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They guard the basic rights of Americans against government censorship and empower every person to take stands to drive progress.
And we still have work to do!
40% of Americans today report keeping quiet – holding back from expressing their true beliefs for fear of reprisal. By way of comparison, during the McCarthyism of the 1950s- only 13% of Americans reported self-censorship.
Today 43% of Americans feel less secure about their freedom to protest than they did just two years ago.
One-third of Americans say that they are personally worried about losing their jobs or missing out on career opportunities if they express their real political opinions.
Free expression and academic freedom are the fundamental building blocks of the university. These freedoms clear the way for students and scholars to engage with new ideas and with each other. Both are essential for learning, debate, and discovery.
The right to protest our government is a hallmark of America. People have the right to peacefully and powerfully stand alongside others to express their beliefs.
People shouldn’t have to choose between speaking out and staying safe. The ability to maintain privacy makes it possible for people to advocate for causes they believe in.
Technology has made it possible for people – more than any time in human history — to say what they think and build an audience for their views. Applying the principles of free speech to the digital world allows people to fully realize the benefits of online innovations.
Freedom of belief, conscience, and religious exercise is vital to people’s ability to live out their beliefs and society’s chance to grow and thrive.
Free speech doesn’t begin and end with the First Amendment. Civil liberties protect people from government censorship. But other factors can silence people. For our country to meet and overcome the challenges it faces, we must embrace a culture willing to take on challenging discussions with courage and respect.