Musings from the ever-changing, ever-amazing and occasionally ever-baffling Fort McMurray, Alberta.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

We Are the Global Village - Knight Lights

It has become one of my favourite seasonal events, combining so many of the things I am passionate about: social justice, the holidays, and young adults. I have attended since it began, and every year it has gotten bigger, and better, and brighter, and I have watched as it introduced the community to the concepts of fair trade while at the same time it helped students to understand both the concepts of entrepreneurialism and using that business spirit to achieve the aims of equity and fair trade in our world. And I am excited to attend tomorrow evening, because it is has become one of the events I now associate with Christmas in Fort McMurray.

The concept behind fair trade - people being paid fair price for the goods they produce - is not a new one, but it is a bit unusual in Fort McMurray simply because we don't have a store like 10,000 Villages, which is often how people first learn of fair trade and what it means. We are so accustomed to stickers showing that our goods are from places like China and Taiwan, but we rarely stop to think about the true cost or impact of those goods on the lives of those who produce, package, and ship them to us. We have come to equate cheap with desirable, failing to recognize that just as we have an expectation to be paid fairly for our work so too should those in other countries - and on occasion we fail to understand the impact that fair price can have on those who reside so far away from us.
Social justice is a concept the Intrepid Junior Blogger and I discuss a great deal. I want her to grow up with an understanding that her world extends far past our house, her school, and even this community. I want her to grasp that we are a global community, a collective of individuals who may speak different languages and embrace different traditions but who share common goals and aspirations, and who deserve to enjoy a standard of living that recognizes their status as a person, a human, and a global citizen. I want her to understand that poverty is not okay. I want her to embrace her role as global citizen too, and take her place in that village alongside young adults from all over the world.
Perhaps that is why Knight Lights at Holy Trinity resonates so deeply with me. It is the creation of students in that school who are passionate about social justice, equality, and ensuring that everyone who shares this planet has a quality of life that reflects their fundamental belief that all life is precious, and worthy, and important.

I suppose one of the other reasons it resonates with me is because while it is about fair trade and social justice and youth it is also about holiday shopping - which is something else that excites me, because I have many on my list who would love to know that not only did I care enough for them to buy a gift but I cared enough to invest in fair trade and the initiatives of young people in our community (and frankly I can never own enough pashminas, and I always seem to come home with one or two from this market, too). So, where will you be tomorrow night? If you want to do some holiday shopping, explore fair trade, and support some local youth who are doing what they can to make a difference in this world you will be at Holy Trinity High School, just like me, the IJB, and hundreds of others in this community who have already discovered the magic and joy of being part of the global community through Knight Lights.

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