When I was younger (10 or 11 years old) I thought protests were historical events that only took place on television and in films. I honestly believed that the only people still protesting in real life were angry people with complicated agendas like capitalism or complex science. It wasn’t like I grew up saying “when I grow up I’m going to protest!” because I thought protests were a thing of the past.
I lived in my own little world. The backdrop to my life? A dreamy country named America where those types of things just didn’t happen anymore. America! The place where the American Dream was certainly possible! I can’t tell you how many school projects I had to create that were based on that American Dream.
Most people might think I was delusional to see the world in such a peaceful light knowing the things that I knew about the history of our country but I lived a very sheltered life. Before I could realize that my rights as a woman, a person of color, and a human being might always be up for debate, I had a lot of growing up to do.
The first protest I ever watched live on tv was the woman’s day march in 2017. Of course, I saw these marches coming. Still, I somehow found myself amazed at the sheer notion of marching for my rights and the rights of others. When I was younger I was reading about this stuff in 7th-grade textbooks, women fighting so hard for human rights; the right to vote, the right to take control of their own bodies, the right to for parity with men in the workplace. Now it’s, sadly, a lot of the same stuff.
Marching and protesting are currently trending and I love it because it raises awareness which is important. These are revealing and empowering times. Music has helped me come to terms with the fact that protesting in our modern times is again, unfortunately, necessary. If you feel safe in most spaces please realize, that is a privilege. You have a responsibility to make sure marginalized members of society acquire the same levels of safety and empowerment. Everyone deserves to experience true freedom. Here’s a playlist to kickstart your revolution.
p.s. (Correction) I did see a protest IRL once. My family and I were waiting in a very long line leading into a baseball field. We were there to see, then, presidential candidate Barack Obama give a live speech. The protesters had literal pitchforks and fire torches. They were yelling and my mother told us not to be afraid, she reminded us that these people had a right to protest. That night was a night of firsts for me; first time in a baseball park, first time seeing angry protesters, first time sharing space with a man who would soon be President of the United States. Yet, I have no photos because I had a drawer phone back then. I have to admit I kind of miss the days where photos didn’t matter as much, my moments were much more memorable.