International Women’s Day 2014: “Inspiring Change”

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY is a day to celebrate the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future with participants and advocates around the globe. Each year the United Nations declares an annual theme. The theme for International Women’s Day 2014 is “Inspiring Change”. View themes for previous years.

The vast array of communication channels, supportive spokespeople, equality research, campaigns and corporate responsibility initiatives means everyone can be an advocate inspiring change for women’s advancement. -International Women’s Day

It is a day we are challenged to make a difference by “thinking globally and acting locally.” Thousands of events are held annually on March 8th to inspire, challenge, and celebrate the achievements of women around the world. Whether they are business or government-related, social or networking events, the world stops to take notice of the progress and impact of women in and on our societies. Other events will focus on uplifting, inspiring, or commemorating women through the telling of history, by serving us through education, or through a variety of artistic presentations. Whatever form it takes, and wherever we are individually, we will celebrate the achievements, advancements, and value of women, with a combined voice.

For a brief history and timeline of International Women’s Day, visit InternationalWomensDay.com.

What does the 2014 International Women’s Day theme “Inspiring Change” mean for you personally?

Follow the conversation on Twitter at Women’s Day 2014 and use hashtags #womensday and #IWD2014.

Related Reading:

International Women’s Day 2013: You’ve Come a Long Way Baby… But We’re Not Done Yet!

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(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™ – “Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

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Remembrance Day: Never Forget

Six million Jews were murdered under Germany’s state-sponsored persecution and Nazi rule during the Holocaust.

While targeted persecution of the Jews began in 1933, the mass murder was committed during World War II. It took the Germans and their accomplices four and a half years to murder six million Jews. (From April to November 1942 alone–only 250 days–two and a half million Jews were murdered). It’s incredibly hard to even imagine.

Today we remember the Jewish people and we must never ever forget. But we can’t lose sight of the fact that history will repeat itself (in the case of Nazi Germany or any other place where genocide has occurred, or where the murder of innocents is in any way permissible) unless we do more than just obtain knowledge or take care to remember.

We must be vigilant to stand for life, liberty and freedom for all people groups, and for humanity in all of its forms. We must commit to staying awake, to feel the bitter sting of death, of sorrow, of pain and walk alongside those who have tasted it. We need to be aware of the reality of lost generations, unsung heroes whose destinies have been stolen, and those whose dreams will never come to fruition, because they have been blotted out of the annals of history. Their loss must be our loss, and our loss must be their loss.

Silence is not an option. Apathy is not an option. No excuse is acceptable.

I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.Elie Wiesel

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(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™–”Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

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Wherever Human Beings Endure Suffering

“I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” –Elie Wiesel

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Being The Change

“Being the Change” is more than just giving money, time or talents to an issue. We can see that change is needed. We can understand that change needs to happen for things to get better. We can advocate for change by raising flags, issues, and our voices in an attempt to convince others of the necessity and benefit of it. But none of that can ever be enough.

The foundation of a culture is based around thoughts and beliefs (be it a culture within a society, family, or workplace). Those thoughts and beliefs drive expectations, set boundary lines in place, inform supply and demand, allow adjustments to the definitions of  “normal”, “worthy”, or “beneficial” according to popular belief. But popular belief isn’t necessarily right, just, or life-producing. That’s why thoughts are so powerful. They inform our belief systems. Decisions are made based on what people believe to be true (or good, or right, or profitable) whether they are in fact, or not.

If we really want to “be the change” (the positive difference-making change) we need to stop and think for ourselves. And ask questions, the right questions. Is this really justice, and why? Is this really “good” or “right”? For who, and on what basis? If it’s profitable, at who’s expense, and at what cost?

Once we know the truth, we can see if the reality of the culture is in alignment or not. If not,  it’s ultimately about adopting new mindsets and re-wiring our hearts toward a saner culture. Our thoughts and beliefs then begin to manifest in tangible ways that align with what is truly just, and right, and good, regardless of popular belief. “Being the change” is less about the externals and more about the internals. There really is strength in the power of one. It becomes more personal. It’s transformation from the inside out.

