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First Freedom Wall Debuts!!

YLI releases new resources to build media literacy and civil discourse.

The Youth Leadership Initiative (YLI) and American Evolution (AE) partnered to create resources that commemorate the beginnings of democratic government in colonial America. AMERICAN EVOLUTION™ is non-partisan, non-profit organization with the mission to commemorate the 400th anniversary of several key historical events that occurred in Virginia in 1619 that continue to influence America today. YLI is proud to be a part of this multi-faceted program to educate, engage and empower the public to explore American history and thus increase civic engagement. For more information about the Jamestown 2019 commemoration and American Evolution visit www.americanevolution2019.com.

Thanks to support from American Evolution, YLI created a digital First Freedom Wall. Modeled after a physical Freedom of Speech wall in downtown Charlottesville, the online version will allow students to express their opinions on current political topics, dialogue with peers from across the nation, and use social media responsibly. Educators registered with YLI will be able to login and post quotes and/or questions. Students will then logon and respond. Teachers will approve posts made by students before they are visible on the First Freedom Wall. YLI will also create national posts for students to respond to. The premiere post will relate to First Amendment freedoms and be posted in time for Constitution Day on September 17th. YLI and American Evolution look forward to reading comments from young people across the nation.

To support the digital First Freedom Wall YLI has created lesson resources on media literacy. The lesson plan, Media Literacy: Making Sense of the 24-7 News Cycle and its accompanying PowerPoint presentation guide students through the process of identifying bias, choosing from a variety of news sources, and evaluating social media posts. The new materials compliment the Talking Turkey: Taking the 'Dis'Out of Civil Discourse program. As with all YLI programs, the digital First Freedom Wall and media literacy materials are made available FREE of charge to teachers registered with YLI.

For more information about the digital First Freedom Wall, the media literacy materials, or the Youth Leadership Initiative contact Meg Heubeck, Director of Instruction, mfheubeck@virginia.edu; 434.982.5726.

For more information about American Evolution and its educational programs, please contact Lindsey Horner, Education and Programs specialist, Lindsey.Horner@jyf.virginia.gov;757-253-5154.