Anti-Trump billboards to greet Trump at Cleveland debate
A group of artists collaborated to provide accessible art to share information about public officials such as Trump before the debate
When President Donald Trump heads to Cleveland, Ohio to debate presidential candidate and former vice president Joe Biden on Tuesday, he’ll be greeted by more than just conservative supporters. He’ll also be greeted with billboards that broadcast some of the outrageous things he’s said since becoming president.
Artists United for Change, in conjunction with artists/strategists Robin Bell and Scott Goodstein, have created the RememberWhatTheyDid project that commissioned artists to provide artistic renderings of Trump’s most head-scratching public statements. Those renderings are placed on billboards in predominantly Black and Latino neighborhoods to encourage civic activism in those communities.
According to a press release, there will be nine billboards placed for maximum visibility on the route to the Cleveland Clinic, where Trump and Biden will debate on Tuesday, Sept. 29.
The RememberWhatTheyDid and #Votethemout campaigns hope the billboards won’t just raise awareness but will increase participation in the upcoming presidential election in November. Ohio is a particularly important state and so far, Biden and Trump are tied there.
“New polling shows Ohio is dead even and no Republican has won the White House without Ohio. It’s clear Trump and Pence are worried and with good reason. But to vote them out, we all need to stand up and be counted,” said Goodstein, who is a Cleveland, Ohio native. “Forty percent of voters aren’t reached by the usual voter-file matched political advertising and many of these voters are in communities that are underrepresented at the polls. So we are bringing our message to the streets because in an election year this important, we cannot allow any of our communities to be overlooked.”
The billboards include statements that Trump has made about migrant children, protestors, and the coronavirus, three things that have at this point become hot-button issues not just for Trump’s re-election campaign but for what some believe is the future of America.
The participating artists, including Brooklyn street artist Swoon, Obama “HOPE” artist Shepherd Fairey and Washington, D.C. public artist Nekisha Durrett, were happy to provide their work for the benefit of civic engagement and voter awareness, especially in the wake of the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd that led to global protests in June.
Those protests continue now that a Louisville, Kentucky grand jury has only charged one officer in Taylor’s shooting death in a botched ‘no-knock’ raid. Brett Hankison, now a former police officer, is only facing a felony wanton endangerment charge not connected to Taylor’s death.
“The COVID pandemic coupled with continued police brutality brought to the surface inequities across race and gender in every facet of American life,” artist Durrett said. “The reckoning with America’s racist legacy has been led by young activists who have taken the movement for Black Lives to the streets. The artwork embodies the energy of these young activists in an effort to connect to communities on a visceral level and to move everyone to the voting booth in November,”
Billboards will be mounted in five battleground cities: Detroit, Michigan; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Cleveland, Ohio, and Phoenix, Arizona.
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