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History Museum Event Explores Free Speech and Hate Speech

Post Date:01/22/2020 1:30 PM
Is a divisive political climate altering how people think about one of the fundamental ideals of American democracy—free speech? As part of the Project Democracy 20/20 initiative, the Greensboro History Museum will host Free Speech and Hate Speech at 7 pm, Wednesday, January 29 at 130 Summit Ave. National experts on the subject will examine challenges for free speech in the digital era.

The concept of ‘free speech’ has traditionally been applied to the guarantee from censorship by the government enshrined in the Constitution. However, the term has taken on a broader meaning in the current political climate as public discussion centers on who should be allowed a social media platform versus who should be removed. This conversation will explore what qualifies as the language of hate as opposed to the language of dissent, who decides who is allowed to speak and how, and the responsibility of the media consumer in safeguarding free speech issues.

Taking part in the conversation are Jonathan Friedman, project director for campus free speech at PEN America; Allen Johnson, Editorial Page Editor at the News & Record; Steve Mitchell, writer and co-owner of Scuppernong Books; and independent research scholar Alejandro J. Beutel, formerly Senior Research Analyst at Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project. Spoma Jovanovic, professor in the UNCG Department of Communication Studies, will moderate.

The program is part of Writers as Witness, organized by Scuppernong Books and the Greensboro Bound Literary Festival with the support of PEN America. The series seeks to explore the ways in which writers—be they journalists, poets, memoirists, or fiction writers—engage and elaborate our current cultural moment in America. The NCA Center for Communication, Collaboration, and Change is an additional sponsor for the January 29 program.

Greensboro History Museum's Project Democracy 20/20 is exploring American democracy and voting with exhibits, programs and community collaborations across 2020 and beyond. The centerpiece of the initiative, the Smithsonian traveling exhibition American Democracy: A Great Leap of Faith, is on view at the museum now through March 29, 2020.
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