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How Freedom of Speech Can Ignite Change

Category: 2019 High School (Grades 9-12)
Student: Madeline Cairl
School: Peekskill High School Peekskill, NY
Teacher: Zorielle Rodriguez-Alcazar

Within the past month in the town of Peekskill where I live and attend school, my peers and I were lucky enough to join the global fight against climate change in our own local community along with hundreds of thousands of others in hundreds of locations. At nine in the morning we walked down to Senator Chuck Schumer's office in Peekskill and participated in a two hour long protest and discussion on the issue of climate change and how to help hoping that politicians hear us. 

Without Freedom of Speech and freedom of protest, organizing an event like this would be impossible. People of all ages, races, and sexes, were allowed their right to stand up for what they believed in and demand change not only in their community, but around the country and around the world. In New York City alone, the turnout for the protest was about 1.1 million public school students, including the girl who started it all, Swedish 16 year old Greta Thunberg.1


Although some may look at our protest as small, because of freedom of speech our small group was able to step onto a global stage where we are welcome to voice our opinion and fight for a difference. Our freedoms allow us to continually voice what we want without any consequences. Freedom of speech will always be important and sets our society apart from many others, especially those in worse conditions, but the most amazing part of it all is that we can give a voice to the voiceless.

Being able to have this freedom can ignite change all over the world even if you are just one person in a tiny town. With freedom of speech, press, and protest, everyone has equal power and their words can make a difference.

1. Barnard, Anne. "1.1 Million Can Skip School for Climate Protest." The New York Times. September 16, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/16/nyregion/youth-climate-strike-nyc.html

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