Sunday, March 31, 2013

Bloggers Against Social Injustice: International Video Conference

International BASI Video Conference
Sunday, April 7, 2013
12:00pm MST
2:00pm EST
 7:30pm GMT
 11:30pm IST [April 8th, 2013]

Why |  This past November, we had our first video chat conference.  Seeing that it helped us all think out of the box, and motivated us to start local outreach, I decided that it would be a fantastic idea for us BASI members to make this a tri-annual event!  A huge part of being a blogger is community, and in creating a better sense of community, we be support for each other and can push each other to make a difference locally!

What | The conference will be an open discussion format.  Pertaining to helping end human trafficking, we will discuss: 
  • Staying informed on current news and legislation
  • Connecting to local organizations
  • Organizing local outreach
  • Utilizing your personal blog to reach out and help educate on human trafficking

Where | Google + video chat.  You will need a Google + account to participate in the conference.

Participate | Email Christine at for more information on joining in.

This will be a great way to connect with fellow bloggers with similar personalities and interests.  It will also challenge you to take your blogging to the next level!  We hope to see you there!

Current Events:

[Hosted by BASI Buffalo Team!]
BASI Buffalo Team
When: April 6, 2013
Event: Freedom Walk Buffalo
Location: Buffalo, New York, United States

BASI Michigan Team
When : April 5 & 6
Event: Sold Out 2013: A BCOM Preview Event
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States

Follow on Bloglovin

Monday, March 25, 2013

Interview with Nadia of Listen Girlfriends

Exactly one month ago I posted How Sustainable Fashion Saves Lives.  In this post, I introduced the blog Listen Girlfriends, "A Critical Conversation on Media and Culture."  The editor, Nadia, is in the midst of a Critical Fashion Series on her blog where she discusses various topics including the ethical fashion industry,  empowering girls overseas with fair trade type models and her newest post, "The Chocolate Industry Exposed: Child Labor, Trafficking and Fair Trade Mislabel" with a fair trade chocolate giveaway through her Facebook page.  

What sets Nadia apart from most other bloggers who blog about change is:

  1. Every statement has research connected to links to back them up
  2. The voice of posts are girly conversational yet intellectually stimulating
  3. Posts create a full circle by connecting problem to the causes, cultural implications, tangential problems, people working to bring change, and a call to action.  

Not only is the information Nadia shares digestible for the reader, but there are so many hyperlinks to find out more about any topic she covers.  This is wonderful because it adds so much legitimacy and allows the reader room to read more!  I was in such admiration of how she blogs that I knew I had to get an interview with her for you all!  Enjoy, and let me know what you think!


An Interview with the Nadia from "Listen Girlfriends."
Thursday, March 14, 2013

The first thing I realized when we started the interview over video chat was how girly and full of energy Nadia is. She was wearing all pink with a big smile on her face, very excited to talk about why it is important to help make a difference in the world and how every day people can help bring a positive change.  I thought to myself, "this girl is influencing so many lives, and I don't think she even realizes it."  

Interviewing: Nadia | Listen Girlfriends
Interviewed By: Christine Tjahjadi-Lopez | Bloggers Against Social Injustice and Beyoutiful Hope

1. Why "Listen Girlfriends"?
  1. With "listen" I wanted to encourage conversation and wanted to create an atmosphere to engage in a critical manner.  I wanted an open conversation.
  2. I wanted a critical media culture site that was accessible, laid back, and wouldn't preach to the converted.
  3. With "Girlfriend"... I am so girly and I wanted a way to center a feminine space while not excluding men.
2. Why blog? 
I want to create engaged readers. I’m very much a believer to take education and apply it in your everyday lives.  I wanted to create an educational advocacy blog. Also, blogging is also a good way to keep me motivated on my dissertation.  

3. Do you think blogging can bring about change?
Blogging is easily accessible and a lot of passionate people who can voice issues and have concerns to voice issues don't need a professional forum for information.  But, an issue is that there may be information overload and blogging is hard work because of the commitment and unpaid work.  It is easy to run the risk of burning out.  But it is a great way opportunity to connect with people that share the same passion!

