Jennifer Weiss and Lauren Brown have great memories of the political work they did while undergraduates at the University of Michigan. “We did stuff on choice and against U.S. involvement in Central America,” says Weiss. Then college ended. While both women remained active—Weiss in New York and Brown in Washington—it was not until they had children that they found a new direction for their activism. Brainstorming led to the creation in May of babypolitico, a children’s clothing company that sells onesies and t-shirts with overtly progressive political messages: “Don’t Mortgage My Future. Vote Kerry in 2004,” “Activism Starts Early” and “I’m Too Young to Vote. What’s Your Excuse?”
Weiss and Brown say they hope that people will see the shirts, smile, and think about the messages. “We want voters to take politics seriously because our children’s futures are serious,” says Weiss. “We want them to remember children’s interests— from judges to Social Security—when they enter the voting booth.” The company also hopes to goad young people into becoming politically involved. Their webpage profiles several inspiring activists ranging in age from 10 to 16.
All of babypolitico’s products are made by American Apparel, a Los Angeles company known for paying livable wages and providing good working conditions for employees. In addition, babypolitico donates a portion of its receipts to the organization Big Brothers /Big Sisters. “They play a very important role in mentoring kids and providing role models,” says Weiss.
Although the company (babypolitico.com) is still in its infancy, its founders have a grand vision. “Our ultimate goal is to become prominent enough to sponsor fundraisers to help children,” Weiss says. “For us, that would be taking things to the next level.”