The Black Lives Matter organization has launched an innovative project to help raise funds for Black postal workers while simultaneously spreading a message of love. The initiative, Write Black Love Letters, which comes on the heels of President Donald Trump's threat to defund the USPS, encourages Black parents to buy stamps and send love letters to their children through the Postal Service.
"Write Black Love Letters is a creative intervention encouraging us all to FUND the USPS by buying stamps and sending Black love letters and postcards," Black Lives Matter wrote on Instagram. "We are centering love, connection, and beauty in a time of isolation, tension, and change. We are celebrating our historic contributions to the USPS and demanding that our legacy be protected."
According to Black Lives Matter, about 50% of postal workers are Black and brown.
"For the everyday Black worker, the Postal Service has represented the dignified, stable employment they deserve and are often refused elsewhere," the activist group wrote. "To defund the USPS would be to deny future generations this opportunity and dishonor the legacy of Black postal workers."
A few of the parents read their letters in a video produced by the activists, telling their children that they are loved and they matter.
According to Essence, Black Lives Matter partnered with artists Damon Davis, Jessi Jumanji, and Lauren Halsey to redesign several classic stamps to reflect Black history and culture. Davis re-imagined The Innovative Choreographers Forever Stamp to feature dancing pioneer Katherine Dunham. For his second piece, Davis redesigned The Legends of American Music stamp, adding blues musician Robert Johnson.
Jumanji was responsible for three stamp designs. One of her artworks depicts The National Alliance of Postal Employees, a group of Black postal workers who formed their union in 1913 and fought against racist policies such as photograph requirements for civil service applicants.
She also redesigned the stamp honoring Mary Fields, who became the first Black woman to carry mail on a USPS Star Route after she was emancipated in 1863. The artist's third remix honors all Black postal workers who simply do their jobs everyday.
Halsey focused her art on Bessie Coleman, who was the first Black woman, as well as the first indigenous woman, to hold a pilot’s license.
"We are centering Black life, Black workers, Black history, Black economics, and Black love," Noni Limar, the campaign’s creative lead, told ESSENCE.
The USPS came under attack in April when Trump threatened to block an emergency loan to the Postal Service unless it raises shipping prices on online retailers, The Washington Post reported.
“The Postal Service is a joke,” the President told reporters. “The post office should raise the price of a package by approximately four times,”
Experts warned against the consequences of Trump's threat.
“This is about as catastrophically stupid an idea that anyone could ever imagine,” Mark Cohen, director of retail studies at Columbia University Business School, told The Post. “As if anyone from Amazon to the local mom and pop delivery businesses would ever put up with a rate increase like that when they have alternatives.”
Jon Gold, vice president of supply chain and customs policy at the National Retail Federation, said an increase in prices would “significantly hurt rural communities and small businesses in addition to USPS."
In the months leading up to the 2020 elections, many Americans especially relied on mail-in ballots because it served as a safer alternative during the pandemic. But Trump fueled baseless concerns about the security of mail-in votes, according to the Associated Press.
“This is going to be a fraud like you’ve never seen,” Trump said.
Black Lives Matter said the federal government needs to support the USPS through programs such as postal banking, which “would not only increase employment and revenue at the Postal Service, but also further economic justice by expanding access to secure banking in communities of color.”