May 23 2017

Protest Patrol: Mobilize! with the ACLU at The Standard, Hollywood

Los Angeles-Party Patrol
LA's artist and activist community came together to celebrate signs of protest at The Standard, Hollywood.
On a lovely, somewhat chilly Los Angeles evening, a crowd gathered on the pool deck of The Standard, Hollywood. This has been done hundreds of times before, but this night felt different. Our world is moving so fast these days, it’s hard to know what the reality will be when you read this, but on this particular Thursday evening, the mood was decidedly optimistic. 

The protest signs that overwhelm the hotel right now (and are the point of this evening’s celebration) united the crowd as if they were gathered around the reflecting pool in DC. And that sense of unity and collective joy is what inspired Jenni Boelkens, Art Director for The Standard hotels in LA, in the first place. “I found myself so inspired by the artwork of these signs,” she explains about the women’s march last January. “They were so perfect and raw and real and from the heart.”  

From any distance, a protest can appear futile, shallow even. And while protests are an act of communication, the true experience usually remains cloistered among the participants. But the signs, and their heartfelt messages, can reverberate around the world, not because they are clever, but because they are authentic.  

There was a young girl at the party, 15, a prodigy who had been recruited by M.I.T. to build some new revolutionary technology or other and she was immediately drawn to the blank pieces of paper where one could write their own protest signs. The slogans poured out of her, “What we want is money, but what we need cannot be bought.” “How can we have peace when the country is in pieces?” When it came to a phrase about equality though, she was stumped. “I hate that hate speech has become the symbol of free speech,” she lamented. It’s true, and it would be nice to be rid of that crap, but perhaps better to drown it out with messages of hope and sass. She picked up her pen and returned to work: “A woman’s place is wherever the hell she wants to be.” 

The evening, centered around the protest-signs-turned-art-works-for-auction, raised nearly $3,000 for the ACLU. Speaker James Gilliam of the ACLU's t-shirt said it all: you have the right NOT to remain silent. Amen and onward! 
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