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Freedom of Petition

Throughout the First Amendment, numerous ideas encompass the vague ideas of free speech and the freedom to govern one’s own life choices. However, within the historic document are many freedoms one may take for granted in going about their day that goes unrecognized, from freedom of the press to freedom of association. A freedom I acknowledge to be of worth in my life is the freedom of assembly and petition, which accredited to the document itself explains, “Congress shall make no law... abridging...the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” The First Amendment was designed to be applicable and versatile to countless situations, or simply put, up to one’s own interpretation. To me and to the vast majority, it grants the citizens the freedom to challenge ideas and display their desires for change through pacifistic methods such as peaceful protest and petition. Now, the abundance of today’s youth may not relate to this right, or at least not yet, but, in that slim portion of the population, there are those that feel most obligated to address the significance of the right to assemble and petition, such as myself. In the weeks prior to the start of the school year, a couple of teens in the area were discussing topics of controversy, one of which being the infamous gay marriage movement. Each of us were advocates for legalizing marriage equality, which lead us to thinking how we could inspire others our age to gather and speak for the generation which will soon be the adults of our nation. We came to the conclusion that we should hold a protest, just the handful of us, outside the local gas station near the bustling intersection. Our signs read, “Separation between Church and State” along with “Honk if you Support Gay Marriage.” While we received heartening feedback from passerby, stopping to encourage us, there were those who strongly disagreed, displaying their views through showing thumbs down and giving a middle finger, one of those being a city police officer. The statement one man made has stuck with me since, “Aren’t you a little too young to be doing this?” I approached him and replied,” You’re never too young to exercise your rights.” He drove off, speechless. At the core of any protest, a right granted by our founding fathers, rests the underline message best worded by Mother Teresa, “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone and create many ripples.” Essentially, we can all inspire change and progression in government, something many countries unlike ours cannot.



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