Join me on Twitter @DestinysWomen

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™–”Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

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Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy

In DISPOSABLE PEOPLE: New Slavery in the Global Economy, abolitionist and author Kevin Bales makes a clarion call for the ending of modern-day slavery around the world.

Slavery is theft — theft of a life, theft of work, theft of any property or produce, theft even of the children a slave might have borne. -Kevin Bales

This book is well researched and documented through the author’s personal experience going undercover to meet slaves and slaveholders. His investigation of slavery took him around the globe to Mauritania, Brazil, Thailand, Pakistan, and India.

Even with the resurgence of an abolitionist movement in modern times, the fact is, there are an estimated 27 million people living in slavery around the globe, yet many still escape our awareness or acknowledgement.  Why?

Bales argues that the increasing globalization of the economy–supply and demand–has fueled the “need” for coerced labor in the global supply chain, including forced child labor and debt bondage. What many readers will find interesting is his economic rationale for why slavery is not as profitable or sustainable as fair labor practices.

In what is referred to as the emergence of a “new slavery,” he asserts that modern-day slaves, unlike traditional forms of slavery, are not always considered a long-term investment. That means human beings lose their value. Many are viewed by slave masters as cheap, usable and sometimes (as in the case of sex slavery) reusable, “disposable” people.

Bales also illuminates the urgent need to raise individual and global social consciousness by connecting the dots from the slave to the end-user. He challenges our norms, by highlighting the necessity to re-think our purchase and consumption habits and preferences, and how supply and demand can directly affect slavery. The book challenges political, corporate *and* personal consumption mindsets and behaviors.

Kevin Bales

But he doesn’t just expose readers to this massive global problem and leave the research and case studies on the table. He offers readers strategic solutions. This book will open your eyes to the bigger picture and leave readers with a personal choice once they have been opened.

All of the author’s royalties from this book go to fund anti-slavery projects around the world.

 

 

Buy the Book Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy.

Kevin Bales is co-founder of Free the Slaves.

Watch & Listen to Big Think Interviews with Kevin Bales.

Watch Ted Talks Video of Kevin Bales: How To Combat Modern Slavery.

As an author, a professor of sociology, and consultant to the United Nations Global Program on Human Trafficking, Kevin Bales is one of the world’s foremost experts on modern slavery. He has made it his mission to eradicate global slavery. Read More.

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(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™–”Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

 

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Baseball, Hotdogs & Human Trafficking?

What do Major League Baseball, Hotdogs and Human Trafficking have in common?

NOT FOR SALE nights at the ballpark in four major cities! Baseball fans and human rights advocates will have the opportunity to partner with players and the Not For Sale team against human trafficking and modern-day slavery.

Not For Sale is an organization led by president and co-founder Dave Batstone and executive director and co-founder Mark Wexler. The goal? To create a world where no one is for sale. Learn more about NFS and how it fights modern-day slavery around the world.

San Francisco Giant’s pitcher Jeremy Affeldt led the way as the first MLB athlete to join Team NFS. This year’s event will include advocate players who have stepped up to the plate against human trafficking including San Francisco Giants’ Jeremy Affeldt, Brandon Belt, Matt Cain, Hunter Pence and Barry Zito.  Adrian Gonzalez, Skip Schumaker, Shawn Tolleson and A.J. Ellis from the Los Angeles Dodgers. Plus, Nick Hundley, Brad Boxberger and Chase Headley from the San Diego Padres.  Click here for a full list of (Team NFS) MLB player advocates who have teamed up with NFS. 

Talk about putting your money where your mouth is, here are some examples of “power plays” to help combat modern-day slavery:

  • San Francisco Giants Jeremy Affeldt pledged $250 for every strikeout he throws to NFS for every season he plays to fuel Not For Sale’s global initiatives.
  • St Louis Cardinals Matt Holliday pledged $500 for every home run he hits each season he plays.
  • Los Angeles Dodgers Adrian Gonzales pledged to donate $100 for every hit he has this season.
  • Arizona Diamondbacks Ian Kennedy donates a portion for every inning he pitches.