4. How can change occur from a blog?
I want to provide amazing information that is all over the internet on one cohesive space so that people how are looking to make a change have a space where they can get information.  I don't want people to feel overwhelmed.  I want to help educate, first of all with facts, and then I definitely want to inspire and motivate.  At the end of each post I provide resources for people to take action for those who want to take activism.  

5. Do you have an outreach larger than just bloggers? Who else reads "Listen Girlfriends"?
I connect with followers over twitter and other social media. I also reach out to activists by sending emails. It's a lot of work, and it [outreach] has to be more than just posting. It's easy for posts to get lost [if you depend only on search engines] because there is a lot of stuff out there!

6. How long does it take you to write a post?
4 hours to 50 hours, depending on how heavy the material is. I want to make sure the information I provide is researched and correct.

7. How long do you plan on blogging?
For a while, especially since I am doing my research [for my dissertation].  A lot of posts are complimentary to my dissertation.  I write better when I am writing to people.  I think its the activist in e.  I'll keep going and see where it takes me.  It is also dependent on my reader feedback.

8. If someone leaves your blog, what is the one thought you want them to leave with?
To the fashion blogger: Recognize that fashion is a great mode of expression but sometimes our ability to express ourselves comes at the expense of others.  The human environmental impact is what I focus on.

To the everyday person:  A lot of people who don't consider themselves fashionistas may think the [fashion industry problems of trafficking and workers rights] don't affect them.  No! If you put a piece of clothing on your body this does affect you.   recognize that the choices you make every day affect you.

"Your neighbor is someone who is thousands of miles away.  Recognize how your clothes connects you to people everywhere.  Think about how textiles and chemicals and the hands that have touched these things.  Just because you can't see somebody doesn't men they aren't there!" 
-Nadia, Listen Girlfriends

Find Nadia and "Listen Girlfriends"

Beyond these interview questions, our conversation lasted 3 hours!  We laughed about life and college and discussed fair trade, corporate social responsibility, and the fashion industry. I am so glad she is part of our blogging community!  I am glad to have had the opportunity to connect with a blogger that we can all learn from.  It is bloggers like Nadia that are helping make a difference.

Thank you Nadia for sharing your story and work with Bloggers Against Social Injustice!

Follow on Bloglovin

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Freedom Walk Buffalo: 22 Day Countdown

22 days left until Freedom Walk Buffalo!  Since January, the Bloggers Against Social Injustice-Buffalo, New York team (which I spearhead), has been working daily to bring an anti-human trafficking awareness walk to the State University of New York at Buffalo.  However, this walk is not only meant for campus life.  This walk is meant to join the campus with the surrounding community members because all people need to be aware that human trafficking is happening right in their very own town!   This walk is free to attend, however, donations will benefit efforts in Western New York through P.A.T.H. Coalition and Southern Ontario, Canada through [FREE-THEM] to help rescue and rehabilitate peoples trapped in slavery.  Aside from the countless details that come along with planning a walk comes the question of how we will be sure to make a lasting impact on the people who attend this event.  

I was first inspired to host this upcoming Freedom Walk by the walk I attended for Bloggers Against Social Injustice's spotlight charity, [FREE-THEM], back in September.  See post HERE.  I was inspired and motivated by the speakers, organizations, and all of the people of all ages and walks of life.  No matter how they looked, they all wanted to fight to bring freedom for slaves!  This is what needed to be brought back to the State University of New York at Buffalo. 

I am very excited about the honored speakers we have been so blessed to have booked for our walk.  These speakers will help us understand why slavery exists, to whom it affects and what we can to to end it.  By the way, slavery affects all of us.  Do you know if the clothing you are wearing now was made by slaves?

Below you can read about our honored speakers, their story, and their pioneering efforts to end slavery.  If you are in the Southern Ontario, Canada region, Western New York or Pennsylvania region we would like to extend a special invitation asking you to please join us and help bring our world one step closer to ending slavery!

