Masks With Mission combines coronavirus safety with reminder to vote

Masks With Mission, a movement born out of Boulder, is using face masks to convey a message with its grassroots Vote Masks campaign: “One Mask. One Message. Vote.”

Boulder residents Anneka Kumli and Daniel Haarburger founded Masks With Mission with the Vote Masks campaign in mind.

Each face mask has the word, “vote,” printed plainly on it. Pledges to the campaign may be used to ship masks directly to a donor’s door, or to be donated to one of its grassroots partners to be distributed. All donations will be used to provide free masks to communities around the country that are most heavily affected by COVID-19 and voter suppression.

The mission of the campaign, which launched in late July, is twofold, Kumli said — to keep people safe and to support voter enfranchisement and engagement.

“Obviously in Colorado, we have mail in ballots and are very lucky,” she said. “We do know that there are lots of other states that are trying to get mail in ballots, that can not. So we want to give people a rallying point to say, ‘we’re voting, we’re going to do it safely, we take community safety seriously, voting seriously, and this is my way of saying that to my community.’”

As many grassroots organizations that rely on in-person outreach have been shut down due to COVID-19, Kumli Haarburger decided to reimagine outreach, given the current environment.

“So, we thought, ‘OK, what’s a way that we can still have an in-person interaction that helps motivate people and get out the vote?’” Haarburger said. “We thought masks were a really interesting idea because they protect people, but at the same time they’re an in-person, very personal means of communicating a message.

“It’s a way of sharing this important message that voting matters, which is especially vulnerable right now because of how dangerous coronavirus is and how it’s forced many existing outreach channels to shut down.”

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