Photo Credit: Emily Annett
Spreading the spirit of welcome indeed looks like cultivating friendships and growing jobs, but also speaking up to our neighbors about the kind of community we desire. We developed our Welcome Tees to strike up conversations about who or why we welcome.
We intentionally started with the Welkom (Dutch) as a reminder that the overwhelmingly Dutch community we find ourselves in once arrived as immigrants to this city.
We expanded the line to include Swahili (Karibu) and Kinyarwanda (Murakaza neza) to honor our many Rwandan and Congolese friends whose lives and leadership have shaped the early development of Treetops.
In light of the current political rhetoric around particularly Spanish and Arabic speaking immigrants and refugees we added Bienvenidos and حللت أهلاً ووطئت سهلاً to our product line. The origin of the phrase is حللت أهلاً ووطئت سهلاً. loosely translated means, 'May you arrive as part of the family, and tread an easy path (as you enter).’ How beautiful is that?! This is the kind of welcome we hope to embody and celebrate.
Each shirt is made in the USA, super-soft and screen-printed through a partnership between a retired teacher and a Burmese refugee young woman who is learning a new creative skill and saving for college. We hope you’ll join us in spreading the spirit of welcome in your own neighborhoods with a Welcome T, and as you do you’ll be creating meaningful work and sustainable funding for Treetops’ programs to grow. We’re so excited to partner with you
May all of these beautiful souls arriving as strangers, begin to be rooted and flourish in our cities as friends.