Until All Are Free: An MLKJ-Day Sonnet

If you follow me on Twitter, you saw that I participated in Dressember again this year.  Dressember is a movement of women (and now men) who commit to a fashion challenge during December to raise awareness of and funds to end human trafficking. Most commit to wearing a dress or formal attire every day of December, but there are some variations that participants have introduced.

This was my sixth year participating. Over the years, I’ve learned more and more about human trafficking. I’m increasingly becoming uncomfortable by the subtle ways that I unintentionally support it. One month of the year, I wear dresses and talk a big game about changing the world–but how many of those dresses were made by slave labor?

I’m wrestling with the practical implications of the decisions I make. On the one hand, I truly care about those whom the fallen state of this world has forced into terrible situations.  I want justice and love and grace and freedom to reign in the world. On the other hand, I also want a comfortable life.

How much of my comfort am I willing to sacrifice so that others can have basic freedom and dignity?

It frightens me that I don’t know the answer, at least not yet.

I continue to wrestle with this dissension between my beliefs and my actions today as we remember the life of a man who was willing to give up his status, comfort, and life for the dignity and freedom of others.  And so, naturally, I wrote this sonnet.  Many of the words are taken or adapted from Martin Luther King, Jr.  His message continues to ring as relevant today as when he originally spoke/wrote.


The time is always right to do what’s right—
I say this with my lips and try to live
Like I believe the dark’s dispelled by light
And hate’s antidote is the love I can give.
I stand beside the lowly when it’s safe.
My lips profess I love them more than me.
When challenge comes, when comfort starts to chafe,
Will I still stand, or will I turn and flee?
The truth is: Justice only when easy
Isn’t just.  If you’re a slave, I’m not free.
Convenient protest makes me slightly queasy,
But will I dissent when it might hurt me?
God, make me bold, whatever the consequence be,
Until the joyous day when all are free.


I’d love to hear your thoughts on this issue. Please continue this conversation with me and others in the comments. May God bless us and shape us into people whose hearts and actions align with His heart.

Please share your thoughts :)

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