Recently, my English teacher, while playing devil's advocate determined that "marches do nothing". I have to admit that this statement stunned me a bit. This wasn't the first time I heard such a statement be made. Whenever I heard this said it was always from someone I deemed had little political activism to begin with. This time, however, this was made by my English teacher - someone I find to be a respected and very well educated member of our community. Him saying that, for the first time, made me question if I believed that marches did anything. Dwelling on this answer during the past couple of days, I found that I still go back to my roots of saying that YES marches do contribute to DOING SOMETHING when it comes to bigger issues that face our society. Addressing his comments on the fact that people usually don't show up to another march after they happen, I wanted to point out the fact that people don't march to be repetitive. People march to make a stance and find themselves in a community of people where they can network, working with those people after the march is "over" to do something more. Something that doesn't catch the eye of the public, but forces it to conform to the needs of the people stepping out and saying - "We want change". Weather that be changed for the better or the worse. I would like to say that we have to restructure what it means to "march". Oftentimes, we think of marches as riots or as movements of the most extreme. When the reality is that marches in the 21st century are simply a rallying point and a moment of support for leaders. Leaders that emerge during that rally and go on to sit down - face to face - and draw out a middle ground with the "opposing party". I would like to call upon Climate Cube as an example of that. It was not an ordinary march, as it was rather a form of expression and a social media presence. But that "march"/project led people to think. It led to the fact that this year Stagg is looking to host a fashion show revolving around the ideas of sustainable/eco-friendly fashion donating proceeds to Ecoisa. I would also argue that it led to the inspiration for the proposed ban on plastic water bottles on our campus at Stagg. Ultimately, it was a movement that led to students not being afraid to step up and try to push for their version of the future they want. Looking even back on the history of marches during my presence at Stagg, in 2018 after the Parkland shooting Stagg held a march for gun reform. That march led for amazing leaders like Nadia Alyafai to come out and take part in an even bigger project. Nadia is now part of the Arab American Action Network's Youth Leadership Team, which was recently awarded a grant by the Bright Promises Foundation, an organization working on interviewing members of the Muslim community about racial profiling - something that has been a motive of some shootings in America. In essence, we march because we need to feel a part of something. We march to give voices to those who have the words to propel the message that is ablaze in each and everyone one of us. We march for hope. We march for change. We march to belive. We march because we are humans.
So thank you to my English teacher for playing the devil's advocate. You've made it clear that we march for something that doesn't always have to be encapsulated by words. We march because it is what we want to do. We march because it is what we KNOW to do!