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Celebrate right to debate

Youth activism is something to be celebrated, even if one may not agree with the issue prompting the debate.

On Friday, a student-led climate rally took place in front of City Hall in Nashua. Earlier this fall, student activists throughout Greater Nashua staged classroom walkouts and other activities meant to draw attention to climate change concerns, such as global warming.

Rather than weigh in on the climate change issue itself, we want to take a look at the bigger picture. Today’s youth are tomorrow’s voters. To see future leaders actively engaged in public debate and driving narrative about key issues facing our country is promising.

May this and future generations never forget the power all U.S. citizens are afforded by the First Amendment of the Constitution. It reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

This is what makes America great. This is what makes the United States the Land of the Free, Home of the Brave. This is what inspires hope for today, tomorrow and all the years to come.

That’s why we encourage youth activism. We hope more people remember that it is OK to not agree with a message, but to still support a person’s right to share that message.

The type of climate change rally we would like to see is one in which citizens band together to change the climate of negativity that would have family, friends and neighbors lose relationships simply based upon to what political party a person may belong.

It’s possible to agreeably disagree. It’s possible to do so respectfully, and it is every citizen’s right to exercise his or her voice. Let’s change the climate of trying to silence those with whom we don’t agree and embrace activism at all levels. To do so would bring new meaning to the phrase “cleaning up the environment.”