Most of us feel honored when we are asked for our opinions on a matter or are asked to tell our story. Even for an individual who may be shy about speaking publicly, knowing that others care enough to ask about her thoughts is ennobling. The same is true when she has the opportunity to stand before a court of law and present her views. Being afforded the right to participate in the solemn rite of a trial signals to the speaker that what she has to say is valued. She has been called to participate in one of the weightiest of our community rituals because her presence and observations are deemed an important part of the legal process. The speaker's views may not prevail, but her insights, experiences, and contributions are nonetheless acknowledged and validated by the mere fact that she was heard in an official forum.

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