Ryn Harris is a junior at Florida State University (FSU) from Tampa, FL. As a double major in business management and marketing, her interests and expertise span an even wider territory. Ryn has been volunteering with various organizations over the years and her resume paints her as a seasoned professional in any activity she’s involved with. When she’s not giving back to her community, Ryn enjoys taking road trips, working out, reading and art.
Mainstream news and media buried us with COVID-19 stories for the first several months of the pandemic. The news stories that broke the trend of pure coronavirus news were those related to social injustice and police brutality. Like the rest of the country, Ryn was left heartbroken by these horrifying stories. “When George Floyd was killed, I took it very deeply to heart.”
Across the country, protests were taking place in every small and large city. Some of the protests surrounding George Floyd’s death were even international. Ryn felt empowered to join the protests in her hometown of Tampa and decided to make her own shirt for the event. “I’ve always been super artsy and love any type of creative project or craft.” From there, she took a black Gildan tee shirt, cropped it, used masking tape to tape out the words “NO FREEDOM UNTIL WE’RE EQUAL,” and then sprayed the shirt with lemon-scented bleach to create an acid-washed look. Hoping to inspire her social media followers, Ryn made a TikTok video of her creating this shirt. She couldn’t have predicted what came next. The video garnered 1.3 million views and received thousands of comments. “I read the comments and hundreds of people were asking to buy a shirt.” That’s when her social entrepreneurship and innovation skills kicked in. “I recognized that this could be an opportunity to raise money for BLM so I took people’s orders.” Knowing it would be extremely difficult to produce all of these shirts on her own, Ryn reached out to a local clothing company to assist her with the high demand. With their assistance, over 250 shirts were made and all profits went directly to the BLM Foundation. “For me, this project was my way of contributing to a cause I believe in.”
While Ryn doesn’t intend on making a career out of creating art, it’s a skill she has no intention of abandoning completely. “It’s very cool to know that if I did ever intend to pursue something similar in the future, people were interested enough in the things I make to buy them.” After graduating from FSU, Ryn aspires to join the Peace Corps and, afterward, go to law school. She hopes to meld her interest in law with her passion for creativity and artistry. “The type of law I’m interested in is intellectual property law, which protects people’s creative ideas and designs. That’s my way of connecting it all together.”
Click here to view her TikTok!