By Cristina Spencer
Freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of the press, and freedom of religion are just a few of the individual liberties secured for Americans in the Bill of Rights, ratified on December 15, 1791. This week marks the 220th year that Americans have been protected by this precious and critical set of amendments to our Constitution.
As the “Occupy” protesters are dispersed from cities, sometimes in the face of police violence, we are reminded of the potency and fragility of these rights. Even if you disagree or aren’t involved with this particular movement, demonstrations and protests are a constitutional right. This week, celebrating Bill of Rights Day offers Americans everywhere an opportunity to reinforce our rights by exercising them. Citizens speaking out, expressing themselves, and getting involved helps our country grow and evolve. Participation is what a government for the people and by the people is all about.
A Rite for Celebrating your Rights
Start by taking time to read the Bill of Rights. (Click here to read it online!)
Savor your freedom through mindfulness. Look for moments when you exercise your rights. Do you read a news source of your choice? Do you talk to a friend about a political issue? Do you meditate or pray? Cultivate gratitude by imagining what life would be like if these activities were not protected by the law.
By the end of the day, commit to exercising your rights by taking political action on an issue that matters to you. Sit with fellow citizens at a rally or a cause that is meaningful to you. Write to your congressional representative about an issue you think needs attention. Encourage your friends to do the same.
Recite these profound words by President Harry Truman and make them your own: “Only as these documents are reflected in the thoughts and acts of Americans can they remain symbols of power that can move the world.”
Now, find a way that inspires you to move the world forward!
About the author: Cristina Spencer is a certified Life-Cycle Celebrant and writer. She lives in Palo Alto, California, with her husband and three daughters. [email protected]