Tune In, Turn On, Drop Out: An Analysis of the 1960's


Most people think of the '60’s and '70’s as the party era in which priorities included sex, drugs and rock and roll. We have '60’s themed parties where we dress in bright colors and join the hippie movement for a night. The hippie movement was much more than rebelling against society. Most of the things fought during the counter culture movement are now normalized in our society to some degree. The hippies had fun producing great music, poetry, and theatre, but the crux of their movement was activism-- young people speaking up about big problems.
The most well-known protests during the 1970’s were against the Vietnam War. College campuses formed peaceful demonstrations to work together and bring their friends home. Those drafted were around 19 years old; they were not allowed to drink, but were believed to possess the mental capacity to fight in a war. On May 4th, 1970, the students of Kent State University formed a peaceful protest against the Vietnam War. The students were unarmed and raised their voices against the numerous injustices of the war. When the police arrived, they opened fire on the demonstrators. Four unarmed students were killed by officers of the state in a peaceful protest fighting to keep their friends alive.
In 1957, women got their hands on Enovoid, the first birth pill released to the American public. Women now had the right to cross the line between pleasure and reproduction. Due to a decline in unwanted pregnancy, the birth pill caused a rise in female enrollment for higher education. Women were therefore awarded the same sexual freedoms as men. A few months later, abortion was legalized for women in their first trimester of pregnancy. This radically changed the opportunities sent forth for women; they now had the right to choose when to reproduce. The women who advocated and exercised their freedoms risked their social status by directly opposing the culture around them. Through the bravery of these women, second-wave feminism was born.
On June 28th, 1969, a police raid was conducted against LGBT+ youth in a gay club, the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village. Thousands of youth rioted against uniformed forces and the prejudices they endured. LGBT+ individuals fought racial, generational, and sexual barriers in job interviews, public spaces, and educational advancements.  Their message was heard loud and clear.
“I have a dream…” said Dr. King in his famous speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. He stood there after the March on Washington, a demonstration advocating civil rights. The participants in the march had common goals: to unite against racism and to meet Dr. King. They joined hands and protested against the deprecating treatment of African Americans in the South. With their astounding numbers and peaceful protest methods, they made an impact on the society around them.
At this point, you might be thinking, “Wow that’s cool, but, like, how does that have anything to do with me?”
Look around you. Look at your classmates. It is our responsibility to be the counter culture now.

My best friend started a project to reduce the disposable cup usage in our school. She received instant backlash, which led me to two possible explanations-- either the students in my school just needed something to be angry about, or they legitimately believed that paper cups are more important than environmental conservation. I find myself leaning towards the latter.
It is no longer sufficient enough for us to “raise awareness.” We must look at the injustices we face in the world. We must try to make changes in policies regarding our climate. We must seize racism by the roots and pull it out of our system. We must sew pads for girls in refugee countries who use leaves during menstruation,  and we must educate the younger generations about problems they may face in the near future.
I challenge you to look around. Find a problem you are determined to change. It can be personal, such as buying your parents a retirement home, or it can be one on a larger scale such as limiting nuclear outburst to reduce the amount of radiation in the atmosphere. Just find something-- anything.
Tune into your problem, turn on your passion, and drop out ideas to change this problem. Embrace your inner hippie.
By Dvita Kapadia

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