San Francisco State UniversityWeb A-ZFind it Fast


University Human Relations Dean Ken Monteiro's Remarks
at March 24 Malcolm X Plaza Event


Return to SFSU Resources

News & Events

More Campus Headlines

News Archive

Contact Public Affairs

March 24, 2003

I have to give respect. I have to give appreciation. I have to give admiration for, if you excuse an, O.G., old guy -- I don't use the word gangster -- using the term "New School," I'm impressed with New-School activism.

I'm impressed with a peace movement that had the foresight to start before a war. I'm impressed by a set of students who organized with labor, who have organized with teachers, who have organized with their parents, who have organized cross-generation, cross-color, cross-gender. I'm impressed with New School.

If you'll allow me, three points from Old School. One: While you're doing this, take care of yourself. If you're not finding peace in yourself, you're going to have difficulty giving it to anybody else.

Two: Take care of mom. Now, mom here is not a gender thing. It's a San Francisco thing. Be flexible with me. I don't mean that facetiously; I mean that truly. Anyone powerful who nurtures you is your mom. One of the moms I want to point out, and I'm only going to point out one, is an institution. San Francisco State has given birth to more about free speech, more about anti-war, and more about social justice than anyplace else. We send many of our students off for Ph.D.s elsewhere. Many of us have those Ph.D.s from elsewhere. But you come here for your Ph.D. in peace and justice. We have a tradition of social justice here. Whatever we agree to do, we do well! Some people play football. We get serious about life!

The third point I'd like to make is: Take care of your message. I have my personal views and might even share them. But the first thing I want you to know is: Take care of your message. There are people all giving their own message. But there are folks who either volunteer or are paid to subvert your message, to bring harm to your message. Take care of your message. The reason for free speech and free expression is that your message is private -- not secret -- private, your personal self being offered to other people. Don't let anyone hijack your message.

Lastly, I'm going to say this and it may be the first and last time on a microphone on Malcolm X Plaza that you will hear my personal views. Why? Because I am committed to insure that all personal views have a space to be spoken. So I'm going to speak my voice -- once. You can agree, disagree, like, not like, meet me for coffee. I'd love to have a really stimulating intellectual discussion about this. That's why I come to universities.

I am by my person, and I have the joy of by my position, opposed to war and physical aggression because, for me, it is a display that either we have no creativity to find something else as a response or, unfortunately, sometimes we feel too desperate to be creative. I, personally, am saying that I do not support this war.

That may be the first and last time on a microphone on Malcolm X Plaza you'll hear me say that. Why? Because look around you. I have committed myself, along with a lot of other people you see out here, to open spaces so that each and every one of you who needs the space to either express your opinions, or those who need quiet places away from opinions, can have it.

It won't be the last time you hear me, but it may be the last time here, because I have other work to do. I am glad you're doing the work that you're doing, but everyone needs to do the work that they need to do, and not to oppress anybody else for what they really hold to.

There is an old spiritual titled "Freedom." It in part says: "Before I'll be a slave, I'll be buried in my grave." A week or two ago at another event on this plaza, we were also singing a new verse made up here at SFSU, "Before I will enslave, I'll be buried in my grave!" Thank you.

NOTE: Remarks were transcribed from a recording of the event.

San Francisco State University Home     Search     Need Help?    

1600 Holloway Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94132    (415) 338-1111
Last modified March 26, 2003, by the Office of Public Affairs