My Definition Of Freedom In My Life

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Freedom as a concept is defined in many declarations around the world as a right to freely and safely express one’s beliefs and religion. My definition of freedom is my life story. Section One, Chapter 2, Article 29, The Constitution of The Russian Federation: “Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought and speech.” The Constitution of my country, Russia, is constantly violated by its own government when anti-government activists get imprisoned and killed due to their political beliefs. As a student body member and political enthusiast, I wanted to speak about current events: my project focused on the then-recent annexation of Crimea, a multi-cultural peninsula belonging to Ukraine. As expected, my classmates were visibly shocked. Soon, teachers and students started to openly harass me at school and on social media, telling me that “I do not belong in this country and that I should just move to America.” Angry that my constitutional rights were taken away from me, I begged my parents to leave our homeland.

Article 18, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience…” Both of my parents, who supported my beliefs, had also faced the unfairness of the system. My dad, a decorated war veteran, retired from police when the Russian government began requiring all military employees to give up their passports, therefore banning them from traveling abroad. My mom, an owner of a lingerie boutique, was frequently asked by inspectors for bribes in the form of underwear. We started to make plans about moving to the States, as it became impossible to live fairly in our own homeland. Amendment I, United States Constitution: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press …” Things were done differently in my new American school: I saw opportunities to be myself and be valued for it all around me, and I could finally be open about my political beliefs. Moreover, I realized that the world is tightly connected and suffers from many of the same of the issues. For example, corruption in the government, bureaucracy, poverty, conflicts of interests, political parties debates and so much more. I finally saw the big picture – realization that I am not the only one who cares and not the only who will fight for my core values. My interests started to grow more globally.

Soon after moving to the U.S., I became active in “mock” politics: becoming a Senate Page in WA State, attending Evergreen Girls State, and being elected as the US Senator to attend Girls Nation. Those experiences exposed me to different view point on so many issue and it taught to always respect others beliefs. Moreover, those experiences showed me the real life challenges of politicians and legislation process. The process is long with so many details and procedures to go over. I also saw the challenge of me being an immigrant; I saw that people will not always accept me because of that. Facing those challenges helped me see the bigger picture and open up to new ideas. Many times for the past two years, I have been asked by my peers “Why do you care?” At first I could not say anything but I was thinking about that ever since. While I still do not have a clear answer, I can say that I care because there still people who are denied basic human rights, who are not allowed to express themselves, who are discriminated.

My future is to serve people, to represent people who will put their trust into me, find a balance between two parties and take politics to more serious level, making people accountable for their actions against the Democracy system. I do not want to see the same events as in my country here.

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