I recently watched a video by Ralphy Cervantes, a YouTuber I am subscribed to. In this video, he commented with sadness on the level of opposition and in particular the protests and demonstrations which had taken place immediately following the election of Donald Trump as the President of America. In this video, he stated how sad the protests were- how they weren’t making things better and how we just had to make the best out the situation that had arisen.
Well, now I’m ready to take him up on this.
Historically, landmark legislation and key events for equality, the environment, and peace haven’t arisen because a politician arose from bed one morning and thought ‘meh, might as well give women the vote‘.
The fight to end segregation in America was a hard fought battle, and one which many people got involved in. In August 1963, over 300,000 people gathered at the Washington memorial in DC following the March of Washington- to hear Martin Luter King Jr’s famous ‘I have a dream speech’. A year later the Civil Rights Act was passed- this outlawed discrimination in public places such as bars and restaurants. Perhaps if not for the March on Washington, Black people might still not have all their civil rights.
For women to gain the vote at all in the UK, also took decades of battle. Although the first key protest group in the era of women’s rights were the Suffragists (a largely peaceful group remembered for acts such as mass petitioning)- the more notable flag bearers of the women’s rights era were the Suffragettes- the ‘dark reboot’ of the Suffragists. This group were notable for their public displays of protests, such as smashing shop windows, and destroying post boxes. The inevitable climax of the women’s rights era was when Emily Davidson stepped in front on the King’s horse at the Epson Derby in 1913. There is a large consensus today that she was trying to pin a ‘Votes for Women’ banner onto the horse before it crossed the finish line.
The point of this is that like Civil Rights- the vote was eventually awarded to women over 21 (the same as men) in 1928. But not without a long, hard fight in which many activists were killed (not that I’m wishing that on anyone). And now there are some (like Ralphy) who are calling on people to stop protesting. If you don’t care about the issues facing the protestors then you shouldn’t have to demonstrate, that’s fair enough. But if you oppose specific policy or some kind of entity and you’re free-
find your shoes.
Thumbnail credit: Vancouver Sun