SAN DIEGO – This Constitution Day, Friday, Sept. 17, the ACLU Foundation of San Diego & Imperial Counties (ACLUF-SDIC) will present its 15th annual Celebrate the Constitution! program.
This year, the goal is to empower and amplify youth voices and bring them into national conversations about the constitutional principles that define our democratic society. Under the guidance of their teachers and/or individually, students can create and submit digital content throughout the 2021-22 academic year to be uploaded to a dedicated website: www.CelebratetheConstitution.org.
The nonpartisan platform allows youth to share their insights and ideas about the Constitution and imagine their own roles in shaping the nation’s future.
“Young people are acutely aware of deeply rooted inequities in our society but lack meaningful outlets to express their dissent. And, as one of our student interns astutely observed, ‘closed mouths don’t get fed,’” said ACLUF-SDIC Executive Director Norma Chávez-Peterson. “This year, we invite students to think deeply about America’s core values and to share with their peers and the public their own insights about how to create a more perfect union in which ‘We the People’ means everyone.”
This four-minute video created by ACLUF-SDIC’s 2021 summer interns is hoped to inspire other youth to express their ideas for achieving liberty and justice for all: “Let’s Amend the 13th Amendment to Truly Abolish Human Slavery.”
Since 2007, the ACLU has matched volunteer guest speakers – including judges, attorneys, elected officials, constitutional scholars, civic leaders and others – with host teachers in their classrooms. Since its inception, the popular program has engaged more than 130,000 middle and high school students locally.
In 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic prompted a reimagination of Celebrate the Constitution! as an entirely digital initiative. Dozens of ACLU volunteers – including retired U.S. Court of Appeals (Third Circuit) Judge H. Lee Sarokin and retired U.S. Magistrate Judge James Stiven, both of whom helped develop the first Constitution Day program – contributed self-produced, nonpartisan videos that are freely accessible on our website together with a variety of other ACLU-created and curated materials.
An estimated 2,000 local students are expected to visit the site tomorrow and thousands more over the school year.
Resources on the Celebrate the Constitution! Website
The Celebrate the Constitution! website is intended to spark discussions and learning about the United States Constitution, Bill of Rights and key amendments from historical and personal perspectives. The public is invited to learn more about America’s founding document by exploring the educational resources on the site.
Resources on www.CelebratetheConstitution.org include:
- Two customized lesson plans educators can use to challenge their students to study and critically analyze the U.S. Constitution and guide them in creating digital content to submit to the site throughout the 2021-22 school year;
- A Student Resource page for youth who want to learn and share their unique insights about the Constitution;
- A library of nonpartisan, educational videos created by Celebrate the Constitution! volunteers featuring a broad spectrum of perspectives about the Constitution and its relevance today;
- Nonpartisan information about the Constitution, Bill of Rights and other key amendments; and
- Downloadable artwork students may freely use to illustrate their digital creations.
About Constitution Day
September 17 is “Constitution Day” – established by the U.S. Congress in 2004 to commemorate the signing of the Constitution in 1787 and to recognize its significance. By law, federally funded schools are required to provide educational programming about the United States Constitution on the anniversary of its signing. The ACLUF-SDIC Celebrate the Constitution! program was developed in 2007 to help schools meet this requirement.