The Bay Area has long been a crucible of political tumult and upheaval. From territorial battles between Spanish soldiers and the indigenous Ohlone in the late 18th century to the occupation of Alcatraz in 1969 by a unified cohort of Native Americans to the marriage equality struggle that has since percolated into virtually every national jurisdiction, San Francisco, Berkeley, and Oakland have cemented their reputations as hubs of progressive consciousness. Unlike any other American region, the Bay Area has become America's default proving ground for the most hot-button and divisive issues.
But what is it about the region that engenders such passionate disavowals of the status quo? Is the activist community as relevant and effective as it once was, or have changing demographics, technologies and economies dampened the fervor? Additionally, how does the Bay Area's vibrant and experimental arts landscape inform or respond to political clamor? Join American Book Award winner and cultural scholar Jeff Chang, Esperanza Tervalon-Daumont, Executive Director, Oakland Rising and Eva Galperin, International Activist, Electronic Frontier Foundation in a free–form, interactive discussion on the origins and trajectories of Bay Area–bred activism, organizing, and radical dissent.
Jeff Chang has written extensively on culture, politics, the arts, and music and was named by The Utne Reader as one of '50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World.' He is the editor of Total Chaos: The Art and Aesthetics of Hip–Hop. He is currently writing two new books, Who We Be: The Colorization of America(St. Martin’s Press), and Youth(Picador Big Ideas/Small Books series). His first book, Can’t Stop Won’t Stop, garnered many honors, including the American Book Award and the Asian American Literary Award. Jeff was a founding editor of ColorLines magazine, and a Senior Editor/Director at Russell Simmons’ 360hiphop.com. He has written for The Nation, New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Vibe, Foreign Policy, and Mother Jones, among many others.
In 1993, he co–founded and ran the influential hip–hop indie label, SoleSides, now Quannum Projects, helping launch the careers of DJ Shadow,Blackalicious, Lyrics Born and Lateef the Truth Speaker. He has helped produce over a dozen records, including the 'godfathers of gangsta rap', the Watts Prophets. He was an organizer of the inaugural National Hip–Hop Political Convention and has served as a board member for several organizations working for change through youth and community organizing, media justice, culture, the arts, and hip–hop activism. In 2006, he was selected to participate in a conversation with Tom Hayden in the prestigious Mario Savio Memorial Lecture.
Born of Chinese and Native Hawaiian ancestry, Jeff was raised in Hawai’i where he attended ‘Iolani School. He received a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley and a master’s degree in Asian American Studies from the University of California at Los Angeles. He has published scholarly articles on culture and race relations in Hawai’i and Los Angeles and lectured at dozens of colleges, universities, festivals, and institutions in the U.S. and around the world. He currently lives in California.
Esperanza Tervalon-Daumont, Executive Director, Oakland Rising
Esperanza’s work as the Executive Director of Oakland Rising advances her conviction that Oakland’s great potential will be realized with a progressive vision that empowers working families and people of color to see themselves as vehicles for change. Coming to Oakland Rising after organizing and mobilizing communities for SEIU and being hired as Congresswoman Barbara Lee’s Political Director during the Obama campaign, Esperanza now serves on the State Board of Black Women Organized for Political Action (BWOPA) as a Political Action Co-Chair, the 1st Vice President of BWOPA’s Oakland/Berkeley Chapter, Member-At-Large for National Women’s Political Caucus- Alameda North Chapter and is an elected 16th Assembly District Delegate to the California Democratic Party. She was recently appointed to the Alameda County Human Relations Commission.
Eva Galperin, International Activist, Electronic Frontier Foundation
A lifelong geek, Eva misspent her youth working as a Systems Administrator all over Silicon Valley. Since then, she has seen the error of her ways and earned degrees in Political Science and International Relations from SFSU. She comes to EFF from the US-China Policy Institute, where she researched Chinese energy policy, helped to organize conferences, and attempted to make use of her rudimentary Mandarin skills. Her interests include aerials, rock climbing, opera, and not being paged at 3 o'clock in the morning because the mail server is down.