What is Dressember and how did this movement start?
Hannah explained, “Dressember is an international campaign that raises awareness and funds to fight human trafficking. Each year they invite people all over the world to wear a dress or a tie during the month of December to stand in solidarity with survivors of trafficking and raise awareness along with funds. Since 2013 the organization has raised $13 million. Their work is centered around four pillars: advocacy, prevention, intervention, and survivor empowerment.”
Why is it significant?
Hannah shared, “It invites individuals and teams around the world to focus on this issue for one month and look for creative ways to raise awareness and money to end trafficking. Dressember has a very holistic approach and works with organizations that address the issue of trafficking from many levels.”
According to the student representatives, no one is 100% protected from becoming a victim of human trafficking. It doesn’t matter if you are poor or rich, young or old, male or female – you still can become a victim of modern slavery.
How did the Dressember movement start and evolve at LCC?
Per Hannah, “It was started by a previous staff member that served as Chaplain, Laura Rodeheaver-Van Gelder. It began five or six years ago when Laura committed to doing the challenge and invited others to join in support of Dressember as well. Over the past few years, Dressember has evolved and grown in amazing ways. We now have a team of 5 students who run Dressember. Each year they organize and facilitate a number of programs for December, which have included panel discussions, clothing drives, fashion shows, guest lectures, and other events to raise awareness. Last year the team was featured in the Festival of Volunteering and Solidarity, as part of the Klaipėda European Youth Capital program.”
Additionally, the student representatives shared, “This year we decided to expand Dressember to Klaipėda high schools and raised awareness with about 150 Klaipėda high school students! As for initiatives at LCC, every year we have a kick-off party and a photo booth, where LCC students, staff, and faculty can learn more about human trafficking and the impact of Dressember. This year we are also having a Dressember clothing drive where students can donate their clothes and then choose a new outfit for a small donation. Students are also encouraged to join us for our Dressember Fashion Show on December 10 at 18:00 (6 pm) in the Alumni Gallery to show that fashion can be both stylish and ethical!”
When and why did you join this movement?
“Personally, I have been part of Dressember each year since 2017. I have enjoyed the educational programming and the chance to participate in this global campaign.
Members of the student representatives also shared that even though their core team currently consists of two juniors, two sophomores, and one freshman, they all actually joined the Dressember movement when they were freshmen. They saw the need to raise awareness on campus about human trafficking and were also fascinated by the challenge to wear a dress or a tie every day during December.
On behalf of the student representatives, everyone is invited to join this movement to stop human trafficking. The group left us with this encouraging thought: If you think your voice doesn’t matter – it really does! You can still take on the challenge of wearing a dress or tie in December and join the team of more than 30,000 Dressember advocates around the world!