Fair Trade, Human Rights, Social Justice Purchasing

By Jen Lewis

I've known what "fair trade" is for a while now, but I've never made a move like I have lately. A few things have happened lately that have made me look closer at what I purchase and where I spend my money. Here they are...

1. I became the social media manager for the 2014 Justice Conference

2. I became a manager of the Kilns Bookstore and Boutique.

It's as simple as that. The conference and the Kilns have entirely changed the way I think about fair trade. And this has... frustrated some people. 

First of all, it's weird that a personal decision of mine would frustrate anyone else. Why should anyone else care if I decide to stop drinking coffee from Starbucks? If it does change the way anyone else thinks about coffee, I'm happy! I don't want you guys to drink Starbucks. I want you to come into the Kilns and discuss fair trade with me. I want you to care about this with me. 

Second of all, it's the RIGHT decision for me. I choose to forgo things that are easy, things that are cheap because the companies creating those products are preying on the vulnerable. I choose to skip WalMart and the Dollar Tree because they are NOT fair trade and they don't care about the people who are literally slaving away for them overseas. I choose to shop at thrift shops as much as I can, because I'm reusing clothing and furniture and things that are still perfectly good.

And NO. No, I am 100% not perfect. There are days, SO many days, when I just need to buy something quick and don't stop to think about the people who created it - how much they were getting paid, how many hours they had to work that day and in what conditions they worked. I don't think about that everyday, and I absolutely should. 

*steps off soapbox*

I love you guys. I absolutely am not judging anyone. The only reason I do what I do is because I KNOW. And once you know, it's hard to go back.

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