The Big Conversation Series Kicks Off With Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn

by The Other Side

UTICA – Bill Ayers, retired Distinguished Professor of Education and Senior University Scholar from the University of Illinois at Chicago, founder of Small Schools Workshop, the Center for Youth and Society, and, in the 1960’s in his opposition to US involvement in Vietnam, co-founder of Weather Underground, and his wife and co-activist, Bernardine Dohrn, will be featured speakers at The Other Side of Utica’s new lecture series, The Big Conversation.

The series, conceived and initiated in honor of local activist Sunithi Bajekal, hopes to encourage local voices to speak to the issues confronting Utica, the United States, and the world. Ayers’s and Dohrn’s talk, followed by a question and answer session, is scheduled for Wednesday, May 24 at 7:30.

Admission is $10 ($5 for students; scholarships available). Seating is limited so calling ahead (315-735-4825) or e-mailing ( for reservations is advised.

Available in advance, at Domenico’s Cafe, is Ayer’s latest book Demand the Impossible, in which he not only asks the big questions: “What does it mean to be human right now?” and “What kinds of people do we want to become?,” but also provides answers and information on the topics that are most important to a fair and just world.

Noting the U. S. as “the greatest purveyor of violence on Earth,” Ayers takes on such controversial subjects as mass incarceration—“U. S. ranked number one in the world”; economics—“We’re encouraged to know the price of everything and the value of nothing”; militarized police forces and their contribution to the “decades-long campaign against Free black people”; “health care marketeers” and “the idea that health care is a product (as opposed to a right).”

About the earth he admonishes: “The real choice is in front of us: the end of capitalism or the end of the habitable Earth, saving the system of corporate finance or saving the system that gives us life. Which will it be?”

Education is one answer, Ayers believes, as “our imaginations are tenacious…when another world seems not only desirable to a large enough group, but also possible—the status quo becomes suddenly unbearable, and revolution is in the air.”

Are you interested in seeking a “new American dream” of peace and justice? Come listen and speak your own mind at The Other Side’s Big Conversation with Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, learning how to “mobilize to reach for our dreams and demand the impossible.”

The Other Side is a not-for-profit organization located at 2011 Genesee Street in Utica, committed to providing space for community-based and community-informing initiatives. 


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