Living in a city like New York, some sort of protest is always taking place, so it’s not surprising that the response after the decisions in Ferguson and Staten Island have been so present. People are understandably outraged. But, instead of simply complaining, people are deciding to take action. The protests around the country have been monumental, but in this City especially, they have been particularly memorable.
People from all over the world are uniting to show that the polarization between races in this country is causing tension that needs to be addressed immediately.
Last week, almost 50,000 protesters showed up for the Millions March.
As a 16 year old, I don’t feel there’s any disconnect between generations: All protesters are welcome, regardless of age. I feel like an active member of this community, which is extremely important. That is part of the reason why this movement has gotten so big, because EVERYONE is able to be a part of it!
I go to a school where activism is instilled and encouraged. And it shows. Last Friday, my school did a “walk out” after first period. Almost all of the students in the high school — over 200 people — walked out of the school and marched to Washington Square Park, Union Square, a police precinct on Bleecker Street, and then to 34th street and the New York Public Library. Police escorts joined us during our march, keeping a respectful distance and letting us express ourselves. There was also a chopper flying above us. We got public attention, and had stories about us on CNN.
It was such an interesting experience. I’ve never participated in any type of protest before, and was nervous, but once we started walking, my apprehension subsided. It wasn’t about me anymore…it was about equality in the judicial system and throughout American culture.
We had signs. We had chants. We got attention!
Everyone was allowed on our march; we picked up kids from the Middle School as we walked, as well as random bystanders who felt incentivized to join in.
Overall, this protest showed me so much about my own values. Even if you don’t agree with the cause, you have to acknowledge how important it is to be an activist and exercise your right to protest. No matter what you believe in, being an active member of your community is so critical. When we look back at our history as a Nation, some of the most monumental movements have been led by individual citizens.
Although I’m just a kid, New York has given me the opportunity to become involved in my community and to try and bring about positive change. So don’t sit back and wait for someone else to act for you. Be an activist — it can change your life, too!