The Symbol of the Year in 2014, as voted by Symbolic Systems Program affiliates, is...
the hands up gesture
The hands up ("Don't shoot!") gesture symbolized the killing of an unarmed 18 year old black man, Michael Brown, by white police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri, on Aug. 9, 2014. Witnesses said Brown had his hands raised before being shot. "Hands Up Don't Shoot" was widely adopted as a rallying cry against police brutality and racial bias.