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Citizens live by it and soldiers risk their lives to defend it.
Ken Paulson thinks Americans just don't know enough about the rights he calls the cornerstone of a free democracy.
"I challenge your readers, as they sit at the kitchen table tonight, to ask each other what they know about the First Amendment. I think they would be surprised," said Paulson, president and chief operating officer of the Freedom Forum, Newseum and Diversity Institute.People tend to be able to recall one or two of the key words of the five freedoms, such as the freedom of speech, or religion, but only one in 25 Americans can name all five freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment, according to recent surveys conducted by the First Amendment Center.
With the support of more than 1,000 associations, foundations and news organizations, a new national campaign -- "1 for All" - was recently launched to educate Americans about those freedoms.
"This is an unprecedented campaign marshalling the resources of thousands of organizations who rely on the First Amendment," said Paulson, who was among the team of journalists who founded USA Today in 1982.
"As we reflect on the Fourth of July, let's also reflect on teaching the First Amendment in a meaningful way," he said.The campaign was developed using the agency that oversaw the popular "Got Milk" advertising push and will feature a series of advertisements hosted by talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, musician John Mellencamp and David Gregory of "Meet the Press."
The interactive programs featuring celebrities and citizens will appear online, in print and on multiple media platforms across the country.
"Every time a person expresses a point of view, enjoys the arts, prays or posts a message online, the First Amendment is at work," Paulson said.
"So many people around the world long for the freedom we enjoy every day. These freedoms make the United States unique and we must never take them for granted."For more information, visit: www.1forAll.us.