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Posts tagged ‘Constitution Day’

Student Spotlight | University of Missouri St. Louis Constitution Day Essay Contest Winner

UMSL_LOGOUniversity of Missouri – St. Louis (UMSL) held an essay contest as part of their commemoration of Constitution Day 2015 asking students, ” What does freedom mean to you?” Undergraduate student Myra Dotzel won the essay contest with her strong and flowing words about what freedom means to her.

In Honor of the Human Spirit | By Myra Dotzel, UMSL first-year student

Freedom, like other ideas, is a value shared amongst many different peoples. Because of this, freedom is interpreted in many different ways. The term “freedom” is commonly defined as the absence of necessity or constraint in action. However, when mentioned in the United States Constitution, freedom intimates a much broader range of ideas and celebrated values. Our United States Constitution guarantees freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and petition. In short, the Constitution promises individuals the right to be themselves.

Even though interpretations of “Freedom” vary across cultures, groups, and communities around the world, freedom is universally humanity’s natural right of choice. In other words, freedom is what allows an individual to value what they do in safety and confidence. More specifically, freedom should not and will never be taken away from humanity. A person is born with freedom and will die with it as well. In the direst of circumstances, people neither have the ability nor do they have the right to confiscate freedom from another. Furthermore, no one reserves the right to offend or diminish the freedom and liberty of others. In this way, freedom in itself is a symbol of equality amongst individuals, races, groups, and other communities. Freedom is about individual expression; it is color in a bleak world; it is what transforms a loud, violent world into a tolerable one. In these ways, freedom must be encouraged as it is part of the human spirit.

Freedom is generally defined as an absence of norm or coercion. However, freedom, is more than this. Acting to harm another’s freedom is acting to harm one’s own morals and what was ultimately intended for the human spirit and world as a whole. So today, in the midst of violence, hate, and persecution, it is important to remember that no matter who we are or where we come from, the human spirit of freedom always echoes through our hearts and must inform our actions. In general, acting to infringe another’s freedom is a moral crime. Ultimately, freedom serves as an example of the endurance and commitment to honoring the human spirit. Without freedom, there is no equality. Without equality, there is no freedom.

About the Author

Myra Dotzel is a dually enrolled freshman at the University of Missouri – St. Louis, she is a passionate writer and artist. Her writing has been recognized at the state level. Her paintings have been accepted into the Young Artist Guild Showcase and have won special awards through various organizations’ art contests. Myra is an active deacon at her church. She is very much a community-minded individual. In 2014, Myra organized a supply drive for the Department of Veterans Affairs at Jefferson Barracks. She brought over 6,000 brand new items to help stock the supply room at the VA hospital at Jefferson Barracks.

ADP in the News | September 24th Edition

By Caitlin Reilly, Program Associate, American Democracy Project 

ADP in the News is a compilation of brief updates about American Democracy Project activities at ADP colleges and universities and is a semi-regular news feature on our blog. Below you will find the latest edition of this series.

If you have an ADP event you’d like posted in this format, please email


From Indiana State University:

  • Indiana State’s American Democracy Project to Host Congressional Candidate Forum On September 18, 2014 the American Democracy Project hosted a forum for the 8th District congressional candidates. Read more here.
  • Democracy Project to Show 9/11 Film The American Democracy Project hosted a screening of the documentary “102 Minutes that Changed America” in commemoration of September 11, 2001. Read more here.


Weber State University (Utah) Debates Same-Sex Marriage as Part of Constitution Week

As a part of their Constitution Week celebration, the American Democracy Project at Weber State hosted a debate on the constitutionality of same-sex marriage. Read more here.


President Hynes First Recipient of Gene Hatfield Annual Service Award

Clayton State University (Ga.) has created the Gene Hatfield Annual Service Award in honor of former history professor and American Democracy Project director, Gene Hatfield. Clayton’s president, Tim Hynes is the first recipient of the award. Read more here.


Northern Arizona University

To commemorate Constitution Day, Northern Arizona University (NAU) sponsored Project Civil Discourse conversations in two locations, Flagstaff and Sedona. Project Civil Discourse is a statewide consortium of civil discourse organizations. On September 18 communities discussed two ballot propositions, one which addresses therapies available to terminally-ill patients (Proposition 303), and another which addresses state sovereignty (Proposition 122).

NAU also organized a post-primary candidate forum for city council and mayoral candidates in Flagstaff. Students had an opportunity to meet with candidates in small groups and ask them questions. Representatives from the Friends of Flagstaff’s Future talked to students about the importance of voting in the November election. Read more here.


University of Missouri – St. Louis

UMSL organized a series of events to celebrate Constitution Day – including a speech competition, a screening and discussion of the documentary “Restrepo,” a lecture on American military power and paintings by UMSL students. You can read more about these events here and here.




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