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Midway Dressember, an Update.

Dressember 2019

Late last month, I posted about Dressember, a fund- and awareness-raising campaign that works to fight human trafficking and modern-day slavery.  Dressember asks participants to wear a dress or tie each day in December as a conversation starter about this horrible practice and, thereby, to raise funds.  Those funds are then dispersed as grants to organizations on the front lines of the fight.  The grants are used to either help prevent people from being taken into human trafficking and slavery, to fight to save people who have already been taken and to prosecute the traffickers, or for aftercare funds to help the people who have been rescued.  Since the first Dressember campaign in 2013, over $7.5 Million has been raised and that is not even counting the over $1 million that has already been contributed in the first half of this year’s campaign!  You can find out more about Dressember, the horrors of Human Trafficking, and my previous three campaigns on my blog post or at Dressember.org.

I wanted to use this mid-month post to check-in and share how my campaign has been going so far.  First, I'm proud to say that I'm over one-third the way to my fundraising goal, thanks to the generous contributions of some of my friends and family members!  But I think that the thing that has struck me the most is just how different this year's experience has been for me versus that of previous years; this is mostly because this is the first campaign that I’m also a mom.  

Motherhood has impacted my campaign in a number of ways: first, I’ve forgotten to post my “daily” picture an embarrassing number of times.  I’ve always found a moment during the day to take the picture—although I did forget until during bath time one day and had to re-dress both Little Bear and myself—but on an embarrassingly large number of occasions, I’ve gotten busy and forgotten to actually post the picture until the following morning.  Second, I vastly underestimated how interested LB would be in sticking his ties into his mouth, basically to the point where I have to hide the tie, throw it on for the picture, try to distract him long enough to get a good one, and then take it off and hide it again.  I had planned to have him wear his little ties all day in true Dressember spirit, but as motherhood has taught me time and again, ‘I plan, God and LB laugh.’  Next, and this is probably the one I’m most embarrassed to admit, it takes me much longer to actually take my daily picture and get one that I’m OK with posting to the eternal halls of the internet.  I could blame this one solely on LB, I try to get one where he’s looking at the camera, but it’s at least as much down to my own vanity and wanting to hide those [number redacted] baby pounds that are still hanging around. 

Dressember 2019
But the final, and most important, way in which this campaign is different from previous years is that the cause of Dressember—fighting human trafficking—means so much more to me now than it ever has before.  In previous years the facts that I shared were merely statistics, tools to encourage donations.  I could simply state the fact that 1 in 4 people currently being trafficked or held in slavery was a child; it was a number that bolstered the importance of the campaign and underscored why the person or people I was sharing with should donate.  I could do it impersonally; knowing that the estimate of 40 million people currently trapped meant that 10 million of them were kids, but without really feeling it.  This year, however, as I hold my infant son in my arms, the words choke in my throat; the reality that there are 10 million mothers out there can’t do what I'm doing and fulfill what is the most basic, primal instinct of motherhood, to hold their babies in their arms, to keep them safe.  And, even more, the knowledge that there but for the grace of God go I; that human trafficking and slavery happen, not only in remote areas or distant lands but right here in the United States, in every major city in the country, and to thousands of American kids every year.  This year, I've been forced to stop thinking about human trafficking and slavery through my clinical lens, and see it as a personal horror. 

So, I’m going to keep doing my small part, wearing my dresses and asking for support.  But I'm also going  to cling just a little bit tighter to my little man, my tie-wearing (even if only for the picture) co-participant in the fight to bring an end to the heinous practice of human trafficking and modern-day slavery.  I invite you to consider supporting our efforts, you can visit my campaign page for more information.

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