Liberty, freedom of speech topics of ‘Je suis Charlie’ lecture at Pellissippi State

Portrait of a female with glasses and hallway behind her

“Je suis Charlie” was the slogan that emerged in response to the attack on the French newspaper Charlie Hebdo in early January. The French phrase translates as “I am Charlie,” and it came to stand for liberty, human rights, and freedom of speech.

“Je suis Charlie” is the topic of a faculty lecture at Pellissippi State Community College on Thursday, March 19. The event takes place on the Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road, beginning at 10:45 a.m. It is free and open to the community.

“I was in Paris three days after the peaceful march in response to the attack at Charlie Hebdo,” said Saralee Peccolo-Taylor, who is presenting the lecture. “The presentation will include my personal testimony from being in Paris at that time, as well as photos from Paris and interviews with French citizens.”

The lecture not only covers the attack but also includes a discussion of the history of liberty and of human rights in France and an homage to the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists and journalists who were killed.

“I really want attendees to think about the nature of liberty, the nature of freedom of speech and the importance of peaceful responses to attacks on liberty,” Peccolo-Taylor said.

Peccolo-Taylor has taught at local high schools and colleges for 40 years. She has taught French as an adjunct faculty member at Pellissippi State for four years. A first-generation American citizen, Peccolo-Taylor is passionate about travel and also works as a consultant for the American Council for International Studies. During her tenure as an educator, she has led students on 35 study abroad trips.

“Je suis Charlie” is a presentation of the college’s Faculty Lecture Series. The lecture series is part of the collection of events that make up Pellissippi State’s arts series, The Arts at Pellissippi State. The series brings to the community cultural activities ranging from music and theatre to international celebrations, lectures, and the fine arts. This year, the arts series commemorates Pellissippi State’s 40th anniversary.

For more information about the college and The Arts at Pellissippi State, visit or call (865) 694-6400. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources at (865) 694-6607 or