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Getting Unstuck and the Inspiration Behind it

Getting Unstuck and the Inspiration Behind it

I have been silent these past few weeks. I think to digest, maybe to come up with the words that can help me make sense of what happened on May 14th in my city, Buffalo, NY.  It’s almost unbelievable to think that someone would drive hours to come to a specific neighborhood in order to inflict unthinkable pain and horror to an unsuspecting community and city. I don’t get it. I never will get how hate can possess someone so deeply that they can commit these atrocities. Sadly, so many lives lost and so many lives will never be the same.

My first instinct is to always ask myself how I can help. I honestly couldn’t think clearly. I was stuck. Has anyone ever felt that way?

Many years ago, two of my sons who were only 5 and 7 at the time nearly drowned. It’s a horrible story that I don’t like to talk about. I was the one closest to them and could have helped but because I was holding my youngest who wasn’t quite 2 years old yet, I froze – I just couldn’t move. I was afraid if I did, I would lose all 3. I’m very ashamed of that even to this day. Thankfully, my husband went right in after them and they made it out alive by the grace of God and the assistance of some men who were also in the water.

Well, it happened again to me. I literally couldn’t think of a way to help — a way for me to give back to the families of the victims that are in so much pain — so, I sat back. To my relief, I watched many rushed forward – the civilian “first responders” — to use their skills and do amazing things for a hurting community. It warmed my heart, it helped to heal me and clear my head. It honestly got me unstuck.

Using My Skills

Cara Shea of @because_of_adi (on Instagram) designed the t-shirt I’m wearing in the picture below right after the horrible event of May 14th. This hit her hard. It’s the neighborhood she’s worked in for many years. This is the neighborhood of the children she watched grow up while working in schools all around Buffalo’s east side. Cara knew she wanted to help in some way so she decided to sell this design on a t-shirt and donate $5 from the sale of every shirt to the victims’ families.

Marinette Kozlow wearing t-shirt that her company Inspired Buffalo printed for Cara Shea

This image was taken from an Instagram Reel on @inspired.buffalo. Marinette Kozlow is wearing a t-shirt that her company Inspired Buffalo printed for Cara Shea who designed and sold these t-shirts. She donated $5 from each sale for the victim’s families — over $2,000!

She has a small print-from-home setup. When she became inundated with sales, especially after catching the attention of a local news channel, she knew she wouldn’t be able to keep up with orders and reached out for some help.

Cara called me asking if I could work within her tight budget so that she could maintain the same modest sale price ($15) and be able to still donate the $5 per shirt. I worked and reworked the numbers. It was a challenge, especially with the cost of everything rising including the premium tri-blend shirt she printed them on. No matter what, I wanted to make this happen for Cara and for the families of the victims so I agreed to make very little (just so I could cover any unexpected costs) and the rest of the money could be used for her original plan.

She sold over 500 shirts! We printed 288 of them and helped Cara raise more than $2,000 for the families! I’m blown away!

More to Come

I’m about to hit, “Go!” on a special fundraiser with the Journey Church called Only Love Can. I designed special edition t-shirts, water bottles, totes, and pins with the phrase Only Love Can Drive Out Hate. I’m gladly donating 75% of the proceeds to the church.

Black background with white dove and white words underneath that read Only Love Can Drive Out Hate

This is the fundraiser for The Journey Church. Marinette Kozlow designed it and proceeds will go to help provide services through Groceries to Seniors in the 14208 & 14209 communities.

During the pandemic, The Journey Church started an outreach to meet the needs of senior citizens in the 14208 &14209 zip codes. Seniors are especially vulnerable to severe illness and if you recall, they were discouraged from going to places such as supermarkets for fear of catching Covid. This church, led by Pastor Arthur Hall and First Lady Rashika Hall, saw a need and immediately went into action. The team of volunteers packed and delivered FREE bags of food right to their doors every month.

I’m so grateful I was able to volunteer a few times with this organization. It was wonderful to experience and will be doing it again soon!





Only Love Can Drive Out Hate Fundraiser Details:
  • The proceeds from this fundraiser will be used to continue to serve the seniors in this section of Buffalo in ways that are most needed.
  • All except one of the victims of this senseless shooting on May 14th was a senior — most were 50 and older. It gives so much more weight and significance to what they do.
  • If you’d like to find out more information about how to volunteer or donate, please go to their website:
  • The online store will be LIVE soon so keep watching!

What is Rising from the Ashes is
More Beautiful Than Imagined

Nothing will ever take away the pain the families and loved ones feel over this senseless hate crime. The enormous loss they’ve experienced is almost too much to bear. However, the response I’ve been witnessing has been very inspirational and uplifting.

Yes, every city has people who are cold and callous. They tried to rear their ugly heads right after this horrible event. Looking beyond the negative, I saw so many beautiful people rise up with love and compassion to give. They were coming together in ways I haven’t seen before. I saw people loving on one another and giving of themselves to help. People crossed geographic, religious, racial, and financial “lines” just to be there for each other. I am 100% positive this was NOT what the person who unleashed his fury on this neighborhood would have imagined. His sick act that was meant to destroy actually made us stronger. My city is rising from the ashes and something so beautiful is coming forth.

Can you feel it?




P.S. The Only Love Can fundraiser goes LIVE soon so keep watching!