by Lacey Byrne, Yellowbrick Staff Writer
On January 20th, people gathered around the country for the second Annual Women’s March, marking the one-year anniversary of President Donald Trump’s swearing in. The 2017 march brought record numbers of people to the capitol. Activists were hoping to keep the momentum going with events around the country this time around in 2018.
Being able to protest is one of the many things that make being part of a democratic nation so vital. Now, more than ever, it’s easier for people to mobilize, organize and come together on dozens of issues. Many parents wonder if it’s o.k. to bring their child to a protest event. The answer is, “Yes!” Of course, it depends on where and for what. If you’re expecting an especially heated and potentially violent protest… well, maybe stay home. But for the most part, attending a protest can be an empowering experience for your whole family.
Writer Jamie Davis Smith offers a laundry list of things for parents to consider when bringing their children to a march. These range from preparing your child ahead of time, creating signs together, wearing coordinated outfits, taking breaks, and bringing plenty of snacks and water.
Of course many marches take place in urban epicenters like Washington, D.C., New York City and Seattle, Washington, which may be pretty far from where you live. You may be surprised that your community, or large town closest to you, is showing their solidarity with an issue that you care about deeply. Facebook is a great place to discover what’s going on in your community.
There may be issues that are near and dear to the heart of your family, such as environmental issues, disability, cancer, animal rights, etc. And perhaps your teenage son or daughter is passionate about something of which you know very little. What a great opportunity to chaperone them and their friends to an event and have them expose you to an idea. As we get older, we can become dispassionate and cynical, while younger people serve to inspire us to not give up.
It might not be feasible for you and your family to participate in marches and protests. But you can certainly participate by looking at pictures and articles online and fostering a discussion at home. Your young daughter might not yet be able to understand why a Women’s March is taking place, but you can be sure to find resources that are at her level of understanding. The Pink Hat by Andrew Joyner reminds us that we’re never too young to get a glimpse into what it means to stand up and voice our opinions.
Writer Mary Beth shares her perspectives on bringing her family to events in Vermont. She laments that she wishes she and her husband could isolate themselves and their kids from the stress of current politics but instead uses current events as jumping off points for discussion.
“We want our children to know that we can make the world a better place when we speak out against things that are wrong. We want them to know that as Americans, even as young Americans- when they protest with their friends and neighbors to make their voices heard, that they become powerful.”
Sharing stories of protest, as well as participating, is a fantastic way to not only teach our children about American History, but also help them understand the importance of speaking up. Having a voice, and being part of a collective movement of shared ideas and values, is powerful.
You may have missed the events on January 20th, but there will be plenty of other opportunities for you and your family to become engaged in a rally during 2018. Grab those posters and markers, and head on out!
– by Lacey Byrne, Yellowbrick Staff Writer