Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Day 30: My Next Step

Now this may not be a drawing but it's a picture of what I'm drawing up. I'm working on another 30 Day Justice Challenge; only this time it's not with pens or pencils, it's with cameras. I'd be a total fool to try and rush it, so you'll just have to wait and I'll keep working.

I so thoroughly enjoyed the 30 Day Justice Drawing Challenge. It really was a challenge for me to apply all that I've learned, thus far; to not exploit people in my drawings, to say a 1000 words in a sketch, to outline hope, to go beyond the common image. I loved seeing my two passions married through this challenge. As it started to wind down, I began to think, "What am I going to do when this is over? I've enjoyed it too much." That's when God gave me the idea for this next project. It'll be similar topics, with a few new ones, but totally different sources for inspiration and awareness. Be on the look out!

HUGE thank you to everyone on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest who shared, liked, retweeted, and re-pinned the links to help spread awareness. Also a big thank you to Phil Cunningham at Steps of Justice for the work he did with the Steps of Justice Prayer and Action Guide, where I got a lot of inspiration and help for organization links.


Monday, February 27, 2012

Day 28: Compassion Fatigue

Compassion Fatigue- fatigue, emotional distress, or apathy resulting from the constant demands of caring for others or from constant appeals from charities (dictionary.com).

Compassion fatigue was typically applied to nurses and doctors; the over exposure to crisis' made them calloused and unable to react sympathetically. But now compassion fatigue is often found to be used to refer to what most Westerners suffer; because of the Internet, television and mass media we now have full coverage and full access to the needs of the world. We've had so many images of starving African children with swollen bellies and flies in their eyes that it's become ironic rather than motivating; images such as these have become so common to us that they are like white noise and something in us just shuts off.

There is another side of compassion fatigue and that's what you see happen to so many humanitarian workers; they've been working so hard, for so long, with little results that it can turn them cynical and hardened; some pull away entirely.

No matter where you are at, compassion fatigue is nothing to be ashamed of; we've all experienced it on some level and probably will wrestle with it again because it's our natural response to such extensive and constant demands- We weren't made to carry this kind of weight on our own strength. Without the daily filling of Holy Spirit, without God being your source, you will surely burn out. We weren't made to do this on our own, however, God may not call the equipped but He equips those He calls and you are called to love mercy, act justly, and walk humbly.

Ask God to show you areas of your life where compassion fatigue may have been draining you and ask Him how to overcome it.

If you'd like to read more about overcoming compassion fatigue click here: Overcoming Compassion Fatigue



Revised 30 Day Justice Drawing Challenge Poster

I realized yesterday that on the original 30 Days poster, I skipped day 28. So I made a new one correcting the mistake and changing a few details. So please, when you share the 30 Day Justice Drawing Challenge, use this one.

The rest of my 30 Day Justice Drawing Challenge will be a little scrambled, but I'm going to finish using the new poster as a guide for the next two days.


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Day 29: Awareness

The picture in the background was taken during my time in New Zealand. I was on a 6 month discipleship program that had a heavy focus on social justice. On this day we were challenged to spend a day in another person's shoes (more or less). This picture is of me and another girl that chose to spend a day in poverty; what we went to bed with was what we had for the rest of the following day. We walked to our place of meeting in our bare feet. A man on the streets asked me if I had any spare change and I explained to him that I truly did not have anything and I told him how we were spending a day in poverty to better understand what people go through everyday. The look that man gave me is still as clear in my mind as the day he gave it. He was perplexed, astonished, and proud. That look changed something inside me.

Awareness draws a line in your life. A line that says, "You can either stay on this side and do nothing with what you now know or you can keep walking forward; either way, you will never be the same again."

Many lines have been drawn for me since that day. I wrote a song towards the end of my time called, "I Can't Go Back To Okay." Part of that song says, "Okay is for the naive cause okay will not suffice. I've seen what okay brings and it is anything but right. It's time for fullness and extravagance of justice peace and life. It's time for calloused knees and bigger dreams. Stewards of the earth arise with relentless hands and softened hearts; a zeal for justice in our eyes, with feet ready to walk this earth cause okay is for the night." (The part in bold is what you see on the poster.)

