Last year one of my besties, and owner of YA book blog Reading Teen (www.ReadingTeen.net), did the Little Black Dress Project with us. If you aren’t familiar with it, in a nutshell, we wear the same item of clothing for a month each and every day to create awareness about human trafficking and raise funds for anti-trafficking organizations.
I asked Andye (Reading Teen) to tell us about her experience in 2015 just to get us geared up for the LBD Project 2016. (Some of us didn’t even need the inspiration and have already been wearing their black two weeks now–check out the Present Age Ministries’ LBD Project!)
Part of me wasn’t even sure if Andye really liked the project that much until I received her response to this interview. After all, unless it involves books, usually Andye is maddeningly even keel. But hearing other people’s perspectives, like in this interview, keeps me pulling on my little black dress year after year. It turns out people are watching what we do, even if they don’t say much about it!
Without further ado, here is what Andye said:
An Interview with Andye of Reading Teen
What finally pushed you over the edge to take part in the Little Black Dress Project after knowing about it for a few years?
– Honestly, I have no idea. I literally woke up on March 1st and thought, I can do this.
How did you come up with ideas of what to wear every day?
– That was actually kind of fun. I basically just looked through all my scarves, sweaters, leggings, tights, jackets etc . . . and tried anything and everything. Sometimes it was a fail, but most of the time, I made it work.
Was it easy to ask people to donate?
– I kept my asks pretty generic, so yes. I didn’t actually go up to anyone and ask them specifically, I just posted on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. I also offered a chance to win some books for anyone who donated, so that helped.
Which parts of the Little Black Dress Project were most difficult for you?
– Putting together an outfit and taking pictures on the days that I was sick. That wasn’t my favorite.
Was there ever a time that you wanted to quit? If so, why didn’t you?
– Honestly, I had so much positive feedback from the whole thing that I never wanted to quit. It was actually really fun coming up with new outfits and trying to find different ways to connect with people. Every time I saw a statistic about human trafficking, it was just one more encouragement for me.
Was it awkward posting pictures of yourself on social media everyday? Do you think the LBD Project would have worth your time if you didn’t share about it often?
– It was a little bit awkward, but I just decided I didn’t care. And afterward, so many people knew who I was because of those pictures. I had people asking about the LBD Project when I went to BEA (BookExpo America) this year.
Did the LBD Project help you care more about those who are being trafficked?
– It really did. It’s impossible to pay attention to what’s going on and not be horrified and moved.
Why do you feel like our response to human trafficking matters?
– Ignoring what’s going on is what these traffickers are counting on. If you don’t pay attention, you’re helping them accomplish their goal, and in turn, helping to destroy people’s lives.
Do you think you helped others learn more about human trafficking?
– I do. There were multiple people that told me they had no idea what human trafficking involved. I know that when Elisa did it, it opened my eyes to what was happening.
If you do the LBD Project again, would you do anything different (i.e., share about it differently, apply a unique fundraising idea, learn more about trafficking, become more of a minimalist, etc…)?
– I’ve thought about adding books about human trafficking to my posts.
Did anything surprise you when doing the LBD Project?
– I was really surprised that I was able to come up with a new way to wear the dress every day.
What was the most rewarding part of doing the Little Black Dress Project?
– The involvement of my friends, and people I had never even met before.
Do you think anyone could do this?
– I think anyone could do this, even if it means putting your own spin on it.
She’s A World-Changer
This is going to be totally cheesy, but here I go anyway: Andye is just an average person, but she is also a world changer because she responded. She didn’t do anything drastic. She simply leveraged her niche and circles to create a greater awareness and raise funds for orgs who are fully dedicated to fighting this issue.
Even if we aren’t all cool enough to be book bloggers, we all have our own circles that we influence. Although our circles overlap sometimes (like Andye’s and I’s did) we still have farther-reaching networks than we realize. We don’t all touch the same people, and not everyone we know is aware of human trafficking, or modern slavery. We have knowledge of an atrocity that others either don’t yet know about, or are indifferent to. Let’s tip the tables within our networks to move in both compassion and action!
I hope Andye’s story inspires you, because she isn’t so different than you or I. We can be so much more when we work together. On that note, you are officially invited to be part of #LBDPROJECT2016!