With two sheets of plywood, a couple of 2×4’s, a hammer, and some nails, the officers of the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown’s YAL got together on the night of 9/16/2013. Our big plan was to construct a free speech wall that would be displayed the next day. The club’s Activism Director Canyon (who was coined the name “Canyon the Architect”) took the initiative in the building process and in a little over an hour the wall was built. With a lot of help from other students the wall was carried up the hill and into position!
The next morning a few of the officers met and finished the details. The YAL banner was hung along with three questions which stated, “What would you change on campus?”, “What does freedom mean to you?”, and “Ten years of war for what?” These questions were used to get students attention, however by the end of the day people became more confident and wrote whatever they wished, exercising their right to free speech.
YAL members stood by the wall from 11 a.m. till 2 p.m. to gather more attention. We promoted the cause by telling passing students to “exercise their right to free speech” and informing them it was Constitution Week. As students walked by flyers were handed out that include information about our next club meeting in a hope to get more members and more support. We received fourteen new sign ups. Along with the flyers we handed out a total of two boxes of pocket Constitutions, which is estimated to be around five hundred in total!
The Freedom of Speech Wall at UPJ was a huge success. By the end of the day it was completely covered and the talk of campus. What better way to promote Constitution Week than handing out five hundred Constitutions and having students exercise their constitutional rights!