Morning with the Bangladeshi

This morning I was sorting my laundry. Something I rarely do. I’d rather just throw it all in, waste less energy (both fossil and mine) and call it a day.

But today I decided to read and sort. Read and sort. Watch a little tv, and sort. While looking at a  newish shirt, searching for the water temperature I see “En Bangladesh“.

A little phrase with so much power.

A little phrase with so much power.

My lazy, privileged, Saturday comes to a stop. Did I presume I owned no clothes from Bangladesh? No. But did I think about it in this direct of a way? No.

So I sit and reflect. I turn off the TV and think of the 1,127 people that died. Envisioning those who lost their lives, their fear, their slave-like labor conditions and hours, and their broken families. And the utter strangeness and disconnect we can have in our world. I don’t do this to make myself sad, or guilty. I do this because I’m human, and so were they. These aren’t forces of the market- these are people who deserve more than deplorable conditions. And we need a uniting force to change these tragedies.

Seeking a Brighter Future:

I’ve read a lot in the past few weeks about what to do regarding a ‘never again’ mentality. I do think there are plenty of opportunities- BUT we must seek for all stakeholders to be involved. A small group of consumers choosing different products alone is not enough.

What we can do:

  1. Write to our Representatives.
  2. Write to companies to support workers in factories.
  3. Stay up to date.
  4. Buy from responsible retailers, fair trade, or second hand. The Effortless Gent has great tips on and more food for thought!

What others can do:

  1. Manufacturer’s and retailers should join the Accord on Fire and Building Safety. (** Note: There are newer alternatives popping up, but there is some concern that they are weaker and more ineffective, again a reason to stay informed).
  2. Companies should also have full knowledge to the lowest tier of their supply chain as well as make sure grievance mechanisms are in place.
  3. Governments should continue to track Forced Labor goods that are being brought into their countries. In addition, they should more stringently pay attention to  audit irregularities such as ones that could have flagged Rana Plaza’s building code violations.
  4. Shareholders should also hold their companies accountable, by voting their proxies and staying informed.

*These are not fully exhaustive lists, but just highlights. 

Choosing our Power:

We are not powerless. But we can choose to be. To ignore the realities of our world, to say that it’s too hard, or it’s someone else’s burden to take on, does not make us blameless…it’s makes us woefully complicit.

Let’s choose to unite with action against such atrocities, and let our hearts be “En Bangladesh”.

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