You and some friends want your town to change a public policy and the city government is ignoring you, so you decide to make some fuss to try to initiate a shift in policy.
If you want to make change, think outside the protest box. Creativity is key to making your actions meaningful and memorable.
Here are some examples.
Rainbow Grandpa Paints the Town, Taiwan, 2010-2019
Huang Yung-fu was relocated to a military settlement in Taiwan after the Nationalist Party lost the struggle with China’s Communist Party. Originally, there were 1,200 inhabitants, but over the years, people moved away or died, eventually leaving Huang Yung-fu alone. To combat loneliness, he began to paint colorful images on the walls of the buildings. After years of painting, the brilliantly colored artwork covered much of the town.
A decade ago, he learned that the Taiwanese government planned to demolish the village. A local university got involved and the students began to paint with Huang Yung-fu. They also developed a social media campaign to fundraise to support the artwork and prevent the demolition. It worked. One million visitors flock to the village each year, and the government decided not to tear it down.
Canadian Artist “Copyrights” His Land to Stop Pipeline, 2014
Oil and gas companies wanted to build a pipeline through 800 acres of land owned by Alberta artist, Peter von Tiesenhausen. So, in 2003, he covered the earth with art such as a “a 33-metre-long ship sculpted with willow stalks, winter ice forms, nest-like structures in trees, statuesque towers and a lifeline or visual autobiography composed as a white picket fence built in annual sections left to weather naturally.” This move protected his land under copyright law. In 2010, his copyright claim was still holding up in court and the oil and gas company had backed away.
Do-It-Yourself Campaign Stamps Harriet Tubman on $20 Bill, 2019
In 2016, the U.S. Treasury (finally) agreed to put the black, female, slave emancipator Harriet Tubman on the front side of the $20 bill, relegating Andrew Jackson to the backside of the nation’s highest circulation currency. But, in 2019, the Trump Administration backed off from the plan.
In protest, an artist, Dano Wall, crafted a stamp of Harriet Tubman and released the 3D printing design into the public domain, calling upon citizens to stamp the African merican woman’s portrait onto the $20 bill immediately. His goal is to stamp 5-10 percent of the bills in circulation, making it difficult for the administration to ignore. He has raised $3,000 for charity through the sale of the stamps and the design can be printed out by 3D printers, which many public libraries have.
The stories are endless. When it comes to unleashing creativity for a cause, nonviolent action is where it’s at.
Ms. Sun is editor of Nonviolence News.