Standing united for a common goal; it’s a basic concept that formed the foundation of some of the biggest game-changing protests in America.

“Nothing strengthens authority so much as silence.”

It’s not hard to believe that those seven words, first spoken 500 years ago by Renaissance man Leonardo da Vinci, still mean so much to so many people today. In that one statement, da Vinci sums up the fundamental principle behind why it is sometimes necessary for individuals to come together, regardless of age, color or creed, to let their many voices become one and their actions lead the way to bringing attention to causes that deserve to be known.

America was built on the backs of protesters; early colonists demanded a fair say from those in power across the ocean in Britain, an uprising that helped lead the United States on the road to independence.

In recent years, gay rights advocates fought a very long battle in their demand to have same-sex unions afforded the same legal rights as ‘traditional’ marriages.

Occupy Wall Street activists stood up against economic inequality and the dangerous reliance of political representatives on corporate support and the effects it had on their policy making.

Protests can divide people. They can raise emotions, cause anger, sometimes violence. But they also get people talking, a necessary step in issues being seriously addressed. Were we living in a perfect society, would the act of protesting be necessary? Probably not. Our world, as we all know, is not perfect.

But perfection is never the goal, is it? Progress is a goal. Respect is a goal. Fairness is a goal. One might argue that in this day and age, even common sense is a goal.

Story by Jay Moon