The Heart Behind #StyleForJustice
I want to hug every person who has entered, and wants the opportunity to come advocate with us on our #StyleForJustice Story Team Trip. I can be a competitive person, which can sometimes prevent me from attempting to take risks for fear of failure or not “winning.” That probably comes as a surprise to some since I started this Noonday thing, but more and more I realize my “risks” are highly calculated; I still want to control the outcome. Reading your submissions inspires me and encourages me to be braver. To risk for what I believe in. Which leads me to today and the story of how IJM, Noonday, and several of my favorite storytellers decided to link arms.
One out of three women across the globe experiences violent abuse within her lifetime. In many developing communities, basic daily activities—taking public transportation, collecting water—can put girls and women at particular risk of sexual assault. And for many poor girls, school is the most common place where sexual violence occurs.
International Justice Mission is changing the conversation around poverty and I wanted the women in our Noonday community to join in that conversation. So I invited a few creatives, a couple Ambassadors, and one of you in order to meet the women behind your purchases and understand better what justice work requires.
Make no mistake: we aren’t going to serve, to preach, or even to help. We aren’t going as saviors or as philanthropists or as teachers. We are going to CONNECT. We are connecting with the talented men and women Noonday relies on to bring amazing products to our customers. We are establishing friendships with women whose lives have been changed through the power of a reliable job. You will meet strong, independent women like Grace, who survived the Rwandan genocide when she was seven and eventually graduated from Noonday Collection’s seamstress course. She is now supporting herself and her family through a satisfying, sustainable job with Noonday’s sewing co-op and says she feels she has been given a new start.
Our goal is to help those in our communities at home understand that what they purchase matters. Our money talks, and we have the power to tell it what to say. It’s a sad truth that labor slavery exists and is a reality for thousands of people. By providing artisans around the world with access to U.S. markets, we can connect them to a fairer system that allows them to earn what they deserve from their hard work, without creating systems of patronage that can result from simply giving aid.
For this trip, I was excited to assemble a team of women with unique gifts and backgrounds. Each of them have been supporters and advocates for Noonday, and each of them have personally challenged, motivated, and moved me. Raechel is a writer at She Reads Truth and is writing a justice oriented Bible study with IJM. Jennie and I met when we were both adopting sons from Rwanda, and she is a powerful storyteller. Jen asked to come write for Noonday two years ago—when it was me, myself and I running this thing—because she saw how empowering our business model was. Emily Lex has designed for us in the past and is helping us design some beautiful tote bags as a new project for our Rwandan seamstresses. Like my business partner, Travis, Kelle Hampton has a little one with Down Syndrome, and I have loved hearing her share her heart since we connected a couple of years ago. We have also included two of our amazing Noonday Ambassadors, Wynne and Paige, whose blogs have brought so much awareness to Noonday and whose beautiful photography will help us capture the heart of this trip.
I will be leading the trip with one of my favorite people, Melissa Russel, IJM’s Vice President of Strategic Partnerships. “There is a hidden crisis silently undermining our best efforts to help the poor—it is a plague of everyday violence,” Melissa shared. “Every day we help women and children move out of violent situations, and we are grateful for partners like Noonday Collection who provide economic opportunities that generate hope and self-sufficiency. The bloggers sharing these stories are giving a powerful voice to the voiceless.” I also can’t wait to get to know Jan Haugen, wife of IJM founder Gary Haugen and a tremendous voice for good.
As you follow the trip, you will get a glimpse into the ways that IJM and Noonday Collection are addressing both the short-term needs of the vulnerable, such as providing immediate intervention for child victims of sexual assault, while also promoting long-term economic solutions that create sustainable jobs for the poor. We are so excited for you to be a part of this journey, and hope it will inspire you to use your gifts and resources to bring justice and empowerment with you, wherever you may find yourself.
Meet Jessica Honegger
Jessica is Noonday Collection’s Founder and Chief Dreamer. Jessica spends her days inspiring others to live lives of purpose—from empowering our Ambassadors to be powerful storytellers and stylists, to visiting and encouraging our Artisans partners across the globe. After hours, Jessica can be found relaxing with her husband, dancing with her three children, and enjoying a good book.