First Amendment Days 2019

First Amendment Days 2019 – Express Yourself

The 2019 First Amendment Days celebration took place April 8-12, and the theme was “Express Yourself.” Events focused on free expression as it relates to the freedoms of speech, press, petition, assembly and religion.


First Amendment Days 2019 featured five days of programming for the Iowa State community and beyond.

  • Monday: Common Ground: a discussion about belief
  • Tuesday: Keynote lecture given by Simon Tam, founder and bassist of The Slants
  • Wednesday: Depth and Dialogue sessions and public lectures
  • Thursday: Democalypse March, Feast on the First, live street art demo by iamsloth
  • Friday: First Amendment Workshop


News Releases and Media Coverage

panel featuring a moderator and four women
First Amendment Days 2019 kicked off with “Why I Wear Denim: Shifting the Stigma” on Monday, April 8, 2019. The panel focused on how the media shapes and adapts the message of sexual violence. Panelists included Julie Roosa, Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication, and former coordinator of the Story County Sexual Assault Response Team, Kathie Obradovich, the Des Moines Register’s former opinion editor, Jazzmine Brooks, Violence Prevention and Green Dot Coordinator with Student Wellness, and Tricia Ingram Williams, ACCESS Campus Advocate. Photo by Gabe Altier


Common Ground Panel
Kena Martin, freshman in political science and math, led a panel focused on the freedom of religion titled “Common Ground: Talking About Belief” on Monday, April 8. Photo by Gabe Altier


Simon Tam (left), founder and bassist of The Slants, talked frankly about racism, his experiences as a musician, and how this Asian American dance rock band unintentionally revived a longstanding battle over trademarks and racial slurs in “A Name Worth Fighting For: How Being Asian Got Me In Trouble.” Fellow band member Joe Jiang (pictured right) joined him for a concert following the presentation. Photo by Gabe Altier


Brenda Witherspoon lecturing
Brenda Witherspoon, associate teaching professor in the Greenlee School, led a session exploring the question of violent speech during the Depth and Dialogue sessions on April 10. Photo by Gabe Altier


Phoenix-based visual wizard Timmy Ham presented a Depth and Dialogue session on art and the First Amendment on Thursday, April 10, 2019. Ham is the founder of the lifestyle brand SLOTH, which specializes in merchandise and art inspired by street art. The name started as Ham’s artist ‘tag.’ Photo by Gabe Altier


Greenlee alumnus and reporter Jared Strong (left) and Doug Burns, publisher, spoke about how the Daily Times Herald defeated a libel claim during one of the Depth and Dialogue sessions on April 10. Photo by Gabe Altier


two women hold a plaque
KCCI 8 News anchor and reporter Rheya Spigner (left) and Greenlee student Whitney Mason are the recipients of the 2019 Greenlee School and Kappa Tau Alpha Diversity & Inclusion Awards. Spigner and Mason were honored during First Amendment Days on April 10, 2019. Photo by Gabe Altier


four people are led on a walking tour on the ISU campus
Honors student Sam Clement (left), freshman in history, created the free speech history tour as part of his spring 2019 honors project . He served serve as the tour’s guide and shared his research on free speech at ISU and the law. Photo by Gabe Altier


a group of six sit around a table dicussing
Iowa State community members viewed the 2017 Netflix documentary “Nobody Speak.” An informal discussion followed the screening. Photo by Gabe Altier


Iowa State community members flocked to Central Campus on April 11, 2019, for free food, fun, and celebrations of the First Amendment’s five freedoms. Photo by Gabe Altier


woman stands on a soap box with a microphone in hand
Audrey Ward, junior in public relations, led the soapbox speeches during the Feast on the First. Photo by Gabe Altier


an artist paints black lines on a colorful canvas
During a live art demonstration, Timmy Ham, visual artist and founder of lifestyle brand SLOTH, created a street art-inspired mural to commemorate First Amendment Days 2019. Photo by Gabe Altier


an artist stands in front of a colorful diptych in fluorescent colors
Visual artist and illustrator Timmy Ham’s diptych was inspired by the rolling hills of Iowa. Photo by Gabe Altier


a man walks around a room filled with people during a workshop
The First Amendment Workshop provided expert training for First Amendment champions on April 12, 2019. Here, Brian Steffen of Simpson College presented a session. Photo by Gabe Altier


a display containing books about the First Amendment
Parks Library showcased books and materials on the First Amendment during First Amendment Days. Photo by Gabe Altier


See more photos from First Amendment Days 2019.