My very brief thoughts on politics + business: to me, the refugee issue is not a political issue. It’s an issue of human rights, and one I will continue to fight for. IMBY is a brand built on values and ethics. This initiative is an extension of those values: the value of treating all people with dignity and respect, and supporting those who are suffering and seeking safety.
A little less than two weeks ago, after the ban on refugees, I attended a rally against the ban in Battery Park with a group of my former colleagues from the International Rescue Committee. Though it was my first job out of college, and I left the organization 6 years ago, these friends remain some of my closest. I think we’re still so close because of the challenging and important work we did together, the bonds we formed while helping refugees build a life for themselves in our city, in our backyard. My IRC friends are some of the most impressive, strong-willed, compassionate people I know. We worked across different departments– employment, case management, legal, and I worked in the youth program supporting children who arrived, helping them acclimate to NYC life and schools, and giving them extra support along the way. The clients we worked with were some of the most inspiring individuals I have ever had the honor to work with and spend time with– many of which moved to a place where they knew no one to escape harsh and dangerous conditions, after years of waiting to be resettled.
Back to the rally. After 24 hours of feeling helpless, the rally comforted me– to be with friends and strangers who deeply cared about this issue. It also angered me– how can we let this happen? As a Jew, I was brought up with the term “never again,” and I am not content with letting people be turned away from safety in our country because of their religion, color, or any other reason, for that matter.
After the march, I felt an obligation to do something. I knew exactly what I wanted to do: create a t-shirt that makes a statement and gives all proceeds to the International Rescue Committee to support their important work with refugees.
Here it is: Our backyard tee.
It reads the message: “My backyard is your backyard,” a message of unity and welcoming others.
It comes in two styles– a v-neck, and a cropped tee. Both are made of 100% organic cotton in LA, and screen printed in Brooklyn using eco-friendly ink. The shirt was illustrated by the lovely and talented Elizabeth Stilwell. Every element of this tee was made in our backyard, to support those here. Afterall, IMBY stands for “in my backyard.”
Every penny of profit goes directly to the International Rescue Committee. I will update you at the end with exactly how much we raised.
Let’s make our backyards a welcoming place for all. You can pre-order your backyard tee in the shop. Tees will ship at the end of the month. Please spread the word.
Once you receive your tee, be sure to tag it with #backyardtee on Instagram so we can spread the message!