Banner Manifesto on Highway One

On Friday July 11th, a group of about 30 people brought together by Youth Coalition Santa Cruz (YCSC), the Resource Center for Nonviolence (RCNV), and the Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz (VCSC) all participated in a project to bring a series of radical and contemplative statements to motorists on Highway 1 during rush hour. Dubbed, the “Freeway Banner Manifesto” by organizers, it was an attempt to display a different message on every overpass from Santa Cruz to Watsonville on Highway 1. The effort was successful and 13 different banners were displayed for approximately 45 minutes right in the middle of rush hour. The project was spearheaded by members of YCSC and the other two organizations provided the numerous volunteers necessary for the undertaking.

A participant and YCSC member dubbed “Katfish” had this to say, “I wanted to try to make the world a less bleak and depressing place by discussing these bleak and sometimes depressing issues in an uplifting way. I want to see reality for what it is; not only are the banners things that “normal” people don’t normally think about, they’re also things that people sometimes try not to think about because they are so difficult. If people don’t communicate feelings or important ideas than things won’t progress and might even regress. We want to stop things from getting worse.”

He followed by saying, “Communication is the key to ending alienating apathy. And what better way to communicate than to give people an important subject, or thirteen important subjects, right smack in the middle of the grinding monotony of the commute home.”

What follows below is the text of every banner with a photo of the ones we could capture, followed by some commentary for each idea or statement. We wanted people to think about these, it wasn’t at all about us having all the answers or trying to talk down to people. We figured that perhaps some controversial statements might help people begin to think for themselves. We encourage dialog, discussion and other feedback about our project and look forward to involving you with other projects in the future. YCSC meets Tuesdays from 5 pm to 6:30 pm at the Resource Center for Nonviolence 515 Broadway in Santa Cruz and is open to all youth from 12 through 21. We seek to empower young people and help them enact their own projects. Previous projects have included a radio show on Free Radio Santa Cruz 101.1 FM, the Fruit Tree Project that collected excess fruit and produce from our neighborhoods, teaching classes with Free Skool Santa Cruz, taking care of and planting our own gardens, and much more. See ya there!

Crossposted at Indybay.org.

Author: Bradley Allen

Bradley Allen is a reporter and photographer in the Monterey Bay Area, and a collective member of the San Francisco Bay Area Independent Media Center (Indybay). Follow him on social media: @BradleySA.