The Human Thread

Category Archives: Advocate


Trafficked Garment Worker to receive Fashion for Freedom Award

July 07, 2018

Author: editor

Category: Advocate

Flor Molina, a survivor of modern slavery in Los Angeles who has become a champion for trafficking victims and survivor protection, has been announced as the recipient of the 2018 Fashion for Freedom Award from Free the Slaves. Her inspiring journey from sweatshop slavery to human rights activist and U.S. State Department adviser embodies exceptional dedication and impact.

The Fashion for Freedom Award was created by Free the Slaves to honor changemakers working in ethical fashion and slavery eradication. The honor recognizes one person advancing those fields through creative and effective methods. Through her activism and advocacy, Molina embodies the purpose of the award.

Molina speaks for those affected by the atrocity of sweatshop slavery in the garment industry. Trafficked herself from Mexico to the U.S. in 2001, she was forced to work in a garment factory in Los Angeles. After Molina’s child died in Mexico because she could not afford medical expenses, she was “an easy target” for her trafficker, she says.

Forced to work 18 hour days for more than a month, Molina convinced her trafficker to allow her leave the factory to attend church. She never went back. The FBI began an investigation and connected Molina with the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST), a nonprofit that provides comprehensive, life-changing services to survivors and advocates for groundbreaking policies and legislation.

Since her escape, Molina’s amazing work advocating for others highlights those who have been affected by labor trafficking. “The media covers a lot about sex slavery but doesn’t talk about the labor side. I’m eager to raise awareness about labor trafficking because I am a labor trafficking survivor,” Molina says.

In 2012, alongside a number of anti-slavery organizations, Molina advocated for creation of the California Supply Chain Transparency Act. Under the law, manufacturers and retailers must disclose efforts they have taken to ensure their supply chains are slavery free. She recalled that most businesses were wary about supporting the concept until hearing her personal story. This underscores the vital importance of survivor leadership in the anti-trafficking movement.

In 2015, Molina was appointed by President Barack Obama to America’s first-ever U.S. Advisory Council on Human Trafficking. During her two-year term, Molina provided detailed recommendations to the president and federal agencies to strengthen U.S. policy and programs to combat human trafficking at home and abroad.

“As a survivor, advocate, activist, expert – and so much more – Flor has been a champion for the conscious consumerism movement for many years now,” Free the Slaves Fashion for Freedom coordinator Allie Gardner said. “She’s an inspiration and a true leader, and those of us fighting for a more ethical fashion industry can learn a lot from her.”

Free the Slaves will formally present the Fashion for Freedom award to Molina July 28 at the Fashion for Freedom Event in New York, where she will have the opportunity to address the event’s guests and visiting journalists. When asked what she plans to tell them, Molina said: “I want everyone to know that human trafficking exists in all industries, including the garment industry. We, as consumers, can and should be part of the solution.”

Molina’s story is recounted in a number of media outlets:

Free the Slaves will formally present the Fashion for Freedom award to Molina July 28 at the Fashion for Freedom Event in New York, where she will have the opportunity to address the event’s guests and visiting journalists.

Learn more: www.ftsfashionforfreedom.com

(Much of the above content was drawn from Free the Slaves’ press release.)

Sr. Patricia Daly and Fr. Michael Crosby, Winners of ICCR’s 2017 Legacy Award

July 07, 2017

Author: editor

Category: Advocate

ICCR-LOGO
We are pleased to share with you that Fr. Mike Crosby, founder of The Human Thread, along with Sr. Pat Daly won the 2017 Legacy Award from ICCR. Please, see the press release below for more details.
DATE:
Jun 28th 2017

Pioneers in shareholder advocacy to be honored at ICCR’s annual event on September 28th. 

NEW YORK, NY, WEDNESDAY, JUNE 28TH, 2017 – The Governing Board of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) is pleased to announce that the winners of the ICCR 2017 Legacy Award are Sr. Patricia Daly, OP of the Dominican Sisters of Caldwell, NJ and Fr. Michael Crosby OFM Cap of the Province of St. Joseph of the Capuchin Order. 

