Panelists in a Sept. 16 virtual discussion, "Racial Protests and the First Amendment," said nationwide demonstrations against the police killing of George Floyd are a landmark mass event in our era.

"It’s impossible to say where it’s going," said Free Speech Center Director Ken Paulson. "We have never been down this road before, but I’m encouraged that a nation, when faced with injustice, can get out of their homes, put down their phones, pick up a sign and raise their voices in protest, using the weapons of 1791. There is hope, and we have the tools we need to make a difference.”

Keonte Coleman, assistant professor in Middle Tennessee State University's School of Journalism and Strategic Media, moderated the discussion. In addition to Paulson, panelists were Ashley Howard, a professor in the University of Iowa’s African American Studies Program, and Ryan Haas, an editor and producer for Oregon Public Broadcasting.

The panel was organized by MTSU's John Seigenthaler Chair of Excellence in First Amendment Studies and the Free Speech Center. 

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