Americans have many things for which to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. We live in a country of relative prosperity and enjoy substantial peace and comfort in a dangerous world. Our nation may not be perfect, but one of the ways in which we excel is by allowing our citizens the right to speak freely and to voice dissent when necessary. The right to share opinions without fear of government reprisal is precious and must not be taken for granted.
This essential freedom continues to be under pressure in our country — particularly on college campuses. Whether it’s disinviting speakers, shouting down unpopular views, enforcing “free speech zones”, or using speech codes to punish protected expression, college students are finding that they must stand up for their constitutional rights or risk seeing them chipped away, bit by bit.
But even in this challenging atmosphere, you can be thankful for FIRE: From coast to coast, FIRE investigates cases of speech suppression and defends protected speech in the ongoing cause of preserving individual liberties in higher education. Today, we’d like your help spreading that important message to students before they ever step foot on campus.
Encourage the high-schooler in your life to enter FIRE’s Free Speech Essay Contest!
Open through Dec. 31, this contest offers high school juniors and seniors the opportunity both to articulate support for free speech while having the chance to earn up to $10,000 in scholarship award money. If you qualify, or if you know someone who does, please direct them to thefire.org/first-amendment-educational-resources/essay-contest for all the details on entering.
Speaking up for free speech — on a stomach full of pumpkin pie — is a great way to pause and reflect on all the reasons that Americans have to give thanks.