Brown is the former speaker of the California Assembly and ex-mayor of San Francisco. First elected to the state Assembly in 1964, he entered the 80-member body as one of only four African Americans. Brown, a Democrat, won the speaker’s seat in 1980 with an unexpected coalition of 28 Republicans and 23 Democrats. After more than 30 years in the Assembly, he led San Francisco from 1996 to 2004 – becoming one of the most popular mayors in city history. Brown grew up in the racially segregated town of Mineola, Texas, and earned a political science degree from San Francisco State University, followed by a law degree from UC Hastings College of the Law. At a time when few black attorneys practiced, Brown gained prominence in San Francisco by litigating cases that other lawyers believed were impossible.

“As a renowned political figure in California, and as a dynamic speaker who was intimately involved in the U.S. civil rights movement, Willie is an ideal keynote speaker for our Martin Luther King Jr. Symposium.,” said Kevin Huie, director of UCI’s Cross-Cultural Center, which is planning the event. “We look forward to hearing his perspective on the current condition of our country and state.”


Politician Willie Brown will deliver the Dr. Joseph L. White Lecture as part of UC Irvine’s 29th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Symposium. His talk, “California & Our Nation,” will highlight four days of activities honoring King’s legacy. The theme of this year’s symposium is “The Struggle for Justice & Liberation.”

Crystal Cove Auditorium, UCI Student Center (bldg. 113, grid E8 on campus map)

06:00 p.m.

Monday, Jan. 16
9-11 a.m. and 2-4 p.m.: On this Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, people across the nation will honor King’s legacy of tolerance, peace and equality by volunteering, making the holiday a “day on” rather than a “day off.” UCI service projects include packaging food for the hungry at the Orange County Food Bank in Garden Grove. Transportation will be provided for those who sign up in advance for one of the two shifts. Contact the Cross-Cultural Center at 949-824-7215 or register online.

Tuesday, Jan. 17
7 p.m.: Jason Russell, co-founder of Invisible Children Inc., will discuss the nonprofit organization and its efforts to provide resources and education to people affected by the criminal acts of the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The talk will take place in the UCI Student Center’s Pacific Balllroom.

Wednesday, Jan. 18
Noon: The annual Martin Luther King Jr. march and rally will begin at the flagpoles outside Aldrich Hall and continue around Ring Mall. Students will have the opportunity to speak about King’s impact on their lives.