In Wake of Eric Garner Trial: Racism’s Prevalence on Hofstra Campus

On December 3rd, at 11:15 am, Hofstra University students in the student center performed a “die in” in the student center as protest to the grand jury decision on the same day to not indict officer, Daniel Pantaleo, 29, for the murder of Eric Garner.  Students of universities around the country have been protesting on campus and off through die-ins, marches, moments of silence, and walk outs while chanting and holding signs saying, “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot”, “I Can’t Breathe”, and “BlackLivesMatter.”

Later at night at 10:30 pm, however, a student organized protest at Hofstra had an extremely minuscule turnout of 4 people, says Sydney Colbert, a Hofstra student who attended that night.  The protest was substantially low in attendance compared to the previous protest for the non-indictment of Darren Wilson in the death of Mike Brown, at approximately 12 am on November 25th, at which over 200 students gathered in front Sondra and David Mack Student Center and marched from there to Dutch Treats and Hofstra USA.  Despite the protest being scheduled close to finals week, the lack of a substantial turnout poses the question whether or not campus protests are effective while some students are voicing their opinions on racism in today’s culture.

Hofstra University senior, Aja Neal, who was one of several students to protest the Garner ruling through chalk outline drawings of Garner with the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter, on the academic side of the university’s campus.  She was present at the first campus protest on November 25th and one in New York City on December 13th (Hofstra provided buss transportation for students to NYC and Washington DC).

When asked about her opinion on the presence of racism on campus, Neal said, “I think that it is definitely an issue that needs to be brought to light. Many people relegate racism to the south and refuse to believe that they could actually be guilty of something so serious. People think outright hate is the only form of racism, but here it’s usually more subtle.  It’s simple things like talking about an issue that concerns black people in class and being treated like the head ambassador for all black people, having to tell my white friends they can’t call me the n-word no matter how close we are (that one’s not so subtle), discussing an issue in class that deals with race and just being confronted with apathy or having people not understand the problem. For example I was in a journalism class last semester during the Donald Sterling incident and people were more mad that his privacy was breached rather than being upset about what he said.”

The majority of students interviewed agreed that racism is still present in the campus community today, but on a subtle level while a minority of students, mostly white, said they do not think that racism is an issue on campus.”

Hofstra Protest Infrographic


Leah Bush: Adapting to Change on the Media Playing Field

“Social media is the future of journalism,” Leah Bush said to a class of Journalists and PR students at Hofstra University on Thursday, Nov. 13th.  Bush shared her unique career path from Journalist to PR practitioner to marketing consultant.

Bush, interestingly, did not study journalism prior to her first job as a freelancer for the Oyster Bay Guardian.  She graduated from college with a degree in philosophy.  Bush maintained a blog on WordPress while working for several non-profit organizations.  Her desire to travel the world led her to work for the Guardian, where she was thrown onto the field without prior experience.

The income however, was neither sufficient nor consistent for Bush’s freelance work at the Oyster Bay Guardian, so she went to Patch as a freelance journalist.  Bush stepped in to manage the Patch regional website.  This entailed maintaining social media, postings, schedules, logs, locations etc. on her own.  “Its not just writing; we are competing in the most over-saturated environment for attention,” said Bush on the importance of multiple forms of information, “the future is collaborative.”  Her success landed her as editor at the Northport branch of Patch.

Bush emphasized the need to become a one-man band to journalists who want to build their own image.  to “provide content where people have short attention spans,” Bush says journalists and PR persons need to create media packages to grab the attention of viewers.  She refers to these package methods as content marketing, “creating valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract a clearly defined audience.”  Learning how to manage these aspects teaches the business aspect of media.

Bush mentioned that 71% of the U.S. population has a Facebook account and the most successful marketing, journalism, and PR practitioners utilize social media to aggregate and a distribute information.

In her closing statement, Bush holds that from experience she thinks that, “the best PR people are former journalists.”  In addition to having excellent connections to other journalists, to market information to journalists, a “PR person must think like a journalist.”

Leah Bush is actively a marketing consultant and freelance writer and no longer works for Patch, which significantly downsized almost a year ago due to financial reasons.

Mia Love: The Poster Child for Diversity in the GOP

Salt Lake City, Utah– On Tuesday, November 6th, 2014, Mia Love became the first Haitian-American, Black Republican to hold a seat in Congress. Because so, she has faced a fair amount of slander.

