In an effort to remind the public about its First Amendment rights and to reassure immigrants that constitutional protections extend to them as well, the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan on Monday launched a public-education campaign that features the First Amendment printed in Arabic, Spanish and English.
The “We the People” campaign rolled out with the unveiling of an electronic billboard featuring the First Amendment in all three languages posted on Cobo Center in downtown Detroit. The ad will appear on the billboard throughout June.
“We wanted people to remember that the Constitution applies to everyone, regardless of birthplace or religion or ethnicity,” said Kary Moss, Executive Director of the ACLU of Michigan. “In a state that boasts both significant Arabic- and Spanish-speaking communities, we felt this ad would spark discussion about tolerance and the meaning of democracy. We are seeing more ICE raids, hate crimes, and fear in communities across the state so there is no better time for this campaign.”
The Michigan campaign featuring the three language versions of the First Amendment was previewed last week in a gatefold ad on the inside cover of a special edition of Crain’s Detroit Business magazine. An additional 20,000 copies of the issue, which is dedicated to the Mackinac Policy Conference held each year on Mackinac Island, will be distributed this week.
The idea for the campaign came about shortly after Donald Trump was elected president on a wave of anti-immigrant sentiment and a pledge to ban Muslims from entering the United States. It was conceived of by the agency Emergence Creative, who approached the national ACLU with the idea in December 2016.
In addition to protecting freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom to peaceably protest, the First Amendment protects the right to practice your religion and not be discriminated against for doing so.
The ad also appears in Times Square in New York City, Los Angeles and in Washington D.C.