12 Protests That Changed History

12 Protests That Changed History

The incredible power of people.
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A democracy is defined as "a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system." That means that ultimately, the power lies with the people. We the people have been given a voice in the government and we have the right to exercise that voice in order to create change. This change manifests itself most powerfully when multiple voices come together in opposition to something in the form of protests or marches.

The problem is that as humans, we're pretty adverse to change. It can be scary to stand up for something when everyone around you is telling you that you will fail. For as many people that stand up to call for change, there are twice as many people telling them to sit back down again. But without change, we would never grow. As our former president wisely said, "I am asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about change – but in yours."

Protests unite people. Protests raise awareness. Protests demonstrate the incredible power of ordinary people. They give a voice to the voiceless and hold government forces accountable for their actions. So the next time you're feeling powerless against the administration, or the next time you scoff at another protest on the news, remember some of the men and women that came before you and shaped the course of history with their voice. You can thank some of these movements, marches, protests and rallies for the rights that you have today.

1. Boston Tea Party, 1773

The Boston Tea Party was one of the earliest documented protests in America. Back when America consisted of 13 British colonies, the tax on imported goods like paper, tea and paint was extremely high. To protest this tax, several colonists snuck onto a British ship at night and dumped 340 crates of tea into the harbor. This act of protest sparked the American Revolution, which ultimately ended in America's freedom from British rule.

2. March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, 1963

In one of the most famous speeches in American history, Martin Luther King Jr., backed by 200,000 supporters that turned out to the Lincoln Memorial, protested the racial inequality that was keeping African Americans from having the same rights as whites. After his "I Have a Dream" speech in 1963, MLK met with President Kennedy to discuss new legislation to remedy these issues.

The movement is credited with building support for the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects against discrimination based on gender, race, color, religion, or ethnicity. It also banned segregation in businesses. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 prohibits racial discrimination in voting and successfully removed many barriers that states had used to keep African Americans from voting in elections.

3. Women's Suffrage Parade, 1913

In 1913, 8,000 marchers, accompanied by nine bands, 20 floats, and four mounted brigades, gathered in Washington D.C. the day before Woodrow Wilson's inauguration to fight for women's right to vote. It was the first suffrage parade of its kind. Though it took seven more years, the Nineteenth Amendment was passed in 1920, which gave women the right to vote.

4. The Monday Demonstrations, 1982-1989

What started as a weekly prayer meeting turned into a movement that helped bring down the Berlin Wall. In 1982, a German pastor started a weekly prayer service on Mondays to spread the message of peace in the middle of the ongoing Cold War.

Soon, people from all ages and religious backgrounds began seeking weekly sanctuary in his church. A dozen people grew to thousands of people, despite German officials' efforts to blockade the streets around the church. Right before the wall came down, around 300,000 peaceful protestors gathered on a Monday in late October of 1989. One week later, the Berlin Wall was knocked down, reuniting West and East Germany.

5. The Temperance Movement, 1800s-1920

Though the Temperance Movement seems ridiculous today, it was actually quite a powerful and historically significant movement. The idea behind the movement was that by prohibiting the sale and consumption of alcohol, societal crime rates would go down and overall health would improve.

Many different groups lobbied and rallied under the name of the Temperance Movement until the 18th Amendment was passed in January of 1920. The Prohibition lasted for about 23 years until it was repealed by the 21st Amendment in 1933- which you can thank Anti-Prohibition protestors for.

6. Gandhi's Salt March, 1930

India was still under the oppressive control of the British in 1930. At this time, Indians were prohibited from making or selling salt (a staple in the Indian diet) on their own under the Salt Act and were instead forced to buy it at high prices from the British.

Mohandas Gandhi decided to march with about a dozen people to the coast to make sea salt, which he figured would be a nonviolent way to defy the British and release India from their control by breaking the law. Tens of thousands of people ended up joining his march, and under Gandhi's guidance, India was able to break free from British rule in1947.

