Posters fill Pascal with civic conversation


Photo by Brandon Hamilton

Posters containing student opinions cover the walls of Pascal Gallery.

Brandon Hamilton, Photo Editor

Students wrote their political opinions on posters for a Pascal Gallery exhibit that ran until Sept. 14.

A sign at the exhibit encouraged students to use provided markers and poster boards to write their thoughts on political and civil problems and pin them to the walls.

Posters included a diverse range of opinions on varied topics, covering everything from organizations such as the anti-fascist movement, Antifa, and political opinions for and against President Donald Trump.

“Antifa will not divide us,” read one, while a little below it another read “Trump will not divide us.”

“Over 2,000 Vets/Military students attend AACC. 0 fought for taking away our rights here at home,” read another.

Arts professor Chris Mona said he organized the exhibit in response to the events in Charlottesville, Va. as a way to give students the opportunity to express their diverse viewpoints in a public manner. He said he felt the death and violence that occurred demonstrated the continued presence of racism and intolerance in America.

“I like [that] it’s a form of [temporary] graffiti, a public forum for everyone to post what’s on their mind,” student Bridget Godfrey said.

Mona said he believes writing things in public has a different effect than writing on social media.

“People say things online that they would never say to someone face to face,” Mona said. “There’s a real power in the physical action of being in a real place and [posting your ideas there].”

Mona said the exhibit was meant to give students a place to “speak rationally” about important issues.

He added that Martin Luther King Jr. gave him the inspiration. King believed strongly in the importance of equality and civil discourse—polite discussion of important issues.

Mona first put a poster on the base of the Martin Luther King Jr. statue on West Campus was a way of responding to the violence surrounding the statue of Confederate Gen. Rebert E. Lee in Charlottesville.

The poster read, “Lift every voice / racism is un-American / speak out now.”

Because AACC has the only statue of King in Maryland, Mona said, he felt an obligation to honor King’s legacy in some visible way.

But Mona did not get permission to post the sign, and officials quickly took it down.

Administrators worked with Mona to move his poster into the Pascal gallery in the Student Union and transform his idea into something that encouraged student participation.

“It’s good that everyone gets their voice out,” sophomore criminal justice major Gabriella Smith said.

“You see a lot of hate going on right now, but here … you see love and support,” sophomore Michealla Schultz said of the gallery.

Police Chief Sean Kapfhammer said the police did not monitor the gallery for hate speech.