The online student news source of Lovejoy High School

The Red Ledger

The online student news source of Lovejoy High School

The Red Ledger

The online student news source of Lovejoy High School

The Red Ledger

The First Amendment in action

Protesters in front of the White House exercise their First Amendment rights during their third annual global protest called the Million Mask March held by Anonymous.
A member of the Million Mask March raises a sign against her government in November 2014.
Alexa Mapes
A member of the Million Mask March raises a sign against her government in November 2014.

The cool silence of a November morning on Pennsylvania Avenue was shattered by the shouts of Anonymous, a masked group of protesters marching across Lafayette Square shouting:  “Our street, our street, our street! Whose street? Our street! Whose house? Our house!” The group, comprised of around 200 people, waved flags, held signs, and yelled for their causes, protesting across the street from the White House.

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These were not the only groups protesting on this morning; nearly every day,  many people of different causes and means try to get the attention of the President by  exercising their First Amendment right to protest.

“We’re paying all these taxes and fees and fines and I mean we’re buried and can’t get out of it,” Million Mask Marcher Eddie Peyer said. “We’re just trying to put up a voice saying that we’re tired of it.”

The symbolism of protesting just feet from the front lawn of the White House is why Lafayette Square has long been a place for people to promote their cause.

“Decisions are made at the White House,” Ebola vaccine protester Regina Mousa said. “So, whatever important decisions there are [are made there]. Media is always covering the White House so we think that if one or two of [the people watching] can see what we are doing, people will [hear] us. If we [are] on the TV tonight, I mean, thousands of people will see it. We are from Sierra Leone, but we stand here for three countries.”

Whether it’s through social media or a physical presence outside the White House, the right to peacefully assemble and petition the government for a redress of grievances is an important tool for countless groups, causes and individuals.

There was a large group of masked protesters in front of the White House expressing their strong opinions about the government and how it is run. This was the first year of the million masked march, which is practiced internationally.
Jillian Sanders
There was a large group of masked protesters in front of the White House expressing their strong opinions about the government and how it is run. This was the first year of the Million Mask March, which is practiced internationally.

“[Protesting is important] because it raises awareness,” Peyer said. “Especially nowadays with Youtube and Facebook and other things, this type of activity gets out and gets people to start to research why, more, what’s going on. I think that [protesting] is all about raising the awareness, right here. You see, videos [being taken right now] are going to be in Japan, China, India, Germany and people are going to see them.”

While some people may dismiss protesters as conspirators or radicals, the Founding Fathers helped laid the foundations of America with protests and civil demonstrations.

“If they remain quiet under such misconceptions, it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty,” President Thomas Jefferson once said. “And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance?”

Each person protesting had a different reason to do so. Some were moved to tears by their cause, more yelled until they were red in the face, and others took protesting as a sponsored job.

“We just started protesting today because we have relatives that have died from [Ebola],” Mousa said. “There are also a lot of orphans there. They are suffering. Some of them don’t have food. It’s like a stigma; as long as you are the child of a victim who has died [from Ebola], nobody wants to go near you because they don’t know if they are gonna contract the disease from you. Nobody is feeding them, nobody is caring for them, the babies. The other day I watched babies, there was a baby whose mother was being taken away and buried and the baby was crawling towards her mother, looking for her. When I saw that, I was in tears. I said that we have to do something about that. These babies are just sitting there and there is no one to help them out. [People] are scared of them.”

The protesters themselves are not the only ones who believe in the power behind their actions. President of the Color Nine Group, Michael Willis, acknowledges the effects protests can have on a government.

“We are from Sierra Leone, but we stand here for three countries,”

— Mousa said.

“There are a lot of ways that [First Amendment rights support the government],” Willis said. “For one, the government allows for the people to have their voices heard. If you have something you want to say to your legislatures or the White House, or who ever, you need to have the ability to be able to say it whether people like it or not. [Opinions] need to be said, and there needs to be a freedom to say those things. We all have opinions and without those then there is no one voicing opposition to anything that we do. You would have a government that would run without any say whatsoever otherwise.”

 

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Julia Vastano, Editor-in-chief
In 7th grade Julia signed up for newspaper class on a total whim. To this day she isn’t exactly sure what landed her in Mrs. Sanders 7th period newspaper class. She kind of just went with the flow (which is actually very peculiar for Julia because she usually plans everything at least 3 years in advance) Now she is one of the Editor-In-Chiefs of The Red Ledger so that happened and it’s cool and she likes the gig. Extra Curriculars are a huge part of Julia’s life. So much so she refuses to list them out here for fear of becoming explicitly boring. Her hobbies include dancing, tripping, falling, flailing and anything of that general nature. She wants to major in history or political science and go to law school eventually. Her fantasy career would be a paleontologist because dinosaurs are awesome, but she is more realistically looking into being a lawyer (which yes, she does find to be equally exciting.) Other than all of that, Julia is so super duper excited for the 2015-2016 Red Ledger staff. She is very confident that this year the online news source will kick some booty at something and be really informative. She is even more pumped to work along side the old married couple (also known as the other two amazing Editor-In-Chiefs of The Red Ledger) Jillian and Hallie.  
Ian Raybon, Multimedia Editor
Ian Raybon figures that if Alicia Keys was a man, there would be a song apt enough to describe him because he is constantly on fire. Ian has tried to find a pig costume for Halloween, because his one true wish is to truly understand the bacon he takes so much time eating; turns out his hair works fine in that department as well. Ian’s life can generally be summed up by the song “In Da Club” by rapper 50 Cent, and he attributes his incredible intelligence to his mentor Mr. Higgins. He is not quite sure where he gets his incredible looks, but his parents get nervous every time he says the words “adopted” and “Michael Jackson’s son” in the same sentence. When Ian graduates, he expects a full ride scholarship to Cambridge where he will major in Thuganomics and minor in Womanizing.
Jillian Sanders, Editor-in-Chief
Jillian Sanders is a senior, 18 years old, and a lover of many things. She loves writing, playing the piano, reading, being outside, Younglife, and choir. She was born in Arkansas, but got out of there and moved to Texas as soon as possible when she was six years old. At home, she has two dogs, two sisters, and two house plants. She enjoys analyzing, creating, and playing music both at home and at her church, where she plays the keyboard on Sunday mornings in the praise band. The keys to Jillian’s heart can be found in nature, (she really loves nature. It’s pretty neat.), music (she cries over pretty songs), and cozy socks. She plans to attend Texas A&M University in 2017, (whoop), with a major in environmental studies. Serving the Red Ledger for her fourth and final year as three-time editor-in-chief, she is super pumped to write stories, improve the site even further, and leave a lasting legacy.
Alexa Mapes, Staff Reporter
Alexa / Lexa Mapes is senior who will fall asleep in the most inappropriate of places—including the Coliseum in Rome. In a Hard Rock Café in Paris, she was locked inside a bathroom and forgotten. After the third time you've repeated yourself, she still hasn't heard you. Once, upon forgetting Michael Koval's name, she caught his attention by shouting  "eyebrows!" Half of the time she asks a store employee for help, they are not a store employee. Alexa is constantly saying goodbye to someone and realizing they're going in the same direction. Her immediate go-to in awkward situations is to pretend to be texting the "friends she has, but just aren't there." She has successfully walked into an automatic door on multiple occasions. She is, the most awkward girl in the world.

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