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Spread Love DC


Domestic violence is not an easy topic to talk about, yet in order to prevent and end it, there must be discussion. Recently, one organization based in Washington, D.C. found a creative solution to generate conversation and awareness about this topic—through custom shirts.

Photo of members of the DCCADV showing off their Spread Love DC shirts

Members of the Spread Love DC campaign repping their pride with custom shirts.

The DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence (DCCADV) is a statewide alliance of programs, organizations, and individuals that have been working towards eliminating domestic violence in Washington. D.C. since 1986. By dealing with domestic violence through inventive means, they have been able to raise awareness and engage with the community.

One such project is their Spread Love DC initiative, which emerged nearly ten years ago from programs related to Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) to draw attention to the importance of healthy relationships. Taking place every October since 1987, DVAM sees communities and organizations across the U.S. running programs to raise awareness about ending domestic violence. With Spread Love DC, the focus is on building healthy relationships and opening a dialogue about consent in the Washington, D.C. community.

 “Preventing a prevalent social issue such as domestic violence may seem overwhelming or even impossible. One way we can help prevent domestic violence is to change the way we talk about relationships. Spread Love DC helps change the conversation,” says Andrea Gleaves, the Strategic Partnerships Manager with DCCADV. “By flipping the script, and focusing on healthy relationships and consent, we can engage in conversations and actions that focus on building the positive and healthy communities we want to see.”

The DCCADV began printing the Spread Love DC logo on shirts for their staffers around five years ago. According to Andrea, “Everyone kept asking us, ‘Where can we get a shirt?’ And after a year of people requesting t-shirts and more with our Spread Love DC logo, we decided this was an excellent way to promote the month of activities and build awareness about healthy relationships.”

 

As a take on the Washington, D.C. flag with hearts replacing the stars, the logo for Spread Love DC caught on outside of the DCCADV as a symbol of the local community, the organization itself, and their mission statement. “Our logo offers advocates and community members a way to show their DC pride and support local advocacy around dating and domestic violence prevention,” says Andrea. In addition to the stripes and hearts, the purple is also intentional as the color for domestic violence awareness.

The DCCADV has used Custom Ink ever since that first run of the Spread Love DC staff shirts. They found Custom Ink to be the most user-friendly after researching multiple custom apparel companies, and their positive experience with the first order (and all the demand!) led to five years (and counting!) of additional orders. After the popularity of the staff’s custom apparel, the DCCADV decided to use Custom Ink Fundraising to offer more than simply custom shirts — people could also donate money towards the Spread Love DC cause. As Andrea puts it, “Our Spread Love DC t-shirts provide our community a fashionable way to raise awareness and declare that everyone deserves a healthy relationship.”

Using the Custom Ink Fundraising website to set up a campaign, the DCCADV could easily offer custom shirts to supporters while raising money, awareness, and engagement within the community. The donations are used towards generating more awareness about domestic violence prevention through new programs and initiatives with the DCCADV, while individuals wearing the shirt can show their support and inform others about the Spread Love DC mission. From their first campaign in 2016 and every following year, the DCCADV has sold more than 400 Spread Love DC shirts and even branched out into printing the logo on tote bags and blankets! With this success, the DCCADV has been using Custom Ink for every Domestic Violence Awareness Month since.

By being able to showcase the Spread Love DC logo on a shirt, the DCCADV can draw attention to the sensitive topic of domestic violence. “We encourage everyone—in their homes, neighborhoods, schools, faith communities, and workplace—to proactively engage in dialogue that promotes safety, respect, and accountability. Together, we can spread love and prevent domestic violence,” says Andrea. As one way to help prevent domestic violence is to change the way people talk about relationships, the Spread Love DC shirt helps start that conversation.

You can find more information about Spread Love DC at www.spreadlovedc.org, or follow the DCCADV on Twitter and Instagram at @dccadv and at www.facebook.com/dccadv on Facebook.

 


Kendra is the Copywriting Support at Custom Ink. She has a background in art but she loves writing, so she finds a compromise between the two by creating comics in her free time. When she’s not working, she can be found at a local café brainstorming her next project (and eating cupcakes).

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