I love me a good protest sign, don’t you? There’s just something about that moment–that chance for a second to combine wit, art, and politics all in one zinger. If you can nail it, it feels so good. And of course, you become a hero to your fellow marchers. Protest signs are a marvelous opportunity to express yourself creatively. There’s a fine art (yes, that word choice is deliberate) to making a protest sign.
Protest signs touch our hearts, make us think, and make us laugh. I think that activism needs more moments like these. We need places to express our inner artists. We need places to laugh at those in power. Especially laugh. In the words of the great Saul Alinksy:
“Humor is essential, for through humor much is accepted that would have been rejected if presented seriously…. It should be remembered that you can threaten the enemy and get away with it. You can insult and annoy him, but the one thing that is unforgivable and that is certain to get him to react is to laugh at him. This causes irrational anger.” (from Rules for Radicals)
Humor allows us to have conversations we wouldn’t otherwise have. And the one thing that those in power cannot stand is being mocked. It shows that Emporer is indeed naked, that the people are really in charge. Not all of us can be late-night talk show hosts. But we can carry a protest sign.
As always, there were some great signs out there. Some for their creativity. Some for their touching simplicity. These were my favorites that I saw. Let’s be clear–I didn’t take any of these photos. Click on each picture to see the original source.
- I should be worrying about my GRADES… not my LIFE.
- THOUGHTS and PRAYERS (crossed out) … POLICY and CHANGE
- AM I NEXT?
- #ENOUGH / THOUGHTS PRAYERS (crossed out) ACTION / AM I NEXT
- Series of posters using the Girl with a Pearl Earring image
- Graphic B&W signs stating “I’m from ____(insert country here)___ and I’m with ___ (insert shooting site here)___”
- Support 2nd Amd – WELL REGULATED Militia
- The phone is ringing.. It’s a call for CHANGE
- PROTECT KIDS, NOT GUNS / COURAGE
- 17 of our childrens’ lives (image of Trump as a pig, kissing the NRA’s foot)
- THE NUMBER BULLET HOLES IN THIS POSTER ARE THE NUMBER THAT CAN BE SHOT IN THE TIME THAT IT TAKES TO READ IT
- The only guns I wanna see (with a picture of RBG lifting weights)
- GIRLS CLOTHING IS MORE REGULATED THAN GUNS
- (7 kids wearing targets) – AM I NEXT? / There should be a background check before the NRA is allowed to buy a senator
- I’m Joining Whatever POLITICAL PARTY those KIDS in FLORIDA just started!
- AM I NEXT? (hole cut out to make a gun-sight)
- I SURVIVED, MY DAUGHTER DIDN’T
- Child holding a sign: DON’T PROTECT GUNS, PROTECT US
- Guns are the death of U.S.
- School IS (crossed out) WAS my safe place
- (father & son team): MORE PUPPIES, LESS GUNS / PACK LUNCHES NOT HEAT
- I MISS EARTHQUAKE DRILLS
- BEYONCE CAN HAVE A GUN, NO ONE ELSE
- (written on a target): DOES THE NRA HAVE YOUR BACK? / PARKLAND STUDENTS – WE’VE GOT YOUR BACKS
- 2 graphic prints – SCHOOLS NOT WARZONES / (image of a machine gun and flowers)
- BEAR ARMS (red X), BEAR HUGS (green checkmark)
- READING THE HUNGER GAMES, 1984, ANIMAL FARM, HARRY POTTER, + THE GIVER PREPARED ME FOR THIS – BOOKS NOT GUNS
- I got an A+ in “Run, Hide, Fight” because you got an F in “Protecting me”!
- Hang on America! The kids will save you!
- ENOUGH IS ENOUGH
- The only GUNS we need! (pictures of muscled bodies)
- Love your KIDS, not your GUNS
- Students TODAY, VOTERS in NOVEMBER – WE ARE CHANGE
- Ban the PIECE, Strive for PEACE
- MY NEW SCHOOL UNIFORM (wearing a bullet-proof vest, carrying a poster with names of shooting sites and bullets taped under each site)
- STOP TAKING NRA MONEY
- (picture of a child crying) NO MORE PLEASE
- ARMS ARE FOR HUGGING
- Actually, guns do kill people
- Thoughts and prayers don’t stop BULLETS
- This is not a MOMENT, It’s the MOVEMENT
- You can’t hold MY FUTURE and a GUN in the same HANDS
- (wrapped in CAUTION tape) NOT ONE MORE
- And a final shout-out to a friend of a friend–Lily Cuellar with her 3 fantastic signs of: ENOUGH / PROTECT KIDS NOT GUNS / and HOLD HAND
If you made it to the end of this list–what was your favorite? Which one made you laugh? What one made you cry? Do you have a creative protest sign that you’d love to share?