Community Events

Activist informs, educates about U.S. Constitution

Public reading tomorrow of national charter signed September 17, 1787

Ben Franklin uses his bifocals to illustrate the need for an upper house and a lower house in the bicameral U.S. Congress, from a Liberty Kids program distributed by Advocates for Vermont for Constitution Day, September 17.

By Guy Page

A grassroots organization named Advocates for Vermont has been busily informing candidates, pastors and educators about Constitution Day, Saturday September 17.

Martha Hafner, a retired educator of 35+ years experience living in Randolph Center, leads the group’s efforts. 

“Advocates for Vermont feels it is vital to keep Constitutional roots alive in this hour of national turmoil,” Hafner said. To that end, she is promoting coming events and teaching materials to pastors, educators, and We The People. 

Thursday she messaged her extensive, statewide email list providing information about tomorrow’s public reading of the Constitution by students on the Vermont State House Lawn. The keynote speaker will be Prof. Jason Jagemann, PhD., of Norwich University. The 10 AM to 12:30 PM event is free and activities will be provided for children. 

The U.S. Constitution is about 8,000 words long, and takes 20 minutes to read. And as Constitutional advocate Paul Engel says, it wasn’t written for lawyers and judges, but for 18th century farmers.

“Some say only lawyers can understand it. In one word, HOGWASH!,” Engel said. “The Constitution was sent around the country for everyone to read before the states voted to ratify it.

Sure, some of the words are unfamiliar to us and some of the clauses may require us to think about them to understand,” Engel said. “But are 21st century Americans not as literate as an 18th century farmer? Or have we just been taught that it’s too difficult, so just leave it to the professionals?”

The United States Constitution was signed September 17, 1787. Constitution Day was founded in 2004 by a federal law that also requires schools  receiving federal funding to provide educational opportunities to employees and students about the nation’s founding charter. Tomorrow kicks off Constitution Week, Sept. 17-23.

Ever the educator, Hafner has compiled age-appropriate, online teaching materials.

A 3-minute guide to the Bill of Rights  provides a quick cartoon overview: short, to the point, good for all ages, though geared toward younger students. It has had over 1.5 million views. 

A popular episode of the cartoon program ‘Liberty Kids’ entitled We The People is good for a Pre-K – Grade Six audience. It too has had over a million views. 

More materials can be viewed at the Advocates for Vermont website. For more information contact

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4 replies »

  1. The 5000 Year Leap should be a book that should be used as a textbook in every school in America.