The Poetry of Protest

Photography by Jerry Schmidt and Michael Bersin

“The Poetry of Protest”, our show of large prints of photographs from rallies, protests, marches, and demonstrations, ran in the Gallery of Art and Design at the University of Central Missouri from September 26th through October 28th, 2017.

The images:

Close to four hundred supporters of organized labor gathered in a park at 33rd and Southwest Trafficway just south of Metropolitan Community College for a Labor Day rally and march. The march proceeded east on the sidewalk on 33rd Street and then turned south on Main. Kansas City Police in a mounted (horse) unit and patrol units accompanied the march.

September 4, 2017 – Labor Day rally and march – Kansas City, Missouri – Jerry Schmidt

September 4, 2017 – Labor Day rally and march – Kansas City, Missouri – Michael Bersin

September 4, 2017 – Labor Day rally and march – Kansas City, Missouri – Jerry Schmidt

September 4, 2017 – Labor Day rally and march – Kansas City, Missouri – Jerry Schmidt

In the wake of the shooting death of Michael Brown by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri.

August 14, 2014 – Black Lives Matter – Mill Creek Park – Kansas City, Missouri – Michael Bersin

There was a small gathering of Donald Trump supporters holding a rally on the grounds of the Capitol in Jefferson City that afternoon. There were intermittent showers throughout the day, but the group managed to parade around the Capitol. This being Jefferson City on a Saturday afternoon, there wasn’t a crowd along their march route.

We had been covering another event at the state capitol building and had then stopped for lunch at an establishment across the street. As we left the restaurant we saw their march start. We dropped our camera bags on the sidewalk and crossed the street to photograph them.

March 25, 2017 – Pro-Trump rally and march at the State Capitol – Jefferson City, Missouri – Michael Bersin

On Inauguration Day close to two thousand people gathered on the grounds of the Liberty Memorial in Kansas City for a rally and march to protest the inauguration of Donald Trump. Like many of the early demonstrations opposed to the new administration this was loosely organized by word of mouth and on-line. The march started from the ground of the memorial, across Washington Square Park, and then up Main Street. There was a significant Kansas City Police presence. The sky was overcast with a light drizzle as the march proceeded across the park.

The organized Women’s March was scheduled for Washington Square Park the next day. It was when we saw the size of this demonstration that we understood that the Women’s March was going to be big.

January 20, 2017 – Inauguration Day Protest – Kansas City, Missouri – Michael Bersin

January 20, 2017 – Inauguration Day Protest – Kansas City, Missouri – Jerry Schmidt

January 20, 2017 – Inauguration Day Protest – Kansas City, Missouri – Michael Bersin

January 20, 2017 – Inauguration Day Protest – Kansas City, Missouri – Jerry Schmidt

January 20, 2017 – Inauguration Day Protest – Kansas City, Missouri – Jerry Schmidt

January 20, 2017 – Inauguration Day Protest – Kansas City, Missouri – Michael Bersin

January 20, 2017 – Inauguration Day Protest – Kansas City, Missouri – Michael Bersin

The morning local television news in Kansas City reported that they expected “hundreds” to show up for the Women’s March in Washington Square Park. The organizers, as they stated via social media, were expecting several thousand.

10,000 showed up in Kansas City. That’s the number from several reports. We were there. People were packed in like sardines and they kept streaming into the park.

January 21, 2017 – Women’s March – Kansas City, Missouri – Michael Bersin

January 21, 2017 – Women’s March – Kansas City, Missouri – Michael Bersin

January 21, 2017 – Women’s March – Kansas City, Missouri – Jerry Schmidt

January 21, 2017 – Women’s March – Kansas City, Missouri – Jerry Schmidt

January 21, 2017 – Women’s March – Kansas City, Missouri – Michael Bersin

January 21, 2017 – Women’s March – Kansas City, Missouri – Michael Bersin

January 21, 2017 – Women’s March – Kansas City, Missouri – Jerry Schmidt

January 21, 2017 – Women’s March – Kansas City, Missouri – Jerry Schmidt

January 21, 2017 – Women’s March – Kansas City, Missouri – Michael Bersin

January 21, 2017 – Women’s March – Kansas City, Missouri – Jerry Schmidt

January 21, 2017 – Women’s March – Kansas City, Missouri – Michael Bersin

January 21, 2017 – Women’s March – Kansas City, Missouri – Michael Bersin

On the day the Trump administration announced it was rescinding DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), the Obama era directive giving close to 800,000 individuals who entered the country as undocumented minors deferred action on deportation. It was a humane policy.

