Activism needs to continue into summer


Kat St. Martin-Norburg

There have been a steady stream of protests since Jan. 2017, with significant stagnation during fall and summer months.

March for Our Lives, Women’s marches, and Black Lives Matter are all examples of social activist groups that have been brought to the nation’s attention. Marches and protests for these causes have had high student involvement and attendance during the school year, but once school is over, most will forget all about social activism. This needs to be changed because students should feel like they can participate and should be motivated to use their First Amendment rights all year, not just when they are at school.

SPA’s administration encourages students to practice their rights to free speech and the right to peacefully assemble. This support makes it easier for students to particiapte in protests, but oftentimes students will not attend protests that aren’t during the school day or school year. Missing class for a good cause is much more attractive than taking time out of your day, but it is still crucial that students continue to do so regardless of whether or not they are in school.

Participation in these causes leads students to gain knowledge about their First Amendment rights and on how to properly use them by being put in a situation where they are able to utilize them without restriction. These causes also allow students to consider choices that they make regarding their beliefs, which is an important thing that adults are forced to do all the time. It is imperative that these skills are utilized during the summertime as well.

Utilizing First Amendment rights has many positive benefits. However, many students only focus on social activism during the school year and don’t think about it once school is out. This is because the school has provided a supportive environment which motivates students to participate. Additionally, peer pressure and the knowledge that participation is occurring around them leads to students being more likely to engage in social activism.

In order to increase students social activism outside of the school year, students themselves need to spread their knowledge on groups or events that are happening over the summer. This would increase the amount of students who are aware of ways that they can participate and exercise their First Amendment rights. Along with spreading knowledge, students can invite their friends to join them in protesting, which raises awareness and the numbers of people participating in social activist events. Social activism can and should be known about and practiced all year long. Civic engagement is critical to this country and a central method of exercising first amendment rights, which cannot take breaks like school does. Just because school is out does not mean that participation in social activism is as well.