out of reach to everyday constituents who do not hold any government office. Fortunately, the U.S. democracy is such that essentially anyone can reach the White House. The official website of the president, whitehouse.gov, makes information for contacting the nation’s highest office readily available. Web visitors can find phone numbers, with telecommunications options available for the deaf or mute, online. Furthermore, there is a form built into the site for easy email correspondence.

Though calling and emailing are fast and convenient communication methods, there may be a circumstance that calls for a letter. While the website provides basic information about how to write the president, there are a few other things a potential correspondent may want to consider:

The Paper

The White House recommends that correspondents compose their letter on 8.5 by 11-inch paper, which is the standard size for most ruled and printer paper. There are no guidelines about weight, color or fiber; communicators are free to choose whatever paper they feel is appropriate. That being said, the letter is going to pass through many hands once it arrives at the White House, so durability is an important consideration.

The Method

Choosing between a typed letter and a handwritten letter is an important decision about how to write the president. While handwritten letters tend to come across as more personal, they may be illegible. Should a correspondent choose to send a handwritten letter, use a dark ink pen and write neatly. Avoid using cursive or writing small. For typed letters, stick to a 10 to 12-point font size and avoid flowery, cursive-looking fonts.

The Message

Threats aside, correspondents can write the president about any number of topics. Whether someone wishes to voice their support or frustration, advocate for policy, give their opinion or share a personal anecdote, the White House is receptive to correspondence from the public. Letter writers should keep in mind that the president holds the highest office in the nation, and that alone garners some level of deference. Regardless of personal political opinion, it is wise to use a respectful tone when addressing the president, even if the purpose of the letter is to express discontent.

Enclosures

The White House cannot accept monetary contributions in any form. If a correspondent chooses to enclose any additional documents or photographs, it is likely that they may not be returned. Furthermore, these items may be damaged during the security screening process.

The Volume

The White House receives tens of thousands of letters and packages on a daily basis. The Office of Presidential Correspondence is the government body that receives all of these letters. Within this office, staffers, interns and volunteers are tasked with the responsibility of reading all of these letters. Generally, correspondents should not expect that their letter will actually be read by the president, although there is a chance that it may. Former President Obama made it his policy to read ten letters every night, chosen by the Director of Presidential Correspondence. President Trump may hold his own letter-reading regimen.

Though there is no real way to ensure that any particular letter makes it to the president’s desk, Fiona Reeves, who served as the Director of Presidential Correspondence during the Obama administration, provided a few insights in an interview with 99% Invisible. Reeves explained that her team sought out mail “that is geographically diverse . . . [with] different writing styles . . . and ways of communicating.” The point of passing letters on to the president is to give him a sense of what really matters to the American people. A pointed letter that helps the president feel the country’s pulse may very well find its way to the Oval Office.

Mailing

The final consideration for how to write the president has to do with the mailing. Correspondents should address their letters to:

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC, 20500

Ensure to include a return address on the letter. Place a stamp in the upper right corner and mail as usual or visit a local post office for expedited mailing options. Choosing to write to the White House is an empowering civic opportunity available to anyone. Sending mail to the president is an opportunity to advocate for policies that alleviate global poverty.

– Chantel Baul

Photo: Google