Protest is Not Pointless

By Melinda Cardenas (NYU Undergraduate)

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” -Margaret MeadOver the past few days I’ve heard a lot of my friends shut down the idea of protest, calling it pointless and saying that it won’t do anything. After attending 3 protests and hearing the stories of countless people affected by this election, I’m here to say that protest does mean something and it does matter. On a smaller scale, protests brings people who believe in the same thing together. When you’re facing a problem alone, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by a feeling of hopelessness. I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve learned about an issue asked myself “why does no one care about this?!”. When I stand next to a man chanting “my body, my rights” and look back at him chanting back “her body, her rights”, I’m comforted in knowing I’m not alone. Protest, on an individual level, provides people with a sense of community and support. In a larger sense, protest is a means of gaining the worlds attention and sending a message that whatever we’re protesting against is not okay. I never attended a protest in high school. Despite not being there for #BlackLivesMatter protests or #ClimateChange protests, I still heard their message from the comfort of my own home. By gaining media attention, those protests were able to travel and reach the rest of America. I know that protesting won’t see the immediate direct results of getting trump out of office. I know that chanting “Black/Latinx/Trans Lives Matter” won’t magically change the minds of those who disagree. Knowing this, I still wouldn’t call protest pointless or meaningless. It matters to the people who are there who need support and community. It matters to people who are unable to join us but still want for us to keep fighting. It matters to younger generations in inspiring them to get involved and not repeat the same mistakes of the past. It matters to me because it’s inspired me to take action in my community.