Students of Color Summit: Agents of Change

Students of Color Conference-33Excitement, friendships and the drive to create change and positive influences are just a few things that the Students of Color Summit generated at CWU earlier this month.

On the first weekend of April, CWU partnered with the Washington Student Association to host over 224 students from 13 universities and schools to celebrate diversity and inclusivity through a fun and immersive environment.

Continue reading

Bringing the words of MLK into modern-day America through “Beyond Vietnam” Panel Discussion

MLK 50th Anniversary

Can these words (and others) that were spoken 50 years ago resonate with today’s events across the nation?

Join us as we explore the words of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Beyond Vietnam” speech on April 4 from noon – 1:30 p.m. in the SURC Pit in commemoration of the speech’s 50th anniversary. Interactive conversation boards, an engaging panel discussion and refreshments will be available.  Continue reading

A Conversation with Norm Stamper, Former Seattle Police Chief

_DSC0049

Image Courtesy of Norm Stamper

Who polices the police? According to Norm Stamper, former Seattle police chief, the community.

On April 5, at 7 p.m. in the SURC Ballroom, Stamper will give a talk titled “Community Policing in the Age of Police Militarization” about the importance of community involvement in policing on local, national and global levels.

Stamper was a career cop, serving on both the San Diego and Seattle police forces for a total of over 30 years that stepped down from the position of Seattle Police Chief in 2000 following his hotly contested use of aggressive policing tactics, including tear gas, on protesters at the WTO riots in 1998.

Since his retirement, Stamper has advocated for revision in policing, including an end to The War on Drugs and a denouncement of increasing police militarization.

CWU HYPE Staff exchanged emails with Stamper to get some insight into his coming talk, what it will touch on, why it’s important to him, and why it may be important to you, too.

What will your talk, “Community Policing in the Age of Police Militarization” touch on?

The current state of community policing in America, the drug war and the damage it’s done to individuals, families, communities, as well as the costs to community-police relations and civil liberties. The spate of controversial police shootings and in-custody deaths at the hands of police. What we can do to strengthen constitutional policing at the community level.

Why are those topics important to you personally? 

I’ve spent my entire adult life as a cop or, as a consultant-trainer-expert witness, studying and commenting upon police policies and practices. I’ve witnessed the demoralizing effects of police misconduct on good cops, and seen damage done to the reputation of entire organizations caused by poorly trained or undisciplined individuals. It’s also heartening when I see community and police come together to police a city’s neighborhoods, and build a strong, mutually trusting relationship.

Why do you feel those topics are, or should be, important to the students and faculty at CWU?

I think it’s important to all Americans who value freedom, civil liberties, and safe communities to band together, with their police, to make that all happen. By definition, students, including those at CWU, are all about intellectual curiosity, and the search for answers to problems within their chose discipline. For those who’ve been disturbed by controversial shootings, and/or policing’s overly aggressive, militarized response to political protest–or who have been bothered by the tactics of the protestors themselves–the topic couldn’t be more relevant. 

Do you feel your experience in law enforcement has uniquely shaped your view on the issues of racial tension and mass incarceration from that of other, non-police, citizens? In what way? 

Yes. Like other cops, I’ve seen, up-close and personal, the harmful effects of race discrimination and mass incarceration on individuals and families, particularly in communities of color. 

29EDAC0800000578-3137638-image-a-1_1435169755741

Stamper, not long before his resignation as Seattle Police Chief

Does your message differ if it is directed at college-aged people as opposed to older generations? How so?

Not really, not at all, actually. I may vary the way I approach these topics based on age or other demographic factors. But the message remains the same.

What does your message mean for small towns like Ellensburg? Or even more microcosmically, for college campuses like CWU?

I think smaller towns, and college campuses generally have an advantage in identifying, analyzing, and developing remedies for social problems in their “own backyard.” It’s a function of scale, really, and diversity (or lack thereof, a problem in itself). Generally, the smaller the political jurisdiction, the less complex its social, economic, demographic variables, the more likely it is — in theory — to reach consensus. Again, if guided by the “wrong” values (nativistic, racist, misogynist, homophobic, exclusionary, etc.), any community, large or small, is likely to reach agreements that, in my opinion, are unhealthy if not dangerous…and quite possibly unlawful. Fortunately, from my visits to your town, your university, that does not describe Ellensburg or CWU, though there are challenges in every community

What do you hope attendees walk away knowing or feeling after your speech? 

That the police belong to the people, not the other way around. That a strong, authentic partnership between the community and the police will create safer, healthier neighborhoods, improve officer safety and morale, and help to guarantee constitutional law enforcement.