William Wilberforce once said, "Having heard all this, you may choose to turn and look the other way, but you can never again say that you did not know."

This is what awareness is all about. It's about challenging people to step over that line, to step out of the gray, abandon the okay, and engage.

Which way will you step?

If you'd like to hear my song, watch this video:




Saturday, February 25, 2012

Day 27: Injustice

Injustice is our responsibility no matter which way you spin it.

I'll never forget a revelation that someone shared with me. They were telling how they were in another part of the world beholding some terrible injustice and the person just asked God, "God when are You going to do something about this?!" And God just spoke to them and said, "I already have...I gave them you."

If you look at all the Scriptures referring to justice, you will see that God has placed the responsibility of justice, not on Himself, but on us. We are the ones commanded to help the poor and needy, defend the cause of the widow and orphan, to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the sojourner...it's on us. One day He will come and He will make everything right; but until that day comes, it's our responsibility to make things right.


Friday, February 24, 2012

Day 26: Lack of Education For Girls

Take the girl off the justice scales and it becomes unleveled. Watch the video to find out why.

Go to www.thegirleffect.org for more


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Day 25: Rape

Rape is something that we all know about. It's one of those things that, unfortunately, has become so common to us that we don't view it as an injustice like we do human trafficking. Human trafficking, even though it is all around us, is not so familiar to us as rape is. We have tv shows, crime shows, flashing it before our eyes all the time, we hear about it on the news, we see it in movies, etc. But just because it's familiar doesn't mean it's any less of an injustice; it doesn't mean that it deserves less of our efforts because people are already aware. Rape, like anything, can become like white noise; but that would be the worst injustice of all.

The picture represents what rapists do to their victims; they steal their victim's innocence, their feeling of safety and security, their trust, sometimes their health, and more.

1 in 6 women have been raped or sexually assaulted.

Every 2 minutes someone is sexually assaulted in America.

On average, a woman is raped every 17 seconds in South Africa.

Check out www.rainn.org for more


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Day 24: Clean Water

"Almost a billion people on the planet don’t have access to clean drinking water. Unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation kill more people every year than all forms of violence, including war...Clean water can greatly alleviate the world’s disease burden, but only with education and hygienic practice." (CharityWater.org)

Water is an essential human need and yet so many people lack the water that helps them and instead have water that harms them. There are so many ways that you can help bring clean water to others, so many organizations (another one: BloodWaterMission.com) that are on board, but the easiest way that we can start helping is to appreciate the clean water that we readily have access to.

"Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving."- W.T. Purkiser





Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Imagine: Sacrificial Giving

What if every time you wished something for someone else, the only way that they could have it would be if you were willing to give it up yourself and exchange positions with them?

Imagine...your mother has cancer and you wish her healed, but the only way for her to be healed is for you to take on the cancer yourself.

Imagine...your friend is broke and going through a hard time and you wish that she didn't have to go through that; but in order for your wish to be granted, your life would have to turn into what hers once was.

Take it deeper

Imagine...you read of an eight year old girl being forced to work as a sex slave in India; you wish that these things didn't happen, you pray for her release, but for her to be freed you would have to take her place.

Imagine if this was the condition for our prayers; how much would our prayers be affected? Would we pray less? Would we still pray the same things?

I think of all the times that, in some way, I can trade places with the targets of my prayers by joining them and really being there with them through whatever they are going through. I can give out of the abundance and blessings I have received to help my friends in need. I may not be able to take the sickness out of one body and transfer it to mine, but I can use what strength and health I have to serve the weak and help fight for their healing.

We often think of the cost but rarely does cost come into play when it's someone we love. Why? Because they are priceless to us; people are irreplaceable. Right? Don't you think that's how the Father feels about each one of His children? Isn't that why He came and traded places with us and took on the penalty of sin for us so that we could have something better?

I should pray with more conviction for my actions rather than total reliance on divine intervention; what if divine intervention lies with me? I should see every person in need as I see those I love most; I should see them as the Father sees them. I should be willing and open to be people's answer to prayer. I should be more available for God to use me as an answer. I should give more than pity and empathetic prayers, I should go to them as He came to me.

