Joy Bivins
Joy Bivins
Chicago History Museum

What issue makes you want to speak out publicly?

I drove past two protests in my neighborhood recently. One was an anti-war protest made up of about six adults with signs asking drivers to honk their horns for peace. Many did. The second consisted of about fifty young students protesting the destruction of a very old tree in the community. Although the issues were different, both groups used similar methods to make them public conversations, if only for a moment. 

Right now, demonstrations, such as Occupy Wall Street, are spreading across the nation. Current citizens’ public actions are real reminders of the long history of taking to the streets to express concern, outrage, and distress over important issues. As people take to the street on the other side of the country and in our neighborhoods, they remind us that public protest is not just an option but a right.

As you look at your neighborhood, city, and nation, what issues make you want to speak out publicly? You would be exercising your right. I can’t wait to hear what you have to say.


Discussion closed on November 29, 2011

Closing Statement

Sometimes it isn’t clear what would make us want to protest publicly until it actually happens. The protests I mentioned (one anti-war, one to save a tree) are evidence of the different issues that move citizens to action. The critical aspect of both protests was that citizens had the right and they were exercising it. In many ways, they became part of history because they had something to say and they asked the public to listen just like the suffragists who fought for women’s right to vote and the activists who marched against school segregation.


Brianne S, 8th

November 08, 2011 - 09:39am

Racism in general. The stereotypes of today are obnoxious, and pose negative outlooks on rich and wonderful cultures. African Americans are expected to love ribs and be uneducated, whites are supposed to be white trash, snobby and pompous, etc. It's sickening to think of life this way. Stereotypes shouldn't exist. Period.