• Why I Buy Ethical Clothes
    Ethical Shopping,  Social Justice

    Why I Pay More For Ethical Clothes

    I grew up in central Illinois with strong German-Lutheran roots. We made jello salads, sat in the same pew every Sunday, and more than anything loved to brag about a good deal. To this day, if I get a good price on something, I will feel compelled to tell you about it the moment you mention the item. Like my shirt? I got it from the clearance rack at Target! This cute bag? $1 at a garage sale! I will beam with pride, and if you are from the Midwest, you will be equal parts jealous and thrilled. However, lately something has thrown a wrench into my usual good-deal joy.…

  • Social Justice

    How To Survive a Culture War

    Having lived abroad the last few years, my friend group has become incredibly diverse. Though social media often acts as an echo chamber, my newsfeed remains evenly balanced between conservative and liberal, religious and secular. I usually enjoy this diversity, but when current events trigger another round of cultural warfare, I cringe as they dig their heels in and shout. I have my own opinions on hot-button issues, but I’m also curious enough to continue reading all the statuses, blogs, and manifestos that get thrown around with each new battle. Sometimes I learn something new. Sometimes I feel like I’ve been bludgeoned by an internet troll. Always, I see two sides fearful…

  • Motherhood,  Social Justice

    Raising a Jonathan

    I grew up with all women, and it was pretty much like you’d expect it to be. We had long, complex relational talks. We went on sassy road trips while everyone was on their period. We fixed our own appliances. We didn’t really miss having men around. Then I gave birth to a beautiful son. Nothing could have prepared me for him. Motherhood, in any form, is daunting. Raising a boy when all you know is women is terrifying.  When I imagined motherhood, I saw myself championing my children in a world where they would be underdogs. That’s what my mother did for us, teaching my sister and me not to…

  • Social Justice

    Slavery and Adoption

    I went to the courthouse to witness the adoption of a beautiful, spunky little girl. Her parents swore to love and protect her, and the judge declared that she was no longer “Baby Girl,” but had a new name and a forever family. The girl, sensing something worth celebrating, clapped her little hands, and we all laughed and dabbed our eyes. Of course, not everyone was at the courthouse for such a happy occasion. As I waited in the hallway, I watched an officer escort a group of young black men with chains around their ankles. You could hear them coming; the metal clinked against the floor. It was impossible not to look…

  • Social Justice

    Dear White Neighbor

    Last week, “Dear Black Neighbor” garnered an overwhelming response. Today, my dear friend and fellow writer Monica Prince joins the conversation, giving voice to the other side of the neighborhood. I am so honored to have her here, and I pray her words will pierce your hearts as much as they do mine.   Last summer, the day George Zimmerman was acquitted of all charges for the murder of seventeen-year-old Trayvon Martin, I locked myself in my room and cried. With every story I heard following Trayvon Martin’s—and there were too many—my heart became heavier. The burden of remembering the names of the slain weighed on my shoulders until I could barely crawl out of…

  • Social Justice

    Dear Black Neighbor

    The week Michael Brown was shot, there was a young black man riding his bike in my neighborhood. I happened to look out the window from my desk just as he tumbled over his handlebars, landing face-down on the sidewalk. He lay there a moment, regaining his wits, and I scooted around in my chair, debating whether or not to go outside. I didn’t want to embarrass him, but when it took him several minutes to get up, I went to the front porch to make sure he was alright. As he finally got to his feet and brushed the gravel off his hands, I asked if he was okay…