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By Calvin Berry

At the heart of Poketo’s foundational philosophy is the belief that art is not just the subject of passive observation; rather, it should be an integrated part of your day to day life, something that, by its fundamentally interactive nature, provides a way of engaging with the world around you in a more meaningful way. By the same measure, we believe art isn’t meant to be isolated, but instead thrives in community, providing a way to connect and communicate, to understand and be understood, to unite and change.
We find ourselves in a country divided along increasingly fragmented ideological lines that seem to grow daily in both depth and number. In this kind of political environment, it’s easy to feel withdrawn and silenced. This week, we’re releasing our Art Speaks collection as a call to unite through art and raise your collective voice, to re-engage and reconnect with your world on a human level that only art can reach.

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In a time when communication has become increasingly impersonal, we believe the act of physically writing and sending mail takes on a renewed significance, providing a deeper way to interact and get involved with the community at large. That’s why each Art Speaks pin or pack of pencils you purchase comes with a set of postcards to encourage you to get in touch with your elected official and express your beliefs and your desire for change.
We invite you to join us this weekend (April 1-2) for the in-store release of the Art Speaks collection, where we’ll have a table set up for postcard writing in community with friends. As a way of leading by example, Poketo will match and donate 100% of the Art Speaks proceeds to the ACLU. If you’re looking for inspiration for what kind of messages to send, here are two examples written by our founders, Ted and Angie, to help get you started:

Dear Senator Feinstein,

My name is Ted Vadakan and I live in Los Angeles, California. I am concerned about the safety of immigrants in our country. The media has been reporting a lot about forceful and unnecessary deportation of illegal immigrants by ICE. I am concerned about this because immigrants, legal or illegal, are people that contribute to the well being of our society. Immigrants are fathers, mothers, sons and daughters. The forceful deportation of people breaks apart families that will have a lasting affect on the stability of individuals and society as a whole. Imagine if you were torn away from your own family and unable to see the ones you love. My family immigrated here in the 70s. Having the freedom to build a life here in the US, with the support and love of family and friends has allowed me the opportunity to write this letter and voice concerns that I believe in. Please always be an advocate for human rights, individual rights, and the rights of families to be together and participate in our society.

Sincerely,

Ted Vadakan

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Dear Senator Harris,

I’m writing today in support for the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities, because I believe access to arts and humanities education should be a democratic right for all. As we all know, cuts to these foundations have little to do with saving money (the NEA received only 0.004 percent of the federal budget last year). Much of the funding the NEA and NEH receive goes toward small arts and humanities organizations in every state and district that educate and enrich the lives in communities, including high poverty and rural communities that already have little access to arts education to begin with. Supporting the arts and humanities is not a frivolous and wasteful act–it is a fundamental principle of any civil society, and is imperative to the education system. Please stop the defunding of important agencies such as NEA, NEH, Planned Parenthood, EPA, and all others like them.

Sincerely,

Angie Myung

In the spirit of encouraging members of our community to speak their minds, we asked members of our team to share what #ArtSpeaks means to them. Here’s what they had to say:

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“In today’s political climate, we’re working with a foundation of institutionalized racism and heteronormative ideals. We must actively confront the issues marginalized minorities are suffering from, taking the steps towards a more inclusive society by seeking knowledge, practicing activism and supporting organizations like the ACLU.”
- David Hamilton, Retail Associate

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“Peace is not passive. Sometimes peace means tranquility, but in the times of oppression, it does not. Let’s push for true peace and rights for every gender, ethnicity, religion, shape, size and color.”
Emily McDonald, Photographer

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“Sometimes I wonder what impact I can make as an individual. What can I do to make a difference? I’m a single voice, how much of a difference can I make? A lot actually, especially when my voice is echoed by the voices of others. There’s strength in numbers.
- Sonya Gallardo, Retail Director

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