Public Programs

United States Constitution

Visitors to the Kennedy Institute from Friday, September 14, through Monday, September 17, can take part in Constitution Weekend 2018 activities, including the nationwide Preamble Challenge, sponsored by Institute partner the Civics Renewal Network. The Preamble Challenge is to take the 52 words in the Preamble of the Constitution and find a new way to recite them, turn them into a song, perform, deliver, and share them on social media with the hashtags #RenewCivics, #PreambleChallenge, and #ConstitutionDay.

The Preamble is:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

See what each visitor experiences at the Institute including learning about the history and signing of the Constitution, and the opportunity to consider the Constitution’s legacy today as they cast a vote on Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh in the Today’s Vote program.

More about Constitution Day and Constitution Weekend activities. Constitution Day (or Citizenship Day) is a day of observance recognizing the adoption of the United States Constitution and those who have become U.S. citizens. It is normally observed on September 17, the day in 1787 that delegates to the Constitutional Convention signed the document in Philadelphia. The law establishing the present holiday was created in 2004 with the passage of an amendment by Senator Robert Byrd to the Omnibus Spending Bill of 2004.

On Friday, September 14, Worcester State University and the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate celebrate Constitution Day by leading a day-long series of learning activities in civic education. Faculty, staff, and students from Worcester State University, UMass Boston, Leicester High School, and West Springfield High School will join together for the day’s programs.

In the morning, groups will participate in a Conference Committee program and in the afternoon, college students will mentor high school students in a simulated constitutional convention where amending a core feature of the U.S. Constitution is formally debated. The topic for Constitution Day 2018 is Ranked Choice Voting and whether changing the way voters express their preferences on election day can yield more democratic outcomes.

On Monday, September 17, Winchester High School will visit the Kennedy Institute for a Senate Immersion Module and will also host St. Kevin’s School from Melbourne, Australia.

Additional Resources

  • Getting to the Point on Voting Rights

    Join the Kennedy Institute for a conversation on voting rights and hear from grassroots organizations that garnered national support for the Voting Rights Act, former Congressional staff who helped ensure passage of the landmark legislation, and how the United States is currently facing similar crises around disenfranchisement.

  • Getting to the Point on Elections in Massachusetts

    Join the Kennedy Institute for a conversation with Massachusetts State Senator Barry Finegold (D-Second Essex and Middlesex) and Massachusetts State Representative John Lawn (D-10th Middlesex), Chairs of the Committee on Election Laws, about the preservation and expansion of voting in the upcoming primary and general elections.

  • The ADA at 30: “Let the Shameful Wall of Exclusion Come Down”

    The Kennedy Institute joins the George and Barbara Bush Foundation, National Organization on Disability, TIRR Memorial Hermann, Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics, The Harkin Institute, and Higher Ground Productions, in convening key activists, advocates, and policymakers who helped make the Americans with Disabilities Act a reality for a virtual, bipartisan celebration of the landmark civil rights legislation.