Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

We’re all familiar with these five protections of the First Amendment. We’ve been told these protections against government overreach are important to our functioning democracy. But do we really know what they mean in practice? How do our First Amendment protections affect us day to day? And how aren’t we protected?

Next month, Forum Communications will take a closer look at the First Amendment, what it means and what it doesn’t mean. As a part of that, we want to know what questions you have.

Maybe you want to know if your Facebook posts are protected speech, or whether you can protest on government property.

Email your questions to We’ll start answering them online and in print and e-papers May 1.