The importance of protest

Student protesters at Millersville.

Abigail Risser

Staff Writer

All through American history, many protests have taken change to spark needed change. From civil rights to antiwar to women’s suffrage (and a lot more), protests have reshaped America greatly. But how are protests important?

There’s always a reason behind a protest—typically injustices. For some, the first instinct may be to criticize how the protest is being carried out, or to sigh and think, “What is it now?” It is important, however, to acknowledge what the function of protests are and realize what they have done for you. American history began with a protest!

Protests are similar to using a megaphone to speak to a large crowd. Sometimes to make a change happen and/or get people to listen you need to rally a large group together to stand out and get people to pause for a moment and think.

Many Americans cling to the second Amendment, along with the first to say as they wish. Protesting falls in line with the first amendment, therefore, every protest should be treated with upmost respect. Instead of criticizing the method of protesting, first try to educate yourself on what’s being protested, and if you don’t like what they’re doing, consider the option of helping the cause. Yes, some protesters use extreme methods to get to people, but think: how long have they been trying to get the general public’s attention beforehand? How many times did you see something questionable to equality/justice/etc. in the news and simply brush it off.

It’s been proven in our history that protests are key to provoke change and help ensure our freedoms are protected. When someone kneels during the national anthem, rethink immediately scorning them for being disrespectful and try to understand what they are trying to say. So many rights have granted to help America live up to the set standards through coming together and protesting for those whose voices had been muted. America is still a flawed nation, but through its citizens joining to fix the bugs and errors, things will, over time, form to be more just.

Despite protests being important, I believe that there are some that are highly unnecessary. When I say that, I mean the protests of hate groups. Understandably people have rights to their own opinions, but that doesn’t not mean hateful beliefs should be broadcasted. There’s a huge difference between freedom of speech and abhorrent bigotry.

  • Man with Axe

    The manner of protesting is very important. It matters whether the form of protest interferes with others’s rights to speak or simply to go about their business, in which case the protest is unlawful.

    The kneeling of NFL players doesn’t interfere with others, so it is well within their right to protest. The question then becomes: Is it a wise protest, and will it bring people to their cause or repel them from it? From what I can see the latter seems to be the case.