In recent months and years, people have taken to the streets to protest the racism embedded in the fabric of the United States. The murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis was the catalyst for such activism in 2020, but recent deaths have spurred righteous anger once more. Some of the latest injustices include the police killings of 13-year-old Adam Toledo and 20-year-old Daunte Wright, in addition to the sharp uptick in violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI). Sadly, these are just a few examples of the countless acts of racial injustice that continue to plague this country. The placards, signs, and banners in this article range from snarky and funny to poignant and devastating, but they all have one thing in common: They're strong, sometimes wordless statements against brutality and injustice. If you're looking for sign ideas for your next protest, there are some great ideas here (and here's how to keep yourself safe).
Content warning: Some of these signs display words like "murder" and "kill," and others center around violence against BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) generally or specifically. While awareness and advocacy are both important, so is self-care, so be careful if you think these subjects will trigger you in any way.
This Martin Luther King Jr. quote (one that hasn't been used as often until recently) speaks to the importance and significance of the protests.
A Black girl holds a sign that says it simply: She matters.
A small twist on the iconic statement, to remind people that it's no less true today.
Simple, to the point, and aimed directly at the source.
Some of the protesters referenced recent victims of police brutality—like this beautiful painting of Daunte Wright.
Reinforcing the importance of language—and underscoring the value of lives lost.
A simple, profound request. "Hands up, don't shoot" has become an enduring chant.
Underscoring the purpose of demonstrations, this sign also points out the fallacy about violence and protests.
A young woman holds up a sign expressing the sacredness of BIPOC lives and bodies.
A male protester holds a flower and wonders, "Am I next?"
Protesting is important. So is voting to continue working for change, at both the local and national levels.
Maybe a little profane, if you happen to be protesting with your kids, but one of my personal favorites.
Goodest boy ever? Goodest boy ever. (Also worth pointing out the nice counterpoint to "All Lives Matter" on the left.)
A young woman implores for equality for her future kids.
An excerpt from a classic James Baldwin line: "To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time."
A Black woman holds a sign asking for respect of Black people—in the same way that Black culture is accepted (and glorified) by society.
A woman holds a sign reading, "You can't kill us all" as she puts her head out of the roof deck of a car.
A young woman lays it out: Every Black life matters.
This sign references the death of Floyd, and the delay in arresting the Minneapolis officer who killed him.
A young woman makes a reference to the COVID-19 pandemic (and wears a mask to practice safety measures) but alludes to Floyd's words: "I can't breathe."
Even though many of the signs referenced Floyd, others referenced female BIPOC lives lost, including Breonna Taylor, and how their lives matter, too.
And another protester calls her out by name with a heartbreaking portrait.
A note of levity among the more serious: Even "Karens" can help in the movement.
A white man stands for Black Lives Matter and against racism in Texas.
A protester notes that this is not a sign of division between races, but a sign of unity against racial injustice.
A woman wonders, "Who do you call when the police murder?"
Two women, one Black, one white, have a pair of signs that speak volumes.
A man presents an ultimatum.
A wordless painting saying a thousand words: A closed fist, a sign of support and resistance, that turns into a rose.
Short, simple, to the point: Enough is "enough."