I live in a community where stickers are part of the culture. Also, where carrying around a reusable bottle for water or coffee is the norm. These two norms often collide. Stickers are how we show our personality, our individuality, and how we announce to those around us what we are passionate about. Stickers are an extension of who we are. I always have a decorated reusable bottle with me. I take it to doctor appointments, to the grocery store, to the park, and of course, I happily hand over my bottle to the energetic baristas to fill it with caffeinated goodness.
My stickers are often conversation starters for me with the people who encounter my bottle.
“What does #startaripple mean?” and “Catalyst? What are you taking action against?”
My first response to these questions is usually “I work for the Rebecca Bender Initiative” to which I get a few different reactions:
“You work where? Never heard of it.” When I explain who RBI is and what we do, they are often quick to respond with “trafficking, that only happens overseas, right?” This is a great opportunity to spread awareness about domestic trafficking. We cannot change the way that culture responds to trafficking unless we first help others understand how it affects our culture.
The second most common response to my declaration that I work in anti-trafficking is “Oh, that’s important work, I am so glad you are doing it.” Which will quickly be followed with “I could never do that.”
I like to take this open opportunity to share my why…the reasons why I chose to work in anti-trafficking.
- My daughters. I have 3 of them. I want them to grow up strong, confident and dedicated to ending social injustices. I want to be someone they can look up to, I want them to see me fighting for causes that I believe in.
- My sons. I have 2 of them. I want my sons to grow up valuing all humans regardless of sex or race. I want them to be bold in standing up for others. I want them to respect and hold women in the highest regard.
- My legacy. Instead of leaving behind the tale of my trauma and hardships in life, I want my grandchildren (and great-grandchildren) to know me for a life redeemed. I want them to know that I fought for them and their lives before I even knew them.
- My calling. I truly believe that I am called to be a Catalyst, creating a ripple in my home, my church, my community, and my nation.
Working for RBI has given me opportunities to expand my ripple. Three months ago I couldn’t imagine the ripple that could be created by just one person stepping out in faith and becoming a Catalyst in their community.
Just like I challenge those that say “I could never do that”, I want to challenge you to take that step of faith, become a Catalyst, let others around you know what you are passionate about. Starting a ripple in your community can begin small. You can bring awareness to the people in your sphere. You can support survivors who are working towards hope and healing through Elevate Academy. Visit our Catalyst page, make a commitment to give $30-$50 a month for one year. When you get your Catalyst sticker in the mail, slap it on a reusable bottle, your phone, your laptop, your car…anywhere others will see it, and challenge them to join you and #startaripple. We would love to see what you do with your Catalyst stickers. Snap a pic of them in action and post it on social media with #startaripple.
And, in case you are wondering “where did they get those awesome custom vinyl stickers”, they were purchased through Sticker Mule. Thank YOU, Sticker Mule, for your amazing work!
By Teresa Matz
Teresa serves as the Director of Development for Rebecca Bender Initiative. Learn more about Teresa here.