A host of Wisconsin artists, activists, mobilizers and community leaders from across the state gathered last week to zoom in with actress and activist Lilakoi Moon, also known as Lisa Bonet, then that they were working together to bring his #VoteWithLove initiative to Wisconsin.
“It was so great to see how she was working with all these diverse people. There were people on Zoom who ran art schools, there were art students, there were collectives, there were community organizers, college professors, nonprofit leaders, and community organizers. tribal leaders, ”Emilio De Torre, executive director of the Milwaukee Turners at Turner Hall in the heart of Milwaukee, tells Madison365. “It was a beautiful, diverse coalition of blacks, Latinxs, aboriginals and whites. I think people are really excited about this.
“I think the world is really paying attention to this election, so it was kind of Lilakoi and his team to get together with all of us and talk to us,” he adds. “It’s nice to know that it’s not just another person coming to our state to tell the people of Wisconsin what to do, it’s a person with great integrity who works. with people to step up their efforts.
Moon says she is “very proud of this invitation to ‘vote with love’.”
“We all landed pretty hard because of this collective stumble and amnesia,” Moon told Madison365. “As we regain our foothold and remember who we are, it is Love – an incorruptible force – that will lead us on the path of repair and higher intelligence. The source of Love comes from this. which is undivided. This is our way forward. “
De Torre had a constant stream of people stopping at Turner Hall in downtown Milwaukee, where the Milwaukee Turners are located, to pick up #ToWisconsinWithLove and #VoteWithLove love letter art featuring videos, posters, stickers, and stencils that then ship statewide.
“We have people carpooling all over the state to places like Madison, Eau Claire, Racine, Green Bay. It’s a great way to strengthen the work we do, ”he says. “Most of these groups are already doing an incredible job fighting for racial justice and fairness all year round and not just for the presidential election.”
The work was created by an artist friend of Moon, Ruby Roth, artist and author-illustrator. #ToWisconsinWithLove is a citizens’ movement formed in response to the very important November 3 election which turned into a “passionate assemblage of famous Wisconsin storytellers” including actor, director and producer Mark Ruffalo, and directors Marc Webb, David Leitch and Zach Snyder. He is strongly supported by friends in Wisconsin, including Moon and her husband, actor Jason Mamoa and daughter Zoe Kravitz.
Many Wisconsin residents have also created emotional, inspiring, and shareable stories under the hashtag #ToWisconsinWithLove encouraging Wisconsin voters to use their voting power, including “A Love Letter to Black Women in Wisconsin” (below ) with JoAnne Sabir, Venice Williams and Dasha Kelly Hamilton.
Williams, the founder of Alice’s Garden in Milwaukee, a two-acre urban farm and community garden that works with downtown families, says she’s really particular about the things she says “yes” to, but with this video and this movement, there was no hesitation.
“Being able, as a black woman, to speak directly to other black women was important and it was a welcome invitation. Although the video was directed to Wisconsin, it went global, ”Wiliams told Madison365. “Especially at a time when almost everyone reminds us to vote, most of these voices and people don’t sound or sound like me.
“None who needs to be reminded to vote by white people less than black women,” she adds. “It was important to me that the power to vote and the encouragement to vote came from other black women. We know we’re not going to wake up on November 4th and the world has changed for black women – we’re going to have the same struggles and issues no matter who’s in power. However, we understand that it is part of our heritage to continue to exercise our right to vote. “
Former Madisonian and current Milwaukee Bucks star Wesley Matthews also features in a new #AuWisconsinWithLove announcement encouraging Wisconsinians to vote (below).
De Torre and Shahanna McKinney Baldon, the Special Assistant for Diversity and Inclusion at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research, helped lead efforts to secure the #ToWisconsinWithLove art throughout the state of Wisconsin before the election.
“I’m so excited about how this has unfolded very quickly and how this initiative reinforces and connects the amazing work people are already doing,” McKinney Baldon told Madison365. “I really hope this will continue to support the leadership of the people on the ground in our communities in Wisconsin, now and after the election, and in anticipation of future elections to come.”
McKinney Baldon says the bond with Moon began when she spoke with a friend of her undergraduate years at UW-Madison, J. Bob Alotta, who is currently vice president of global programs at the Mozilla Foundation. Bob’s partner is a famous musician named Toshi Reagon, who is the child of Bernice Johnson Reagon, a longtime justice leader and former member of the [the all-black female a cappella ensemble] Sweet Honey in the Rock, ”McKinney Baldon recalls. “Toshi is connected to all kinds of artists who do justice work in communities.”
Alotta quickly connected McKinney-Baldon with Moon, also known as Lisa Bonet.
“Lilakoi said that she and the team she led were at the point where they wanted to connect with people from our communities in Wisconsin,” she said. “I immediately called my old friend, Emilio [De Torre], which has organized very important popular organizations in the state over the years. “
De Torre, in turn, immediately connected with 20 organizations across Wisconsin.
“After talking with Shahanna and then connecting with Lilakoi Moon and the people on her team, we realized that we would need a quick turnaround on this because the election was approaching quickly, so we reached out to people who already have does things statewide, ”says De Torre. “We connected with a lot of folks from Madison, Milwaukee, Racine, Green Bay, Eau Claire, Baraboo and some rural organizers and thought these lovely posters uplifting this ‘vote with love’ message and with a lot of great
The Wisconsin-specific iconography on the artwork could be used by people who are already doing this work, who are already organizing voters, who are already setting up reception desks outside polling stations to serve as water, hot cocoa or coffee.
“We’ve reached out to people who are doing big art campaigns in the city who can use the stencils and these posters not only to elevate their message, but also to make the voting process during a pandemic much more enjoyable and humane,” De adds. Torre.
De Torre and McKinney Baldon are both thrilled with how #ToWisconsinWithLove has spread in such a short time as Wisconsin artists and storytellers tap into the voices of the many diverse groups that make up the Badger State.
“It’s amazing. Just seeing how these artists responded by working with other like minds and energies for this election is truly uplifting,” said De Torre.
“I was so happy to see how excited people were to connect with each other on the call we had the other day with Lilakoi and to see how the messages of this campaign – #votewithlove, love for Wisconsin, love letters to Wisconsin – resonated with people and how uplifted people were by it, ”McKinney Baldon said. “It’s so inspiring.”
#Towisconsinwithlove artwork can be picked up by Election Day from Emilio De Torre at Turner Hall in downtown Milwaukee, 1034 Vel R. Phillips Ave. If people want to pick up the artwork in Madison, they can email Shahanna at VoteLoveWi @ gmail.com.