Peaceful Protesting And U.C. Berkleley

Peaceful Protesting And U.C. Berkleley

Violence is not the answer.
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In light of the recent events that have occurred in America, we have been seeing a number of protests erupt across the country. These are in response to the Presidential election, women's rights, etc. The United States Constitution protects your right to peaceably protest the government. Let us not take this right for granted.

This past week, a protest was staged at U.C Berkeley after Republican speaker Milo Yiannopoulos was invited to the school by a Republican student group to give a speech. According to the New York Times, many students and faculty had petitioned for the university to cancel the event, but the chancellor declined, claiming it was free speech. This further angered the students and faculty who were protesting, so on the day of Milo's scheduled visit, they gathered outside of Berkeley's student union center in hopes that the event would be canceled.

The protest began creatively and peacefully but quickly turned violent. The demonstration allegedly caused over $100,000 worth of damage to Berkeley's campus. Two students were attacked, protesters threw Molotov cocktails to ignite flames and commercial-grade fireworks at police. The windows of the student union center were smashed, and the campus fell victim to vandalism. Not all of the protesters were Berkeley students; some of the protesters were part of a group known as "Black Bloc" that has allegedly been causing problems in the Oakland area for quite some time. (Read about it here.)

Students were pepper sprayed and hurt, Trump supporters and students alike. Mr. Yiannopoulos had to be evacuated from the area, out of concern for public safety. Even after the police dispersed the protesters from Berkeley's campus, a group that remained moved downtown and began smashing the windows of banks.

This chain of events begs the question: is this how we get things done? Some people have claimed that peaceful protesting would not have succeeded in canceling the event. Does this mean the violence was justified?

Can violence ever be justified?

The Constitution protects our right to peacefully protest - not smash windows or vandalize a campus.

How can we ask for the government to protect our right to freedom of speech if we shun those who disagree? Intolerance of speech and rhetoric that is different from your own does nothing to help this country. This is not how you "peacefully protest". Regardless of your personal opinion on the situation or your opinion of Yiannopoulos, this violent demonstration was an attack on the freedom of speech that the public has been trying so very hard to preserve.

Peaceful protests are non-violent and do not infringe on the rights of others. protest that blocks "vehicular or pedestrian traffic" is illegal without a permit, nor do you have the right to block the entrance of a building. You cannot advocate for peace while destroying property or infringing on other people's lives or rights.

In the words of Desmond Tutu, "Don't raise your voice, improve your argument."

This country has a history of peaceful protests, ones that have shaped society today. Through peaceful protesting, women gained the right to vote, made racial segregation unlawful in Alabama and later the rest of the country, and more. Peaceful protest often takes time to gain traction and for a difference to be made. Violence is not the way we bring about a more progressive society. Silencing other people's voices is not how we fight injustice.

Cover Image Credit: Google

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5 Perks Of Having A Long-Distance Best Friend

The best kind of long-distance relationship.
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Sometimes, people get annoyed when girls refer to multiple people as their "best friend," but they don't understand. We have different types of best friends. There's the going out together best friend, the see each other everyday best friend and the constant, low maintenance best friend.

While I'm lucky enough to have two out of the three at the same school as me, my "low maintenance" best friend goes to college six hours from Baton Rouge.

This type of friend is special because no matter how long you go without talking or seeing each other, you're always insanely close. Even though I miss her daily, having a long-distance best friend has its perks. Here are just a few of them...

1. Getting to see each other is a special event.

Sometimes when you see someone all the time, you take that person and their friendship for granted. When you don't get to see one of your favorite people very often, the times when you're together are truly appreciated.

2. You always have someone to give unbiased advice.

This person knows you best, but they probably don't know the people you're telling them about, so they can give you better advice than anyone else.

3. You always have someone to text and FaceTime.

While there may be hundreds of miles between you, they're also just a phone call away. You know they'll always be there for you even when they can't physically be there.

4. You can plan fun trips to visit each other.

When you can visit each other, you get to meet the people you've heard so much about and experience all the places they love. You get to have your own college experience and, sometimes, theirs, too.

5. You know they will always be a part of your life.

If you can survive going to school in different states, you've both proven that your friendship will last forever. You both care enough to make time for the other in the midst of exams, social events, and homework.

The long-distance best friend is a forever friend. While I wish I could see mine more, I wouldn't trade her for anything.

Cover Image Credit: Just For Laughs-Chicago

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A Florida House Committee Is Undermining Your Vote On Amendment 4

Before felons can regain their right to vote, they must pay court fines, fees, and take care of any other "financial obligations." Essentially, this is a poll tax.

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Amendment 4, also known as the Voting Rights Restoration for Felons Initiative, was added to the Constitution of Florida after being passed this last midterm election on November 6, 2018.

Amendment 4 restored the voting rights of Floridians with prior felony convictions after all terms of their sentence have been met, including parole and probation. This amendment only applies to felons who have not been convicted of murder or sexual offenses.

On January 8, 2019, an estimated 1.4 million ex-felons regained their right to vote. This is monumental. Prior to this amendment, Florida was one of four states that used felony disenfranchisement. Amendment 4 gives voice, and rightfully so, to felons who have served their time. Amendment 4 is also putting to rest, finally, years and years of disenfranchisement and suppression.

Now, only two months after its passage, the House Criminal Justice Committee is trying to water down this piece of legislation. This is a direct violation of the will of the 64% of Floridians who voted for the legislation as is. This amendment was not to be "clarified," as Governor DeSantis put it, but rather to be self-implementing.

However, the House Criminal Justice Committee proposed a bill that would tack on some extra qualifiers in order for felons to be enfranchised. The bill will require court fines, fees, and other "financial obligations" (in addition to fees administered in a judge's sentence) to be paid in full before a felon's voting rights are restored. This seems awfully similar to a poll tax to me. Obviously, this is going to affect people without a lot of resources rather than white-collar criminals who can afford a $500,000 bond.

This new qualifier will prevent felons from voting based on the money that can be coughed up as if they don't have to worry about their finances long after they leave prison.

Some may argue that these felons shouldn't have committed a crime in the first place. However, I would argue that holding a felon's vote hostage on the basis of money is unconstitutional.

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