Miami Culture
8:34 am
Thu June 12, 2014

Remembering Fallen Young Men With "RIP T-shirts"

Hai Haliva, owner of Studio X, and Ayleen Lopez, a graphic designer, work inside the booth at the USA Flea Market, where they design R.I.P. t-shirts for customers. EMILY MICHOT / MIAMI HERALD STAFF

They come to put their dead relatives and friends on a T-shirt.

A young woman clutches a photo of her murdered 16-year-old brother. He grins at the camera, his right hand clutching a gun. Three young men line up to pay homage to one of their friends, a “street soldier,” with his Facebook profile picture.

Here at Studio X, inside the U.S.A. Flea Market, miles away from South Beach in a gritty pocket of Liberty City, is where black Miami’s killed are memorialized. Pictures of the deceased are stamped onto plaques and necklace charms, but a majority of customers come to put a picture on a T-shirt.

For the bereaved who robe themselves in these memorial shirts, the act is a public expression of their loss. It is a ritual they turn to in their time of grief. It is a testimony of a life prematurely taken by violence in neighborhoods where these killings don’t always make the news cycle.

Continue reading at MiamiHerald.com.

 

Desloc Piccalo, 37, poses at Studio X, a store that produces memorial shirts of victims of gun violence. CARL JUSTE / MIAMI HERALD STAFF
‘THEY’RE STILL WITH ME BECAUSE I WEAR THEIR SHIRTS’: Amanda Brewer looks over her collection of R.I.P. T-shirts in her Liberty City apartment. Many of the victims were relatives of hers who were shot and killed in Miami. EMILY MICHOT / MIAMI HERALD