Friday, February 21, 2014

Twice Cleansed

This is an interview with an extraordinary person who is works hard and fights hard to help vulnerable people all over the world as the director of an organization that takes a stand for human rights....

Tell us about the Twice Cleansed Organization.

Twice Cleansed is "Soap with a Story" - the story of how individuals and business together participate in the fight against sex-trafficking; the story of how jobs become a preventative measure to trafficking vulnerable people; and the story of people's lives being changed as a result.  Twice Cleansed is unique in its role because there are few organizations that are tackling the employment and poverty aspects of human trafficking.  Trafficking is a supply and demand business.  We have to address the reasons why a parent feels the need to sell their child or why a victim chooses to go "back to work" for their pimp.  Our goal is to provide jobs to those who are vulnerable and dedicate profits to organizations that are already providing rehabilitation, education, and safe houses to those who are survivors of this horrible injustice.

Tell us about yourself and what you do for the Twice Cleansed Organization.

My name is Tiffany and I work as the general manager of Twice Cleansed.  I take care of organizing events, fundraising, selling soap, managing social media and marketing, and partnering with other organizations in this fight. 

How did you first get involved with Twice Cleansed? 

About 3 years ago I was sitting in church and a video played about the injustice of human trafficking.  I was brought to tears just thinking about how a father could sell his own daughter into sex slavery.  Having such an amazing relationship with my own father, I could not fathom that someone could be so desperate to sell their own flesh and blood.  Feeling very convicted to do something, I reached out to the president of Twice Cleansed.  I began volunteering at their soap sales and they provided me with many opportunities to get trained and educated about the growing industry of human trafficking.

What would you like the world to know about Twice Cleansed?

Participation in this heroic battle against evil is accessible in the lives of one family at a time; impact one generation at a time; and change one community at a time, all in time.  Working with skin care for a long time, I always have taken an informed role about what I put on my skin.  I was so happy when I found out about Twice Cleansed, not only because of the amazing cause that it supports, but because the product itself is an amazing one!  Our skin is our largest organ, what we put on it absorbs directly into our bloodstream within 26 seconds.  This Organic Olive Oil Soap sold by Twice Cleansed has only 3 ingredients: Olive Oil, Water, Sodium Hydroxide.  There is something very unique about a company that can produce such a high quality product that help end human suffering.  The idea of being Twice Cleansed gets me every time I use it.  Refreshing my body while redeeming a life - a fair trade! 

It's hard for many to wrap their mind around the fact that human trafficking happens everywhere - we don't like to think that it happens in the cities where we live.  What words do you have about how we need to open our eyes to this reality?

You can choose to look the other way, but you can never say you didn't know.  I think Edmund Burke said it best, "All that is required for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."  That is why human trafficking is the second most profitable industry, after drug trafficking.  Too many people do nothing.  The reality is that this isn't just happening in Lebanon.  This is happening in Portland, Oregon.  This is happening to the 13 year old girl at Washington Square Mall, your neighbor, your sister, or your friend.  Human trafficking affects us all.  We need to have a serious talk about why we allow it.  Why do we turn our heads the other way when we see something suspicious, like we should be minding our own business?  Exploitation of women and children is our concern.  As a society we need to make it our concern.  As men, you need to make it your business to not fuel demand.  Just like any other business, if you don't have buyers, you can't sell.

Each generation has the responsibility to leave the world a better place than they found it.  What can our generation do specifically to fight against the problem of human trafficking?

Be aware.  We can start in our own homes with the products that we buy.  I challenge everyone to take the pledge to #PurchaseWith Purpose.  No one can do everything, but everyone can do something.  We can all decide that we refuse to fuel the human trafficking industry by making purchases of products that combat human trafficking instead of settling for their inferior counterparts. 
Become an advocate.  As consumers, we have a powerful and unique say on what goes.  We must choose to stand up and inform others if a company is aiding this industry with child labor or unethical work practices.
Do not remain silent.  If you see something, say something.  If you believe that you are a victim of sex trafficking and/or forced labor or slavery, or if you want to report a tip or suspicious activity, contact the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline at 1-888-373-8888 or text "Be Free" to 233733.

Join our supporter Aaron Smith in his blogger campaign!
Join our campaign at
Twitter: @Twice_Cleansed
Instagram: @TwiceCleansed

I will leave you with this quote by J.K. Rowling:

"We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided."

Many thanks to Tiffany, the General Manager of Twice Cleansed, for this interview.   The year she was born makes her technically Generation Y, though she is Generation X in many ways because of the influence of Gen X pop culture in her formative years that came from an older Gen X sibling.  Being a part of a generation is partly about the history/culture/pop culture that influenced your youth, and partly about the year you came into the world. (Gen X is often considered those born 1961-1981 and Gen Y people were born through the rest of the 1980s and 1990s).  Some people in this category call themselves Generation XY.  Whether we're X, Y, or XY, if we work together, we can leave the world a better place than we found it. 

(c) 2014

Monday, February 17, 2014

Light From a Pixel

Sometimes people ask how Light From a Pixel got its name.  Light is a metaphor we have seen countless times throughout the centuries in literature as it symbolizes things like new life or the unveiling of truth.  It is a timeless concept that applies to every generation as they seek to understand the world around them.  Light is connected with driving out darkness, with hope, with finding reason and wisdom in the midst of chaos.  It is a metaphor or symbol for the presence of God.  In him was life, and the life was the light of mankind.  - John 1:4 

Like a pixel does, I strive to put light out into the world with my writing.  As I wrote the very first words of this blog, I began to see myself as a pixel shining light from a computer screen into a dark room.   I see Gen Xers as my fellow pixels - that is where the URL for this blog came from:

 If just one pixel is shining light on a large screen, you can see it.  If a few are shining together, a ray of light can start to reach across the whole room....

As we look for answers, we look back through time at what other generations have written in order to understand the world and history through the eyes of people who have lived in other eras.  I look to my fellow Gen Xers the most to help me find light as I look for answers in the world today.  Part of this is looking back to the pop culture of our youth and the images of our collective consciousness that lit up our imaginations.  Gen X is the first digitally literate generation on the timeline and many our childhood memories are full of pixels.

Much of the essence of this blog is the spirituality that developed within me in my youth in sacred moments of experiencing the presence of God when I was barely beginning to know that even meant.  These moments are connected to visual snapshots from my childhood that float through my consciousness vintage Christmas lights strung across an icy rooftop, pictures I made with my Lite Brite, images of the first video games I ever played.  Most of all, there was the fiber optic lights I played with in my childhood before the sun would rise that were like the stained glass windows of a cathedral to me.

Every time I see a picture of the earth taken from the outer atmosphere that shows the continents lit up by the stillness of city lights and the movement of cars on freeways - I think about the collective light of a generation - especially Generation X.

It seems like each generation comes together by the choices it makes to create a sort of mosaic of pixels, and when the very last person from a generation takes their last breath before dying, a sort of cosmic screen print is made of the image everyone created together.  This is what becomes the legacy of a generation. What image will Generation X leave behind for the ages?   What will we do to leave the world a better place than we found it? 

Let's look for the light, let's be the light.  We are all pixels and our light shines brighter when we shine together....

(c) 2014 writing and fiber optic/Lite Brite photos by Chloe Koffas -
(picture of earth available free by NASA)