Daily Hampshire Gazette - Established 1786
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Natalia Munoz: Gazette was right to publish Clay column, responses

To the editor:

I don’t agree with Gregory Clay’s overall views, although some of his points are well taken — the much-needed affirmative action practices; how the war among Chicago youths and black-on-black violence nationwide is not considered a national catastrophe.

Maybe his tone about the Zimmerman verdict put off people, but the content was worth reading and thinking about. We are in a democracy, albeit an elastic one that favors some over others, but is evolving. And, as someone who comes from a country where democracy did not exist for 500 years and only began just over 60 years ago, I am enthusiastic about hearing other points of views as long as they are not hate speech.

Change begins with conversations, not silence.

On Sunday I was at a rally in Springfield to press the U.S. Department of Justice to bring charges against George Zimmerman for the murder of Trayvon Martin — and get a guilty verdict this time.

At the same time, I do not agree with some of letter writers who criticize the Gazette for publishing Clay’s column. The Gazette’s purpose is not to be a cheerleader for those who disagree with the verdict or those do. It is a paper founded on the principles of democracy; it is a cheerleader for the Constitution, specifically, the First Amendment.

The Gazette did the right thing to publish Clay’s column as well as the letters calling to silence him.

For those who would have preferred to not hear from Clay, I encourage them to reflect on our extreme fortune to express ourselves without being tortured or killed. While hate speech is vile, dissent in a democracy is a great thing; it forces it to grow stronger, and we all benefit from the process, however wrenching.

Natalia Muñoz


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