This month is Small Business month. My dad owned his own business growing up, and I reaped the benefits of that for years. Though we never made the big bucks, his schedule was more flexible, he was at my baseball games, he was around. It was awesome.
As Americans, we hold fast to the ideology that bigger is better. I don't agree. There are 27,000,000 small businesses in the United States. Besides the joy of buying local and keeping the money in the community and making new friends, small businesses are a great impetus for world-wide change. Instead of "selling out" to the globalization and McDonaldization of everything, small businesses offer hope and a reminder that there is more to life that what we see.
In the world, there are 27,000,000 slaves. That is more than all the slaves combined over the 400-year trans-Atlantic slave trade. These slaves are held in unimaginable conditions and undergo unthinkable hardships. Their living conditions are not worthy to be called homes. This is a crisis that can not be ignored.
More often than not, we in the West encourage slavery through our consumerism. Each dollar we spend is a vote, an approval of the system as it is.
It's a funny thing, though. When I bring up these two numbers, adults resonate with the small businesses and celebrate them. They are proud of the businesses and a frequent response to the slaves is, "What do you want me to do about it?" However, when I bring up these numbers with students, their first response is along the lines of, "What can I do about it?"
Because of corrupt governments and systems, it costs an average of $750 to legally free a slave and convict the owner. Two marvelous organizations that are working to end the international slave crises are:
International Justice Mission (www.ijm.org)
Not For Sale (www.notforsalecampaign.org)
You know, if each small business donated (tax write-off) $1,000 to either of these organizations...
Why should we care? Because they are human, and the moment we stop caring about others like we care about ourselves, we become less than human.
If you don't believe me about slaves and all that, watch this video:
Behind The Swoosh
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