Cupcakes Can Change The World

Yes, you read the title correctly. Cupcakes can change the world, but that requires two important components, which I will get to later. Today, May 13, 2017, is World Fair Trade Day, a day in which agents for change from around the world join together to promote and mark their commitment to fair trade. This is a topic that we at Free To Run visit periodically, as the power of consumer purchasing has been proven capable of creating change. Socially conscious, or ethical, consumerism is a concept that sees consumers making choices to support positive values, from animal rights, to the environment, to human trafficking.

Which brings us back to the topic of cupcakes. At our Social Justice Summit this past January, we had a presentation from our newest Ambassador, Aelea Semenowich, and the title was “How Cupcakes Can Change The World.” Her point at the beginning was that every single person can you use something that their are passionate about to implement and create a positive impact in the fight against slavery. Labor trafficking can take many forms, including slaves being in direct contact with consumers in service industries, such as hotels, restaurants, nail salons and massage parlors. As you go deeper into the supply chains of products, you will find the issue of poor working conditions, and slavery, in many stops along the chain. Aelea emphasized that our biggest strength is our purchasing power, once we are educated about the importance of fair trade, and then voting with our dollars for the companies that are improving their supply chains. Every vote is a step in the right direction, towards a world with social justice that we envision.

Aelea presenting at the Miami Valley Social Justice Summit in January 2017.

The other component that Aelea highlighted was open source activism, which is pairing your skills and talents with a desire to change the world. As a baker, she spoke of the various ways one could use that talent to make a difference, like a hosting a bake sale and donating the proceeds to an organization fighting human trafficking, donating baked goods to shelters, teaching survivors how to bake, and volunteering at cafes that do good in the community.

If you haven’t thought about this topic before, we encourage you to take the time to learn more about fair trade. Trust me, it’s not an overnight process to completely change your shopping habits. Find products that you use frequently, like maybe coffee or chocolate, and start to choose fair trade. Local grocery stores now commonly carry popular fair trade products, so look for the fair trade label on the packaging. Fair trade specialty stores are another option at which to vote your dollars. Here in our hometown of Troy, Ohio, we have a great fair trade and eco-friendly store called Pachamama Market, where you can buy clothes, household goods and decor, coffee, chocolate and baking supplies. And then of course, your options for buying online are nearly endless. In the past, we have highlighted Serrv, Ten Thousand Villages, Freeset USA and MadeFair. One of our other Ambassadors, Annabelle, demonstrated ethical fashion last fall by modeling a shirt from MadeFair:

Today we issue this challenge to you. Find your cupcake. What are you passionate about? How can your turn that passion into something that will create positive change? You may not see results right away, but don’t be discouraged. Your fellow freedom fighters and social activists will be by your side on this journey. You will discover an amazing network of support once you commit to fighting for good, as we have discovered at Free To Run, and as our ambassadors will attest. So when you find your cupcake, keep us updated and we will walk along side you as you help change the world.

About Brett
World Race for Hope Director. Abolitionist. Co-founder of Team G(race) and Free To Run Foundation.

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