As we witness large displays of political unrest on the streets of our cities and towns, our concern for the future of our country continues to grow. In the midst of these encounters amongst distressed citizens and overextended law enforcement, the vision behind the spirit of protest can become clouded behind the rush of emotions. Our collective love for our country is precisely why it is of utmost importance that we actively listen to one another with the intention to understand. We all have a need to be heard. And for Americans, our right to lift our voices is one that we hold very near and dear to our hearts.
The flame that sparked the road to independence of our great country first began to kindle when the Sons of Liberty started a revolutionary movement to resist unjust taxation without representation imposed by the British government. Beginning with riots in Boston that denounced the Stamp Act’s burdensome tax on all written documents, the Sons of Liberty gained notoriety across the colonies and thus an unstoppable movement was born. Protests erupted from North to South, as future Americans demanded the resignation of British-appointed officials and claimed authority over their own economy. The Sons quickly organized their resistance by uniting in mass boycotts and forming local committees to maintain correspondence between colonies as they continued to take to the streets in protest.
The louder our forefathers raised their voices, the harder the British soldiers stuck down with military force. It was in this moment that we became vitally aware of our need for liberty, freedom, and autonomy from the state. It was in this moment that we understood the potentially oppressive nature of large governments. It was in this moment that we centralized our core right to free speech because we understood that the people must be able to speak out against unjust rule. This spirit of American freedom drives our democracy and lives through us all. Our unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness powerfully unite the American people behind a common cause: freedom and voice.
It is out of respect for our Constitution that our people bring their voices to the streets. It is in their love for America that our people find the spirit to protest. We must hold sacred and protect this tradition that built our democracy and sustains our nation’s freedom. When we respect and uplift one another’s right to speak up, we live by our American values and strengthen our democracy.