free speechAs we mentioned before, last weekend, we ventured off into Southern California to escape the pressures of midterms and looming, sugary protests. It just so happens that Berkeley, while physically 400 miles away, remained with us in spirit and … utility boxes.

While heading to Old Town Pasadena for an evening of unspeakable debauchery, we just so happened to observe a bright blue box with a large photo of something that looked oddly familiar. Forgetting that this wasn’t Berkeley and we can’t do whatever the hell we want, we made a highly illegal U-turn and pulled up in front of the box. Lo and behold, Sather Gate stood right before our eyes.

The iconic photo of Mario Savio, leading a large group of protesters during the 1960’s Free Speech Movement (shit, these days, we can’t get that many protesters out for free sweets, much less for free speech), was plastered around some random utility box in Pasadena.

free speech 2Being the curious bunch that we are, we did some digging to find out what this symbol of our university was doing in So Cal. According to Pasadena Star-News, the utility box is part of a $6,400 art project in the Playhouse District on Colorado Boulevard. Five boxes have been covered in vinyl and contain the same photograph but vary in quotations and color. This particular box included a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt: “We do not move forward by curtailing people’s liberty because we are afraid of what they may do or say.”

Coincidentally enough, Saturday, Oct. 1 marked the 47th anniversary of Berkeley’s Free Speech Movement. And, since freedom of speech was tested last week during the controversial bake sale, the absence of violent resistance and forcible censorship seems to reinforce Berkeley’s commitment to being a symbol of free speech, worthy of utility boxes worldwide.

Image source: Ricardo Barton, Daily Cal
Playhouse District to unveil transformed utility boxes as public art [Pasadena Star-News]
Earlier: Stoner couture at its best



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