It was the summer of 2020, and my husband and I had two young kids and were (still are!) in the midst of a global pandemic as well as a shift in our nation’s consciousness around white supremacy. Helicopters covering the protests in Portland where we lived hovered over our neighborhood every night while forest fires fueled by climate change choked the air. Our nausea at the state of our country’s political situation mixed with the severe exhaustion of working parents with no childcare, left us feeling paralyzed. We protested, we talked to our kids, we read books. Yet we still felt like we didn’t have the capacity to be part of the solution so, as the old adage goes, we felt like we were part of the problem.
Nothing good felt achievable in national politics and we struggled to see how we could make a difference with our limited capacity. Then I saw a friend post on Instagram. She was writing postcards for BWPM and I immediately gasped, “I can do that!” She dropped some off for us and the feeling of relief I felt when putting them in the mailbox had me hooked. This was something effective we could do after the kids were asleep. I started my own group and realized our kids could have a role too. They added labels and postage and our work moved quickly. We mailed out our first order of 200 postcards and I knew we could own this.
I posted a picture on Instagram and found that I could do what my friend had done for me. Friends wrote that they wanted to help too. Some joined our group and others created their own groups where they lived. We emailed family, friends, neighbors and recruited more helpers. Through BWPM’s website, we received messages from strangers in Portland that wanted to help. Now we had a solid crew of about 20 people and a system for picking up and tracking postcards. We started a fundraiser on Facebook with the help of BWPM and raised $300 for postage. Every time we made it through a new order of postcard kits I felt like we’d never reach the bottom but we always did.
In total our group mailed 5,000 postcards to voters in Florida, Georgia, and West Virginia. Groups that started because of that Instagram post added thousands more to this total.
When the 2020 election came and all three of those states went blue we felt victorious. I’m forever grateful for BWPM for reviving our hope and for activating our community. A few days ago a neighbor texted me, “Are we doing postcards for the midterms?” You bet we are!