Thank you Mr. Levy for your essay. I am all about free speech, and I think that should apply to everyone, not just a group of very well organized and very loud protesters whose motivations frankly aren’t clear to me at all. Most recently, these protesters for Palestine disrupted the Denver Pride Parade, which I was attending, as I do every year, as an ally of a dear friend. The organizers later responded with an apology to attendees that included:

“The mission of The Center on Colfax is to engage, enrich, empower and advance the LGBTQIA+ community of Colorado. We recognize that the pride movement was born in protest. We support the rights of free speech and assembly. Regarding Israel and Gaza, our position is simple. We support calls for a peaceful resolution to the conflict in the region. However, we cannot accept incidents of hate speech that occurred at the festival. Following the protests at the parade and festival, we received several reports of antisemitic language used by protesters. These incidents included statements such as ‘Jews and Zionists do not belong at PrideFest’ and worse, along with harassment of Jewish community members at their booth. To be clear: this is unacceptable. The Center does not endorse or condone the hateful language used by people in the protest group. Just as we would condemn homophobic or transphobic incidents, we condemn hate speech in any form, including antisemitism.”

I am not Jewish, I am not Muslim, and I am straight. What I am not, and what I don’t condone, is close-minded, loud usurpers of other people’s rights to a peaceful gathering. And I agree 100% with Howard Levy’s point that these folks don’t seem to care about genocide and oppression anywhere but in Gaza, and they seem to totally ignore that it was Hamas who started the conflict, and Hamas who show no concern for the well-being of their own people. Also, I agree that the list of demands these protesters put out are not relevant to humanitarian concerns. If they really care, they would learn to cooperate, not just disrupt.

In my opinion, it is time to stop enabling the bad behavior that is becoming so prevalent in the public forum these days. Rights come with responsibilities, and the right to free speech comes with the responsibility to shut up and allow other folks to speak as well, and to honestly consider what they say and work to actually solve the problem at hand.

Loretta Williams *81
Aurora, Colo.