Meet Kimberly, Nicole, and Phil. They're on staff at the Arizona Republic, per a Sunday editorial written by Mi-Ai Parrish, the conservative newspaper's publisher. And they're the ones who've been dealing with the vitriol and calls for violence since the Republic endorsed Hillary Clinton for president last month instead of Donald Trump—the first time in the paper's 126-year history it had thrown its support behind a Democrat for the nation's highest office. Parrish details the death threats they've received, the warnings that their offices will be burned to the ground, and even how the youth selling Republic subscriptions door to door have been "spit on, threatened with violence, screamed at, and bullied" by those unhappy with the paper's endorsement. "As someone who has spent a career in the business of words, it's unusual to find myself speechless," Parrish writes.
But Parrish finds her voice, turning each threatening instance into a testament to the editors and other staff members who diligently carry on in service of the First Amendment, knowing that free speech requires "compassion," "open debate," and "bravery." Parrish delves into her own background, citing her Christian pastor grandfather and a Korean mother who grew up in an "occupying dictatorship" and "raised a journalist who understood not to take these rights for granted." Finally, she expresses gratitude, both to those who've supported the paper and even those who've disagreed without resorting to calls "to bomb our homes or harm our families." "I'm grateful that you stood up to say that we live in a better world when we exchange ideas freely, fairly, without fear," she notes. Meanwhile, the Republic's journalists keep coming to work. "When they do, they pass by an inscription that fills an entire wall, floor to ceiling. It is 45 words long. It is an idea that is in my thoughts a lot these days. It is the First Amendment." Her poignant editorial is here.