Day 23: Malaraia

Mosquitos, mozzies, or skeeters, whatever you may all them; they are one of the world's leading killers. "Malaria is an infectious blood disease caused by a parasite that is transmitted from one human to another by the bite of infected Anopheles mosquitoes. Malaria symptoms, which often appear about 9 to 14 days after the infectious mosquito bite, include fever, headache, vomiting and other flu-like symptoms. If drugs are not available or the parasites are resistant to them, the infection can lead to coma, life-threatening anemia, and death."

Malaria is preventable and 25% of malaria deaths have gone down since 2000! 91% of Malaria deaths occur in Africa but we know that this can be stopped because malaria was wiped out of the US almost 60 years ago. It can be done and it will be done through mosquito nets, education and vaccinations. It can be done. Wanna help? Check out www.malarianomore.org

Check out how Malaria No More seeks to end malaria in Africa by 2015 and how you can help


Monday, February 20, 2012

Day 22: Diarrhea

You probably never thought of diarrhea as an injustice, well maybe only if you've ever had it, but neither did I until I found out that it is the 2nd most common cause of child deaths worldwide. In fact, diarrhea is the cause of 4% of all deaths worldwide and that adds up to around 2.2 million people each year (according to the WHO).

Solutions to diarrhea-related deaths are as easy as this:


Please share the picture, it's designed to help raise awareness and is useless if not seen. Diarrhea-related deaths are 100% preventable, you can help be apart of the solution.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Day 21: Justice

Justice comes twice in the Justice Drawing Challenge. Why? Because justice will always look different, both for you and the recipient, depending on the situation. What justice looks like for the rescued sex slave is different than justice for an exploited coffee farmer and therefore our role looks different as well.

Justice is an interesting work because in order for others to have justice, it always requires sacrifice. For those of us who may be working or helping towards justice for others, it requires the laying down of our rights. As humans we all have certain innate rights that we carry and enjoy, but there are other rights that we have claimed for ourselves because they have been made available to us. For example, right to comfort, right to security, right to safety, right to _____, etc. These aren't bad things and they're nothing to be ashamed of, however these things can sometimes serve as a wall that make it difficult for us to reach those in need. People who are captured by injustice are not in the best of circumstances. It's only when we can leave comfort and rights behind that we can actually come where they are to help.

Our rights are much like a seatbelt, they are a comfort, a felt-need, a security. But how can you get out of the car to go where the people are if you still have your seatbelt on?

We must lay down our rights for others. We must lay down our rights so that justice can flow freely. Will you lay them down?


Saturday, February 18, 2012

Day 20: Female Genital Mutilation

Now I must admit that when I was making the Justice Drawing Challenge, I knew that this day would be one of the most difficult to draw; it's hard to know how to draw something like this without being vulgar, explicit, or dishonoring. But I myself was corrected in my understanding of what FGM actually is when I read up on it. So for me, this was a new topic of injustice that I was unaware of.

Female Genital Mutilation refers to the procedure involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or injury to the female genital organs. The term covers a range of procedures, which are also referred to as female circumcision and introcision. "Among communities that practise FGM, the procedure is a highly valued ritual, whose purpose is to mark the transition from childhood to womanhood. In these traditional societies, FGM represents part of the rites of passage or initiation ceremonies intended to impart the skills and information a woman will need to fulfil her duties as a wife and mother (In Depth: Razor's Edge... Article)." The ultimate function of the practice, however severe the case, is to reduce the a woman's sexual desire and ensure her virginity.

There are many different reasons why FGM is to be considered an injustice but one of the primary reasons are the health related issues. Many women are subjected to serious infections with life-long consequences for both then and their children because of the procedure. The procedure leaves behind scar tissue, some girls more than other depending on the severity of the procedure, and this makes childbirth extremely painful and difficult; the scar tissue actual acts as an obstacle for the baby to pass through.

If a woman refuses to participate in the ritual she is ostracized from the community and is considered a child; she will never earn the rights, the roles, or the status of a woman. In practicing communities, there is no place for a woman who has not undergone the procedure.

