Free Speech Ball!

“I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.” – Voltaire

The GW YAL officers demonstrating their fantastic teamwork skills in holding up the free speech ball!!

On October 22, students at the George Washington University got together in the name of the First Amendment and liberty to write, draw, and express their variety of opinions on a six by six foot ball. This event was hosted by the YAL chapter at GWU, and was the first of many more events to come. It was an enormous hit, and by the end of just four short hours, the entire ball was covered in speech of all sorts! We found that almost every person we asked to sign the ball, when told they could write whatever they wished to, lit up with a big smile and seemed to find a particular feeling of exhilaration in expressing themselves without judgement or restriction. Freedom producing a sense of euphoria, inspiration, and control in one’s own life in all kinds of people? Simply bizarre. 

The GW YAL officers demonstrating their fantastic teamwork skills in holding up the free speech ball!!

Voltaire was quoted several times, which was quite inspiring to find that GW students know their freedom-loving forefathers well enough to quote them verbatim! Others wrote phrases such as FEEL THE BERN, END THE FED, and #supportpp. An especially wise commentator wrote, “respect each others’ opinions”. One student even told the officers, as he was writing on the ball, that he did not believe in free speech. Though many of the YAL officers and members did not agree with his opinions, he still exercised his First Amendment liberty, and participated in a lively debate with a few of the officers after signing the ball. Students from a high school located in Foggy Bottom also participated very enthusiastically! What a wonder freedom can do to unite people of all backgrounds!

What a fun, photographic group of young people!

Though the chapter at George Washington is still new (having been established last spring), the group is expanding rapidly, staying active in the political community, and making an impact in DC! We have also brought on a total of five new officers, both freshmen and sophomores, who will be sticking around to help foster growth in the organization for years to come! GW YAL is next going to host the YAL original Incarceration Nation event, as well as a brunch social for members! 

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