This past weekend the nation watched as thousands of people, led by the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, exercised their First Amendment freedoms of protest, assembly, speech and press in the pursuit of change.
On Friday, March 23, five MSD students participated in a panel discussion at the Newseum with Margaret Brennan, host of CBS News’ “Face the Nation,” to share their experiences as witnesses to the shooting that took place at their school on Feb. 14, but also as student journalists covering the unfolding events for their student publication, The Eagle Eye.
Friday evening the Newseum hosted a conversation with Jordan Klepper, host of Comedy Central’s “The Opposition w/ Jordan Klepper.” His one-hour special “Jordan Klepper Solves Guns” premiered on Comedy Central in 2017 and focused on the alarming legal obstacles and enlightening personal testimony surrounding the issue of gun violence in America.
The next day at the March for Our Lives, the power of the First Amendment was on full display as hundreds of thousands of protesters assembled outside the Newseum’s front door to petition the government for change. Celebrities and students alike spoke and performed on a stage at the end of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the Capitol building, just blocks from the Newseum.
Thousands of people took advantage of the various vantage points throughout the building to watch the three-hour long rally. Outside the building, NewseumED installed a large vinyl poster asking “Why do you march?” This, along with a protest poster-making station and sidewalk chalk, engaged marchers of all ages. NewseumED also gave out stickers and buttons each representing one of the five freedoms of the First Amendment.
The imagery of the First Amendment tablet on the Newseum facade and the “1968: Civil Rights at 50” exhibit banner in front of the building was not lost on the crowd, and served as a reminder to all march participants of the power of free expression to enact change.