A Young Woman’s Right To Speak

At the very least, I remember school as a nurturing place that works along with home to instill the foundation that a young person needs to function in life. Schools should mirror home and reinforce the positive life building lessons that we learn as well as nurture our personal growth all within a space that we all feel protected in. At times, many of our youth blossom from the experience and the lessons that are being taught at school. Then, there are times they blossom in spite of our efforts.  At Petaluma High School, one young lady excelled in her plight to be the best she can be. Lulabel Seitz is the granddaughter of Filipino immigrants and was raised in a two parent household where the parents left high school early, she succeeded in becoming the valedictorian of her high school with a GPA well over 4.0 and acceptance into Stanford University where she will study applied mathematics and economics. It is evident that this young lady is capable, confident, and courageous for what she has overcome and accomplished.

This past week at her high school graduation, Lulabel Seitz took the opportunity and platform during her Valedictorian speech to address sexual assault on school campuses, an ordeal that Lulabel Seitz says happened to her personally. She said she was suppressed and her voice silenced. As she in fact deviated from her submitted speech and addressed the cover up, her mic was cut off and the delivery of the rest of her speech was denied which eerily seems like the silencing and censoring that she has accused school administrators of.

Though details of the alleged sexual assault are said to be protected by school officials, it seems to me that something on the straight and narrow isn’t going on her. The principal claims that Lulabel Seitz mic was cut because she deviated from the script and that Lulabel was warned and repeatedly instructed not to speak against the faculty in anyway during her speech or else.

I, as a father of a young girl, see these events by the school officials and power that be as worrisome and threatening. If we don’t for one protect our daughters to every extent possible, then we are being a detriment to their livelihood and existence. If we do not intentionally go out of our way to provide not only a safe space for our children to speak out and a viable and amplified platform to speak out against injustices, these injustices will continue.

Though she was censored, Lulabel Seitz actions has sent a clear and precise message of activism. Lulabel Seitz later uploaded to Youtube her entire speech. In her speech, she exclaims, “And even learning on a campus in which some people defend perpetrators of sexual assault and silence their victims, we didn’t let that drag us down. The Class of 2018 has demonstrated time and time again that we may be a new generation but we are not too young to speak up, to dream and to create change.”

We, as parents, guardians and influencers of a younger generations, owe them the comfort of knowing they have a voice and an ear if anything happens to them in life. We are instructed to provide and protect them in any situation in life. This is true of home and school which are probably the two most frequented and sacred places in a young adults life. Young adults like Lulabel Seitz who have the courage to call out and address the social and personal injustices of our community, nation and world are the very change agents that we need to protect in our plight to activate change. I appreciate you Lulabel Seitz for your strength and courage. Thanks for your guidance and leadership

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