Most girls in America would love to get a dozen roses from Ashton Kutcher today for Valentines Day, and the rest would love to get them from Demi Moore. And for 270 of those girls, their dreams will be shortly coming true. That’s because Ashton and Demi are having an alternative V-Day celebration this year. Instead of showering each other with gifts they don’t really need, they will be brightening the day of 270 child trafficking survivors in New York City with bouquets of roses from the couple. Yes, they are couple-handedly making Valentines Day better.
Let’s face it, Valentines Day sucks. It sucks if you’re single and you feel left out of the fun. It sucks if you’re in a relationship and you feel compelled to buy tacky jewelry and slave-produced chocolates because about 3000 commercials a day are telling you to. Valentines Day is a fabricated holiday. Sure, it’s a good excuse to gorge on candy and stock up on more pink accessories than you’d ever really need, but shouldn’t we appreciate the people we love every day? And do you have to say “I love you” with something expensive, potentially-wilted, or full of trans fats? I’ve sat out Valentines Day for years, while either lamenting my single-hood or avoiding the pressure of finding a gift that didn’t make me nauseous with sacchariny sentiment. But now Ashton and Demi have given me an idea — a way for me to participate in all the chocolate-coated, fuzzy red goodness without feeling icky inside.
Ashton and Demi expressed their love for each other this Valentines Day not by exchanging gifts, but by using the holiday as an opportunity to express their love for others. As Cornel West once said, “justice is what love looks like in public.” By showing their love for survivors of human trafficking and sending them flowers, the couple was also showing their love for justice. What if this Valentines Day, we all expressed our love in public by working for justice. What if we replaced the singing teddy bear and blinking heart pens with donations to human trafficking organizations and other community organizations? Most of us can’t afford 270 bouquets of roses like Ashton and Demi, but we could afford $5. Or if we can’t afford a monetary donation, what if we spent Valentines Day giving our time? Cleaning out our closets and donating old clothes? Writing letters to people who need a little pick-me-up? We would all be working for justice, for love in public, just like Cornel West suggested and Ashton and Demi are living.
You can follow in Ashton and Demi’s footsteps by supporting GEMS, an organization in NYC which helps child trafficking victims find a way out of a life of coerced prostitution. Or, you can support an anti-trafficking organization in your area. Either way, don’t let Valentines Day suck you into someone else’s definition of love. Create your own. And love justice.