The Lordsburg Debate Union hosted its first Freedom of Speech Day Wednesday night at the Rock, where students had the opportunity to voice their opinions on any topic of their choice.
The event commemorated the 225th anniversary of the signing of the Bill of Rights.
“Tonight was about voicing opinions and free speech,” said Colin Fisk, president of the Lordsburg Debate Union and senior political science major.
One speaker was Vice Mayor of Pomona Ginna Escobar, who talked about the discouraging circumstances such as bankruptcy, multiple murders and lawsuits that have left Pomona residents feeling helpless over the last year.
Escobar said that while the city still has room for improvement, it has progressed thanks to the participation of citizens in its local government.
She explained how simply voting was the first step towards positive change and encouraged everyone to vote in the upcoming election Nov. 4.
Students expressed their views using various methods such as singing, poetry, stand up comedy and scripted and unscripted speaking.
“Freedom of speech means being able to speak in whatever way you know,” said sophomore computer science major James Trejo, a member of the Slam Poetry Team. “For me that means using the beauty of poetry.”
Trejo delivered a jaw dropping freestyle rap about the negative aspects of hip-hop music and the negative morals it teaches our youth.
Equality and inclusivity was a popular topic of the night. Whether it was equality of races or genders, all of the speakers agreed that equality for all is an important issue.
Debate team captain Melanie Nadon, a senior speech communication and gender, law and policy major, performed feminist stand up comedy.
She ended her set with a joke claiming that female “hobos” asking for a dollar would get only 76 cents.
Feminism was a central topic due to the recent controversy revolving around actress Emma Watson, who received online threats after delivering a speech encouraging gender equality for the United Nation’s #HeforShe campaign.
In her speech, Watson encouraged men to come forward and support gender equality for the campaign.
The crowd at the Rock and its applause created an environment that allowed people to exercise their freedom of speech and to express their thoughts without limiting themselves.
“The point of this event was to bring up all of these topics,” said sophomore theatre arts and creative writing major Steven Forns, captain of the Spoken Word team.
“Feminism, the impact of voting, cultural songs, religion, freestyle rap — it encourages diversity and change,” he said.
The Lordsburg Debate Union partnered with the Slam Poetry Team, Mock Trial, College Democrats, Model United Nations, Black Student Union, Shades of Essence and SPARKS Women Leadership for Freedom of Speech Day.
The organizers said they will try to make the event an annual occurrence because of this year’s success.
Yaya Pineda can be reached at email@example.com.