The following was written by high school intern Millie Dervaux. Millie is 17 years old, and says that Kate Winslet would play her in a movie because she is down to Earth and a good role model.
If you want to recruit friends to help you protest, you probably won't win over participants if you ask them to light themselves on fire or go without food for a week. However, that's just what steps some people seem to be taking to gather attention around their demonstrations.
This past week, a Tibetan monk burned himself in China, to show his support for the Dalai-Lama. Anna Hazare, an anti-graft activist in India, was arrested after wanting to go on a hunger strike to rally against corruption in the government. He is currently incarcerated, and refuses to be released until he can go on with his planned fasting.
While martyring yourself may seem like a powerful way to raise awareness for a cause, there are many other ways effective ways to protest without inflicting yourself any harm or danger. Check out the DoSomething.org projects that show how you can protest peacefully and safely.
- Project submitter Persia009 is raising awareness about the political situation in Iran by handing out flyers, organizing rallies, and inciting people to wear green ribbons as a symbol of liberty.
- The youth led organization National Marriage Boycott established a marriage boycott until the US government repeals the Defense of Marriage Act, a federal law that “prohibits the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages." The organization also sells Equality rings, which help fund and show support of the movement. So far they have reached out to over 3,000 people!
- Babsbunny1909 posted about joining student marches in Olympia, Washington, against the recent budget cuts in education. Check out the attention she got from her peaceful protest!
What Can You Do?
You can also organize other ways to protest an issue. Think out of the box!
- Get people together for a poetry slam themed around a cause you want to raise awareness for.
- Start a petition to a government official to encourage change in your community.
- You can protest an issue by simply wearing a button or a pin stating your cause!
Whether you’re fighting for animal rights or against pollution, there are always peaceful ways to protest the issue you’re interested in.