That evening close to three hundred individual gathered at Mill Creek Park at the entrance to the Plaza to express their support for the continuation of DACA.

September 5, 2017 – DACA Rally at Mill Creek Park near the entrance to the Plaza – Kansas City, Missouri – Jerry Schmidt

September 5, 2017 – DACA Rally at Mill Creek Park near the entrance to the Plaza – Kansas City, Missouri – Jerry Schmidt

September 5, 2017 – DACA Rally at Mill Creek Park near the entrance to the Plaza – Kansas City, Missouri – Jerry Schmidt

In midtown Kansas City well over a hundred supporters of Planned Parenthood, most dressed in pink, demonstrated in support of women’s health care on Emanuel Cleaver II Boulevard. This was one of many #PinkOut actions across the country.

June 21, 2017 – Planned Parenthood #PinkOut – Kansas City, Missouri – Michael Bersin

June 21, 2017 – Planned Parenthood #PinkOut – Kansas City, Missouri – Michael Bersin

Water is Life, a rally for Standing Rock – Kansas City, Missouri, November 14, 2016.

November 14, 2016 – Water is Life – Rally for Standing Rock – Kansas City, Missouri – Jerry Schmidt

A hate group, the First Amendment, and a funeral in a small town

Army Corporal Jacob Carver died in action in Afghanistan on November 13, 2010. He was from Freeman, Missouri. His funeral was held in Harrisonville, Missouri on November 23, 2010.

Members of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas had stated their intent to protest at the funeral (we’ve covered them in the past). The community around Harrisonville, Missouri stated their intent to shield the funeral from that protest.

I drove into Harrisonville from the north on Highway 7, arriving at about 8:30 a.m. The location for the funeral, Our Lady-Lourdes Catholic Church, is on the highway. As I drove past the church there were already hundreds of people, dressed for the cold, many holding American flags, lining both sides of the highway. I drove about a half mile beyond the church and parked in a shopping center parking lot.

I walked back toward the church.

The crowd lining the highway near the church was a mix of young and old. Their demeanor was respectful – most engaged in quiet conversation. Some appeared curious as I took photographs, though when they saw my identification they went back to their conversations. They were unfailingly polite.

After taking photographs of the crowd near the church I walked back toward my parked car. About halfway there, at Elm and Mechanic, the Westboro group was surrounded by large crowd of people. There was more of a circus atmosphere around the Westboro group. The crowd surrounding them was vocal. Apparently, at one point, there was a scuffle.

This photograph appeared on the editorial page of the Warrensburg Daily Star Journal.

November 23, 2010 – Harrisonville, Missouri – Michael Bersin

Several hundred protesters gathered in unseasonably warm and sunny weather at Theiss Park in Kansas City for an anti-Trump, pro-free speech, and pro-free press march.

March 4, 2017 – March for Free Speech and a Free Press – Kansas City, Missouri – Michael Bersin

Kansas City’s March for Science started before 9:00 a.m. as people gathered at 27th and Grand for the 9:30 march past Crown Center to Washington Square Park. The crowd in the park, easily numbering over two thousand, listened to a number of speakers. Some of the speakers and marchers clung to the illusion that science is still non-partisan issue.

April 22, 2017 – March for Science – Kansas City, Missouri – Michael Bersin

April 22, 2017 – March for Science – Kansas City, Missouri – Michael Bersin

April 22, 2017 – March for Science – Kansas City, Missouri – Michael Bersin

At the Keystone Pipeline “Occupy Koch Town” protest in Wichita, Kansas, February 18, 2012.

February 18, 2012 – Keystone Pipeline “Occupy Koch Town” protest – Wichita, Kansas – Jerry Schmidt

February 18, 2012 – Keystone Pipeline “Occupy Koch Town” protest – Wichita, Kansas – Jerry Schmidt

On November 12, 2016, a sunny Saturday afternoon, several hundred people gathered for an anti-Trump rally in front of City Hall in downtown Kansas City. There were signs, there was diversity, there were speeches, there were police, there was a drone, there were cheers, there were tears.

