My husband and I don't celebrate Valentine's day but we do celebrate Abraham Lincoln's birthday on February 12th. I'm not sure how it started but it's been a fun little celebration that's unique to the two of us. Abraham Lincoln played a major role in abolishing slavery in the United States in 1863, something that I will always greatly admire about him.
When we were in Gettysburg this past summer it really put into perspective about how Americans fought for unity and freedom but also how some fought to continue the oppression. Every time we visit the U.S.A I'm reminded of why they are such a proud people, but sometimes pride has negative effects. As much as I love Abe and what was accomplished by him, I don't believe our attitude about slavery and racism has changed. Slavery is actually more prevalent now than ever before. An estimated 21 million are enslaved worldwide, 78% in labour slavery, 22% in sex slavery and 26% in child slavery.
I don't actually have anything against the idea of Valentines day, I have a problem with the way we celebrate it. For a holiday about love, it fails to live up to it's purpose. We buy chocolates made with cocoa and sugar from slave labour and roses grown in Kenya, India and Ecuador by under paid and over worked farmers working in harsh conditions.
If showing love is our goal for Valentine's day let's show love in the purchases we make.
Here are some suggestions!
- Fair Trade Valentine's Day theme chocolate from Ten Thousand Villages
- Other Fair Trade Chocolate bars can be found at any health food store or conventional grocer
- Local Chocolatiers- Anna Tolazzi (Kitchener Market), Ambrosia and Chocolate Revelations
- If buying roses, ask where they are coming from. Choose ones that are from Canadian green houses. Fair Trade roses do exist, but unfortunately no shops around here carry them.
- Buy different flowers! Roses are over rated anyways.
- Bake a chocolate cake with ALL Fair Trade ingredients.