Method 19: Wearing of Symbols

Step 19 of Gene Sharp’s 198 Methods of Nonviolent Action comes from the list of Symbolic Public Acts. As I covered in Step 18, the resistance has used flags and symbolic colors as a form of protest throughout history.

Pussy hats, peace signs, rainbow flags.

Umbrellas, three finger salutes, hoodies, flowers.

Flowers epitomize peaceful protest. They were offered to soldiers at the Pentagon in 1967 and handed out to demonstrators at the Women’s March in 2017. They were worn by Dr. King, a way of saying, “I will meet your hate with dignity and grace.”

A botanical “When they go low, we go high.”

photo: Michael Jarecki
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Protesters against military rule gesture by holding their three middle fingers in the air during a brief demonstration at a shopping mall in Bangkok. (Erik De Castro/Reuters)
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A protester raises placards that reads “Occupy Central” in a standoff between riot policemen and a sea of protesters and their umbrellas outside the government headquarters in Hong Kong, Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014. (Vincent Yu/AP)
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Speakers at a gathering in Minneapolis to remember slain Florida teen Trayvon Martin said his death should be a rallying cry for racial justice in the country.

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