Political postering has a long tradition in the public space – from slick to goofy to earnest to comic, everyone can get into the game of smacking their opinions on a wall or staking it onto a patch of grass. Street Artist Yote has jumped into the ring this year by putting his hand-painted signs amidst the forest of political missives along streets in Arizona.
In Yote’s case, it’s more of a plea for tolerance and brotherhood rather than a shill for a specific vote. Always a fanastic money maker for politicians and even religious leaders, the flames of good old fashioned racism have been fanned again this year. Here’s to the one-person campaign to dampen their enthusiasm.
Yote spoke to BSA about the background for his personal/political campaign called “Bienvenidos”.
“A few days after Governor Jan Brewer
signed SB1070 into law she signed HB2281. 2281 bans all ethnic studies programs
in public High Schools in the state of Arizona.
Last Thursday and Friday were two events for Ethnic Studies Week here in Prescott, AZ. I donated t-shirts I silk screened saying “Eduquémonos,” meaning “Educate Ourselves.” As well as some “Bienvenidos” stickers for them to sell. I was excited to hear that hundreds of dollars were raised for the Ethnic Studies Defense Fund from those two events. I also donated 50 “Bienvenidos” yard signs for the defendants and students to take back to Tucson.
As the sunset on Saturday Night a couple friends and I descended into Phoenix to add our voices to the political dialogue. Methodically we followed the light rail from North Phoenix to Mesa installing yard signs at every intersection already littered with political campaign signs.
We continued on to Guadalupe, a small town that in part inspired this project. My friend who runs The Garage Bike Shop there had told me a lot of people had left over the summer. Moved on to other places where they would have more security. In the shopping center where his shop is they were down to only a few business still open. Leaving about 20 vacancies. When I was there last fall every storefront was open. There was so much life and abundance then, now its just quiet. But my friend tells me the people who are here, are here to stay. They are ready to ride out whatever else is coming.
Then we headed north to the arts district and hit a few more spots in central Phoenix before finally ending the night on McDowell in West Phoenix. Over 100 signs were distributed throughout Phoenix. Keep an eye out for more appearing all over the rest of the state leading up to the November 2nd election.
Arriving home just before sunrise I was exhausted but felt elated to be participating in the immigration debate. As the election nears I hope “The Bienvenidos Campaign” can help shift the Immigration debate into a more constructive conversation. I also hope businesses and communities embrace the image to represent the hope for safer and healthier communities.
Here is a great trailer for a new documentary about some students experience in the Raza Studies program in Tucson, AZ
To Support the Bienvenidos Campaign go here:
A portion of the proceeds from each sale will be donated to the Ethnic Studies Defense Fund.
Text and Images ©Yote