Just in time for the Fourth of July, a new national advertising campaign reminds Americans that the First Amendment protects not only their freedom to speak, but their freedom to dance, rock, and, yes — tweet.
The non-partisan campaign, called 1ForAll, launched Thursday with promotions in 1,100 print newspapers. 1ForAll also takes advantage of a variety of new media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google's homepage and blog. There is even an open call on YouTube for videos that creatively demonstrate the freedom to assemble.
The promotional images and videos feature celebrities such as Ellen Degeneres, Brian Williams, and LL Cool J discussing and exercising their First Amendment rights.
The ads are modeled on the wildly successful "Got Milk?" campaign of the '90's, said Ken Paulson, 1ForAll director and president of the Newseum, in a phone interview with the Huffington Post Wednesday.VIDEO:
Like the "Got Milk?" ads, Paulson said he hopes 1ForAll will be able to "take a relatively unpalatable product and make it hip again. In some quarters, the First Amendment is viewed as a somewhat unpalatable product."
This is definitely not your grandmother's First Amendment: 1ForAll wants Americans to think about freedom of speech in new ways, such as allowing for the freedom to blog and tweet.
If they were alive today, Paulson said he believes "Madison would tweet and Jefferson would blog."
Independence Day weekend, Paulson said, is an ideal launch time for 1ForAll.
"The Fourth of July is a time when Americans traditionally reflect on freedom," Paulson said. "We always celebrate the Founding Fathers because they gave us liberty — but the truth is, [they] gave rich white men liberty. With this campaign, we're trying to remind Americans that the First Amendment gave women the right to vote, freed the slaves, and [secured] equal protection for all."
Paulson also said that while most Americans identify the First Amendment with "freedom of speech," 1ForAll emphasizes that the First Amendment actually grants five freedoms: freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom to assemble, freedom to pray, and freedom to petition the government.
In terms of measurable outcomes of the campaign, Paulson says he hopes to see "a significant uptick" in First Amendment awareness on the campaign's annual survey.
In addition to raising public awareness, Paulson will take 1ForAll's mission to grade-school classrooms and college campuses around the country. 1ForAll's series of educational materials, such as lesson plans, will be available to elementary and middle school teachers this September. Universities can apply for a $5,000 Liberty Tree grant from 1ForAll, and use the funds to host First Amendment-related campus speakers and events.
Visit 1ForAll for more information.