After almost a century of hunger strikes, marches and imprisonment, white American women were given the right to vote in 1920. This same right for Black Americans was granted by the 15th Amendment but wasn't’ widely acted on until 1965 when the Voting Rights Act was signed to overcome legal barriers at the state level.

Because of protests, 8- and 9-year-olds no longer work in factories.

Because of protests, state bans on interracial marriage was ruled unconstitutional.

One day in the 1970s, I was walking past what is now George Pyle Park and saw a Black family sitting in their car. They called me over and asked if they could get water from the fountain. I assured them that they could.

Because of protests, signs saying “whites only” have disappeared, along with requirements to go to the back of an empty bus.

During the Vietnam War, young Americans not only marched but burned the American flag. Some were shot and killed by American officers. After the loss and injury of thousands of young Americans and thousands of Vietnamese civilians, somebody realized that the young protesters were right. In 1978, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was dedicated, honoring those who served and died in the Vietnam War.

This country was founded on protest. Remember the Boston Tea Party?

Kneeling is not disrespecting the American flag; it is holding the flag accountable for what it stands for: “liberty and justice for all.”

Protest means something is wrong, and God help us all if we lose that right.

“If there is no struggle, there is no progress” -- Frederick Douglass, 1857

Elsie Wickliffe