26 Jan

Saint Mary’s panel discusses Ferguson aftermath

first_imgA panel discussion Tuesday at Saint Mary’s titled “Understanding Ferguson and its Aftermath” explored the Aug. 9 shooting of Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Mo., and used the incident as a starting point for interdisciplinary dialogue among faculty and students, panelist and professor of communication studies Helen Ho said.“The Ferguson story has become such an enormous and ongoing contentious narrative in the last few months, and it’s something that sets the backdrop for our return to campus, a place for critical discussion and thoughtful deliberation,” Ho said. “Panels like this help can help to provide a space for conversation, as well as a contextualization and synthesis of ideas for those who have been following, or trying to follow, the events.”Cristina Russo | The Observer The panel also included Jamie Wagman, assistant professor of history and gender and women’s studies, and Stacy Davis, associate professor of religious studies and chair of the department of gender and women’s studies. Senior humanistic studies major Clare Maher also participated, panel coordinator and assistant professor of English Ann Marie Alfonso-Forero said.“During the weeks that followed [the shooting of Michael Brown], there was a lot of news coverage of the event and the community grieved … while the police in Ferguson responded to it with tanks and tear gas,” Alfonso-Forero said. “We were talking about how we might address this issue with our students, and we’d feel remiss if we didn’t address this in some way.”The purpose of the panel was to discuss the historical and social contexts of the shooting, the militarization of police in Ferguson and the ongoing protests demanding justice, Wagman said.“We know there was a confrontation between an armed police officer and an unarmed teenager,” she said. “… The community responded with protests. The protest pride became ‘Hands up, don’t shoot.’ Other towns, cities and college campuses held rallies for peace and justice. At times, the media has questioned Brown’s character.”Maher said the increased role of social media in telling and spreading stories like those from Ferguson highlight her generation’s reluctance to use social media as a truly reliable informing medium. She encouraged the audience to use social media for more substantive discussions using credible sources.“In the age of social media, we don’t research why, and context is not something we value,” she said. “Headlines are often the only way we read a newspaper. Social media is not meant to be comprehensive, it’s meant to be social.“Our society is increasingly underinformed. The picture we get from the news media is uninformed. Declaring our personal stance in social media seems significant, [but] you should be moved to look at more than just a Buzzfeed article. Change the narrative, find context. Publish articles in your status.”Davis addressed the subject of militarization, particularly armed police militarization and the perceptions of police in African-American communities.“One of the things that folks have been protesting about in Ferguson is what they have called the militarization of the police force, the use of armored cars,” Davis said. “The police have acted like the military.”“My hope is that what is happening in Ferguson will once again start a conversation about the relationship between law enforcement and civilians,” she said. “At least in black communities, this is just one more unarmed black kid. The hope for us and for anybody is, can we reach a point where these things do not happen? Most of the folks in Ferguson just want to know what happened to one of their own.”Ho said the American public should question why it grows indifferent to these types of tragedies and how the stories are portrayed in the media.“Part of the way some media outlets are discussing this story is that ‘tragedies like this occur all the time,’ and Brown’s death shouldn’t be made a big deal,” she said. “This reaction downplays the real emotions and histories felt by various populations and communities and the real lived experiences that some of us cannot and will not ever be able to fully comprehend.”Beyond media treatment of the story, Ho said Americans should realize the role of government officials in the incident and inform themselves about the deep-seeded issues behind the incident.“We should, as citizens in a democracy, have a right to hold our elected officials accountable and have a say in how we are protected, and by whom,” Ho said. “… It’s easy for outsiders, professional reporters, politicians and others to say things should be fine in a place like Ferguson. But, those who have talked to the residents of Ferguson find a different story, a story about a community whose lived experience is very different.“The fact that this story has resonated for so many around the country illustrates that these feelings and experiences resonate beyond Ferguson. This shared sense of, ‘here we go again,’ is something people should be using to come together to discuss larger contexts of race, representation, media narratives and social justice.” Tags: Ferguson, panel, saint mary’s, SMClast_img read more

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17 Sep

USC frontcourt remains full of questions, potential

first_imgFollow us on Twitter @dailytrojan With the end of football season just around the corner, the Trojan faithful will now be turning their attention to the USC men’s basketball team.Athletic Director Pat Haden made a huge splash in April in hiring head coach Andy Enfield to replace the fired Kevin O’Neill and, hopefully, change the direction of the flailing basketball program.The move received mixed reviews, with some looking at the hire as a glorified publicity stunt for a program that has struggled to fill the Galen Center seats and others believing Enfield’s high-octane offense will translate well to the Pac-12.One thing is absolutely for certain, though — this USC basketball season will be one to watch.Senior center Omar Oraby shined at times last season, mostly coming off the bench in O’Neill’s slowed-down system, but seemed to struggle in critical moments. Still, his 7-foot-2 frame cannot be ignored in the bruising Pac-12, so fans should expect his minutes to increase, and for the Rice transfer to play a dominant role on this year’s squad.The Cairo, Egypt native averaged a respectable 6.3 points and 3.9 rebounds in just over 14 minutes per game. His real presence, however, was felt on the defensive end, where he averaged 1.5 blocks per contest.Though Oraby should enter the season as the Trojans’ starting center, questions remain about how he will fare in Enfield’s new offensive system.“I’ve been working in the offseason very hard on my conditioning and my quickness,” Oraby said. “My main focus was to get my conditioning better and to start and stay in the game as long as I can.”Oraby seems to be settled in as the team’s most dangerous low-post presence, but it is not clear who Enfield and his staff will select to join him in the frontcourt as the starter at power forward.Sophomore forward Strahinja  Gavrilovic seems to be the early favorite, as the Serbia native made some impressive strides this summer.Last season, Gavrilovic appeared in just six games, but has shown that he has a very potent inside-out game. His three-point range is especially intriguing, as it could make him a great tandem play with Oraby, who does most of his work deep in the post on the low block.“I like Coach Enfield’s system, especially because I’m prepared to run,” Gavrilovic said. “I like how he plays me in the four-spot. He wants me to spread the floor [and] to shoot threes. I have more opportunities here in this system.”In addition to Gavrilovic, a pair of freshman forwards in Roschon Prince and Nikola Jovanovic will also be given an opportunity early in the season to compete for minutes and potentially grab a starting spot.Prince comes to USC after an extremely heralded prep career that saw him earn the Gatorade High School Player of the Year award for the state of California as a senior. During his time at perennial powerhouse Long Beach Polytechnic High School, Prince established himself as an extremely aggressive player on both ends of the floor, and is expected to make an impact on the program for years to come.Whereas Prince excels at the dirty work inside the paint, Jovanovic prefers to utilize his quickness and technique to cause mismatches for opposing teams. At 6-foot-10, he will be taller than most of the power forwards who try to guard him, and he is already known as one of the better shooters on the team.“I like to score and rebound. Somehow I am always in the right place at the right time,” Jovanovic said. “I will shoot the three-point shot whenever I have a chance.”For now, Enfield might be coy about who he wants in his starting lineup, but one thing is for certain — he’s promising fun and excitement, and he wants the fans to come out and show support, regardless of who starts at forward or any other position.“I think our whole team is exciting,” Enfield said. “It’s going to be a lot of fun, so the student and fan experience should be awesome.”The Trojans’ season opener is  on Friday against Utah State in Logan, Utah. The team opens at home Nov. 12 against Cal State Northridge at the Galen Center.last_img read more

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