“We’re trying to leave a legacy here that when we leave this game, we’re known for not only what we did on the field, but what we did outside the field.” –Jeremy Affeldt, San Francisco Giants

> Not For Sale nights with the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park, July 9

> Not For Sale nights with the San Diego Padres at Petco Park, July 14

> Not For Sale nights with the Minnesota Twins at Target Field, July 31

> Not For Sale nights with the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium, August 26

Major Leauge Baseball players and their fans have raised over $100,000 which helped fund a critical need for Not For Sale’s victim services.  Now, they want YOU to join them! More fan involvement means raising even greater awareness and more funds to help fight against modern-day slavery.  Everyone can do something! Blog, tweet, tell your friends, join with NFS to start a fundraising campaign in your area, use your creative talents, or donate online!

San Francisco Giant’s two-time World Series champion pitcher Jeremy Affeldt also released his first book, To Stir A Movement, which details his journey from childhood to pro ballplayer along with his relationship with Not For Sale and his heart for social justice.

Who’s your favorite MLB player or athlete? If they’re not already involved in the fight against modern-day slavery, use social media to reach out and challenge them to get in the game! 

Join me on Twitter @DestinysWomen

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™ – “Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

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Child Labor Perpetuates Cycle of Poverty

Not only does child labor lead to a perpetual cycle of poverty for a family, it also depresses the economy. A study by the ILO (International Labor Organization) found that it would cost $760 billion to end child labor, but the benefits to the economy would be more than six times that–an estimated $5.1 trillion in economies where child laborers are found. –GoodWeave International (GWI)

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Trafficked and Re-Trafficked

Children trafficked into one form of labor may later be sold into another, as with girls from rural Nepal, who are recruited to work in carpet factories but are then trafficked into the sex industry over the border into India. -ILO/IPEC, Helping Hands or Shackled Lives? Understanding Child Domestic Labour and Responses to It

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Recipe for Trafficking

 

“Take one desperate woman, ripe for exploiting. Remove her opportunities. Soak her in poverty for a lifetime. Throw in a fistful of organized crime.

Mix her up. Turn her out, and there you have it.

One woman, pummelled, panicked. One woman, freshly trafficked.”

Stop the Traffik

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300,000 Children at Risk of Being Sold for Sex Every Year

 

The Department of Justice states that as many as 300,000 children are at risk for sexual exploitation each year in the United States.

It’s a staggering statistic. The reality of hundreds of thousands of innocent children hidden in the shadows only to be bought, sold, used, and abused for profit and pleasure, every year is unconscionable. It also means they are in desperate need of our voice!

Founder and executive director of Rebecca Project for Human Rights, Malika Saada Saar says, “Americans are right to get angry at the violence against women and girls in developing nations: the Congo rape camps, the widespread practices of female genital mutilation in West Africa and the infanticide of females in China.

Our digust at the violence committed against women and girls is heightened by the culture of impunity that allows the perpetrators of these crimes to go free without condemnation or punishment. That culture also turns victims into criminals, such as the girls in Thailand who are beaten and raped and then ostracized by their families and society.

But our indignation must be turned inward, too. Here in the United States, there is a similar culture of impunity when young American girls are sold for sex. There are 100,000 to 300,000 children between 11 and 14 who are vulnerable to being sold for sex by pimp-captors every year in the United States, according to government statistics.” Read the Full Article: U.S. Should Stop Criminalizing Sex Trafficking Victims.

The Rebecca Project for Human Rights advocates for justice, dignity and policy reform for vulnerable women and girls in the United States and in Africa. You can find them online at rebeccaproject.org and on Twitter @rebeccaproject.

Now that you are aware, help spread the word, and if you see something, say something!

The National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) is a national, toll-free hotline, available to answer calls and texts from anywhere in the country, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year. Phone 1-888-373-7888 or Text text BeFree (233733) Visit Polaris Project to learn more about Human Trafficking.

Source: U.S. Dept of Justice: OJP Fact Sheet–HumanTrafficking

Join me on Twitter @DestinysWomen

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™ – “Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

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