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Fair Trade Week at Gilmour Academy

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Introduction: 

“Those who stand for nothing fall for everything” ~ Alexander Hamilton. At Gilmour Academy, we are called to have the competence to see and courage to act in creating a more humane and just society. We are called to stand for something. 

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Students directly participate in this mission during their junior year, when they partake in Praxis, a social-justice based initiative. This year, my Praxis group (Isabella Martin, Lea Morrissette, Hunter Fetterolf, Kyle Laws and Ayrin Hajrullahi) is tackling the injustice of the inhumane work place. 

As we began to do extensive research on what encapsulates this injustice, we discovered Fair Trade. 

What is Fair Trade? 

https://www.fairtrade.net/standard/aims
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Fairtrade America states that Fair Trade is  “a way of doing shopping and business differently. It changes the way trade works by prioritizing better prices, decent working conditions and a fairer deal for farmers and workers in the Global South.”

Fair Trade is much more than an organization, it is a movement and we truly hope that after reading this article, you will join the movement as well! 

Why Fair Trade? 

There are more than a million reasons why we should support fair trade brands and why we should simply care. Quite possibly, one of the most powerful and important reasons to note is because we should. Our actions don’t just affect us; they affect everyone. When we choose to buy from brands that utilize sweatshops, we hurt other people. Aeropostale, Adidas, ASOS, Disney, Nike, Victoria’s Secret, Urban Outfitters, to name a few, are brands that are believed to be using sweatshops (1). We know these brands; we use these brands; and we have the power to change these brands. 

The “Solution” 

Undoubtedly, the solution to the injustice of unjust wages and working conditions is multifaceted. As there are many factors that go into the formation of the injustice, there are also several factors that go into solving this injustice. When Mr. Ric Doringo, Instructor in Social Studies, was interviewed for the “Behind the Swoosh” exposé, he gave his opinion on what he feels is the “perfect” solution. 

Mr. Doringo said, “The only way things like this will really change is if we (meaning the entire Western world – North America, Europe, etc.) change our consumer habits. Nike [for example] is driven by profits, and they know they can rely on Western consumers to buy their products, regardless of how they make them.” 

The Western World must demand change and that change begins with what they choose to buy and what they choose to support. 

What is Gilmour Doing to Help?

This year, our Praxis Group, with the help of Dr. Linda Monitello, Instructor in Theology, has created a Fair Trade week, including everyone at Gilmour Academy. Fair Trade week will be occurring from May 3 through May 7, 2021. 

Look to the information below for some more details about Fair Trade Week!

Fair Trade Dress-Down Day on Friday, May 7 
GA Spiritwear or Fair Trade top, jeans or khakis bottoms – NO NIKE – Cost is $5. You get a Fair Trade bracelet made by artisans in Guatemala from Mayan Hands. $3 will go to the artisans, and the other $2 will go to the InterReligious Task Force on Central America (IRTF), who works with Fair Trade in Central America (https://www.irtfcleveland.org/)
Note: You can get more information and pictures from the Mayan Hands web site:
Mother’s Day Sale – May 3-7, 2021
The Praxis Unjust Wages & Working Conditions Group is having a Mother’s Day Fair Trade Sale next week (May 3-7). Ms. Ligas will be sending out the link to the sale site after Convo on Friday. When you place an order, the group will deliver your merchandise to you in your classroom the next day. Have your payment with you and ready to give to your delivery person. You can pay with cash or a check made out to GA. You can also pay using a credit card by calling or going to the Business Office – make sure you tell them that this is for Peace and Justice Club account.
All of the merchandise is Fair Trade, and made by artisans in Guatemala. Surprise your mom or grandma with a nice Fair Trade gift!
Fair Trade Education
Our Praxis group is also educating the Lower School students by making a video on “What is Fair Trade.” The Lower School will watch the video on Thursday, May 6 before the dress-down day. The entire campus (LS, MS, and US) is participating in Fair Trade Day and in the Mother’s Day Sale this year.
Conclusion
Through our Praxis Project, my group has decided to stand for something. We stand in solidarity with those in the workforce who are being mistreated and abused and we ask you Gilmour to stand with us too!

References

[1] “ https://www.panaprium.com/blogs/i/fashion-brands-that-still-use-sweatshops

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Kristen Oliveto is an invariably friendly, upbeat, and careful student. She has a passion for uncovering the untold truth about a plethora of issues. Kristen is a co-founder of Gilmour’s Just Write club and is a member of Peace and Justice, Lancers for Life, and Speech and Debate. Kristen loves working with younger children. Working with Lance, Kristen strives to add a positive contribution to not just the Gilmour community but to all. You may contact her at olivetokr@gilmour.org and can find her work at gilmourlance.org