If you're one of the thousands of people preparing to descend on Washington, D.C. on March 24 to protest gun violence in our schools (organizers are expecting up to 500,000 attendees, according to The Washington Post), or even if you're planning on participating in a local event, you might be looking for a quote for your March for Our Lives sign. But what to say? To adequately express the feelings of many of us on the topic, the signs would have to be as big as billboards, not poster board. What are some short but still meaningful phrases?
Of course, no one is required to bring a sign to a protest. Still, it's undeniable that the presence of signs at rallies adds a visual sense of urgency and community that not only makes the moment more meaningful but lends a sense of context and narrative to photos for years to come. This has been the case throughout history, but now in the age of social media, signs are perhaps even more powerful than ever: With just a couple of clicks, photos of these visual messages and the people carrying them can be shared around the world, proving that these feelings are attached to actual humans — and we're all going to have to come together to create change.
Read on for some inspirational words.
1. "We Call BS"
In an incredibly rousing speech, 18-year-old Parkland shooting survivor Emma Gonzalez called out to the crowd with a powerful chant: "We call BS." The following is an excerpt:
"Companies trying to make caricatures of the teenagers these days, saying that all we are self-involved and trend-obsessed and they hush us into submission when our message doesn't reach the ears of the nation, we are prepared to call BS. Politicians who sit in their gilded House and Senate seats funded by the NRA telling us nothing could have been done to prevent this, we call BS. They say tougher guns laws do not decrease gun violence. We call BS."
2. "Fear Has No Place In Our Schools"
Seen on signs when hundreds of demonstrators came together outside the White House this week to demand United States lawmakers do something about gun violence, as Global News reports, this slogan speaks a simple truth that should be obvious (but apparently is not, sadly).
3. "Enough Is Enough"
Students protesting at the Capitol were heard chanting this phrase, The Washington Post reports, along with "We will not be next!"
4. "Protect Children, Not Guns"
Also the name of a Children's Defense Fund campaign, this slogan calls on lawmakers to get their priorities in check and exercise common sense.
5. "Now IS The Time To Talk About Gun Control"
A response to those who complain that talking about gun control in the wake of a mass shooting is insensitive, John Oliver said something similar in response to the Parkland shooting on Last Week Tonight:
"But this time felt slightly different, because when the 'Now's not the time' argument came out, the kids from that school said, 'You know what? Yes it f*cking is.'"
6. "Never Again"
Also a hashtag and the name of a major movement against gun violence, as The Atlantic reports, this is a demand we shouldn't have to make repeatedly (and yet, we keep having to say it).
7. "This Is Not Normal"
For kids today, lockdown drills and fearing for their lives in class is all too commonplace. We need to remind them (and ourselves) that this is not normal, not by any means.
8. "Arm Teachers With Pencils, Not Guns"
With so many people frustrated over the fact that our president is reportedly pushing to arm teachers with guns (when there's often not enough money in school budgets for school supplies), this gets right to the point.
9. "Disarm Hate"
Simple but so powerful, this is what we need to do as a country to stop these shootings from happening.
10. "Am I Next?"
An extremely strong statement for a student's sign, this illustrates the sad truth that behind every statistic is a face (and that kids have every reason to be afraid right now).
11. "No More Silence, End Gun Violence"
There's nothing like a rhyme to get a point across, old school protest-style. This is a good one to hold high while you chant it aloud.
12. "Hey, Hey, NRA, How Many Kids Have You Killed Today?"
Speaking of good old-fashioned rhymes: A valid question considering how many pro-gun politicians get huge payouts from the NRA (the National Rifle Association and its affiliates spent over $50 million in political advertisements in the 2016 election, according to Quartz), this slogan doesn't bother to sugarcoat.
13. "Power To The People"
You can't go wrong with a John Lennon quote at a protest against violence. As the musical icon and activist sang in his song of the same name:
Say we want a revolution
We better get on right away
Well you get on your feet
And into the street
Singing power to the people
Power to the people
14. "I Can't Believe We're Still Protesting This Sh*t"
A sign that also shows up quite often at marches for equality, this quote is equally relevant when it comes to gun violence.
15. "Thoughts And Prayers Are Not Enough"
Senator Cory Booker echoed the sentiments of countless heartbroken people with this tweet. Our nation must act!
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