A Week of Protests

A Week of Protests

Last week we had a second snow day from our programming and internships. Coming from Northeast Ohio, I don't quite get all the hype over a couple of inches of snow. Washington, DC practically shuts down when so much as a flake is in the forecast! My friend and I took this time to our advantage and took a trek over to Georgetown to meet up with one of my friends who is at the University there. While walking across campus we ran into a mob of students who seemed to be protesting something... a snow day? I felt like I was in an alternate reality. Who protests a snow day? One thing is for sure, these Georgetown students were serious...

 

 

This was not the only form of protest I ran into that weekend. Signs of solidarity with those in Ukraine can be found throughout the city. While passing the Ukrainian Embassy, pictures and candles lined the steps in support of the victims of the violent clashes throughout the country. Even in passing the White House, the Ukrainian flag waved among protesters. Since DC is the heart of American government, and the US is so influential in the world, this is THE city for international politics. Back at my home university we have an international student from Ukraine. Before winter break, I started to become aware of the protests going on and how different countries and organizations were standing in solidarity with the protestors. Since the conflict was escalating so quickly, my friend was not able to go home for the break. He tried desperately to bring this conflict to the attention of the campus community, unfortunately with little success. I am proud to be in DC where so many people are aware and engaged in advocacy.

 

 

Speaking of civic engagement...

 

...yet another protest was taking place last weekend. A massive number of people gathered in front of the White House to protest the Keystone XL Pipeline. It was great to see how active many college campuses were in town protesting. Several universities sent groups of representatives who were willing to stand their ground no matter how high the stakes. Since the police still have control over the area in front of the White House, they have the authority to ask protesters to leave. If, after three warnings, the protesters refuse, the police can make arrests. I was surprised at how many people were willing to go to jail over this issue. That crowd had such synergy. I could only imagine what this space must have felt like during the Vietnam proests. As I begin to think about it, I wonder what protests our generation will be known for. Will it be the Keystone Pipeline, marriage equality, right to life? What protests will our children watch documentaries on?

 

 

If you ever get the opportunity to be in DC during a protest, by all means go. DC is one of the places where we all can exercise our freedoms of speech and assembly without the fear of violent backlash. All the change that happens in this world begins with those who are willing to go to great lengths and speak up for it. Even if you aren't the one to protest, simply bear witness to this ultimate form of civic engagement.

 

Until next time...

 

-Katie

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