Entrepreneurs Discuss Social Justice

Villa Maria’s Diversity Committee opened Diversity Week with a presentation and Q&A by the founders of Contemplative Rebellion, a jewelry company that aims to “break down the barriers that separate faith, race, status, and income inequality.” Denise Travers and Joy Dale design bracelets, earrings, and other pieces that address issues of social justice. Between 20 and 100 percent of the profit is donated to organizations whose work inspires the women. The company also provides employment for refugees who have settled in their Charlotte, NC area, and pays a living wage to make the handcrafted jewelry pieces.

Denise Travers and Joy Dale also presented principal Sr. Regina Ryan with their Rosary of Modern Sorrows, which offers a guided meditation on the pain and suffering of our brothers and sisters in the U.S. and around the world.

Travers and Dale spoke to the students about the causes that led them to create their company, like refugees issues, the environment, and, racial disparities in the criminal justice system. Charities their work benefits include Advancement Project, Cancer Research Institute, Catholic Worker Hagar House in Wheeling, WV, Florence Crittenton Services of North Carolina, Mental Health America, National Immigration Law Center, National Urban League, Natural Resources Defense Council, Polaris, (Eradication of Human Trafficking), Southern Poverty Law Center, Trevor Project, and White Helmets.

The two entrepreneurs also spoke to the students about starting and running their business while holding full time jobs and raising children, finding funding, and breaking even their first year. Their efforts demonstrate that anyone can see a need and find their own way to address it. The women urged the girls to follow their motto on their website: “Pause. Reflect. Be Contemplative. . . and Take Action.”