A third of Americans cannot name even one of the five freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment, according to Ken Paulson.
The director of the Free Speech Center at Middle Tennessee State University aims to change that with a new advertising campaign.
No one has ever “effectively marketed the First Amendment,” Paulson said.
“Only 10 percent recognize the freedom of assembly. In the last few weeks, that’s been so important.”
The new ads feature artists, authors and athletes discussing the freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment — free speech, a free press, religious freedom, the freedom to peaceably assemble and the freedom to petition the government. The ads are being distributed by newspapers and media organizations around the country. They direct the public to the 1 for All website, where they can learn more about how to protect their freedoms.
The campaign is kicking off with Nashville-based figures like musicians Loretta Lynn and Kane Brown, Olympic gold medalist Scott Hamilton and bestselling author Ann Patchett. More artists, athletes and entertainers will be added over time. The campaign is slated to continue indefinitely, Paulson said.
Paulson serves on the USA Today’s Board of Contributors and is a former editor-in-chief there, according to a column he wrote for that publication this month. In that column, Paulson spoke out against keeping Confederate statues. He tweeted last month that President Donald Trump “wants America to ‘normalize’ coronavirus deaths. It’s the media’s job not to play along.” In another tweet, Paulson said in April that Inspector General Michael Atkinson’s firing was “Trump’s vilest act of retribution yet.”
According to the 1 for All website, supporters include The Associated Press, Chicago Public Square, The Memphis Commercial Appeal, The Dickson Post, and The Gallatin News.
“At a time of deep partisanship in America, our goal is to remind America that the First Amendment, which gives us freedom of speech, religion, press, and the rights of petition and assembly, collectively gives each of us the right to be ourselves – expressing ourselves and enriching the nation through the free exchange of ideas,” according to the website.
1 for All, the website went on to say, doesn’t take sides and says America’s teachers would like to do a better job teaching the First Amendment — but teachers often lack the resources they need.
“There’s no point in celebrating free expression without encouraging some of it,” according to 1 for All’s website.
“Students and others will be encouraged to submit photos, videos, songs and stories that reflect the value of freedom in America.”
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