Before this year I had never seen many protests or really gave much thought to them. In my ignorant, blissful mind, things were peaceful, especially around me. When Black Lives Matters protests around the country started happening following the death of George Floyd, I started thinking a lot about what protests were and what their purpose was.
I was fine with the idea of protests, I recognized the rights the people protesting had; they wanted a change and they have the right to show their opinion about a needed change by protesting. But then the protesting throughout the country turned into rioting and looting, destroying businesses and even putting people’s lives in danger. That’s when I realized the difference between a protest and a riot. A peaceful protest is good, it’s a right and allows others to share their opinion and make a change. A riot is harmful and does no good.
I became saddened by watching the news and seeing the divide between the country. Watching people turn violent and innocent people’s businesses get destroyed. The sadness I was feeling struck me even harder when a violent protest came close to home in downtown Provo just last week.
What started as just a normal protest in Provo, became a riot, and the riot led to an innocent man being shot. The protest that started to help Black lives, harmed an innocent life. This is what is unacceptable. When a protest becomes a riot, it’s hurting not helping.
Of course, not all of the recent protests have turned into riots and been harmful, there have been plenty of wholesome protests that demonstrate exactly what a protest should be; people sharing their opinions of a change.
Protesting is a right. Rioting is a crime. When protesting turns into rioting, it’s harmful and goes against the whole purpose of what’s originally intended. If the protest isn’t helping lives, then what is it doing?
— Kenzie Holbrook
Universe Senior Reporter