I had never craved chocolate as much as when its easy access was robbed from me just over a year ago.

As I sat among the ashes of this past election, even more as I faced all the political anarchy of the months to come( throw finals on top of it) you can be sure I will eat my fair share of fair-trade chocolate chip cookies and brownies this holiday season.

Though for me, when I can’t help but want to reach for a chocolate bar, my mind gets troubled by this thought. Far more trouble then this past election, finals, or even the holidays can get me. I wonder how much we really don’t know about the “stage crew” of our government’s big show; and what is really going on behind the closed curtain of our capital.

The bittersweet truth of the matter seems to be reflected in the chocolate industry.

How is it that most people walking around treating themselves to a fancy latte or an indulgence of sweet chocolate after a long day have no idea where their chocolate really comes from?

I only learned myself a year ago when I came across this article.

I could barely believe it, but really, how can one be surprised about anything anymore?  

The things our government has buried with media distractions is countless. I believe to line their pockets via big business tax dollars via chocolate bars is just one cruelty we can see clear as day.

Why else would it be that most don’t know that the majority of our coffee and cocoa beans come from farms such as those in Ivory Coast, Africa. Farms where human beings are still being subjected to unruly and hostile conditions, conditions we, our families, fought to free the world of.  To save a few billion dollars?

Over this past year I have seen anyone I share this information with in as much shock as I was Children are being taken from their homes, thinking they will be given the opportunity to better their families lives, only to be locked away  when they get their new “job.” They have become slaves to the cocoa and coffee industry. Children are beaten by whips if they drop a fifty pound bag of cocoa and whipped until they stand and walk with it once again. They are malnourished, never even having tasted our sweet chocolate in their lives. One boy, in a documentary from 2000, Slavery: A Global Investigation, was rescued after years trapped as a slave. When he was asked if he could say anything to these people that consume the chocolate he sacrificed his life for, the boy said, “You are eating my flesh.” The image of his face and this subtitled words are still imprinted on my mind a year later.

I can only imagine this is still going on because our country does not want to pay fair rates for their goods, so these farmers could possibly pay for their labor to meet our country’s demands. It seems like a case of, “out of sight out of mind.”

Even those that are in these parts of the world and are living by moral code, are unable to build an industry there to thrive on because the have already been trampled and suppressed by the dominant nations.

These countries are subjected to slavery, which we fought a civil war to free ourselves from. Many think it is due to the ignorance of their political leaders. Though, the truth is, European settlers often took these leader back to Europe to train them and teach them how they should rule. We fought a civil war to free ourselves from ourselves from such sin. Yet we hack the still damaged root of the tree that we once chopped down. The roots of these nations third-world troubles were inflicted by the hand of the European and American man. Now, still until this day, we refuse to pay a livable wage for these raw materials our society flourishes from.

How can we say we are the land of the free, the home of the brave, and still sit under a tree, sipping our lattes, eating our chocolate, and keeping our blinders up?

It is 2016. Why are we supporting this today?

Why can’t we pay a few extra dollars for a candy bar?

This would be Fair-Trade. Simply paying that extra dollar, knowing that the person who made it possible was paid for their labor, just as we as Americans would expect to.

Why are corporate coffee houses profiting off of us with $5 lattes, when they are not even paying civil prices for their product?

When will society start looking at the big picture?

Do we not need to pay for the labor of these sweets we enjoy every day?

Is it really impossible for these corporations to support the new, just world of fair-trade?

I will tell you it is not impossible.

Even on campus, you can find fair trade coffee and chocolate if you take the extra step to caring about another human being’s freedom.

Try a latte from Dunkin Donuts. Though their coffee beans are not fair trade, their espresso is. They are one of the largest purchases of fair trade coffee beans. I am personally not a fan of milk in my latte so I go with the Americano, which is espresso and hot water.

I have even found fair-trade chocolate covered peanuts and chocolate covered peanut butter in the store in the Seawolves Marketplace. Also, if you get up early enough, they carry a brand “White Coffee” that is a very active fair-trade coffee provider in the Administration building.

Hey, maybe the chocolate is a little bit more; but weren’t we taught that chocolate is a delicacy? Plus, the more we purchase these product marked fairtrade, the more accessible they become. Small change creates big change, so take your spare change and put it towards your next coffee or chocolate treat, and make sure it’s fair-trade.

I look at it this way: every time I do not buy a commercial chocolate bar, I get to keep that dollar in my pocket and at the same time by doing so I am donating it to a good cause by not supporting a company that knowingly profits off of slavery in 2016.

So maybe there is not much we can do about the presidency, but we the people surely have a role to play in the ending of this inhumanity in this country and the world we live in.


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