6 meaningful crowds: Biggest social movements with real change

by Cassady Craighill

January 22, 2013

Crowds have moved together to achieve amazing things for all of humanity for centuries. Yesterday, a truly historic crowd of more than 1 million people gathered on the national mall to witness the inauguration of President Barack Obama on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in our nations capitol.

We were beyond thrilled to hear President Obama speak these words yesterday during his inaugural address:

We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.

His words left us empowered and motivated.

The American people have created big change before. We can do it again. Lets make the climate movement the next big movement with real change. While our President indicated he was ready to lead on this front, we have the power to lead the transition to a clean energy revolution as passionate activists working for our future and that of our children.

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6. Occupy!

The Occupy movement is often difficult to describe as it took many different forms with local groups contributing to a national protest of financial inequality. We are the 99 percent encompasses the passion and emotion behind the national Occupy movement.

5. Labor movement

While never really over and licking its wounds from some more recent setbacks in Wisconsin, the labor movement sped up during the Industrial Revolution with victories in child labor, working conditions and wages.

4. Arab Spring

Truly a revolution resulting in the overthrow of dictatorships with a major social media aspect, the Arab Spring including uprisings in Egypt, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Tunisia and Bahrain. While still a struggle with rocky transitions to democracy, the Arab Spring signifies a move towards a very different Middle East.

3. Womens suffrage

Led by women like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, the womens suffrage movement was a lengthy battle for voting rights that peaked with the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1919. The Seneca Falls Convention of 1848 marked the beginning of the movement with combined local and national events including a 30,000-women march in New York City in 1915.

2. Anti-apartheid

Greenpeace Internationals executive director Kumi Naidoo was shaped by the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa, a fight that was long-fought and bloody. 1990 marked the official abolishment of apartheid and the democratic national elections were held four years later with the election of Nelson Mandela.

1. US Civil Rights Movement

From bus boycotts in Alabama to Martin Luther Kings stirring I Have a Dream speech in 1963, the civil rights movement in the United States remains an inspiration. A combination of localized organization resulting an awe-inspiring national movement, we can learn invaluable amounts from Civil Rights leaders and the people powering change for equal rights in this country.

As our international leader Kumi Naidoo said in a recent interview, let’s hope “sanity will prevail with climate change just as it did with apartheid.”

Be part of the movement towards a clean energy future. RSVP NOW for the largest climate rally in history this President’s Day weekend!

Cassady Craighill

By Cassady Craighill

Cassady is a media officer for Greenpeace USA based on the East Coast. She covers climate change and energy, particularly how both issues relate to the Trump administration.

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