For more information check out In Depth: Razor's Edge - The Controversy of Female Genital Mutilation

Friday, February 17, 2012

Day 19: HIV/AIDS

There are around 40 million people around the world living with HIV/AIDS today; more than half of which are in Sub-Saharan Africa. Everyday around 7,000 more people become infected with AIDS and everyday around 6,000 people are claimed by the disease; killing more than 3 million people every year. (statistics gathered from Steps of Justice)

The red ribbon is the recognized, worldwide symbol for AIDS awareness. The snail represents the slow pace that we as a humaninity have been walking at in finding a cure; it also represents the slow and painful death that comes with AIDS, leaving a blurry trail of blood that has claimed billions of lives.

One of the major reasons that AIDS continues to spread, especially through Africa, is lack of education. Most people groups lack a basic understanding of sanitation and hygene which leaves them even less aware as to how to protect themselves against the disease. Most people group's understanding of the disease is still widely dominated by their superstitions. All of these things play a key role in the spreading of the disease. Here's a video that will hopefully give you a bit more insight into the situation (this is just a clip, there is a longer 2 part version on YouTube) but it's certainly not it. The best thing that you can do is to be educated about the situation and act (a good place to start is by sharing this post).


More information: www.houseofnumbers.com, a Documentary called, "Yesterday", and www.worldaidsday.org



Thursday, February 16, 2012

Day 18: Children at Risk

 If you've ever worked with children you can understand why children are at a risk; it is because they are so vulnerable, so open, they are sponges soaking up whatever they are given. Well, the world is no fool and evil is cunning in all it's ways; it's no wonder that children are targeted...it's so easy. Just look:

There are an estimated 100 million kids living on the streets. 

Around 2 million women and children are said to be trafficked for sexual exploitation each year, some as young as 5. 

16,000 children die everyday from hunger. 

Around 15 million children have lost one or both of their parents to AIDS and there are around 2.5 million children who have the disease themselves. 

Around 12,000 children are forced to work as slaves in the Ivory Coast on cocoa plantations. 

Everyday around 26,000 children under the age of 5 die mostly from preventable causes. More than 1 third of children die in the first month of their life. 

And they are more than that. You see? Children are at risk and it's our job to protect them. To find out more about issues and how you can help go to www.wcacentre.org and click on "issues"

Oh and if you're wondering about the pictures...I met each one of these beautiful children in Thailand and each of them are children at risk. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Day 17: Gender Injustice

 The are over 100 million girls missing from the earth

Inspiration for this drawing was taken from The Girl Effect 

Normally, the sex ratio on the earth (the number of men to women) should equal out to about the same number of men and women; but because of gender specific killings and such, we now find that our world is missing more than 100 million women. Studies have shown that every year another 2 million girls disappear worldwide. Friends, this is a problem! 

Women are targeted and are discriminated against all over the world for different reasons but at the core of ever reason is a lack of respect for women. Because men lack respect for women, women don't have the rights they ought to, and because they don't have the rights they need to protect themselves against men who would harm them and do harm them, the violence continues unchallenged, etc, etc. "It appears that more girls have been killed in the last fifty years precisely because they were girls, than men were killed in all the wars of the twentieth century (Half the Sky, Kristof)." We cannot afford to stand by, let alone stand by ingnorantly. We have to act!

A good place to start your research is by reading a book called, "Half the Sky" by Nicholas D. Kristof (it's where I got these facts and figures from). Another good place to start is with this film www.mediastorm.com/publication/undesired. If, after all that, you still want more; check out "The Girl Effect"


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Day 16: Human Trafficking

 Now this is actually a drawing I did two years ago, but it never really was given a chance to influence as it was intended; I figured now was an appropriate time as ever to put it on display. 

Human Trafficking is modern day slavery. I have a hard time knowing what's appropriate to say here because so many people do know about human trafficking and yet there are still those who don't, among those who do know are those who don't yet know what to do about it. And here is where so many guilt trips have been laid, so many stories shared, trying to compel others to act; but there is no conviction card that can be played here that will strike the winning response. People are not motivated by conviction, maybe at first but it certainly won't sustain. So here's the fact:

 "Trafficking in humans generates profits in excess of 32 billion dollars a year for those who, by force and deception, sell human lives into slavery and sexual bondage. Nearly 2 million children are exploited in the commercial sex industry." (International Justice Mission)

This bit of information merely educates you, but what motivates all of us is HOPE. We don't want to engage in something that we don't believe can succeed. Hope is the belief that what is desired can be attained. So where can the hope be found in such a dark situation? Well I find hope every time I hear someone was rescued, every time a brothel is shut down, every time someone stands up and says, "No!", every time the law strengthens and the people become more aware; every time I find hope. But my ultimate hope is in Jesus Christ, the God of Justice, Who promises that one day He'll come back and make all of this right; that one day all of this will end...until then it's our responsibility. 

