The Power Of Protest Graphics

“Tonight we cry. Tomorrow we fight!” That was my final tweet before calling it quits on the worst

“Tonight we cry. Tomorrow we fight!”

That was my final tweet before calling it quits on the worst Election night of my life. I thought nothing could top the 2000 Election which dragged on for weeks before George W. Bush was declared the winner by a margin of 537 votes in Florida. But Drumpf’s victory Tuesday night wasn’t just about political differences. That I could handle. Drumpf’s victory represents a personal violation of everything I hold most dear: freedom, justice and equality for all; a woman’s right to self-determination; compassion and aid for the most vulnerable among us; a celebration of diversity; the pursuit of peace; and, perhaps most importantly, a commitment to preserve the earth for all living things.

So what now?

In the immediate aftermath, CNN commentator Van Jones said “This was many things. I — this was a rebellion against the elites, true. It was a complete reinvention of politics and polls. It’s true. But it was also something else. We’ve talked about race –we’ve talked about everything but race tonight. … This was a whitelash. This was a whitelash against a changing country. It was a whitelash against a black president, in part. And that’s the part where the pain comes. And Donald Drumpf has a responsibility tonight to come out and reassure people that he is going to be the president of all the people who he insulted and offended and brushed aside. Yeah, when you say you want to take your country back, you’ve got a lot of people who feel that we’re not represented well either, but we don’t want to feel that someone has been elected by throwing away some of us to appeal more deeply to others. So, we — this is a deeply painful moment tonight. I know it’s not just about race. There’s more going on than that, but race is here too. We’ve got to talk about it.”

Representative John Lewis said “We cannot be complacent, but we cannot be vengeful. We must speak truth to power and fiercely defend those who are the most vulnerable.”

Senator Elizabeth Warren said “We will stand up to bigotry. No compromises ever on this one. Bigotry in all its forms. We will fight back against attacks on Latinos, on African Americans, on women’s, on Muslims, on immigrants, on disabled Americans, on anyone.”

Today, I am trying to find a way forward, in part by looking back at the long history of protest graphics. Guity Novin’s online textbook A History of Graphic Design includes a chapter on protest graphics. From the Vietnam war through Occupy Wall Street and the Arab Spring, the chapter includes a wealth of inspiration for the future.

So if you, like me, are mourning the results of the Election, take heart! Throughout history the arts community has led the charge against hatred and bigotry. Together, WE SHALL OVERCOME!!