When we moved out of our offices at 555 Pennsylvania Avenue in early 2020, we couldn’t have imagined that in a few short months the country and much of the world would shut down in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet less than two weeks after moving into our temporary offices near the Capitol we pivoted to remote work.
In the last year and a half our work and our world have changed. We transitioned from offering mostly traditional in-person programs and classes, to a focused effort and renewed investment in the digital space. Our First Five programs premiere on YouTube, the Power Shift Project trains journalists around the country via webinars, and the 2021 Free Expression Awards and the last two Al Neuharth Free Spirit and Journalism Conferences have been virtual. We’ve shown this important work can be done remotely, but we know Zoom is not a permanent replacement for working and convening in person.
That’s why I’m excited to share that late next year the Freedom Forum will move to its new headquarters at The Wharf in Washington D.C.’s Southwest Waterfront neighborhood. The new building, located at 610 Water Street, will offer a combination of flexible work and community spaces that provide a vibrant backdrop and accessible location for programmatic opportunities, both virtual and in person, to further our First Amendment mission.
We’re designing the space from the ground up, allowing us to plan for the new realities of a hybrid work environment, public events in a post-pandemic world, and the latest digital capabilities that will help us meet our mission to reach “all” Americans. Our co-tenant at 610 Water Street will be The Atlantic, one of the nation’s oldest and most respected news publications, and we look forward to exploring the opportunities working alongside daily practitioners of the First Amendment will present.
In the next year we have a lot to do. If you’re not already, I hope you’ll join us on this journey. Sign up for our First Five newsletter to receive regular updates on our progress and expert analysis of all the latest First Amendment news.
Chair and CEO, Freedom Forum