It’s something we all want, but it’s hard to put a finger on. We can recognize when we are without it, but there’s no clear path to attain it. It comes in many forms. International Justice.
In this globally interconnected world we live in, justice for others is so deeply tied in with our day to day lives. But we don’t always have the ability to recognize it, let alone change the injustices we see.
This last month, we had the opportunity to collaborate with another company here in Middle Tennessee that is working for international justice, just like us, the Branded Collective. Branded Collective exists to empower survivors of human trafficking through meaningful employment and economic independence. They work directly with End Slavery Tennessee, a nonprofit whose mission is to promote healing of human trafficking survivors and strategically confront slavery in our state.
Their partnership provides meaningful work to women coming out of trafficking situations. These women gather together, learning how to stamp and press jewelry, making art that means much more simply because of the hands that are creating it. Their metal cuffs carry a number which represents the brands and numbers that many captors use to label their victims as they traffic them. They fight against this by giving this power back to the freed women, who then initial each piece they make, to change the story, re-route their path, start a new conversation toward healing.
While our locations and approaches are different, we are after the same thing- freedom for all people.
At our Mission Lazarus vocational schools, we train young men and women in a trade, equipping them with workable skills so that they can enter a more reliable job market upon graduation. In our program, they receive 3 years of vocational training alongside academic education, while earning a stipend so that they can continue to financially support their family. When facing poverty, day to day survival becomes a continual state of mind. We want to change that narrative through community development, inclusion, opportunity, and job creation. It’s not a hand out, but a leg up; it’s the boost that these young adults need to make a lasting change.
What makes our collaboration so unique is the shared vision and thus multiplied impact of the products. Our Walk in Freedom leather cuffs and wraps start their journey in Nashville, Tennessee with Branded Collective. Women who are free from their oppressors and are beginning their journey toward healing, learn how to make jewelry, hand stamping brass pieces with the phrase, “Walk In Freedom”. From here, we sent these pieces down to our vocational school in rural Honduras, where young men in our program cut and sew leather into the wrap and cuff design. After careful inspection and attention, these bracelets were packaged and shipped back to us in Nashville. Coming full circle, each bracelet is handmade by one woman, walking in freedom from human trafficking, and one young man, fighting for freedom from poverty. Each bracelet represents their freedom story, and as you wear yours, you share their story and it becomes a part of your story too.
Recently, I heard the phrase “You can’t do everything, but everyone can something.” It’s a mantra that has been stuck in my head for the past three weeks. Sometimes we look at the problem and all we can see is the overwhelming, multilayered issues that seem much bigger than our two hands could ever fight back against. This feeling is true in both fights for international justice, the fight against human trafficking and the fight to end global poverty.
But when God made us, He didn’t make us insufficiently. He gave us exactly what we need; HIM. By our own strength, we cannot fix the problems of human trafficking and global poverty. But through Him, and together, we can accomplish something with lasting impact, something toward freedom for those who are oppressed or unheard, something with Kingdom significance, something that matters.
You can purchase your Walk in Freedom Leather Cuff or Wrap through our online store here.