I just finished teaching the Catholic Social Theme of Dignity and Rights of Workers. My students were divided into groups to research the company of their choice that has an active sweatshop. They did lots of research, wrote a report, put together a power point presentation, and then presented it to the class. They made lots of discoveries they had never been aware of in the past. It really opened their eyes to some truths they didn’t want to know.
The last part of the project was how to change the situation using purchasing power, a voice in the workplace or political power. After the students finished presenting their research I asked each one of them now that they know the awful truth what will they do differently? A few said they would stop purchasing from those companies. A few said maybe they could raise awareness so others know about the issue. One said, “Now that I know about this I am going to make sure that the company I work for in the future does not support sweatshops.”
One of my students raised the concern that if we boycott the sweatshops then people may lose their only form of income. This is what I was looking for to analyze the issue in more depth. We discussed that what needs to happen is a boycott along with using our voice by raising awareness in the media and writing to the company and trying to put pressure on them to make changes, insert regulations, and to uphold human dignity in their factories. We need to write to congress people and assert our political power to make a change. When my students come back from spring break I will put them in groups to make changes. I can’t stand it when they say, “I am just one person, what difference can I make?” It only takes one person with a passion to change another person, and another person and that goes on and on until so many are banded together to make a huge change. I am going to have my students learn this lesson through their own work.
It only takes one person to make a difference. I am only one person and I teach 102 students each day. I write a daily reflection ( I have for 5.5 years now); I don’t know what difference I make in their lives or my readers lives but I know I make a difference. You are only one person but you make a difference in the lives of every person you know and come in contact with in some way or another. EVERY PERSON MAKES A DIFFERENCE!