When 4-year-old Jackson started a “dinosaur garden” in his front yard, he never intended to make a political statement.
Jackson’s dad, Bill Rebeck, says Jackson was helping a neighbor with his own garden one day outside their Capitol Hill home when the neighbor gave him a handful of plastic dinosaur toys. Overjoyed, Jackson ran home and grabbed a few of his own, then posed them all outside.
The dinosaurs stayed there for months, eventually becoming a staple of the neighborhood.
“People move them around all the time,” Bill Rebeck says. “They say they go out of their way to walk by the dinosaurs.”
When Bill met someone one day who didn’t live anywhere near them, and even she knew about the dinosaurs, he knew the family had reached a tipping point.
“After the election, we were trying to do something with our frustration with our country,” Bill says. “My wife said, ‘We should have our dinosaurs protesting.'”
After all, people knew them! Despite being inanimate pieces of plastic, Jackson’s dinosaurs had a platform.
So whether his wife, Andria, was joking or not, Bill says almost immediately he had four or five great ideas for dinosaur protest signs.
The family quickly got to work.
The dinosaur protest quickly caught the attention of people in the neighborhood. And then, the world.
A neighbor tweeted some photos of the display, and they went viral in a heartbeat.
Signs like, “Climate change = Extinction” and “Dinosaurs for science!” were a massive hit.
Bill didn’t realize what was happening until a neighbor he barely knew knocked on his door and said a reporter was looking for him.
“I think people would laugh at my lack of sophistication on social media,” he says.
He also wants to clarify he and his wife aren’t forcing Jackson into any political stances. But, as parents, they’re very worried about the state of the world.
“I’m torn between this feeling of being horrified about our country and finding it so ridiculous that it’s hard to take seriously,” he says, adding that he sees Trump’s climate change denial as a terrifying red flag.
“For me, the only thing I can do is make plastic dinosaurs talk.”
But judging by the reaction on social media, it sure looks like people are listening.