In a detailed discussion, Monday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 am to 8:00 am – Leahy spoke to in-studio guest Joni Bryan who is the executive director of 917 Society. Bryan talked about the event which will take place today – September 17 – at the Nashville City Club in celebration of the Constitution’s 232nd anniversary.
Nearing the end of the segment, she touched upon how important it was for our youth to understand how fortunate we are to have our freedom’s in America and the successful anticipated expansion of her program nationwide.
Leahy: A big day for the country tomorrow and here to talk about it Joni Bryan the founder of the 917 Society. Joni welcome to the Tennessee Star Report.
Bryan: Hi Michael Patrick. It’s great to be here this morning.
Leahy: Big day tomorrow? It’s what, the 232nd. Do I have that right?
Bryan: Yes. You’re right. (Chuckles)
Leahy: 232nd anniversary of the signing of the Constitution in Philadelphia. And you and I and Dr. Ming Wang and Lee Beaman and Congressman Mark Green and state Senator Kerry Roberts. We’re all going to be a the Nashville City Club tomorrow night to celebrate that. Tell us about that event.
Bryan: Yes, we’re so excited. This is our 3rd annual Constitution Day celebration and we’re celebrating the success of the 917 Society. We were able to reach over 90,000 kids this year in Tennessee. Our eighth-grade students with their very own pocket constitutions and resources for Constitution Day to celebrate it. And we’re really excited.
Leahy: And if somebody wants to come. I guess you have a few more tickets left. They’re only $25.00. You can go to 917Society.com and sign up.
Bryan: .com or .org. either one. And you can get the ticket link and get the big event. We just have a few left and we’re very excited to have everyone join us.
Leahy: And we’ll be reporting on it at The Tennessee Star. I’ll be there as well as some of the luminaries like Dr. Ming Wang and Lee Beaman of Beaman Automotive. Congressman Mark Green and Senator Kerry Roberts. I guess you’ll have an Abraham Lincoln impersonator there as well?
Bryan: Yes. Rodgar McCalmon he’s our Lincoln impersonator. He does a fantastic job and he’s done some great videos. You can go to our website and you can see a lot of the great videos that he’s done for us. He even did a great video and it’s on our website. And we’d love for everyone to go to that website at 917Societ.org and check out some of the great videos.
Leahy: And it’s only $25.00. A great evening and a great event. If you care about the teaching of the constitution and the level of civic education our kids have, it begins here in Tennessee. Particularly in public schools in the eighth grade where they teach social studies. And what you do is, tell them what you actually do with those constitutions. Those little pocket constitutions.
Bryan: We have spent the last several weeks distributing individual pocket constitutions that have the declaration. That has the constitution. And also our last page is the citizenship oath. And I’m going to be at the federal courthouse Thursday morning for our swearing-in ceremony of our naturalized citizens.
So what we’re trying to do is create a moment for our young people that receive their constitution, kind of like a rite of passage when they receive their citizenship. And then, of course, we have resources available. Lesson plans and things that the teachers can use.
And we’re just trying to create a moment for our young people where they realize how awesome it is to be a citizen in this great country. Our constitution is our guideline for that citizenship.
Leahy: And for those of you listeners know that the Tennessee Star does the Constitution Bee. It’s sort of a one-two punch. Where the first information comes from the 917 Society with this pocket constitution in eight grade. And then we have our own book that we do, The Tennessee Star.
Bryan: And we feature that on our website so our teachers know that that is available to them. We are working on a national launch this year. Tennessee is the first state to cover the whole state. And we have other states asking for the program so we are working. In fact, I just got off the phone this week to North Dakota.
They have 8700 students. A small state. But they’re wanting to cover it. And we’re working with the AmVets organization to help with our distribution nationwide. So we’ve got exciting things coming up this year. And we hope everybody will get involved in it.
Leahy: Well a couple of things just to note on North Dakota. We have some friends up there. Chris Berg who’s a reporter at Point of View, the NBC affiliate in Fargo, North Dakota. We’ll put you in touch with him. And, as it turns out, Governor Doug Bergum of North Dakota, we went to business school together and we’ve talked occasionally about constitutional education. He’s a big supporter of it by the way. We’ll put you in touch with Governor Bergum as well.
Bryan: That is fantastic! Well, we’ve got Kentucky. We’ve got Georgia, Florida. We’ve got a lot of other states that have been asking us to come. So this is exciting. We’re going to spread this nationwide.
Leahy: And you have a couple of very prominent local business people who are involved in this. Dr. Ming Wang and Lee Beaman. And they’re out there to raise money and take it national.
Bryan: Absolutely. Dr. Wang, his story is so compelling. And as a citizen, he came here from communist China with just $50.00. And he worked his way through school and he’s become a national Nashville, of course, common citizen. We love telling his story. We want the kids to hear his story because you know we take our freedoms for granted.
And so many of us that haven’t endured that kind of hardship we have stop and think about what our citizenship is all about. So, hearing his story and with the kids I think is very important. And of course, Lee Beaman is another person who doesn’t take his citizenship for granted. He gets in there and supports organizations that are trying to promote our American citizenship.
So we’re just really thrilled. Dr. Wang is the President of our Founders Club. And Lee Beaman this year is our Vice President. We are looking forward to some exciting things this next year. And we appreciate the help so very much.
Leahy: So go to 917Society.com. Still, a few tickets left. Only $25.00 each. Starting at 6 pm tomorrow night at the Nashville City Club.
Bryan: The program begins at 7:30 pm. Appetizers are served between 6-7:30 pm.
Listen to the full hour:
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