2nd ‘Free to Tweet’ campaign celebrates First Amendment, offers scholarships

Thursday, December 13, 2012

WASHINGTON — During a 15-day online celebration of First Amendment rights, high school and college students nationwide can win one of five $5,000 scholarships through the “Free to Tweet” competition. More information at FreeToTweet.org.

Beginning at midnight EST on Dec. 1 through 11:59 p.m. PST on Dec. 15, students at a high school, community college or university ages 14 and up can tweet their support for the First Amendment with the hash tag #FreeToTweet, which will enter them in the “Free to Tweet” scholarship competition.

The initiative is funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and organized by 1 for All, an educational and public service campaign that builds understanding of the First Amendment and its five distinct freedoms: speech, press, religion, assembly and petition.

“Our first ‘Free to Tweet’ competition was an unprecedented celebration of the First Amendment, marrying emerging media to traditional American values,” said Ken Paulson, president of the First Amendment Center and founder of the campaign. “This year, we’re encouraging students nationwide to think about our most fundamental liberties and tweet about the First Amendment freedom that means the most to them.”

All Americans are urged to join the online celebration by tweeting their support for the First Amendment and help reinvigorate the often-overlooked Bill of Rights Day. In late November of 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed Dec. 15 a national holiday on the 150th anniversary of the amendments’ adoption, declaring Americans “will not, under any threat … surrender the guarantee of liberty our forefathers framed for us in our Bill of Rights.” Just days after that proclamation, Pearl Harbor was attacked and the United States entered World War II. The holiday declaration was largely forgotten.

Last year’s campaign received more than 17,000 submissions in one day, including a tweet of support from the White House. The “Free to Tweet” campaign is supported by artists such as Ke$ha, Blake Shelton, Wynonna Judd, Heart, Brad Paisley and many others.

Students can enter the scholarship competition by tweeting a message of support – using the hashtag #FreeToTweet — for the First Amendment. A panel of educators and First Amendment experts will review the entries and award five $5,000 scholarships. Judging criteria and complete rules can be found at FreeToTweet.org. Updates on the event can be followed on Twitter at @FreeToTweet2012.

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 About 1 for All

1 for All is a nonpartisan, educational campaign that was launched in 2010 to address a general lack of awareness by the American public about the five freedoms afforded by the First Amendment. Initial support for the campaign was provided by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Newseum, McCormick Foundation, American Society of News Editors, First Amendment Center and Gannett Foundation. In addition, more than 1,000 news organizations, religious groups and educational institutions have devoted their time and resources in support of the 1 for All campaign. More information at 1forall.us.

About Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. More information at knightfoundation.org.

Media contact:

Ken Paulson

First Amendment Center

(615) 727-1301

kpaulson@freedomforum.org

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