Chester: “The global outpouring of support for the Black Lives Matter movement has shown us clearly that protests do work! Though I would never diminish the importance of voting, I believe that voting alone is not enough to protect our most fundamental rights. This has certainly been one of the harshest lessons of the past four years.
Those of us who were engaged in the Black Liberation Struggle of the 1960’s will attest to the power of righteous, non-violent demonstrations and well organized direct action. It is only through such protests have we demonstrated to the world that Black Life is truly at-risk in this nation and that drastic, fundamental change is desperately needed. It is only through the power of protest have we been able to dramatize this long-standing injustice. And only by “taking it to the streets” have protesters provided a peaceful catharsis for mass outrage in the face of systemic, historic injustice.
We are now seeing that these protests have had a significant impact on voter turnout. In those areas of the country where heightened levels of protests have happened, voter turnout—especially Black voter turnout—has increased dramatically!
Let us hope that these unprecedented levels of mass protests have been a catalyst for positive change, channeling energy, resources and votes to candidates who will take up the cause for authentic, fundamental racial justice.
History teaches us that when mass global protests occur, change is on the horizon—hopefully, change that reflects the best for all humanity!