I received an email a couple of months ago from a small business owner who wanted to support our film project. Her name is Tasha, and after emailing back and forth for a little while I realized I just had to share some of her story with you! She a great example of what it looks like to fight for justice in life’s different stages.
Combined, we have been to every continent except the Antartica! Besides our own countries (Nate was born in the US and I in Canada), we’ve been to Mexico, England, Finland, Ukraine, Ghana, Austia, Fiji, Australia, Philippines, Papua New Guinea, India, Thailand, Italy, Holland, Jordan, UAE, Costa Rica, Brazil, Dominican Republic. We currently live in the Niagara Region, in Southern Ontario, Canada.
Was there an event or person that triggered your passion for justice?
I think my whole life it has been hard for me to just look away or walk by something that wasn’t just. I have often gotten in trouble for speaking up for someone or something (or gotten my husband in trouble, but that’s another story for another time!). So, it’s partly just in me. Though, personally, I have experienced situations – physically, emotionally and spiritually – where I have had parts of me taken without permission or was manipulated and controlled. I know what it feels like to not be treated in a just way. So with those two combined, it has lead me to help others in whatever way I can.
You asked if there was a specific person and I would have to mention a girl I mentored for some time. We met when I worked at a young offenders prison in my early twenties – she was an inmate. We got to know each other really well and she came to trust me; she became like a little sister to me. Her mum called me up when she had yet another court appearance and asked if I would go because she just couldn’t do it anymore. I heard a mum’s heart that wanted to see her daughter change, and though she felt she couldn’t handle any more of this with her, she didn’t want her daughter to walk alone. It didn’t take her long after that to get her life back on track and we’re still friends to this day. I would say it was the relationship of walking with her that has drawn me into the commitment of the long-haul when it comes to seeing victims of human trafficking freed.
My husband has also dealt with issues in his life which have led him to the same place of being able to show compassion to those who suffer, because he also knows what it’s like to walk in those shoes.
I remember coming to the end of my Fine Arts Degree at university and thinking how I wanted more out of being an artist than just having my work up on a wall with people wondering what it might be all about. I wanted to move people, to pull people in and push people into something more.
I wanted my art to cause people to react and respond with purpose. So, I put my paints and brushes on the shelf and a few years later, picked my camera back up. Though I’d love to integrate my paints in some way, I have been using photography to bring awareness to injustice issues from honour killing in the Middle East, to the street kids in Brazil and with my husband, human trafficking in Japan.
As my maternity leave was drawing to an end with my firstborn, I didn’t want to leave her to have to go back to work. As a natural entrepeneur, I am always thinking of things we could do or inventions I’d like to create – mostly while nursing my babies to sleep!
At about the same time, I was finding some of my cloth diapers were also starting to come to an end. They had velcro closures and because we wanted to have more children, I wanted them to last longer than just one baby. So, I converted some of the ones I had to snaps, making my own patterns depending on the cloth diaper being converted and found that the snaps gave the diapers an instant new life! They looked better, stayed closed and didn’t create the diaper chains in the wash that had been happening. And I’m currently using them again on our second baby!
I gave myself a couple of months to see how things would take off before my maternity leave came to an end through vendor shows and promoting where and when I could. Make it Snappy became a legal business, and was up and running by the start of 2010!
What are your top 3 favourite things about being a mom?
2. Seeing my children smile and hearing them laugh. And their cuddles – their cuddles are my absolute favourite.
3. Being at home with my kids. I don’t take it for granted and I am so grateful that my husband values a stay-at-home mum as much as I do for our children.
What do you hope to teach your children about the world and our role in it?
That their voice is important. They are not too small – even as children – to make a difference. Our role in this world is to be compassionate, loving, just and act. Not just to talk, but to be active – to speak for those who cannot speak; to stand up even if no one else does. we want to raise our children to be aware of their world. To stand up for those who have no voice. To be world changers.
What do you think needs to happen for sex trafficking to end?
I think the Nordic Model would be a great step for countries to implement instead of thinking that decriminalizing and legalizing everything will make things safe. I mean, who are they kidding?! That’s why I believe in this new film Hope for the Sold is doing so much! Some people just need things spelled out for them in overly clear ways… and some people just need to become more aware of the consequences and the issue itself.
I also believe we need more men to be voices in this fight. Men were created to protect us, not to abuse us in the most evil of ways. I think when we start seeing a turn in the mindset of men – and in what they allow in our society [as fathers, etc] – we will start seeing a real decline in how women are treated everywhere – from the media, advertising, the porn industry and human trafficking.
Women need men to stand up and be real men. Real men who fight for justice instead of choosing to just walk on by because it’s someone else’s problem. We as a society need to make this our issue in a very personal way. Then we will see a decline. I’m not sure if we’ll ever see it end… but I hope to and I want to!
Tasha has kindly decided to donate $1.00 from every diaper conversion to Hope for the Sold’s upcoming film on prostitution and trafficking. You can check out the Make It Snappy website here and see some more of her photography here!
Thank you Tasha for your family’s commitment to justice, and for being such a great example of what it looks like to live for more than yourself.
If you are a business owner and would like to support Hope for the Sold, please let me know and we can start that conversation!