Let's face it: Reaching out to politicians with daily phone calls, emails, and postcards can get tiring. That's why the "Be My Representative" movement (stylized as #BeMyRepresentative) is encouraging constituents to get their message across creatively this Feb. 14 by sending homemade Valentines to their elected officials. If you have a love/hate relationship with your political representatives at the moment, sending a heart-shaped card is probably the last thing on your mind — but utilizing Eros’ holiday to do a little political activism is actually a genius way to make a striking statement (and have some fun while you're at it).
#BeMyRepresentative, which was started by professional artists Spencer Merolla and Janice McDonnell, seeks to "bring a bit of joy to the resistance, while encouraging first-timers to get comfy with the idea of sending their reps heartfelt messages throughout the year." The two were inspired by the creativity and cleverness that went into the protest signs and DIY pussy hats at the Women's March on Jan. 21. Constructing both the hats and the signs brought some fun to an "otherwise bleak Inauguration Day," Merolla tells Bustle. "Janice came up with the idea of continuing the creative protest by banding together with friends to make Valentines the next week," she notes. With a little social media savvy and website building knowhow, a movement was born.
#BeMyRepresentative understands that in it's going to take more than an adult coloring book to relieve the stress and anxiety this political climate has induced. "Our goal is to combat resistance fatigue with humor and creativity," Merolla tells Bustle. "It's also a really accessible way for people who have never contacted their representatives to get started."
The #BeMyRepresentative website offers handy advice on how to host a Valentine-making party ("wine and glitter optional"), as well as tips on how to demand specific action and where to send the Valentines. You can check out their Instagram page for inspiring examples of how people have used the holiday of love to get their message across in a beautiful and often hilarious way.
Those worried that constructing a homemade Valentine will be too difficult in such a short timeframe needn't be deterred; the most important thing is just to get them in the mail. "Don't get hung up on trying to make things perfect!" Merolla advises. "The beauty of Valentines is that they are handmade, so don't be afraid to let that show. Share what's on your mind and in your heart. And be specific about what you want from your rep, whether it's opposing a nominee or supporting a piece of legislation." Of the many Valentines made for the project so far, it's hard for Merolla to pick a favorite, but she says among her top picks are "'Roses are red, violets are blue, Bannon's on the NSC, what will YOU do?' and anything that embellishes Trump's hair."
With just a few days till Valentine's Day, it's never been a better time to break out that glitter and red construction paper and tell those politicians how you really feel. Tag your valentines with #BeMyRepresentative and they may even be featured on the website!