How do Protests Create Change?

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Protests are statements or actions expressing disapproval of or objection to something. We need protests when unfair things are happening to create change. Protests that happened years ago still affect the way we live today! In this post, I will be highlighting the different changes as a result of protesting.

Change of People's Views

  • In the 80s, AIDS started to become a big issue around the world. Due to lack of understanding and information, people avoided making physical contact with those affected with HIV and AIDS, scared contracting it. Despite the discrimination, the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power group protested in order to help those with the illness. People like Princess Diana broke the harmful stereotypes and shook hands with patients in front of the media. As a result, more people started to become aware, changing their opinion on those with the disease.
  • When the US invaded Cambodia in 1970, students in the US protested outside their universities against the decision. In one of these universities (Kent State in Ohio), the National Guard was called, firing into the crowds. 4 were killed with 9 brutally injured. A photographer captured an image of Jeffrey Miller, fatally shot, with another student screaming for help next to him. The photo is credited with helping turn public opinion against the Vietnam War.

The change of people's views is important because sometimes people make an opinion without knowing much about it just to follow the crowd. This is shown in the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power protests as people made rumours without researching the disease. As a result, protesting can help people become more considerate of others and understand more on what is happening.

Change of Laws

  • Women were treated inferior to men throughout history, not being given the same rights. However, suffragettes in the early 20th cenutry played a big role in ensuring they were equal to men. They participated in violent protests such as smashing windows and setting fire to empty buildings. In 1918, their efforts were finally being recognised. A bill was passed through Parliament, granting women over 30 the right to vote. It took another ten years until women received equal suffrage with men, in 1928.
  • Living as a black person in America during the 60s was very difficult. Segregation meant discrimination against black people in work, housing and the right to vote was normalised. The Civil Rights Movement from the 50s - 60s aimed to stop institutionalized racial discrimination. Activists like Martin Luther King led marches to express their desire to have the same rights. Their efforts led to the Civil War Rights Acts of 1964, ending all forms of segregation in public places and banned employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin.

The change of laws is important because they are needed to ensure equality for all communties. When there are laws placed that discriminate certain groups, it is only right that people speak their minds. Without protests, there's a big chance our society would still be separated and unequal.

Change of Standard of Living

  • The French Revolution was the fight for the French people's rights from 1789 to 1799. The country was divided in social groups. The majority of people were commoners in the third social class, paying most of the taxes. This was unfair because the wealthy lived in luxury, getting most of the high ranking jobs. Tension between the groups rose as living conditions got worse. The French people went against the government by protesting and they became more radical and violent. When the revolution ended, it completely changed the social structure of France. It got rid of the monarchy, took political power from the Catholic Church and their king (Louis XVI)and his wife (Marie Antoinette) were executed.
  • The Berlin Wall Protests in 1989 accumulated over half a million people in East Berlin in support of taking down the wall dividing East Germany from West Germany. It made travelling harder for distanced families and many East Berliners were cut off from their jobs. Protesters gathered to loosen the borders, making travel easier for East Germans. However, it led to whole wall being demolished on November 9. The fall meant democracy could be promoted more, tearing down the sybmol of the lack of freedom under communism, which the wall symbolised.

The change in standard of living is important because as in the examples above, people were affected by the unfair rules made by the government. Both protests I mentioned impacted people's livelihoods which takes up most of a person's life. The protests were needed so civillians could lead a peaceful life without limitations.

Can you think of any other changes protests bring for society?

(An example you could think of is the change it brings for the families of victims - George Floyd's wife and daughter)

I hope to see your ideas in the comments, thanks for reading

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