Today is Constitution Day, honored with programs in the Berkshires


Today is Constitution Day. It is a national anniversary -- the 226th in fact -- and is also known as Citizenship Day.

It doesn't come with holiday from work or school, or a star-spangled parade, or a retail shopping sale. Instead, Constitution Day observes the signing of the U.S. Constitution, the document that serves as supreme law for the nation's government and rights for "We the People."

Since 2004, Constitution Day and Sept. 17, by law are to be observed through every federal agency and every educational institution which receives federal funds. The federal law, which was passed at the urging of Sen. Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia, requires that the above institutions hold either educational programs or provide training pertinent to the understanding of Constitution Day and its supporting documents.

Today, via proclamation, President Barack Obama also declared Sept. 17 through 23 to be "Constitution Week." (Read the full proclamation here.)

Here in the Berkshires, residents can attend Constitution Day discussions about domestic rights at local colleges:

Today at 12:15 p.m., Berkshire Community College will host a Four Girls Jubilee event commemorating the 50th anniversary of the civil rights movement in Hawthorne Hall, room 207, on the main campus at 1350 West St. in Pittsfield.

Author and historian Stewart Burns will show excerpts of Spike Lee's film "Four Little Girls" and facilitate a community dialogue. This event is free and open to the public, and is sponsored by BCC's Global Issues Resource Organization (GIRO) and Service-Learning Student Leader Club. For more information go to:

Tonight at 5, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams will host a Constitution Day talk with Arthur Wolf, professor of law at Western New England University's School of Law. This presentation will take place in Murdock Hall, room 218, on the college campus, 75 Church St. The event is also free and open to the public.

Wolf, who also is Western New England University's director of the Institute for Legislative and Government Affairs, will speak on the subject of voting rights in the United States with special emphasis on the recent Supreme Court decision addressing the voting rights of racial minorities. For more information, visit

For more resources, including Constitution Day activities, apps, and more, visit


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