"Bec, it's not working. I don't know how to make it work," I frantically whispered in Barnes and Nobel as I pounded buttons on my netbook. "I do not have time for this! My presentation is tomorrow!" Hot tears burned my eyes, threatening to spill over my eyelashes.
"Don't worry Em, let me see it. Let me help," Becca, my older sister patiently replied. I passed her my small red computer and put my face in my hands, squeezing my eyes shut tight. Tomorrow I would be standing in front of my peers and sharing some of the most intimate and real parts of my life. It was the day before a big presentation where so much felt at stake, and I couldn't figure out how to make a power point. This was not the time to be hampered by my disconnect with technology. I was going to be telling people about human trafficking! This was serious. The topic of human freedom deserved at least a power point, right?!
"I don't think you have the program on here, babe. I can show you how to do it in iworks if you want? It's really simple, I promise," Becca gently offered. She knows of my discomfort with screens and she read the intense stress on my face. One rebellious tear embarrassingly broke my shaking facade.
"I want to go home," I choked out. Gathering up my things with my head down, more tears betrayed me.
I handed Becca the keys–I was in no state to drive–and in the semiprivate safety of my car, I cried. I didn't want to be an advocate. I wasn't equipped to teach anyone about freedom, or slavery or what they should do about it. What am I even doing about it? I'm not liberating anyone, I'm not making important legal changes...I'm just wearing a dress. How undramatic is that. How can I stand in front of four consecutive classes of my peers and say anything of substance? Who am I?
Needless to say, the night before I presented about human trafficking/my dress campaign was a rough night. After crying and talking with my sister in the car for twenty minutes, I went inside, put on sweatpants and Beethoven, grabbed a notepad and wrote out everything and anything I wanted to share. And that was my presentation. No professional power point. No dramatic stories or videos. I just shared what I knew and how I felt. And I'm so glad that's how I did it. Some fancy electronic show is not what the seniors at Worthington Kilbourne need–they have enough of that. I was blessed by they encouraging responses and I think they were blessed by my story. I could tell by the faces of the students–the numbers shocked them. Slavery was not even on their radar. I saw appreciation in a few students eyes as I admitted to feeling like a failure for not doing much of anything to help the abolitionist movement. I saw conflict in some, and disgust in others. Now they know.
The longer the majority of the population remains ignorant or apathetic about this darkness, the more girls are going to slip under the radar and become slaves in our cities. At least now they know.
Some various styles of the dress!