Here's the story behind Dissent Pins:
Right after the 2016 presidential election, a friend told me a story about Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her "dissent collar," which she wore to subtly demonstrate her convictions when she dissented from a Supreme Court decision. I asked my friend Caitlin Kuhwald to draw RBG's dissent collar and had it made into small enamel pins for my friends.
Then, on January 27, 2017, I was watching the fallout from Trump's travel ban on people from majority-Muslim countries, and specifically the lawyers at JFK airport assisting people who were being prevented from coming into the country. I wanted to buy those lawyers dinner and provide them with whatever they needed in order to do their work. A few days later started I selling Dissent Collar enamel pins to help fund their work.
Since then, we've added hundreds of products to our store and added dozens of donee organizations, but our mission remains the same: We create fun stuff that funds the future.
— Nick Jehlen, Founder
Who is behind Dissent Pins?
Nick Jehlen has been designing tools for social change for 20 years. He designed actions for the campaign to save the Fenway neighborhood in Boston (a campaign that successfully saved Fenway Park from destruction); he co-founded Turn Your Back on Bush; designed the online, in-person, and phone voting system for Philly's Ballot Box (a shadow election); served on the organizing committee and designed the online live streaming tools for Winter Soldier: Iraq & Afghanistan;, and was the lead organizer and designer of Enough Fear, a series of public phone banks in the US that connected with volunteers he recruited in Iran. Nick was also the Art Director at The Progressive for 14 years.
Nick is the founder of Common Practice, where he leads the design of tools that help people talk about serious illness and death.
Madeline Elwell manages customer service, wholesale, and social media for Dissent Pins. Madeline is a graduate of Smith College with a background in Medical Sociology and Africana Studies. They now split their time between Dissent Pins and Common Practice, where they are the Customer Engagement Director. Madeline is a Philadelphia native and spends their time crafting, reading, and calling out bad design.
Caitlin Kuhwald created the illustrations for the Dissent Collar pin and packaging. She received a BFA in Illustration from the California College of Arts and Crafts, and an MFA in painting from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine arts in Philadelphia. Now she freelances from her studio in Los Angeles. Her illustrations appear in various magazines, books and other media. And her work has been recognized by American Illustration, The Society of Illustrators and Communication Arts.
Caitlin is also an illustration instructor. At CCA in San Francisco she taught illustration, drawing and watercolor for eight years. Currently she teaches at UCSD in the Extension Department.