COLUMBIA — Under a cloudless sky Monday, nine Columbia and Boone County residents read aloud the amendments of the Bill of Rights from the the steps of the Boone County Courthouse in honor of Constitution Day. Monday marked the 220th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution.
Elaine Blodgett, president of the Columbia-Boone County League of Women Voters, said the group specifically chose the Bill of Rights rather than reading the entire Constitution.
“What has become clearer and clearer recently is people don’t know what’s in the Bill of Rights, so we’re here to remind and educate them,” said Bertrice Bartlett, chairwoman of the Civil Liberties Committee.
Readers included Phyllis Chase, superintendent of Columbia Public Schools, Charles Davis, executive director of the National Freedom of Information Coalition, and Marie Glaze, chair of the city’s Human Rights Commission.
“We live in an age where concerns about security can sometimes negate the rights the Bill of Rights give us,” said Linda Kaiser, secretary for the local League of Women Voters. “It’s important to remind us of the rights given to us by this country.”
The celebration of Constitution Day continued Monday night at the Roger B. Wilson Government Center with a discussion titled “Current Challenges to the Constitution,” led by Bill Fisch, emeritus professor of the MU Law School.
“We have a tendency as a country to give up rights that’ve made us strong because of security (concerns),” Kaiser said. “Once we lose the expression of those rights, we lose who we are.”