Sr. Pat has worked in corporate responsibility and socially responsible investing for 40 years. She serves as the Director Emeritus of the Tri-State Coalition for Responsible Investment after having served 23 years as Executive Director. Pat is also the Corporate Responsibility Representative for the Sisters of St. Dominic of Caldwell, NJ.

Over the years Pat has successfully negotiated with companies on issues of human rights, labor, ecological concerns, militarism, equality, health and tobacco, and international debt and capital flows. Pat has played a role in forcing General Electric to pay for the clean-up of the Hudson River, helped to integrate global warming and the impacts of climate change into the priorities of Corporate America, and along with Fr. Mike Crosby, is a founder of Campaign ExxonMobil, calling this oil giant to task on matters related to climate change.

Sr. Pat is valued not only for her wisdom and leadership on so many issues of concern for the ICCR community, but for the way she has actively mentored many in our ranks, helping to cultivate the next generation of ICCR leaders as well.

Fr. Michael Crosby was one of the earliest members of ICCR and has been active in socially responsible investing and corporate engagement since 1973. Until recently, Mike was the Executive Director of Seventh Generation Interfaith Coalition in Milwaukee, an important ICCR member in the Midwest. Mike is credited with working to bring Catholic institutions into ICCR membership, and for four decades has been involved in engagements on many social and environmental concerns, most notably human rights in global supply chains, GHG emissions reductions and climate change and the health risks of tobacco.

Mike has been an active speaker, giving year-round workshops and retreats, and is an award-winning author. At ICCR, Mike is known for his passionate calls to action on the critical issues facing our planet and its people.

Said ICCR’s Board Chair Rev. Séamus Finn, “In honoring Fr. Mike Crosby OFM Cap and Sr. Patricia Daly OP, the ICCR community acknowledges the pioneering role that they have both played in bringing the vision of faith and the passion for justice into the cultures and operations of public corporations and the deliberations and decisions that are central to the investment process.”

Said ICCR’s CEO Josh Zinner, “We are thrilled to be honoring Pat and Mike with the ICCR Legacy Award.  There could not possibly be two more deserving recipients as, since the very beginning, they have been there pushing companies to do the right thing on so many critical issues of environmental and social justice.  They are both models for us all- kind-hearted, thoughtful, compassionate and full of strength.  We are so grateful to both for all that they have given to ICCR.” 

Both Sr. Pat and Fr. Mike will be honored at ICCR’s special event on Thursday, September 28th at the Riverside Church in New York City. To register for this event, please visit www.iccr.org.

 

About the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR)
Celebrating its 46th year, ICCR is the pioneer coalition of shareholder advocates who view the management of their investments as a catalyst for social change. Its 300 member organizations comprise faith communities, socially responsible asset managers, unions, pensions, NGOs and other socially responsible investors with combined assets of over $200 billion. ICCR members engage hundreds of corporations annually in an effort to foster greater corporate accountability. www.iccr.org

TED Talk from Pope Francis

May 05, 2017

Author: editor

Category: Advocate

Bangladeshi_women_sewing_clothes

Perhaps you already have seen Pope Francis’ TED Talk “Why the only future worth building includes everyone.” If not, take a look. This post will be here when you have finished the 17 minutes, 52 second video.

Welcome back. Wasn’t that great?

In his direct, simple style, Pope Francis offers three main points (like his structure for most homilies):

  1. Pope Francis proposes a profoundly relational view of the world in contrast to a view that of “discarded people,” or as he has described on other occasions as a “throw away society” or the “globalization of indifference.”
  2. Pope Francis proposes that growth in science and technological innovation be coupled with a growth in equality and social inclusion. At the heart of this, he proposes solidarity as the way forward.
  3. Pope Francis proposes a “Revolution of tenderness.”  This tenderness in eyes, ear, hands, and heart is not weakness but fortitude. The Pope offers a shrewd understanding of power, not only of politicians and leaders of business, but also the power wielded by each of us.

