About 1 for All
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” – The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
Thanks for joining us here at 1 for All, a national nonpartisan and nonprofit educational effort to build understanding and respect for the five freedoms of the First Amendment.
1 for All is overseen by the Free Speech Center at Middle Tennessee State University and supported by a wide range of partners and supporters with expertise and interest in education, civics, law and the arts.
At a time of deep partisanship in America, our goal is to remind America that the First Amendment, which gives us freedom 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.
The challenge, though, comes when we exercise our free speech proudly and loudly, but fail to listen to the views of others.
Why is that a problem? America’s most meaningful changes – particularly those guaranteeing equality and justice for all – came about through public debate, compromise and consensus. But nothing gets done when we’re simply shouting at each other.
There are other challenges involving the First Amendment, including a surprising number of Americans’ not knowing what it is. According to surveys by the Freedom Forum Institute, about a third of Americans can’t name a single freedom in the Amendment. About 80 percent don’t know that it includes the freedoms of religion and press.
That lack of understanding is dangerous. If we don’t know that these five freedoms were demanded by the American people at the birth of the nation, and that they are inextricably linked, then it’s easy for people in power to denigrate or threaten a free press or “fringe” religions. And if one freedom falls, they all will.
A quick look at 1 for All
- 1 for All is nonpartisan. At a time of deep political polarization, we choose not to take sides. In fact, a shared commitment to freedom of speech, press and faith should unify this nation.
- It’s all about education. America’s teachers would like to do a better job of teaching about the First Amendment, but they often lack the resources they need. 1 for All will provide educational materials, course content and study guides for teachers of grades 1 to 12.
- 1 for All is interactive. There’s no point in celebrating free expression without encouraging some of it. Students and others will be encouraged to submit photos, videos, songs and stories that reflect the value of freedom in America.
- The focus is on all five freedoms. America’s news media are quick to defend freedom of the press, and churches embrace freedom of faith, but these freedoms are interdependent and deserve the full support of all Americans. We can’t pick and choose the freedoms we like.
Please help us raise awareness of the importance of the First Amendment and the need to protect all five freedoms. Here’s how you can make a difference.
Questions? You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure your email address is included in the body of your message.
The Free Speech Center
Middle Tennessee State University