In the fall of 1994 at Oberlin College, I started the first chapter of Students for a Free Tibet. I had previously interned at the Internation Campaign for Tibet, and I went on to intern at Milerapa (the foundation Yauch co-founded) and through this work I had a fairly strong connection to Adam Yauch for a year or so. Yauch came to Oberlin to speak my sophomore year (here's a brief mention in an old alumni magazine blurb). I drove a lot of famous musicians and speakers to & from the Cleveland airport over my college career, but I literally lost my head driving Adam Yauch down 480 back to Oberlin. The rented minivan we were driving was swerving in traffic so much that Adam reached from the back seat and put his hands on my shoulders: "It's OK! Drive man, drive!"
He hung out in my dorm room and played my heroin-addicted roommate's guitar. He gave a well-attended talk that evening, kept appropriately short in deference to the Tibetan activists and musicians that headlined the bill. I was cynical about his involvement in the Free Tibet movement before I met him — but that was completely misguided. He was an extremely humble & generous person, who literally gave all he could to the Free Tibet movement. It's a sad coincidence that my last blog post, two weeks ago, was in anticipation of the Beastie Boys continuing their career with only a passing reference to Adam's health. Even knowing a little bit about his health I assumed he would be back on stage given enough time, anything else was unimaginable. I usually don't get affected when celebrities pass away, but this one has really got me choked up.