As people in Ferguson look to express themselves in the wake of the police shooting of an unarmed black teenager or the ensuing unrest that held the suburb under siege for more than a week, many are finding the words on t-shirts.
The singular article of clothing bears many competing messages, but t-shirts have also been a unifier across racial, gender and generational lines. The shirts are also helping rally support and raise money for various causes.
Here, a few people explain the reasons behind the messages they are wearing:
Keith Watson, 35, from St. Louis: “It just caught my attention … I found out all the money (from the shirt sales) was going back to the Brown family. It’s real simple and straight to the point: Justice for Mike Brown. No Justice, No Peace.”
Keith Watson (Photo by Errin Whack)
Lynn Schauer, 27, Chicago: “This is happening all over the country. It’s not just in Ferguson. The cops are using their power not in the right way. They’re abusing it, basically.”
Lynn Schauer (Photo by Errin Whack)
Maurice Falls, 55, Ferguson: “After I’ve evaluated this whole scenario, the fact of this is that … once his hands go up, there’s no way that this can actually not be a crime. It’s an international sign of surrender. This shirt says it all: Hands Up, Don’t Shoot.”
Maurice Falls (left) (Photo by Errin Whack)
Allyson Mace, organizer with STL4U, gave out free t-shirts to protesters: “A lot of people don’t have the capability to turn around shirts quickly at this level. We wanted to do something that would represent the event itself being grassroots. This is about as raw as you get.”
Allyson Mace (Photo by Errin Whack)
Liz Peinado, 24, St. Louis, organizer, #HealSTL: “We decided we’re going to turn this moment into a movement. What we’re trying to do is bring people together for community building. We need to start to rebuild that trust. That starts with conversation. People are asking what these shirts are about. That starts a conversation. Let’s start talking about what it means to be a minority in America.”
Liz Peinado (Photo by Errin Whack)
Man selling tshirts. Maurice Fall bought two of these for $10 each. (Photo by Errin Whack)