Veterans of the Free Speech Movement — many in T-shirts bearing the legend “Free Speech: Carry It On” — returned to Sproul Plaza on Wednesday to commemorate the FSM’s 50th anniversary, and to forge deeper connections with the issues and student activists of 2014.
Jack Weinberg, whose refusal on Oct. 1, 1964, to show his identification to campus police sparked a spontaneous protest that grew into the FSM, was among the speakers at the noontime rally on what are now called the Savio Steps, after movement icon Mario Savio.
Others in the lineup included Savio’s widow, Lynne Hollander Savio, United Farm Workers co-founder Dolores Huerta, and FSM veterans Jackie Goldberg and Bettina Aptheker. Completing the circle, they were joined on the steps by current Berkeley students Caitlin Quinn, an ASUC vice president, and Amanda Armstrong — and on the plaza by hundreds of others, many speaking out with signs about issues running the gamut from protests in Hong Kong and Ferguson, Mo., to demands that education be free.
There was even a message from Edward Snowden and, of course, the recorded voice of Mario Savio, calling on students across the generations “to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all.”