Grassroots organizing with cultural strategies can take on any number of forms. Here’s how we presented quadruple layers of art for organizing in 24 hours for National Early Vote Day in Arizona. First, weeks back we ran into Hector Flores from Las Cafeteras on the street and he told us about the band’s new video for their single “Long Time Coming”—a funky disco type beat celebrating the center pillar of democracy: voting.
The song and video were so dope, we had to see how far we could take them. So, we did outreach to a number of organizations that could help take the video to the next level and connected with the good folks at Poder Latinx. Together we cooked up an activation plan with Las Cafeteras to get folks fired up to vote in Phoenix, AZ. But that was only one part of the moment.
Artists Ernesto Yerena and Shepard Fairey had already been busy repurposing a collaborative work of theirs called We Are Human. They allowed us to work with the art, which allowed to come up with a triple threat of presenting as 1) a series of wheat paste posters plastered all over the city 2) a giant ‘mobile mural’ to go to Early Vote Centers and 3) 5 x 8 postcards that had important ‘How to Vote in AZ’ information on the back. The plan evolved quickly into a full 24 hours of events beginning Friday night with our overnight wheatpaste crew throwing up 250 posters of Yerena and Fairey’s iconic piece.
Poder Latinx—who are doing the thing when it comes to Latinx millennial mobilization—have a great relationship with the people at Arizona Dream Act Coalition (ADAC). This community center in Phoenix would host the National Early Vote Day morning events emceed by Adonias Arevalo, AZ State Director for Poder Latinx and featuring speeches from Yadira Sanchez, Co-Executive Director of Poder Latinx, and Karina Ruiz, Executive Director for ADAC.
The 8×12 mobile mural of We Are Human was mounted on the back of a flatbed truck which rolled up into the space and provided the backdrop for a special Las Cafeteras’ daytime performance.
Univision covered the daytime event, broadcasting our efforts nationwide later that evening.
Folks who attended both the daytime and nighttime events were encouraged to take wheat paste posters as well and put them up in their neighborhoods, outside their home, or at local stores. They were also given postcards with the art on it, that doubled as a flyer on how to vote.
Housing an 8×12 self-standing mural comes with its own set of unique challenges, but our friends at the badass community organizing crew at LUCHA embraced the art—knowing what a motivator it would be to organizers and voters alike—and offered to host the mural, move it around town until Election Day and beyond.
All in all, we had a great time in Arizona and look forward to seeing the completion of there being a “Long Time Coming” fulfilled.