7. March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay, and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation, 1993

In 1993, over 800,000 people marched on the National Mall for the rights of the LGBTQ community. They were seeking anti-discrimination laws that would protect citizens from being discriminated against based on sexual identity and an increase in funding for AIDS research. The march helped gain national social recognition for the LGBTQ community. Since then, same-sex marriage has been legalized and great strides have been made in regards to studying and finding a cure for HIV/AIDS.

8. Protestant Reformation, 1517-1685

The Protestant Reformation is a poignant reminder that sometimes all it takes is one spark to start a fire. Martin Luther is widely credited for being the spark that started the Protestant Reformation, a movement that completely upended the Catholic Church and changed the way that people practiced religion on a global scale. One man's voice, in the form of the list of "95 Theses," was enough to create an entirely new religious sect (that literally has the word "protest" in its name).

9. Triangle Shirtwaist Fire Protest, 1911

In 1911, 146 workers were killed by a fire in an unsafe factory. At the time, workers often dealt with extremely hazardous working conditions. The tragedy prompted a march on New York's Fifth Avenue of nearly 80,000 people. This march helped to pass new laws to ensure workplace safety and helped the growing union movement. This eventually led to laws that we still use today, like the minimum wage requirement and the right to collectively bargain as a union.

10. Abolitionist Movement, 1830-1865

The goal of the Abolitionist Movement was to end slavery and racial discrimination. It took off in the 1830's and persisted for nearly 40 years. The abolitionists faced constant resistance and opposition from the government, states, and fellow citizens that eventually grew into the Civil War. Finally, in 1965, the 13th Amendment was passed to abolish slavery.

11. The Anti-War Movement, 1967-1972

There is some debate as to whether this movement actually helped to end the Vietnam War, but there's no denying the cultural and social significance of the anti-war protesting that happened in the late 60s and early 70s. At first, the protests started in general opposition to the war in Vietnam. But in 1971, when the Pentagon Papers were leaked to the press, the mood shifted. The Pentagon Papers contained about 7,000 pages worth of information on the war that the government had been trying to cover up, which made people angry. This set the precedence for the people's general mistrust of the government and reinforced the important role of the press to deliver the truth to the people.

12. The Storming of the Bastille, 1789

One of the more violent protests in world history, the Storming of the Bastille occurred in July of 1789. Tired of being ruled by a harsh monarchy, the French people stormed a state prison on the east side of Paris that had become a symbol of the government they despised. A violent battle ensued, which ended in the murder of the governor. This attack marked the beginning of the French Revolution, which ultimately led to the replacement of the monarchy with a republic government. The French still celebrate Bastille Day every year on July 14.

Cover Image Credit: WIki Media

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I Am A Millennial And I'm Proud

We're not dead yet. So we can't be that bad, right?
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This will most definitely be a controversial topic, but I feel like this needs to be said.

Today millennials are the most hated generation yet. Perhaps that's just because every generation prior to the one before has something bad to say about them, but I believe that we millennials get the worst commentary on our actions. And I honestly have to disagree with what most of the world has to say about us.

Millennials are great.

It's true. Many people are just so used to seeing the opposite perceived in media that they don’t think any different. There has been so much hate thrown at this generation and it's absolutely crazy. To think that the entirety of our generation acts like those that you only see in the news or other types of social media platforms is absurd. I understand that there are a lot of millennials that act disrespectful and ungrateful, but 90% of the millennials I know have a much different story compared to that in the media.

Millennials aren’t begging off their parents, laying around the house with no job, pretending as if they have no sense of responsibility whatsoever. No, most of the millennials I know are employed, sometimes with more than one job, going to college, and paying bills to help keep a roof over their family’s heads for those that still live with their parents.

The rest of us are just trying to survive. We aren’t lazy. The world and economy is too unstable for that. We are busting our tails trying to make a living while still being able to afford an outrageous amount for education (because you can’t get a REAL job without some sort of degree these days).

