A collage of pictures summarizing my ideals of freedom and what I believe it means to be free. Descriptions for each picture are also included.

Freedom is happiness.

Freedom is the right to education. Education opens up doors for you to walk through. It allows you to pursue higher education for more prestigious jobs, or you can choose to pursue an alternative route that does not require higher education. However, education is a freedom for all because it provides you opportunity to change your style of life in whatever way you choose. 

Freedom is the right to immigrate to the United States and the right to citizenship. Our ancestors were immigrants. We were built on immigration and freedom, so why deny those who are trying to better themselves the ability to do so? Immigrants help our country and help us thrive. It gives us ethnic diversity. They work the jobs native-born Americans will not work because we do not know the hardship that immigrants do. To become a citizen should not take many, many years. It should be a procedure that any willing immigrant can perform, but it should not be a burden to them. We were built to accept those in need, so why are we trying to change one of our nation`s ideals?

Freedom is being able to love whom you choose. Being denied the right to love should be a sin. Love is not something humans can control. You do not choose who you love. Some people might even consider it fate, but if that`s so, why is it so wrong for those to love someone of the same gender? We are born to love who we love; members of LGBTQ+ do not choose to be different. They do not wake up one day and decide to love someone of the same gender. Why would someone put that hardship on themselves when they know the social prejudice? Being LGBTQ+ does not change the person internally. It does not change the way they act, or the person they are. It is simply a label about whom they love. As long as we are happy, does it really matter who we love or how we achieve that happiness? NO. Criticizing because of sexual relations is a denial of freedom. It is showing that someone is less than us. No one is less than you. We are all humans. We are equals, no matter whom we love. 

Freedom is being able to choose. The people of American get to choose their lives and how to live them. An external being does not get to choose our lives for us. We are our own people, our own beings. Our lives, our choices. Every person is different: mentally and physically. Values, ways of life, things we care about are the differences between every single person. There are similarities between the ways some might see things, but we all see the world differently. There are flaws in every statement and in every thought. No one is ever 100% right because it only depends on what others believe. Our beliefs determine the way we live, so we all should make our own decisions in life. Our right to choose our path is our freedom, whether the path be sufficient or harmful. Denying the choice denies freedom. No matter the social class or standing in life, they should not be forced to do or act a certain way. We all have the opportunity to ask for help, and that is a choice. We infringe on personal freedom by forcing and intervening in someone`s life without them wanting or asking. Being able to choose gives you life. We learn from our choices, and how do we learn without making mistakes?

Freedom is being able to dream. Our dreams are what keep us motivated and wanting more. It is a place where we can determine how we want to live. A safe place where you can be yourself. A place to escape hardship. You can dream and interpret those dreams however your choose. It shows you to take chances. It allows you to see your potential if you apply yourself. Dreams are what built America. They led America to become what it is today. We are free to dream and achieve. Without dreams we would not be innovative or determined to change the world. In our dreams, we see the world in a different way. They can show us our fears, our wants, our desires. Dreams are not meant to stop you from wanting more. They are encouragement to keep living. To keep trying. Dreams are freedom, and they have saved our country.

Freedom is being yourself. Being comfortable in your own skin is one of the most beautiful things in the world. Loving yourself and knowing your worth is what makes you healthy. We were not designed to hide in the shadows. We are meant to be loud and proud. We are meant to speak out about our beliefs. Our nation was built on giving freedom, so why not give the opportunity to be yourself? Talk how you want to. Dress how you want to. Believe what you want. Love who you want. Be who you are. Humans, as a whole, should not be someone they`re not just to satisfy others. Our satisfaction is the only satisfaction that matters. We need to satisfy and love ourselves before we can worry about anyone else. Not being who you are causes stress. It is the cause for depression and anxiety. Teens should not have to worry about being accepted just for being themselves. No one should be asked to change. We all need to be accepted without change. A person is truly happy when they are themselves. 

Breaking out of your shell is one of the best feelings in the world, and everyone deserves to know how this feels. However, there are so many things constricting Americans from being able to do this. We need to accept everyone for their differences. Knowing our differences and accepting them is the only way to be the United States. We cannot be united without acceptance: of immigrants, change, differences. Our country relies on acceptance. It relies on the people to unite no matter the differences. This country needs to stand  by "Liberty and justice for all," and this includes each and every person in and around the States. 




Niagara High School Mr. Laarman's U.S. History Class

11th graders from Niagara, WI

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