Social movements have a complex, yet crucial role in society. Social movements come about when there is a common issue that a group stands up for. Social movements can be highly organized like the National Rifle Association or semi-spontaneous like the Women’s march. They have a common goal of raising awareness and usually have some agenda in mind. That agenda could be simply raising awareness, or accomplishing some kind of greater change. Whether that change be in legislation or just a change in the way people think.
Social movements are a prime example of our first amendment rights. Being able to practice free speech, organize peaceful protests and having the power to make a difference in our government are all great privileges of living in our country.
Social movements have achieved many great things like women’s rights, the civil rights movement, the american indian movement has come a long way, and even the Lakota at the Dakota access pipeline. They may not have stopped the pipeline, but they raised great awareness and mustered great support for the AIM movement and the Lakota people.
Social movements role in society is not necessarily to achieve an agenda or solely change laws. Social movement’s role is to allow people the opportunity to come together, speak their mind, and make people aware of an issue that is close to their heart. They can practice their constitutional right, while making a difference in the world they live in. Just because their main goals aren’t met or nothing was achieved on their “agenda” does not mean the social movement was not successful. For a social movement to be successful, all they have to do is make someone aware of an issue, that they were not aware of before.