free speech

Dec 172014
Mike Katz-Lacabe speaking with students and community members at his Free Speech Day.

Mike Katz-Lacabe speaking with students and community members at his Free Speech Day.


For an event organized in 3 days, the Free Speech Day was very successful.

The day started with Mike speaking about his work as a human rights activist and then as a privacy rights researcher/activist.

Then SLHS students spoke about their concerns and experiences. One girl asked question of whether Martin Luther King’s dream had come true (it has not), others mentioned their disappointment at how City and School authorities are not transparent about issues that concern students, such as the COPS grant.  One student brought up the fact that they see many more military recruiters than college recruiters at school, which sets out rather low expectations for students.

Throughout the day, there were speeches and one-to-one discussions.  One speaker addressed the issue of neoliberalism, another spoke about pesticides.   A man spoke about his religious experience, another one performed a beautiful, spiritual poem. A Jewish rebbe  spoke about the freedom of speech aspect of the Hannukkah story.

Some speakers spoke about issues related to San Leandro.  Some mentioned their concerns about the growing police power.  Rob Rich spoke about Joey, the young man who was found murdered in front of his home last week, and whom the police groundlessly accused of being a criminal.

Their words were powerful and I look forward to posting the videos.

It was wonderful despite the cold, and we are planning to hold another such Free Speech Day in the spring during a weekend day, to make it more accessible to everyone.

The City of San Leandro has declared December 18th, 2014 to be “Mike Katz-Lacabe day“.  We agree that Mike Katz-Lacabe – not only an outgoing School Board member, but a champion of civil liberties in San Leandro – deserves to be honored.  And what better way to do it than with a Free Speech Fest!

Please join us for an afternoon/evening of, well, speech.  All speech. Any speech.  Your speech. (Can’t come? See below)

Come and tell us:

  • what you think
  • what you want
  • what you hope
  • what you are thankful for
  • what you are fearful
  • a story
  • a poem
  • a song
  • a haiku
  • an anecdote
  • an experience
  • an opinion
  • an idea
  • a recipe
  • a helpful hint
  • your analysis of the current political situation and what can we do to reach the liberty, equality and justice we all deserve.

Tell us with words, with music, with signs.

Tell me, tell a new found friend, tell the police (you know they’ll come by) and/or tell our camera so others can see it later.

But speak. Speak here, in San Leandro, while we still have that right.  They have taken so many other rights away from us, let’s exercise those we have left while we still have them.

This last-minute Free Speech Fest will take place on Thursday, Dec. 18th – Mike Katz-Lacabe’s day – between 3:30 PM and 8:30 PM.  Stop by whenever you can, we can’t promise there will be more than one person there, but that’s all you need to have a conversation.  We know you are busy – yes, there are lots of protests, rallies and meetings to attend, but we really hope to see you here.

As a location, we have decided in the area around the beautiful Holiday tree in the patio between City Hall and the Police Department here in San Leandro.  You can’t miss it, it’s really tall.

Bring your friends, your children, your parents, your neighbors, your students.  Grab your coats and scarfs and Guy Fawkes masks.  Come!

Mike Katz-Lacabe Day Free Speech Fest

Thursday, Dec. 18th, 2014
3:30 – 8:30 PM
Around the Holiday Tree outside San Leandro City Hall

Can’t come? Don’t worry. Just e-mail me a video, or something you want me to read and we’ll make sure to share it during the event.