There will be plenty to say at this year’s Speaker’s Corner

Using London’s Hyde Park Corner as inspiration, Reverend T. Willard Hunter began the Claremont Independence Day Speakers’ Corner in 1977 to showcase the constitutional right of free speech.

Over the past 40 years, topics from politics and religion to current events and history have graced the podium under the big shade tree at Memorial Park. The rules are simple: speakers get 10 minutes to talk about anything they want with only three conditions—no selling, no nudity, no swearing.

Rev. Hunter is perhaps best known for his 34-hour, eight-minute address delivered outside Philadelphia’s Independence Hall in 1982—a speech he again delivered in London in 1984. He set a Guinness Book world record for that talk.

Former mayor Karen Rosenthal is keeping Rev. Hunter’s spirit alive by coordinating the Speakers’ Corner each year. In a speech at the 2009 Speakers’ Corner, Ms. Rosenthal paid tribute to Rev. Hunter one week after his death.

“Willard was our social conscience, our mentor and our friend,” she said. “We were very proud to have had him with us for so many Independence Days. He was truly a Claremont treasure.”

After graduating from Harvard Law School, Rev. Hunter spent his early career involved with Moral Re-Armament, a political movement that encouraged deference to honesty, unselfishness and love.

He and his wife Mary Louise Hunter, who died in 2010, came to Claremont in 1959 after Rev. Hunter became the coordinator of development at the Claremont Graduate School.

Mr. Hunter, who lived his final years with his wife at Pilgrim Place, died at age 93 on June 29, 2009.

—Kathryn Dunn


10:45 a.m.   Welcome

10:50 a.m.   Mayor Opanyi Nasiali “Freedom is Shackled with Responsibility”  

11 a.m.  Colin Tudor  “Declaration of Independence”  

11:10 a.m.  Cindy Cruel LWV  “Voting Is Your Voice”

11:20 a.m.  Donna Clarke “We Get By With A Little Help From Our  Friends”

11:30 a.m.  Patrick Kelly  “One Man’s Contribution To Our Freedom Today”

11:40 a.m.  Peter Weinberger  “Our Critical Need For Accurate Information”

11:50 a.m.  Carolyn Gonzales   

12 p.m.  Jed Leano “Clarence Darrow’s Final Summation”      

12:10 p.m.  Susan Allen  “Imagining 1776”

12:20 p.m. Terry Grill & Lissa Petersen, Claremont Conservancy, “What’s Up With The Claremont Wilderness Park?”

12:40 p.m.  Chuck Doskow  “The Good the Bad and the Ugly”

12:50 p.m. Sam Pedroza “Claremont—A Councilman’s Perspective”    

1 p.m.  Daniel Davis  “On Bullying”

1:10 p.m.  Ellen Taylor   “The Importance of Voting”

1:20 p.m.  David Nemer  “What Matters”

1:40 p.m. Ed Reece “The Courage of Leadership”

1:50 p.m.  Catherine Henley Erickson, poet “4th of July Poems”

2 p.m.   Closing


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