During the 2016 Presidential Election, I was in my senior year of high school. The election's controversy caused my high school's administration and even the church I was a part to keep the election a hushed topic.
They feared a polarization between classmates and church members.
Most of my friends, teachers, and classmates became quiet about their support for their presidential choice, I chose to do the opposite.
I was adamant about my support for one of the candidates. I openly discussed my political views on social media or in conversations with friends, even though, the election remained a feared topic.
I wanted to exercise my freedom by actively discussing a historical election in our country.
Because of that if you knew me, you knew my political views, and I think that is just fine.
The morning after the election, the atmosphere in my high school was different. There was a polarization between people some were wearing black to express their grief and then there were people celebrating.
But what I did not expect was the rebuttal from my classmates.
I did not know expressing my freedom of speech would mean being ignored by people who sat next to me in my classes or who walked past me in the hallway. I didn't know it would cause friction in some of my relationships.
So it got me wondering, should I keep my mouth shut? Should I not speak up?
If I am not able to express what I believe, how will I be able to speak about other things in my life? Will I just keep things to myself for fear of judgment or hate?
Is that not what the sexually harassed victims of the #MeToo campaign are trying to tell us? That we live in a society that wants us to shut-up rather than speak up?
Though I got a negative reaction, I learned something important:
Express your opinions, share your beliefs, take a stand, and take advantage that we have freedom of speech.
People may shun you and they might not like you, but being bold gives you something others do not have and that is a voice.
So, choose to have a voice, choose to be a voice in a society where we fear to talk about certain topics.
Whether it be your faith, your political opinions, standing up against a bully, it doesn't matter what you are choosing to talk about but make sure you speak loudly and act boldly.