Local News

How do you translate protests into tangible social change, reform?

Posted June 4, 2020 4:21 p.m. EDT
Updated June 4, 2020 6:07 p.m. EDT

— Thousands of people have joined protests around the Triangle and around the globe demanding an end to police violence and systemic racism.

The passion and momentum are there. Now many are wondering how to translate it into tangible, lasting social change and reform.

Experts believe these protests will create a social impact. And in some cases, they believe they already have.

What's the next step?

Irving Joyner, a professor at North Carolina Central University School of Law, said he believes the first step is the keep the passion growing. "Continue to show up," he said. "Continue to express their outrage, but in a nonviolent manner."

He said change can start by pushing for reform of police department policy.

"One thing I would want to change is the ability of police officers to use force and fatal force in securing and apprehending people who have been the subject of a crime or criminal allegation," he said.

Duke African-American Studies Professor Mark Anthony Neal said people can also create change by voting, and by joining civic groups dedicated to equality.

"I think whenever we see multi-racial protests, I am encouraged. Because it means that the message is beginning to impact upon people who normally don’t take an interest in it," said Neal.

The experts said that's part of the change already happening: That so many people are getting involved in the fight for equality who may not have been as actively involved before.​

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