Youth protests achieve change

As protests and demonstrations erupt worldwide for various social and political causes, Souderton students involve themselves in government and politics. Though Souderton students share different views on the efficacy of protest, this follows the trend of students bucking protest in favor of opportunities in government positions and internships.
Within the past few months, demonstrations (many of which are youth-driven) have risen up in Puerto Rico, Hong Kong, Chile, Lebanon, Bolivia and several other countries. At the same time, the Fridays for Future movement has led millions of children, teens and young adults to the streets demanding action.
These various movements are making themselves known louder than before, aided by social media, even in Iran where the government has shut down the internet.
With all this occurring, I can’t help but notice that the Philadelphia area is relatively silent. Curious, I searched the number of protesters present at the September 20 School strike for climate. Philadelphia saw a turnout of 1,000 attendees, which is low considering cities with lower populations saw turnouts in the tens of thousands.
A number of factors could explain the low Philadelphia turnout. It is plausible that most politically-minded Pennsylvanians opted to attend the New York strike. It’s also plausible that students in the area are simply less
There is veracity to the idea that our youth are less charged to organize and more open to making their voices known through other means.
Specifically at Souderton, a number of students are involved in government and politics not only as activists but as interns, staff and organizers. A number of clubs and internships exist that expose us to politics and current events. Instead of
According to senior Owen Bish, being involved in one such program has expanded his view of what can be done to achieve change.
“Protesting is efficient, I think,” Bish said. “Working with Madeleine Dean showed me that.”
Even by simply voting, one is making an effort to involve themselves in directing change.
For junior Lydia Vizza, who is a part of another government-based extracurricular with Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, getting involved in politics equates to getting to the “root” of the problem.
“The difference is made where the decisions are being made,” Vizza said, “so getting involved in problem solving at the source is more meaningful to me.”
In defense of the protest as a means of achieving change, it is not true that protest amounts to nothing more than “organized complaining.” The aforementioned Puerto Rican protests from July 8 to August 12 successfully resulted in the resignation of the Puerto Rican governor.
Fridays for Future/Organizer Greta Thunberg, as well as March for Our Lives organizers Emma Gonzalez, get a lot of negative press. I often hear people around me ridiculing them and their ideas, but at least these figures actually fight for what they believe in.
No matter your political affiliation, standing for what one believes in is a generally American value; in protesting, one is accomplishing this. Instead of being demeaning, we should make efforts to understand their argument.
The constitutionally protected right to peaceful assembly should not be undermined as an effective means of making oneself heard and making one’s cause known.