Why is Mrs. Shipe wearing the same dress everyday?


Outfit repeating for a good cause! Mrs. Shipe, assistant principal at West, hopes to raise awareness for and of modern human injustices and slavery.

Mrs. Ilana Shipe, Guest Columnist and West Assistant Principal

For the past several years, I have participated in #Dressember, a fundraiser that consists of wearing a dress during the month of December to raise awareness and funds that will help bring an end to modern slavery. This year I am doing the fundraiser as part of a group of DASD staff, a few of whom are part of West. The funds raised by Dressember are gifted to organizations such as International Justice Mission (IJM) which work to rescue people who are enslaved, bring to court and prosecute the perpetrators, and also provide training for those who are rescued so that they can support themselves once freed. I wear the same dress every day because it is noticeable; people see that I am wearing this one dress and ask questions, which gives me a chance to talk about why I am doing this. I get to share that there are more than 40 million slaves in the world, which is more slaves than during the peak of the slave trade in the 18th century. This includes men, women, and children all over the world forced into bondage in a variety of industries, both foreign and domestic. 

Dressember is one way that I can advocate on their behalf to raise awareness.

Doing this fundraiser also reminds me of how fortunate I really am. It is wildly inconvenient to cut back my wardrobe selection so severely, particularly if people do not ask me why I am wearing the same dress each day. Since I live in a temperate region, it is bone-chilling outside some mornings when I am welcoming people to the building. Every time I think about that, however, I remember the people for whom I am advocating. Those individuals experience real oppression and injustice; I was just uncomfortable and a bit cold.

If I can trade a bit of inconvenience for a chance to advocate, raise money, and make a difference, I’m in. Feel free to stop by and ask me questions. I would be happy to talk more about Dressember with you. You can also check out the Dressember website more more information.