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Bay Area Protests Trump’s Child Detention Policy with Billboard and Projection

A clandestine modification of a junk removal billboard and a nighttime projection of a political cartoon called out the president’s family separation policy.

The billboard after Indecline's intervention (photo courtesy Indecline)
The billboard after Indecline’s intervention (photo courtesy Indecline)

Is the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) advertising its brutal practice of separating migrant families? If you were driving along Interstate 80 in California’s East Bay last night or early this morning, you might have seen what appeared to be a billboard for ICE flaunting its inhumane expertise — “We make kids disappear” — alongside the Munchian image of a shocked and screaming child.

The ignoble advertisement is in fact the work of satiric and shadowy public art collective Indecline, whose members scaled the billboard (which formerly promoted 1-800-Got-Junk?’s ability to “make junk disappear”) in the night and transformed it into a provocative indictment of ICE. At the time this article was published, a spokesperson for Indecline said that the modified billboard was still in place.

The billboard before Indecline's intervention (photo courtesy Indecline)
The billboard before Indecline’s intervention (photo courtesy Indecline)

Indecline’s rogue gesture wasn’t the only monumental expression of artistic outrage with President Trump’s inhumane immigration policy — which has resulted in some 2,300 children being separated, seemingly indefinitely, from their parents — in the Bay Area this week. On Monday night, an image of a comic blasting the practice was projected onto San Francisco’s Federal Building.

The comic is the work of celebrated political cartoonist Rob Rogers, whom the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette fired last week after refusing to run 19 of his comics since the beginning of the year, as the Washington Post reported. One of the last ones he made during his 25 years as the paper’s editorial cartoonist, it depicts a roadside “Caution” sign in which the silhouette of President Trump abducts a child as its parents flee. Though the Post-Gazette refused to publish that one as well, it was reproduced widely through syndication and social media.

Rogers himself even endorsed the nighttime projection of his work, retweeting the original photo by fantasy author A.E. Marling with the enthusiastic comment: “This is how all political cartoons should be displayed!”

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