Let Africa’s Children Be Your Valentine
Valentine’s Day is coming up, and to celebrate it slave-free, you might want to plan ahead. Here are a few ways to support the abolitionist movement this February:
- Get Hershey to do the right thing.
This year a lot of anti-trafficking organizations are fighting the chocolate industry by focusing their attention on Hershey. Hershey continues to be a primary abuser of children in Africa. As opposed to Cadbury and Mars, who have made promises to address the problem of child trafficking in their cocoa production, Hershey hardly pays lip service, let alone takes action, toward ending slave-made chocolate. Thus many abolitionist groups are teaming up to send Valentines to David West, CEO of Hershey, encouraging him to raise the bar in chocolate production by ending slave-made chocolate in the Hershey production line. If you care to join in, you can use an already made template or make your own.
- Reward a great chocolate company. Along with holding big business accountable, why not also use Valentine’s Day to reward a company that ensures fair and safe production? If you are planning to buy chocolate for your sweetie this year, consider Divine Chocolate. Divine is a cooperative based out of Britain and Africa. The company is 45% owned by cocoa farmers and is 100% fair trade. Their prices are reasonable, the beautiful wrapping makes it a great gift, and the chocolate can’t be beat. They make regular milk, dark, and white chocolate, but are also known for their mixtures – like white chocolate with strawberries (amazing) and dark chocolate with raspberries (also amazing). Find them at your local health food store, or in many regular grocery stores. (Note: they, sadly, don’t pay me anything to talk so well of them.)
- Watch a tear-jerker.
Say goodbye to cheesy romcoms! Many cities are hosting screenings leading up to Valentine’s Day of the documentary The Dark Side of Chocolate. Anti-slavery groups are encouraging individuals to purchase the film for $6 and host a screening for their friends. Perhaps a Valentine’s screening party complete with fair trade chocolate cake? Which leads me to…
- Bake freedom into your goodies.
Planning to bring cookies to work around Valentine’s Day or make your honey a cake? Fair trade baking chocolate is available at most health food stores, including Whole Foods. An additional incentive: It’s almost always organic, so it even tastes better.
As for me, I’ll probably be doing very few of these things. I am looking forward to a DC screening of The Dark Side of Chocolate at Busboys and Poets in Shirlington on February 8. And I will probably send David West a Valentine because it seems cheeky and potentially effective. But Michael and I have never been the Valentine’s Day types. So we’ll probably spend the evening drinking cheap beer and watching Nixon, as that is what will be due in our Netflix queue right about then. One man’s political downfall is another man’s romantic evening in.