(Chicago Tribune photo)

(Chicago Tribune photo)

Yes, stand up for what you believe in

Catalina-DeLaPenaBy Catalina DeLaPena

It’s 2016, people! Teens are involved in current events more than ever. Not only are adolescents mature and responsible enough to attend rallies, but they are also impacted by political, social and economic realities in America. Though America is a free country, teens are constantly silenced. Thus, it’s important for young people to stand up for what they believe in.

Protests spark change, and not only can they be beneficial to the cause, but they also show those who are afraid to speak that it’s OK—it’s OK to be loud about what you believe in and it’s OK to speak your mind. Teens who attend protests represent the teen community! It shows the world that young people have opinions too.

Of course protests and rallies have their risks. Violence is something that can often occur in big, rowdy groups, but a 16 -year-old is taking the same risk as a 56-year-old attending a rally or protest. Being 13 or 16 or 19 shouldn’t matter when it comes to something that everyone would be affected by. If teenagers want to go to a rally, what’s to stop them? As long as they receive parental permission and understand the risks, there should be no reason for teens not being allowed to attend a protest.

Speaking out is only one step toward a better future. Let’s hope this country will one day be a place where everyone can live in harmony.

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Consider the consequences first

Alison-ChoBy Allison Cho
Walter Payton

Recently, teen protesters have been sparking some controversy. Many people say that teens do not belong at protests, and although saying all teens should not go to protests is a bit extreme, it is fair to say that teens should think carefully before attending.

A lot of protests have completely different environments than expected—they can get violent and rowdy, as opposed to the physical harmlessness of advocating on social media or sharing news articles. Protests are meant to stop people in their tracks, and this leads to a harshness many teens are just not used to yet. Just this March, a teen Trump protester was groped and pepper-sprayed. And how did Trump supporters react? Shockingly, they cheered.

Protesting can also lead teens to make rash decisions. In January, two 16-year-olds were arrested for violence, obstruction and resisting arrest after protesting outside of Mayor Emanuel’s house. They ended up facing criminal charges. It’s very important to keep the purpose of the protest in mind and not to do anything irrational.

Teens should advocate for what they believe in and be allowed to attend protests. However, they should know what they are getting into beforehand. Being prepared and informed is crucial, along with making good decisions, even when the protest becomes disorderly.

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What do you think? Comment below or tweet us at @mashchicago!

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About The Mash

The Mash is the Chicago Tribune's newspaper and website written for teens, by teens. The paper is distributed for free every other Thursday at Chicago-area high schools and is written largely by high school students.

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