Speak Up, Speak Out: A Weekly Address
By Governor Eddie Baza Calvo
Hafa Adai, my fellow Guamanians, and Hafa Adai to the Simon Sanchez Sharks!
Freedom of speech and freedom of expression are two of the most important and treasured rights in America. As a governor, I am so proud and so encouraged by this school's efforts to promote these freedoms.
The sad reality is even today, people are censored and silenced. This month, people around the nation, including here on Guam, are bringing awareness of books that are still banned today in some places in the United States. These titles include some of my favorites, such as 1984 and The Lord of the Rings. They are classics―timeless stories that have us thinking about a world greater than ours, and about ideas that are bigger than ourselves.
These books are controversial. But, whether it's about protecting our right to privacy under an oppressive and giant government, or about how power can corrupt, these stories are important. They make us think. They make us learn. They make us grow. I want to encourage all the students here today and everyone listening to keep reading. Keep expanding your knowledge. Keep exposing yourselves to new ideas―even ones that you may not agree with.
There has been a lot of talk recently about a case involving human trafficking―modern-day slavery. As a father, grandfather, and a governor, this case chills me to the bone. Now the woman that masterminded this despicable place has been sentenced to life in prison. And I think the punishment does fit the crime. When you force women, and a sixteen-year old girl, to do the things they did, you should go to jail for the rest of your life.
On the other side are some questions about some people that we as a community should trust the most: police officers. I know the vast majority of these brave men and women are good. They have the safety of the island at heart. But my concern from the police department is the silence regarding legitimate questions from the media and from the public. This is why I instructed the Chief of Police to speak up about the case yesterday. I want to thank him for listening to my concerns, and recognizing the power of dialogue.
That power is being exercised right here at this school.
Your teachers and students have set the example not just for your peers, but also for all of our island's leaders. Particularly, the wave for civic justice, perfectly illustrates your commitment to speaking up and speaking out. I want you all to continue doing things like that.
Continue doing events like this. If you see something going on in your school, or in your government that you don't like, speak up! If you know of someone who should be commended, or someone you want to recognize for their good work, speak out! Silence helps no one. Let your ideas and emotions ring out for everyone to hear. We live in a democracy: and the only way to make it better is for everyone to share their ideas―to exchange their thoughts.
Thank you for listening, and more importantly, thank you for speaking up and speaking out! God bless you.