It’s been a couple weeks since the election, but it still feels like America’s social progress in recent years is for naught. During those moments of hopelessness, a little retrospection can be like a soothing tonic. Enter this year’s Mario Savio Memorial Lecture at UC Berkeley on Tuesday, which should serve as a well-timed reminder that progress, in the words of President Barack Obama, has never been smooth or steady.
The featured speaker of the night, former NAACP leader Benjamin Jealous was, like Obama, the son of biracial parents. Jealous became the youngest national leader of the NAACP and, now, the Pacific Grove native has returned to Northern California to work as a senior partner at Kapor Capital, a VC firm in Oakland dedicated to bringing diversity to Silicon Valley. At this free event at the Pauley Ballroom, Jealous will honor the spirit of Free Speech Movement leader Savio, and how his generation put forth the activism and values that define the university and the liberal movements across the country. The lecture also will feature a presentation of the Young Activist Award, given to those who carry the torch, especially after what we learned on and after Election Day.