This paper examines yard signs as a site for public pedagogy that engages two concurrent, and comorbid, public health crises: the COVID-19 pandemic and racism. Specifically, I reflect on how yard signs responding to the George Floyd murder in my own Minneapolis neighborhood exist during a kairotic moment; as myself and my students are increasingly confined to our own homes, and as the boundaries between school and home are blurred, the public health crisis of racism and the specific community response of yard signs present opportunities for examining how these signs can act as entry points into difficult conversations among neighbors, classmates, and colleagues. While such signs are certainly examples of epideictic rhetoric, participating in either “praise or blame,” I suggest that communication teachers can frame them as public pedagogy that “strikes a harmony between learning through public engagement and understanding these public encounters in the space of the classroom” (Holmes, 2016). As such, they can act not only as artifacts of community belonging, but as artifacts to promote reflection, conversation, and inquiry.



Author ORCID Identifier

Brigitte Mussack: 0000-0003-4208-5711