Does protesting work?

By Lori Cascio, Virginias Regional Coordinator

“Protests don’t work.”
“It’s not the loving thing to do.”
“Protests don’t change minds.”

I cannot count the number of times I’ve heard phrases like these from critics. To tell you the truth, sometimes even I am a little skeptical. Will this work?

The answer is a resounding YES!!

It’s worth the drive, train, or bus ride.
It’s worth being out in the cold.
It’s worth taking a day off school (with mom’s permission) or work.

Why? Because you’re spreading a message you care so much about.

You’re making people think! Pedestrians who see you are now thinking about the issue. Your social media followers are now thinking about it. Sometimes even larger media outlets broadcast it to the entire nation. Now thousands of people are thinking about it! If even just a few pedestrians, a few of your social media followers, and a few media savvy people do something about it, you’ve made a difference.

Why? Because we must stand together to get anything done. 

I know, you’ve heard this a thousand times: there are strength in numbers! When you bring together people from all walks of life to collaborate in a mass street action, that’s when the magic begins to happen. There is a sense of belonging, of power, and unity.

The Pro-Life Movement has been doing this for years at the annual March for Life. Half a million pro-life people walking the streets of D.C. and many of them paying a visit to their representatives. It’s amazing! Countless people set aside their differences to march for the preborn.

When I ask students, “how did you get involved?” Many of them respond by saying how, after their first trip to the March for Life, they feel energized to make a difference in their communities and at their schools. They know, they aren’t alone in this fight.

 Why? Because there have been plenty of successful protests throughout history.

Remember earlier in May when Students for Life of America took a picture with West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, spoke with him, and even set up a meeting with him to meet David Daleiden? That was all because we were protesting! We knew we needed to reach Senator Manchin, a deciding vote to defund Planned Parenthood, to show him that West Virginians and Americans needed his vote. (You can read more about that experience here.)

Also, earlier this year a mountain of almost 200,000 baby socks was piled on Capitol Hill for SFLA’s Sock it to Planned Parenthood Rally. The image of baby socks representing the lives lost to abortion at Planned Parenthood each year was shocking. It not only spread on national news outlets, it dropped the jaws of numerous pedestrians. (And we still had over 100,000 more socks to collect.) I’m sure more than one person that day changed their mind about Planned Parenthood. (Read more here.)

There are plenty more movements that relied on protests. Some of the more famous ones include the Civil Rights Movement, Women’s Suffrage Movement, Labor Movements, Anti-War Movements, and the list goes on. There is a lot to learn from social movements. Most every one of them tell us that protests ARE successful ways to spread your message, motivate others, and petition for change.

Years down the road, don’t you want to be able to tell your grandchildren that you were part of the protests that abolished abortion?

Put your fears, worries, and reservations aside AND GET OUT THERE! Always remember, it’s worth it.

PS: Some fun tips

  • Don’t use violence
  • Keep your message short and to the point
  • Have a purposeful location where your target will be reached
  • Don’t dress like a protestor. Dress in a way that shows you respect the people you’re trying to convert.
  • Get creative!