June 4, 2020

Distributing the Tools of Protest

by joeyphoenix

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Image Credit: Emily Goldhammer
Story by Joey Phoenix

A little over a year ago I spoke down with Social Interventionist and Street Muralist Cedric Vise1 Douglas to talk about how street art creates bridges between the public and the issues that are relevant to their community. 

This month, Cedric’s ongoing Street Memorial Project is finding new relevancy, but the meaning is the same. He’s been making caution tape rolls, titled “Tools of Protest”, laden with statements: “Don’t Shoot” and “I Can’t Breathe” since 2016 as a response to the murders of John Crawford III, Eric Garner, and Mike Brown. So when Boston, and nationwide, protests started happening this weekend, the message hadn’t changed, but people were paying more attention. 

This past weekend he and fellow artist Julz Roth passed out the rolls he had in stock to stand in solidarity with those protesting the lives of black men and women killed by police: George Floyd (Minnesota), Usaama Rahim (Boston), Terence Coleman (Boston), and countless other black men and women that have been killed by police in the United States – more than 1000 in the last five years,

Image Credit: TokYo Photography

He ran out, so he’s placing another order for Tools of Protest caution tape today. They come in at about $8-$10 a roll, but they can go a long way if used well. 

“They just went so quickly,” Cedric said, “I wish we had thousands to hand out to people.” 

Over the next few days he plans to set up tables at points during the protests where people can stop by, cut a square of the tape, and carry that with them. The tape works like a mini-sign, so it doesn’t make as much sense for individuals to have full rolls, but organizations can use them to quickly supply their people with these tools of protest. 

“They were sitting in my studio for years, so it’s way better if people are using them. And I want people to get as creative as possible,” Cedric said. “Someone wanted to buy a roll to wrap a porch in their town, a town that isn’t really doing a lot right now, so I was happy to send that.” 

He would be able to distribute them more quickly, but The UpTruck which he has used for mobile art making in the past is currently in the shop awaiting repairs (and the payment for those repairs), so instead of him being able to go to the people to deliver the rolls, they will have to come to him. 

One of the places he plans to be is at the Dorchester Arts Collaborative this Friday at 157 Washington St. in Dorchester.

He also mentioned that if any organization nationwide wants a handful of rolls, just let him know and he can mail them out, with the caveat that the less time he spends shipping, the more time he will have to distribute locally.  

Image Credit: Luis Edgardo Cotto

“I’m hoping that this is a rebirth of reform and justice and all these things because they’re exposing a lot of injustice and inequality in the world, [and impacts] the financial system, capitalism, and democracy in a positive way.” He said. “Hopefully these negative things will lead to better changes to what’s happening with racial relations and what’s happening with black men and women.” 

You can contact Cedric through his website or by emailing him at cedricdouglasdesign@gmail.com

He also encourages people to document the Tools of Protest during the events if they are able. Due to COVID-19, it’s something that’s been a little harder to do. 


National Museum of African American History and Culture “Talking About Race” Web Portal

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Campaign Zero: https://www.joincampaignzero.org

Black Visions Collective: https://secure.everyaction.com/4omQDAR0oUiUagTu0EG-Ig2

The National Bail Out: https://secure.actblue.com/donate/freeblackmamas2020

Reclaim the Block: https://www.reclaimtheblock.org/home

Unicorn Riot: https://unicornriot.ninja/five-years-of-unicorn-riot/

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