Orange County School of the Arts

Opinion: How our voices can change the world

Using your voice is the best way to ignite change. This is how you express your passions, your beliefs, and push for the change that you want to see in the world.

The act of free speech gives us that ability and stripping anyone from that right leads to a less progressive world. Through speeches, rallies, and protests, being able to use your voice is how people can speak out about the things that they believe in. It’s also how others become involved.

From years in the past to now, people have been using free speech to push against societal norms. Without it, the world we live in today could be moving in a completely opposite direction. For example, women may have never had the right to vote, which is almost unfathomable for me to even think of.

Even today, with the fight for equal rights for all races and genders, and the extreme political climate, free speech is being utilized to its highest ability. With opposing sides, the ability for both to be able to state their opinion is the best way for a people to try to find a common ground.

Debates and discussions are how communities form. Not everyone will have the same opinion, but if one’s opinion is silenced, it’s much harder to respect and understand where they are coming from.

Listening with an open mind, even if it something you completely disagree with, can lead to you strengthening your own opinion, and even have a better understanding of what is being discussed. If certain groups were silenced, we would be living in a completely biased world. If we were to live under one standard, it would be nearly impossible to instigate change, and the use of personal opinions to inaugurate this change would be obliterated.

A famously known, but very important, example of someone who used free speech to ignite a change was Martin Luther King. He proved that even if many people are trying to silence you, if you continue to fight for what you believe in, you will see a change in the world.

That is why free speech is so important; words are a non-violent way to fight for your rights. Even if it may seem small like pushing for a larger free speech zone at college; or large, like equality for all women in the United States, the act of free speech is a fundamental human right.

Not everyone will agree with you and many people will try to shut you down, but your opinion does matter in the sea of opinions. There are many floating around and each one does not perfectly correlate with another.

However, each of those unique pieces of everyone’s opinion is how the world is able to function. If people were afraid to say what they believe in, there would be so many issues that would go unsolved.

In today’s news, the plethora of artists speaking out about sexual harassment in Hollywood and the entertainment industry continues to add on every day. Many of these victims felt that they were silenced from speaking out about this earlier because of shame and a higher force threatening their jobs.

Many of them felt that if they were to speak out, no one would believe them; they would lose respect, and they could end up being blacklisted. However, when they decided that they couldn’t hide it anymore – that these harassers were getting too powerful – they finally vocalized the hidden issue.

And because they did this, much more followed. With many men and women losing their jobs over these scandals, the victims were getting the justice that they weren’t aware they could get–all because they used their voice.

Now, a door has opened to the public eye, and people have become much more aware of sexual harassment, making it much less taboo to discuss. It also has shown other victims, who may not have the spotlight of these celebrities, that they too can speak out about it. With more and more people speaking out, it sparks a change in all workplaces and society.

While there continues to be many more issues in today’s society, the use of our voices will also continue to grow. Listen, share, and don’t let others silence you. One voice can spark a chain reaction that leads to a better world.