There is a reason the First Amendment comes first. It is the foundation for a country free from tyranny, and helps protect all of the other rights that are guaranteed to all people. It is comprised of five parts; freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of association, freedom of assembly, and freedom to petition. These freedoms allow us to live in a democratic society where individuality is encouraged, opinions are diverse, and political debate is robust. Art, film, literature, journalism, and protest are all avenues of expression that would not be able to exist without the First Amendment.
Rapidly advancing technology and the vast reach of the internet have introduced a whole new set of issues concerning freedom of expression. While the possibilities of expression are now endless, in 1791 there was no mention of blogging or podcasting in the Bill of Rights. As a result, the ACLU is working to make sure that this new era in technology serves to enhance, rather than compromise civil liberties.
The ACLU of Kansas has been working to protect First Amendment rights since 1961. Over the years we have dealt with the issues of loyalty oaths, war protests, censorship, banned books, and sign ordinances. Recently, we have fought for artistic expression and the free speech rights of prisoners.
Violations of the First Amendment should never go unnoticed, or be ignored, which is why the ACLU of Kansas is vigilant in its protection of free speech.