SPIRITUALITY, FAIR TRADE AND SOCIAL JUSTICE
11
September
2013

Using Our Purchasing Power for Justice & Hope/Disposable People Blog Post

Regarding the Disposable People site, I was completely humbled with the quote, "Slavery probably crept into your life several times today." The ten shocking, yet true, facts that the website gives are a chilling reminder that human trafficking is a very real situation in the world. Sex slavery, child prostitution, and child labor are realities that are often overlooked by many people, including myself. It is a common reaction to think that there is no way that these crimes have any impact on us, especially as college students, but that is not the case.

After thinking through some of the products that my friends and I enjoy such as coffee, shrimp, clothing, and shoes, at one point in time, all were probably handled by a slave. The indirect connection that we have to slavery is a reminder enough that we must utilize our purchasing power to benefit the workers that support Fair Trade products. By creating a market demand for fair trade products, and eliminating a demand for products that are not fair trade, but produced by slaves, we can play a part in stopping the injustice in the world. The 27 million slaves that are in the world today should be treated as non-disposable, sacred human beings.

In terms of the "Using Our Purchasing Power for Justice and Hope" article, I was struck by the quote that states, "When we support the poor, we are not only supporting the poor, we are glorifying God; when we reject the poor, we are not only rejecting the poor, we are rejecting God." Additionally, Henri Nouwen's "Open Hands" states "we become whole only when we an open our clenched fists and release those things that we cling to."

The first quote immediately brought to mind Father McShane who constantly states, "To much is given, much is expected." As a Catholic in the business world, I definitely feel that I have an extra duty to serve those who are not as fortunate as I am. By using the graces that God has blessed me with, I can reach out and do my part to make society inclusive of all. Each one of us is a child of God, and it is not up to individuals to decide who is worthy of attention and love.

God wants us to treat all individuals as equals and not pick and choose, because when we do that, we deny Him completely. Nouwen's quote compliments this behavior. By reaching out to the lowest amongst us, we are letting go of our clenched fists and becoming not one, but many. Reaching out to the fair trade producers also allows us to forgo the products that are easy to acquire, and instead thoughtfully purchase products that provide a mutual enhancement for the supplier and consumer. It takes courage to live for others, and by overcoming this fear, we are allowing ourselves and others to reap the spiritual, emotional, and physical benefits of the world.



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