It’s hard to fit much on a bumper sticker.
They’re built for quick-hitters — pithy slogans or the occasional play on words for the amusement of those stuck behind you in traffic.
Then there’s Claire Thomas, an associate professor of biology and of biochemistry and molecular biology at Penn State who managed to interweave race, sexual orientation and gender identity on her first crack at the genre.
Look closely at the bottom left-hand corner and the American flag even makes a cameo.
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It’s a lot to juggle, but that’s the kind of thing you sign up for when you devise a slogan as all encompassing as “You are in the 100 percent. Be kind, be inclusive.”
“I think the idea is to try and get everybody to take a pause and think about how we’re all human,” Thomas said.
The image was a non-partisan reaction to last November’s contentious election, a humble rebuttal to any notions of “otherness” that may have permeated the culture.
It was important to Thomas that her design represented everyone. Inspirations included professor Nina Jablonski’s comprehensive theory of human skin tone or “sepia rainbow,” and artist Gilbert Baker’s rainbow flag, interweaving elements intended to represent how those different elements intersect and the wide variety of people to be found in the world.
She shared the design with friends as it continued to develop.
“This was the one that people reacted to very strongly,” Thomas said.
In addition to the bumper stickers, decals bearing the image are also available to businesses that want to declare themselves open to anyone who cares to walk through the door.
To get the message out, Thomas tries to approach at least three or four stores a day. Scott Dutt, owner of Happy Valley Optical, has already placed a decal in the window of his shop on South Allen Street.
Dutt believes that it’s important for local businesses to support residents of the community.
“I see them as an anti-hate sticker, and I think we should treat each other better,” Dutt said.
The bumper stickers and decals are available for pick up at Webster’s Bookstore Cafe.
For more information, visit 100percentsign.org.