Interview: The Museum
February 2, 2011Posted by on
CMZ’s Cara Fisher recently spoke with Ben Richter of The Museum about their new partnership with “Not For Sale,” a campaign to fight human trafficking.
CMZ: First off, tell me about the organization, “Not For Sale.”
Ben: Yeah, “Not For Sale” is essentially a campaign of people that have bonded together to raise awareness and to fight for justice in human trafficking and slavery. And so much of the battle in trafficking is simply awareness. And so, they’ve got this campaign of artists, graphic designers, business people, and all sorts of people that basically use whatever platform they have to help raise awareness to people about human trafficking and global slavery. And in addition to that, they raise funds to go overseas, and they’ve been building homes and bringing in people who are in slavery, basically taking them out of it and giving them a chance to have shelter, first of all, and the counseling that they need, and put them in these homes that are basically trade centers that allow them to learn a trade, learn a skill, so they can go out and pretty much have a life of their own. So it’s pretty cool.
CMZ: How did you find out about “Not For Sale?”
Ben: I first found out about them through reading a book; it’s called “Not For Sale.” The book was written by the founder of the “Not For Sale” campaign, David Batstone. And I had seen a little bit of things online with “Not For Sale,” but our drummer, Josh, had taken a trip to China and he was just blown away at how much… like there were all these children outside that were basically just for sale. He was really impacted by that experience. And he came back and was reading this book “Not For Sale” and kept talking about how crazy it was that this was going on. So, that really piqued my interest, and I picked up a copy of the book about six or seven months ago. And I was really devastated through reading the stories of people who are in such situations, human trafficking and slavery. But it was cool to see the book tells the story of a bunch of different people and how they were pulled out of slavery and into a new life.
CMZ: What is the Museum doing to support this cause?
Ben: Well the way it started out, we simply said we want to use our voice however we can to help raise awareness. And so, we created this t-shirt that we started selling at our shows, and we sell that shirt for $20 and the proceeds go straight to “Not For Sale” campaign every time we sell one. The front of the shirt real big and bold says, “This shirt frees slaves.” So it’s kind of one of those things where if somebody is walking down the road wearing it, it certainly provokes a lot of questions. And so, that’s been a good thing to help stimulate conversation and raise awareness about the issue, but then, secondly, at the same time we’re raising money and sending that straight to “Not For Sale.” And that was kind of like our first step and what introduced us into a partnership with the campaign. Beyond that, we just recorded a song that releases [Feb. 1st]; the song is called “Not For Sale.” And it’s written basically out of the hope to see slavery come to an end. So we released that song as a free download, and we give people a chance to give donations if they’d like and all of the donations are going straight to “Not For Sale” campaign.
CMZ: You guys are going to be doing a “Not For Sale” tour starting in February. What do you hope attendees take away from that experience?
Ben: I think, first off, we want to put a message of hope in front of people. It’s really encouraging to see the amount of headway that’s happening across the globe, in that this is becoming an issue that I think in the past two or three years awareness has really built up on a high level. So we don’t want to just put this massive problem in front of people that looks like we have no hope and how do we fight against something that’s a $32 billion industry and that affects almost 30 million people across the globe. We want to share stories of victory, share individual stories of people who have been pulled out of slavery. And hopefully through that inspire people to a higher level of awareness and action.
CMZ: Any final comments?
Ben: We’re just really excited about the tour. It’s funny because seven months ago, we barely knew anything about “Not For Sale” and now we’ve got this t-shirt, we’ve got a song called “Not For Sale,” and now we’re going out on this tour. It’s pretty crazy that it was just something that happened fast for us. But it really influenced who we want to become as a band- as really fighting for justice and fighting for people who don’t have a voice. So we’re excited to just play a small part in the issue.