LIFE AFTER: The Black Lives Matter Fundraiser Raffle

TLDR:  In honor of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and all those who have lost their lives at the hands of the police, the SPiFFterns have come together to create 1/1 SPiFF pieces for a fundraiser raffle with all proceeds from ticket sales being donated to @blklivesmatter. From the moment I am writing this, we have already raised over $400; as an added bonus, a friend’s company is going to match whatever amount we donated (up to $2500). Here’s a direct link for you to check out what the SPiFFterns put together and see how the raffle works. We appreciate y’all for doing what you can to help! 

https://spiffpasse.com/collections/frontpage/products/black-lives-matter-fundraiser-raffle

INITIAL THOUGHTS.

“There’s been a lot on my mind after hearing about the murder of George Floyd and a ton I want to say that many of y’all have already articulated. When it all comes down to it, we need change. 

I’m not the best at figuring out exactly how to create the type of difference we clearly need, but if there’s one thing I can do, it’s ask this question: What matters most? Our issues with each other aside, what is truly important in this life that we share? If we can find that common ground between what we value, maybe the hate in this world will finally fade and leave us with what actually matters. 

I’m just some random dude who runs a streetwear brand. I don’t know what I’m doing half the time, but for some reason you have given me your attention. As thankful as I am for the constant love and support, right now it’s crucial that you focus on the bigger picture. Right now, it’s crucial that we figure out how to change our society into one that actually understands what matters”

FLASH FORWARD.

It’s been over a week since I wrote that. After initially sharing those thoughts and taking a step back in favor of bringing awareness to the Black Lives Matter movement and the fight against police brutality, I found myself more speechless than ever and feeling like my actions weren’t making a difference. 

Witnessing another Black individual get murdered at the hands of a cop made me even more hyperaware of the privilege I had been living with my entire life; I quickly became overcome with guilt and disappointment for not fully realizing the magnitude of how unfair things were for the Black community and not being proactive about making a difference in our world sooner. It wasn’t that I was unaware of what people had been facing. The problem was that I had accepted that it wasn’t in my ability to change the world for those who weren’t as fortunate as I was-- I had subconsciously given up.

Luckily, many others hadn’t.

Even during the pandemic, people were fighting for justice in whatever way they knew how. Many engaged in the act of protesting, signed countless petitions, used their platform on social media to raise awareness, and donated their time, money, and energy to prove to the world what should have been clear in the first place: Black lives matter.

I could no longer stand here and accept my role as a bystander. I educated myself further about what was going on, reached out to others to gain perspective,  and tried to figure out what I could do to ignite change and aid the fight against a society that was built for people of color to fail in. There is still much for me (and the world) to do and still an abundance I need to learn, but one thing that was within my reach as a high school teacher and streetwear brand owner was empower the younger generations to take action in the face of injustice and prevent them from giving up and feeling as helpless as I once did.

“YOU’RE NEXT.” *All Might Finger point*

After seeing the SPiFFterns be so vocal in their support for the Black Lives Matter movement, I knew that this was the perfect opportunity to show them that they could make a difference through their actions and their passions. We quickly scheduled a zoom meeting, discussed our options, and came up with the idea to do a fundraiser raffle with all profits being donated to @blklivesmatter. People would cop tickets for a chance to win SPiFF gear they hand-customed along with other goodies from the brand.

This fundraiser was run by the youth. I took a step back, played the role of facilitator, and pushed the SPiFFterns to take over because I wanted them to represent the people their age and inspire those in their generation to take action. Through their efforts, I hope they grasped that there is always something that can be done to fight the injustices of the world and realized that there is never a reason to feel like your actions don’t make a difference

EPILOGUE:

When I had the SPiFFterns decide which pieces they wanted to create and include in the raffle, I asked them to express their thoughts about what was going on and give our community some insight behind the custom gear they were including. Art pieces in the form of streetwear, like the ones they crafted, can speak for themselves, but there’s a certain power that comes from the words we speak and share. Here’s what they had to say:

Michelle (@villan.michelle)

BLM should be seen as a challenge for everyone in America. People need to recognize the struggles that black people face every day. With my piece, I wanted to bring light to the lives lost due to the hands of the police. Many names become forgotten as justice is never served. Say their names, recognize their struggle, and do what needs to be done to make changes.

Victoria (@vgarzarelli)

It is important for me to contribute to the BLM fundraiser because it’s a movement that needs everyone’s attention. The patches on this crew neck resemble how everything in our unjust system always seems to get covered up. The bleach splatters represent how the mess created by our system will always be seen no matter its attempts to be hidden. BLM should not be left untouched any longer. Change seems to create fear—making it difficult for us to achieve, but it is not impossible. We must all rise up TOGETHER. Let us be heard! BLACK LIVES MATTER! 

Emma (@wongyimun)

I customized these two pieces right around the time that the BLM movement started to pick up in response to George Floyd (Rest In Power). I cannot speak for the other Spiffterns, but I found myself feeling useless and lost. I wasn’t sure how I could support the Black community without attending the protests. These pieces are an extension of the hope I have that we can keep the solidarity and energy of making sure our Black brothers and sisters know that they matter now and forever. I hope that these pieces can bring you a bit of joy in these trying times. Thank you for supporting us and the BLM movement!

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