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Just a little while ago, Kameron Slade was very much your average fifth grader. That is, until the day in May that the ten-year-old boy received came home with an assignment to write a speech for a student competition at Public School 195 in Rosedale, Queens. According to his mother, April Grantham-Slade, Kameron claimed that he wanted to deliver a speech on a subject that had not been widely talked about at his school. After brainstorming, Kameron finally decided to speak on the topic of gay marriage; specifically, he chose to speak about why he was in favor of gay marriage. Ms. Grantham-Slade claims that she had always wanted her children to be accepting of others, and it seems that she has done quite a good job of this so far. However, the principle of Public School 195, Beryl Bailey, banned Kameron’s speech from the competition for being “inappropriate.” Kameron was ultimately not allowed to deliver his speech to his fellow classmates and school.
However, Kameron was not silenced for long. Quickly after his speech was banned, NY1 and other local news media brought attention to Kameron’s case. He quickly became an internet sensation; a YouTube video of Kameron delivering his speech has been viewed over 600,000 times. Eventually, the Education Department stepped in, and made sure that Kameron was allowed to deliver his speech at a separate assembly held by his school. After hearing about his story, Council speaker Christine C. Quinn invited Kameron to deliver his speech to the New York City Council on Wednesday, July 25.
Kameron’s speech to the city council could not have come at a better time; Tuesday, July 24 (the day before Kameron delivered his speech) marked the one-year anniversary of same-sex marriage legalization in the state of New York. Many of the council members were personally affected by Kameron’s speech. Ms. Quinn married her longtime partner, Kim M. Catullo, in May; Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer is set to marry his partner of 13 and a half years on Saturday, July 28.
Kameron has proved himself to be a truly accepting and kind young man. Though every aspect of his speech resonated, I found one simple remark to be the most profound. As Kameron states, “Marriage is about love, support, and commitment. So who are we to judge?”
Same-sex marriage is certainly not an issue that will be solved any time soon. People will continue to argue whether it should be allowed or not, and it will most likely be quite a while before same-sex marriage is legal in every state in the U.S. Though many people are in support of same-sex marriage, there still remains a strong opposition to concept. It can seem daunting at times to stand up for what you truly believe in; some people wonder whether they can make any sort of difference. The next time you doubt yourself, just remember Kameron Slade. Anybody, no matter how young, can make a difference.