On Friday, November 2, the infamous “Fearless Girl” statue outside New York’s Wall Street donned a bulletproof vest brandishing in bold letters, “#FearfulGirl.”
Manuel Oliver, an artist and the father of Joaquin “Guac” Oliver, one of the 17 victims murdered in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting earlier this year, was responsible for the guerilla addition to the statue. The artist’s hope is to advocate for pragmatic gun laws in advance of the midterm elections on Tuesday, November 6, by raising awareness of the pervading terror of in-school mass shootings across the United States.
Manuel and Patricia Oliver, Joaquin’s parents, are the founders of Change the Ref, a nonprofit organization utilizing artwork to confront issues of mass shootings and gun control. Stirred by the tragic loss of their son, the pair hopes to galvanize American voters to enact change for the well-being of the nation’s youth. “She can’t be fearless if she’s afraid to go to school,” their viral tweet about “#FearfulGirl” read.
“Fearless Girl” by Kristen Visbal, is a political work itself, facing the infamous Charging Bull (or Wall Street Bull) and dichotomizing the gender imparity of the financial sector. The statue was erected just before International Women’s Day in 2017.
In September, Oliver created a series of 10 bronze-colored 3D-printed sculptures titled The Last Lockdown, tackling gun violence in schools. The top of each desk has a carving reading a different stat about gun violence, including, “22 kids are shot every day in America.”