A Ferguson billboard will soon bear the hashtag #PantsUPDontLOOT, if the contributors and organizers of an online campaign have their way. It’s a response to the hashtag protesters have been using, #HandsUpDontShoot, and it highlights the racial tensions in Ferguson.
The IndieGogo campaign has raised 86 percent of its goal in less than three weeks, and will likely reach it in the month remaining. The billboard the organizers plan to rent with the funds is, they say, in the heart of the part of Ferguson where protesters have been carrying out nightly marches.
Saying that too many lives are lost to police encounters, often when there’s no criminal activity involved, the protesters in Ferguson created a hashtag and campaign around #HandsUpDontShoot. (Some eyewitness reports stated that Michael Brown had his hands up when shot in Ferguson by Officer Darren Wilson, and links have been made to other cases of suspects who died in police custody when not resisting.)
This billboard will display a hashtag that was created in response. #PantsUPDontLOOT isn’t new — it’s been used on Twitter for some time, in opposition to the Ferguson protests.
Who, then, is organizing the billboard campaign? The organizers aren’t saying — they’re remaining anonymous.
“After some initial confusion we are working with other, undisclosed companies in the area that are willing to create and display this image.”
The creator of the fund is identified on the page as Don Alexander, of Tennessee, but there’s no other information on his IndieGoGo profile, other than noting that he’s watching the Ferguson Defense Fund — a campaign that accepts donations to bail protesters out of the Ferguson lockup and purchase food and other needs.
Alexander states that anonymous Ferguson business are helping plan the billboard, and, while Ferguson residents (and those who’ve been watching the problems the protesters have encountered) may have guesses at the identities, there’s no definitive answer available.
As for the billboard company that will be used, the IndieGoGo campaign identifies Lamar Advertising as one company that has offered a price quote, but won’t name others it says have quoted cheaper prices.
“As of right now, we have to keep the exact billboard/company undisclosed because the companies we choose are being targeted with the intention of shutting us down and making it impossible for the project to move forward.”
If the Ferguson billboard campaign reaches its goal and cannot secure a contract for the advertisement, they will return funds, they say.