Saturday, June 7, 2014

Activism Idea For Independence Day

For the past two years, my friends and I have performed a fun activism event on the Fourth of July. We have invaded the Fourth of July parade of Ocean Grove, New Jersey, and reminded the good citizens exactly why they were having such a nice party.

As we walked in the parade, we handed out pocket Constitutions and fliers reminding people exactly what the main message of the Fourth of July should be. The booklets, which also include the Declaration of Independence, contain the words on which this country was built. Far too little attention is paid to these words in today’s age, and on the Fourth of July especially, people would do well to look over them and think about their role in all of our everyday lives.

 Dressed head to toe in red, white, and blue, wearing home made sandwich boards bearing the statements “Remember the System We Fought to Create” and “Honor America: Read the Constitution”, and carrying our handouts in American flag tote bags, we joined the parade. Though we were not sanctioned by the town, nobody minded our impromptu entrance. In fact, the other participants really liked us! The second year we did it, people even called out to us, “Hey! It’s the Constitution girls!”

 All in all, this event was great fun and relatively inexpensive to put together. The supplies for the sandwich boards, foam poster board and yarn, cost less than $10 at the local craft store. If you want to get fancy and have American flag tote bags, buy a few flags for 99 cents and pin them onto your book bag. Several hundred copies of the fliers can be printed at a store for around $25 (or for free if your mom’s boss is really nice!)

 Below is the text of the flier that I wrote. Feel free to use it, to tweak or add to it, or to get creative and write your own!

Happy Independence Day!!!
Hope you're enjoying the parade!
But have you taken a moment to really consider what we're celebrating today?
We're celebrating the start of something very special and unique; the birth of a country founded on the idea of liberty.
The courageous men and women who built America were motivated by the desire to escape from an oppressive centralized government. The system they created for their new nation clearly reflects these desires. The Constitution of the United States is a set of rules designed to keep central government small. Most issues were meant to be decided by the states or the people.
Obviously, the founding fathers had a lot of faith in the American people. They expected everyone, not just politicians, to be up-to-date on important issues, knowledgeable of the laws, and ready to act in the best interest of the free society in which we live.
So let’s not let them down! This Independence Day, get familiar with the documents that created the country. Only by knowing the foundations of our government can we understand what its best course of action should be today.

The most difficult thing to acquire is the Constitutions themselves. Many student groups such as Young Americans for Liberty have great pocket Constitutions that they will supply to people who are members of their campus clubs. If you are a member of one of these groups, ask them. They may be able to set you up with some free or cheap ones if your club chooses to do this event. Otherwise, you can purchase pocket Constitutions yourself from the National Center for Constitutional Studies: A box of 200, which is about how many I used each year, costs $60.

Since July 4th is less than a month away, it’s time to start planning and ordering your Constitutions. Even if you cannot afford the Constitutions, you likely can do the event anyway. Make your signs colorful and your fliers informative. Engage in discussions and remind your fellow citizens that the fireworks and hot dog eating contest are not the main focus of Independence Day. On the Fourth of July, we celebrate the start of the great experiment in Freedom and self-governance known as the United States of America.

If you do decide to do the event, please send me pictures! I would love to do a follow-up post in July advertising all the groups who tried this. Also, eMail me if you have any questions. (

Good luck all, and Happy Independence Day!