Equality + Dignity with Danielle Strickland

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Equality and dignity. We see you. You matter.

What feelings begin to stir inside of you when you read those words? For too many, this is a foreign concept. Too many girls have never felt "seen". They have never felt "known". They have never felt like they mattered to anyone. 

We learned last week in my interview with Brave Global's CEO, Miley Waterman, that the majority of the young ladies they serve come from the foster care system. They have bounced around from home to home, and have never felt the security that allows them to put down roots, to flourish and thrive. 

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When I began this partnership with Brave Global, I knew that I wanted to do a blog post to share who they are as an organization and the incredible work that they do. However, once I started laying it out, I knew very quickly that the scope of their work could not be captured in one post. Brave has three pillars, the first of which is 'Equality and Dignity'. To help us dive deeper into what this means for Brave, how we can get behind this idea, and how it all relates to trafficking, I interviewed their Board Director Danielle Strickland.

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Danielle has led churches, started training schools, and established justice departments around the world. She spent 22 years as an officer in The Salvation Army, and is an Ambassador for Compassion International and Stop The Traffik. Danielle has a deep calling to empower people.  This includes traveling and speaking at conferences and gatherings around the globe and authoring several books including The Liberating Truth, A Beautiful Mess, and The Ultimate Exodus and most recently, The Zombie Gospel. Co-founder of Infinitum (a way of life), Brave Global and Amplify Peace, Danielle is committed to see people, neighborhoods and the world transform.

To take us through Pillar 1, here is my interview with Danielle!

Can you tell us about Pillar 1?

Equality and Dignity are a value based social justice strategy. In a culture that say people are expendable and everything and everyone has a price the Brave Campaign holds this incredible transforming truth that all people - every single person is created with purpose and value intrinsically. No matter the circumstance of one’s birth or the things that have happened or even things that people have done - nothing can ever take away this ‘sacred truth’ of people's value. To a vulnerable population group that has heard a very different message their entire life this pillar has the power to transform the way we all think about each other and the way we act. Brave holds the ground that says, ‘we see you and you matter’. That’s a powerful pillar for change. 

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What are some practical ways we can get behind this Pillar?

How we see people matters. And how we see young vulnerable girls matter. We keep saying to these young amazing vibrant and talented young girls, ‘you are not the problem - you are the solution’. And the more we see them that way the more we act that way. If you see someone’s true self you automatically treat them with dignity and respect - you don’t see them as poor or needy but as capable and strong and then your actions enforce this perspective. Start paying attention to the way you view people. How you see people matter. Expose and challenge the lenses that you’ve been used to - we’ve been handed a worldview that has commodified human beings and places a high value on external realities (how wealthy people are, or beautiful, or popular/famous etc…) but what if we saw people differently than that? What if people’s differences and difficulties were actually ways that true internal strength and beauty were acknowledged and recognized? Instead of pity or even mercy we would start to treat people with respect and dignity.  Give it a go - the best way to get started is to change the way you see and then take a risk to get to know someone so they can surprise you with their intrinsic gifts and strengths. 

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How does this pillar relate to the fight against trafficking?

The selling of human beings is built on the idea that everything and everyone has a price. This is the commodification of humanity and it is slavery. Often we attack the reality or fruit of slavery with exit strategies and awareness campaigns which are all important but the Brave campaign seeks to go a little deeper. We have been asking ourselves, 'what if we attacked THE WORLDVIEW that says everyone has a price?' What if began to celebrate this divine and sacred truth that every human, from every culture, and every background, and every color, was created fearfully and wonderfully good - and that they were meant to flourish with a purposeful life as contributors to a better world? We think that is REVOLUTIONARY. That’s how we choose to fight not just the reality of everyday trafficking but the forces behind trafficking that allow it to continue. 

A huge THANK YOU to Danielle for taking the time to educate us on this pillar. I'd love for you to like and share this with your community. For every purchase this month, we are donating one Brave Global journal to an at-risk girl - our goal is 30 journals!  To learn more about this initiative, check out our previous blog post. To start shopping, click here!

To connect with Brave Global, visit braveglobal.org and @braveglobalinc

To connect with Danielle, visit daniellestrickland.com and @daniellejstrickland

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Stay tuned for part three of this series next week, where we will explore Brave's second pillar!