13 high school girls from 7 East Bay cities make up the after-school Protest + Print class at Girls Garage, a nonprofit design and building program and workspace in Berkeley. In January, we came together to consider and answer the question: What is your biggest, boldest, most beautiful vision for girls and women in 2020?
The resulting collection of screenprinted posters represents our individual and collective voices: curious, hopeful, raging, compassionate, fierce, and fearless. From housing rights to access to menstrual products, from dyslexia to the meaning of our names, these prints tell our stories as one girl and as all girls. Under the guidance of Girls Garage’s female mentors and instructors, HyeYoon Song and Emily Pilloton, we combined the image of a flag (a statement, a banner, a stake in the ground) with our own hand-drawn artwork to express our visions. All posters were printed by hand, by us girls, in the Girls Garage space over the past 2 months.
On Wednesday, March 11th, girls from our winter session of Protest + Print opened an exhibition of their activist art collection at Sphere in downtown Oakland. Seeing their prints on the wall as a collection was incredibly powerful, and we were joined by friends, family, and our greater community to celebrate the work, the girls, and their stories. The prints were made available in limited edition via our online shop, and all proceeds went straight to the artists.
We hope you will look, listen, feel, respond, and stand with us in 2020.
17, Hayward, CA
This piece is about how many people don’t take verbal abuse as seriously as physical abuse. I hope this piece spreads awareness that verbal abuse is just as valid as physical abuse, even if the bruises aren’t on your body.
17, Oakland, CA
Culture of Resilience
I am from East Oakland. I’ve lived there my whole life. With this piece, I wanted to represent myself through my community, this place I call home. I wanted to show that East Oakland is not merely this lowly and dangerous place, rather, it is a community that fosters powerful and resilient people, specifically the youth. And that is what stands out to me, and what I envision.
Nanthaya Mira Verweij
18, Pinole, CA
Mother of Exiles
Immigrants form the foundation of this nation/ Worldwide Butterflies seeking better lives / Pollinating fertile American flowers with hope / If xenophobia continues to clip the wings of our country / How will the flag of the American Dream fly?
18, Richmond, CA
This piece is about empowering women. I wanted to tell the story of my grandma who was the strongest fighter I know. I hope that all women fight for their cause and give it their all.
18, Oakland, CA
Housing is a Human Right
This piece was inspired by the work of housing rights activists in Oakland, advocating for the unsheltered and decriminalizing homelessness. Homelessness is an issue that disproportionately affects women, and it is important to recognize this when showing solidarity and working towards a future where equitable housing is provided for all.
17, Oakland, CA
Don’t F*%# With My Flow
My piece is about period equality and how many people cannot afford or have access to period products. I wanted to depict the anger, frustration, and embarrassment that people with periods can feel when they don’t have products that allow them to be comfortable in day-to-day life. I hope to spark conversation about why anyone with a period should be able to live with dignity, regardless of their economic or social status.
16, Berkeley, CA
I’m a Mexican, black, and white woman. Having a tri-racial identity, I feel like I don’t “belong” to any of these groups. Who do I make friends with? How come I don’t feel Mexican, black, OR white? Although being tri-racial is something I struggle with, it is a true blessing and I would not trade it for the world. It makes me who I am.
17, Richmond, CA
Let Me Be
In this piece my braids take on a life of their own. They writhe, sheathing my identity flag and speaking for me.
16, Richmond, CA
Most people that have a difficult time reading have a big level of shame. 35% of dyslexic people drop out of high school and 60% have been in juvenile hall. But there are lots of dyslexic people who are entrepreneurs including me and I want more dyslexic people to be proud of themselves.
17, Oakland, CA
Oh No, I Have Anxiety
I struggle with anxiety. Pip, my cat, was a rock for me. She helped me find coping mechanisms to ease my insecurities. This print represents the lessons I learned with her and my hopes for myself and those around me. It is my thank you and goodbye.
17, San Pablo, CA
Women in general are at the hands of a patriarchy, for which there is no close end. The idea that women should be punished for just being women, is a taboo subject that needs to be voiced.
16, Oakland, CA
My Status Is Just As Important As Yours
Through this piece I wanted to share the story of the fight against the discriminatory caste system in Yemen, which has kept the country within its grasp for hundreds, if not thousands, of years and continues to hold it to this day. These ideologies have followed Yemeni immigrants to America and have had numerous adverse effects on our youth.