Free Speech Will Always Be A Radical Idea
Welcome to New Routes to Community Health, an on-line community we hope will become populated with the voices and images of immigrant life in America. This is a safe place for thoughtful expression where you can post and share the media you create. The door to this site is wide open for all immigrants, not just to New Routes grantees.
What I love the most about my homeland, the United States of America, is the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It makes it the law of the land that anyone in the United States is allowed to practice whatever religion they wish, speak and write about any subject they choose, and to gather in peaceful groups for any reason. Here is the official language.
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
The First Amendment is a radical idea—written to prevent our government from intimidating or cutting off the voices of people who don’t agree with ruling party’s beliefs. As a radical idea, we, the people who live in the United States, will always have to work to protect it. Our history books are full of instances of when the government has tried to limit the power of the first amendment. The latest example is the U.S. Patriot Act, which makes newcomers feel fearful and insecure.
We understand that many immigrants and refugees arrive in the United States wary of the radicalism and danger of free speech. We also understand that the Internet allows images posted here to be seen around the world in an instant, possibly endangering loved ones who are far away. None-the-less, we invite newcomers to the United States to use the New Routes Web site to try out the freedom offered in the First Amendment.
New Routes is a peaceable community founded in all of the visionary beauty of the First Amendment. We embrace the principle that the First Amendment applies to anyone who is living in the United States. It is not a mission statement that we strive to honor, it is a contract. It is the law.
Start with a safe topic. Tell us what you love and what you find confusing about your new home. Tell us how you are adapting to your new life. Offer advice to others about making transition to life in the USA in 2007. Tell us your dreams for your new life. We want to hear and see it all through your voices and images.
Your story can help all of us to see the renewing strengths immigrants bring to the freedoms promised in our wildly idealistic and radical First Amendment. We look forward to hearing from you.
Watch and Listen
New Research & Recommendations
This report (PDF 3.8MB) offers guidance for community organizations and those who fund social change in how best to harness the power of local media-making for community health improvement. Spanish-language version is now available. Una versión en español de este informe esta en la web.