On September 17, YAL at Sierra College had a Constitution Day fair on the campus quad. The event was tremendously successful! The mission was simple: to educate students about the Constitution and their civil liberties.
We planned and organized the event so that local political groups were invited to attend for educational purposes. The groups that attended included various Tea Party groups, sons of the American Revolutions, the Placer County Libertarian Party, groups supporting the State of Jefferson who wanted to educate students about the constitutional implications of founding a 51st state, and much more. The Sons of the American revolution were a lot of fun; they dressed up in Revolutionary War-era attire and brought with them replica flintlock pistols and muskets!
In terms of events and activities, we had several. Our main attraction was the “Can you pass a US citizenship test?” table, where students answered questions from the naturalization exam, and if they passed they were rewarded with a free hot dog. (Bribing students with food always seems to work).
Our chapter is very grateful for the generous donations from the donors to YAL; we would not have been able to do this without them and the materials supplied to us. Various volunteers we invited from the community brought additional pocket Constitutions to hand out to students as well, and we ended up giving away approximately 1,000 Constitutions to passing-by students.
One of our mottos at the table was “Come Celebrate Intellectual Diversity”. At my college, as it is with many other California colleges, there is a blatant presence of intellectual discrimination, particularly with students who are not of a liberal political identity. In our recruitment weeks prior to the event, we posted banners saying that “YAL is Celebrating Intellectual Diversity” and included Senator Paul’s quote when he said “Discrimination can occur not only by the color of your skin, but also by the shade of your ideology.” Ironically, over half of our posters were ripped down within a week’s time, and all of the ones posted in the Political Science building were ripped down.
On top of having a YAL table and tables from various local activism groups, we had a table for each major Constitutional amendment. The major attractions were the 2nd Amendment table and the 4th Amendment table, where students engaged in discussions regarding gun control laws in California and the NSA’s spying, respectively. Additionally, we discussed civil rights at the 13th/14th/15th Amendment tables, and discussed the militarization of the police as well.
Luckily, there was very little political opposition at our event from faculty and it went quite peacefully, unlike our event last year where we had faculty harass club members.
If anything needed improvement, I would say that the optics of our event were our weak spot. Because we invited a lot of local groups to our event and many older activists attended, there was a lot of “gray hair” that most likely rubbed students the wrong way. Overall, however, the tents, music, and the free food were very attractive pieces that caught students’ attentions when they walked by and encouraged them to engage in liberty-minded discussions. Best of all, we recruited several new members and our club membership numbers have skyrocketed! I certainly hope we can have events as successful as this in the future.Published in