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Author: Aleena Gardezi

ACLU Launches Multilingual Ad Campaign in Defense of First Amendment

Posted April 4, 2017

The American Civil Liberties Union has kicked off a new campaign with billboards in Arabic, English, and Spanish intended to remind public that ‘We the People’ means everyone.

The electronic billboards, conceived by the agency Emergence Creative, who approached the ACLU with the idea in December 2016, feature the first amendment.

They will be in New York’s Times Square and at bus stops in Washington, D.C. The First Amendment will also be displayed on a fence in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, and on a wall in the arts district of downtown Los Angeles.

Additional ads may appear in other cities and in other languages in the coming days and weeks.

The First Amendment ads will run in Times Square through June, appearing twice an hour for 15 seconds on the electronic billboard at Reuters Digital Tower, 3 Times Square. The ads in Washington D.C. will appear on 30 bus shelters across the city for four weeks.

“This campaign is intended to remind people that the Constitution is for all of us. It doesn’t matter who you are or what language you speak. ‘We the People’ means everyone,” said Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the ACLU, in a statement.

“From his attempted Muslim ban to his calls for media suppression to his remarks endorsing the use of violence against those who protest against him, President Trump has shown disdain for the rights and freedoms enshrined in the First Amendment, so we thought it was a good time to remind people of these rights,” Romero added.

The idea for the campaign stemmed from the wave of anti-immigrant sentiment and the proposed Muslim ban, according to the release.

“We felt that at this time, when the president came to power on a wave of anti-immigrant sentiment and then immediately tried to implement a ban on Muslims entering the country, and when we have seen an increase in hate crimes,  it was important to send a message of solidarity and remind people of their First Amendment rights,” Stacy Sullivan, Associate Director for Strategic Communications, ACLU told DIVERGE.

“We are a country made up of people from all over the world. Our diversity is one of our great strengths,” she added. “I hope this campaign speaks to that.”

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.

While several advertising vendors refused to run the campaign, others offered space as a substantial discount to support the effort. Any advertisers who would like to donate space should contact the ACLU.