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‘Free Speech Makes Free People’ billboard campaign tells Michigan public officials to respect the First Amendment

FIRE Billboard saying "Free Speech Makes Free People."

DETROIT, Nov. 28, 2022 – Today the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression kicks off a billboard campaign in Detroit, Michigan, highlighting the importance of protecting free speech. The billboards remind Michiganders that the First Amendment protects their right to criticize elected officials. 

Earlier this month, FIRE filed a federal First Amendment lawsuit on behalf of four citizens who sued Eastpointe Mayor Monique Owens and the City of Eastpointe after Owens abused her power during a city council meeting by shouting down and suppressing criticism of her while the floor was open for public comments. 

WATCH: Mayor Owens repeatedly interrupts and silencing constituents

“Public officials are elected to serve the people — not silence them,” said FIRE’s lead attorney on the case, Conor Fitzpatrick. “If the First Amendment protects anything, it protects criticizing elected officials.”

Three billboards are live, and an additional one will go up on Dec. 5. The billboards read “Free Speech Makes Free People” and will remain up into the new year.

The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to defending and sustaining the individual rights of all Americans to free speech and free thought—the most essential qualities of liberty. FIRE educates Americans about the importance of these inalienable rights, promotes a culture of respect for these rights, and provides the means to preserve them.


Katie Kortepeter, Communications Campaign Manager, FIRE: 215-717-3473;

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