Free Speech and Its Limits: An Unfinished Conversation

  • Introduction

    Carol Christ is chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley.

  • In Conversation

    Ira Glasser served as executive director of the ACLU from 1978 to 2001. He is author of Visions of Liberty: The Bill of Rights for All Americans.

  • In Conversation

    Activist and educator Ben Stern survived the Holocaust, only to face Nazis again in 1978 in Skokie, Illinois, where he organized a successful counterprotest. Stern was a 2017 recipient of the James Joyce Humanitarian Award.


  • In Conversation

    Charlene Stern is the producer and director of Near Normal Man and an accomplished businesswoman.


  • Portrait of Manu Meel
    In Conversation

    Manu Meel is a sophomore at UC Berkeley studying political science and economics. He is working with the chancellor’s office to facilitate Free Speech Year.

  • Portrait of Edward Wasserman

    Edward Wasserman is professor of journalism and dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at UC Berkeley.

  • In Conversation

    Simone Dill is a Senior at UC Berkeley pursuing degree in Film and Media Studies and is the Communications Director for the Cal Black Student Union. She is  producing her first live-studio audience talk show in San Francisco, Ca.


  • In Conversation

    Luis Tenorio is a doctoral student of Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley as both a National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellow and Chancellor’s Fellow. Luis currently serves as Director of the Queer and Trans Advocacy Project at UC Berkeley. Before graduate school, he served as a Youth Representative to the United Nations and interned for the White House Office of Cabinet Affairs.

The First Amendment’s protection of freedom of expression has allowed progressive voices to argue powerfully for tolerance, equality, and social change. But what happens when that freedom is used to express intolerance and hate? Charlene Stern’s documentary Near Normal Man, about her father, Holocaust survivor Ben Stern, illustrates the challenges of maintaining First Amendment rights while protecting the wellbeing of all citizens. In 1976, faced with the prospect of a legal Nazi march through the streets of Skokie, Illinois, Stern mobilized a massive counterprotest with the rallying cry “Not Here! Not Now!” Despite being on opposite sides of the argument in Skokie, Ben Stern and First Amendment advocate Ira Glasser share a profound mutual respect. This evening Stern and Glasser join us to explore how the questions and challenges they faced in Skokie reverberate in America forty years later. Charlene Stern, Manu Meel, and others add their voices to a discussion moderated by Edward Wasserman. This is one of a series of events copresented by the UC Berkeley chancellor’s office to reflect on the legacy and current significance of the Free Speech Movement, born in Berkeley in 1964. Thank you to the Jewish Federation of the East Bay, the Jewish Community Foundation, the Berkeley Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies, and U.C. Berkeley Hillel for supporting this event. 

Films in this Screening

Near Normal Man

Charlene Stern, United States, 2017

Print Info
  • Color
  • DCP
  • 30 mins
  • Charlene Stern