Nevertheless, we persist

Why do people frown on protests?

Submitted column by Harley Harrison

Harley Harrison graduated from Ferris in May 2018 and formerly contributed to the Torch as a reporter and news editor. She now works in Novi as a Technical Writer and spends her free time traveling or cuddling with her dog, Che. 

Participants in this year’s Women’s March on Washington exercise their democratic abilities. Photo by: Harley Harrison | Guest Writer

Camera in hand, I entered a street drowning in pussy hats and loud signs, my heart keeping pace with the resonant drumming of protesters.

There were many events in the past year that influenced me to attend the 2019 Women’s March in Washington, D.C. From the prevalence of sexual assault, including the stories of the Nassar survivors and Christine Ford, to the everyday instances of sexism in our society.

I realized I needed to do more than just verbally oppose. I needed to act.
I set out to accomplish this need, but in expressing my desire to protest, I had been met with a lot of criticism that, if I’m protesting, I must hate my country. But contrary to this belief, I’d like to argue that protesting shows my love for my country.

One of the most patriotic methods of expressing your unheard values in the United States is to march. The act of protesting is quite arguably the “American Way,” starting in 1773 when early Americans protested the British rule by dumping tea into a harbor. Throughout history, one of the most influential forms of protesting is to march.

In 1913, the Women’s Suffrage March demanded the right for women to vote.

In 1932, World War I veterans held the Bonus Army March to demand their pay from the government.

In 1963, 200,000 people participated in the Civil Rights March on Washington to demand racial equality, according to the Smithsonian’s website.

In 1979, the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights prevailed to demonstrate the government’s failure to recognize and protect LGBTQ+ persons.

These marches were followed by the 1981 Anti-War Mobilization Protest, the 2002 Protest Against the Iraq War and many more. In recent years, we’ve had protests such as Black Lives Matter, the March for Our Lives, the March for Science and, of course, the Women’s March.

Yet, people continue to hold stigma against protesters, as if protesters were not responsible for the freedom they now hold. Protests not only allow us to practice our given rights, but they also show our government what we as citizens value. As Americans, we are fortunate to live in a country where the government works for us. What many fail to understand is that our desire to protest only shows that we care about this country.

As the crowd swept me through the streets of Washington, and the diverse people around me united under one cause, I realized just how much I love my country. I march out of the desire to make something I love into something better. I march so that the generations who follow me can have better lives and brighter futures. I march because I care. I march because I am a true patriot.