Cupcakes can change the world.
“It sounds pretty bizarre, and I don’t blame you for thinking I’m a little wacko for making such a bold statement, but it doesn’t change that the statement is true. What if I told you that YOU, as one person in this massive world, can use something you are passionate about to implement and create a lasting global impact and help end slavery? That’s what I did, this is what I am doing, and it all started with cupcakes…”
This weekend I am headed to Ohio to be part of a Social Justice Summit where my talk, titled Cupcakes Can Change The World, aims to encourage individuals to implement two key pieces of activism to see modern-day slavery and human trafficking come to an end. These two crucial parts of the activism puzzle are:
1- Purchasing Power
2- Open Source Activism
These two concepts have been woven so seamlessly into my everyday life that I often forget that just five years ago, I really had no idea slavery still existed in the world. I had a smidge of an idea, but on this date five years ago I hadn’t even been to Thailand yet! My first Live Different build to Thailand, partnered with my stint with Not For Sale as part of their Fellowship Program, sent my life into a new direction. It’s those two events that propelled my life down a path lined with moments where I actively engaged with my surroundings to live where the justice of ending slavery is a daily goal. Where each and every day I am acknowledging my part of the supply chain…
“If every person were a super-hero, our power of purchasing items would be our biggest strength in the fight to end injustice. You use the money you work so hard to earn day in and day out to purchase food, clothing, pay your rent or your mortgage, go to a movie, travel and give away to those in need. Do you know where your money goes? Do you know who you support, whom you help, and which companies you enable to continue working wrongly with the money you give them?”
As a consumer, we play a massive role in seeing human trafficking and modern day slavery come to an end. The average person doesn’t realize it… Realistically, the average person probably doesn’t even know slavery exists. But for even the slightly more conscious consumer, we understand from reading the news or hearing buzzwords like ‘locally made’ or ‘ethically made’ that there seems to be a bigger issue looming inside the factories that produce our clothing, electronics, food, makeup, and just about every other item we consume.
It can be discouraging to really look at the landscape of what we buy and realize supply chains are lined with dirt on slavery. Amazing resources like Behind The Barcode can shed some light on companies who are trying to become more transparent to meet the growing demands of conscious consumers. When it comes to clothing, and how I’ve committed to reducing my vote with my dollars to the expansion of slavery, I purchase from transparent companies, companies with either A or B ratings on Behind the Barcode or shop second hand…My favourite way to reduce my contribution to slavery also helps reduce my strain on the environment, and that’s wearing hand-me-downs!
Open Source Activism
“Open Source Activism is pairing your own skills and talents with your desire to change the world. We’ve all attended benefit concerts or bought yummy goodies from bake sale fundraisers, attended tournaments where entrance fees go to charities or even gone out to a club for the sake of injustice. No matter what your skill set is, you can use it to change the world by both implementing your purchasing power when it comes to your participation in your passion, and in how you take your passions to the next level to really show you mean world change.”
This is where cupcakes come in. When you take your passion and combine it with ending injustice, amazing things can happen.
Five years ago I never thought I would have the idea of baking to help end slavery. I look back to five years ago when I had a career I was ‘over’, a life with no direction, and a heart that was searching for something to invest in. As I became involved with ending slavery people started saying ‘why don’t you bake?’. It seemed like such a far-fetched idea, but I pursued it and now I use my platform as a baker, writer, and activist to share with people how they can use what they are passionate to end slavery. I’ve baked cupcakes with local and fairtrade ingredients, donated cupcakes to fundraisers for those going on trips to work with individuals who have been exploited, and I’ve enticed people with cute cupcake photos to read about what human trafficking is. It’s through this passion that I’ve been able to educate and inspire others to live a life of change.
It’s all pretty incredible when you think it all started with something small like a cupcake. But, like I always say, it’s the little things that make the biggest difference. As I put together my keynote presentation, filled with adorable pastel photos of cupcakes and sprinkles, I am reminded that we all play a part in seeing slavery come to an end, and it’s up to us to pursue our passions in a way that will see real change occur. I am grateful for my journey– how it began, where it has taken me, and to the unknowns ahead.
There’s one thing I know for certain I will encounter on the roads I have yet to travel, and that is people who are longing to make a difference and a world that will be looking for people to be the change.