Here's the story behind Dissent Pins: In the week following the 2016 election, I heard one story that inspired me. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has a special collar she wears on days when she dissents from decisions being handed down by the Supreme Court. (She also has a collar she wears when she's reading majority opinions.)
Justice Ginsburg wore her “dissent collar” on November 9, 2016, a day when no opinions were read.
I decided to make replicas of RBG's collar as a holiday gift, and contacted one of my favorite illustrators, Caitlin Kuhwald, who produced the illustration that was turned into 100 hard enamel pins. As I gave them out, I got more and more requests for them.
Then, on January 28th, I watched videos and photos of lawyers lining up in airports to offer assistance to people coming into the US. My first thought was: these lawyers should never want for resources. So I asked Caitlin to help me make a package for the Dissent Collar pins, and we opened this store.
50% of the profits from every Dissent Collar pin will go to organizations doing important work right now: the work of defending our democracy.
— Nick Jehlen
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 Art Director of The Progressive for 14 years. Currently, Nick is a partner at Common Practice, where he leads the design of tools that help people talk about serious illness and death, including the games Hello and My Gift of Grace.
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.