Julia Brink and Dressember

Tillie Mendoza, Staff Writer

Senior student Julia Brink brings her passion for ending human trafficking to Erie High School by participating in Dressember, a foundation that uses formalwear to spread awareness about injustice.

“Dressember is an organization that challenges people to wear a dress or a tie every day in December to raise awareness and fundraise in order to combat human trafficking.” Brink says.

She was approached by a leader in her youth group who encouraged her to participate. Her initial thought was that it would be a fun and simple thing to do, but through four consistent years of research and participation, she has since developed a “huge passion” for the subject.

“Doing Dressember my freshman year was really eye-opening because it exposed me to how many injustices there are in the world.” Brink continues, “I think that everybody kind of has a few of them [injustices] that they are interested in, and mine is definitely human trafficking.”

The common goal of Dressember participants is to gain more knowledge about human trafficking, save and advocate for victims, and use creativity to make a real change. Brink exclaimed, “it is a $150 billion industry with victims who are real men, women, and children.”

Despite the thought that the possibility is low, Brink wants them to know it is happening in all 50 states of America and happens more often than expected. She says, “If more people knew about it, we could keep ourselves safe.”

There are many things Erie High School students can do to fight human trafficking and spread awareness, including participating in Dressember, self-educating, and making donations. Brink explained, “Only 1% of the people that are being trafficked are ever able to get out of that life, and donating can change that for someone forever.” Brink and the other members of the Dressember team have donation pages available on social media platforms.

The only requirement for Dressember is to wear a dress or tie every day of the month, and it is free to join at any point in time. “The exceptions for that are if you are working and your work requires a certain uniform, and during exercise,” Brink says.

Joining the Dressember team and setting up a donation page is also an option, and the rest of the teammates offer plenty of resources and answer questions any new members may have. Brink says, “The best way to find more information is through my Instagram, @jkatbrink”, where she frequently posts statistics and fundraising updates. She also adds, “If people have specific questions they can message me on Instagram, or they can also email me at [email protected]” The www.dressember.org website offers information about the foundation as a whole, beyond the students at Erie who are involved.

Brink hopes Dressember will continue to flourish within the Erie community after she graduates, along with the fight to put an end to human trafficking. She says, “It hits really deep in me, and ever since getting involved [with Dressember] my first year, I just wanted to learn more and figure out what I could do.” Brink continues, “My heart just wants people to know more.”

Photo taken by Nikkoli Quesada