This will be my second year participating in Dressember, which is a national campaign of women wearing dresses each day in the month of December to promote awareness and raise funds to help end human trafficking. The Dressember foundation partners with IJM, A21 and McMahon/Ryan to help rescue enslaved women, provide care to victims, and fight for justice and stricter laws to end modern day slavery altogether.
While the funds raised go specifically toward human trafficking, when I put on my dresses this year, it feels like a much larger fight for women’s rights. 2017 has been a tough year for equality. It’s often hard for me to balance the feeling that we’ve come so far in the women’s rights movement, and yet have so far to go. Our presidential election, the #metoo campaign, and all of the recent publicity around sexual harassment cases have proven this to us over and over again. We still have a lot of work to do.
Did you know that there are millions of women and children that are sold as sex slaves every year? And not just in other countries. It happens here in the US, too. A lot. I remember in 2012, I was living in Indianapolis where the Super Bowl was being hosted, and there were organizations that came to the local hotels to teach staff and the public about how to spot human trafficking, the warning signs that someone is a victim, and how to get them help. It’s nothing short of disturbing to think that something this vulgar is happening in the cities where we live, but we can’t shy away from talking about it just because it makes us uncomfortable.
That’s what I love about Dressember. It brings the conversation to the forefront of the women’s rights movement. It gives us a way to have these conversations and bring awareness to this issue. While wearing a dress each day may sound silly or insignificant, it opens the door for more conversations and allows more and more women to get involved. The entire movement was actually started in 2009 by just one woman, Blythe Hill, and in 2016 there were over 5,000 women participating and over 3 million dollars have been raised. Wearing a dress doesn’t seem so silly now, does it?
As part of Team Beauty and Dignity, which is a local group of women based around Tacoma, my goal is to raise $1,000. Our team goal is to raise $25,000. It’s only December 3rd, and we’ve already raised just over $10,000. Impressive, but again, we’ve still got work to do. And that’s where you come in! If you’d like to support this cause, you can donate directly to my page: https://dressember.funraise.org/fundraiser/candi-block.
It might have been a tough year, but there’s still hope. As long as we continue to take steps toward equality, whether that’s wearing a dress, voting, donating, volunteering, or just spreading the word, then progress is being made.
Thank you for your support of me wearing a dress, and thank you for your support for this wonderful cause!