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Gov. Jerry Brown honors leaders in social justice, world affairs and the arts at California Hall of Fame ceremony

 (Jose Luis Villegas / Sacramento Bee)
(Jose Luis Villegas / Sacramento Bee)

Film icons, social justice activists and a renowned baseball player were among those inducted Wednesday by Gov. Jerry Brown and First Lady Anne Gust Brown into the California Hall of Fame, where honorees paid tribute to the "spirit of equality," innovation and contributions of immigrants in the state.

"We want to look back and understand how California has come to be... the people who have built it in so many different ways," Brown said. "We are always creating new things out of the soil that has preceded us."

The newest class of inductees were actors Harrison Ford and George Takei, former San Diego Padres slugger Tony Gwynn, author Isabel Allende, former U.S. secretary of Defense William Perry, Tower Records founder Russ Solomon and artist Corita Kent.

Not all the inductees are California natives.

"But that is OK, because we know that most non-natives have made this place work," Brown quipped when introducing Perry. 

Perry, who served in the Army of Occupation in Japan and was at the forefront of crafting defense strategy against the Soviets, said he was attracted to "California's pioneering spirit."

"I am proud to be in a state that pioneered same-sex marriage," he said to rounds of applause from the audience. "I am proud to be in a state that pioneered in introducing minority students and faculty at all of our state universities."

Allende, a Chilean author and feminist icon in Latin America's literary world, said she was "a real immigrant" to California. 

"I am also a Latina at a time when it is very hard to be a Latina immigrant," she said. But the induction into the state's Hall of Fame made her realize California was home, she said.

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