Activists in Residence: Juniata Hosts Ferguson Frontline Protesters
(Posted October 21, 2015)
HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Juniata College will host three political activists from the front lines of the Ferguson, Mo., protests, which rose up after local police shot and killed an African-American teenager last year, as a part of the college's Activists in Residence series.
Calvin Kennedy, Ebony Williams and Jihad Khayyam, all associated with the protest group Ferguson Frontline, will be in residence at the college from Monday, Oct. 26 through Friday, Nov. 6.
At 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 4 in Neff Lecture Hall in the von Liebig Center for Science, the three activists will host a discussion titled "This Ain't Your Parents Civil Rights Movement." The presentation and the lively question-and-answer session to follow are free and open to the public.
"This is a good campus to be on. People listen. People want to have the conversation. Police violence doesn't happen in a vacuum. It happens because America allows it to happen. If white Americans said en masse that they don't tolerate this for any group of citizens, things would change."
David Ragland, visiting assistant professor of peace and conflict studies
Attendees will be able to be a part of a conversation that is unfiltered by the lens of the media, according to David Ragland, visiting assistant professor of peace and conflict studies.
Kennedy and Williams are members of the Ferguson Frontline, an organization dedicated to spreading knowledge about police violence and promoting social justice. Khayyam, a financial literacy educator in the Greater St. Louis Area, also is a member of Ferguson Frontline
During the week the activists will take part in Juniata classes and hold discussions for students taking Peace and Conflict Studies courses.
Polly Walker, professor and director of Juniata's Baker Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies, says that the series of residencies will serve as a "nexus of research and practice, enhancing practitioners' ability to engage with theory while improving research and theory through a more rigorous engagement with practice."
The three activists , who have maintained a steady schedule of activism since the August 9, 2014 shooting of Michael Brown by a Freguson, Mo. Police officer, Darren Wilson, agreed to take several weeks off to come to Juniata College.
Activism is a demanding calling, and even the staunchest champions for social change require occasional respite. "There aren't sabbaticals for people in this line of work," says Ragland. "This is a beautiful, relaxing place, so it makes sense for activists to come here and have a chance to reflect and have conversations with students."
Ragland proposed the Activists in Residence series, which has been embraced by the Baker Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies and will host several more residencies, including one tentatively scheduled for spring semester. Ragland also hopes to take a group of students to Ferguson, Mo., in the near future to experience where the protests and original incident took place.
"This is a good campus to be on. People listen. People want to have the conversation," says Ragland. "Police violence doesn't happen in a vacuum. It happens because America allows it to happen. If white Americans said en masse that they don't tolerate this for any group of citizens, things would change."
By: Tyler Ayres
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