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A Force for Change and Advocacy with Ron Goldberg

Oct 09, 2023

You've probably heard the saying, "every journey begins with a first step." It’s a concept capturing the idea that deliberate change requires a proactive approach to reach your goals and when opportunities arise, you should go for it. In this episode, our host John Rebecchi (M.B.A. ’83), Ph.D. is joined by special guest Ron Goldberg. Ron Goldberg is a Director of Digital Communications at New York Tech, and an author of, “Boy with the Bullhorn” capturing the historical movement of the New York chapter of ACT UP, grassroots political organization dedicated to putting an end to the AIDS pandemic.

Born and raised in New York, Goldberg’s ambition was firmly set on pursuing a career in acting. As the Aids crisis emerged in the 1980s, his worry deepened, pushing him to search for an outlet and get involved in something bigger than himself. This led him to join ACT UP, three months after the organization started.

A pivotal moment for Goldberg after joining the movement was experiencing first hand that a small group of people can make change happen; he was part of a force for good that made it happen. This inspired him to write a book, “Boy with the Bullhorn.” “While we are taught to be consumers, we are not taught to be citizen,” he added, “if there is something you are passionate about, you can get together with some people, you don’t need to know all the answers; you just have to figure out one step at a time and you can really change the world in a lot of ways.”

Goldberg was a self-described, “a nice gay Jewish theater queen turned activist and writer” and ACT UP’s unofficial “Chant Queen” at demonstrations and leading the group. This experience empowered him to embrace his authentic self. “It allowed me to become the person I wanted to be: the hero of my own life. Instead of looking for it elsewhere, I was able to do what I only thought I could do it on stage; I was able to become in life,” he shared. 

A powerful piece of advice Goldberg imparts to students and aspiring leaders is to immerse themselves in the world, art, and human connections. Become aware and keep an open mind to everything around you.

Listen to the full episode: Podbean, Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify.

By Patthara Chandaragga