Friday, July 13, 2012

Creating Social Justice with Purchases

I'm a big believer in regular giving to social justice and charitable causes.  But it's good to remember that there are other ways to support institutions and agencies that work for justice.  Many of them have products we can purchase.

By now, many of us are familiar with fair trade (as opposed to free trade) coffee, tea, and chocolate; for more information and a chance to purchase fair trade goods, go here.  But there are many other products we can purchase.

Earlier this week I got a shipment of pecans from Koinonia Partners, the group that brought some racial integration to Georgia and created Habitat for Humanity along the way.  The shipment brought me joy in many ways.  For one thing, the pecans are really good.  And even with shipping, they don't cost more than the pecans I find in the grocery store (I wrote a much longer post about pecans, their cost, and my love of them here).

You can support them too--they have all sorts of wonderful products:  go here for a variety of options.

Let us not forget groups like SERVV, which bring us beautiful creations from artisans around the world for a very fair price.  When you purchase gifts for birthdays, holidays, and other occasions, why not create a bit of social justice at the same time?

I returned to these ideas, as I do periodically, when thinking about Vacation Bible School, and the way we teach children to give to social justice projects and when praying for our youth, who travel to New Orleans for the ELCA youth gathering where a significant amount of their time will be in social justice work.  It's good to teach children to give money.  It's good to send them out to rebuild homes and cities with their own hands.  But it's also good to remember that there are many ways to work for social justice.

Even buying wine from our local wine shop in a revitalizing downtown area instead of from the national chains is a valid way of creating a better world with our consumption dollars.  What would happen if more of us made these kind of considerations every time we spent our money?

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