Spanning Generations: The Importance of Protests

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Spanning Generations: The Importance of Protests

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Protesters downtown. Photo Credit: Sarah Peters

On Nov. 8, I was downtown on what seemed like a normal Thursday afternoon. As I was leaving, I noticed some peaceful protesters around the grassy field of First Street.

Protests are not uncommon and are a right given to us by the Constitution. In this current turbulent political climate, what’s a better way to voice your concern than protesting?

On this day, protesters were expressing disagreement with the new hiring of Attorney General Matthew Whitaker and concern over Robert’s Mueller investigation into possible 2016 election involvement from Russia.

Protester Melissa Reading (75 years old) believes protesting is every citizen’s responsibility to support democracy and supplement the free press. She also stated, “We must stand up for what’s important or we can lose it all.”

She thinks it is time for more diversity in government and suggests high school students read reliable, informing news, and vote in every election once eighteen.

“Protesting is a toolbox for change,” Rebecca, (31 years old), stated. She described how the process puts pressure on representatives in government, a true form of democracy.

Former mayor of Pleasanton, Jennifer Hosterman (62 years old) was also at the protest as she stated it is her “civil duty and responsibility.”

Hosterman mentioned attending protests in San Jose, San Francisco, and Oakland including the Women’s March.

“Students should become involved in peaceful, organized, positive, and non confrontational protests to make a meaningful impact,” was Hosterman’s advice to high school students. She urged students to read to United States Constitution in an effort to ‘better safeguard democracy.’

Friends Grare (75 years old) and Diane (78 years old) believe protesting is for standing up for what you believe in and making issues and concerns known.

As veteran protesters who participated in in the Vietnam War protests when their friends were drafted and Civil Rights protests such as in Selma, Alabama; both encourage being involved believing it to be incredibly important. 

Sally Brown holds her protest sign. Photo Credit: Sarah Peters

“Protesting is expressing my deepest convictions in a peaceful, non confrontational manner,” ninety year old retired school teacher, Sally Brown, declared.  

Brown was trying to explore the fire by walking downtown when she stumbled upon the protests and thought ‘that’s where I’m supposed to be.’

She hopes students start now with peaceful discussions by listening and sharing, but not arguing.

Helen Machuga (71 years old) participated in protests in the 70s and urged students to get involved because your life will be affected in the future.

Marilyn Dykstra (66 years old) mentioned organizations that students can follow to become involved such as Livermore Indivisible, which advocates healthcare, education, and the environment, Livermore Resist, and Move On, a national organization.

Livermore High Graduate, Karolyn Strehle (49 years old), commended Livermore students for their involvement in the March for Our Lives movement and local March Against Gun Violence earlier this year.

As for Strehle’s reason to protest, she added, “I believe in the worth and dignity of every person and democracy.”

The Nov. 8 protest is just one example of democracy and freedom of speech and assembly in action. As a matter of fact, our very nation was build upon the then rebellious idea of using your voice to make change within government.

Protester with her sign. Photo Credit: Sarah Peters

It is vital that we continue to use protesting as an outlet for democracy. 

Historically, Americans have turned to protests whenever the time arrived for advocacy such as Women’s Suffrage, the Vietnam War, Civil Rights, and more recently the Women’s March, March for Our Lives, and March for Science.

One of our greatest powers and right is the ability to speak up. Further, protesting gives us the chance to gather with those sharing the same beliefs or concerns. No matter what background or age, protesting unites us all for a common cause and pursuit of change.

By taking to the streets, public awareness can rise and the movement can grow to reach all across the nation.

However, you do not need to start a nationwide event to spark a change. Just by becoming involved in the Livermore community or organizing an event with other students, you are extending a fundamental right we cannot forget.

When we see injustice or are unhappy with the workings of the government, it is our obligation to speak up for those who cannot.

There are countries around the world who do not have the same right, so we must not take the right to protest for granted.

When we ignore our own concerns and refuse to speak up and take to the streets, we ignore one of the founding rights given to us.

Protesting remains a powerful source of democracy and no matter the political changes through time, will be an important outlet to spark change. It is definitely time for high school students and Generation Z to take a stand now so we have a say in our own future.

Use your voice and raise your concerns because if you don’t, who will?

Disclaimer: Some sources cited in this article did not feel comfortable sharing their last names, so only their first names were used.