Together, We Rise: A Midweek Meditation on America’s Most Powerful Protests

A recent study from economists at Harvard University and Stockholm University finds that protests work not because they necessarily prompt policy-makers to enact change, but rather because it encourages individuals to become politically active. In honor of the idea that we will progress as a country only when we begin to work together and fight for the advancement of all people regardless of race, religion, or creed, I am recounting some of America’s most powerful protests to date.

The March On Washington For Jobs & Freedom, Washington D.C., 1963

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Known as the event where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous “I Have A Dream” speech, the purpose of this march was the advancement of civil and economic rights for black Americans.

The March On Washington For Lesbian, Gay, and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation, Washington D.C., 1993

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Around 1 million people gathered in Washington D.C. to demand civil rights for the LGBTQ community. Accompanying the march was a list of demands, including an increase in funding for AIDS research, the passage of a LGBTQ civil rights bill, and the end of all racial and ethnic discrimination.

The Million Men March, Washington D.C., 1995

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A mass gathering of black men in Washington D.C. with the primary aim of placing black issues on the nation’s political agenda. Clocking in at an estimated attendance of 1.5 million to 2 million, this march is recognized as one of the largest all black marches to date.

The Million Women March, Pennsylvania, 1997

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A response to the exclusion of women from the Million Men March, an estimated 1 to 3 million black women gathered in Philly to promote social, political, and economic development and power throughout the black communities as well as spread hope to members of the black community.

Iraq War Protest, Nationwide, 2002 – 2003

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Which Iraq War Protest, you ask? There was a string of protests beginning in 2002 and continuing after the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The largest of these protest was a worldwide demonstration taking place on February 15th, 2003. Between 6 and 11 million gathered around the globe in response to the US invading Iraq.

The Women’s March, Nationwide, 2017

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A worldwide protest advocating for legislation and policy regarding human rights, The Women’s March took place the day after Donald Trump’s inauguration. Worldwide participation is estimated at over 5 million individuals, the march is regarded as “a stand on social justice and human rights issues ranging from race, ethnicity, gender, religion, immigration, and healthcare.”

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