7 times in U.S. history when people protested and things changed.

Protesting is a part of the American DNA; when voices unite, there are real results.

With so many protests taking place, America feels like it’s on the cusp of a political revolution.

There’s an outcry for empathy and for concrete action to fix the inequalities baked into our society. Bernie Sanders whipped his following into a frenzy in the hope of reforming what many perceive to be a broken and outdated system. Black Lives Matter marches have taken over streets and highways, demanding justice for slain black men, women, and kids. There have been violent clashes as various groups fight to be heard.

With protest after protest, many people may be asking themselves: Do protests actually make a difference?

Here’s the answer: They do, even if it takes a while to see results.

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Aspen Institute

U.S. Rep. John Lewis of Georgia knows more than most about the importance of voting.

Which is why on Nov. 3, 2016, he tweeted this photo:

Throughout his life and his work, Lewis has fought for our democracy — and for his right to vote.

The 15th Amendment granted African-Americans the right to vote in 1870. In many areas, however, it was too difficult and dangerous for black citizens to exercise that right. In many states, voting while black meant risking your life.

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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.

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