Central Washington University will host a weeklong First Amendment Festival, May 6 through 9 in the Student Union and Recreation Center (SURC), featuring activities designed to help students learn about and exercise their First Amendment freedoms.
The festival’s featured speaker is political columnist and New York Times bestselling author Glenn Greenwald, whose columns for Salon and The Guardian prompted Newsweek to name him one of the nation’s top 10 opinion writers. He will make the festival’s free, public keynote address, “Under Fire: The War on Terror’s War on the First Amendment,” Monday, May 6, at 4 p.m. in the SURC Theater.
“I really want to expose Central students to his insights; they need to hear what he has to say,” said Cynthia Mitchell, festival chair and CWU journalism professor. “I really appreciate how he advocates for the importance of a free and adversarial press, and how he never hesitates to call out the mainstream media when they act more like lapdogs than watchdogs.”
Greenwald has authored three New York Times bestsellers. His latest, “With Liberty and Justice for Some,” exposes America’s burgeoning two-tiered system of justice that grants immunity to the political and financial elite while imprisoning the economically powerless.
Along with Greenwald’s presentation, from 11:00 a.m. to noon on Monday and Tuesday, and noon to 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, three famous First Amendment trials will be re-enacted by CWU history students: the espionage trial of Daniel Ellsburg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times; Lenny Bruce's obscenity trial; and the “Chicago Seven” trial of protesters at the 1968 Democratic National Convention.
Greenwald will close the Monday re-enactment with a short talk about the parallels and differences between that case and the detention and court martial of Bradley Manning for leaking to Wikileaks.
On Thursday, from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., CWU students will also have the chance to speak out on several hot topics— from gun rights to reproductive rights—in the SURC Pit.
“It’s important that students make their voices heard,” Mitchell said. “Our partnership with College Civics Week is designed to show them how they can use their First Amendment rights to get involved in issues they care about, starting with the most important way to get involved—voting.”
Cynthia Mitchell, CWU Department of Communication, firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted: May 3, 2013