The Six Mile Post is sponsoring First Amendment Awareness Week


Art by Mallory Hobson

The Six Mile Post sponsors First Amendment Awareness Week.

The Six Mile Post has sponsored First Amendment Awareness Week since 2004. Without the liberties guaranteed to us by the First Amendment, SMP could not be the student news source it is today. As such, we aim to spread awareness and talk about the many issues surrounding the First Amendment and freedom of speech.

According to The First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

The First Amendment guarantees Americans freedom of religion, freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. It does so by limiting actions of the government that infringe on the liberties of American citizens. Under the First Amendment, the government cannot establish an official religion, interfere with peaceful protests or hold liable those whose expression falls under free speech.

The First Amendment does not apply to all forums, including social media platforms. This means that Twitter was well within their rights as a private company to permanently suspend then President Donald Trump on January 8.

While Twitter’s actions were inarguably constitutional, there is still argument over whether the company was in line with the spirit of free speech.

Twitter is one of the largest public forums in the present day. This gives them immense power over current discourse, leading some to think Twitter’s actions could be the first in a slippery slope of Big Tech censorship.

On the other hand, Twitter has also received criticism that Trump’s suspension was long overdue. Critics point to how Twitter enabled Trump to popularize his right-wing rhetoric by giving him a platform for over a decade. The insurrection of the U.S. Capitol was not the result of a single problematic tweet but many years of promoting a belief system that’s only logical conclusion is violence.

These arguments are not mutually exclusive. Both our President and our social media have great power over speech and should be held under harsh scrutiny. At the same time, we should not tolerate speech that propagates hate or discourages marginalized voices from having a place in the discourse.

This is not only in line with the spirit of free speech, but it also protects our free speech for the future to come.

Several other GHC clubs have joined to help spread awareness of the First Amendment.

Brother 2 Brother is promoting awareness by discussing the importance of the First Amendment and the trials to achieve the First Amendment on Thursday, January 21, at their virtual Brother 2 Brother meeting.”

The Criminal Justice department posted a copy of the First Amendment and the First Amendment Awareness Week recognition poster on the club’s bulletin board on the Floyd Campus.

Spanish Activities Club is having a meeting for the semester on Thursday, January 28, at 4 p.m. where they will watch a YouTube video on the First Amendment.

Phi Theta Kappa will be posting on social media and emailing their members about the First Amendment, as well as suggesting students write a letter to the editor for SMP.

The Student Veterans Association plans to share an announcement on their social media page.