Desiree Kane
Apr 27, 2017 · 5 min read

Resistance art to make a massive splash at the Peoples Climate March

This Saturday, April 29th, more than 100 communities from across the country will bring art to the Peoples Climate March that features their solutions to the climate crisis. This art was 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.

Here’s a sneak peak for Saturday featuring eight artist-activists who’ve led community visioning and art-making processes for the march, and learn about the struggles and solutions their processes surface. By weaving together the stories of these eight places, these artists exemplify the movement we are building, a movement that cuts across issues and locations, unifying us through the infinite resource of creativity.

One of the first, if not the very first, direct action out of the camp formed in North Dakota to defend against the Dakota Access Pipeline, was a crew of 6 Natives who went and stood in direct opposition of pipe being laid on the East side of Lake Oahe almost a year ago. It was one of the earliest sparks in the historic Indigenous sovereignty movement. Extractive industry’s appetite, fueled in the United States by ingrained racism brutalizing Native bodies, colonial-capitalism permitting consumption of Native women and Mother Earth all the same, and exploitative banking and media systems upholding this, feeds first on Indian Land and Indigenous people. It comes in the form of the school to prison pipeline, the seemingly endless oil & gas pipelines, the sex trade pipeline creating so many missing and murdered Indigenous women, the deportation pipeline, and so on.

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Remy, The Indian Problem — Photo: Yash Mori

The time is now to battle CO2LONIALISM that has created them.

Remy is building a colonial vessel called CO2LONIALISM - a covered wagon - shot full of arrows that represent sovereignty, language, community, reparations, feminizing, defending, reparations, and retribution depicting the ways we fight and restore ourselves against the effects of colonialism. The wagon will be carried by zombie politicians and corporate actors and will be theatrically burning and smoking.

Remy is a multidisciplinary Indigenous activist and artist hailing from Black Mesa on the Navajo Nation Reservation. Remy’s collective, The Indian Problem, is an all-Indigenous direct action trainers collective that has been an integral part of the fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline since it’s infancy. Remy and another collective member were one of the six on the boat mentioned above.

Ground zero for extractive industries in the U.S., Gulf South frontline communities of color are subjected to environmental disasters, continually facing exposure brought on by industrial development and infrastructure, while also being the first to experience climate change impacts and coastal land loss from Houston to New Orleans to the Rio Grande Valley. Facing Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the BP oil disaster, anti-police protests after the murder of Alton Sterling and ongoing catastrophic flooding has created a strong grassroots network of resistance. Another Gulf Is Possible collaborative is working at the intersection of art, direct action, policy and community organizing and is excited to be represented at the PCM 2017 Circles of Resistance.

Yudith Azareth Nieto is a Houston based cultural organizer and artist who grew up in the shadows of the Valero refinery in Manchester.

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Bekah Hinojosa — Photo: Yash Mori

Bekah Hinojosa is a community organizer and artist based in the Rio Grande Valley frontera of Texas, defending her ancestral lands from three fracked gas export terminals at the border wall.

Ann-Meredith Wootton and Jayeesha Dutta are co-founders of the Radical Arts and Healing Collective in New Orleans, grounded in traditions of cultural resistance, story circles, arts-based trauma healing, and transformative justice.

Detroit is under constant attack by mass water shutoffs, mass tax foreclosures and displacement — a clear and visible environmental and economic justice frontline. Throughout the country, including in Salt Lake City, there are common struggles faced by undocumented queer people of color often unrecognized as being frontline communities. In Salt Lake City, displacement looks like a lack of access to resources for those who need them the most. From Detroit to Salt Lake City, art is being used as a tool for transformation by our people for our people, and the Circles of Resistance is proud to bring the stories and solutions of these communities to the Peoples Climate March.

Ella Mendoza is an undocumented visual artist, and writer, whose work focuses on the connections between Migrant Justice, Racial Justice, LGBTQ Rights, and Land Defense.

Valerie Jean lives in Detroit, Michigan and organizes with the Detroit Light Brigade, Michigan Coalition Against Tar Sands (MICATS), and The People’s Potluck Detroit.

New York City and Washington DC are cities where the world comes to watch. Across town from the shining beacons of economic and political power, working communities of color are pushed continually to the margins by rampant gentrification and left vulnerable to the impacts of climate change in low lying flood zones. After Hurricane Sandy, generators kept business running as usual on Wall Street, but families in the Rockaways were left without electricity or water for weeks or months. Though the White House is protected by automated floodgate walls, the people of South Eastern D.C. are vulnerable to flooding — the inequality is astounding. In 2014, the People’s Climate March was led by frontline communities from Sunset Park to the Rockaways, and put NYC local struggles on the world stage. We hope to do the same for the frontline communities of DC in 2017.

Osvaldo Budit, Clara Parker and Crystal Clarity are artists from the El Puente community center in Bushwick, NY. They bring their Tierra Madre puppet to DC to continue to preside over the march, and surround her with illustration of the resistance in the Latino community of this rapidly gentrifying brooklyn neighborhood.

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César Maxit — Photo: Yash Mori

César Maxit is an Argentine-American artist working with a variety of grassroots organizations, human rights groups and climate justice coalitions in Washington DC and beyond.

Jalisa Goodwin is working with the Future Foundation DC to lift up the struggles of DC’s eight wards, centering the local struggle for statehood and proper national government representation for residents of DC.

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