Sellwood freedom advocate hosts ‘Bill of Rights’ party

Many people haven’t heard of, much less celebrate, “Bill of Rights Day”. See why freedom activist Renee Kimball took it upon herself to organize a party to celebrate the signing of the amendments to the US Constitution ‚Ķ

Party organizer Renee Kimball reads the Bill of Rights to a crowd packed in the museum at “The Bomber” restaurant.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
American people live to celebrate all kinds of events. Sellwood resident Renee Kimball says she doesn’t understand why folks don’t observe Bill of Rights Day. But she’s determined to change that.

“This little-known holiday,” Kimball tells us, “commemorates the signing of the first Ten Amendments to the United States Constitution in 1791.”

We talk with Kimball at the Bill of Rights Day party she and her friends are throwing at The Bomber Restaurant’s “Wings of Freedom” aviation museum in Milwaukie on December 15. “It’s a fitting place, don’t you think?” she asks.

Most important to her, Kimball says, is that people understand that the Bill of Rights is the legal documentation that protects the freedoms and privileges enjoyed by United States citizens.

“There is big difference between a constitutional republic and a democracy,” Kimball explains. “Hitler and Mussolini were elected by democracies. The word ‘democracy’ isn’t in the Declaration of Independence, U.S. Constitution, nor Bill of Rights. It was not by accident our nation’s founders specifically created a constitutional republic.”

The year before, Kimball says, she celebrated the day by reading the Bill of Rights and handing out copies of the U.S. Constitution in a corner of Pioneer Memorial Square in downtown Portland.

“It occurred to me that people were more interested in enjoying their freedoms than learning how to protect them,” says Kimball. “So I decided to make a bigger deal out of it this year.”

Gordon Leitch tells the Bill of Rights Day celebrants the historical importance of the document.

Freedom fest at The Bomber
More than 50 people attended this year’s Bill of Rights Day party, the first event of its kind ever held in Oregon.

During the opening social hour, freedom revelers enjoyed a beautiful spread of finger food, talked, and explored the museum’s exhibits.

Then, the gathering sat to hear Gordon Leitch present a short history of the Bill of Rights. Kimball read the Bill of Rights to an attentive audience.

We rubbed our eyes to make sure we weren’t seeing ghosts, as Benjamin Franklin gets ready to step off the pages of history and into the celebration.

A special “mystery guest speaker” scheduled to close the ceremony was Ben Franklin himself, well portrayed by Steve Jordan, impersonator extraordinaire.

Plans are in place, Kimball tells us, to repeat and enlarge the celebration next year. For more information or to be invited next year, contact Kimball at 503-238-6973 or

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

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