On March 24, millions of U.S. citizens marched in their respective cities against gun violence in the
March for our Lives protest.
According to CBS, 200,000 people protested in Washington, D.C., urging politicians to create legislation to help end school shootings. But does the protest have the potential to produce the change that it seeks?
To answer that, one needs compare it to past protests that have worked. Let’s start by comparing the March for our Lives to the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott.
Prior to 1955, buses were segregated. When Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat for a white man and was arrested, it sparked a boycott created in part by Martin Luther King, Jr. The next day, about 40,000 African Americans refused to ride the buses, according to the Black History website.
This lost business for the bus system and created the need to produce legislation that desegregated buses.
The Montgomery Bus Boycott worked because thousands of people used a government system to their advantage, there was a quick reaction and the end goal was measurable. The same can be said for the March for our Lives.
The march brought hundreds of thousands of participants to the streets of Washington, D.C. alone, and protests were held in every capitol throughout the nation. D.C. crowd members held signs with messages like “The NRA has blood on its hands” and speakers advocated that people educate themselves about who represents them in office.
Speakers urged citizens to vote out representatives who were funded by the NRA or who supported legislation in
favor of easier gun access.
After witnessing such a large mass of people urging citizens to vote them out, NRA-supported politicians are
likely shaking in their boots.
Voting is a powerful weapon.
Both the bus boycott and the march used the system to their advantage. The boycott used the economic system and the march is utilizing the voting system.
Additionally, both events elicited a quick reaction on behalf of the citizens. The Montgomery Bus Boycott began the day after Rosa Parks was arrested. The March for our Lives occurred just one month after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting.
Both of these are extremely quick reactions relative to the breadth of the events. Finally, both protests had measurable goals. The Montgomery Bus Boycott sought legislation that would desegregate the bus system. The March for our Lives sought legislation that would increase gun safety laws.
According to CNN, the participants of the protest wanted Congress to ban assault weapons, require background checks before selling guns and pass a law that would allow court systems to disarm someone who displays violent behavior.
Each of these demands is measurable and obtainable.
The March for our Lives was only the first step in a larger protest. Although it has the potential to produce change, that change can only be achieved if citizens take advantage of the opportunity available to them.
Citizens need to research their representatives and push for proper legislation. It’s up to the public to propel the movement forward.