The Importance of Protesting

College students have been protesting social justice issues for decades now, with protesting becoming popularized in the 1960’s and 1970’s during the peaks of first wave feminism and the Civil Rights movement. A typical question college students get asked while or after protesting is, “what do you think you're going to accomplish?” Although a large portion of the population sees protesting as unnecessary and disrespectful, the action of taking a stand is a huge part of making social change happen. Activism and protesting are on the rise, with some of the most notable recent protests being the Women’s March and the protest of the Dakota Access Pipeline, so it’s important to explore their relevance to furthering social justice for everyone.

 

Why is protesting so important in this day and age?

With the rise of Donald Trump and the backlash towards politically-correct culture, protesting is more important now than ever. In the ’60’s and ’70’s, protesting was essential for women, people of color, and other minorities to earn the legal rights they did not have in America. In 2017, protesting is essential for keeping these rights that the social justice movements of the ’60’s and ’70’s fought for, and that we all believed would never be taken away.

 

Trump ran his presidential campaign on the platform that he would overturn Roe v. Wade, defund Planned Parenthood, create a Muslim registry, deport millions of undocumented Americans, build a wall to keep Mexicans and other Central and South American immigrants from entering the country, repeal Obamacare, etc. His desire to overturn Roe v. Wade and defund Planned Parenthood could be devastating for millions of American women who may no longer be able to access family planning and other essential preventative healthcare services, and his platform to repeal Obamacare will cause thousands of deaths each year of people unable to afford healthcare any other way. The Muslim registry is reminiscent of the Holocaust, where Jewish people were forced to identify themselves with armbands, and his xenophobia towards immigrants has shown to be overtly racist with his identification of all Hispanic people as Mexicans, along with a large array of other slurs and derogatory comments.

 

These social issues will undoubtably drastically impact women, people of color, and other minorities in the next four years to come. To protest, even if these issues do not directly impact the protestor, is to show empathy and compassion for those who are being targeted by the current American political climate. Showing solidarity and love for those who may be less privileged is the best way to combat hate.

 

How does protesting accomplish anything?

Almost every millennial protester has been asked a question reminiscent of this one at least once when discussing their social activism. The most frequent time this question was asked recently was when Trump was elected president despite Hillary Clinton winning the popular vote by 3 million votes, and the public masses rallied together to show their anger and frustration made by the unjust American political system.

 

“He was already elected, why protest? What’s done is done.” I personally heard this statement from nearly every family member of mine, as did all of my other activist friends. The point of protesting the election results is not to change them, but to claim that we as a society do not condone Trump’s hateful words and actions and we will not remain silent about our outrage.

The whole point of protesting, in my opinion, is to show that we as a collective society will not be silenced by oppressive politics, racism, sexism, xenophobia, capitalism, etc. By protesting, we are making it clear to our government that our voices will be heard, whether they want to hear us or not, and that we will not stop defending our human rights.