Do protests, marches and rallies help or hurt a cause?

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Answered by: Deidre, An Expert in the Activism and Advocacy Category
It is unrealistic to believe that there could ever be a law written that was perceived as fair and reasonable by 100% of the people. We elect our officials and approve our laws based on the vote of the majority, regardless of the validity of the claim or credibility of the argument of the opposing voters in the minority. Protests, marches and rallies on the steps of government buildings generally attracted attention, but had no impact on the issue at hand.



The laws are never expected to be perfect or without room for changes, but they are expected to be fair. It is the duty of our elected officials to make amendments to the laws and to permit every citizen who wishes to testify either for or against the proposed changes the opportunity to do so during the regular legislative session of the General Assembly.

Once the General Assembly convenes the legislative session is finished for the year and no further action will be taken. What this means is that there is approximately one year until the next General Assembly session, and activists and supporters of the proposed legislative actions must use that time to reach out and sway public opinion in order to become the majority, and impact and influence public policy making decisions.



A year may sound like plenty of time to gain support for your cause, but keep in mind that changing someone's opinion is rarely a quick or easy process. It is important to use the time you have as effectively and efficiently as possible, and having a game plan is critical.

Considering the time frame that you have to work within the focus should be on getting your message out to as many people possible and as often as possible. When you make your points clear, concise and engaging they are more readily accepted.

The legislators are elected officials, and have their positions of power because they were voted in by the majority. In order to keep their jobs they will focus on the issue that is of the greatest importance to largest number of voters. Support for your cause has grown tremendously and it is critical that the lawmakers know how important your cause is, and to comprehend the substantial number of voters he could win or lose.

A common, and often fatal mistake that an activists can make is to lose sight of the importance of credibility and professionalism. What you have chosen to do is become directly involved in the legislative process and exercise your right to do so, and adherence to protocol is critical. Attempting to capture the attention of the legislators with protests marches and rallies is counterproductive.

An assembled crowd shouting demands has ignored the rules of protocol and demonstrates a lack of respect for the judicial process. Protests and rallies are better suited for sharing information and increasing public awareness.

Legislators are far more receptive when they are contacted by constituents who politely expressed their views and why the particular issue is important to them.

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