Students use art as a tool to protest divestment – The Williams Record


Art has a long history in social protest, and the gray clouds and rainy weather on Friday morning cleared up just in time for students to cover the damp steps of the Paresky Center with vibrant chalk drawings and posters calling on the College to publicly withdraw from fossil fuels.

Although the College has announced its intention to phase out the remaining 4% of indirect investment in the fossil fuel industry, the administration refuses to announce a concrete commitment like its counterparts. Young Democratic Socialists of America (yDSA) organized the protest to pressure the college to publish a statement via campus-wide email and a standing post on the website signaling their commitment to end all forms of investment in fossil fuels.

In addition to an eye-catching poster depicting the group’s requests, various other art forms embodied the spirit and feelings of the gathering.

Coconut Rum ’24

On the Tuesday before the event, one of the organizers – Coco Rhum ’24 – hosted a community art creation event in which around 20 people helped design the banner and make posters. “We also had so many people who helped design and make buttons, create digital art and of course sign the banner and draw with chalk at the protest,” he said. she said, referring to the orange banner on which all the protesters signed. their names before it hung on Paresky’s balcony. “The banner is a perfect example of how we can clarify our demands and gain community buy-in by doing so, through people signing their names.”

“Making art is definitely a big part of our movement,” said Rhum. “Art allows us to bring people into our work in a tangible way and to communicate our values ​​and goals in a way that is engaging and engaging with a given audience. ”

Annie Scott ’25 and Deion Hammond ’25

“I think there is something about the way the chalk sticks to the ground,” said Annie Scott ’25, sketching an earth next to the words “Williams [Hearts] Oil, oil kills. “Art as a medium tends to stick a lot more than other forms of communication,” she said.

Writing ‘EPHS’ alongside Scott, Deion Hammond ’25 noted the abundance of like-minded artists. “Art will never exist on the side of the oppressors,” Hammond said. “That’s why in those kinds of cases you get a lot of people together, they’re very creative and very ready to take those systems out. “

Erinn McKenzie ’23

Erinn McKenzie ’23 said she uses art as a means of personal and social expression. “I have been an artist for most of my life, so activism in the form of art helps me convey that I am a black person, a queer person and a person facing this current climate issue.” McKenzie said. His poster read “DIVEST OR DIE” in red letters.

Dalilah Montesino ’25

A poster by Dalilah Montesino ’25 spoke of the lack of transparency, in letters of glittery glue demanding that the university “disclose, separate and reinvest.” “[Williams] doesn’t want us to think he’s divested, ”she said. ” It’s bland. If they have already divested but have not issued a return, there is no way to withhold [the College] indebted. ”

Emma Nathanson ’25

Emma Nathanson ’25 – who designed the button that reads’ divest williams stand with us! – said she appreciated how protest art often captures the positive possibilities activists fight for. “I think a lot of the climate change stories focus on destruction, sacrifice and pain,” she said. “It’s good to focus on joy, rebirth and regeneration.”


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