Protesting should not be looked down upon

by Staff Photographer Hillary Taylor

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

The First Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees certain unalienable rights to the citizens of this country, including freedom of speech, religion, peaceful protest, press and petitioning the government.

But, exercising one of those rights has been at the forefront of debate lately.

The right to protest has been revered from the Boston Tea Party to the March on Washington. Suddenly, the opinion of protests has shifted to regarding them as nothing more than a tantrum.

The misconception is that a protest can lead to nothing more than a traffic jam or the disruption of silence in an otherwise peaceful city, but protests accomplish more than that.

Protests guarantee the people have a voice — whether it is to raise awareness for a disease that needs funding for research, or for disparages people of different genders, races, religions or sexual orientations face.

Protests are the beginning of change.

All it takes is a few brave souls to lead by example for us to break the spiral of silence. The founders wrote the First Amendment with the idea that if circumstances are unacceptable, it is un-American to accept them.

Different people have different beliefs. As long as no one’s infringing on other people’s rights, it is not only a right, but also a responsibility to ensure every voice matters.