“We strongly believe that our future is in the hands of the young folks.”-Mutulu Shakur
Last week Jesus and I worked at Oakland’s Spanish Speaking Citizen’s Foundation with several Raza youth ages 12 to 17 to conduct five workshops on how to develop political posters. The weeklong series of workshops acted as an alternative Spring Break. During this period the students met and worked with us, Xican@ community artists, to learn about the history of political posters as developed within the context of social justice movements, learned the steps in developing a poster and created posters of their own that reflect their values and interests.
We gave a slideshow presentation on people of color graphic artists who have used the medium of poster as part of their movement building work. We included our work as part of this trajectory. After this presentation of a history of political posters we taught students how to create thumbnail sketches. This was interesting and challenging because we were giving all the workshops in English and Spanish. We worked diligently to make sure anyone who was monolingual in either Spanish or English always understood. It was so great to know the young people were down to translate what they said to make sure everyone was included.
Each of the students learned how to create a thumbnail sketches for their poster layout as well as brainstorming ideas for our group design. We used Josh MacPhee and Favianna Rodriguez’s book Reproduce and Revolt to show the students examples of existing graphics. Collectively the class created designs for a poster that they will distribute for the May (im)migration mobilizations. We did daily group critiques as we continued to develop the collective poster.There are various distribution plans-some students will give the posters out at their schools and post them in classrooms, others will work with community organizations to distribute picket signs and others will approach store fronts to post them in their windows. They chose the name Da Town Graphics for their group after much deliberation and discussion.
We had a very focused group that was determined to finish their posters and put as much thought and time into them as possible. The youth also designed individual posters on topics that they felt passionate about.The poster topics ranged from calls for universal health care, demands to stop ICE raids, a declaration of Indigenaity and a call to end racism.
We look forward to the students coming by the Taller to help us produce the prints for the mobilizations.