The Five Freedoms Project

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5 Things You Can Do: Assembly

1. Read Marching on Washington

As new generations of Americans continue to exercise their First Amendment right to peaceable assembly by taking to the streets, California State Archivist Lucy Barber looks at the phenomenon of the protest march on two levels: generally, as a strategic use of citizenship, and specifically, by taking six influential marches as case studies.

The marches Barber analyzes and describes include Coxey’s Army (1894), the Women’s Suffrage Procession (1913), the World War I Veterans’ Bonus March (1932), the aborted Negro March on Washington (1941), the iconic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom (1963), and the antiwar in Vietnam Spring Offensive (1971). In the process, she provides a thoughtful exploration of how the First Amendment right of assembly has evolved over time.

To order Marching on Washington, click here.

 

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2. Visit firstamendmentcenter.org’s Assembly page

Firstamendmentcenter.org, the official web site of the First Amendment Center, is one of the most authoritative sources of news, information and commentary in the nation on First Amendment issues. It features daily updates on news about First Amendment-related developments, as well as information and detailed reports about U.S. Supreme Court cases involving the First Amendment, and commentary, analysis and special reports involving free expression, press freedom and religious liberty issues.

To help educate your school’s faculty about the right to peaceable assembly, urge friends and colleagues to visit the Center’s “Assembly” web page. Visitors can access a general overview, find answers to key FAQs, access recent news, and peruse a full list of historic cases and resources.

To visit the First Amendment Center’s Assembly page, click here.

 

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3. Teach a 1Voice Lesson

1Voice is a multimedia curricular initiative designed to help teachers educate students about the First Amendment. Channel One, the preeminent news and public affairs content provider to teens, and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation partnered to produce these resources for teachers to use in teaching young people about their Constitutionally-guaranteed freedoms.

Generally, when we think of the right to assemble, we think of events like the historic 1963 March on Washington, But does this same right protect the rights of groups like Improv Everywhere to burst into song or perform synchronized swimming in public fountains? Click here to visit the 1Voice Resource page, and check out the interactive lesson, “Improv Anywhere?”

 

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4. Revisit Your School’s Free-Expression Policies

Visit our free speech Frequently Asked Questions to ensure your school is striking the right balance between honoring student freedoms, establishing useful school structures, and ensuring that adults are serving as authoritative, not authoritarian, sources of support and guidance.

To visit the FAQs, click here.

 

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5. Organize a Constitution Day Assembly

On Sept. 17, 1787, the U.S. Constitution was signed by 39 men who changed the course of history. Now, every September 17, Constitution Day provides an opportunity for school communities to reconnect to our nation’s founding principles and develop habits of citizenship that can sustain America’s commitment to democracy.

The National Constitution Center has compiled an impressive set of resources to help you celebrate Constitution Day, featuring over 200 activities, lessons, books, DVDs and more from over 30 different providers.

To find out more, and begin planning your own Constitiution Day assembly, click here.

 

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