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To: Whitney Museum of Art

Drop Trump's War on Caravan Families

This campaign has ended.

The Whitney Museum of Art must drop Trump's war on caravan families by dropping the manufacturer of Trump's weapons. Vice Chairman, Warren B. Kanders, who owns one these manufacturers, must resign.

Why is this important?

Warren B. Kanders, vice chairman of the Whitney, is the manufacturer of tear gas being used on Central American migrants and their children by Trump and Instantaneous Blast CS grenades that have been used against Standing Rock water protectors and across the US and the world.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, which represents 67​,000 pediatricians, responded to the attacks on asylum seekers: “The use of tear gas on children-including infants and toddlers in diapers-goes against evidence-based recommendations, and threatens their short and long-term health.” In one case at the border, forces shot “590 projectiles ‘indiscriminately’ into a crowd that ‘included children, elderly people, disabled people, and pregnant women.’” (1)

At standing rock, the CS grenades “blew the bone out of [a protestor’s] arm and all of the arteries and all of the muscle”, threatening amputation of an arm. (2) On the Mr. Kanders’ own company website, they warn that its contents “can expose you to chemicals including Lead Salts and Hexavalent Chromium, which are known to the State of California to cause cancer, and Lead Salts, which are known to the State of California to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm.” (3)

When over 100 Whitney staff risked their jobs to call for Mr. Kander’s resignation, he chose to respond with the NRA’s defense and claimed he was not not responsible for how his clients use his weapons. (4) We think he is. If there was even minimal concern, Mr Kanders could have stipulated terms of use, like drug companies who successfully sued to keep state governments from using their products for the death penalty. (5) Right now, Mr Kanders can choose to get out of the business of human rights violations and mass incarceration.

Since the 1925 Geneva Protocol and the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention, the use of tear gas in any armed conflict is prohibited in entirety. And the CS grenades are considered even more dangerous chemical weapons.

Surely, it should also not be used on unarmed families and children seeking to exercise their international right to apply for refuge from danger in their nations of origin. Tear gas is challenged by the ACLU as an unconstitutional, excessive use of force domestically. (6)

Lastly, the name of Mr. Kander’s manufacturer is Safariland, Inc. In a time where white Americans are waking up to a long legacy of state violence against their Black and brown neighbors, and we find the justice system as a whole, guilty of holding almost no killers accountable, we find the implicit promotion that policing is like a “safari” to be part of the dehumanizing culture that continues to fuel state violence and the social indifference to it.

We call on Co-Chairmember Susan K. Hess and Thomas E. Tuft as well as President Richard M. DeMartini and Museum Director Adam Weinberg to acknowledge that Mr. Kander’s war and oppression profiteering is diametrically opposed to the values of the Whitney Museum. We also ask that any threats, implicit or explicit, towards staff--many of which are directly impacted by border policies--for speaking up be rescinded immediately.

1. American Academy of Pediatrics Statement

2. Pipeline Protesters Say Police Nearly Blew Off Woman's Arm

3. Chemical Warning

4. Whitney Vice Chair Responds to Open Letter Calling for Action Against Him

5. Drug companies don’t want to be involved in executions, so they’re suing to keep their drugs out

6. Government Use of Tear Gas Is Illegal in War. It Should Be Illegal Here, Too.

How it will be delivered

Your names and statements will be hand delivered to the museum during major Andy Warhol exhibit event in a powerful way.



2019-07-25 08:14:15 -0700


2019-07-20 08:35:00 -0700

Following a letter by the Whitney Museum Biennial artists, now 7 artists have withdrawn in protest from the Biennial, Whitney's most important show, and taking their art with them.

2019-05-01 08:22:08 -0700

10,000 signatures reached

2019-04-19 17:41:05 -0700

5,000 signatures reached

2019-04-17 07:39:55 -0700

1,000 signatures reached

2019-04-16 11:21:59 -0700

500 signatures reached

2018-12-17 13:58:37 -0800

Colorlines coverage

Artists Protest Whitney Museum Exec's Weapons Connections
Warren B. Kanders owns Safariland, a defense manufacturer whose tear gas canisters were used against asylum seekers at the United States-Mexico border.

2018-12-17 13:57:48 -0800

Non Profit Quarterly Magazine coverage "Guerrilla Art Exhibition at Whitney Calls for Removal of Vice Chairman"

2018-12-17 13:57:13 -0800

Hyperallergic Magazine covers this petition and the action

2018-12-14 12:59:47 -0800

NowThis News covers our action supporting this petition. Please check it out on Facebook at

2018-12-12 04:45:49 -0800

100 signatures reached

2018-12-10 18:30:48 -0800

50 signatures reached

2018-12-10 11:04:53 -0800

25 signatures reached

2018-12-10 10:14:09 -0800

10 signatures reached