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January-May 2019

Free Public Talks

Wednesday evenings 7:30-9:30 unless otherwise noted.

At Eric Quezada Center for Culture and Politics
518 Valencia Street (near 16th), in San Francisco

A place to meet and talk unmediated by corporations, official spokespeople, religion, political parties, or dogma.

Our Public Talks are partly underwritten by the City Lights Foundation.

Download the Spring 2019 calendar as a pdf


Archive of past talks

Online audio archive of past talks, listed by type:

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Wed., Feb. 20, 6 pm* OFFSITE EVENT

Vanished Waters: A History of Mission Bay

Shaping San Francisco's Chris Carlsson will present a tour through the long and complicated ecological, industrial, and social history of our newest neighborhood, Mission Bay. Relying on the well-researched history provided by Nancy Olmsted's book Vanished Waters that Carlsson brought out in a 2nd edition for the Mission Creek Conservancy some years ago, it is a rich visual tour through a forgotten and surprising past, and an equally surprising and inspiring present.

Map by Christopher Richard


History Days at the Old U.S. Mint

Visit Shaping San Francisco/ and Department of Memory/Neighborhood Newspapers of San Francisco tables, along with all our local neighborhood history groups, geneaology organizations, local libraries, the National Park Service, and other history makers of San Francisco and the Bay Area.

At the Old U.S. Mint, 5th and Mission Streets: Friday for students and teachers only, Saturday 11-5, Sunday 11-4. Free admission.

Photo by Todd Sanchioni

March 13

Dockworker Power in the Bay Area and South Africa

Peter Cole’s new book Dockworker Power: Race and Activism in Durban and the San Francisco Bay Area uniquely compares and contrasts the radical activism of dockworkers on opposite sides of the planet. The San Francisco-based ILWU took direct action to block apartheid-era cargoes, while their counterparts in Durban, South Africa were on the front lines confronting the racist South African government. ILWU Local 10 (ret.) Jack Heyman introduces the evening.

Co-hosted by Freedom Archives

Photo courtesy ILWU Archives

March 27

Sea Level Rise: Pacific Ocean and the Bay Area

Christina Gerhardt, author of The Atlas of (Remote) Islands and Sea Level Rise, explores the effects and responses to climate-warming on low-lying Pacific Ocean islands. Scientist Kristina Hill and urbanist Laura Tam address sea level rise on vulnerable shorelines around the Bay Area. Learn about indigenous inhabitants’ adaptive solutions in the South Seas and local grassroots efforts to prepare our bay shore.

Photo by TK

April 3

Art & Politics: Chris “L7” Cuadrado

Few local artists have combined the refined skills of a fine artist with the blistering edge of anti-colonial and liberationist critique that L7 has. He has an incredible body of work and offers a show-and-tell about how his politics have shaped his stunning productions.

This is part of a series of solo artists giving a behind-the-scenes and indepth look at what inspires them in the interrelationship between art and politics.

Image: Black and Brown United Against Empire by L7

April 10

Neighborhood Newspapers of San Francisco

A collaborative effort of the San Francisco Department of Memory, this project digitally preserves and promotes San Francisco community newspapers. Over 1,600 issues generated in eight neighborhoods dating back to the 1960s are now available online and members of participating history groups will present highlights along with collection project manager LisaRuth Elliott.

May 8

The Women of Los Siete de la Raza

50 years after the arrest of seven young men from the Mission District galvanized a movement, women gather who were active in creating the multi-faceted community response that grew out of the Los Siete Defense Committee. From Basta Ya!—the newspaper—to Centro de Salud and La Raza Information Center and a free breakfast program, explore a lasting legacy in this plática including Donna James Amador, Yolanda M. Lopez, Judy Drummond, Maria Elena Ramirez, Nilda Alverio, and author Marjorie Heins (Strictly Ghetto Property). Eva Martínez moderates.

Co-hosted by California Historical Society

Part of a series of events commemorating 50 years since the formation of the Los Siete Defense Committee

Image: Original Basta Ya! cover fragment

May 22

Local Ecological Justice and Urbanity

Gopal Dayaneni (Movement Generation), Anthony Khalil (Literacy for Environmental Justice), and Jason Mark (editor, Sierra Magazine) discuss urbanity and ecological crisis from their ultra-local, regional, and national perspectives of environmental and ecological justice.

Photo: Detroit U.S. Social Forum, 2010, by Chris Carlsson

May 29

Americans in the Spanish Civil War 1936-1939

International volunteers rushed to Spain in 1936 after General Francisco Franco led a military coup against the Spanish Republic. Adam Hochschild, author of Spain In Our Hearts, brings to life remarkable characters in this bloody and bitter conflict that consumed Spain for 3 years. 80 years ago this spring the conflict ended, leaving the country under three decades of military dictatorship.

Photo: Citizens of Barcelona rush to barricades to defeat fascist uprising, 1936.