'We the People' updates Shepard Fairey's 2008 'Hope' poster for the Trump years.

No matter who is in office, hope and change will always be possible.

Artist Shepard Fairey's "Hope" poster is, perhaps, one of the defining images from the 2008 campaign to elect President Barack Obama.

The image, as ubiquitous in 2008 as Donald Trump's red "Make America Great Again" caps were in 2016, inspired optimism for a world no longer defined by political party. Red and blue, the poster signaled a desire for our politicians to work together for a common good. The global recession had just begun, and it would take teamwork from individuals across the political spectrum to help us recover.

Photo by Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images.


Fairey and five other artists recently teamed up with The Amplifier Foundation to share a new political message for 2017 and beyond, this time no longer centered on any one politician.  

The project, which debuts on Inauguration Day, is titled "We the People" and grapples with the role we play as individuals and groups to stand up for each other. The poster series features work by Fairey as well as Colombian-American muralist Jessica Sabogal, Los Angeles artist Ernesto Yerena, photographer Delphine Diallo, multimedia artist Arlene Mejorado, and Ridwan Adhami.

The Amplifier Foundation's mission is to raise the voices of grassroots movements through art and community engagement.

Images by Ernesto Yerena (left) and Shepard Fairey (right).

On Inauguration Day, the group will take out full-page ads in The Washington Post and distribute copies of the posters throughout D.C.

The message of the series is centered around a feeling of shared humanity and a responsibility to be our best selves in how we treat ourselves and others. The people depicted in the images come from a wide range of backgrounds. The goal is to inspire the viewer to empathize with the subject, no matter how much or how little we may truly have in common with them.

"Anyone that looks at these images can see some amazing humanity in them," said Fairey in an Amplifier Foundation statement. "I couldn’t do anything to compromise this person’s quality of life, any of these people’s quality of life, without it hurting a part of me. I see myself in them."

Images by Victor Garcia (left) and Jennifer Maravillas (right).

As Inauguration Day approaches, it's becoming clear that "we, the people" might be the only thing standing in Trump's way.

From his fiery and often xenophobic campaign rhetoric to his scandal-plagued personal life, Trump's presidential bid flew in stark contrast to everything we've come to expect from elected officials. Countless times, he's stumbled into situations that would have ended campaigns or inspired resignations — and yet, to the shock and horror of many, he emerged victorious.

In the election's wake, a sense of hopelessness hangs over the nation — a shared feeling of despair. In the past, we've looked to individual politicians to save us from the threat of demagogues. To millions of Americans, Obama was that man, that leader. If there's one thing we can learn from Trump's rise, however, it's that perhaps it's time to expel the idea that any one person can protect democracy.

Perhaps instead we look both inward and around. For the next several years, we must instead put our faith in we, the people.

Images by Kate Deciccio (left) and Liza Donovan (right).

But what does "We the People" even mean?

Yes, those are the first three words of our Constitution, but there's a deeper message to be considered.

"We the People will no longer be exiled, excluded, or eliminated from our America," said Sabogal in Amplifier's statement. As someone whose existence encompasses multiple intersections of oppression — being Colombian and being a lesbian — Sabogal feels as though those three words didn't always apply to her.

"'We the People' has traditionally meant 'everybody'; all of us. It was the unifying phrase that America was founded upon," she said. "However, over time, it became very clear that 'We the People' meant 'We the Very Specific Group of People That Get to Decide Things for the Majority of America.' It has meant, 'We the People That Get to Leave Other People Out.' It has meant, 'We White Males.'"

Images by Jessica Sabogal.

We, the people, are stronger than any demagogue. We, the people, can reject a message of hate. We, the people, will still have hope.

To get through the next few years, we'll need more than slogans. "Love Trumps Hate" is a great message — so long as we fight for a world in which love does, in fact, overcome hate. "Hope" and "Change" can only happen if we put in the work needed to change the world. "We the People" can overcome adversity only if we band together.

"During the Bush years, the most prominent voices were those of fear and negativity," Fairey added. "Creating the 'Hope' poster for me was to say, 'Use your voice in a constructive positive way.' There’s a lot more out there than fear, and if we all use our voices we can rise above it."

It's on all of us to make the world a better place. It's up to us what direction this country and this world moves. Do we fight for inclusion, or do we stand down in the name of fear?

Images by Shepard Fairey.

More


Climate change is happening because the earth is warming at an accelerated rate, a significant portion of that acceleration is due to human activity, and not taking measures to mitigate it will have disastrous consequences for life as we know it.

In other words: Earth is heating up, it's kinda our fault, and if we don't fix it, we're screwed.

This is the consensus of the vast majority of the world's scientists who study such things for a living. Case closed. End of story.

How do we know this to be true? Because pretty much every reputable scientific organization on the planet has examined and endorsed these conclusions. Thousands of climate studies have been done, and multiple peer-reviewed studies have been done on those studies, showing that somewhere between 84 and 97 percent of active climate science experts support these conclusions. In fact, the majority of those studies put the consensus well above 90%.

Keep Reading Show less
Nature

As a child, Dr. Sangeeta Bhatia's parents didn't ask her what she wanted to be when she grew up. Instead, her father would ask, "Are you going to be a doctor? Are you going to be an engineer? Or are you going to be an entrepreneur?"

Little did he know that she would successfully become all three: an award-winning biomedical and mechanical engineer who performs cutting-edge medical research and has started multiple companies.

Bhatia holds an M.D. from Harvard University, an M.S. in mechanical engineering from MIT, and a PhD in biomedical engineering from MIT. Bhatia, a Wilson professor of engineering at MIT, is currently serving as director of the Marble Center for Cancer Nanomedicine, where she's working on nanotechnology targeting enzymes in cancer cells. This would allow cancer screenings to be done with a simple urine test.

Bhatia owes much of her impressive career to her family. Her parents were refugees who met in graduate school in India; in fact, she says her mom was the first woman to earn an MBA in the country. The couple immigrated to the U.S. in the 1960s, started a family, and worked hard to give their two daughters the best opportunities.

"They made enormous sacrifices to pick a town with great public schools and really push us to excel the whole way," Bhatia says. "They really believed in us, but they expected excellence. The story I like to tell about my dad is like, if you brought home a 96 on a math test, the response would be, 'What'd you get wrong?'"

Keep Reading Show less
Packard Foundation
True

I live in a family with various food intolerances. Thankfully, none of them are super serious, but we are familiar with the challenges of finding alternatives to certain foods, constantly checking labels, and asking restaurants about their ingredients.

In our family, if someone accidentally eats something they shouldn't, it's mainly a bit of inconvenient discomfort. For those with truly life-threatening food allergies, the stakes are much higher.

I can't imagine the ongoing stress of deadly allergy, especially for parents trying to keep their little ones safe.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Amy Johnson

The first day of school can be both exciting and scary at the same time — especially if it's your first day ever, as was the case for a nervous four-year-old in Wisconsin. But with a little help from a kind bus driver, he was able to get over his fear.

Axel was "super excited" waiting for the bus in Augusta with his mom, Amy Johnson, until it came time to actually get on.

"He was all smiles when he saw me around the corner and I started to slow down and that's when you could see his face start to change," his bus driver, Isabel "Izzy" Lane, told WEAU.

The scared boy wouldn't get on the bus without help from his mom, so she picked him up and carried him aboard, trying to give him a pep talk.

"He started to cling to me and I told him, 'Buddy, you got this and will have so much fun!'" Johnson told Fox 7.

Keep Reading Show less
Most Shared