union made promotional t-shirt

Ethix Merch and ISN Team up for Teach-In

For the 2015 Ignatian Solidarity Network (ISN) Family Teach-In for Justice in Washington, D.C., ISN made a commitment to protect the rights and dignity of garment workers by choosing to work with Ethix and Alta Gracia Apparel, which pays a living wage to its unionized workers in the Dominican Republic.

ISN’s efforts in expanding their budget to “walk the walk,” represents the sort of commitment needed to rid the world of the scourge of garment industry sweatshops. They are truly leading by example.

In advance of the event, in partnership with ISN, Alta Gracia workers toured Jesuit schools across the eastern United States. Our own Daniel Cardozo joined them at Georgetown University, sharing his expertise in group purchasing of ethical promotional items.

Daniel also represented Ethix at the Teach-in, where he had the opportunity to speak on the main stage about sweat-free purchasing, and took part in breakout sessions in tandem with workers from Alta Gracia. They made students aware of conditions in the Dominican Republic and why Alta Gracia is so important to the “sweat-free” movement.

“To engage with this particular group of students was incredibly inspiring,” Daniel said after the event. “Through their community’s dedication to social justice, the students were already primed for our message of bringing dignity, safety, and fair wages to factory workers through our purchasing choices. And, more importantly, they were prepared to take personal responsibility for enacting that moral imperative at their schools and in their lives.”

Daniel talked about how student groups can get involved in improving factory conditions through their group-purchasing behaviors. You can see his presentation in this video.

Some of Ethix’s most dedicated clients were in attendance at the Teach-In, making it clearly evident how much energy has been building within the Jesuit community on the issue of fighting sweatshops. Saint Louis University High School‘s physical education department, for example, had Alta Gracia-made T-shirts for its 400 incoming freshman class this year. In a recent blogpost, Christopher Kerr, executive director of the Ignatian Solidarity Network, said, “Saint Louis University High School’s is making a statement grounded in their Jesuit mission. We are hopeful that other schools will use SLUHS’s example as an impetus to integrate living wage apparel into already existing apparel needs within their school community.”

The Jesuit Volunteer Corps also ordered ethically produced promotional T-shirts for the event. (Here’s a picture of the shirts in action from the group’s Facebook page.)

 

jvc tshirts on facebook

JVC bought these awesome looking t-shirts from EthixMerchISN’s decision to expand its budget to do the right thing, exemplifies a groundswell of energy around the “sweat-free” and “fair trade” movements with the Jesuit community.  In addition to procuring its own event merchandise through ethical sources, ISN encouraged attendee organizations to do the same. Sweatshop-free tees could be seen on the backs of many of the 1,700 university and high school students, as they moved from workshop to workshop, learning about a wide array of crucial social justice issues and campaigns.

 

These are just a few examples of the Jesuit community’s growing commitment to workers at the end of the supply chain, and it’s just the tip of the iceberg. Ethix Merch processed orders for dozens of Catholic and Jesuit organizations in 2015, and, in 2016, with the help of ISN, it is hoped that those numbers will increase as the partnership between ISN and Ethix grows.

If your organization is part of the ISN, you can get direct access to promotional T-shirts through Ethix Merch, like this, via the ISN website.  You can customize and order your ethically produced promotional products for your own organization