SPJ/ONA DePaul presented its Free Speech Wall program to 25 students, pros and advisers during an afternoon session at the SPJ Region 5 conference April 12 in Chicago.
The students did a 20-minute presentation, showed the wall as well as research on results of the Free Speech Wall, which they are turning into an annual Constitution Day (Sept. 17) event that will involve other SPJ chapters from around the country.
After the presentation, Region 5 attendees formed small groups to brainstorm suggestions and improvements for the larger-scale Free Speech Wall for Constitution Day 2014
SPJ members from Eastern Kentucky University suggested creating informational boards to display next to the wall, explaining the history of why we have the right to free speech. Content could range from court cases that fought for our right to free speech to posting the First Amendment verbatim.
The success of the Free Speech Wall prompted the suggestion that Chicago citizens should get the opportunity to participate, not just university students. SPJ members from Loyola University also have two campuses, and they hope to post Free Speech Walls in their Rogers Park and Water Tower neighborhoods as well.
Between the four campuses, Constitution Day 2014 will allow for citizens all around Chicago to practice their First Amendment rights. Participation will grow even larger with the suggestion that we add an online component, allowing for anyone online to share their First Amendment rights and participate in our social experiment.
Watch these rough-cut videos of the presentation (turn up your sound, our shotgun mic broke):