Voting in 2020, The Power of Empathy

Oh hey! We're your new best buds, Moorea in the pink tee + Teresa in the brick red crew, here to encourage you to VOTE in 2020 with empathy. I've teamed up with my friend and artist Teresa Grasseschi to create these cute and loud VOTE VOTE tees and sweatshirts. We believe there's something missing in our culture of voting in the United States. And that profoundly important missing thing is Empathy. 

vote vote tee by moorea seal and teresa grasseschi
Photography by Sarah Wolfe

True morality, true ethics require us to look beyond what just effects us and the people we know and love. beyond our bubbles. It takes courage and vulnerability to look beyond our own suffering, to open our eyes to see there are many more needs in the world than our own. Our own needs should come first, yes, but we need to bring along and lift up others in their needs as well. This is empathy.

moorea seal teresa grasseschi

We, like many people of privilege, have been complacent in our voting habits in the past too. We all fall victim to complacency or loss of hope. But every day is a new day to be better, do better, and begin again. And so here we are, showing up and talking about it.

It's easy to just follow a voting guide based on what a website you trust recommends, comfortable to just take the last minute advice and insight on voting from friends or family. It's so easy to give up hope, to become burnt out on media coverage during election seasons and just fill out a form last minute because you will feel guilty if you don't. 

But you know what is more important than our own burn out of hearing the same stuff over and over again during election season? It's taking the time to consider, "whose voices have I NOT heard in regards to this election?" "Who are the people who don't have access to voting the way that I do?" "Who are the people who are so deeply marginalized and neglected by our government and local communities, that they will have absolutely no way of casting a vote to support themselves or their families?"

orange vote vote tee

There are thousands and thousands of people across our nation, in our states, and  in our own neighborhoods who are not going to have the chance to vote this year. 

So what are you going to do about it? What are WE going to do about it?

vote vote campaign moorea seal teresa grasseschi

WE ARE GOING TO SPREAD THE WORD. The word: VOTE. and the message behind it: EMPATHY.

In general, low voter turnout is attributed to disillusionment, indifference, or a sense of futility (the perception that one's vote won't make any difference).

You know what is motivating when you think your vote means nothing? Realizing your vote represents MANY more votes than your own. Here's a list of just SOME of the people groups who cannot vote, people you and I need to empathize with and vote on behalf of:

  • 22.6 million non-citizens live in the United States. They legally cannot vote. This includes permanent, legal residents, who are non-citizens, according to USA.gov
  • Thousands and thousands of people across this nation with "mental disabilities and incapabilities" are not allowed to vote because of their diagnoses. In 39 states, judges are allowed to strip voting rights from people with neuro-divergence, from people with severe PTSD from participating in war lead by our government, to schizophrenia, to people with Down syndrome, bipolar and autism. I tell you what, I know MANY kind and intelligent people with these neuro-divergences who make more ethically sound decisions than many politicians.
  • 5.9 million people cannot vote because of having a felony, according to the Sentencing Project as of 2010. Almost 50% of people incarcerated for felonies committed non-violent crimes, and the vast majority of these people are people of color. There are people locked up for things that were once illegal but now are not. There is injustice in our prison system and these people need your voice, your help, your vote.
  • 4 million people are not allowed to vote for the president and do not have representation in Congress because they live in US "territories and commonwealths" like Puerto Rico. 
  • Voter ID laws make it extremely hard for marginalized people to gain access to 1, just getting a new ID, and 2, voting. Think of people you know, have observed or cared for: Elderly, homeless, transgender community, POC who have been oppressed by people of my skin tone for centuries, who don't have the money, the access, the rights, the abilities to get new IDs so they can vote. They deserve the support of people who have ease in the privilege of voting. I want to advocate for them.
  • Many workers don’t automatically have Election Day off. So many working class people don't have the opportunity to go vote simply because of the obligations of their day to day life. To support the working class, those who can access voting MUST help!
  • The Native American community is extremely under supported in opportunity to vote. In one case, the Native citizens of Wanblee, South Dakota have to travel 54 miles round-trip to register and vote in a primarily white town with a racist history. 
  • Those with disabilities: A 2012 study showed that in the 2012 Presidential Election, about one-third of voters with disabilities reported difficulties voting.
  • Lack of Language Resources: 1/3 of people in New York speak a language other than English at home. Latinx community are deeply effected by the lack of language resources.
  • Voter Purging: Via Everyday Feminism, "In 2014, election officials in 27 states created a program that would remove millions of voters from the voting rolls. The list, made up mostly Black, Latinx, and Asian voters, works by targeting folks who are believed to have voted twice. Some of the most “heavily weighted” last names are with Jackson, Garcia, Patel, and Kim."
  • Voter Intimidation: in 2016, Latinx voters in Massachusetts were targeted at polls. They were illegally asked for ID, denied translation services, and treated with open hostility. This ish happens. Those of you reading this who have easy access to voting, please remember those who have an almost impossible time getting the chance to vote.

 

...tired of reading, skipped ahead because wow that's a lot of people who can't vote?

Repeat this mantra out loud:
MY VOTE MATTERS. and I will help others with my vote. I will help myself. I will help my loved ones. And I will help those I have yet to know, but who deserve my love and compassion. With this love, I will be a part of a greater network of empathic people. Together, we will help ourselves and those outside of ourselves to RISE in 2020. This is our year, as a nation, to live with compassion.

We designed these tees to spread a message of empathy. 10% of all proceeds are donated to the ACLU. We hope that through this initiative, we can raise funds to create impactful empathetic change in the lives of those who most need support.

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