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The Words on the Street

One can get a message heard in many ways, including painting it underfoot. But the recent messages that appeared on the sidewalks of Phelan Campus are, first and foremost, property damage. The messages themselves are not unique; "Books not Bombs" and "Bush is Evil" are just a few of the messages common to any anti-war or human rights protest or peace rally in the Bay Area.

Wes Miller

I believe the protester who created this graffiti was not trying to create an artistic social message, but may have been blocked from placing their message on campus in another form. To place flyers or posters on campus, students must get them approved and stamped by Associated Students. Al-though City College did a fine job, in the months following Sept. 11, in allowing messages against racism and hate to flourish, it may have not allowed the student body to question U.S. actions, thus appearing to give tacit consent. Perhaps a frustrated student took an anti-war message that had little chance of being approved to the streets.

But unfortunately, property has been defaced and must be repaired, all for the sake of rather unoriginal messages. On this campus and around the Bay Area, vocal opponents of war deliver their messages more credibly by organizing a visible group or face behind the message.

For sidewalk messages in the future, my suggestion is to follow the technique of a young neighbor of mine. The child draws frogs chasing butterflies, or hearts with the word "mom" above butterflies, with colored chalk. When the rain comes, the messages turn into a Technicolor wash. When the ground dries, we neighbors get treated to another new work of art, a message of hope that only a child can deliver.


Copyright © 2002 The Guardsman & City College of San Francisco