The Racial Justice Poster Project honors and inspires racial justice movement building in Oakland and around the world, building on the legacy that the creation of political posters has sparked and nurtured as a part of social movements throughout history.
In 2008, Akonadi Foundation distributed our first Racial Justice poster on March 21, the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, which commemorates the Sharpeville tragedy. On March 21, 1960, the movement against apartheid was spreading as blacks across South Africa began demonstrating against “pass laws” requiring them to carry identity cards. In the township of Sharpeville, a huge crowd of black Africans gathered peacefully outside a police station, singing and offering themselves up for not carrying cards. The police opened fire, killing sixty-nine people, including ten children.
Today, the structures of racism live on with devastating impacts: in the redevelopment policies that destroy and displace communities of color; in public school funding tied to property values; in denial of jobs to people struggling to escape the prison-industrial complex; and in immigration policy that criminalizes people of color trying to survive global exploitation. Each day, the dream of racial justice is born again through new campaigns to challenge the racialized distribution of power and resources, in new policy ideas that expose and address racial inequity, and through new expressions of the voices and hearts of people forging a just world.
Each year, Akonadi Foundation commissions an artist to create a poster to reflect a vision of a racially just world. We believe that cultural strategies play a powerful role in changing hearts and minds, and are important and essential elements of movement building.