Rise in activism: Con protesting

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Protests and marches demonstrate important characteristics in the people who plan and participate in them: leadership, initiative, and ambition. They are one medium in which people can communicate their ideas. However, in many cases, like the demonstrations hosted by students at Townsend Harris, the original idea that the protesters were fighting for was lost and misinterpreted, which in many cases does much more harm than good.

Many protests start off with good intentions: finding a peaceful way to advocate and fight for social justice. But soon after, the idea is picked up by media and political officials. These groups often have their own agendas and find ways to articulate and promote their own goals. Subsequently, the purpose of the demonstrations often becomes twisted and the core meaning is lost.

Taking for example the march and sit-in from our school, in which students were trying to raise awareness for the injustice of police brutality, we can see how the original intention was lost. What started off as a noble cause soon became an issue of cops ‘targeting’ minorities and how they are not doing the right thing.

Al Sharpton and Mayor De Blasio both promoted a left wing agenda and made comments that sparked more protests, riots, and in the most extreme case, murder. In New York City, demonstrators chanted and demanded for dead cops.

At Townsend Harris, one demonstrator had a sign which read “How can we breathe if we can’t trust the Police?” The New York Post published a story in December that talked about how out of 25 million police interactions last year, only 0.022% of those encounters were received by the Civilian Complaint Review Board for use of excessive force. Given this fact, would a reasonable protester really want to dehumanize, or worse, murder cops? Through this example, we can see how the original intentions of the protests in THHS and New York City were misinterpreted and lost.

This brings up the question of what an effective form of communication would be if we wanted our voices to be heard without its distortion. A website like change.org is an example of a medium that allows us to do just that. On it, users can start their own petitions and have people sign them. This allows for a clear goal with little room for different interpretations. With websites like this and other methods that define a definite goal, people will be better able to have their voices heard in the future.