Last year I was in Thailand working in the red light districts serving as an in-between person for the working girls and a ministry that would help get them out of the sex industry, counsel them and teach them a trade. It was the darkest and heaviest place that I had ever stepped into. I hated going in there at night and most days were spent convincing myself why I had to go out there again. I hated seeing the girls in the situations they were in, I hated seeing the men treat them the way they did, I hated the whole scene. One night as I was preparing to go into the red light district I said to God, "God I hate this place." And I heard Him say, "So do I, but I love those people." So I went and so we go. 

There are heaps of excellent and noteworthy organizations out there that are working, in their own way, to combat human trafficking; some of which are listed just to the right under "RECOMMENDED SITES". Take a look at them, do some research and find which organization(s) you want to stand behind and assist in this fight. 

Monday, February 13, 2012

Day 15: Restoration

 Instead of taking "restoration" from the angle of what it means for the person in need, I decided to take it for what it means for us. 

There is a movie called, "What Dreams May Come" starring Robin Williams and Cuba Gooding Jr. It's a movie about heaven, hell, and family. In the end of the movie, Robin Williams decides to leave heaven and go down to hell to try and rescue his wife; however, his wife is in such a trance that he is unable to convince her to come with him. So he decides to give up heaven and stay with his wife. It was only when he was willing to leave heaven that he was able to save her because it was only when he was willing to be where she was that she was able to truly hear him. 

There is a saying that says, "People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care." By now you are probably beginning to ask yourself what your role in all this is; what role does justice play in your life, what are you meant to do about all these things, etc. The time-tested truth is that restoration requires us being there. It requires us being on the frontlines, with the people, in order to truly be able to touch and help heal their lives. For some this means supporting financially, for others it means leaving their homes and going to where the people are. I can't say what this looks like for you, but I can say that it will require an abandonment of some sort; abandoning former comfort, abandoning former rights, abandoning, former ways, abandoning former priorities. I can also say that it's worth it. 

I challenge you to pick one of these justice topics that have really pricked your heart and pray, think about, and research what you can do to be apart of restoration for those people. 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Day 14: Genocide

 Genocide- the deliberate killing of a large group of people, especially those of a particular ethnic group or nation. 

People who engage in genocide are simply blinded by their hate; they don't see anything else. They don't see their "enemies" as humans, they don't see the evil in their actions, they don't see the consequences that wait for them; their perception of right and wrong has been twisted and altered beyond reason. 

It would be a comfort if we could learn from our history, if genocide was left to the pages of our history books, but the bone-chilling fact is that genocide still exists today almost unchallenged. Among the areas of present concern in the world are: Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Burma, Iraq, and Somalia. 

For more information visit www.genocideintervention.net

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Day 13: Child Soldiers

 Note: I did not draw the boy. I edited the picture and drew in the grenade. 

The UNICEF estimates that there are some 300,000 children (boys and girls under 18) involved in over 30 conflicts around the world. 

For more information on child soldiers and what you can do to help, look up an organization called "Invisible Children" and follow the link below to watch (legally) one of their documentaries. 


(click on the first video listed)

Friday, February 10, 2012

Days 11 &12: Refugees and Refugee Camps

"A refugee is legally defined as a person who is outside his or her country of nationality and is unable to return due to a well-founded fear of persecution because of his or her race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. By receiving refugee status, individuals are guaranteed protection of their basic human rights, and cannot be forced to return to a country where they fear persecution."

Today is a combination of two topics: refugees and refugee camps. 

Imagine that you are forced to leave your home, running for your life and for the lives of your family; everything you've ever known, worked for, built, and sown into is left behind. Imagine running from your home, terrified, and not knowing if you'd ever be able to come home again. It's as if your home is being unraveled before your eyes. Then what do you do? You go to a place that you think is supposed to help you. You have no food, no shelter, only what things you carried with you; so you look for a place that can provide these things so you can safely wait. You've left your home for a refugee camp only to find that, not only have you lost everything, but your chance of returning and being able to survive outside of the camp grows slim.  Unraveled homes turn into makeshift tents. Home may be where the heart is but what if you left your heart behind when you fled? Imagine being homesick like that. 