Stamper’s talk will be immediately followed by a Q & A with students. The event is free, open to the public and is sponsored by the College of Arts and Humanities.

Dr. Corey Hebert – A Passion for Healing, A Knack for Inspiring

hebert

Dr. Corey Hebert

“When you have someone that has an open mind, which is the college student, that’s the best group to get to make change in the world.”

Renowned pediatrician, speaker and television health correspondent, Dr. Corey Hebert, will speak at CWU on March 9 in the Student Union Ballroom at 7 p.m. The talk is free and open to the public.

Dr. Hebert, whose primary medical care practices in New Orleans were some of the few to stay open and provide care following Hurricane Katrina, has been on “Oprah,” “The Doctors,” and a number of other news and health programs. He is the Chief Executive Officer of Community Health TV.

Herbert currently holds faculty positions at Louisiana State, Tulane, Xavier and Dillard universities and is the medical director for the State of Louisiana Recovery School District. He feels that it is his responsibility to educate, guide and inspire young people.

“You’ve got these kids out there throwing rocks at people for the Black Lives Matter movement,” Hebert said. “Not that I don’t want them to be showing their civil unrest…my talk is about how we can bridge the gap so young people that are learning about this activism also have a good knowledge base on who they are, why they should demand for things to be equitable, and what their role is in making it so.”

His talk, titled “KNOW THYSELF? Keys to the Pursuit of Excellence in the African American Community in the Age of New Black Activism,” will touch on the importance of black involvement in the medical community.

Hebert feels that his long and illustrious career as a medical practitioner has given him a unique, but vital, outlook on the current racial tensions and struggles against injustice in America, particularly among young, college aged people struggling to make a change.
“I see people at their worst,” Dr. Hebert said. “They tend to be very honest. You can’t lie to your plumber, your accountant, the police, your lawyer or your doctor. I get to find out how they [young people trying to make a change] are really feeling. It gives me more insight into the psyche of people that are wanting to do a lot of things, but they either don’t know how, or are too scared or defeated.”

Hebert’s appearance at the university is a continuation of CWU’s Social Justice and Human Rights Series. This year’s inaugural theme, Mass Incarceration and Racial Justice: Black and Brown Lives Do Matter, aims to educate Central’s community and initiate discussions about race. He will be meeting with students before his talk to discuss the importance of student academic achievement, activism and involvement on and off the campus.

“It’s a really great place for an open-minded discussion and I think that is what our country needs,” Dr. Hebert said about coming to the university to speak. “When you have someone that has an open mind, which is the college student, that’s the best group to get to make change in the world.”

That’s us, CWU!

(If it helps, he was named the best dressed man in Louisiana.)

When clocks are scarier than glocks

If you’ve been following the news today, then you’ve no doubt seen a story about a 14-year-old student at MacArthur High School in Irving, Texas named Ahmed Mohamed who was arrested for bringing a home-made clock to school. Teachers misidentified the clock for a bomb and promptly called the police who arrested and detained Ahmed. You can read about it all here and here.

The police interrogated Ahmed for hours alone, without his parents present. The school also suspended him for three days. At a press conference, an Irving police officer said Ahmed was arrested for bringing a “hoax bomb” to school. A bomb squad wasn’t called, nor was the school evacuated. Odd right?

If you search #IStandWithAhmed on Twitter, you’ll find a plethora of tweets in support of Ahmed’s fight against the Irving Independent School District and the Irving Police Department. Many tweets juxtapose a photo of Ahmed in handcuffs with those of white children holding guns. In this case, one child was arrested for building a “suspicious” clock, while other children hold actual weapons are not bothered by the law.

As it stands now, Ahmed was not charged legally with any wrongdoing. But his school suspension was still upheld, and even after a letter was sent out to community members from the school, they have not apologized publicly for the debacle. If you read the letter, you’ll notice it makes no mention of any mistakes or wrongdoing by either the school or the police department. It’s important to note that knee-jerk reactions the teachers of Irving had are not the correct course of action when dealing with instances like this.

It’s important for us as students at CWU to recognize issues like this and learn from them. Not everyone pays attention to the news (and for sometimes good reason). If we ever want to change, however, we need to be enlightened and tuned into the world around us. Ahmed’s story is something we can all learn from. It’s hard not to inject opinion into this matter and while we don’t know the whole story (yet), we do know that no child should be suspended for a harmless science project.

If you notice instances of institutional or personal racism or discrimination, don’t be afraid to speak up. And as if this story wasn’t already big enough, our own POTUS had something to say about it.