Our Youth

Let Them Speak: What Freedom of Speech Means To Me

Activists in Berlin take part in a “Walk for Freedom” to protest human trafficking in this 2018 photo. (Photo: Catholic News Service/Fabrizio Bensch, Reuters) 

By Marie Collins

Freedom of speech is the right that we, as citizens of the United States, are entitled to.


This right, included in the First Amendment to the Constitution, states that the government may not punish people or organizations based on what they say or write.

Society often overlooks this right, because without it, many actions would be considered illegal.

People would not have the right to voice their own opinions when they are in opposition to the circumstances or governing authorities.

My personal experience with freedom of speech is most often in school occurrences. For instance, when multiple people have similar issues, they can collectively approach the administration or the student governing body, namely student council, to address the problem.

This is an effective method because it represents the students’ right to express their opinions when they are in disagreement with the authorities.

Not Taken For Granted

Judging from past encounters, I will not take this right for granted because it can be useful in solving disputes or clarifying misunderstandings.

I believe the right to speak our minds can open up numerous possibilities for our own benefit, as well as alter the perspectives of those around us.

In the absence of this right, we would not be allowed to speak out with contrasting views and be limited to the extent of our protests.

The right to free speech gives me a sense of understanding for the appreciation I should have as a citizen because of the numerous liberties I am guaranteed under law.

The practice of free speech is a significant part in exercising the rights we are eligible for as citizens.

To me, it displays the pride and respect I have for our country. As opposed to the past, where people were punished for overexpressing their opinions, freedom of speech is underestimated by many due to its simplicity.

The underlying power of this privilege is much greater than what appears in writing.

Collins is a junior at Bishop Kearney H.S., Bensonhurst. She was the regional winner in the Fleet Reserve Association’s essay contest.