Inspired by the spate of killings of Black people by police and vigilantes, Florida-based social justice group The Dream Defenders created a powerful ad campaign to encourage more young people of color to head to the polls on Election Day.
But does it go too far, or not far enough?
Dream Defenders political director Ciara Taylor explained the inspiration behind the campaign, which shows a mother asking her teenage son to wear a bulletproof vest so she won’t have to worry about his safety.
“The campaign is reminiscent of Malcolm X’s “The Ballot or the Bullet” speech,” Taylor said. “What we’re trying to do, and I think that we’ve done, is spark conversation around the importance of voting and how it directly correlates to our everyday lives.”
Some have called the campaign inflammatory, but Taylor insists the choice to either exercise political power and vote, or allows policies that embolden others to carry guns is quite appropriate.
“Both sides of the aisle are voting in favor of laws like Stand Your Ground, like zero-tolerance policies, and laws that will allow for the children of parents of color to be targeted and profiled in their communities,” she said.
“So, when we say #VestOrVote, we mean it. We mean that you need to vote, or you need to come to the realization that your child may soon need to wear a vest just to be safe in their own community. “