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Marches effective to initiate change, other steps must follow

Photo credit: Diego Ramirez

With what seems like endless incidents of gun violence, we have seen numerous marches in the form of protests against gun violence. Students, leaders and community members have recently taken to the streets to express their anger and overall hurt with legislators and their lack of action to reduce gun violence in the United States.

Marches have been utilized as a significant part of protesting for years. Revolutionaries like Martin Luther King Jr. and Cesar Chavez led hundreds through cities to highlight the injustices minorities were facing at the time. Since 2017, there have been 4,296 protests with over 5,402,011 attendees according to research done by Boston University.

However, do marches as a form of protest actually make change happen? Or do they just cause chaos and interrupt traffic?

They do a little of both. I see marches as a way to show that you stand in solidarity with those affected by the issue but other than bringing attention to the social movement they do not directly change legislation and in some cases can bring negative attention to the movement.

With any form of protest, attendees must be very cautious in how their beliefs are expressed. In today’s world, it’s easy for the opposition to twist a movement using the media as their platform. So it’s important to be nonviolent and follow up on the issue.

I believe that marches do make a difference in the overall social movement. Studies published by Washington Post have shown that this form of protest resulted in less racism in cities that held marches during the civil rights movement. Aside from bringing life to the issue within these communities, much more needs to be done in order to see political change.

How do marches help fight gun violence in America?

When analyzing the most recent marches, something different with this social movement is that the supporters are reaching out to a congressman, going to their office space and using Twitter to get their attention. They are following up on the issue and using their skills to be the change.

As you can see the work is not done, simply attending a march does not do much for the social movement in the greater aspect. Those attending must fight for the cause whether that is by expressing their needs at city council meetings, writing their congressman or lobbying.

One must move forward from marches. We have seen that there are a great number of people out there with the same values, so now one must look within that community and start making change happen. In the greater aspect marches do bring some change in favor of the social movement but that is merely the base. There is so much greater work that needs to be done in order to see change happen, do not stop at marches.

Nicte Hernandez can be reached at [email protected] or @nicteh7 on Twitter.

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