2020 has been a year to remember, but not all for the better. The U.S. has been challenged and changed over the past few months during the COVID-19 pandemic. The deaths of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd have shown us that coronavirus is not the only disease the U.S is fighting. The only way to overcome the division and heal is by coming together. We must listen and learn from one another, recognize our shared aspirations, and act together to build a better U.S.A.
History of political changes
Over the years, gathering in peaceful protests have led to social and political changes. During 1930, Mohandas Gandhi led a peaceful protest against Britain’s imposed law dictating no Indian could collect or sell salt in the country. Gandhi led a protest and walked over 240 miles, driving them to the Arabian Sea to pick up salt out of the muddy waters. Seventeen years later, India gained independence from Britain.
Peaceful protests, like the 1913 Suffrage Parade, shared the voices of over 5,000 courageous women speaking out for the right to equal political participation. This protest can stand as a reminder that peaceful acts have the power to change the system.
Cesar Chavez advocated for peaceful boycotts, protest, and a grueling yet nonviolent 25-day hunger strike, which led to legislative changes to end exploitative abuse of America’s farmworkers in the late 1960s. He led a five-year strike in Delano, California, bringing together over 2,000 farmers to demand minimum wage primarily for underpaid, overworked Filipino farmworkers. These acts helped secure unions, better wages, and security for farmworkers.
There are times when one person’s peaceful actions can bring about more change than anyone can imagine. Rosa Parks’ refusal to give up her seat to a white passenger on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, is one such example. Her defiant act symbolized greater civil rights, spreading the message that all people deserve equal seats. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled a year later in 1956, that segregation on public buses is unconstitutional.
During the Singing Revolution, Estonia sang its way out of the rule under the Soviet Union. In 1988, more than 100,000 Estonians gathered for five nights to protest the Soviet government. This event became known as the Singing Revolution. For Estonians, music and singing acted as a way to preserve culture while the small but fierce country held its own during the invasion from Germany, Sweden, Denmark, and others. In 1991, after decades of Soviet rule, a country with just 1.5 million people regained its independence.
While the future seems scary and uncertain right now, many still hold a shared vision for the future. Even in these uncertain times, with chaos and sadness, we can always find solidarity. We want a future where everyone has the opportunity and where the resources needed to support the education, health, and financial well-being is supported—a future where every child, man, and woman can live unafraid and thrive. While the path forward will not be easy, there is still hope as long as we stand together and do the hard work.