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Celebrate dissent at DeVos' speech; it's what makes America great

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos delivers the University of Baltimore's winter commencement address. (Amy Davis, Baltimore Sun video)

I attended the University of Baltimore’s the commencement ceremony with a my very special friends from Rwanda. Their daughter became a citizen this year and also a graduate of UB. It was a very special time for her and her family. They came here seven years ago to join her father, who arrived 10 years ago after fleeing the genocide in Rwanda.

During the ceremony they asked why some of the students were standing with their backs to the speaker (“Betsy DeVos speaks at University of Baltimore graduation, prompting protests,” Dec. 18). They were told that the students were protesting the speaker. My friends said, "They can do that?" They were told, "Yes, it is America, and they can do that." The father said in Rwanda they would be beheaded if they did that.

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I know in this country that we do have the right to peacefully protest. I hope that during their protest the students did not also close their ears. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos gave some good advice to the graduates.The article mentioned two young women in the first row who stood. Those two women stood first and were standing quite a while before any of the other students joined them. It is a shame that they were not the ones highlighted in the photo and mentioned by name.

Linda Murphy, Rosedale

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