Today, Kathleen Hanna launches TEES 4 TOGO, a brand new, star-studded line of T-shirts designed by — and portraying designs of — Hanna and her friends. 100% of the profits go to Peace Sisters, a Pasadena-based non-profit that financially assists to fund local girls’ school tuition costs inDapaong, Togo West Africa, the hometown of current Pasadena resident and Peace Sisters founder, Tina Kampor. Each shirt is cozy, colorful, sweatshop-free, and costs $40 each—the amount it costs for a girl to attend school in Togo for an entire year, including books.
In Togo, Hanna points out, people usually don’t have enough money to send their children to school, especially if they have boys and girls at home. “People often decide to spend their money on the boys. When Tina was an educator in Togo she saw so many girls’ dreams fall by the wayside. She came to California determined to change that.”
For her birthday last November, Hanna organized a Peace Sisters gofundme, which raised almost $9,000. Hanna also began throwing fundraisers at her home, was named a Peace Sisters ambassador and regularly attends board meetings with Kampor, learning how each dollar the group earns is spent. Feeling bolstered by the team’s professionalism and attention to detail, she decided to do more. That’s when Hanna got the idea for TEES 4 TOGO.
TEES 4 TOGO emulates Kampor’s own donations to her home country. “Tina came to Pasadena from Togo, got her nursing certificate, and started sending girls through school. First she sent two girls through school. The next year she sent five. Before she started Peace Sisters as a non profit in 2016, she had already sent 130 girls to school with her own money.”
TEES 4 TOGO is consistent with Hanna’s renowned feminist and DIY philosophies. Through it all, Hanna has worked to address and facilitate conversations around inclusivity, equal opportunity, sexism, and breaking societal expectations. “We’re not gonna have equality in the world if we don’t hear African women’s voices,” Hanna says. “And we’re not gonna hear women’s voices if they have no education. Another part of this is Trump saying Africa is a shithole. How can I respond to that as a citizen? How can I do something positive in light of that? I found an organization run by somebody who grew up in West Africa, who flies money back to the school every year, and has already been doing it for 15 years. This is my opportunity to be an ally to her already successful project.”
Kampor brought three things to the girls in Togo on her recent April 2018 trip: money for girls’ tuition, solar lamps, and her own vivacious spirit. With TEES 4 TOGO, Hanna hopes to continue Kampor’s work by giving West African girls an opportunity for education, which, she argues, is more vital than ever today. TEES 4 TOGO is just the beginning. Hanna says: “Eventually the dream is to send all the girls to college, and help with housing needs, which may start happening as early as this November, depending on how many shirts I can sell!”
15 TEES 4 TOGO designs: — Sleater-Kinney performer and actress Carrie Brownstein (drawn by Kim Gordon) — Comedian Patton Oswalt (drawn by writer and performer Sam McPheeters) — Joan Jett (drawn by artist Sarah Larnach) — Beastie Boy and Hanna’s husband Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz (drawn by musician Seth Bogart) — Public Enemy rapper, author and producer Chuck D (drawn by political artist Adee Roberson) — Sociopolitical comedian W.Kamau Bell (drawn by musician by Eric Adams) — Musician & Hanna’s former Le Tigre bandmate JD Samson (drawn by Kathleen Hanna) —Body/Head and Sonic Youth musician Kim Gordon (drawn by Ooga Booga artist Steve Dore) — Actor and comedian Kristen Schaal (drawn by Coleman Fitzgerald) — Grimes (drawn by artist Maddy Mathews) — Author, artist, performer and actor Justin Vivian Bond (drawn by illustrator Greg Kozatek) — Author and musician Brontez Purnell (drawn by illustrator Janelle Hessig) — Actor and comedian Hari Kondabolu (drawn by Bill Thelan) — Writer and director Jill Soloway (drawn by artist Hannah Lucy) —Bikini Kill, Le Tigre and The Julie Ruin musician, activist & actor Kathleen Hanna(drawn by Charlotte Farmer, Jhonny Russell, Katie Edmunds & Jess Marshall)