The Use of Hearses in Demonstrations – Powerful or Poor Taste?

August 02, 2017 | | Comments 0

Protests are designed to create a reaction and start a conversation.  When people set out to demonstrate for or against something, their objective it to bring their cause into the public consciousness.  In order to achieve that goal, demonstrations often use a number of different methods to get people’s attention and drive their message home.

Over the past several years, the use of hearses in demonstrations has become increasingly popular.  Back in 2009, Brewster High School in New York used a hearse as a part of their student demonstration.  The goal of their demonstration was to raise awareness of the dangers of texting or talking on the phone while driving.  The students teamed up with local funeral home, Beecher Funeral Home, and the local emergency services to stage an accident scene.   In the scene, a young drive was removed from a mangled wreck before being loaded onto a gurney and loaded into the back of a hearse.

In 2013, hearses were used as a part of a convoy that made its way across the North Shore n New York to raise awareness about gun deaths.  The demonstration was organized with the help of several different companies and organizations including the NAACP, the Mount Sinai Center for Community Enrichment and state Sen. Diane Savino’s office.

While the use of hearses and funeral cars in demonstrations is undeniably powerful, some claim it’s inappropriate.  Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah is the ruler of Selangor, a state on the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia. In 2017, he came out publicly against the use of hearses in any manner other than being used for a funeral. After a demonstration which used more than a dozen hearses and coffins, the ruler released a statement through his private secretary Datuk Mohamad Munir Bani. In the statement, Bani informed the public “His Royal Highness does not want the hearses to be misused for any purpose, such as being rented out for demonstrations or for any other use that has nothing to do with the management of funerals.”

It’s become an issue of debate throughout social media.  Some say using hearses as part of a demonstration disrespects both those who have died and the professionals who attend to them.  On the other hand, using funeral cars sends a clear and powerful message to the public – making demonstrations more effective overall.  Clearly, it’s an issue that is likely to remain a bone of contention for the immediate future as people get involved in political and social causes.  As these kinds of demonstrations increase in frequency, we could easily begin to see hearses as a regular feature.


Filed Under: Funeral Hearses


About the Author: Kelly lives near Columbus, Ohio with her wife and two children. She enjoys urban exploration, hiking and is an avid reader.

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