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23 Signs of the Midwest Resistance

Bree McKenna

Protest paraphernalia has long occupied its own special little corner in the realm of art—occasionally elevated, sometimes celebrated, most often ignored. But while we were walking among the 200,000-plus crowd in late January for the Women’s March on Chicago, we kept being struck by how resistance seemed to draw out cleverness and creativity in so many. Too bad, we thought, that signs and actions are mostly ephemeral: here today, in the trash can tomorrow.

So we decided to capture a few of our favorites and preserve them for you. A few counties in the Midwest might have tipped the election in Donald J. Trump’s favor, but, judging from the fact that Chicago’s march was one of the largest outside of D.C., our people promise to be powerful—and vocal—watchdogs moving forward.

Want to add to our image bank? Add #middleouest to your Instagram photos from the march.


Cartoon-inspired signs.

The Newberry Library is archiving some of the signs from the protest. Many were very personal pleas.

Star Wars  inspired its own language and imagery of the resistance.

Star Wars inspired its own language and imagery of the resistance.

Sometimes the facts are pretty compelling sign fodder.


Mini "Cheetos" and Cheetolini: There was no shortage of cheese puff iconography.

Some of the more popular phrases we saw.

Pink hats and abundant usage of the word "nasty"

Kids and dudes showed up in support.

Lots of these powerful Shepard Fairey posters—that were printed in the NY Times and the Washington Post papers on Inauguration Day—were peppered throughout the crowd. 

Simple, yet powerful messages.