Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Jennie from Columbia


i've really been wanting this for a place to honestly express my own beliefs. sometimes that takes a hyperlink, an image or a video. sometimes it takes another real-life human-being (no zombies allowed!). i met this poster while i was in undergrad. if you've seen the movie
Across the Universe the character to the far left in the picture (a still from the movie) is her dopplegänger. please meet jennie rose halperin:

First, thanks Coogan for letting me guest-blog.

I love blogs and kept one this summer. I miss it.

I first got involved with corporate responsibility in the third world during junior high school. I would never have called myself a radical, and didn't learn how I could put my outrage into action until I got to college.

Something I don't always admit to is that I am the recipient of the Two Ten Organization's "Super Scholar Award." Some sponsors of this scholarship include: Nike, Adidas, and Reebok.

When I received this award, initially, I felt guilty. I could not believe that the same companies I worked to change were sending me to college. I then realized this put me in a unique place: I could use this privilege as a student, as an activist, as an award recipient, and as a young and motivated person. Do I feel guilty that the same money that feeds the corporation also allows me to graduate from college without hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt? Yes, a little. Do I think this negates their need to donate to causes such as my scholarship fund? No. They have an obligation to do that as well. By taking their money I am continuing, at least, the philanthropic aspects of corporate responsibility. I also figure if I can get the ear of the CEO of a shoe company, I may not be able to change their mind, but they may divest, at least a little bit.

So now, two years into college, I am involved with United Students Against Sweatshops, and I urge the people who have granted me the opportunity to go to college to change their exploitative practices. I work with unions, I do worker appreciation, I work in a soup kitchen and at the Rape Crisis Center to address issues of power and privilege, I don't buy clothes unless I have to, and if so, I try to buy locally or thrifted. I listen. I try to live as "greenly" (if that hasn't become too much a cliche) as I can. I want to help stem the flow of globalization by fighting it on every level I can.

Do the people who give me my scholarship know that I do Critical Mass, work at a Zine library, yell and scream and protest every chance I get, and would consider myself a radical?
No. And they don't have to. (Unless of course they read this blog post... But that's unlikely. [editor's note: not unlikely if i have any say in it.])

So before you read this great article that follows, here's my two cents: think about your buying practices this holiday. Don't buy more clothes if you don't need them. Don't feed the beast if you can help it. Believe me, it doesn't love you in the same way your family and friends do. Write letters, give hugs, and eat delicious vegetarian food this holiday season. I will be counting my pairs of Nikes, obviously.

link to "dress for excess: the cost of our clothing addiction" from

1 comment:

Coogan said...

sure, you're not lebron james (btw, nike has officially purchased his name) making a gajillion dollars off those same endorsements. but, let's be honest, you're surely not going to end up like michael vick.