I’ve heard way too many people say “protests don’t solve anything.”
That’s simply not true.
In 1920, after many years of protesting, women earned the right to vote. In the 1950s and 60s, the civil rights movement was comprised of many protests, ultimately resulting in desegregation and a better social and economic standing for the black community.
This past Monday was Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. A day dedicated to a man who was a pioneer in the peaceful protest movements during the civil rights era. In his most famously quoted 1963 speech at the Lincoln Memorial, King said “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’”
In 2017, more than 50 years later, that national creed is still not being fulfilled. In 2017, people are still judged by the color of their skin, the language they speak, the religion they practice and what genitalia they may or may not have. In 2017, our country will swear in a president who has been openly opposed to that creed.
The day after the inauguration, people of all races, religions, skin colors and genders will march the streets of Washington D.C. against the prejudice and bigotry that brought what appears to be a misogynistic, racist man into the highest position in our government. Even if President-elect Donald Trump isn’t any of the negative labels given to him, he has done nothing to convince millions of people otherwise.
Protests do solve problems. They show unity and support to those who need it the most. It shows that we will not stand idly by while people in our country have their rights stripped from them. It shows that regardless of the backward views of someone in government, that person does not represent us all.
Peaceful protests have shaped our nation. So much so that the very first amendment includes the right to peacefully assemble.
So protesters, keep marching on until every one of us can finally say we truly are equals. And anyone who decries the rights of the protesters to assemble, take a minute to listen to what they’re saying; try to see things through their eyes. These people marching are not petulant children who want special treatment. They are your friends, neighbors, coworkers and family members who are fighting for equal rights for all.
We will some day achieve the creed that was laid out by our forefathers: all men – no, all people – are created equal.