The Shirt Off Your Back
Paul Daigle '97
Since graduating from Gordon I have been involved in various social justice organizations. I worked at and later led Starlight Ministries, an organization serving the homeless in Boston and Cambridge. I led a policy advocate committee at the Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance, and became involved with the Boston chapter of the ONE Campaign, which advocates for debt relief to developing countries and helps in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Africa. I have also been involved with fair-trade issues.
This continuing passion for justice led me, during the past year, to start the business Off Your Back Shirts, which offers organic, sweatshop-free and fair-trade apparel. The company's values listed on the website come directly from Micah 6:8: justice, mercy and humility.
The company grew from a combination of passions: entrepreneurial vision, a passion for the poor and for a more just consumerism, and a love of creativity. We sell T-shirts in a variety of designs, and although not all of them are sweatshop-free, they soon will be. It was hard to find reliable producers of sweatshop-free clothing and/or fair-trade clothing that was also of high quality. Although fair trade--a movement seeking fairer wages and payments for producers in the developing world--is increasingly common in products like coffee, the clothing industry has moved slowly in joining the movement. We've now found some factories and distributors we hope we can work with long term. We wanted our shirts to have style, comfort and fair production. All of our shirts are organic or even recycled--a good thing, considering that approximately a third of a pound of pesticides is used for the cotton to produce just one cotton T-shirt.
As we grow we want to add more products that are made justly, and to grow in our ability to support and finance programs working in the areas of poverty and the environment around the world. We want to be a business where you can feel good about your purchases.
Paul Daigle is married to Diana, and they live in community with others in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. Paul helps lead a house church and is currently the program manager for JP Centre/South Main Streets (www.jpcentresouth.org).
Barrington Reunion: "Be Still and Know That I Am God"
On June 9 over 300 alumni gathered at the former Barrington College campus in Barrington, Rhode Island, for a worship service and dinner. Bernice Graser '61 recited a medley of Psalms, and Roger Green, professor of biblical studies at both Barrington and Gordon, gave the keynote address. Drew Poulopoulos '79 led the reunion choir.
During dinner several alumni addressed their classmates. Emanuel Nasir '69, a native of Pakistan, spoke of being tutored in English by Mrs. de Vos, a Barrington English professor. Marion Bean '50 related the story of the purchase of the Barrington campus. Mark Ferrin '72 gave a brief devotional. The evening concluded with a candle lighting ceremony and the singing of the hymn "Fairest Lord Jesus."