Women’s Suffragette Movement
Photo: Paul Thomson, Topical News Agency, Getty Images
The 17th of September marked the one year anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement that began with protesters pitching tents in front of the New York Stock Exchange that eventually spread around the world. The instigation of the movement was to voice opposition to corporate mishandling and greed, the global financial system, and our government cutbacks that have affected people worldwide.
A group of Occupiers protested in Orlando, near where I live, for several months…living in tents near a local lake, until an arrest was made over one chalking on the sidewalk. The charge stemmed from a city ordinance that prohibits “writing or painting advertising matter on streets or sidewalks.” The man spent three weeks in jail. The city prosecutor dropped the charges the day after his release.
I recently took part in a poll by The Daily Post at WordPress.com that asked three questions in regard to the Occupy protests: 1) I’m all for it, and even participated in some local events 2) It’s a nice idea but I don’t think protests do anything 3) I don’t support it at all, and disagree with the idea. At the point that I answered the poll, it stood at roughly 26% answered 1, 59% agreed with number 2, and 14% said that they disagree with the idea of protests. My response was ‘one’ and I was surprised and dismayed at the majority of people who stated that either they don’t think protests do any good or that they disagree with protesting.
But maybe it’s because I grew up in the 50s and 60s and that’s how I saw people bringing attention to their causes that led me to vote in the affirmative. On August 28, 1963, 200,000 people gathered in Washington, D.C. for equal rights, not only for African Americans but all minorities. The strong leaders of that group met with President Kennedy and members of Congress and then led a march from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial. It was there that Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. This movement helped make an impact so strong that the Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964.
Although this protest did not bring about the end of the Vietnam War, the demonstration in the fall of 1969 in Washington, D.C. remains the largest of our history. Over 500,000 people joined in unity to object to the war. And November marked a time where peoples from around the world came together in their outcry against this conflict. Unfortunately, in spite of these efforts, the war continued on for another six years.
One of the most important movements came well before my time, the suffragette movement for the right of women to vote. This push for women to be able to vote started as far back as the Revolutionary War. But women such as Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton gave the push a shove in the mid 19th century and finally in 1920 an amendment to the constitution was instated that gave the right to vote to everyone regardless of sex.
There have been many other movements throughout history that have brought about change or at least let the “powers that be” hear their oppositions’ voices. In my opinion, none of these protests are in vain; there is always a message being conveyed.
I’m all for citizens being able to bring peaceful protest and attention to their causes…the key word here being peaceful. I don’t agree with rioting, killing and destroying property. I like the leadership examples of Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. who both used non-violent means to bring about changes in their time, and add to those names, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who uses the same methods today.
Some time ago, I joined with a group of bloggers over at Amy Doyle’s “Soul Dipper” WordPress site, http://souldipper.wordpress.com/, for a weekly, Thursday posting she’s dubbed “Occupy Blogosphere”. The purpose of this being to uplift and bring positivity to a world that can so easily depress and discourage. We share encouraging messages and support one another and in this small way strengthen us all.
I can’t imagine not being in support of the ability to gather with others of like mind and peacefully give a direct and strong message to those we don’t agree with and who have the power to dictate the impact on our day to day lives. And don’t forget, our constitution supports our right to assembly and our right to freedom of speech…sometimes the two go hand-in-hand.