March 6, 2017

45on45: What The First Amendment Means To You

By Gabe Bullard

On the eve of President Donald Trump’s inauguration, we launched a project. Since Trump is the 45th President of the United States, and since our namesake — the First Amendment — is 45 words long, we asked you to take 45 days to show us what those 45 words mean for you.

We received some great submissions, and we want to highlight a few.

Eleven-year-old Kennedy McLean from Tennessee sent us this poster.

By Kennedy McLean

Josh Siegel made a song based on how many times each letter is used in the First Amendment.

Bob Dixon also celebrated the First Amendment in song:

Caryn Beitler used the language of our time — emoji — to illustrate the language of the original 1A: 🏛🚫📜⛪️➕🗣👥➕👌👏👮‍♀️🤷🏻‍♂️🤷🏽‍♀️✅✅✅

Marie Julianna used yarn:

Leila Garduina made a quilt:

Many of you simply told us what the First Amendment means for you.

The Little Free Library organization sent us our own library to take and receive our favorite examples of freedom of the press (aka books). It arrived Friday, to much surprise and fanfare in the 1A offices.

And, we heard from Kate Hoof, a teacher at the Center for Mass Communications at Manchester High School in Chesterfield, Virginia. “We used your 1A project as the culminating activity for a unit on the First Amendment focusing specifically on freedom of the press,” she wrote. “As you say on the 1A blog, ‘You can’t protect the First Amendment if you don’t know the First Amendment…’ I want to make sure my students know the importance of the First Amendment to our democracy.”

Her ninth grade students made posters:

And her eleventh grade students made videos, which we’ve excerpted in the montage below.

There were many more submissions — everything from protest signs and political messages, to frank statements about the value of the the five freedoms of the First Amendment. You can check them out by searching the hashtag #45on45 on Twitter.

Thank you to everyone who participated.

45 on 45 was created by listener Jan Zauzmer in conjunction with 1A.

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