Honorary Speakers

Follow on Bloglovin

Randy Phipps | Executive committee member and director of public relations for [free-them], based in Southern Ontario, Canada.
Randy Phipps joined the [free-them] team in 2010 shortly after the organization was founded. He is a member of the executive committee and deals with television, print, online and social media. [Free-Them], a Toronto based organization led by founder, Shae Invidiata have worked collectively with front line support, law enforcement and politicians to raise awareness about the global crisis of human trafficking. Randy has been been the lead in our celebrity relations which has garnered support from local and international entertainers to bring awareness to human trafficking within and outside of our borders. To date [Free-Them] has raised over $120,000 in funds to help human trafficking survivors in Canada and abroad. Their recent collaborative efforts have brought forth change by helping to amend two criminal codes in Canada that will prosecute traffickers and seek justice for victims. Recently [free-them] has has partnered with International organizations, The Somaly Mam Foundation and IJM Canada to expand their efforts to help victims on a global scale.
TWITTER| @free_them /@Randy_INC_
Anna Beard | Survivor advocate & human trafficking consultant. Beard will be joining us from North Carolina.
Originally from Kolkata, India, Anna Beard was adopted into an American family and raised in North Carolina. Throughout her life, she faced extreme sexual and physical abuse, eating issues and severe abandonment. She is also a survivor of domestic minor sex trafficking (DMST). Anna is a graduate of Mercy Ministries, a free of charge Christian residential program that assists young women with life-controlling issues. At Mercy Anna allowed God to restore her soul. She is on fire for God! As a survivor advocate, Anna is active as a consultant who assists various organizations throughout the country as they develop their own programs to help survivors of sex trafficking.
A powerful public speaker, Anna gave the keynote address at the Restore One Banquet in Greenville, NC. Anna also spoke at the Trafficking in America Task Force (TIATF) Conference in Nashville, TN. She also was a guest speaker for Children At Risk’s Accolades Luncheon in Houston, TX.  Anna also serves on the Advisory Board and Policy Advocate for Forsaken Generation. Along with serving as the keynote speaker for the Richmond Justice Initiative's "Trade of Innocents" screening , Anna also lobbied for anti-human trafficking bills at the Virginia General Assembly. Anna also served as a panel speaker for theNorth Carolina Coalition of Sexual Assault symposium "It's Happening to a Girl Near You" in Fayettville, NC.
Anna's story was also televised internationally on Univision’s show Primer Impacto, Her story was also featured in The Salvation Army's "Young Salvationist" Magazine. Anna's story has also been featured on several websites such as: "Redemption Ridge" in Oregon and "In the Booth with Ruth" in the United Kingdom.
Anna has served as the Community Relations Director for On Eagle’s Wings Ministries Fields of Hope Program branch in Miami Beach, FL. She recently enrolled at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro to complete her B.A .in Sociology. Although she misses working in abolition full time, she is excited to further her education. She is humbled by God’s Grace and Mercy during her healing process. Most of all, she is just glad to be FREE!  Follow Anna on TWITTER and FACEBOOK!

Kerry Battenfeld | Victim services community educator/advocate with International Insitute of Buffalo. Joining us from Buffalo, New York.
Kerry Battenfeld is the Community Educator and Advocate with the Trafficking Victim Services Program at the International Institute of Buffalo.  As such, she provides direct services to survivors of trafficking and educates local stakeholders on how to identify and work with trafficking survivors.  She is also the Upstate New York Regional Coordinator for the Northern Tier Anti-Trafficking Consortium (NTAC).  NTAC is a regional network of service providers that work with foreign-born survivors of human trafficking. As Regional Coordinator, Ms. Battenfeld provides training and technical assistance to NTAC providers across New York State. 

