There’s a New Pink Mural in NYC, and Its Message Is a Powerful One

With the help of @butlikemaybe, Planned Parenthood is continuing to fight back against the war on birth control.

By: Samantha Sutton
Photography: Monique Kamargo

There’s no doubt 2017 has been a pretty trying year, but the silver lining in disagreeing with nearly every move your government makes? The opportunity to fight for what you believe is right—and doing it loud and in large numbers, much like Planned Parenthood. Over the weekend, Planned Parenthood of New York City partnered with @butlikemaybe’s Arianna Margulis for what it describes as “a call to action around the current legal and political war on birth control from the current administration.” In other words, Margulis painted PP’s slogan in large, white bubble letters on top of a bright pink background in the First Street Green Art Park as part of the organization’s continued effort to fight back. A wide range of models, influencers, and artists also popped by to show their support and lend a helping hand.

We spoke with a few of those in attendance about why they felt it was important that they were there, and their answers ranged from political to personal to hopeful about the year ahead.

Arianna Margulis, @butlikemaybe: “I’m super excited to get involved with Planned Parenthood, especially in the climate right now with everything going on [with] funding being pulled. With @butlikemaybe, I’ve kept more of a funny, humor, comic site, and I haven’t been super vocal and political. But this was something that I felt very passionate about and strongly about, and I was like, ‘This is where I’m going to take my stance, and I’m going to do it a hundred feet long.’ I’m really stoked, and it’s my first mural. I am so excited about the location, and the First Street Green Art Park has been really positive and encouraging. When they heard Planned Parenthood was going to be involved, they got super excited. I saw [Planned Parenthood’s] slogan, ‘Don’t F With Us, Don’t F Without Us.’ I thought it was really cool, very snarky and fun, and kind of integrated both @butlikemaybe and Planned Parenthood. I felt like she would say that—I call her she; she’s my character, but she’s also me. So that’s what I chose to do. I’m drawing her next to the slogan, with a spray can, with a kind of smirk on her face to be like, ‘Yeah. Don’t F with us. And don’t F with the women of New York—or anywhere, for that matter!’”

Liv Perez, founder of Friend Of A Friend: “I think that anybody who doesn’t get involved right now, in my mind, that’s a crime. Being involved and being a participant in what’s going on—socially, politically, economically—is important for every woman, and man, in society today, [considering] all the issues that we’re faced with. It’s amazing to see moments like this come to life, where everyone donates their time and their hands to create this moment of art and remind everybody to stay active.”

Liana Banks, R&B Artist: “I thought it was really dope that women are coming together to fight for our rights. I don’t think it’s cool for anyone to try and take away whether or not we can handle our bodies a certain way. I personally know people who are rape victims who ended up pregnant, and that’s just a scary thought to have, to be like, ‘I have to have my raper’s child.’” It’s scary as shit. So I just wanted to fight and stand up for something that mattered to me and everyone like me. So that’s why I’m here.”

Sebastian Tribbe, @youvegotnomale: “Something like painting a mural [might not be] changing a law or anything, but it’s still going to get noticed, and you never know who’s going to Instagram it and get a million likes. The world’s just so fucked today. Planned Parenthood is just an iconic thing, and the fact that the government wants to lose the spending is insane. They just have no idea what a woman goes though—I have no idea what a woman goes through, but I have compassion. Until you’re in a woman’s body, you have no right to make a law for them.”

Laura McQuade, President and CEO of ‎Planned Parenthood of New York City: “It’s been an incredible year. It didn’t start out that great, but what it’s done is really just galvanized support for a whole range of progressive issues, which formed the core of resistance that’s at the heart of Planned Parenthood. Artists, designers, musicians—so many people have come out who not only [want to be part] of the resistance and say, ‘These aren’t our values, this isn’t our world,’ but want to make sure that other people are seeing their commitment. They’re really trying to get people motivated to be part of the movement.

“I have a lot of hope for 2018. There’s a lot negative energy—a lot of negative sentiment coming out—but at the same time, we have never been in a greater movement of people realizing how important it is to be socially active, to raise their voices in whatever way they do it. I do it through my job and the resources we provide. But artists, musicians—it’s not just about making money, but how you lend your skills and your talent to social change and social justice. While we won’t have a presidential election until 2020, keeping people engaged and saying, ‘This isn’t what we want’ is really my hope. It’s a really exciting time.”

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