“Freedom of speech doesn’t always mean you’ll walk away with a smile,” Criminal Justice Professor Nicklaus Goff explained at the educational presentation given on Constitution Day to spread awareness on the importance of freedom of speech. Goff and History Professor Cassandra Pritts gave the presentation in Church Mckee Arts Center.
Goff touched upon some controversial topics that our First Amendment does protect us from. These topics included things like the disputed football player kneeling during the national anthem, the Charlottesville Nazi protesters, and the burning of an American flag.
Pritts gave a brief explanation of the history of the First Amendment and Founding Fathers. “History is rich in importance. By studying history, we understand how we have been shaped by the past and how to apply historical knowledge and analysis to the issues facing us in the present,” Pritts stated.
After the history introduction, Goff gave an elaborate clarification of how the First Amendment protects our freedom rights.
Goff then went into further detail telling each audience member what that First Amendment protects and doesn’t protect. Goff was highly involved with the listeners by asking them questions and allowing them to answer with the microphone. When mentioning the controversial issues, the crowd stirred and expressed their disdain for disrespecting symbols like the American flag or kneeling during the national anthem.
Goff explained that every member of the audience had the right to feel the way they did, but they couldn’t stop an American citizen from kneeling, burning a flag or other acts that may seem disrespectful. Thanks to the First Amendment.
However, in his final points, Goff encouraged the audience to also exercise their right to freedom of speech. If they disagreed with someone it is their responsibility to go out and make their voices heard. “Patriotism is exercising your rights,” he explained.