The Top 15 Protest Signs I Saw in 2017

It's not lost on me that the occurrences in our nation's capital this year often reflected and served to amplify activism happening in hometowns nationwide. 

The 54 actions I’ve covered in 2017 have left a permanent impression.

As Rewire’s unofficial official photographer this year, I consider living in Washington, D.C., a privilege. It’s kept me close to the heartbeat and rhythm of what is collectively referred to as “The Resistance,” which arguably began on November 9, 2016–the same night I made a promise to a stranger, on a street behind the White House with my DSLR dangling around my neck, that I would “keep showing up.”

The 54 actions I’ve covered in 2017 have left a permanent impression. It’s not lost on me that the occurrences in our nation’s capital this year often reflected and served to amplify activism happening in hometowns nationwide. And although it seemed like every week brought some new form of chaos for those on the front lines of social justice movements, the responses have been full of wit, candor, determination, and a powerful bond forged from our collective humanity. Here are 15 of those unforgettable phrases and faces from this year, as seen through my lens.

Women’s March on Washington. January 21. National Mall, Washington, D.C.

If this last year has shown “resisters” anything, it’s that when it comes to human rights, every cause is linked.

Women’s March on Washington. January 21. National Mall, Washington, D.C.

Many marchers were still upset about Hillary Clinton’s electoral loss and the new administration’s threats to roll back reproductive rights and contraceptive access.

#NoBanNoWall. February 4. U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C.

A week after President Donald Trump signed an executive order to halt refugee resettlement and travel from seven Muslim-majority countries, thousands joined an action protesting the so-called Muslim Ban in D.C.

#NotMyPresident. February 20. Dupont Circle, Washington D.C.

On President’s Day, #NotMyPresidentsDay protests happened across the country. Organizers in the nation’s capital hosted a hometown resistance to President Trump, taking to the streets to voice their displeasure with the current administration.

#NativeNationsRise. March 3. Washington, D.C.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and Native nations hosted the Native Nations Rise march to highlight “the necessity to respect Indigenous Nations and their right to protect their homelands, environment and future generations.” 

#TrumpGlobalGag #NoAbortionBan. March 8. White House, Washington, D.C. 

The morning of March 8, reproductive rights advocates organized “Stop the Global Gag.” It was a protest against President Trump’s executive order to reinstate the “global gag rule,” known as the “Mexico City Policy,” which prohibits any U.S. family planning aid from going to foreign nongovernmental organizations that provide information about or perform abortions.

#WomenWorkersRising. March 8. National Mall, Washington, D.C.

On International Women’s Day, dubbed “A Day Without a Woman” by Women’s March organizers, women across the country went on strike to highlight the significance and economic power of women worldwide. The “Women Workers Rising” rally was held outside the U.S. Department of Labor that afternoon, where 5,000 people called for pay equity, fair wages, paid leave, labor rights, and an end to workplace violence and harassment.

#MarchforScience. March 22. National Mall, Washington, D.C.

Held on Earth Day, the nonpartisan March for Science brought thousands to the National Mall despite a consistent downpour. President Trump’s appointment of climate-change denier Scott Pruitt to lead the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was of particular concern to marchers.

#MayDayAction. May 1. Farragut Square, Washington, D.C.

On May Day, internationally recognized as a day to acknowledge working people, immigrant rights advocates took to the streets in D.C. to demand an end to the scapegoating of immigrants and people of color and to celebrate immigrant contributions to society. Many supporters of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) marched with their families, fearing what could happen to the immigration status of “DACA-mented” loved ones.

#SadBirthday. June 14. Trump Tower, New York, NY.

On President Trump’s birthday, protesters gathered outside Trump Tower—but not exactly to wish him well. “Gifts” included offerings like this one-way ticket to Moscow.

The People’s Filibuster. June 28. U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C.

Thousands of people gathered for a week of “The People’s Filibuster” to protest the Republican effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

Equality March. July 11. National Mall, Washington, D.C.

The Equality March served as a declaration calling for “rights and dignity for all”a direct response to the open hostility the Trump administration has demonstrated for LGBTQ people.

Unity March for Puerto Rico. November 19. U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C.

Thousands gathered to stand in solidarity with the residents of Puerto Rico following the devastating effects of Hurricane Maria nearly two months prior. Organizers called for a permanent exemption of Puerto Rico from the Jones Act, for the cancellation of Puerto Rico’s debt, and for funds to rebuild the island.

#OpenToAll. December 5. U.S. Supreme Court, Washington, D.C.

The Supreme Court heard Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission to determine if a Colorado baker violated the law by refusing to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple. A decision on behalf of the baker could allow businesses to refuse service and discriminate against LGBTQ people, people of color, women, religious minorities, and people with disabilities. Advocates say that businesses should always be “#OpenToAll.”

#WeGrabBack. October 6. White House, Washington, D.C.

The Access Hollywood tapes revealing Donald Trump’s admissions of sexual assault were first heard by the public in October 2016. One year later, as the Trump administration dismantled protections for survivors of sexual assault, advocates gathered outside the White House gates to stand up against sexual predators and for a myriad of issues threatened by the newcomer to the White House; hence the fitting sign, “All I Want for Christmas Is …”