And for the way millennials seem to act is wrong too. We often get called disrespectful and “snowflakes.” I’m not saying all millennials are saints. That is far from the truth. We are all capable of mistakes, but it’s a far stretch to blame the entire generation for what a group or community get fame for.

Would you say that all Christians are back-washed and racist because the KKK was a group of “Christians” that also liked to murder and torture the black community? No, you wouldn’t because that is not accurate. Nor should you all assume we are all disrespectful like certain youtubers. *cough Logan Paul cough* So, therefore, you can’t all label us millennials as lazy kids who all still depend on our parents and party all the time.

And most kids act the way they do because that was how they were raised. So then, if that's the case, shouldn't you blame the ones who raised them? Just food for thought.

As for the “snowflake” comment, to that, I ask: What’s wrong with that? What’s wrong with a little sensitivity.

I find nothing wrong with a generation that seems to care about others and their well-being. We learned to care at times when others didn’t. We learned to care for those who had no one to care for. We learned to love those who were different and learned to be accepting of their differences whether or not they inflicted ours.

We are a softer generation and I honestly think that’s what our world needs right now. With all the heartache, don’t you think it’s time to just accept one another and worry about real problems affecting our country? Don’t you think it’s time to come together instead of dividing ourselves? To love one another?

Sensitivity shows that we care and that’s something to take pride in. I know people may hate the political correctness and other sensitive topics, but its just to show respect and acceptance. This is not to say that generations prior to us are not respectful or accepting. Perhaps they were taught another way or maybe it’s just another “tough love” thing.

Or perhaps we are just more vocal with our feelings nowadays. We all feel, but voicing our emotions is what really allows us to connect with other people and to feel normal. Maybe that’s why we are called “snowflakes.”

Other generations may have struggled, but we have our own struggles too. We are trying to survive with an unstable economy and market and we don’t take it out on you as some would suggest.

We have our faults, there's no doubt about that, but instead of blaming us, try realizing that you're not perfect either and throughout all the generations that have come and go, we're not dead yet. So we can't be that bad right?

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia

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3 Reasons Why You Should Stand With The Nation's Children And Make A Change On Guns

Will you?
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I am a college student. I am a product of the public-school system. And for years, I have been terrified of the potential of a shooter coming to my school. This is my story, and it is shared by children all across the United States. It has become a part of our culture. And that is sickening.

This does not need to be a part of our lives. These senseless tragedies need to stop now. I believe I speak for all my peers and educators when I say we are not going to take this anymore.

The recent tragedy in Florida shook me to my core, and as I speak with those around me about the event, I feel helpless. Besides feeling angry, disgusted, and sad, what can I do? This repetitive cycle seems unstoppable, an insurmountable feat that I don’t know how to conquer.

It’s been a little over a week since the shooting in Parkland and while I’m sitting here feeling hopeless, those whose grief is not even fully comprehensible to the rest of us are taking a stand. In an article from the New York Times this Sunday, I read about how the survivors of the shooting are raising their voices while grieving. Please take the time to read it for yourself, so you too can have the experience I did.

Change is possible, but only if we work to make it happen. For those of you reading who are students, I believe it is our time to rise and demand some real changes in the legislation. Some real focus on what can be done to protect students and end these senseless tragedies. Because I don’t think there is just one answer to ending this. But I do believe we need to put our attention as a nation on this issue. The time is up, and we won't rest until there is no more.

Please take the time to consider taking these steps to make a change.

1. Contact your senator and ask them what they’re doing to address gun violence and school shootings.

202-224-312 will direct you to an operator that can connect you to your senator, or you can find further contact info here.

2. Sign the petition to participate in the National School Walkout on April 20th.

And then follow through.

3. Keep the conversation going about gun violence in schools.

If we stop talking about it, the problem only gets worse.

Whatever your political leanings, I think we can all agree that something needs to be done about stopping these tragedies. If we work together, we can find a real solution.

Cover Image Credit: CNN

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