Joy Bivins
Joy Bivins
Chicago History Museum

Is public protest the only way to create change?

American history is full of stories of protest. People have spoken up about everything from racial discrimination, to ending war. Our constitution even guarantees the right of citizens to peaceably assemble, and the right to petition the government. 

In 2008, students from inner city schools in Chicago took a page right out of the history books. In addition to boycotts, they traveled to north suburban schools to register for classes at schools where the resources were far better than the ones they experienced. This past summer, I witnessed a small group of youth and adults with signs protesting education funding and program cuts. Like students in1963, both groups made their concerns and demands public. 

Lately, I have been wondering if there are other ways to make change happen. Each of these education-related examples involved a public action, but is that the only way to change things?  Let me know your ideas. I look forward to reading your replies. 


Discussion closed on October 12, 2011


Abbey F, 11th

June 21, 2011 - 07:52am

No it is not the only way, it has to be coupled with other actions. Public protest can lead to media coverage, which can generate particpation, raise money, increase awareness, and put pressure on politicians. I think the nature and scope of public protest is expanding right now with social media helping to broadcast the struggles of various groups.

Freedom Day Demonstration, 1963
Freedom Day Demonstration, 1963