(9-25-22) The following was submitted to the Outlook as a Letter to the Editor.

I began writing this letter when I heard about the firing of an employee of Mercer Health after her attendance of a local protest. This protest was in support of Pro-Choice after the recent major setback by the US Supreme Court. This protest was also a completely peaceful event, even if some signs were deemed blunt and “vulgar”. However, attendance of such an event in no way warrants the termination of someone’s career as this did not affect her ability to do her job whatsoever. Besides, I believe the need for such a protest was indeed justified when basic civil rights are being stripped away so easily.

This response is nothing more than small town peer pressure and is a product of the almost forced need to conform to the beliefs of the town in fear of being ostracized. I feel able to speak my mind and I want everybody to be able to do the same. This is only possible if we, as a city, learn to accept, even though we may disagree, other viewpoints.

Heather Coate Schmidt