Anniversary of Triangle Shirtwaist Fire Highlights Today's Human Rights Abuses
03/07/2013

Youth for Human Rights of Florida is looking to end sweatshop misery by highlighting fair trade clothing and its designers at the 3rd Annual Colors of the World Fashion Show.

Online PR News – 07-March-2013 – Ybor City, FL – In memorial to the victims of 1911’s Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, Youth for Human Rights of Florida announced this week that they are seeking fair-trade clothing to feature at their 3rd Annual Colors of the World Fashion Show.

The fashion show will be held this July at the historic Ybor Square, current home of the Church of Scientology of Tampa.

In past years, the fashion show has highlighted fair-trade clothing from Green Verdana, Indigenous Designs, Green Heart Shop, Novica and Urban Inca Shoes.

Youth for Human Rights would like to expand the variety of clothing that is showcased, to educate and enlighten event attendees that there are alternatives.

The World Fair Trade Organization defines ‘fair trade’ as “…a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency and respect that seeks greater equity in international trade. It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of, marginalized producers and workers.”

Paula Martinez, Youth for Human Rights spokesperson said, “When you can buy clothes that are made by people who are given a living wage, who work in humane conditions, you are sending a message that humanity is important, not the bottom line.”

This was not the case nearly 102 year ago, on March 25th, 1911, when 146 young women – mostly teenage girls - lost their lives in the tragic Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire. The worker’s deaths brought attention to the harsh working conditions of factory workers (including their bosses, whose policy of locking the factory doors from the outside so the girls couldn’t steal clothing or take unauthorized breaks contributed to the fatality rate), created a public outcry. Extensive investigation into these working conditions brought about such sweeping reforms that by the late 1930’s sweatshops in the United States had been obliterated.

“Unfortunately,” said Dustin McGahee, the President of Youth for Human Rights Florida, “sweatshops have again become a part of the garment industry. Last year, the United States Labor Department conducted 374 different investigations and found 2,215 workers in Southern California and New York who had not been paid minimum wage.”

McGahee also cites the deaths of 100 factory workers in the Tazreen Fashion Factory in Bangladesh in late 2012 as an example of how garment workers are still forced to work in inhumane conditions.

“The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights decrees that everyone has the right to a life of no slavery, fair pay and the right to a decent standard of living,” added Martinez, “so we continue to promote these rights through this fashion show.”

Youth for Human Rights of Florida is a secular, non-profit organization that educates people on the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. With the support of the Church of Scientology, Youth for Human Rights has been able to reproduce and distribute millions of multi-media educational materials.

“Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard emphasized that basic human rights are key to the betterment of a civilization,” said Church of Scientology spokesperson Pat Harney. “In fact, in the Code of a Scientologist, Mr. Hubbard called for all members of our Church ‘to support true humanitarian endeavors in the fields of human rights’ and this fashion show, and the groups that will benefit as a result are part of what we do to help in this area.”

For more information, or if you are a designer who produces fair trade clothing and you would like to show your work at this show, please contact Youth for Human Rights at info@youthforhumanrightsflorida.org.