This is a news release. It was NOT written by The Ithaca Voice. To submit community announcements to The Voice, email

ITHACA, NY – The First Amendment guarantees the right of free speech to all Americans. But is hate speech protected? Should it be? And what constitutes hate speech – different groups seem to have very different definitions. These questions and more will be examined on Tues., Dec. 5 at “Free Speech vs. Hate Speech: An Ithaca Conversation,” part of the Dinner Conversation Series hosted by the Ithaca Coalition for Unity and Cooperation in the Middle East (ICUCME), a local non-profit founded in 2015.

The evening will feature a vegetarian potluck, staged readings, and small group discussions. “Hate Speech vs. Free Speech” begins at 6:00 pm at the Just Be Cause Center, 1013 W State St, Ithaca. The event is free but donations are always welcome.

“We’re doing something different for this Dinner Conversation, because the topic of hate speech is so painful for many people,” said Linda Glaser, chair of ICUCME. “Instead of having a speaker, we’re going to present a number of scenarios for participants to consider. We’ll have lots of time to go in depth into the issues and for participants to share different perspectives.”

ICUCME is a grass-roots anti-racist community organization working to bring a constructive approach into dialogue about Israel and the Greater Middle East. As a non-partisan organization, ICUCME embraces fact-based, respectful dialogue, mutual recognition, and cooperation to promote understanding and support peace in the region.

The Dinner Conversation Series is held on the first Tuesday of every month. Previous events include discussions on Islamophobia and antisemitism, human rights education, the moral imperative, and teaching tolerance. For more information, email or visit the ICUCME website,

Featured image: “FREE SPEECH” by Newtown grafitti is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Jolene Almendarez is Managing Editor at The Ithaca Voice. She can be reached at; you can learn more about her at the links in the top right of this box.