August 2021 I am so excited to welcome everyone to Revolution Now! I hope that you are excited about this movement and that in wearing our clothes, that you start both conversations and actions to create more equitable and inclusive environments in the spheres that you operate in. I also hope that you take pride in knowing that you are a part of a collective who are celebrating and funding the future success of traditionally marginalized and racialized communities.
The idea of using t-shirts to create social change was born out of experiences that I have had as a public school teacher. In my role as an educator, I have been exposed to many well intentioned “shirt days” that are meant to show support for various communities. However, I have been frequently disheartened by these days, in part because they were very performative in nature and didn’t actually change the lives of the communities they are aiming to support. Also, because there wasn’t enough conversation about the true meaning and potential impact of these days.
Spirit Day, commonly known as Purple Shirt Day in schools, is one day that developed particular meaning for me after October 18, 2018. Spirit Day is meant as a day where businesses, schools and community members wear purple in support of 2SLGBTQ+ youth. I was happy to hear that my school was taking on this initiative and volunteered to do an announcement where I identified myself as “a member of the gay community”. Initially I was told I couldn’t do that and that it would be inappropriate for reasons that included “there are kindergartens listening to this announcement”. At that time, my own daughter was a junior kindergarten aged student who was navigating how to have her own family structure respected in schools. For me, it was a life-changing experience helping our educational leaders to understand why it was important that I be able to identify as a visible role model on Spirit Day. I was proud to help bring about change in our one school. More importantly, I was inspired and extremely proud of our school’s leadership team for their brave learning and allyship. I was also proud of our students, among whom is our current Director of Social Media, for their bold support of their 2SLGBTQ+ peers. That experience brought me to understand that a t-shirt can be a vehicle that brings about changes in both thinking and policy. In founding this movement, it is my hope that many organizations and people will come to also have transformative inclusion experiences.
Our inaugural shirt titled “We Change What We Must” is created by an 18 year old trans artist named Forrest Woods. Forrest explains that this imagery is a metaphor for why people transition. We naturally change because that is who we are meant to be. I love the symbolism of this shirt and believe that our society is at a time in history where change is imperative. We require a world where marginalized and racialized people are valued and have access to economic and social opportunities. This radical social change will make it so that their skills, experiences and talents can be embraced and our world can transform as a result.
In buying into this movement, you are buying more than a shirt. Our shirts are about living our values and investing in the excellence that exists in various marginalized and racialized communities. It is your support that will help build the careers of artists from these communities, give donations to charities that directly provide support and opportunities, as well as, honour the Earth through the development of ethically, Canadian made, eco-friendly materials.
I thank you SO much for joining Revolution Now! And I look forward to hearing your stories of transformation and growth. Let’s go change the world!!