One protestor promised, “If you take peace from the people, we take peace from you.”
An altered replica of the Whitney Museum’s spring guide, released by the collective (D)IRT, was created in an effort to educate museum visitors about the Whitney’s relationship to gentrification, diversity, and controversies surrounding its board.
The protesters occupied the C subway line from East New York to Chelsea, and were confronted with large police forces at the final stop. One protester was arrested.
The students drew parallels and connections between the museum’s board of trustee’s vice chair and other board members at their universities
“The Whitney is being funded by war waged on our homeland,” one protester said.
Protesters were challenged by disgruntled museumgoers, youth organizers performed a Dabka, and activists gave impassioned speeches about Whitney vice chair Warren Kanders’s association with Palestine through weapons companies.
Two Sudanese students, along with an activist greatly involved in curtailing the gentrification of Brooklyn, offered impassioned teach-ins on their causes at the potluck.
One activist called the protest an opportunity for museumgoers to consider “the role that our cultural institutions play in our everyday decisions and choices, and the effect that that has.”
Community control of cultural institutions, which would replace board members, could reshape cultural life in the United States.
“They’re singing songs about liberation, just be aware.” said one guard over his walkie-talkie — a message that could be heard throughout the lobby.
The activist organization, which demands the removal of Whitney vice chairman Warren Kanders from the board, gathered at the museum to protest alongside activists from the 30 groups that have come out to support its mission.