Let’s celebrate the First Amendment

This year's First Amendment Day T-shirt
This year’s First Amendment Day T-shirt. You have the right to wear one without fear of persecution.

First Amendment Day at UNC-Chapel Hill is Tuesday, Sept. 29. Here is what it’s all about:

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.

For journalists, that means we can gather news, write an article or blog post, edit it and put a headline on it without fear of going to prison.

There are limits — we can’t commit libel, for example, without legal consequences. And we can face criticism for what we say and write. Even so, journalists (a word that I define broadly) enjoy freedoms in this country that their counterparts in others do not.

The First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of expression deserves a day of recognition and celebration. The events on campus this year include a reading of banned books and a discussion about student-athletes and social media.

All sessions are free and open to all. I hope to see you there. If you can’t be, you can follow the fun on Twitter with the hashtag #uncfree.