You may say I’m a dreamer

Some events on campus lately have really stirred my thoughts on freedom of speech. From hateful and degrading words being yelled across the mall at students, to an event specifically mocking a religion — yes it is freedom of speech, but in my opinion, it is just plain bullying.

Just because something can be done, does not mean it should. And if an action is purely to try and get a reaction out of someone — it probably is not something that should be done at all.

I believe it is a basic human right to feel loved, to feel accepted just as you are, to feel welcome.

I believe it is a basic human right to not be publicly humiliated, to not be specifically targeted.

Freedom of speech comes with a great responsibility. A responsibility to use your words in a productive way. To share your opinions, and to allow others to share their opinions too. To respect the opinions and beliefs of others. To educate yourself, and to approach topics from a place of genuine curiosity, not from intentional mockery or hate. To have open, honest discussions with people from all different walks of life.

My heart absolutely breaks every time I hear about these events that are intentionally making members of our beautifully diverse community feel singled out or unwelcome. Events where the sole purpose is to see what kind of reaction you can get — instead of events that liven and enrich our community.

I hope and pray for the day that we can have a world-wide community that believes all have the right to feel loved, to feel accepted just as they are, to feel welcome. A community that believes no one should be publicly humiliated nor specifically targeted.

You may say I’m a dreamer … but I’m not the only one

— Valerie

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