Advocacy signs take over downtown

Zac Alberty, 18, of Cleveland, walks through Public Square on Tuesday, July 19, 2016. 

Alex Delaney-Gesing

Walking around Public Square in downtown Cleveland on Tuesday afternoon, 18-year-old Zac Alberty held a bright green sign over his head for any passerby to have a clear view.

On one side of the poster, the words “Shrek is love, Shrek is life” were scrawled in bold black sharpie. The back contained the message “Make Memes Great Again.”

“I came down here today because it’s my one day off—plus with the Republican National Convention in town I knew there’d be lots of people to impact in a positive way,” said Alberty, a Cleveland resident.

Although not a Republican—or a supporter of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump—Alberty said that in a time where hatred and violence have become too common, he felt something should be done to “spread the love.”

“There doesn’t need to be any more disagreements between people,” Alberty said. “We shouldn’t have any hatred going; people need to come together and be a community.”

The inspiration behind Alberty’s sign was simple: to make people smile. 

“I just want to give people something to laugh about, if only for a second,” he said.

At the corner of E. 4th Street outside the Quicken Loans Arena—the center of the RNC proceedings—Devon Mirsky held a white poster reading “I love capitalism” above her head.

Mirsky was a representative of Turning Point USA, a nonpartisan organization geared toward promoting young adults’ awareness of individual rights, a free market and a limited government—all components of a capitalist society.

“We have a number of chapters on college campuses around Ohio and the country for students,” Mirsky said.

Mirsky said Turning Point USA wants to educate the younger generation on their rights ahead of the upcoming general election.

“No one can really predict what (might) happen if Trump were to be elected,” she said. “But, as a promoter of capitalism, we also don’t want big government takeovers—which would happen if (Democrats like) Clinton were to win.”

A group of pink and black bra-wearing young women carrying female torso-shaped cut-out posters marched down E. 4th Street before stopping in front of the media entrance to the Quicken Loans Arena.

The protesters represented CodePink, a women-led grassroots organization, originally founded as an effort to prevent the nation’s war on Iraq.

Members of the organization chanted “No war, no nukes” among other declarations to the crowd of observers—media and pedestrians alike—standing nearby.

CodePink’s presence and organization’s message were just one of several individuals and groups on Tuesday who took to the streets of Cleveland to promote a change for the future amidst the ongoing proceedings taking place at the RNC.

Contact Alex Delaney-Gesing at [email protected].