Demi Lawrence is a freshman telecommunications journalism major and writes "Demi's Diems" for The Daily News. Her views do not necessarily agree with those of the newspaper. Write to Demi at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Change requires action.
Action can be perceived as many different things, from simply just discussing a topic with friends to writing to government officials. Without action, how can anyone expect to get anything done? Legislation won’t write itself, and society’s ideas won’t change on their own. We need a catalyst to drive this change we so much desire. A popular medium of action used in society today is the act of peaceful protesting.
Stated in the United States Constitution, the right to peacefully assemble and protest is protected by the First Amendment. The history behind peaceful protesting can go back centuries, but what comes to my mind when I hear those words are marches like the March on Washington in 1963. Hundreds of thousands of people filled the streets in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. on Aug. 28, 1963, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his famous “I Have A Dream” speech.
As we know it now, this march was a huge driving force for in the passing of the Civil Rights Act by President Johnson in 1964. This act ended segregation in public places and banned employment discrimination based on race in America, something we are so simply taught in high school history class today.
I don’t think 21st-century America really understands how pivotal this piece of legislation was for people of color in America. History was being made right before the eyes of then-segregated America, and this simple, peaceful protest showed those in favor of segregation that they would soon be defeated.
That’s all it takes. Sure, the march alone did not end segregation, but it was an integral domino in the effect.
Like I said before, protesting can be simple. It can be as simple as choosing not to dine at a certain restaurant, or buy from a certain retailer. Or it can be bigger, like a march or a petition to government officials. Protesting doesn’t have a “one size fits all” option, it can be as big or as small as we dream it up to be.
People are going to disagree with you. They’re going to think you’re fighting for an invisible cause. Or worse, they’re going to think you’re fighting against an invisible issue. Stand strong, be sturdy. If it matters to you, I promise it matters to someone else in this world, too. You may think “Well, I’m only one person,” but what if everyone thought that? What if all 250,000 people thought that the day of the March on Washington? Political desegregation would have come much later, if at all, had people had this mindset.
One is better than none. What you care about matters. Educate yourself, and peacefully show your dismay. Change does not come from silence, it comes from noise.
We as Americans possess this unalienable right, and therefore we should exercise it. March, write, talk. If you don’t like something that’s going on in our country and want to change it, take action. Because change requires action.