Capital Sign Wavers

A group of sign-wavers encourages passing motorists to “Honk for American values” along State Street on the north side of the Idaho Capitol building on Monday in Boise. The group, which prefers to remain nameless, has been at the location between noon and 1 p.m. for nearly 100 consecutive days.

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Each noon hour for more than three months, a group of sign-wavers on State Street has been instigating a cacophony of honking near the Idaho Capitol, writes Idaho Press reporter Ryan Suppe. “Honk for American values,” asks the group, which prefers to remain nameless — once you have a name, people ask, “Who’s paying you?” one demonstrator said. The group, primarily older folks, is nearing 100 consecutive days of one-hour demonstrations.

The sign-waving began after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis sparked protests throughout the country.

“We said, ‘We got to do something,’” said Susan Multanen, one of the founding members. “We decided silence is complicity, maybe we can just speak out. So we made a few signs … we told our friends and neighbors, and we came down. People have joined us and had better ideas for signs, and so it just grew.”

One sign reads “honk for equality,” another says “protest must be persistent” and another proclaims “Idaho is too great to hate.”

Thomas Neale, who was waving the “honk for equality” sign on a recent afternoon, said some people don’t have equal opportunities “in this great American culture.”

“They’re getting left behind, whether they can’t get the best education available, they can’t get the best housing, they can’t get the best jobs,” Neale said. “We want everybody to get an equal shot, don’t matter what race or religion. We’re all Americans and we need to take care of each other.”

From noon to 1 p.m. every day, the group is downtown asking passersby to take notice of the signs. Many people honk in support, while a few have expressed displeasure using other gestures.

“It’s so affirming to have so many people respond positively,” Multanen said.

You can read Suppe's full story here at idahopress.com (subscription required), or pick up today's print edition of the Idaho Press; it's on the front page.

Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise bureau chief and state capitol reporter for the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at @BetsyZRussell.

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