Is there a power in protest?

Photo By Rachel Brick at the downtown protest for #Resistwhitesupremacist and against racism.

By Starr Lewis ’18

The power of protest is rooted in delivery and execution. To deliver a powerful message that makes a change to an issue, you should be loud and bold.

The question is do protests actually work? Does it  lead to a change?

Journalist Nathan Heller evaluates these answers. “These methods, they say, are more habit than solution. Protest is too fleeting. It ignores the structural nature of problems in a modern world.” Perhaps this is true and protests are not permanent. They are only meant for the moment and then they are over, which may be one reason to why protests are not a worthy way of going about change.

Our interpretation with protest, though, fluctuates. In 2014, the Black Lives Matter movements spiked and the hashtag was not the only thing being represented.

The highest recognized B.L.M protest was centered front cover on every newspaper in the country. The message here was to communicate the hurt and loss of many victims due to police brutality, more than 40 victims during this time.

Even currently, we are seeing protests such as the one in Charlottesville and one that happened recently in our home town that refutes any attitudes of white supremacy. The protest in Charlottesville started as a protest to remove the confederate monuments that reflect the hardships of our country and celebrate a leader who owned slaves.

The message of these statues has changed in the eyes of a lot of people, but many think otherwise and are against removing these monuments as they think they reflect our nation’s history and pride. The protest, though, caused more conflict and backlash than  influencing change.

On the other hand, in New Orleans, Louisiana, the mayor is removing the confederate monuments. He believes that the history that these monuments reflect is one of an America that we no longer should celebrate.

We shall not forget our history. We should change our perspectives to be open to making more history under the current government without the idea of racism or white supremacy behind it.

However, we have to acknowledge the influential protests of our history that have set the standards for protest and the meaning of them today. Women’s March, Mexican Revolution, Martin Luther King’s march on Washington, Russian Revolution, Teachers strike, Ghandi’s Salt March, Take Back The Night (protest violence against women, a concern for sexuality and safety), Workers Union, and many more are examples of protests that incited great change.  

The idea behind this is that protests do indeed work. Now, many protests, big and small, are ‘fleeting’ but the message lasts forever and so does the change thereafter. It is to an extent that protests do and do not work. It is all part of the process and the delivery of the message. As long as the protestors and demonstrators stay committed, the message will stay committed.