The Artist, The Student, & The Teen

"If I am who I am with rights, I am nothing without them."

You never know what you have until it's gone...

My current stance in life: public school student, artist, social teenager, volunteer/human being. Every single one of these things play a role in who I am today, who I was yesterday, who I will be tomorrow, and who I will become in the future. Average American teenagers like me go about their day not realizing the personal freedom they have because of their First Amendment Rights.


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As far as expression goes, Americas allowed freedom of speech has caused our cultural trends to globalize through out the world. Other countries and their people have begun to adapt our slang, fashion, foods, Not only has this influenced the world, it's influenced American teens to express themselves in new ways.

But not all teenagers are so lucky, both middle and high school age teenagers in Japan must follow a strict dress code as to what (if any) color their hair can be, how their hair may be worn, what kind of accessories can they wear (if any at all), what kind of shoes they can wear inside, all the way to what type of backpack/satchel they must use.

But, freedom of speech goes so much farther than the classroom. In my case, the freedom of speech is the center of my future. I wish to profess in the craft of an artisan--an innovator, an inventor, a thinker, an illustrator, a writer, a poet, a craftsman of sorts. My goal is to startle the world with concepts that are larger than myself, using art as my medium for self-expression. Without speech & self-expression, not only the things I love, but my future would be put on hold. Self-expression is THE MOST important right to me, and without it, I would be lost.


Although in recent years, seen in a twisted and abusive light, media has become a prime example of the goods and bads that come with having the right of freedom of press. Scandals, lies, & racism have been some of the largest headlines to catch the American eye recently. This is all due to our right of free press. Anyone can write anything they want for anyone to read.

In my time on social media, I've accumulated a large amount of "internet friends" who all share a common love for anime and manga art, culture, etc. One of my friends in general is a freelance writer as well as an author, she has a popular internet personality and has become something of a star with her lighthearted, but sometimes opinionated posts and internet articles.

Her books, of course, don't express that because with that there is a sense of professionalism. I am an editor for BHS' newspaper team, and I also take a journalism class. My writing for these classes are much more professional because there are a set of guidelines I must follow so I don't get censored. Although censoring of some sorts is a against our first amendment, schools (with prior review) can censor students stories if they feel that aren't within the guidelines.

Where as, I can write as freely as I want on social media, with the added security of only people I know getting to read it and comment on it.

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When asked what our least important right was, after contemplating it, I chose assembly. So what? I can't get in a big group, what would I need that for? It was then explained to me in one simple situation why assembly is so important. If you and your friends ever wanted to go to the movies together, you couldn't. IT didn't seem like a big deal to me, but then I thought. If me and my family ever wanted to go to a restaurant together, we couldn't, if we had to go to a wedding, funeral, reunion, party-- it'd be impossible. If we aren't allowed to me in groups, we become isolated to the world. Without groups, I'd never have met any of my friends that I talk to in school everyday, and if it weren't for groups, I'd never met any friends that I talk to on the internet every day. No sports teams-- no volleyball. No art galleries-- no exposure. No group projects-- no cooperation. No assembly, no social life. Without assembly, there'd be no protesting, and nothing would ever get done-- nothing would ever change. We'd all be out here on our own, trying to build a life in a world where groups are stronger than one person; where there is strength in numbers. "None of our rights are disposable" is the is easy answer.
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I see our right to petition as our most useful and progressive right. It gives us to right to not only question the government, but question everything. Questions inspire ideas, which inspires innovation, which inspires change. Without change, we'd be stuck in the same place without movement.

Petitions make headlines, and get peoples attention, which is most of the time-- all you need before people change and ideas begin to spread. The main headlines in all the national news outlets have recently, have all been about protests. Which have sparked more and more protests, which will only continue until change is made. Petitioning is the last resort in order to make something happen if it doesn't do it on its own.

Without the aforementioned right, assembly, petition would be impossible. There is strength in numbers, but one question can create a sea of change.

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I, myself, am not a follower of any religion, but agree that religion is easily of our most important rights. I don't care for any given religion in general, but without our right to practice our religion freely, we'd all be forced to live under the same religion. I can't imagine having to forcibly follow a religion I don't believe in out of fear that I'd be persecuted for it. But this a very real circumstance in the world. I am honored to even be allowed the choice to believe in what I want. To me, religion is pointless, and makes you blind to anything that isn't religion, but to some, it is all they know. Their religion is the thing that gives them hope and guides them to become better and stronger, and I can't help but support that.