An indigenous street artist brought a 12-foot-tall inflatable elephant to the GOP debate last night. The artist, who goes by Remy, said he wanted to spark conversations about the big elephant in the room.
A photo posted by Giorgio Ausenda (@giorgioausenda) on Oct 28, 2015 at 2:15pm PDT
To help those who couldn’t immediately identify the metaphor, the elephant carried a sign that screamed “racism.” The giant pachyderm, a symbol of the Republican Party, was placed near the Coors Events Center at the University of Colorado Boulder, where the third GOP debate took place.
“Making the invisible visible is what I do,” Remy said in a telephone interview Thursday morning.
Remy said he grew up in the Navajo Nation near the Black Mesa Mine, a coal power plant riddled with public health and environmental impact controversies since it opened in the 1960s.
“I want my work to start conversations that white people need to be having with their friends and family. Issues like environmental injustice, economic injustice, police brutality and racism,” said Remy, who works with the Ruckus Society, a progressive group that trains activists to build campaigns and non-violent actions.
Remy said he grew up near seven different power plants that took water and energy resources from indigenous land for “companies that have never been nice to us.” He connected with an environmental group called Direct Fracktion for the protest in Colorado.
At one point Remy carried a Donald Trump puppet to solidify the message, he said, connecting racism and a capitalist economy. The candidates didn’t mention the protest outside of the debate center, but Remy said the predominantly white demonstrators outside were open to hear what he was saying. He noted people were surprised to learn Native Americans are the racial group most likely to be killed by law enforcement.
"In my mind we can't fight for climate justice unless we also confront issues like white supremacy and colonization," said Gary Roland, an organizer with Direct Fracktion.
Roland said there were 500 people that participated in a march outside of the Coors Events Center.
“We have to be outside of these facilities to get our message out, we can't depend on corporate media to get our story out,” Remy told Fusion.