While holidays like Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, Festivus, and New Year’s Eve take center stage in December, there is one overlooked holiday that we here at FIRE love to celebrate: Bill of Rights Day!
Never heard of it? Well, you’re in luck: Today is Bill of Rights Day.
At FIRE, we work year-round to defend student and faculty First Amendment rights on campus, so the Bill of Rights holds a special place in our hearts. We’re also lucky to work mere steps from Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell here in Philadelphia. So in honor of this Bill of Rights Day, we took a field trip to the Historical Society of Pennsylvania for their Behind-the-Scenes “Vault” Tour of precious, priceless, one-of-a-kind historical artifacts that carved out the scope of our individual liberties. We viewed the original Articles of Confederation; the first handwritten draft of the Constitution (which includes a specific note on “Freedom of speech”); and a copy of the Emancipation Proclamation signed by Abraham Lincoln, along with other priceless items.
To see photos from this tour and more interesting facts about the items we viewed, check out FIRE’s Instagram (@thefireorg).
If you’re looking for your own way to celebrate Bill of Rights Day, encourage a high school student you know to exercise their freedom of expression by entering FIRE’s Free Speech Essay Contest. The contest runs through December 31, and we’ll be awarding $20,000 in scholarships to the winning juniors and seniors.