OXFORD, Mich. – Athletics programs from across Michigan are coming together to pay tribute to the Oxford community and help victims of the high school shooting.
Brian Gordon, interim athletic director for Royal Oak Schools said athletic directors from across Oakland County met at Oxford High School the morning of the tragedy. He’s been thinking about ways to help ever since.
Gordon, with the help of the Oakland Activities Association, Kensington Lakes Activities Association and Detroit Catholic High School League organized and teamed up with E.A. Graphics to create, then sell Oxford Strong shirts and sweatshirts. 80% of each item will go to the victims of the Oxford High School shooting.
“It’s about standing up together to combat school violence,” Gordon said.
Michigan High School Athletics Association (MHSAA) and Michigan Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Associations (MIAAA) is helping to get the word out about it.
“E.A. Graphics in Sterling Heights is our merchandise partner. They do all the shirts and things like that for our tournament events. Way before we were involved, they had already stepped in and said we would love to print as much as we can to be part of some sort of fundraising effort,” Geoff Kimmerly, MHSAA Communications Director, said.
Apparel went on sale Monday and by Tuesday morning, E.A. Graphics president Bob Artymovich said they had 300 orders from across the country.
The plan is for everyone to wear the shirts on February 4, 2022 a day when multiple high school sports events are happening. School districts are having Oxford Strong events throughout the February too.
“Kids, community, families, grandmas, grandparents, teachers, administrators, coaches, everybody all at the same time. To me, that’s a powerful statement, not only to support Oxford, and the tragedy that they’re dealing with, but also to say, ‘Hey, we’re done with the school violence,’” Gordon said.
Kimmerly said it sends the message that regardless of the rivalries and who is playing who that day, there’s just one team: Oxford Strong.
“I think everybody has had Oxford closer to their heart here over the last month. And so combining schools and combining sports, it really does give us an opportunity to stand together and pretty loud way to make a statement,” Kimmerly said. “A statement of support showing that we can’t do a lot to take away the pain, but we can show you that we support you and we want to continue to support you however we can.”
- To order, click here.
Gordon said he wants legislators, city officials, school board members, even Governor Whitmer to join them in the day of support.
His hope is to eventually have Feb. 4 be recognized as a statewide awareness day to prevent violence against schools.