Michael Rossman, a leader of the Free Speech Movement at the University of California at Berkeley in 1964, died May 12 at age 68 after a battle with Leukemia.
What strikes me, looking back, is that we were possessed. We were conduits; the spirits of Liberty and Democracy were manifest through us. No, I don’t mean metaphorically, but literally. Something deep happened that we still don’t have a language for. I can hardly say much other than that actual spirits worked through us. Go wonder.
So take it just as metaphor, if you want, as I say that such spirits continued to work through us: through one who helped pioneer the personal computer revolution, another who leads us toward a gentle revolution in what we eat, another who organized a chain of Hispanic radio stations, another who illuminates the experiences of immigrant and hybrid generations, another whose ministry is legal service to the urban poor, another committed to public radio, and through many less well-known people. In endlessly diverse ways, these spirits still work on in the lives of hundreds, of thousands, who participated in the event we called the FSM. Call it “Power to the People.” The FSM made it real.
For many of us, life thereafter was permanently transformed, in partial and subtle and wondrous ways.