Art and Activism | Postcards for Change

As a photographer, mountain trail lover, and clean air and water-loving human, I’m madly, passionately in love with the gorgeous “pale blue dot” on which we reside.

I’m grateful every day to be here, and as such I’m of the mind that (as seen on a sign at the Women's March) “Activism is my rent for living on this planet.”

I’ve been encouraged watching the historic levels of civic involvement over the course of these past few weeks. No matter what your political leanings, an active, engaged citizenry is a vital part of our 240 year experiment in American Democracy.

Former congressional staffers have been giving great advice on ways to be heard, and one of the effective means of communication (especially if you’re having a hard time getting through with phone calls) is by writing postcards to our own Members of Congress. Full letters, from what I’ve learned, might not opened for weeks as they wait to be cleared through security. But a postcard is ready to read and your voice can be recorded right away.

I loved the idea of the Women’s March inspired postcards, but it was important to me to write on a postcard that was non-partisan in its delivery, beautiful, and personal. In addition, I keep hearing that if you want your voice to be heard, you should make your message personal.  

So this is personal.

Pulling from my collection of landscape photos, captured when I lived in one of the most beautiful spots on the planet (Telluride Colorado), I designed a few postcards with these goals in mind. I thought I’d share, in case you’d like to download and use them, for your own postcards to your members of congress.

They are small, which works well, since it is best to keep your messages short and sweet, one issue per card.

A few links in case you’re interested:

Here is a link to the INDIVISIBLE GUIDE in case you haven’t already heard of this group which has been effective in organizing efforts of regular people to have a voice in government. It has tips to help you formulate your strategy with regards to phone calls, town halls, meetings and correspondence with your Members of Congress.

Find your Members of Congress in the House by entering your zipcode HERE.

Find DC addresses for your Senators, HERE (you may have to go on their website to find their in-state address if you want to write there, too -- which is a great idea!)

And finally...

FREE POSTCARD DOWNLOADS, which you can print either at home, or by uploading to an online printing service of your choice (I used Vistaprint). They are designed to be printed as standard, 4x6 postcards. I hope to update them periodically with different designs to keep them fresh.

Happy Postcard Writing and Cheers to Productive Activism and a Healthy Democracy!

 

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.” - Margaret Mead

September 15, 2008 | One of my Favorite Days

It was the fall of 2008, the economy was in a tailspin and it was decidedly not a great day for the country, but it was a pivotal day for everything that has happened since... and for us, it will be burned in our memory forever.

photo by Jennifer Koskinen
sketch by Gabe Koskinen, age 8

In the predawn hours of a brisk Monday morning, my son and I woke in a hotel in Grand Junction, Colorado. My beloved 8 year old boy had knocked on doors with me during the historic campaign, and had raised money for a campaign donation with an Obama inspired poster he drew with crayons. So naturally, I allowed him to skip school to be a part of history in person. As a single mom of a young, precocious boy, Obama’s unique personal story already resonated deeply for us.

Our eagerness at that pre-dawn hour earned us a spot on the risers right behind Obama for what turned out to be anything BUT an everyday stump speech.

Obama rally, photo by Jennifer Koskinen
Obama rally, photo by Jennifer Koskinen

It was on that fateful morning on September of 2008 when Lehman Brothers collapsed.

And it was that same day that McCain uttered those fateful words, which arguably cost him his credibility and thus, the election, “the fundamentals of our economy are strong.”

And so it was that we heard about this impending chapter in the collapse of the economy -- and of McCain’s tone-deaf words -- in person from Barack Obama himself.

He began telling us that day, “This morning we woke up to some very serious and troubling news from Wall Street.”

It was a legitimate turning point in the election of our lives.

Obama rally, photo by Jennifer Koskinen
Obama rally, photo by Jennifer Koskinen
Boy going to meet Obama

And it was the day my son got to meet the future President of the United States.

After the speech wrapped up, and after Obama walked the rope line, shaking hands with jubilant and hopeful admirers, one of the volunteers spotted my boy and asked if he wanted to go meet Obama. It was ALL he wanted to do!! And so Harris cleared it with secret service, and walked my 8 year old to go meet Obama and pose for a photo with the volunteers. I witnessed the moment with a sense of pride that is still difficult for me to put into words.

Obama rally, photo by Jennifer Koskinen

I knew in my soul upon hearing him speak that day that he would be elected. His personal presence, his quiet command of respect, his open, infectious smile and his ability to inspire were already qualities that shone brightly.

For eight years, my son and I have been moved by his integrity and his example. Our lives have improved dramatically, from our economic livelihood (my entire business was built in the Obama era -- rising tide lifts all boats!), to our health care, to the feeling of personal empowerment he instilled in us to keep fighting for the things we hold dear: environment, civil rights, and a better life for our fellow citizens and humans around this beautiful planet.

Above all, I am grateful that my son came of age with the Obama family as our role models, as our First Family. The leadership, ethical values and high integrity exemplified by Barack, Michelle, Sasha and Malia have meant the world to me as a mother, as a proud citizen and as a human being.

Thanks, Obama!! I’m proud to share the planet with you and wish you a love and family filled break… and all the best in your next chapter.

My boy (tiny smiling one, to the right of the photographer) and Obama (to the left of the photographer)!

My boy (tiny smiling one, to the right of the photographer) and Obama (to the left of the photographer)!