Groups to Celebrate Free Speech Week with Public Campaign, Events in Portland and Augusta


A group of First Amendment advocates and media organizations will celebrate Free Speech Week in October by providing public events in Portland and Augusta, Maine.

Free Speech Week — celebrated this year Oct. 22-28 — is a national campaign to increase awareness of free speech and its value in a democracy. During the week, individuals, schools and organizations throughout the country host events, exercise their free speech rights and highlight the importance of the First Amendment.

“This is a great reminder of how important free speech is to our communities,” said Justin Silverman, executive director of the New England First Amendment Coalition. “We’re looking forward to a robust conversation about the First Amendment and what it means to everyone in Maine.”

NEFAC, the First Amendment Museum at the Gannett House, Portland Media Center, and WMPG are working together to provide the local week-long celebration of free speech.

“What better way to celebrate free speech than to spend all week talking about the First Amendment and the protections it provides us,” said Dale Robin Goodman, development director at WMPG in Portland. “It’s such an important conversation to have.”

All members of the public are invited to attend an open house at 4 p.m. on Oct. 23 at the First Amendment Museum, 184 State Street in Augusta. The open house will present a unique opportunity for conversations on current issues pertaining to political speech, the internet, student speech and symbolic expression. The museum will feature topic-specific rooms featuring local experts and community members.

“It’s a special opportunity to hear different perspectives on free speech and how that right affects us all,” said Rebecca Lazure, executive director of the First Amendment Museum. “We hope this event encourages everyone to appreciate the rights we have, how they are exercised and how they are protected.”

During the week, Portland Media Center and WMPG will be airing interviews with various Maine residents about what free speech means to them and how the First Amendment right can best be exercised. The celebration will conclude at 2 p.m. Oct. 27 with a panel discussion on the future of free speech at Portland Media Center, 516 Congress Street in Portland.

“While it’s important to recognize our free speech rights, it’s just as important to discuss how to protect them moving forward,” said Lesley MacVane of Portland Media Center. “We hope everyone walks away with a better understanding of the First Amendment and never takes it for granted.”

Dale Robin Goodman

Rebecca Lazure
First Amendment Museum
at the Gannett House

Lesley MacVane
Portland Media Center
207.775.2900 x200

Justin Silverman
New England First Amendment Coalition

NEFAC was formed in 2006 to advance and protect the Five Freedoms of the First Amendment, including the principle of the public’s right to know. We’re a broad-based organization of people who believe in the power of an informed democratic society. Our members include lawyers, journalists, historians, academics and private citizens.

Our coalition is funded through contributions made by those who value the First Amendment and who strive to keep government accountable. Please make a donation here.

Major Supporters of NEFAC include the Barr Foundation, The Providence Journal Charitable Legacy Fund, The Robertson Foundation, The Boston Globe, WBUR and Boston University.