Student Activist Awards

Emarie Wakefield - Cliff Richards Memorial Student Activist Award – 2014

By Emarie Wakefield
(with help from Mom)

When I was interviewed by the local news station about my objection to prayers (as well as bible passages and misauthored prayers being passed off as “poems”) in my public virtual school’s curriculum, many people had a lot to say against me. Many people said I wasn’t old enough to have a voice, an opinion or freedom. I’m little, so I’m just learning about history, but so far I haven’t found an age limit on freedoms.
Lincoln didn’t say “conceived in liberty for those who are over school-aged.” I know this. I had to recite the opening to the Gettysburg Address. The First Amendment isn’t only for grown-ups.

I live and grow in a humanist home. I’m taught every day that my little voice makes a big difference. I know that some people are told they are too little to speak up, but in my home I’m taught that when I see something wrong, it’s my job to speak out loud to change that.

I’m proud of my freedom as an American. Since I do not believe that there is some being in control of everything, I know that it’s going to be me that has to do the work to get things done. It’s the job of all of us. We have to work together as a big team to make this planet a better, kinder and happier place to live. No one is going to magically fix it for us.

If I had just stayed quiet and “did the homework I was told to do,” then what about the children that came after me that weren’t told that freedom belongs to them, too? Others can do as they are told when their freedoms are being taken from them, but as for me and my little voice, we’re off to big places.

When a lot of those little voices come together, it gets too loud to ignore. Humanity, come with me. Let’s do big, wonderful things, because even a little voice is equal under our laws. That’s a self-evident truth.
I have so much gratitude to the Freedom From Religion Foundation for this scholarship, because education makes little voices louder.

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