By Sara McAninch // Photography by Angela Jackson
There are many labels you can apply to Love More founder Erin Davis: wife, mother, daughter, creative maker and collaborator. Each of them applies to one of the many facets of her life. She is the wife of Marcus; an athletic trainer at Franklin Community High School; the mother of daughters, Wren and Roxie; and an employee at Crystal Graphics, her parents’ paper and apparel printing company.
Davis is an avid quilter, and she shares her enthusiasm for the craft in the sewing classes she sometimes teaches at Franklin Department of Public Art. “I’ve had about 30 women go through my classes. It’s basically a quilting bootcamp. We work through a whole quilt together within a four-week period. It’s a really awesome way to build friendships,” she says.
As a Whiteland native and current Franklin resident, Davis is an active member of her community. In fact, her love of community is what sparked the idea for the Love More campaign. What started as signs displaying the simple message has become a full-on movement. Through collaborations with her girlfriends and others, the signs and other merchandise that spread the positive message keep popping up in communities across Indiana and other states. The work isn’t done, though; Davis and her team of local artist friends continue to generate ideas to share the message in new ways.
1. What is the Love More movement?
It started on a whim, and I’ve just sort of been following it. It kind of has a life of its own. We call it community driven: The community picked it up and ran with it.
I’m always listening and waiting for cues of what we should do next. I try not to put a whole lot of my own personal agenda on it because I don’t want to tarnish what it means to other people.
There’s no wrong way to love more. The social justice aspect is what’s most important to me personally.
2. How did the movement get started?
I have biracial children. I’m (part of) a mixed-race family, and there are so many messages that are hateful to people of color and women, so we wanted to visibly show that not everyone has that in their heart, that people want to spread love. That was the whole gist of it. How do we counter that negativity? That’s how the sign was born.
3. You donate money raised to love-assisting organizations. What does that mean, and where does the money get donated?
There are so many nonprofits that are doing such great work, so if we can help them further their mission then that’s a win for everyone. We usually target organizations that have kids in mind, because, at the end of the day, the kids are our target audience. If we can teach kids to keep a loving attitude, then that’s success for the future.
We keep the donations pretty local because most of our money comes from local, and I try to keep it where it comes from. We’ve done stuff more at a national and global level, but we keep it mostly in central Indiana. We’ve donated to Habitat for Humanity [of Johnson County], Girls Inc., various food pantries, and whatever else feels right at the time. About half the cost of merchandise is donated.
Part of what we try to do with our money is to help underserved kids have opportunities that they wouldn’t otherwise get. We send kids to camp who wouldn’t have a chance normally, things of that nature.
4. How do you want people on the southside to spread the love more message? Why is it important to spread it?
If we are oppressing people and letting all this systemic stuff beat down on our neighbors, no one wins. It’s important that we’re lifting each other up, and that means all of our neighbors. I have brown kids; I don’t want to raise them in a place where they don’t feel like it’s home.
I’m not a religious person, but I feel like the basis of every religion is the golden rule. If we aren’t treating each other with love and respect, then it’s hard for a society to sustain.
5. What do you love about living on the southside?
I love Franklin. It feels cozy to me. I’m active in my community, so I know a lot of people. I like that I know the shop owners. I like that I know my neighbors. I like that sense of community, and that’s definitely what you get here.
To get more information about the Love More movement, or to talk with Erin, you can contact her via the lovemoresign.com website contact form, on email at [email protected], or on Instagram at @LoveMoreSign.