20 striking photos show the civil rights movement then ... and now.

The more things change, the more the fight remains.

The U.S. civil rights movement was a transformative, violent, lurching upheaval filled with blood, beauty, anger, love, and, finally, justice.

In 1865, the United States government abolished slavery. It gave black men the right to vote in 1870. The Civil Rights Act, signed by President Lyndon Johnson in 1964, redefined America — outlawing discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin — ending segregation and other unfair practices that targeted black Americans.

But the movement isn't over.

Institutionalized racism is an awful and ingrained part of American life. Black people make up 13% of the population but are incarcerated at nearly six times the rate of white Americans. Black schoolchildren are three times more likely to be suspended. Black college graduates are twice as likely to be unemployed. U.S. law may promise equality, but reality, it seems, has not caught up.


So the fight continues.

And in many ways, it's not all that different from the one that's already in our history books:

1. Marchers filled the streets of Montgomery, Alabama, in 1965...

Image by William Lovelace/Express/Getty Images.

And in Washington, D.C., in December 2014.

Image by Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images.

2. These are the signs black protestors carried in 1963 when they marched for jobs and freedom...

Image by Hulton Archive/Getty Images.

And these are the signs they carry today...

Image by Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images.

3. Civil rights leader John Lewis stood up for black rights in 1963...

Major American leaders of the black civil rights movement (left to right): John Lewis, Whitney Young, A. Philip Randolph, Martin Luther King Jr., James Farmer, and Roy Wilkins. Image Credit: AFP/AFP/Getty Images.

...and still fights for them today as a member of Congress representing Georgia.

Image by Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images.

4. Police were a formidable and regular presence at rallies throughout the 1960s...

Image by Express Newspapers/Getty Images.

...and continue to be so today.

Image by Michael B. Thomas/AFP/Getty Images.

5. Police violence at civil rights demonstrations was common.

Image by Hulton Archive/Getty Images.

50+ years later, not a lot has changed.

Image by Scott Olson/Getty Images.

6. Cops and soldiers used tear gas to disperse crowds...

Image by Hulton Archive/Getty Images.

...just as they do now.

Image by Scott Olson/Getty Images.

7. In 1965, civil rights leaders marched from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, to demand equality...

Image by William Lovelace/Express/Getty Images.

On last year's 50th anniversary, they marched again.

A big difference: This time, the first black president of the United States marched hand-in-hand with them. Image by Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images.

8. Civil rights supporters marked the deaths of victims of violence with memorials then...

14-year-old Emmett Till was lynched for whistling at a white woman in 1955. Image by Scott Olson/Getty Images.

...just as we do now.

This memorial marks the spot where 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot and killed while walking with his hoodie up in a gated Florida community. Image by Roberto Gonzalez/Getty Images.

9. In 1964, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Equal Rights Amendment.

Image by AFP/Getty Images.

In January 2017, Barack Obama, the first black president of the United States, will finish his second term.

Image by Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images.

10. In the 1960s, civil rights protestors brought their children to march alongside them...

Image by William Lovelace/Express/Getty Images.

...and they do the same at marches today.

Image by Michael B. Thomas/AFP/Getty Images.

Martin Luther King Jr. famously said: "I have decided to stick with love. ... Hate is too great a burden to bear."

And what's fighting for equality if not an act of love?

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Don't test on animals. That's something we can all agree on, right? No one likes to think of defenseless cats, dogs, hamsters, and birds being exposed to a bunch of things that could make them sick (and the animals aren't happy about it, either). It's no wonder so many people and organizations have fought to stop it. But did you ever think that maybe brands are testing products on us too, they're just not telling us they're doing it?

I know, I know, it sounds like a conspiracy theory, but that's exactly what e-cigarette brands like JUUL (which corners the e-cigarette market) are doing in this country right now, and young people are on the frontlines of the fallout. Most people assume that the government would have looked at devices that allow people to inhale unknown chemicals into their lungs BEFORE they hit the market. You would think that someone in the government would have determined that they are safe. But nope, that hasn't happened. And vape companies are fighting to delay the government's ability to evaluate these products.

So no one really knows the long-term health effects of e-cigarette use, not even JUUL's CEO, nor are they informing the public about the potential risks. On top of that, according to the FDA, there's been a 78% increase in e-cigarette usage among high school and middle school-aged children in just the last two years, prompting the U.S. Surgeon General to officially recognize the trend as an epidemic and urge action against it.

These facts have elicited others to take action, as well.

Truth Initiative, the nonprofit best known for dropping the real facts about smoking and vaping since 2000 through its truth campaign, is now on a mission to confront e-cigarette brands like JUUL about the lack of care they've taken to inform consumers of the potential adverse side effects of their products. And they're doing it with the help of animal protesters who are tired of seeing humans treated like test subjects.

The March Against JUUL | Tested On Humans | truth www.youtube.com

"No one knows the long-term effects of JUULing so any human who uses one is being used as a lab rat," says, appropriately, Mario the Sewer Rat.

"I will never stop fighting JUUL. Or the mailman," notes Doug the Pug, the Instagram-famous dog star.

Truth, the national counter-marketing campaign for youth smoking prevention, hopes this fuzzy, squeaky, snorty animal movement arms humans with the facts about vaping and inspires them to demand transparency from JUUL and other e-cigarette companies. You can get your own fur babies involved too by sharing photos of them wearing protest gear with the hashtag #DontTestOnHumans. Here's some adorable inspo for you:

The dangerous stuff is already out there, but with knowledge on their side, young people will hopefully make the right choices and fight companies making the wrong ones. If you need more convincing, here are the serious facts.

Over the last decade, 127 e-cigarette-related seizures were reported, which prompted the FDA to launch an official investigation in April 2019. Since then, over 215 cases of a new, severe lung illness have sprung up all over the country, with six deaths to date. While scientists aren't yet sure of the root cause, the majority of victims were young adults who regularly vaped and used e-cigarettes. As such, the CDC has launched an official investigation into the potential link.

Sixteen-year-old Luka Kinard, a former frequent e-cigarette-user, is one of the many teens who experienced severe side effects. "Vaping was my biggest addiction," he told NowThis. "It lasted for about 15 months of my high school career." In 2018, Kinard was hospitalized after having a seizure. He also had severe nausea, chest pains, and difficulty breathing.

After the harrowing experience, he quit vaping, and began speaking out about his experience to help inform others and hopefully inspire them to quit and/or take action. "It shouldn't take having a seizure as a result of nicotine addiction like I had for teens to realize that these companies are taking advantage of what we don't know," Kinard said.

Teens are 16 times more likely to use e-cigarettes than adults, and four times more likely to take up traditional smoking as a result, according to truth, and yet the e-cigarette market remains virtually unregulated and untested. In fact, companies like JUUL continue to block and prevent FDA regulations, investing more than $1 million in lawyers and lobbying efforts in the last quarter alone.

Photo by Lindsay Fox/Pixabay

Consumers have a right to know what they're putting in their bodies. If everyone (and their pets) speaks up, the e-cigarette industry will have to make a change. Young people are already taking action across the country. They're hosting rallies nationwide and on October 9 as part of a National Day of Action, young people are urging their friends and classmates to "Ditch JUUL." Will you join them?

For help with quitting e-cigarettes, visit thetruth.com/quit or text DITCHJUUL to 88709 for free, anonymous resources.

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