Free Speech and Its Limits: An Unfinished Conversation

Film - Documentary | January 25 | 7:10 p.m. |  Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive

 Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive

The First Amendment’s protection of freedom of expression has allowed progressive voices to argue powerfully for tolerance, equality, and social change. But what happens when that freedom is used to express intolerance and hate? Charlene Stern’s documentary Near Normal Man, about her father, Holocaust survivor Ben Stern, illustrates the challenges of maintaining First Amendment rights while protecting the wellbeing of all citizens. In 1976, faced with the prospect of a legal Nazi march through the streets of Skokie, Illinois, Stern mobilized a massive counterprotest with the rallying cry “Not Here! Not Now!” Despite being on opposite sides of the argument in Skokie, Ben Stern and First Amendment advocate Ira Glasser share a profound mutual respect. This evening Stern and Glasser join us to explore how the questions and challenges they faced in Skokie reverberate in America forty years later. Charlene Stern, Manu Meel, and others add their voices to a discussion moderated by Edward Wasserman. This is one of a series of events copresented by the UC Berkeley chancellor’s office to reflect on the legacy and current significance of the Free Speech Movement, born in Berkeley in 1964.

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