Project ‘love’ respects wallets

The Week — Feb 16-22

These love notes and more were hidden throughout the city this Feb. 14 by Project Respect to promote free love.

The Week — Feb 16-22

If you were one of the lucky Victorians this Valentine’s Day, you already know all about a call to action that happened this week in the form of not-so-secret love notes.

For the rest not fortunate enough to stumble upon one of 2,000 tiny love messages hidden around the city, here’s what you missed: one of the most underhanded romance revolutions this city has seen in recent years: messages of love spread without dipping into consumer-driven propaganda that says you have to buy something to prove you care.

“We really wanted to challenge society’s ideas of what romance is, and the idea that you have to buy things to show your love to people,” says Elicia Loiselle, coordinator of Project Respect, the youth-driven, sexualized violence prevention program of the Victoria Women’s Sexual Assault Centre. “Our aim was to create a space for people to think about love and the different ways it can appear, without being bombarded with messages of what love is ‘supposed’ to look like.”

The group, comprised of dozens of volunteers, hosted love-note-making workshops around the city last week, then compiled nearly 200 messages from willing scrawlers. The notes were photocopied into 2,000 eye-catching, yellow and orange folded tags (complete with a Project Respect sticker and “open me” instructions), then sneaked into places throughout the city over Feb. 14 — wedged between seats on a city bus, situated in a building wall crack, or intentionally left behind on a coffee shop table. Those who did as instructed found alternative love letters: written anonymously by someone in the community to someone in the community.

“The goal of Project Respect is to invite people to find new ways of being inclusive of everyone, and we hope that people will see these notes and take a moment to think about how they relate to love and how they might want to become part of a love revolution,” says Loiselle.

Loiselle asks interested note-discoverers to submit a comment to the group’s blog about the impact the note had. See all the notes or write one of your own at: revolutionletters.wordpress.com. M

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