I honestly don't even know how to process what has been happening.
I guess I should rewind back to late August when Hurricane Harvey made landfall over southeast Texas.
The "Together" lettering was created while my family and I were mandatorily evacuated from our home due to the Hurricane Harvey flooding in the Houston area. They were calling this an 800-year, and sometimes even 1,000-year flood. Some of our friends had to be rescued by boat. People lost their entire homes, and others lost their lives.
We didn't know what sort of home we would come back to. Watching the devastation on the news was extremely sobering and really put life into perspective.
I was inspired by the numerous stories I saw and heard of people helping each other out and giving selflessly to rescue and support efforts. Everyone was saying #houstonstrong and #texasstrong, but for me, the overarching message was #together.
"Together" was simply a doodle for me to express my emotions during the hurricane aftermath, but as it began to take shape as an actual refined piece, I realized that I wanted to use it try to raise Harvey relief funds.
As soon as I put the word out, two amazing companies stepped up without hesitation - Real Thread, and Hey Monkey! Design + Print.
Real Thread prints all of my t-shirts, and they've honestly been one of my favorite vendors to work with. Their customer service is top notch, and I never have to question the quality of their work. They graciously donated a run of shirts along with the printing services to the Harvey relief cause.
The shirts (pictured below) are now available for purchase; 100% of sales will be donated to disaster/tragedy relief.
Hey Monkey! printed my Discovery posters, and I actually didn't even need to ask them to help out; Lenny at Hey Monkey! stepped up and donated a variety color pack of screen-printed posters. Lenny is one of my favorite people and I'm extremely grateful for his friendship and selflessness.
The prints (pictured below) are now available for purchase; 100% of sales will be donated toward disaster/tragedy relief.
The World Needs Help
But during the 1.5 months that have passed since Harvey, a number of additional tragedies have taken place. Hurricane Irma swept through the Caribbean and Florida (with Real Thread's HQ in its path) and caused extensive damage. Hurricane Maria left Puerto Rico 100% without power for weeks, and residents are still largely without power and water. Mexico City experienced a devastating earthquake in which many people died. Some idiot decided it would be a good idea to open fire on an outdoor concert in Las Vegas, resulting in the largest mass shooting in American history. And now, California residents are dealing with widespread wildfires.
With so much tragedy happening in the world, I'm motivated more than ever to continue raising funds to donate to worthy causes. The "Together" design will continue to appear on new product runs - more t-shirt color combos, enamel pins, stickers, etc. - and proceeds will continue to be donated.
Even though the "Together" message was born from a single natural disaster, I really want it to stand for much more than that.
I want it to be a mantra that we can all strive to live by. It should be a reminder to ourselves that we, as a society, can make amazing progress if we work together. We need more inclusion and empathy, and a lot less alienation and hate. The world needs this now, more than ever.
I know I'm just one person, and I know in the grand scheme that I'm probably not making a huge impact by selling a few shirts and posters. But my hope is that with your help, the message can impact a few people, and we can somehow influence change for the better, together.