Next Tuesday, March 12, at 4pm, the last of the memorial services for Aaron that I’m attending will take place in Boston at the MIT media lab (where Aaron’s father works). Speakers will include Larry Lessig of Harvard reading a statement on behalf of Tim Berners-Lee, Joi Ito of the MIT media lab, me, Aaron’s father, and several others. The speeches will be followed by a reception.
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/318892888214473/
MIT Media Lab event page (though redundant with the information here): http://www.media.mit.edu/events/2013/03/12/memory-inspiration-remembrance-aaron-swartz
This event will be a smaller than the ones in NYC, SF, and DC, and more personalized to the MIT Media Lab community, but it is open to the public and Boston-area friends (of Aaron, Aaron’s family and me) are very welcome. Unlike the other events, this one will not be livestreamed, but videos of the speakers will be up on Youtube afterwards.
This is going to be an emotional event, because Cambridge was more of a home to Aaron over the last 7 or 8 years than any other city, and many of his closest friends live there. He left Cambridge to live with me in New York last year, in part because of the social impossibility for him of living in Central Square right on Massachusetts Ave while banned from both Harvard and MIT campus.* We were planning to move back to Cambridge after he was acquitted. This will be my first visit back since he died.
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Updates: I updated the speaker list and edited the description of the event to reflect new information.
*I still don’t understand why or under what process Harvard banned Aaron from campus. What gives Harvard the moral right to punish someone for an alleged (and unproven) crime committed somewhere else in the world, not on Harvard campus, in a case that has no bearing on Harvard? What if the alleged crime, even if the courts eventually found the action to be against the law, constituted civil disobedience? (I note that Harvard hasn’t banned Bill McKibben.) What if said civil disobedience was in the service of spreading academic knowledge — something Harvard should be thrilled to promote if it has any institutional values whatsoever? Or, for that matter, what if the alleged crime was actually part of a research project into, say, corporate sponsorship of academic research?
And most of all, whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty?
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