Button Up! #13 – Hands Up! Don’t Shoot!

fergusonHands Up! Don’t Shoot! St Louis area, Autumn 2014, 3”

I picked this button up on October 10, the opening day of #Ferguson October, the first national demonstration called by the people of the St. Louis area to support their struggle against police violence and impunity.

August 9, 2014 is the day we tend to remember, the day Mike Brown was murdered by Ferguson MO pig Darren Wilson. A vast change was underway, as demonstrations spread across the country and the world. Even as this was happening young militants and veteran fighters in St. Louis worked to make sure that the struggle there was kept hot, neither burning so intensely it could not be maintained, nor smothered by co-optation and channeling into “the proper channels.”

This button dates from that period, when running battles with the police and local organization- and coalition–building initiatives were the main thing happening in The Lou. It was one of numerous locally designed and produced pinbacks, perhaps even made on a small hand-operated button-making machine. It also reflects the growing intensity of the movement, centering the words, “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” and matching image, but also incorporating an older slogan, “No Justice, No Peace.”

After several weeks, the local activists issued a call for people to come support their efforts. Several thousand people from around the country converged in St. Louis for #Ferguson October, joining local folk for four days of protests which became another milestone in the expanding motion which we now think of as the Black Lives Matter movement.

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