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Authors, Artists, Entertainers, Thinkers to Celebrate Free Speech In Face of Efforts to Squelch Dissent

Press Release
Bob Howe
PFAW Foundation
Phone number:

Star-Studded Dec. 9 ‘Free For All’ at New York City’s Roseland Ballroom

Walter Cronkite, Kathleen Turner, Al Franken, the Smothers Brothers, Jane Curtain, Eric Bogosian, Peter, Paul and Mary, and others will perform at “Free For All,” a dinner-dance celebrating freedom of expression. People For the American Way Foundation (PFAWF) is sponsoring the event on Monday, December 9 at Roseland Ballroom. The event comes amid an extraordinary freeze in America’s climate of free expression, a disturbing trend that developed in the wake of the 9/11 tragedies.

“As a nation, we need to stand up to terrorists,” said PFAWF President Ralph G. Neas. “But we must also stand up for our Constitution and democratic principles. The USA-Patriot Act and other actions taken by the administration undermine our civil liberties and the constitutional system of checks and balances. What better time to celebrate free speech and dissent as patriotic imperatives?”

Barbara Handman, senior vice president of the PFAWF and director of its New York office, noted that Attorney General John Ashcroft has equated dissent with helping terrorists and aiding America’s enemies. “More recently, some have suggested that opposing the administration’s war plans is treason,” Handman said. “We haven’t seen such an extensive assault on free expression in decades. People For the American Way Foundation is committed to making full use of the First Amendment in order to preserve the precious rights it protects. That’s what ‘Free For All’ is about.”

In conjunction with “Free For All,” PFAWF is publishing a journal of essays, drawings, and political cartoons on freedom of expression, with contributions from more than 40 leaders in the arts, law, and media, including Garry Trudeau, Anthony Lewis, Jules Feiffer, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., Calvin Trillin, Arthur Miller, and Tony Kushner.

Free For All: A Call for Free Speech
Monday, December 9, 2002, 6 p.m.
Roseland Ballroom
239 West 52nd Street
New York, New York

Tickets & Donations
Meri Apfel
People For the American Way Foundation
[email protected]

People For the American Way Foundation was founded in 1980 by Norman Lear, Barbara Jordan, the Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, Andrew Heiskell, and other business, religious, and civic leaders, to affirm the American Way: pluralism, individuality, freedom of thought, expression and religion, a sense of community, and tolerance and compassion for others. Through research, education, organizing, and legal advocacy, PFAWF promotes democratic values and champions strong democratic institutions. PFAWF has more than 60,000 members and supporters in New York State, and 600,000 members and supporters nationally.