Freedom of Speech

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Freedom of speech is powerful, needed, and should be treasured, but do we? Do we only treasure the belief in freedom of speech when people are speaking about something we already believe in? Do we truly want to hear the ‘other side’?

As the founder of Positive Focus, I personally believe and promote speaking from a space to uplift and empower people. That you can make change occur without being fear-based and hateful. I still hold firmly to that belief and have witnessed it’s power in the face of protesters that rely on fear tactics to get their message heard.

Since 2008, I have been involved in free hugs and nearly twice a month since then I’ve stood in a very popular public place in downtown Chicago to spread kindness through the simple gesture of a free hug. Some of my huggers might yell free hugs, but mostly we stand there with a sign allowing people to come up to us and get a hug.

This very same spot that we deliver free hugs at is also a popular place for protesters to setup and share their message. We’ve given free hugs while animal rights groups protest the horse carriages with graphic signs of animal abuse. We’ve given free hugs while protester fight against the occupation of GAZA with graphic signs of lives lost. We’ve given free hugs during a global women’s day where instead of empowering women, they used a bull horn to discuss the violence against women. We’ve given free hugs while political protesters shout out the evils of the current president or whoever they are against.

Although the energy is different the days we share the space with protesters than when we don’t, yet in some respects, it allows people to see the options right next to each other on options of sharing the message. We always get people saying as they walk by that the world needs more of us and less of them. In a 25′ distance you have the opportunity to walk from fear into love. The world needs those ‘fighting’ for those with no voice. The world needs people standing up for what they believe is right. The world needs freedom of speech. The world needs you to tell me what your organization, your political party/person can do for me rather than what others cannot. The world needs you to talk about all the amazingly brave men, women and children rather than telling me about the few that are harming others.

The world needs freedom of speech. I simply ask that we put one word into the equation - Freedom of KIND Speech.

Big hugs and mucho love,

Carol

Positive Focus Founder & Vision Keeper

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