LOS ANGELES — Across the country, people are drawing inspiration from the nationwide protests in reaction to the shooting of 29-year-old Jacob Blake.
But as he sits in his Koreatown office, Thomas Zenteno's inspiration is from the drawing itself.
“I never thought I’d use my artistic skills for an organization or mobilization or demonstration like this,” Zenteno told Spectrum News 1.
Zenteno is an animation designer and, in the wake of the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin, he’s using his talent to make eye-catching signs for a city hall demonstration in Downtown Los Angeles.
“We want to make a bold statement and you want to get that message across clearly,” he said. “You want to see if from a mile away.”
To that end, Zenteno uses no color and few graphics. His signs, inspired by another era, are simple, yet effective.
“I always think back to the civil rights movement,” he said. “There were some marchers who did ‘I Am a Man’ signs. They were black men marching during the civil rights movement and they hung these signs that said, “I Am a Man,’ basically saying, ‘See me as human.’’”
He’s working with an organization called The Party for Socialism & Liberation. They are protesting the shooting of Jacob Blake, who was shot seven times after a scuffle with police during a domestic disturbance.
The union representing police officers in Kenosha, Wisconsin, says Blake was armed with a knife and "forcefully fought" with the officers, putting one of them in a headlock.
“Everybody is looking at the world around them. They’re seeing the world burning, they’re seeing the economy crumble, and they’re seeing this pandemic raging and the war on black lives doesn’t stop,” he said.
He knows change won’t be easy. But seeing those signs at the protest is a reminder that change is indeed possible.
“When we fight together we win and when we come together as people I have that hope that we’re able change the society together.”