November 12, 2016 – – Anti-Trump rally downtown – Kansas City Missouri – Jerry Schmidt

November 12, 2016 – Anti-Trump rally downtown – Kansas City Missouri – Jerry Schmidt

November 12, 2016 – Anti-Trump rally downtown – Kansas City Missouri – Jerry Schmidt

November 12, 2016 – Anti-Trump rally downtown – Kansas City Missouri – Jerry Schmidt

November 12, 2016 – Anti-Trump rally downtown – Kansas City Missouri – Jerry Schmidt

November 12, 2016 – Anti-Trump rally downtown – Kansas City Missouri – Jerry Schmidt

About forty anti-Muslim protestors set up in a fenced off area in Washington Square Park in Kansas City. Almost a hundred counter-protesters showed up, too. In the over two hours we were there the two groups yelled obscenities and hurled insults at each other, separated by a buffer zone and a considerable presence of Kansas City Police officers.

June 10, 2017 – Anti-Muslim protest and counter-protest, Washington Square Park – Kansas City, Missouri – Michael Bersin

June 10, 2017 – Anti-Muslim protest and counter-protest, Washington Square Park – Kansas City, Missouri – Michael Bersin

June 10, 2017 – Anti-Muslim protest and counter-protest, Washington Square Park – Kansas City, Missouri – Michael Bersin

June 10, 2017 – Anti-Muslim protest and counter-protest, Washington Square Park – Kansas City, Missouri – Michael Bersin

A broad coalition of native American tribes, environmental groups, landowners and others gathered to protest against the Keystone XL pipeline on the day before the Nebraska Public Service Commission starts a week of hearings on the pipeline.

Bold Nebraska, 350.org and the Sierra Club sponsored a Pipeline Fighter Summit in Lincoln before the march, bringing together groups and individuals from surrounding states to share and discuss strategies in fighting tar sand pipelines. People from Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, South Dakota, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri and other states attended the summit and marched in protest.

Various local news reports stated that anywhere from 500 to 600 or more people attended the rally at the state capitol and marched through downtown Lincoln.

August 6, 2017 – Keystone Pipeline Protest and March – Lincoln, Nebraska – Michael Bersin

August 6, 2017 – Keystone Pipeline Protest and March – Lincoln, Nebraska – Michael Bersin

August 6, 2017 – Keystone Pipeline Protest and March – Lincoln, Nebraska – Michael Bersin

August 6, 2017 – Keystone Pipeline Protest and March – Lincoln, Nebraska – Jerry Schmidt

August 6, 2017 – Keystone Pipeline Protest and March – Lincoln, Nebraska – Michael Bersin

Indivisible organizers outside the entrance to the venue for a Senator Claire McCaskill open public town hall in Parkville, Missouri distributed “agree” and “disagree” cards to their members.

April 13, 2017 – Senator Claire McCaskill town hall at Park University – Parkville, Missouri – Michael Bersin

Protesters numbering from over a thousand to several thousand (depending on the news report) took to the streets in Springfield, Missouri to protest Donald Trump’s visit to the city to promote his billionaire tax cut “plan”.

August 30, 2017 – Protesting Donald Trump – Springfield, Missouri – Jerry Schmidt

August 30, 2017 – Protesting Donald Trump – Springfield, Missouri – Jerry Schmidt

August 30, 2017 – Protesting Donald Trump – Springfield, Missouri – Jerry Schmidt

August 30, 2017 – Protesting Donald Trump – Springfield, Missouri – Jerry Schmidt

In the Gallery of Art and Design at the University of Central Missouri::

The set of six publicity posters for the exhibit:

The Artist Lecture at the exhibit [Jerry Schmidt (left), Michael Bersin (right)]:

The gallery exhibit on Show Me Progress:

The Poetry of Protest (September 9, 2017)

In the gallery (September 21, 2017)

In the gallery – part 2 (September 23, 2017)

In the gallery – part 3 (September 26, 2017)

In the gallery – comments (September 30, 2017)

In the gallery – comments – part 2 (October 3, 2017)

In the gallery – comments – part 3 (October 4, 2017)

In the gallery – comments – part 4 (October 6, 2017)

In the gallery – today (October 10, 2017)

In the gallery – comments – part 5 (October 16, 2017)

In the gallery – comments – part 6 (October 17, 2017)

In the gallery – comments – part 7 (October 19, 2017)

In the gallery – comments – part 8 (October 23, 2017)

In the gallery – comments – part 9 (October 26, 2017)

In the gallery – comments – part 10 (October 27, 2017)

In the gallery – comments – part 11 (October 28, 2017)

In the gallery – comments – part 12 (October 30, 2017)