The notion that Republicans are racist, sexist, and anti-immigration, is no longer a feasible statement as Love, 38, is now countering that stereotype of the old white man with what many say is a contradiction.  Her presence adds to the revitalization of immigrant and African American on the Republican vote.  a political science professor at Utah State University, Damon Cann,told the Washington Post: “Since the election of Barack Obama, the Republicans have been more serious about trying to showcase the diversity within the Republican Party. And Mia Love is potentially the poster child for diversity in the party.”

Her success is an unusual underdog story of Black success in a white dominated field.  Her parents were Haitian immigrants who fled to Brooklyn in 1979 to escape the dictatorship of Francois Duvalier.  In the 2012 National Republican Convention, Love said:  “My parents immigrated to the U.S. with ten dollars in their pocket, believing that the America they had heard about really did exist.”  To further her diversity, she is a minority in her Mormon community in Utah, also being a Mormon herself.  She belongs to the 3% of Blacks in the  Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that populate around 60% of Utah.  There is little doubt that she will stand up for immigration reform.

Though she may be a new face in the GOP, the victor of the state’s 4th house district touts the same conservative views as other republicans such as being pro-gun, and pro-life.  Love’s campaign focused on wanting to lower business taxes, reduce foreign oil, and pushing for repealing Obamacare.

Love, wife and mother of three, much like Obama, is the underdog incumbent that the GOP and Utah needs to forward racial and gender equality in the house.

Adina Genn: Information that Matters

Hofstra University, Hempstead, N.Y.–  Huntington Patch journalist, Adina Genn spoke in Professor Molinet’s Journalism class on Tuesday, October 28th about her life’s career endeavors.

The guest speaker discussed in class her lifelong dream to write which led to a career in journalism.  Her first job after graduating college was as an academic book publisher, but Genn wanted to write her own ideas and stories. Genn was able to get a job as a stringer (freelance writer) journalist for the Anton local paper on Long Island, N.Y. There she formed valuable relationships with local PR representatives, politicians, and developers that she covered stories about.  Genn went on to become the mass communications head of The Long Island Business News for 7 years before moving on to work as a journalist for Huntington Patch.  Patch is an online publicized news site owned by AOL that covers communities through hyper local journalism.  Patch covers 3 main communities, Huntington, Port Washington, and North Port.

“We are hitting people with information they need to know about their streets,” Genn said.  She covers a diverse array of stories from politics to major disaster and everything in between including criminal activity and accidents.  Genn described the turn from the mundane business articles to the gritty and sometimes violent news stories as “surreal, you cover something very horrible but you see your friends there in a social environment.”

In 2012, when Hurricane Sandy hit the east coast, Genn stood by her journalistic duty and covered the storm and aftermath in these communities by detailing what streets were most affected.  Although most of the people in the community did not have internet access to view these stories, their families did.  She said their thankfulness “really hit home” and made her feel like an integrated part of the community.

Genn gave the class an intuitive life lesson in journalism before making her amen notes: “The story is all there in front of you.”

Aside from her journalistic career, Genn has wrote and coauthored 3 books. She lives in Port Washington and has a husband and two children.

Ebola: A Concern to Hofstra Students?

Hofstra University, New York– The Ebola virus originating from West Africa, has become a severe epidemic with a mortality rate of 71%.  As of October 22nd 2014, the World Health Organization reported 9,911 cases and 4,868 deaths. Three cases of infection and one death occurring in the United States. Is the presence of Ebola in the U.S. a concern to Hofstra University students?

Ab-Soul Concert was “Ab-solutely Awesome”

New York City, N.Y. – On October 6th, 2014 the innovative hip-hop artist from Los Angeles, California, Ab- Soul, performed his hit summer 2014 album, “These Days…” at Irving Plaza. 

 These Days… has been highly praised, reaching #2 on the US list of top R&B/Hip Hop albums.  “The performance was excellent. I was especially taken back by the rendition of “Illuminate”,” says, Gibson Laroche, a Hofstra University sophomore student who attended the show at Irving.

Another Hofstra student,Jeremy Sporn, had seen the Top Dog Entertainment signed artist in a concert prior to this show.  He gave his input on the the night’s experience, “Considering I am a fan of the artist and those he works with. It was an excellent performance and I enjoyed seeing my favorite songs played in concert, especially in such a cool space with a lot of character. It was Ab-Solutely awesome!” The same student gave his opinion on the Irving Plaza venue, “I like that is in close proximity to Hofstra because it is in New York City, and I look forward to going again soon.”

Irving Plaza is located on 17 Irving Place and East 15th street in the Union Square area of New York City.  The space is a three leveled auditorium that fits 1,025 persons.