The Early History of SURJ Bay Area Human Billboards
Inspired by a neighborhood group in the Dimond District of Oakland, SURJ Bay Area began organizing Human Billboard events in November of 2016. Despite the pouring rain, the first gathering in November 2016 — adjacent to the Lakeshore Farmer’s Market — attracted dozens of participants.
SURJ Bay Area asks its members to show up to support the Movement for Black Lives.
In December of 2016 a second SURJ Human Billboard took place in the same Oakland location. Even more people showed up with the same messages: Black Lives Matter, stand against racism and end white silence.
In January 2017 Trump was sworn into the office of President of the United States and SURJ Bay Area took part in a week of protest called by Anti Police-Terror Project to reclaim the radical legacy of Martin Luther King AND protest the new presidency. Our Human Billboard for that month took place on an early weekday morning at Rockridge BART Station.
In February, record numbers joined our Human Billboard, back at the area around Lakeshore Farmer’s Market.
There were dozens of people on every corner, holding signs and generating enthusiastic support from passing cars honking in solidarity.
Our fellow San Francisco Chapter held their first Human Billboard in the City in March of 2017.
SURJ Bay Area returned to Rockridge, this time on the first weekend in April, to honor 8 trans women who were murdered in the U.S. during the first 3 months of 2017. Say their names: Jaquarrius Holland, Chyna Gibson, Ciara McElveen, Mesha Caldwell, Jamie Lee Wounded Arrow, Keke Collier, Jojo Striker and Alphonza Watson. We also honored Taja de Jesus, a Latina trans woman murdered in San Francisco in 2015.