New York City’s “Fearless Girl” statue was transformed into a “Fearful Girl” on Friday morning in a powerful protest against gun violence.
The bronze statue in Manhattan’s financial district sported a new addition Friday morning: a bulletproof vest that read “#FEARFULGIRL.” The demonstration was created by Change the Ref, a gun control advocacy group founded by Manuel and Patricia Oliver, whose son Joaquin died in February in the school shooting in Parkland, Florida.
“She can’t be fearless if she’s afraid to go to school,” CTR tweeted Friday morning with a photo of the statue wearing the bulletproof vest.
Manuel Oliver told HuffPost that he and his wife put the vest on Kristen Visbal’s iconic statue early Friday and stood next to her as people commuted to work and tourists swarmed the area.
“They saw the girl with the bulletproof vest and they also saw us,” Oliver said. “So, some of them will be realizing that there is a chance that it could happen to them. I really hope that society understands that they don’t need to go through what we’re going through.”
“The reality is that if we want to keep [our children] safe, ironically, we should ask them to wear bulletproof vests,” he added.
Oliver said he hopes the protest art leaves a lasting impression on people, especially as the midterm elections are just days away.
“This is an American reality. It happens every single day,” he said. “While I’m talking to you, someone is dying from gun violence. A hundred people will die today, another hundred will die tomorrow, and after one year, 30,000 or more will die from gun violence. Our son happens to be one of these victims. You don’t need your son or yourself to be one of these victims.”