In 2010 there were 15.4 million refugees around the world. To put that in perspective; in this picture there are 10,004 black dots. You would need 100 copies of this picture to get close to 1 million black dots, 1000 copies to get 10 million black dots...get it?

 For more information go to www.refugeesinternational.org

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Day 10: Justice

The best definition I have heard given for justice, was from a guy named Phil Cunningham; he said, "Justice is giving power back to the people."

So here it is. Let's give it back. 

 Check out www.stepsofjustice.org to learn more about justice. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Day 9: Sweatshops

 It's never just one sewing machine, never just one worker. It's never just one company or just one factory. It's never just one instance, never just one case. It's never just one. 

Shop responsibly. 

11 Facts About Sweatshops:

  1. 85% of sweatshop workers are young women between the ages of 15-25.
  2. Sweatshop workers earn as little as ½ to ¼ of what they need to provide for basic nutrition, shelter, energy, clothing, education and transportation.
  3. In order to meet the basic nutritional needs of their families, sweatshop workers spend between 50% to 75% of their income on food alone.
  4. Almost 75% of the retail price of a garment is pure profit for the manufacturer and retailer.
  5. For less than 1% of Nike’s advertising budget, wages could be doubled for all workers making Nike university clothing.
  6. While the garment industry is notorious for their involvement in the sweatshop industry, they aren’t the only culprits. Common sweatshop goods include tires, auto parts, shoes, toys, computer parts, electronics, and nearly every other kind of manufactured good.
  7. The U.S. government often gives foreign aid to those same countries whose poverty is directly linked to exploitation by US businesses operating abroad.
  8. A recent poll showed that 76% of Americans believe that workers should be protected just as corporate trademarks and products are in the global economy.
  9. According to the Department of Labor, over 50% of U.S. garment factories are sweatshops. Many sweatshops are run in this country's apparel centers: California, New York, Dallas, Miami and Atlanta.
  10. There are probably sweatshops in every country in the world - anywhere where there is a pool of desperate, exploitable workers. Logically, the poorer a country is, the more exploitable its people are. Labor violations are, therefore, especially widespread in third world countries.
  11. Many Americans believe the clothing they purchase is manufactured in America. In fact, the majority of private label clothing is manufactured in at least 48 countries around the world, not in the U.S.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Day 8: Exploitation of Cocoa Farmers

 "UNESCO says that about half a million children work to produce 40% of the world’s supply of cocoa. As a result, the chocolate bar in your hand could have been made with cocoa grown by any of the hundreds of thousands of children engaged in some of the worst forms of child labor, particularly on the cocoa farms across Ivory Coast."  

 This is what they don't say, what they don't stamp on the burlap sack that carries the cocoa that becomes our chocolate. 

They say the best research is the kind you do yourself. I would urge you to do research on the 2 chocolate companies you buy most (probably Mars and Hershey's). A good place to start is by downloading the "Free2Work" App from the ITunes store. This app is a great tool that helps you shop with a clean conscience by telling you where companies stand when it comes to child labor, fair trade, fair treatment of workers, etc. 

Check out this video as well:

 Don't forget to pass this along by sharing!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Day 7: Exploitation of Coffee Farmers

 All around the world, coffee farmers are being exploited; they are not getting a fair price for their coffee which causes their farms and, more importantly, their families to suffer. Coffee companies that could afford to pay more for the products, don't because the cheaper they can get the coffee means that they can get more revenue from the sales. But by ripping off the coffee farmers, majority of whom are in developing nations, it doesn't allow them to excel and actually drives them into a deeper pit of poverty than they started out at. Many coffee farmers turn to uprooting their coffee crops and using the land to harvest drugs because they can't feed their families by selling coffee. 

