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Campuswide Conversation on Events in Ferguson

August 28, 2014
By Karen Bauer’16

In the past few weeks, the events unfolding in Ferguson, Missouri, have dominated our newsfeeds, timelines, and televisions. On Aug. 9, in the Midwestern suburb of St. Louis, an 18-year-old African-American boy named Michael Brown was gunned down and shot numerous times by a police officer. The outrage surrounding this event was caused by the fact that Michael was unarmed, was killed on account of false crimes, and is one of many African-American teenagers who have died in similar situations at the hands of law enforcement.

Disturbed by Michael Brown’s death, Felicia Carlson’15 decided to bring the issue to campus. With the help of the Director of Intercultural Affairs Cecil Youngblood, Carlson has organized a panel for Monday, Sept. 1 at 7:30 p.m. in Richardson Auditorium to discuss the events and larger issues like race, identity, bureaucracy, and law enforcement discrimination. Youngblood strongly supports the idea of this panel, saying that, “it is important for students to have an awareness of issues happening in the world because they will be faced with serious issues in the future and will need to know how to address them properly.”

The panel will be composed of two student and faculty facilitators. The student facilitators will be Carlson and Zach Cole’18. Other students present on the panel will be Margaret Kepley’15 and Darryl Smith’17. Professors Ron Watson and Catherine Orr will also take part as the faculty facilitators.

Carlson emphasized the importance of having a wide range of people in attendance. “A lot of people keep asking what they can do to help. Just having an open dialogue is doing a lot to help. An open dialogue will hopefully help people reach a common ground on the issues happening in Ferguson and other parts of the United States.”

By making this event open to the community, Carlson believes that this will be a great way to bridge the gap between the college and the community of Beloit, coming together to critically think about--and discuss--issues that are causing a pattern of discrimination in society.