What does it mean when Nazis march in American towns? Is it free speech or is it a freeing of hate speech? Forty years ago, Neo Nazis wanted to march on the streets of Skokie, Illinois. A few weekends ago, Neo Nazi’s marched through the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia. Shortly afterword, far right fringe activists planned to hold “free speech” rallies in San Francisco and Berkeley. The far right is trying to rebrand free speech. They are using the birthplace of the Free Speech Movement — Berkeley — to do it.

KQED reporters take you into the mostly peaceful protests in late summer in Berkeley to ask what is free speech? And what happens when the line between speech and violence become blurred beyond recognition?

Free Speech and the Battle for Berkeley 28 September,2017Sandhya Dirks

  • Skip Conrad

    All speech must be protected. You can’t just censor speech. You have to let people say what they want, otherwise the rap music industry will collapse.


Sandhya Dirks

Sandhya Dirks is the East Bay enterprise reporter at KQED, focusing on stories about equity, identity, culture and the changing city.

Prior to joining KQED in 2015, Sandhya covered the 2012 presidential election from the swing state of Iowa for Iowa Public Radio. And at KPBS in San Diego, she broke the story of a sexual harassment scandal that led to the resignation of then-mayor.

She got her start in radio working on  documentaries about Oakland that focused on the high drop-out rate in public schools and mistrust between the police and the community. Her work on “The Drop Out Dilemma” won the Sigma Delta Chi Award Award for radio documentary.

Sandhya is a graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism, where she won a Patsy Pulitzer Preston Documentary Fellowship for her investigative film about international adoption. She’s reported for NPR, Latino USA, and PRI’s The World, and she’s taught audio story-telling at Mills College in Oakland.

Sandhya lives in Oakland with her two cats.

You can contact her with story ideas and comments at sdirks@kqed.org. Follow her on twitter: @sandhyadirks.

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