Circles of Resistance Art at the Peoples Climate March 2017

Photo: Craig Wilson

Last Saturday, April 29th, 2017, hundreds of communities from across the country came to the People’s Climate March to represent their local struggles and showcase their demands, solutions, and visions for a better world. It was a powerful day that showed the unity across many struggles, and honored the many different pieces of the solution to the climate crisis that we hold in our communities.

If you were at the march, you probably noticed the breadth of demands and collective visions as you looked around at all the art that was made. In addition to hundreds and hundreds of individual signs we made, more than 50 different frontline and grassroots community groups brought art to the march that expressed their collective vision. In the week before the march, many came to our Uptown Art House, our pop-up art space, to sling paint and weave our movement through creativity.

Parachutes and large art creations were created through the Peoples Climate Movement’s Circles of Resistance Community Arts Program, which encourages communities to share stories together and create circular community representations of their collective visions for the future.

“Our art represents our direct answer to climate change and to the environmental poisoning of our neighborhoods and our peoples, we will not tolerate this violence upon our bodies, and we will find creative solutions for our community through our magic. Like the nopales, our thorns will protect us and our fruits will feed our youth and our neighbors, we will grow even when it’s hot and dry, we will grow tall and build with each other. Our liberation is possible because we will make it possible, our liberation is unstoppable, because we are unstoppable. Our existence is our resistance — Nuestro existir es resistir.” — Ella Mendoza of Roots of Autonomous Resistance (R.O.A.R.) Collective

Here are photos of the Circles of Resistance art in the march and here’s even more photos from the Uptown Art House! Enjoy!

People also created things in churches, garages, community centers, parks and homes around the country — there were more than 115 different art builds for PCM in this last month!!

Please enjoy just a few of the colorful, potent, and powerful visions this art represents through parachutes created by communities:

Photos by Henry Kan and Desiree Kane

Ironbound Community Corporation, Environmental Justice Leaders from Newark, New Jersey

Ironbound Community Corporation, Environmental Justice Leaders of Newark, New Jersey, created this parachute during their annual truck count, in which people from all parts of the neighborhood come out and help count trucks to get a picture of the pollution rolling through the streets on any given day. The inter-generational group of community leaders painted their vision of a green, peaceful world during the break in the middle of the day’s truck count.


Washington D.C. local youth

Kallan Benson and her family collected the signatures of more than 1,000 young people in the DMV area who were too young to vote in the election, and who would vote for Climate Justice.


UPROSE from NYC

Sunset Park climate justice organization UPROSE created this parachtue banner with 350.org in the leadup to the People’s Climate March.

While they painted, they made this awesome how-to video about painting a circular banner for other groups to follow.

UPROSE from NYC

UPROSE painted this parachute for the 2014 People’s Climate March, featuring a Sunflower, which has become an icon of the climate justice movement. Sunflowers are often used to leach heavy metal from toxic sites. Sunflowers show us that the front lines of the crisis are the forefront of change, because rehabilitating the soil creates beautiful flowers.


Environmental Justice Leadership Forum on Climate Change and We Act for Environmental Justice

Environmental Justice Leadership Forum on Climate Change and We Act for Environmental Justice painted this parachute of the infrared spectrum to show temperatures getting hotter. It says “Protect Vulnerable Communities, Environmental Justice for All”


The D.C. Coalition for theatre and Social Justice created this circle to lift up the radical power of telling your own story and of witnessing another’s. It invokes the names of some of our great teachers: Augusto Boal, Viola Spolin, Bob Alexander, and Oran Sandel. Oran just recently passed away and his presence is deeply missed by the DC theatre community. He was an artist, an activist, a teacher, a listener, in many ways a healer, and to many many people a loving friend.


DC Language Justice Crew

This parachute by DC Language Justice Crew was created by activists, people of color, interpreters, queer, people who speak various languages in the DC area to lift up language justice.


“Don’t tell me to smile”
“Women hold up half the sky”

For the Women’s March, 11 local DC artists created parachutes lifting up women’s rights.

A number of those parachutes marched in the Women for Climate Justice section of Peoples Climate March, too!


Save the Menominee River, Stop the Back Forty Mine from Michigan/Wisconsin

The No Back Forty mine campaign is led by the Menominee Nation against a proposed open pit metallic sulfide mine located on the Michigan/Wisconsin border on the banks of the Menominee River in Lake Township, Michigan. This banner lifting up the No Back Forty campaign was designed by Dylan Miner, a Wiisaakodewinini (Métis) artist, activist, scholar, and-painted at Uptown Art House, led by Nicolas Lampert and Paul Kjelland of the Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative.


Democracy Defenders Hub from Washington D.C.
New York State Nurses Associations (NYSNA): Caring for Patients and Healing Our World! from NY
Abolition is Climate Justice Created by artists in the network of Alternate ROOTS
Protectors of Justice
ACE: Alternatives for Community & Environments from Boston, MA
Land Rights Way from Washington DC
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