Celebrate #TinkerTurns50 with Arkansas SPJ


The Arkansas Pro chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists invites you to join us in a region-wide celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District decision.

On Feb. 24, 1969, the Supreme Court of the United States decided that Mary Beth Tinker,
her brother John, and others had the right to wear black arm bands imprinted with peace signs to school in protest of the Vietnam war. The court’s decision, which said, “It can hardly be argued that either students or teachers shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate,” solidified student expression rights that we still hold dear today.

Through a generous grant, Arkansas SPJ will provide scholastic and collegiate journalists, media advisers and educators, and SPJ members with Tinker armbands to be worn on Friday, Feb. 22, 2019 in honor of the Tinker decision.

To join in the expression, email Arkansas SPJ President Jennifer Ellis at jellis@arkansasonline.com or board member Steve Listopad at listops@hsu.edu with the following:

• Your group or organization’s name
• The quantity of armbands your group would like
• Contact information, including a mailing address where the armbands can be sent

Here is what you can do this week to fully engage in the celebration:

1. Learn more about the Tinker decision, later court cases such as Hazelwood that limited the rights of student journalists, and legislative campaigns to cure Hazelwood here:
a. splc.org
b. newvoicesus.com
2. Follow Tinker, Hazelwood and New Voices activities on social media nationally and in your state.
a. On Facebook and Twitter, search for New Voices USA, New Voices of (your state) and the Student Press Law Center.
b. Search for and use hashtags for #NewVoicesUSA, #CureHazelwood and #TinkerTour.
3. Follow the Tinker Tour and “Tinker Turns 50” activities of Mary Beth and John Tinker this week as they tour their old stomping grounds in Iowa and speak to students at the very schools that banned their expression over 50 years ago: tinkertourusa.org/2019/01/11/tinker-turns-50/.
4. On Friday, Feb. 22, wear your enclosed armband to school or work. Take selfies and group photos and share them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter with #TinkerTurns50.
5. Also on Friday, Iowa Public Television will live-stream a presentation and Q&A with Mary Beth and John Tinker as they reflect on the case and its impact. Presented live from the State Historical Museum of Iowa, the program will begin at 12:30 p.m. Central Time on Friday, Feb. 22. Follow this link to participate: www.iptv.org/video/story/32660/50th-anniversary-tinker-v-des-moines-schools-decision.
6. On Sunday, Feb. 24, from 8–9 a.m. CST, watch the C-SPAN Live Interview and viewer call-in with Mary Beth and John. The broadcast will be on C-SPAN and simulcast on C-SPAN3.

We are so grateful to John and Mary Beth Tinker, and their late friend Christopher Eckhardt for standing up to their school district by standing in front of the Supreme Court and setting the standard for student expression across the country. Thank you for joining us in this wonderful celebration of our First Freedoms and those who fight to preserve them.


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