Pope Francis offers an insightful way forward in such difficult times as this.

In a few minutes, I will leave this computer and walk to join in Milwaukee’s March for Workers. Locally, it has a particular concern for immigrant workers, but, personally, I will walk as well for exploited workers throughout the globe. In fact, most such marches today in the U.S. will likely use t-shirts for the cause made by other exploited workers.

Our work here at The Human Thread is a slow, gradual work. We share our tools and modules and scorecards. We talk with neighbors about our shopping habits. We support the work of those who meet with the leadership of retailers, urging human rights and a just wage in the dispersed corporate supply chain. This day, let us take some time to reflect on the “Revolution of Tenderness” proposed by Pope Francis, a revolution where indifference is replaced by compassion and solidarity, a revolution that sees not dollar signs but the faces of human beings, our very brothers and sisters.

Art exposes garment industry injustice

April 04, 2017

Author: editor

Category: Advocate

"Machimon," a work of art depicting the harms of Fast Fashion by Rose Flores

“Machimon,” a work of art depicting the harms of Fast Fashion by Rose Flores

Art changes our perception. Occasionally, art speaks where words fail. Rose Flores uses her art to promote understanding and action in the garment industry on critical issues facing our communities and the world.

Rose encountered The Human Thread from a presentation at Divine Mercy Parish in South Milwaukee. Troubled by the content of the presentation, both the harm to the garment worker as well as the harm to creation, Rose said that she could not sleep. She said, “I wanted to tell people about the issue, but how do you explain it?” So, she decide to make something visual.

The lower left arm is weighted by chains, signifying low wages.

The lower left arm is weighted by chains, signifying low wages.

Rose and her husband dubbed the figure “Machimon.” On a mission trip to Guatemala, they encountered a Mayan deity, a god of excess and injustice by the name of Machimon. In a way, as we purchase garments to such excess and as the garment industry perpetuates tremendous injustice, the name seems fitting.

A few notable elements in the art:

  • The raised right arm has a gold papier-mâché figure representing the excessive profit from some garments. Hanging from the papier-mâché figure is a price tag that notes the average cost of a gown worn to the Oscars is $75,000.
  • The lower left arm is weighted by chains, signifying low wages, that have tags indicating the hourly wage in certain garment-making countries.
  • The face of the figure is a globe. Rose said that, for a while, she was uncertain what face to place on the figure, but a globe seems most appropriate as “I wanted to tell people it’s a world problem.”
  • At the feet of the figure are signs of the environmental harmed caused by the garment industry.

Rose insists that she does not have an art background, but that she enjoys it and has taken some classes. She adds, “It surprises me that I did this.”

At the feet of the figure are signs of the environmental harmed caused by the garment industry.

At the feet of the figure are signs of the environmental harmed caused by the garment industry.

All of the material for the art came from her home, all recycled. The main garment in the work of art is a shirt from her husband that was in their box to donate to Goodwill. The papier-mâché figure in the right hand is a project that a granddaughter made visiting an art museum.

The raised right arm has a gold papier-mâché figure

The raised right arm has a gold papier-mâché figure and a price tag noting the average cost of a gown worn to the Oscars .

Does Rose sleep any better after making this work of art? [The garment industry] “still bothers me a great deal,” she said. “When I try to talk to people, I get a glazed look sometimes. I can’t find the words to tell people how serious this is.”

Often, as injustice becomes routinized, we fall into what Pope Francis terms the “globalization of indifference.” Before such an enormous issue of injustice, what can a person do?

For Rose, “Machimon” was something she had to do. “Machimon” is a creative expression of art that exposes that injustice and hints at a way forward based on solidarity and receiving the other person as a gift. Art, indeed, can be an instrument for social change.

Since 1972, Rose and her husband Jose have lived in South Milwaukee participating in the parish that now comprise Divine Mercy Parish.