'Bulletproof Vest for Boys' Billboard Addresses Police Brutality

'Bulletproof Vest for Boys' Billboard Addresses Police Brutality

The Dream Defenders of Tallahassee launched a set of satirical ads as part of "Vote or Vest," a campaign to encourage voting and voter registration.

Published October 17, 2014

A Florida activist group recently launched a satirical pair of ads advocating voting and denouncing the violence that led to the high-profile killings of young Black men, like Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin.

As part of the Dream Defenders’ “Vote or Vest” campaign, a billboard displaying a mock-sale event for bulletproof vests for boys was put up at a busy intersection in Tallahassee.

"No one wants to live in a world where bulletproof vests are the norm,” reads a description on the campaign website. "Vote on November 4th (and earlier, in Florida and most states), and let’s together take a stand on laws, like Stand Your Ground, that create fear and insecurity in our communities."

A corresponding video ad shows a Black mother encouraging her young son to wear a bulletproof vest while she is away at work.

“You know, baby, I’m going to need you to wear that vest today,” the character says. “I need to know when I’m at work that you’re going to be safe. Do it for me.”

The video then presents statistics about African-Americans killed by police, security guards and vigilantes as the audio of media coverage on Brown, Martin and Oscar Grant plays in the background.

The “Vote or Vest” campaign also comes in the wake of a Sept. 30 incident where Viola Young, a 61-year-old woman, was Tasered in the back by Tallahassee police.

"If Trayvon Martin had a bulletproof vest, he would be alive,” Regina Joseph of the Dream Defenders told WCTV. "If Viola Young had a bulletproof vest, maybe she wouldn't have felt a Taser going into her back.”

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(Photo: the Dream Defenders via Twitter)

Written by Patrice Peck

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