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Tzedek (Zoom) Program - "I Never Thought of it That Way"- 'There Is No Such Thing As Hate Speech'

Tuesday, February 21, 2023 30 Sh'vat 5783

7:30 PM - 8:30 PMon Zoom

So called 'Hate Speech’ cannot be defined, or, to quote Justice Potter Stewart on another topic: “I shall not today attempt further to define [the kinds of material] but I know it when I see it.”

Simply put, hate speech is just a convenient way to label speech that someone finds as offensive. But that begs the question: Who’s in charge of defining hate speech?

The Supreme Court, addressing the 1st Amendment, has, over time, been quite clear on this topic.
Then how do we fight hate speech? There is one possible answer: Free Counter Speech.

Our Speaker Joe Cohn serves as Director of FIRE’s (Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression) Legislative and
Policy department, overseeing a team of attorneys and staff tasked with monitoring and engaging on legislation and
regulatory matters. Under his leadership, FIRE has secured numerous victories for free speech and due process at the
state and federal level.

A former staff attorney for the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and law clerk in the Philadelphia Court
of Common Pleas, Joe joined FIRE in 2012 with a career-long dedication to advancing the cause of civil liberties,
including through his service as a staff attorney at the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania where he provided legal services
to underserved communities. His awards include accolades from The Legal Intelligencer and Pennsylvania Law Weekly,
who named him a 2007 “Lawyer on the Fast Track,” and from Super Lawyers magazine, who named him a “Rising Star”
in 2008.

Joe’s career also includes teaching at University of Pennsylvania Law School’s Gittis Civil Practice Clinic in 2010, where
lectured on good trial practices and supervised law students as they represented real clients in both state and federal
courts. Just prior to joining FIRE, Joe served as the interim legal director for ACLU affiliates in Nevada and Utah.

As legislative and policy director, Joe spearheads FIRE’s advocacy at all levels of government. He has testified before
Congress and in state legislatures across the country and has drafted numerous bills that have been enacted into state
law. He regularly comments on FIRE’s issues in the media.




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Mon, February 6 2023 15 Sh'vat 5783