Designer, Kristina Filler, reached out to us today in honor of Teacher Appreciation Week. Her dad, a beloved history teacher, was shot and killed outside of Hoboken High School, where he taught for many years. The twentieth anniversary of his death fell just two days before the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas in Florida and, as you can imagine - hit all too close to home for her. Feeling emotionally defeated but inspired by the Parkland students’ activism, she designed a t-shirt to raise funds for Everytown For Gun Safety , an organization that fights the gun lobby. Her efforts of sharing her father’s story has helped raise almost $5,000 for gun safety. It’s emotionally trying to revisit the pain of this loss, but she’s working hard to spread the word in the hopes of keeping other teachers, students, and innocent people safe.
For Teacher Appreciation Day, Kristina shared some thoughts on her own favorite teachers as well as her dad’s memory:
“I will always be thankful to the teachers who took time out of their days to help me cope while coming to terms with the loss of my dad. They shared their own personal experiences with me and helped me believe that things would get easier with time. Some of them even helped me cheat on their tests once in a while, when they knew I needed a break. It's teachers like these who go above and beyond the job, that truly change lives and make a difference. I learned after he passed away that my dad was one of those teachers. After he died, he was memorialized outside the school he worked at with this plaque. It still stands there, honoring him and hopefully inspiring other teachers to put the same kind of heart into their work.
With the gun violence headlines starting to wane, interest in gun safety is also waning, but teachers are going through a lot with having to be a part of active shooter drills. It'd be really nice if they could go back to worrying about students instead of worrying about their safety. Please share and help me protect them - they might be someone's favorite teacher — or their dad.”
The story of his passing and the shirt campaign (hold-your-fire.com) that Kristina has been been working on will be shared tonight, at the Hoboken High School library, at 6:00 PM as part of a presentation about gun violence prevention, during the school’s PTO meeting. Members of Be Smart and Moms Demand Action will be presenting. Kristina will be attending in honor of her dad and in the hope of getting more donations to Everytown. This t-shirt campaign is Kristina’s first foray into activism and she wants to inspire others to get involved so that they can be spared the pain that she went through. If you attend the meeting, look for Kristina’s peace dove shirt and say hello.
If you want to support the cause, all of the proceeds from Kristina’s shirt are being donated directly to Everytown.org. It’s caught some social media fire and she would love to see fellow Hobokenites wear it in her dad’s honor, in the city that he loved. Buy one here