By Tanya Zwahlen
The last few months have brought dissent to the foreground. From Black Lives Matter to anti-mask demonstrations to protests about the Rochester City School District budget cuts, we are observing the state of our nation and reflecting on what protests represent to our communities. We are also thinking about how they fit into the realm of public engagement. Protests are a call to action and an attempt to shift power back to the hands of the public. They are a signal for elected officials to stop and listen. Rallies and protests are an organized and intentional way for the public to demand to participate in decision making processes. They can be disruptive and chaotic, as well as powerful and moving. They fall outside of a typical public engagement process, and yet they are a critical part of our democracy.
Tanya’s son and his classmates protested mid-year cuts to the Rochester City School District budget in December 2019.