Introverts United to End Modern Slavery
Although there are those who might consider “Introverts United to End Modern Slavery” not as a badge of honor, but a ridiculous oxymoron–we want to celebrate all the lovely introverts out there fighting modern slavery. It is no joke that introverts get a bad rap, and unfortunately, in the advocacy world, a lot of great responses to injustice are designed by extroverts (or at least those introverts who have a very high level of confidence).
But introverts–those who derive energy from being alone, and are often much less the socialite than their extroverted counterpart–have a valuable role to play bringing freedom to modern slaves. We need their brilliance, and we need it to shine even within the LBD.Project.
(The LBD.Project is Average Advocate’s annual 31-day challenge to bring freedom to human trafficking victims by wearing the same black item of clothing every day through March).
Is There a Place for Introverts to Use Their Voice to End Modern Slavery?
On the second week of the LBD.Project, for those who are already introverted it can feel like they are already sapped dry of every ounce of bravery. They might not know how to move past feeling uncomfortable, timid, shy, anxious, unconfident and/or uninfluential. You might be wondering if the LBD.Project really has a place for you in it. In fact, you might be wondering if it is worth standing with modern slaves at all–it always feels overwhelming and intimidating when you have to summon all your boldness to use your voice to ask or share.
But there is a place and a need for you.
As I am an extrovert myself, I decided my word probably isn’t enough, nor does it address actually how you, as introverts, can unite to end modern slavery. Considering, I asked the introverts on our LBD.Project team to share with us how they do this.
If you are an introvert who believes people deserve a chance to be free (even if you aren’t participating in the LBD.Project), check out how Heidi and Jen embrace being an introvert while standing on behalf of modern slaves.
Heidi the Introvert
Hello my name is Heidi, and I’m an introvert. It’s taken me a while to admit and accept this fact. But yes, I am indeed an introvert. Doing the lbd.project is something I knew would stretch me, but I didn’t expect the stretching to happen so quickly upon beginning the project.
Day 1- I suddenly felt a teensy bit of “What did I get myself into?” Then the “What if’s” started coming to mind:
– “What if I raise no money?”
– “What if I want to back out?”
– “What if I fail?”
As I started posting on social media, I guess I expected more of a response–more of a victorious shout from my friends and acquaintances rising to the challenge to help my partnered organization.
What I got was a lot of silence. What I got was no money being raised. No hands uniting for the common good, no comments about how they loved what my organization was doing, just a lot of silence. (I’m a little dramatic, I realize, but stay with me.)
Then, I started feeling personally rejected. Was I too passionate? Saying too much? Not enough? Did my God approve of what I was doing?
This put this introvert into a funk of sorts.
But, being down similar stretching roads before, I knew I had two choices. I could allow my fears to drive me away from what I had already committed to do. I could run, never look back, and ultimately never grow from where I am today.
Or I could unpack all of my insecurities and examine them one by one.
If I believe that everyone has a God given right to be free, then spreading that message is good, never in vain. If people are rejecting what I’m posting, perhaps it’s the message that is being rejected, if at all, and not the messenger. And if I’m not meant to be here, the door will be closed in one way shape or form.
So I’ve decided to get daring and bold, so at the very end I can say I did everything in my power or raise money and awareness for other’s freedom.
Some ideas I have that you are all more than welcome to use are:
-Ask around if anyone has services they will donate for you to raffle off (hair services like blowouts, sports tickets, clothing, jewelry). Example, “donate $45 to such and such organization and be entered into a raffle to win a free blow-out.”
-Make up some silly incentives for people to donate for. One I liked was that I’d be drenched in ice water live on Instagram for a $35 donation.
-Something that also helped me was having a script of sorts memorized for when people ask me about my pin (if you don’t have a pin get one! So many people ask me about mine wherever I go).
My script is, “I’m working with a local organization and we are doing an anti human trafficking event this march where we wear the same black item (mine is a dress) all month while also raising money for orgs fighting on the front lines.” Then they usually say something telling me they’d like to learn more and that’s where I tell them about my org I’m raising for and the name of our website. Pretty simple, and terrifying haha but it’s been good for me to be more intentional about engaging people wherever I go.
Know you aren’t alone introverts, and ultimately, if we were on the other side of things, if we were the oppressed, we’d want others being bold and brave for us. So let’s be bold, let’s be brave, and let’s commit to doing this year’s lbd.project with our whole heart!
Jen the Introvert
Here goes: I haven’t overcome my introvertedness AT ALL. What I’ve done, instead, has been to embrace it. I don’t “put myself out there” in any sort of extroverted way, I don’t go up and talk to strangers, I don’t (usually) offer to go out and talk to crowds of people, etc. . . I’m not good at THOSE things.
What I’m really good at though, is building relationships and listening for opportunities to share something with another person that I think they might be interested in. I’ve quietly, over the years, kept talking about this “human trafficking thing” that was so important to me, and people started listening. I love that people send me article after article from their hometowns or from National News when trafficking pops up. From my closest friends to people I haven’t seen face to face in years but I’m connected with via social media, they’ve connected with my cause because of my passion and persistence . . . and because, as an introvert, I find social media to be a much less scary platform than face-to-face encounters.
As for the LBD.Project – I gave myself permission the very first year to not have to talk to ANYONE about it. I did it for myself. To see how dedicated I was, and to figure out how I wanted to get involved, and took the entire month to do more research on trafficking so that I could talk more about it in an educated manner. If someone asked me about why I was wearing the same thing, I told them, but I didn’t ask for money or donations.
The second year I talked more about it, and was more vocal, but still gave myself permission to not ask for donations because I hadn’t personally done my own research on the charities yet and I wanted to be sure. The third year, I did fundraising and spoke to a fair amount of people about it, both in person and online.
This year, not only am I super comfortable (and a lot more knowledgeable!) about the LBD.project, but also with the charities and the WHY. Specifically, why I myself am doing this, and why it should be important to others.
And you know what? Because I’ve spent the past year listening to people’s comments, concerns, preferences, etc. . . regarding human trafficking, I actually tailor my fundraising ask to the person. I’m able to use my relationship with them, combined with my knowledge of trafficking and the different charities, to fundraise.
My biggest advice to introverts in their first year? Give yourself the permission to not have to do everything.
Perhaps this year you just wear the one article of clothing and see the impact it makes on you, so that you can communicate that next year. Perhaps you just reach out to close friends and family. But take this time to listen, to grow, and to educate yourself so that come next year, you’re more comfortable speaking in knowledge and passion.
It Is Okay to Be an Introvert
What I love about this is that both of these introverts on the LBD.Project team are okay with being themselves while still challenging themselves (Jen, via baby-steps and relationships and Heidi by giving it her all by clinging to empathy). If you are an introvert or extrovert, I hope you will follow their examples by not giving up, pushing in, and celebrating what you can bring to the table rather than fixating on what you don’t bring to the table.
Introverts, we are thankful for your unique brilliance and we don’t want you to forget it!
(heck, feel free to plaster this “Introverts United to End Modern Slavery” badge everywhere just to celebrate your brilliance! Or wait, it that an extroverted thing? *wink*)