Using 3sixteen as a platform to speak our minds has been central to our brand since its inception. It finds its roots in streetwear, when we first started printing message-based graphic tees similar to the brands we looked up to. Graphics that spoke to who we are, our worldview, things that inspired us and things that troubled us. And while it’s true that our reach has grown further than we ever thought it would when we started the company 16 years ago, our convictions remain the same.
What our country is currently enacting on the southern border is a humanitarian crisis. We believe that our country is made better by immigrants, and that they are not to be feared - people like Peter, our USPS mailman, and Hassan, the deli owner by our old office. Xenophobia has been weaponized to justify Muslim bans, to separate children from parents, and to imprison migrants in for-profit concentration camps under shocking conditions.
A few months back, we approached Kansas-City based illustrator Ben Kocinski to work on a special project that shared how we both felt about our country's treatment of refugees and immigrants. It’s an appeal to basic human compassion over politics. Wherever we stand on the spectrum, we can all agree that the current immigration system is broken and badly in need of reform. We hope for a nation that communicates and administers laws that are just and fair, and more clearly interpreted. We hope for a way for those who are already in the US and a vital part of our workforce to become legal citizens without repercussion. We hope for a nation that stands for generosity, one that welcomes refugees who flee imminent danger. We also hope for foreign policy reform that brings an end to violence abroad, so that individuals do not feel the need to leave their homes and families to seek safe haven. But as a matter of urgency, we recognize the absolute need for family reunification and for detention center reform and accountability.
Although we’ve never met Ben Kocinski in person, we do share mutual friends and faith perspectives. We’ve always loved his illustration style and have been looking for an opportunity to work together on a project with substance. When we approached him with the suggestion to bring a passage from Jeremiah to life - a passage that is a guiding directive towards compassion for those who need it the most - he was excited to jump on board. We have designed two graphic t-shirts and two silkscreen prints that were printed locally in KC by our friends at Vahalla Studios. Dan Padavic and his team have worked on a few other projects for us in the past and were kind enough to donate their time and resources to help with this one as well. We are thankful for the support and services of both.
Around this time last year, when our current administration began enforcing a “zero tolerance policy” that effectively separated parents from their children (as children were unable to be prosecuted along with their parents), we took a stand and donated a portion of our sales from the weekend to KIND, a nonprofit organization that provides legal aid to immigrant children. We received some blowback, as is to be expected. Several people told us to “stick to clothing,” and we were asked: If we cared so much about these issues, why not simply donate to the organizations ourselves? Why announce it and make a big deal about it?
These are fair questions. And just as we have aspirations for our nation, we also have aspirations for ourselves. Our desire is that in big ways and small, that 3sixteen can lead by example and inspire others towards action. Sure, we could just donate money without an announcement (we often do). But when an unjust situation arises where we feel outraged and helpless, we want to use whatever platform that we have for good. Whether you buy something from this release, donate on your own, or look for ways to volunteer, every bit helps. We’re even thankful for those of you who’ve read this far.
If you are looking for other ways to get involved:
-Learn more by reading up on family separations
-Spread the word about immigrant rights to family and friends
-Tell Congress to stop the ICE raids
-Donate to organizations on the front lines like KIND and RAICES
The Ben Kocinski for 3sixteen tees and prints release on 3sixteen.com at noon EDT on Friday, August 9th, and will be available in-store at our LA flagship on the same day. The prints are signed and numbered in an edition of 50, and tees are limited to 50 per design. We will be donating 100% of all proceeds from this project to KIND to further their legal aid of migrant children at the border.