25 Photos from 2020 That Capture the Power of the People

25 Photos from 2020 That Capture the Power of the People
A June protest in Philadelphia. (Penn Today / Creative Commons)

In a year defined by unprecedented political and social tension, coupled with inequality exacerbated by COVID-19, it’s even more important that we take joy in the little things.

That’s why we’ve compiled some of our favorite posters spotted at protests this year. They represent the best in our ever-evolving society: resilience, empathy, courage and hope.

Read on for highlights from some of the major movements that entered the national spotlight this year:

Black Lives Matter

Following the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor in the winter and spring of 2020, Black Lives Matter organizers and activists helped the nation understand the fatal threat of anti-Black racism.

25 Photos from 2020 That Capture the Power of the People
A Black Lives Matter vigil on May 31, 2020. (Cyndy Sims Parr / Flickr)

Protests, which were largely peaceful, sparked across the U.S. and around the globe, demanding reform and defunding of American police departments. They began in late May and carried on through the summer in hundreds of major cities.

Tragically, Floyd and Taylor’s names join what was already a long list of police shooting victims, including but not limited to Sandra Bland, Michelle Cusseaux, Kayla Moore, Tamir Rice and Trayvon Martin. Yet, their deaths were the last straw for countless non-Black Americans, putting an end to willful and implicit ignorance towards institutionalized racism.

“Without gainsaying the reality and significance of generalized white support for the movement in the early 1960s, the number of whites who were active in a sustained way in the struggle were comparatively few, and certainly nothing like the percentages we have seen taking part in recent weeks,” said emeritus Stanford University professor Douglas McAdams.

The unprecedented passion and support seen in 2020 can be attributed to the work and leadership of Black activists, particularly Black women, who were key voices in the outreach which sparked such widespread support.

Check out inspiring posters and photographs captured at Black Lives Matter protests around the world in 2020:

25 Photos from 2020 That Capture the Power of the People
A BLM mural during protests in Oakland, California. (Annette Bernhardt / Flickr)
25 Photos from 2020 That Capture the Power of the People
Protesters hold signs at a Black Lives Matter March in Austria (Ivan Radic / Flickr: top left, top middle, top right, bottom left, bottom right)
25 Photos from 2020 That Capture the Power of the People
Minnesotans march in St. Paul to honor Black women. (Fibonacci Blue / Flickr)

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Women and Their Allies March for Their Rights

For the fourth year in a row—this time in the wake of the November election—women across the U.S. took to the streets to show the sheer political force of diverse women.

25 Photos from 2020 That Capture the Power of the People
Women’s March, D.C. (Chandra Bozelko)

The Women’s March led the national effort across 438 #CountonUs marches on Saturday, Oct. 17—from Washington D.C. to Nashville, from New York to Los Angeles.

In the midst of a global pandemic, and following Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation hearings, feminists around the country gathered to protest her rushed nomination and honor the legacy of late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

“We’re holding socially distant actions across the country to send an unmistakable message about the fierce opposition to Trump and his agenda, including his attempt to fill Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat,” the Women’s March website read ahead of the October 17 march.

Check out some of our favorite feminist posters from the Women’s March:

25 Photos from 2020 That Capture the Power of the People
Signs seen throughout the country at Women’s Marches on Oct. 17. (geeb, Roxy Szal, Resisterhood)
https://twitter.com/_AshSweet/status/1317561145448894465
25 Photos from 2020 That Capture the Power of the People
Sign appearing at the Oct. 17 Women’s March in Washington, D.C. (Mobilus In Mobili / Flickr: left, right)

Election Buzz

Both before and after November’s historic general election, activists took to the streets to encourage civic engagement. During the pandemic, voter outreach was crucial to ensuring high turnout.

Organizations like Stacey Abrams’s Fair Fight fought voter suppression through education and advocacy. They continue to connect with marginalized voters in Georgia, where they are based, in the lead-up to the Jan. 5 run-off that will determine the balance of the Senate.

After Election Day, community members spoke out against voter disenfranchisement, specifically in battleground states where President Donald Trump was calling for an end to vote-counting after Nov. 3.

25 Photos from 2020 That Capture the Power of the People
Residents of Eugene, Oregon dance outside the Wayne Lyman Morse Federal Courthouse after Election Day. (David Geitgey Sierralupe / Flickr)

While Trump supporters crowded the streets in predominantly Black cities like Detroit, Michigan, chanting to “stop the steal,” counterprotestors urged officials to carry out their responsibilities and “count every vote.”

“As for the folks who showed up in the late hours outside to cause a lot of distraction and make a lot of noise, if they thought they were going to intimidate or stop anyone from doing their job inside the TCF Center, they don’t know Detroit,” said Michigan secretary of state Jocelyn Benson.

Trump supporters frequently carried guns, including in the historically red Arizona, where Joe Biden’s lead prompted Republican protestors to shout a contradictory battle cry.

Check out some of our favorite democratic (lowercase “d”) posters below:

25 Photos from 2020 That Capture the Power of the People
Minneapolis, Minn., Women’s March on Oct. 17, 2020. (Fibonacci Blue / Flickr)
25 Photos from 2020 That Capture the Power of the People
Protestors participate in a Count Every Vote rally at McPherson Square in Washington D.C. on Nov. 4, 2020. (Flickr / Elvert Barnes: left, right)
25 Photos from 2020 That Capture the Power of the People
Count Every Vote Rally in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, Nov. 4. (Elvert Barnes / Flickr)

At the end of the day, our democracy is nowhere near perfect, but increasing support for progress and equality leaves room for optimism.

Check out some more posters from the October Women’s March below:

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About

Sophie Dorf-Kamienny is a freshman at Tufts University. She was a Ms. editorial fellow and assistant editor of social media. You can find her on Twitter at @sophie_dk_.