First Amendment focus of speech
Bobby Seale, co-founder of the Black Panthers Party, emphasized yesterday the importance of the First Amendment and the rights associated with it. He was one of two keynote speakers at the May 4 commemoration.
“The First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America guarantees the right of the people to peacefully assemble and to petition or redress grievances,” Seale said.
“For every policeman and every mayor and every governor who send in police, National Guard, etcetera to brutalize, kill or murder people,” he said, “they violate the law of the land. The law of the land is the First Amendment of the Constitution.”
Seale said that though he was not present at Kent State on May 4, 1970, he faced similar First Amendment issues with the Black Panthers.
The crowd gathered by the stage in the Commons seemed to approve of Seale’s speech. Several times, audience members called out to agree with his statements.
“I hope that everybody realizes that the 40th anniversary wasn’t only about Kent State, but also the whole violence issue,” said Sarah Greenawalt, a senior English major. “Hopefully, everyone understands the relevance of the speech is about changing violence all around the world.”
Others were surprised Seale cared enough about May 4, 1970, to speak.
“I can’t believe he came to Kent State,” said Erin Wehrenberg, a senior middle childhood education major. “It just shows how big the May 4 shootings are.”
Seale said the people of America hold the power to change the country’s policies through their First Amendment rights.
“May 4, 1970,” he said, “[was] when young, innocent people were shot, killed or wounded here because somehow the fascist state activity was brewing.”
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reporter Nick Glunt