The Uzbekistan Cotton Chronicle

 Uzbek Cotton Farmers. Photo Credit: Efrem Lukatsky/Associated Press

Uzbek Cotton Farmers. Photo Credit: Efrem Lukatsky/Associated Press

"I graduated from the university three years ago. I first picked cotton as a schoolgirl, then while studying in college, thereafter while studying at the University. As I began to teach in college it started again: regular public "Saturdays" (collective cleaning), street cleaning, weeding cotton fields in the spring, and long days during the cotton harvest." - Uzbek Teacher, 9/30/14.

When I was growing up in Brodnax, Virginia I knew the history of the fields within and surrounding my community. Black slaves worked those lands, picking cotton, peanuts, tobacco and other crops for rich landowners for no many under constant threat of physical and sexual violence. In 1865, there was the Emancipation Proclamation that made it illegal on paper in this country for that to happen; unfortunately, just because laws exist doesn't mean that people don't continue to break them. Slavery still exists in the United States and around the world, especially in Uzbekistan. 

Government backed slavery is happening right now, today as you read this message. 

So what do you do about all of this? 

Step #1, get INFORMED. Here's a report of the atrocities happening there. You can also check out Courtney Wong's video here: 

Step #2, get INSPIRED. Here's a great story from Free the Slaves about what they're doing to fight slavery.

Step #3, get EQUIPPED. Follow @Welogoff for tips and information every day to live Local, Green, Organic, Fair and Free. 

As Christmas season is just around the corner and sales flood your inbox from Gilt and GroupOn, would you take a moment to pray for all of the children and families being exploited in the making of our "stuff". 

We can be transformed from consumers to stewards as God intended and buy freedom, not slavery to end the exploitation of people and the planet.