Celebrate Freedom of Speech Week!

Image from northcentralcollege.edu

Image from northcentralcollege.edu

Freedom of speech. It is probably the freedom we exercise most regularly yet also the one that is least respected or properly understood. A group of zealous freedom fighters agree and have taken it upon themselves to shine the spotlight on the importance of the First Amendment in a big way. Yes, this week (October 21-27) has been heralded as Freedom of Speech Week (FSW). Every year during the third week of October, FSW is celebrated in an effort to raise public awareness of the importance of free speech in our constitutional republic – and, furthermore, to celebrate that freedom.

Freedom of Speech Week has been called “the country’s premier event celebrating free speech and a free press.” The idea was birthed back in 2005 by The Media Institute and the National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation. Now an independent event, The Media Institute continues to promote FSW and manage the website. An FSW Advisory Council headed by Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman was created in 2012 to increase the reach and impact of Free Speech Week. In no way is FSW a mere political event or ideological platform. Freedom of Speech Week is designed to serve as a unifying celebration, elevating the vision of the Founding Fathers above the political fray and recognizing free speech as something we can all believe in and cherish. As the official website of FSW states, the goal of this week is to ensure that free speech remains “The Language of America.”

And they are relying on ALL Americans to help make their efforts a success! The website has provided a host of suggestions and resources to help get you in the spirit of Freedom of Speech Week, including the following:

Write a letter to your senator or representative about an issue important to you.

Express your opinion at an open town hall or education board meeting.

Write a blog post.

Display a bumper sticker.

Write a short story or poem, or create a piece of art.

Post a sign or flag in your front yard.

Research candidates and ballot measures for an upcoming election, and register to vote.

Tweet or post quotes, articles or topical issues about the First Amendment and freedom of speech.

George Washington said, “If freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.”

Benjamin Franklin wrote, “Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech.”

Thomas Jefferson said, “If there be any among us who would wish to dissolve this Union, or to change its republican form, let them stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated, where reason is left free to combat it.”

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has said, “A constitution, as important as it is, will mean nothing unless the people are yearning for liberty and freedom.” Many will argue that liberty and freedom are becoming endangered species in modern American society, and many will even argue that modern Americans couldn’t care less about the preservation of liberty and freedom in this country. Because of these toxic sentiments pervading all areas of society, it is more imperative than ever that we all recognize and understand the freedoms God has inalienably granted to each one of us. As former U.S. Representative Allen West has recently stated, “No battle was ever won on defense. Now is the time for offense.” If you give up your rights now, don’t expect to ever get them back. So go celebrate and, more importantly, exercise your freedom of speech this week…and every week.

You can peruse FSW’s official website to learn more: http://www.freespeechweek.org/.

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