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Benefit T-Shirt (White)

Image of Benefit T-Shirt (White)


Greetings fellow punks. We’ve been relatively quiet as we formulate our response to the current state of affairs in the U.S. We’re of course referring to the murders of black people by members of various police forces, as well as the thrilling public uprisings nationwide in response to these murders. Many of our friends and comrades have had wonderful and wise words to share on these public forums, so we didn’t want to trivialize matters by responding prematurely, without careful thought and consideration. At the same time, white supremacy has historically thrived in part because of white silence, so continuing to let other people do all the talking is unacceptable.

White supremacy has been, and continues to be, the engine of American prosperity. This has never been tolerable in what claims to be a democratic republic, and we join in resistance against white supremacy and police violence. Abuses of police power against people of color, and the general lack of accountability for those abuses, amount to state sanctioned violence against a group of humans deemed to be inherently threatening, and of less intrinsic value. To make matters worse, we also currently have a president who has amplified the contentious tone of the moment by stoking the fires of hate and division.

Our band has always aspired to use our privilege to shed light on these issues and promote both dialog and outrage. We have also shied away from producing and selling merchandise in the last decade or so because we believe it distracts from this agenda. Today we are trying to use the platform we’ve been given to raise both awareness and financial support. To that end we’ll be selling shirts that we feel are in the spirit of the current political moment, but that are also specific to the history of racism and abuse of police power in our own city. For those unfamiliar, the image is of the space that was, until yesterday, occupied by a statue commemorating Frank Rizzo, a divisive figure in Philadelphia history, who was first police commissioner and then mayor from 1968 to 1980. He was known for his, “law & order,” stance, which especially in that era, was code for a set of political policies and patterns of policing that targeted black communities and individuals as presumptive sources of crime, often using coercion, intimidation, physical violence, and a disregard for constitutional rights. He was a vocal opponent of desegregation, who once publicly urged his supporters to, “Vote White.” Philadelphians have been calling for the statues’ removal for some time, and in the predawn hours on Wednesday morning it was, quietly and without fanfare, finally taken away. To put it in context, a friend of ours remarked, “it’s tantamount to Lenin’s statue being pulled down in Berlin.”

100% of the proceeds from the sale of this shirt, plus matching funds from an anonymous donor, will be donated to Philadelphia Community Bail Fund and Black Lives Matter.

Please Note: These will be available to order until June 15th, shirts will begin shipping approx. one week later. xo pib

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