Love our Constitution – Extended through the end of March 2017
“Recent events demonstrate more clearly than ever the importance of the citizenry understanding our Constitution and system of government. As lawyers, we are in a unique position to promote that understanding. Regardless of how or whether you practice law, regardless of who you represent, you can be part of doing that through CITC.”
– Carolyn Shapiro is an Associate Professor of Law at Chicago-Kent College of Law, Co-Director of its Institute on the Supreme Court of the United States, former Illinois Solicitor General, and a Member of the Chicago Lawyer Chapter Board of Advisors.
Given the tremendous interest in ACS's Love Our Constitution initiative, we are extending it through March of 2017! For more information about the initiative, please see below, as well as this inspiring article in The Guardian that highlights the collective work of our members and volunteers in organizing and holding Love Our Constitution discussions. For an example of an online Love Our Constitution event (which you can use for your own in person event!), please refer to this video with the slide presentation narrated by ACS’s Lena Zwarensteyn. You can also view photos from a few of the numerous Love our Constitution presentations conducted thus far throughout the country.
For those of you who haven’t yet participated, join us!
1. What is ACS’s Love our Constitution program?
ACS’s Love our Constitution program is an initiative designed to foster discussion on the Constitution and the role of the courts in American law and policy. It’s a national effort that was held starting the week of Valentine’s Day (February 12- 18, 2017) and was expanded through March 31, 2017. It involves all members – law students, lawyers, scholars, judges, activists, policymakers, and volunteers of all ages and backgrounds – to help expand ACS’s Constitution in the Classroom (CITC) program beyond the classroom through presentations and discussions on the role of courts under Article III of the Constitution.
2. What are the main themes of Love our Constitution program?
The program is designed to highlight Article III of the U.S. Constitution, which establishes the role of courts as a robust and impartial institution. Our court system ensures that constitutional civil liberties such as justice, fairness, and equality are afforded to all individuals, regardless of a person’s race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, citizenship, or disability status.
3. What does the presentation entail?
There’s nothing you need to write or research! ACS has published a curriculum in Power Point form, which can easily be downloaded here and viewed on any desktop or laptop computer. If possible, securing a Power Point projector and screen is a great way to feature the presentation, especially if you have a large audience.
4. What materials are available?
In addition to the PowerPoint presentation, ACS has pocket U.S. Constitutions and membership brochures that we can ship directly to you. Once you’ve scheduled your presentation and indicated how many individuals you expect to participate after advertising the details of your Love our Constitution program (please refer to the sign-up link below), we will send you the appropriate amount of these materials to the address you’ve indicated in your sign-up form.
5. Where should I plan to conduct my presentation?
Some suggestions where to hold your presentation is as follows:
- Community Colleges
- City Town Halls
- Public Libraries
- Independent Bookstores
- Local public schools
6. I’ve never conducted a program like this before. Where do I begin?
- Enlist a friend to help. A fellow lawyer or law student is great, but anyone interested in our legal system is eligible.
- Pick a target audience. Do you want to focus on college students? Your neighbors? Elementary school kids? Your coworkers?
- Pick a location. Ideas are located above, but think about a free space convenient for your target audience. Local public libraries, bookstores, coffee shops, town halls, churches, schools, community colleges, and universities all may have space. Not sure how to ask a location to let you hold a talk? Please see item number 7 below.
- Prefer an online conversation? Plan to hold a discussion live on Facebook or via Twitter Go Live (Please be sure to register your online presentation and to send us a screenshot so we can track your great work!)
- Pick a time and date.
7. Once I’ve formed my volunteer group, selected my target audience, and chosen a preferred time and date, how do I reserve a space?
Please find below a sample email that you can modify in order to request a space location.
Dear Mr./Ms. [person in charge of the facility you’re requesting]
My name is [x] and I’m a member/volunteer with the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy (ACS). ACS is the nation’s leading progressive legal organization, with approximately 200 student and lawyer chapters in almost every state and on most law school campuses. Our chapters hold over 1,400 public programs across the country each year, including debates, conferences, press briefings, and networking opportunities.
ACS’s Love our Constitution program is focused on educating the public about Article III of the Constitution and the role of courts and our legal system in American law and policy.
May I along with other volunteers conduct our Love our Constitution program on [insert date between February 12-March 31, 2017] between [x] and [x] time? We anticipate that the presentation will take approximately one hour.
We’re grateful for the opportunity to use your space. Thank you for taking the time to consider my request and to help ACS foster discussion on the importance of our Constitution, courts, and our legal system.
[Sign your name]
8. I’ve secured a location, date, and time for my Love our Constitution program. How do I spread the word? What should I do to prepare for the presentation?
- Spread the word. Complete the sign-up form here at least a week before your event to ensure we can send you pocket U.S. Constitutions. (Don’t worry if the Constitutions don’t arrive in time – you can always print out Article III of the U.S. Constitution here.)
- If you aren’t speaking to a class, you’ll need to spread the word. Here are some ideas:
- Post on social media so your friends and neighbors know. You can also share why you love the Constitution and the court system using templates A, B, C, D, E, F, G and H. Please be sure to use the hashtag #ACSCITC.
- Ask the venue to post a flyer. See Flyer A and Flyer B. Also post it on their social media.
- Ask interested local groups to advertise your talk. Your local ACLU, League of Women Voters, elected officials, etc. all have social media followings and email lists. Ask them to spread the word and to participate.
- Review the presentation. You’ll find it on here. Don’t feel confident? Remember the goal is to share basic information about the importance of federal courts and spur discussion. But for more, check out the National Constitution Center website. Their interactive Constitution app and website have great information.
- Decide whether to audio or video record your presentation. If so, make arrangements.
9. Today’s the big day! What should I do to make it successful and fun?
- Arrive early on the big day. Set out the pocket U.S. Constitutions/print outs of Article III, sign in sheets (download them here). Ask a friend to take some photos (including from the back of the room). Please also visit ACS’s One Justice Matters for additional information related to the U.S. Supreme Court.
- Thank everyone for coming and expressing interest in our U.S. Constitution and courts. Introduce yourself, and let them know what you love about our Constitution, courts, and ACS. Give your presentation, leave plenty of time for questions, and at the end, conclude by asking everyone to sign up for more information about ACS if they didn’t on the way in.
- Send photos and sign-in sheets (a photo from your phone is fine if you don’t have a scanner) to [email protected].
10. How do I sign up?
Please complete the sign-up form here.
Join our Facebook event here.
If you have any additional questions, please email [email protected] and put “Love our Constitution” in the subject line.