One of the greatest legacies our founding fathers left the United States were the ability to adapt and change the very foundation this country was built on. Two hundred and twenty years ago today the Bill of Rights were added to the U.S. Constitution.
Among the first 10 amendments in the Bill of Rights were important laws to protect the natural rights of liberty and property. They guarantee a number of personal freedoms, limit the government’s power in judicial and other proceedings, and reserve some powers to the states and the public. Perhaps the most influential of bunch is the very first one. For over two centuries, U.S. citizens have been guaranteed the right to speak freely thanks to the First Amendment. No doubt, our forefathers could not have predicted the new world of communications that has evolved over time. With every generation, the First Amendment has preserved free expression and empowered the American people.
Today, there are many planned celebrations to honor this great anniversary. Yesterday on Twitter I found one that I feel embodies the legacy of the First Amendment in this new world of communication advances. It’s an online contest that will award 22 – $5,000 scholarships. Dubbed “Free to Tweet,” the contest encourages high school and college students nationwide to celebrate their First Amendment rights on Twitter, Facebook and other social networking sites.
Below is a summary of the contest –
Beginning at midnight on Dec. 15, students ages 14 to 22 can tweet their support for the First Amendment with the hash tag #freetotweet, which will enter them in the “Free to Tweet” scholarship competition. Students are encouraged to freely express themselves in their entries, which can be posted on any publicly viewable social media platform, including blogs. The Free to Tweet contest takes place throughout the day, Dec. 15, 2011, on National Bill of Rights Day. The First Amendment was born in the 18th century but it’s your ticket to expressing yourself in 21st century ways. It guarantees your right to write, tweet, blog, read, sing and perform. It protects you at school and in church, allowing you to be you. What’s the point? To help spread the word about the importance of the First Amendment. In a digital world, free speech is more important than ever. Go to Twitter and use the hashtag #FreeToTweet. It’s really simple. So tweet away, and encourage others to do the same. Read more, and if you’d like a reminder to tweet on Dec. 15, sign up for an e-mail reminder here.
It’s amazing how forward thinking the founders of this country were. Certainly, freedom of speech is something celebrated today and every day.