More than 2,600 children were taken from their parents at the US border under the Trump administration's policy of family separation. Travelling from Guatemala, Tonita and her six-year-old son, Wilson, were separated at the border and Wilson held at a office building in Phoenix, Arizona.

Shepard Fairey talks about Johnny Cash and Mass Incarceration!” 

“You have to know the forces that are against you and that are trying to break you down. We talk about the problems facing the black community: the decimation of the black family; the mass incarceration of the black man; we’re talking about the brutality against black people from the police. The educational system. “
“My experience and research has led me to the regrettable conclusion that our system of mass incarceration functions more like a caste system than a system of crime prevention or control.”
Michelle Alexander

”Our fathers believed that if this noble view of the rights of man was to flourish, it must be rooted in democracy. The most basic right of all was the right to choose your own leaders. The history of this country, in large measure, is the history of the expansion of that right to all of our people.

Many of the issues of civil rights are very complex and most difficult. But about this there can and should be no argument. Every American citizen must have an equal right to vote. There is no reason which can excuse the denial of that right. There is no duty which weighs more heavily on us than the duty we have to ensure that right.

Yet the harsh fact is that in many places in this country men and women are kept from voting simply because they are Negroes.

Every device of which human ingenuity is capable has been used to deny this right. The Negro citizen may go to register only to be told that the day is wrong, or the hour is late, or the official in charge is absent. And if he persists, and if he manages to present himself to the registrar, he may be disqualified because he did not spell out his middle name or because he abbreviated a word on the application.

And if he manages to fill out an application he is given a test. The registrar is the sole judge of whether he passes this test. He may be asked to recite the entire Constitution, or explain the most complex provisions of State law. And even a college degree cannot be used to prove that he can read and write.

For the fact is that the only way to pass these barriers is to show a white skin.

Experience has clearly shown that the existing process of law cannot overcome systematic and ingenious discrimination. No law that we now have on the books-and I have helped to put three of them there—can ensure the right to vote when local officials are determined to deny it.

In such a case our duty must be clear to all of us. The Constitution says that no person shall be kept from voting because of his race or his color. We have all sworn an oath before God to support and to defend that Constitution. We must now act in obedience to that oath.”
-Lyndon B. Johnson

Lyndon Baines Johnson President of the United States on March 15,1965 in defense of the Voting Rights Act.

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“Today, the Supreme Court stuck a dagger into the heart of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, one of the most effective pieces of legislation Congress has passed in the last 50 years. These [five justices] were never denied the right to participate in the democratic process. They were never beaten, jailed, run off their farms or fired from their jobs. No one they knew died simply trying to register to vote. They are not the victims of gerrymandering or contemporary unjust schemes to maneuver them out of their constitutional rights.”
– U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-Georgia)

US Rep John Lewis (D-Georgia) in response to the Supreme Court Decision in Shelby County v Holder which effectively gutted the Voting Rights Act.

“The labor movement was the principal force that transformed misery and despair into hope and progress. “

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“Once social change begins, it cannot be reversed. You cannot un-educate the person who has learned to read. You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride. You cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore.”
-Cesar Chavez
“History will judge societies and governments — and their institutions — not by how big they are or how well they serve the rich and the powerful, but by how effectively they respond to the needs of the poor and the helpless.”
-Cesar Chavez

American Civics: Educating the Citizens

American Civics: Educating the Citizens is a non-profit educational organization dedicated to educating Americans as to their rights and duties as citizens of this country, while inspiring activism on issues of social justice.

Applying Dr. Howard Gardner’s theories of Multiple Intelligence, we are attempting to “educate” using art and visual media in a narrative format. Our initial focus was on specific issues of social justice including; the Voting Rights Act, Mass Incarceration, Income Inequality and Poverty, and Workers Rights and the Minimum Wage.

This resulted in the creation of a fine art series by Michael Powers in collaboration with contemporary artist Shepard Fairey entitled, American Civics: Educating the Citizens, released in May of 2016 (

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the prints is being given to non-profit organizations working to address these issues of social justice. They include the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, #Cut50, an organization dedicated to addressing the issue of Mass Incarceration in this country, and the United Farm Workers Foundation, among others.


Post By: Michael Powers 6/6/2018

When I conceived American Civics: Educating the Citizens in the spring of 2015 our goal was to “educate” a generation of American citizens, who because of academic expediency, had never been instructed in their rights and duties as citizens of this Country.

My most daunting task initially was to convince artist Shepard Fairey and the estate of photographer Jim Marshall as to the merits of our project.

Marshall's black and white photos from some of the 60’s seminal events provided the perfect foundation for Shepard’s Industrial /Pop Art vision.

This collaboration resulted in the Fine Art Series: American Civics: Educating the Citizens; focusing on issues of Social Justice including the Voting Rights Act, Mass Incarceration, Income Inequality and Poverty, and Workers Rights and the Minimum Wage. 

While unexpected, we are certainly pleased with the world-wide attention this project has garnered. American Civics was featured in the Power to the Truth art exhibit which ran simultaneously with the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in July of 2016.

A set of the prints from this series is now a part of the permanent collection at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington DC. There is a permanent exhibit of American Civics as part of the California State Library’s, California Civil Liberties Public Education Program. Murals of the Voting Rights Act and Workers' Rights have been installed by Shepard in August 2016 in downtown San Francisco.

Most significantly, this summer beginning in August, Shepard Fairey will be installing the Mass Incarceration image featuring Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison as a 150 ft tall mural in downtown Sacramento approximately 300 yards from the Capitol Dome..

American Civics Opening Subliminal Gallery LA 1/20/17 (Donald Trump's Inauguration Day and the day before the worldwide women's march for peace and justice).

Images photographed by: Jason Powers

Michael Powers creator of American Civics. Shepard Fairey.

Michael Powers creator of American Civics. Shepard Fairey.

Shepard Fairey American graphic artist and social activist.

Shepard Fairey American graphic artist and social activist.

Michael Powers creator of American Civics.

Michael Powers creator of American Civics.

Michael Powers creator of American Civics. Jeff Ho legendary Dogtown surf and skateboard shaper.

Michael Powers creator of American Civics. Jeff Ho legendary Dogtown surf and skateboard shaper.

Michael Powers creator of American Civics. Peter Frank; art critic and associate editor of Fabrik Magazine.

Michael Powers creator of American Civics. Peter Frank; art critic and associate editor of Fabrik Magazine.

We're learning about a project that gives a face to social justice issues and encourage solutions to problems that have divided the country.

On Wednesday August 10, 2016 artist Shepard Fairey painted the first of two new murals themed around his new art series "American Civics." This one is about Workers' Rights and Cesar Chavez.

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