October 11, 2018
Emotions ran high this week as Justice Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed to the Supreme Court in spite of sexual assault allegations made by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford.
The response to his confirmation has been met by a wave of protests.
The way people feel about protests can vary quite significantly. Some people gripe, viewing them as nothing more than noise and a waste of time.
I, on the other hand, as a young, impassioned student could not help but be moved by my first experience at a protest. Protests, when done in an effective and professional manner, show that you are not alone and that your ideas are valid and worth fighting for.
There was one morning in particular that proved this to me: Jan. 20, 2017—the Women’s March. My first protest. I was 18 years old and finally starting to feel like my voice mattered.
As I stared at the television and watched the crowds gather, I begged my mom to go with me to our local march in downtown San Diego. I felt like I was missing out on a part of history. I had to be there. So we hurriedly got in the car and left—I was amazed by the number and variety of people, the creativity of signs, the spirit and power.
I was so moved by the protest that when I arrived home, I immediately wrote an uncharacteristic entry on the notes section of my phone.
It reads, “Today I marched for women. I marched for women all around the world who are oppressed but I also marched for all of those who have faced prejudice, discrimination and hatred. I marched for humanity. My heart goes out to all the people I had the privilege of witnessing today—from the elderly couple walking hand-in-hand to the young girl on top of her father’s shoulders, know I stand with you. As Martin Luther King Jr. once said, ‘Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.’ I look forward to seeing what we do in the future.”
Looking back on it now nearly two years later, it is pretty clear this is not my best work. But it is raw and accurately captures how I felt on that day.
My experience at the Women’s March continues to have an effect on me. It inspired me to change my major to political science and is an energy I continue to tap into whenever my faith in humanity needs to be restored.
I recommend that everyone, regardless of their politics or religion participate in an organized form of protest at some point.
My first protest experience was a true adrenaline rush. The solidarity and comradery that comes with such an experience is indescribable and therapeutic.
However, it is important to remember that protests are often a last resort. They stem from inequity and abuses of power that have direct consequences for people. A protest may not be the solution to all problems, but they work to promote change and they reveal to people, in moments of despair, that they are not alone.
To those of you who object to the confirmation of Kavanaugh and are protesting in an organized and respectful manner, I commend you for standing up for what you believe in. By refusing to be silenced you are paving the way for a new generation of fearless changemakers.
Aside from protesting, voting is also an important method for having your voice heard. The registration deadline in California is Oct. 22. So register and vote so you too can work to make a difference!
Celia Martinez is a sophomore political science and communication double major and the Opinion Editor.