‘#FSM50 Voices of Free Speech’

Emmy-nominated Berkeley alum Tiffany Shlain produced a cloud-sourced film commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Free Speech Movement (FSM).

The two-minute film brings together voices from around the world to recall the words of Martin Luther King, Jr. and FSM leader Mario Savio to demonstrate the power of free speech today. The issues raised by the FSM in 1964 continue to be debated with passion on campus.


While the events of that fall semester 50 years ago may have disrupted campus operations, they also wove a new thread into the fabric of the university’s identity. Berkeley has become synonymous with political awareness, social action, and an unflinching commitment to challenging the status quo. These ideas continue to evolve within the university, where freedom of speech and intellectual curiosity go hand-in-hand, and the pursuit of knowledge in service to the world is at the core of its mission.

The film is part of a campuswide program to commemorate the 1964 protests by UC Berkeley students against a ban of on-campus political advocacy. The students demanded their right to free speech and academic freedom through non-violent civil disobedience tactics, pioneered and inspired by the civil rights movement. The movement led to the introduction of reforms on many other university campuses that made freedom of speech more consistent with how it is guaranteed by the First Amendment and set the national stage for mass student protests against the Vietnam War.

Activities planned on the Berkeley campus in honor of the anniversary include several dozen special classes, an experiential program for students built around the biography of movement icon Savio, sing-ins and teach-ins, political poetry reading, film series at the Pacific Film Archive, panel discussions and lectures, a reunion of FSM alumni, today’s rally on Sproul Plaza and concerts. For more information on the commemoration, including a visual history and events calendar, please visit www.berkeley.edu/fsm.

Also this week, a four-part NBC News Bay Area series on the FSM is running, now through Friday, Oct. 3 at 6:30 p.m. Also, a 30-minute special will air on Saturday Oct. 4, at 6:30pm. The first part of the series can be viewed on the NBC Bay Area website.

You can join the conversation on Twitter at http://bit.ly/TweetFSM50#FSM50.

To read more about the anniversary, click here