When you buy Fair Trade coffee you are buying coffee from a company that has submitted themselves to ensuring that their farmers get a fair price for their product. Some coffee companies do what is called "direct-trade" which means that they personally work with the farmers who handle the coffee they sell. The point is to drink responsibly. Don't support the exploitation of coffee farmers just to get your fix. Are not people more valuable than caffeine, money, or pleasure? Is it not worth it to pay a little more to ensure that people aren't suffering at your purchase? 

For more information check out a documentary called "Black Gold". 

The picture of the farmers in the poster was kindly made available by Andy Carlton, in association with World In Education For FairTrade, for the use of promoting Fair Trade. 


Day 6: Slavery

In the Bible it talks about "bondservants"; bondservants were men of honor who had been slaves but after their term of service had ended, chose to stay and continue to serve their masters. In Deuteronomy 15:16-17 says, "But if he says to you, 'I will not go out from you,' because he loves you and your household, since he is well-off with you, then you shall take an awl, and put it through his ear into the door, and he shall be your servant forever..." Bondservants would wear an earring so that all men would recognize their honor in giving their freedom to serve their master. It was their choice and their honor. But that was then...

 This is now. 


For more information on today's abolition movement, check out www.notforsalecampaign.org

Friday, February 3, 2012

Day 5: Generosity

Generosity makes us flip to giving every time, but generosity is more about a lifestyle than a budget plan. If we are truly living generously that means that we have taken the locks off of our time, things, passions, dreams, gifts, homes, lives, etc and made them open for people; especially people in need. Generous lives tell those around them that they don't need the right key to have access, they just need to accept. 

Generosity is the throwing away of your keys that once limited access and allowing others to throw away the keys they thought they needed to gain it. It is openness. 

 Generosity and fighting injustice must go hand in hand. Our generosity is the key to freedom and justice for others. 

Pass it on. 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Day 4: No Shoes

It was hard to know how to draw something so basic as shoes, they are a basic necessity. But yet for something so simple and necessary, millions of people walk barefoot and suffer for it. 

Having shoes allows kids to walk safely, free from injury and diseases that are transmitted through the soil. It allows kids to have an education; many schools won't allow kids to attend if they don't have shoes, and without education the cycle of poverty is allowed to continue. 

Want to help? Check out TOMS


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Day 3: Extreme Poverty

 The picture itself is one that I took in one of the slums of Thailand. This picture struck me so because I couldn't believe that I was actually the one behind the camera, looking through the lens at this impoverish toddler playing in the trash next to a river filled with raw sewage. I felt so guilty for taking this picture but it was one of those moments that I knew that I had to take it, not for me but to advocate for people like this little boy; that I could stand and testify with a picture, such as this, saying, "Look you can't explain it away. It's not a farce. It's not a million miles away. I've been here, I've held that boy. It's real!"

But the sad reality is that there are slums like this. Extreme poverty exists, and for whatever reason, is worsening. I think this picture demonstrates the extreme separation we have between our world and the impoverished world. But just as the drawing suggests, what's real is the picture - the reality of extreme poverty. The world that we have drawn for ourselves and the comfort that we allow to separate us from the needs of the world are temporary and mortal; a facade we have bought into that will fade in the end. 

 Global poverty facts: (http://onedayswages.org/about/what-extreme-global-poverty)

  • $1 challenge. More than 1 billion people live on less than $1 a day and more than 2 billion live on less than $2 a day.
  • Check your assumptionsAmericans believe that their government spends 24 percent of the federal budget on aid to poor countries, but the actual figure is less than 1 percent.
  • Daily disasters. HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria—all treatable diseases—claim the lives of over 8,000 people every day in Africa due to lack of access to health care.
  • The water walk. Women in developing countries travel an average of almost four miles each day to collect water.
  • The poor pay more. People living in the poorest slums can pay as much as ten times more for water than those in high-income areas of their own cities.
  • Gender disparity. According to the U.N., the majority of people in poverty are women, who globally earn roughly half as much as men.
  • Daily bread. Food prices have risen 83 percent since 2005, disproportionately affecting those in poverty who spend a higher percentage of their income on food.
  • No school for you. In 2005, a conservative estimate stated that 72 million children around the world of elementary school age were not enrolled in school.
  • The global wealth gap. The richest 20 percent of the world's population receives 75 percent of the world's income, while the poorest 40 percent receive only 5 percent of the world's income.