1 for All: Standing up for the First Amendment
By Ken Paulson, founder of 1 for All and president of the Newseum Institute’s First Amendment Center
1 for All — an unprecedented national campaign on behalf of the First Amendment — launched on July 1, 2010 with extraordinary support from more than 1,100 news, educational, arts and religious organizations. In print, online and through a variety of social media, these “Friends of 1 for All” have joined together to build understanding and appreciation of the First Amendment through education and information.
The five freedoms of the First Amendment give Americans the right to exercise their religion without government interference, to report about the world, to speak freely, to protest and petition, and to peaceably assemble.
Yet despite its pivotal role of making America what it is today, most Americans have no idea what the First Amendment says. First Amendment Center surveys indicate that only one American in 25 can name the freedoms of the First Amendment, and that a majority — when pressed — can come up with only one, typically freedom of speech. It’s constitutional illiteracy of the highest order.
The truth is that we don’t do a very good job of standing up for the First Amendment. Its five freedoms are truly the cornerstone of democracy and make America the special nation it is.
1 for All is a collaborative effort and defined by these guiding principles:
- 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 is interactive. There’s no point in celebrating free expression without encouraging some of it.
- 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.