The recent tragic events in Orlando left us in the same state as others all over the country: speechless. It’s impossible for anyone to fathom lives being taken for no reason. Despite people everywhere wanting to express their grief, no words could possibly make the situation better for the surviving victims who were traumatized, or for the families of the victims who unexpectedly lost their lives. While we’ve all been shocked, the entire nation has made it clear that we will not be static.
This was apparent from every direction–countless groups all over the country who organized vigils in their own cities, thousands of fundraisers donating proceeds to the victims, and news stories of LGBT Parades that marched strong through the difficult time.
Florida’s own LGBT Civil Rights Organization, Equality Florida saw a tremendous outpour of support from people all over the world. The group had immediately set up a GoFundMe campaign in order to raise money for the surviving victims and for the families of those passed. Their humble goal of $100,000 was surpassed within days. Now, just a few short weeks later, the campaign has already received donations from over 114,000 people worldwide, and funds are currently creeping to $6 million.
Within our shop here at Rush Order Tees, we saw a first hand view of support come soaring in. The influx of orders we were printing “Orlando” on was overwhelming. We had screen printers who work in production coming around to show everyone the shirts they were printing. We had graphic designers sharing the piles of customer designs they were reviewing. The buzz about our customers’ support for the people who endured the tragedy was swarming our entire workplace.
While the nature of our work got us involved automatically, we all felt we needed involvement in some way of our own. Being a family-run and community-based organization ever since the beginning, we knew we had the resources to help make a positive impact right here in the city of brotherly love–a resilient city with a forceful drive towards equality.
A design we found on Reddit.com really helped get the fire under our feet–Philadelphia local artist Ryan McK created the design that struck a chord in all of our Philly hearts. The design featuring the phrase “Philly Hearts Beat With Orlando” sparked inspiration for the design of our very own fundraising campaign doing what we do best: t-shirts.
Fundraising happens to be our forte here, so there wasn’t much of a question as to how we could help. We also just happen to have a team of 150 hardworking and passionate staff. Team members from every department immediately wanted to get involved. Soon, we were all hands on deck to turn this into a reality.
Kacie Doran, a member of our art department, got straight to work. Kacie came up with the beautiful design for the “Philly’s Heart Beats with Orlando” t-shirts for our very own Spread Spirit campaign. Featuring similar mirrored skylines to Ryan McK’s graphic, the design represents the connection felt between Philly and Orlando. We are extremely excited about the support Philadelphia has already shown, and we hope to garner more of it.
Philadelphia residents and Orlando supporters around the country can order their own Philly Heartbeat t-shirt in support of the Orlando victims through Spread Spirit. 100% of the proceeds from the campaign will go straight to Equality Florida’s “Support Victims of Pulse Shooting” GoFundMe campaign. Additionally, Printfly Corp is going to match the total amount raised in the Spread Spirit campaign to donate to the cause. Equality Florida has stated that they are hoping to continue receiving as many donations as possible, and donating all of the funds to the families, the victims, and the witnesses of the shooting in Pulse Orlando.
While there is no undoing the painful damage that has been placed upon the city of Orlando, there is a way for us to be #OrlandoStrong for the victims and for those affected.