Reception: 5:00-5:30 pm, Speaker: 5:30-7:00 pm
Ron Dellums is a world renowned, social justice leader who has stood for the rights of all peoples to live in peace, dignity, and security, even when those positions were unpopular. For the past five decades, he has been a dominant political activist representing the Berkeley/Oakland area in the Congress, as Oakland’s Mayor, and in the Berkeley City Council.
In Congress, he fought to change America’s priorities to address critical domestic problems and to redefine America’s national security policies. He was so well respected that his colleagues elected him Chair of the House Armed Services Committee. There, he continued his fight to realign spending priorities and to oppose unusable weapon systems.
Dellums may be best known for his leadership against Apartheid in South Africa. In 1986, after 17 years of persistent efforts, his divestment legislation passed the House, and became law over President Reagan’s veto. Nelson Mandela singledout Dellums’ efforts as the most important US anti-apartheid action.
Dellums was an early leader in advancing the urban agenda in Congress. As chairman, he converted the DC Committee into the only Congressional committee with an urban focus. The Committee addressed many of today’s burning issues including affordable housing, city finances, homelessness, mental health, and unfunded pension liabilities. As Chairman of the Dellums Commission on Boys and Men of Color, Dellums led pioneering policy solutions to addressing racial discrimination.
Dellums saw access to affordable housing and health care asbasic human rights.Written together with leading health and housing activists and academics, his National Health Service Act and Progressive Housing Program for America are each considered the most comprehensive and progressive Congressional legislation in their respective areas. Dellums was also a leader in the fight for women’s equality and was honored for his perfect voting record on environmental issues, including introducing the first Climate Change bill.
Dellums also led efforts to develop the first Global HIV/AIDS Fund, pioneering the current $50 billion annual Federal PEPFAR programs.
As Mayor of Oakland, Dellums provided real community access to City Hall creating dozens of community task forces. Despite the Great Recession, he put Oakland on a strong financial footing, and his public safety focus led to major reductions in homicides and other serious crimes. He advanced land use policies to preserve industrial land (and jobs) and to rezone the city. With the Oakland People’s Housing Coalition, he introduced a detailed affordable housing plan that served as the basis for the Oakland Housing Equity Roadmap, passed by the City Council in 2015. He was also responsible for redeveloping the Oakland Army Base,for keeping the A’s from leaving Oakland and for bringing substantial Federal Stimulus funds to Oakland.
Dellums currently serves as the President of the Dellums Institute for Social Justice, an incubation hub for innovative social and policy justice.
This Lecture is co-sponsored by the Department of City and Regional Planning and the Institute of Urban and Regional Development.