MECA’s Board Chair and the former mayor of Berkeley, California, continues to serve as a citizen of the nation and the world.
Micky Duxbury writes about MECA’s board chair, Gus Newport, in The Progressive:
While remaining active and engaged, Newport is not optimistic about the state of affairs in the United States. “This country is in a worse predicament than I have ever seen and I’m coming out of the Jim Crow and early civil rights era,” he says.
But Newport is not someone who gives into despair. In 2018, he was one of many progressive elected officials, economists, activists, writers, and artists who came together for the inaugural conference of the Sanders Institute. Organized by Jane O’Meara Sanders and her son David Driscoll, the Institute aims to “Engage individuals, organizations, and the media in the pursuit of progressive solutions to economic, environmental, racial, and social justice issues.”
Newport campaigned for Sanders in 2016 and has been doing the same in 2020. “I will go anywhere I am asked to go,” he says. “I am inspired by young people who are fed up with moderate approaches and passionate about redefining the Democratic Party.” He is not concerned about the party pulling too far to the left and supports progressive positions on climate change, gun control, and Medicare for All.
“In 2006, when I was the Martin Luther King fellow at MIT, I was surprised that students from other countries knew more about the history of the civil rights movement than students from the United States,” Newport says. “We need to come back to what Martin called Building the Beloved Community—helping communities address education, incarceration, mental and physical health in an integrated and systematic way. If we want a better future for the next generation, we need to build a movement that is strategic and constant!”