Last Saturday at Hive NYC’s 1st Amendment Hack Jam, youth from throughout the five boroughs exercised their right to free speech and engaged in dialogue around self-expression, struggling against oppression and critiquing mainstream cultural messages.
They came, they spoke freely, they ate pizza.
Common Sense Media gave attendees a platform for expressing their thoughts on how it feels to be silenced, and posted up some of the excellent results:
At the World UP table, participants asked one another about controversial topics like same-sex marriage, the environment, bullying, and the state of education. Below, Aaron Lazansky, aka DJ Spaze Craft One, provides some guidance to two young people getting ready to record their opinions:
Some really compelling messages about our criminal justice system and its impact on youth came out of the Global Action Project‘s initiative for the day. Given photos of people of different ages and walks of life being arrested, or interacting with law enforcement in other ways, Hack Jam attendees added thought-provoking statements including the ones below:
- The remixed ads created at The LAMP station gained applause for their humorous takes on how commercial culture manipulates viewers. Katherine Fry from The LAMP also spoke to attendees about Fair Use – what it means and how it protects us.
- Lawyers from the American Constitution Society answered questions about student rights and let participants make armbands to experience solidarity with students from the 1960s who were suspended from school–and later vindicated by the Supreme Court–for wearing black armbands in protest of the Vietnam War.
- The New York Civil Liberties Union showcased their “school to prison pipeline” interactive online game and showed videos about LGBTQ student rights in schools.
- And Vee Bravo of the Tribeca Film Institute spoke about how it felt to lose a fight with New York City over a free-speech issue in the early 1990s: Stress, a hip-hop magazine co-founded by Bravo, ran a parody of an anti-graffiti ad, changing it into a protest against the city’s harsh treatment of graffiti writers. The city demanded they take the magazine out of circulation, and they didn’t have the resources to effectively fight back.