I came across an interesting story in the Oakland Tribute about memorial clothing — “RIP” T-shirts that are becoming increasingly common in inner cities as a way to pay tribute to fallen youth.
It may not be a religion story in the strictest sense, but there are spiritual overtones when people try to keep alive the memories of their loved ones.
One woman whose daughter was killed by a stray bullet in East Oakland explained: “I wear my shirt and have it done because I’m never going to forget my daughter, and I don’t want anyone else to forget her. So as long as you know someone can see her face, they can hear her story.”
The San Francisco Chronicle did a similar, longer story in 2004. It said: “The R.I.P. shirts — airbrushed or featuring scanned photos of lost loved ones — were just a novelty when they were first created a decade ago. But today they are an everyday ritual of death in many American cities, like choosing a casket or sending flowers. Shirt-making enterprises now thrive in areas where the homicide rates are high, including parts of the Bay Area, New York, Washington, D.C., Miami and Chicago.”