To the Editor:
On September 17, our country will celebrate the 225th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution. It is a historic and significant moment in U.S. history.
The 8,000-word document is as relevant today as it was in 1787. One of the oldest written constitutions in the world, it was designed to limit the power of government and protect the rights of individuals in matters such as freedom of religion, speech and freedom of the press. The U.S. Constitution remains the bedrock of our democratic republic.
Recent studies paint an alarming picture of citizens' unfamiliarity with basic concepts of government. One way to combat this trend is to breathe new life into high school civics classes.
In celebration of the anniversary, and to take a role in countering the trend, the Illinois Judges Association (IJA) will conduct "Project 225," a program whereby scores of state court judges will deliver 225 classroom presentations of the IJA's "Bringing the Courtroom to the Classroom" program.
Beginning September 17 and continuing through the end of the month, Illinois judges will fan out to high school classrooms across the state, delivering IJA's highly interactive program whose purpose is to show the next generation why the study of civics is so important and how it impacts everyday lives.
Through this school outreach program, which will continue well into the future, Illinois judges attempt to do their part to emphasize the fundamental legal rights which far too many U.S. citizens take for granted but which are at the heart of American life.
Rita M. Novak
President, Illinois Judges Association
Associate Judge, Circuit Court of Cook County