June 2015 marks the 800th anniversary of the signing Magna Carta. The Fully Informed Jury Association will be celebrating all year long with an educational campaign centered around the theme Know Your Roots, Know Your Rights, to fully inform people of the significance of the Magna Carta still today, especially with regard to the protection of human rights by the independent jury.
Please read on to learn more about the history of the Magna Carta and FIJA’s educational programming throughout the year. We will be adding new information and programming throughout the year, so keep an eye out on our News page for new developments!
➤ Know Your Roots, Know Your Rights Campaign Organizers
➤ History of the Magna Carta
➤ 2015 Magna Carta Commemorative Calendar
➤ Know Your Roots, Know Your Rights Essay Contest
➤ Magna Carta Exhibit Shadow Tour
Know Your Roots, Know Your Rights Campaign Organizers
Our campaign has been created largely through volunteer collaboration.
The Know Your Roots, Know Your Rights campaign logos were designed by Rachel Hintze. Rachel has been working as a freelance designer for several years now, under her given name Rachel J. Wainwright. She recently married the love of her life, who she has known since they were kids. Rachel currently works from home as a freelance graphic artist, with recent focus on logo design. She not only does logos, but business cards, flyers, brochures, postcards, newsletters, banners, calendars, book covers, and almost anything you can imagine. Rachel is also looking at getting into creating tangible art with photography & typography, having it printed on canvas and stretching to hang in a living room or office. She has just started building a website, where you will be able to get in touch with her. If it’s not yet live when you visit and you would like to contact Rachel to discuss work, please get in touch with us in the FIJA National office and we’ll be happy to help you connect with her.
“I become a better designer every year. Change takes time. Perfection takes practice. Growth happens gradually. Art is a process,” says Rachel. “I came across the FIJA project through a friend of mine, who is a recent graduate of Wm. Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, MN. She pitched it to me with confidence, and I trust this woman with all my heart. I love to be a part of something that is bigger than me when given the chance, so I picked it up! I was perusing Google looking for inspiration, when I ran across a fist with rays behind it. It led to the thought that the sun gives a tree its roots, and the sun gives people power, and a feeling of freedom. And I had to make the rays the roots. A logo was born.”
History of the Magna Carta
The Magna Carta is widely viewed by legal historians as one of the founding documents of modern democracy and constitutional government. Eight hundred years ago, in 1215, landowners presented the Magna Carta to King John as an ultimatum in response to his despotic behavior, best characterized by his statement that “The law is in my mouth.”
The landowners sought certainty and fairness in the rules of the realm and their enforcement by the king. Magna Carta recognizes principles of due process, separation of powers, rights to a fair trial, and the supremacy of the rule of law over the power of kings and other rulers.
In his October 1, 2014 speech to the ABA House of Delegates, U.S. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. presented the history of the Magna Carta. Roberts said the individuals who met at Runnymede “were pursuing their own interests rather than an heroic cause beyond themselves. The barons took what they could get, and King John kept what he could keep. But when we talk about Magna Carta today, we are not celebrating antiquated relics of a time long past. Instead, we are referring to a small collection of provisions that express kernels of transcendent significance.”
Today, Roberts said, Magna Carta is recognized “because it laid the foundation for the ascent of liberty” and constitutional democracy. “We celebrate not so much what happened 800 years ago, but what has transpired since.”
2015 Magna Carta Commemorative Calendar
In honor of the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, FIJA has for the first time produced a custom calendar specifically focused around the Magna Carta and the history of the jury and jury rights. This year’s full color, 8 1/2″ X 11″ wall calendar opens to 11″ X 17″ when hung on the wall from the pre-drilled hole. Each month features jury-related milestones, both historical and modern, noted on the calendar grid as well as one jury-related milestone featured in more detail on the upper page.
We hope that everyone who reads the calendar will learn something new and share that knowledge with others! Throughout 2015, we will be featuring more information on the FIJA website regarding each of the milestones noted on the calendar as there simply isn’t enough room to get into each of them in detail on the calendar. Each day you see an event on the calendar, check our home page for a graphic link entitled “On This Day in Jury History” to lead you to more information about the day’s commemorated milestones.
This unique, commemorative calendar is available to all of our donors through the end of January 2015 or until we run out. Simply make your donation in support of FIJA’s critical educational work at the Sustaining level of $35 or above and we will include this educational outreach tool along with your tax receipt if we have not previously sent one to you in our 2014 end-of-year mailing.
Know Your Roots, Know Your Rights Essay Contest
In January 2015, we expect to announce the rules, topics, and prizes for our Know Your Roots, Know Your Rights Essay Contest. We will be asking students, professionals, and the general public to chime in on questions regarding jury rights and their roots in the Magna Carta. Winning essays will be presented online near the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta in June 2015. We also plan to compile winning and other select essays into an electronic book for further educational outreach. Check our News page in January to find out how you can participate.
Magna Carta Exhibit Shadow Tour
Throughout 2015 and into 2016, the American Bar Association is hosting a traveling educational exhibit entitled Magna Carta: Enduring Legacy, 1215-2015 in commemoration of the 800th anniversary of the sealing of the Magna Carta. The exhibit will travel to major cities such as Houston, Atlanta, Salt Lake City, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Chicago, Louisville, Brooklyn, and San Diego where it will be shown publicly in courthouses, law schools, universities, state houses, and libraries.
To take advantage of this opportunity to create more fully informed jurors, FIJA will be rallying volunteers nationwide to conduct a shadow tour of this exhibit. Special educational materials are being developed specifically to tie the right of jury nullification to its roots in the Magna Carta. We aim to recruit activists to share these materials at each of the exhibit’s stops around the country to fill the informational gap with details that are kept secret by judges and prosecutors about the full authority of independent jurors to conscientiously acquit when to do so serves justice.
If you would like to coordinate or participate in outreach in any of the cities listed above, please contact us in the FIJA National office for more details or check back here as we will be adding details for each of these stops as volunteers step up to coordinate outreach.