 Renan Salgado | 13 years Human trafficking specialist with the Worker Justice Center of New York.  SEE MORE HERE

Honored Guests
Deputy Elizabeth Fildes | State department envoy to Africa to speak on human trafficking issues and Police officer of the Year Award, Erie County 2012. 
Deputy Elizabeth Fildes has been a Spanish Speaking Deputy Sheriff for 30 years. She
has worked in the Erie County Holding Center, City Court and the County Court. While
working for the Sheriff’s Office, she has worked as an Elementary Bilingual School
Teacher and has worked with at-risk students and the refugee population at Grover
Cleveland High School. While completing her Masters Degree in International Business
Management, deputy Fildes worked in career services at D’Youville College, assisting
college students with internships and resumes. Presently, Deputy Fildes has been
assigned as the Program Director of the Erie County Sheriff’s Office Human Trafficking
Task Force, where she will train law enforcement officers in the Western New York
District, as well as assisting in the interview process of potential victims. She is also
member of the NYS DCJS Criminal Justice Subcommittee of the Interagency Task Force
on Human Trafficking. Deputy Fildes has been deemed an expert on the topic of human
trafficking by the U.S. State Department and has trained government, law enforcement,
non government organizations and media in Guatemala, Ecuador and Africa.

Deputy Elizabeth Fildes is a recipient of Minnie Gillette and Joan Bozer Achievement
Award in recognition of her contribution towards the empowerment of women 2010. In
October of 2011 Deputy Fildes received the Anne Lum Award from D’Youville College
for her service to her college and community. In April 2012 Deputy Fildes received
an Award for her Humanitarian efforts from Daemen College from the Sociology
Department along with 2012 Police Officer of the Year by Erie County Bar Association
for her dedicated work in her community. Deputy Elizabeth Fildes is a founder of United
Hands of Hope House were all proceeds will go to developing a safe house for Domestic
Victims in the Western District of New York.

Darlene Volmy | Miss. New York 2010

Joanne Lorenzo | Co - Founder/Director at Lighthouse International Ministries

Please help us spread the word about #FreedomWalkBuffalo through twitter! Please Tweet:

"Help Combat  with  &  on April 6 in Buffalo, NY at  Register: "

Thank you so much for helping us bring an end to trafficking in the Western New York and Southern Ontario, Canada areas!  If you are in the area, we hope you can join us and take a stand!

Monday, March 4, 2013

How Many Slaves Work For You?

What is it like to live a life where every day is an agonizing yet numbing flow of events? I wouldn't know.

"I can only imagine this is 
what it is like for a slave."

When we think of slavery, modern-day slavery, we need to remember that it is not only sex slavery, but forced labor slavery too.  In previous posts we spoke about how the things you purchase contribute to slavery [here], how retail activism can change that [here], and shared a store that is changing this by selling fair trade clothing with donations to help rehabilitation of former victims of slavery [here].

Today I wanted to share with you a website where you can make a difference and help end labor trafficking and help bring about fair trade goods!  This site is truly spectacular! It is called Slavery Footprint.  Not only can you take a quiz to see how many slaves you support through all of the goods you own, consume and purchase, but from there they help you make a difference.

"I found out that I have 
43 slaves working for me!" 

This is based on the products that I consume.  From there, I was given the opportunity to make a difference.  You can send letters to unethical retailers in seconds.  For example, I found out that my favorite boutique, Free People, has rather pathetic standards when it comes to labor laws and ethics.  In seconds I was provided with the the link to send them a letter letting them know that I am a fan of their clothes, and I am aware that they do not have standards on their labor and products which ensure their clothing is made in a free world.  The letter also told Free People that I want this to change!  This was very easy to do because Slavery Footprint has letters pre-drafted, and you have the option to customize them.

 There is a link at the bottom of this post to Slavery Footprint for YOU to get started on being aware of the problem and taking steps to make a change! Believe me, 

"this will open your eyes 
and open the eyes of retailers
and manufacturers but more importantly,
it will help make a change." 

Also, the website is very interactive so you will not be bored when you take this survey.  Also, it is customizable, so you will be able to have a close estimate of your impact.  Mine was 43.  Below are some images I pulled from Google images which give you insight on what the quiz is like.  Best wishes, and be sure to let me know how many slaves work for you in our comment box!


Find out how many slaves work for you and make a difference at

Follow on Bloglovin