CLIFF wanted to highlight the voice of the Brown students as they reflected themselves on the key takeaways of what has made them so successful:
Our story has humble beginnings. Just a few college kids would gather every week, writing up a piece of legislation and laying the groundwork for a state legislative campaign that they hoped could solve one of the world’s biggest injustices: modern-day slavery. A year later, they would be testifying in front of the Rhode Island House of Representatives Committee on Corporations. A year after that, they would be mobilizing a network of small businesses, religious organizations, and NGOs around their bill. So how did we get from here to there?
01 : A clear, compelling, and singular mission.
We organize around passing our Fair Labor Everywhere Act, and that’s all we do. While education and awareness building is important work, we decided to leave that to others. Instead, we spend all of time and energy working on getting our piece of legislation passed in Rhode Island. This helps us stay focused, reduce burnout, and keep people motivated.
02 : Getting “off of college hill.”
It’s easy to never leave your college campus, and Brown University’s location on the top of a physical hill makes it even easier. Our campus-related activities are limited only to recruitment of new members and some fundraising. Otherwise, we work to meet with NGO leaders, speak to congregations at places of worship, and go door to door to businesses asking if they will join us.
03 : Branding and internet presence.
We try to use the same language and logo everywhere. We maintain a Facebook, Twitter, and website to make sure that people can find us easily and know we’re still active. We have invested in printing stickers with our logo that our small-business partners can stick in their front windows.
04 : A goal everyone can get behind.
Ending modern-day slavery is a goal that’s hard to oppose, and we make sure to capitalize on that. Our past sponsors haven’t necessarily worked on anything related to ethical supply chains, but they were interested in workers’ rights, standing up for small businesses, or protecting women and children. Don’t be afraid to reach across the aisle to grow your support-base.
We find it intellectually dishonest and morally impermissible to ignore the systems of coerced labor that sustain our consumer lifestyles. We are committed to taking concrete action to buy out of systems that put profits before people.
- Laurel Strobel and Dylan Elliott, Brown students and unBUYnd leaders