Ever wonder how you can help end modern slavery? Well, the answer might just be in front of your face. Jason Friensen founded Justache October, a month for men to turn their beards into half beards, moustaches, and mutton chops, to raise awareness about modern-day slavery and to raise funds for International Justice Mission in Canada.
Last year, Friensen raised over $8,500 in the first Justache October ever. He was inspired to start this movement after participating in a workshop in which he learned about modern day slavery. He was especially moved hearing about the story of 10 young Cambodian girls who had been enslaved.
"Girls who had been trafficked, who had been exploited. That just sent me for a loop. It turned my world upside down," said Friesen in a recent interview with CBC News.
Friensen realized he wanted to contribute to the effort to ending modern-day slavery, but did not feel like he had much to give.
"I thought, what do I got? What do I have in my hands? Not a whole lot. What do I have on my face? Well hey, maybe I can do something with my beard. Make it into something weird," Friesen said in his CBC interview.
Friensen’s main goal for the movement is to create a bold statement that will create a conversation, opening the door to share about IJM’s work. Friensen’s goal is raise $50,000 for IJM.
In order to participate, men can register for their own fundraising page, grow a facial hair style of their choosing and then shave it in half and sport it for the entire month of October. Throughout the month, Justache October participants are encouraged to post pictures of their half beards on social media using the hashtags #JustacheOctober and #GrowStandFight to continue to spread the word and raise awareness.
For example, IJM Canada’s Constituent Relations Assistant, Rick Adams, decided to take it to the next level by dying his beard bright blue for the sake of starting the conversation about justice.
Ladies are welcome to join Justache October as well by spreading the word about the movement and participating in their “big sister” movement Dressember in December.
Friensen’s hope is that Justache October will send men on a lifelong journey of becoming men of courage and compassion, who will stand for the rights of the poor, oppressed and vulnerable.
"This is us saying… we're ok with losing a part of our dignity for the sake of those who have lost so much of theirs," said Friesen in his recent CBC interview.
Join the movement at www.justacheoctober.com.
International Justice Mission is the world’s largest international anti-slavery organization, working to end modern-day slavery, human trafficking and other forms of violence against the poor by rescuing and restoring victims, restraining perpetrators, and transforming broken public justice systems. Learn more at www.ijm.org.