Is it "Iowa" or is it "love"? It's both!
$50,000+ has been fundraised & donated since March 2019.
Available this week only, this is our first and perhaps only "Iowa love" Hometown T-shirt that we'll be offering in multiple colors and at the lowered price of $18.45 so after tax and with FREE SHIPPING it costs less than 20 bucks to own.
Why are we doing this?
There is no town I’m more emotionally connected to than Waterloo.
I am humbled and blessed to say that I’ve visited more than 40 countries around the world (have been to almost as many US states) and have lived for at least 3 months in nearly a dozen cities across the US, and also China, Finland, and Poland.
Almost all of these places have left a whole in my heart, but none have like Waterloo has - though this emotional connection is… complicated.
On the positive fronts -
- I am energized by understanding that generations of my family have lived their entire lives in this town, with even great grandparents being born in Waterloo more than 120 years ago.
- I feel gratitude toward the organizations that molded me into a young student leader, through the Cedar Valley Catholic Schools (St. Edward’s and Columbus) and the Grout Museum District where I was a youth volunteer beginning at 10 years old.
- I am humbled every time I drive through the neighborhood where I grew up. The area was deteriorating when I was growing up and it got worse yet after I left - a police officer I recently chatted with told me that in recent years my old neighborhood had been called by the police “Brass Alley” because of the empty bullet casings that would often be found on the sidewalks and streets.
- I am proud that Waterloo has become a safe haven to refugees and welcoming to other immigrants at a rate far higher than many other communities. Our Bosnian, Hispanic, Congolese, and Burmese communities certainly add to the vibrancy and economic strength of our communities.
- I feel familial love thanks to my parents, sister, and grandmothers still living here.
- And, I certainly feel the "Iowa love" because Waterloo is where it all began last spring!
But also, Waterloo stirs in me emotions that are less positive.
I never deny these emotions because I feel that only by embracing them can their roots causes be addressed:
- I am saddened when I read reports that the black population in Waterloo continues to be less likely to succeed compared to other metro areas across the country.
- I feel frustrated when I think how Waterloo lost its foothold as one of the fastest growing cities in the state with a booming middle class after nationally (and internationally) renown manufacturers downsized and closed their doors back in the 1980's - and we've never been able to fully recover.
- I feel sad when folks are quick to point out aspects of our history and present day problems simply to disparage Waterloo. Especially when I hear it from locals who should be really leading the cheers.
- It's difficult for me that I haven't been able to grow our retail presence in Waterloo though have been able to in other communities.
Because I’m so emotionally connected to Waterloo and always want the best for my multi-generational hometown I didn’t want to release a “Iowa love” Waterloo T-Shirt until I knew how to make it special.
So, this is what we’re doing:
- Colors - we are a diverse city. So, for the first time for a Hometown t-shirt, we're offering multiple colors to choose from.
- Price - we haven’t offered an “Iowa love” t-shirt at this price before.
About the T-Shirt
- 100% ringspun cotton - incredibly soft and durable!
- Dyed & Cut in the US by Bella + Canvas
- Screen Print
- By The Shirt Shack in Cedar Falls
- Order by Friday, July 31 to receive by Friday, August 7