When I was in high school, I was passionate about changing the world. I would read the newspaper each morning during breakfast and moved at how much needed to be done. I would talk about it with my dad, write a letter to the editor perhaps, but ultimately, I didn’t do anything to change the world.
In high school, Bethany Winz was appalled by the number of humans trafficked each day. Rather than wonder how something like this could happen in our world today, she decided to do something about it.
She sewed a dress and pledged to wear it every day for one year to raise awareness and funds to help end trafficking. Her rational was that those caught in trafficking have no choices – they have all been taken away. In a small way, taking away her choice of clothing helped her remember the atrocities others face daily.
In her book, One Dress. One Year: One Girl’s Stand Against Human Trafficking, Bethany tells the story of wearing this dress. What strikes me most about her journey is not that it’s a success – though she did raise awareness and nearly $10,000 for organizations who fight trafficking – but it’s honest. She talks about how great it is to connect with people and share her vision. She also talks about how humbling it is when her original monetary goal isn’t reached. She shares amazing experiences of speaking to other teenagers about her project and what it stands for. She also shares experiences that are frustrating and tiring and boring.
Yet, she continues with the project and realizes that the end goal isn’t about her and the dress. It isn’t even about money raised. It’s about changing our worldview, even if we can’t travel to India to see the effects of trafficking first-hand. It’s about recognizing our privilege and choice – not to be discouraged by it, but to embrace all that we can do to change the world.
I’d like to think that the difference between Bethany and myself is generational (even though, technically, we’re both considered millennials…) If only there had been blogging and social media when I was in high school, then I would have changed the world! In reality, I think Bethany is a born world changer. She’s taken what she learned during the Year of the Dress and is now majoring in social justice. She’s taking this world changing thing seriously, and I look forward to seeing how God uses this passion.
If you were to do something for a year to raise awareness, what would it be?
Bethany generously gave me a copy of One Dress. One Year for review and has offered to give one away! If you’re interested in reading her story, leave a comment and I’ll select a winner on Friday, March 11, 2016.