When there’s a political issue I’m passionate about, I’m most likely to sign a petition to make my opinion known. Occasionally I’ll fill out one of the pre-formatted letters to send to my representatives that has been created via an organization like MoveOn.org. And when I first moved to Las Vegas, I wrote an email to my local representative about the environmental conditions in the city. Beyond that, though, I don’t really use pen and paper as a form of advocacy.
Last month I found out that I was the recipient of a professional development grant from the Nevada Arts Council, which will allow me to attend a writing conference in November for a significantly reduced cost. Receiving a grant package like this requires me to complete a variety of things as mandated by this state-funded program. One of those things is writing letters in support of the arts to my government representatives.
The Nevada Arts Council made it very simple for me to find the representatives to whom I had to write, which included everyone from President Barack Obama to my local representative in the state government. I had to send either emails (made simple with an online form) or snail mail to each of these representatives, and then send a copy or scan of the letters to the woman overseeing the professional development grant program at the state level.
It would be so easy to write a single note stating the basics about why I believe the arts should be supported and then copy and paste this text into each email. In fact, on the contact page for the White House, you’re encouraged to write an email instead of sending a handwritten letter. However, I wonder if, because snail mail is the least likely way that people will communicate with their government representatives, my letters are more likely to be read. I honestly don’t expect a response back from any of them; that’s not why I would ever write such letters, even if it wasn’t a requirement of this grant. But I do appreciate the need to reach out to those who provide funding and support for the things we take for granted in our lives.