On the Fourth of July celebrate freedom of expression

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Photo by Teresa Puente from May Day immigration protest in Chicago.

It's the Fourth of July and as I think about what this holiday means one word comes to mind and that is freedom.

So today's post will be about the freedom I most value to express my opinions and share them with you on this blog. That obviously all falls under freedom of speech and the First Amendment. You may not always agree with me but I hope you will defend my right to express my opinions on topics such as immigration, politics and Latino culture and comment when you agree or disagree.

I appreciate this freedom even more when I  consider how many journalists and bloggers are jailed or worse killed each year.

In Mexico, seven journalists have been killed so far this year, according to the International Press
Institute
. Last week, Juan Francisco Rodríguez Ríos and Maria Elvira Hernández Galeana were killed in a small village near Acapulco. They were shot dead inside an Internet cafe they owned. Although a motive wasn't yet clear, most Mexican journalists killed have investigated corruption and drug trafficking.

Last July, two bloggers in Azerbaijan, Emin Milli and Adnan Hajizade,
were beaten up and arrested after posting a satirical video where a
donkey explains how great life is in that country. Also in that country
more than nine journalists have been convicted of libel or defamation in
the last two years, according to Human Rights Watch.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, 818 journalists have
been killed since 1992. The most recent was Jean-Léonard Rugambage of
Rwanda shot to death while coming home on June 26. He was the acting
editor of an independent newspaper who had previously been imprisoned
for 11 months for his reporting about alleged mismanagement and witness
tampering in the courts over the genocide in that country.

These are but a few examples and sadly there are many more. So on this Independence Day I give thanks for my freedom to write and express my opinions. I also want to honor those who risk so much more, including their lives, fighting for that same freedom.

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  • I completely agree with you. When I went for my citizenship (I vote!) interview at the then INS, the officer asked me which was the most important right we have from the constitution. I said "freedom of speech." He said, "no, your right to vote." I said, "but if you don't have freedom of speech you can't vote!" He said, rolling his eyes, "OK. You pass. Go!"

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