Cassils How Mysterious Protest Messages Have Filled the Skies

Wired Jul 10, 2020

THIS INDEPENDENCE DAY weekend took place in an altered America. As Covid-19 rippled across the country threatening anyone gathered in large groups, barbecues consisted of no more people than could fit around a flame. Highly orchestrated fireworks displays were replaced by amateur shows in the street, to the delight and dismay of neighbors. President Trump gave a speech at Mount Rushmore, where social distancing and masks weren’t required. Indigenous protesters, for whom the land around Rushmore is sacred, were met by chants of “go home.” On social media, many were learning that the Fourth of July only marks a day of independence for white Americans; Black people wouldn’t gain freedom until nearly a century later, on June 19, 1865. And above 80 different locations around the US, planes were writing messages in the sky appended with a simple hashtag: #XMap.

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