Fourteen weeks have passed since the fellowship has started and I am still learning something new everyday. At Not For Sale, they have their own lexicon that they use on an everyday basis. They should really just put it all into a dictionary and publish it! One of their mantras is “Be better than you were yesterday. Be smarter than you were last week.” I can honestly say that I came into the fellowship knowing very little about nonprofits and human trafficking. Even though I had the passion to end slavery inside of me, I was overwhelmed with the abundance of information that I had to learn. I felt as if I had gone back to school! Ten days into the fellowship, I represented Not For Sale at an event with another fellow. Still very much a newbie, I was so nervous to go there on behalf of the organization. I felt inadequate to answer questions about human trafficking and Not For Sale. I had memorized the mission statement, but didn’t have a full grasp on the ins and outs of the organization quite yet. I wasn’t confident enough to speak about each of our platforms that we had just learned that week. What was the difference between Free2Play and Free2Challenge? What were we doing in South Africa, Amsterdam, Peru…? What was our relationship with 31bitsand AllSaints? I hated not being able to sum up the organization in one sentence. “We fight human trafficking” just didn’t cut it. I was frustrated that I didn’t have the Not For Sale elevator pitch down pat. I wanted to be eloquent. I wanted to articulate exactly what Not For Sale did and who they were- because I was proud to work on behalf of them. I believed in what they stood for… and I wanted to get people involved in the movement.
Fourteen weeks in and I’m still not an expert. But, I’m smarter than I was the first day of the fellowship. I finally memorized the three numbers- 657- in the “SB 657,” or the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act. I can now tell you about each of our platforms and our passion and methodology behind each of them. I can discern what Not For Sale would believe in and what they wouldn’t deem worthy of their time. I can speak with more confidence about the organization, though with some stutter- as I tend to stumble over my words when I get excited. When I left Virginia, I told my friends I was going to work for an anti-human trafficking organization. Now, I force them to listen to me talk about our Free2Work board on Pinterest, buy from ourAllSaints NFS collection, and read our impact report. I’m better than I was yesterday.
There are exactly two months left. I’m anxious to keep pushing myself to be better, smarter. I’m eager to work my hardest, not for myself… but for the bottom billion. There are sixty days left to make a difference. I know that the session five fellows will leave a successful mark in Not For Sale history. But, I also know that even after we all leave the fellowship and our house in Half Moon Bay that we were able to call home for six months… we will each continue to push ourselves in creating justice for the bottom billion. We will persist as abolitionists in our own unique way as the fellowship has molded us to be. We will use smart activism to advocate for the 30 million human beings enslaved in our world today. And even though we won’t be together in person, we will still stand in solidarity to act against injustice. We will be better than we were yesterday.