After the 2016 presidential election in the U.S., we felt a great need to do something to combat the implicit sanctioning of racism and other forms of bigotry in our country. Both of us are public school teachers, and we have witnessed an increase in racist acts in our high schools – especially in the form of bullying of recent immigrants.
The t-shirt we have designed includes the phrase “If you are reading this, you are welcome here” in fifteen languages, including English. We want to send a message of welcome to anyone who happens to see the person wearing the shirt. The languages on the shirt reflect the diversity of the peoples who made, and continue to make the United States. Each language brings with it a way of knowing – insights and viewpoints that help us to understand ourselves and the world.
The languages on the shirt are:
These languages reflect both our unity and our uniqueness. English binds us together, providing a common language, while the many languages of our origins remind of us of our personal stories.
The proceeds from these shirts go to community organizations that are working to facilitate understanding across the “lines” of race, ethnicity, gender identity, culture, religion, family structure, education, wealth, and ability. To us, the greatness of the United States is the diversity of its people. It is through listening to and learning from each other than we come to harness that power.
In selecting organizations, we are looking for groups that are doing work “on the front lines” to encourage dialogue and build understanding. As teachers we've long been familiar with, and benefited from, the Southern Poverty Law Center's Teaching Tolerance project (https://www.splcenter.org/teaching-tolerance). For our fourth round, the proceeds will continue to go to the Teaching Tolerance project.
We’re sure there are many more worthy organizations, please let us know about them.