’Tis the season for lovebirds, and songstress Alicia Keys has her eyes set on one special guy — Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. She even recorded a special video, just for him. “I recently saw a picture of you working out and I was like, ‘mmm!’” she smiles in the video, originally published on Mic. But she has one teensy, little, oh-so-romantic request. “Help bring justice reform to a vote so we can keep families together, and reunite those who have been unjustly torn apart by excessive incarceration instead of just getting the help they needed.” I mean, what girl doesn’t want that for Valentine’s Day? “Can you do that, Paul? I know you can,” she coos. Keys is a passionate advocate for criminal justice reform. In late 2015, she organized a petition to ask Congress to address the issue and spoke before legislators on Capitol Hill. “Too many families — and our communities — are being destroyed by mass incarceration,” she said in a statement at the time. The statistics around mass incarceration are heartbreaking. According to the NAACP, 1 in every 31 adults, or 3.2% of the entire U.S. population, is under the control of the criminal justice system. The racial disparities are astonishing, too — Black Americans are incarcerated at nearly six times the rate of white Americans, and 1 in 3 Black males born today can expect to be incarcerated at some point.
So, Keys has given Ryan a little “incentive”— a cute valentine that she hopes he’ll take seriously. And you can write him one, too! Keys’ website has it all set up for anyone to write Speaker Ryan his or her own little heartfelt card to encourage the House leader to address America’s broken justice system. Reducing penalties for certain crimes, making reforms retroactive to people already serving time, even encouraging state lawmakers to end harsh sentencing laws can all go a long way toward reuniting families and healing hearts. Keys is sure Ryan will love them. “You’re welcome in advance for the thousands of love notes that are coming your way.”