First Person

Celebrating the right to speak out

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Oxfam America's Tigist Gizaw, as seen in "Speak Out Because You Can." Photo: Oxfam America
Oxfam America's Tigist Gizaw, as seen in "Speak Out Because You Can." Photo: Oxfam America

Many of us at Oxfam America care deeply about our right to speak out against poverty and injustice. In fact, without that fundamental freedom, we wouldn’t be able to accomplish much of our work.

That’s why we’re thrilled to announce that our video, “Speak Out Because You Can,” was just selected as a finalist in Google’s 1 for All video competition celebrating First Amendment rights. The 30-second video features music from Oxfam supporters State Radio–and star turns by some of my colleagues, including blogger Zeenat Potia.

The competition was part of a broader campaign that includes comedian Ellen DeGeneres—along with singer John Mellencamp and journalist David Gregory—in a print, web, and broadcasting advertising campaign that features Americans incorporating First Amendment freedoms in their daily lives. The ads show men and women exercising their freedom to rock, tweet, pray, read, report, and dance.

So now it’s your turn: Go to, and click “Vote now”. Then watch and cast your vote for our Oxfam America video, “Speak Out Because You Can.”

“’1 for All’ reminds the public that the First Amendment serves everyone, regardless of faith, race, gender, or political leanings,” said Ken Paulson, a founder of “1 for All” and president of the Newseum and the First Amendment Center. “Every time a person expresses a point of view, enjoys the arts, prays, or posts a message online, the First Amendment is at work.” Supporters were encouraged to create 30-second videos that illustrate the freedom to speak, rock, or assemble.

Winning videos will be posted on the 1 for All YouTube channel and be included in an exhibit at the Newseum in Washington, DC. They may also appear on TV as a part of the 1 for All national media campaign.

Finally, what you may not know is that Oxfam actually created three videos for this competition. See below for an exclusive peek at the other two videos, both starring Oxfam employees who use their First Amendment rights to speak out for change: Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube Google+