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Panel to discuss issues surfaced by recent events in Ferguson

Thursday, October 09, 2014

LAWRENCE – When a young man was shot and killed by police in Ferguson, Missouri, this summer, his death set off several weeks of vigils, protests, vandalism and looting. The event also attracted national and international media attention, spurring public dialogue on issues of race and inequality, the criminal justice system and definitions of peaceful protest.  

Experts in a variety of fields will participate in a panel discussion on the broad historical, social, economic and political implications of recent events in Ferguson during “Facing Ferguson: Historical, Legal and Political Contexts.” The event, which will be 5:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 27, at the Lawrence Public Library, is free and open to the public.

Panelists will include Clarence Lang, KU associate professor of African & African-American studies and American studies; Brendan Roediger, St. Louis University assistant professor of law; and Jamala Rogers, St. Louis American columnist and editorial board member of TheBlackCommentator.com and The Black Scholar.

“The events in Ferguson have sparked discussion on a variety of complicated and important issues,” said Jessica Beeson, director of alumni relations for the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences and panel coordinator. “We are thrilled to host such prestigious panelists who will be able to help interpret issues, lend a new point of view and lead what’s sure to be an engaging discussion.”

Lang is a scholar, researcher and professor who has extensive experience in examining the history of African-American communities and social movements in St. Louis and its suburbs. Roediger is also a professor and is involved in many issues of legal advocacy, including the issue of court fines and collections that has been an element of discussion in current events surrounding Ferguson. Rogers is a journalist and a veteran activist who has been engaged in matters of public advocacy and social justice.

“I would argue that St. Louis is a laboratory that can tell us a lot about national trends,” Lang said. “And I think that Ferguson, in a similar manner, can tell us a lot about issues of space, of race, of inequality, of politics today.”

The panel is hosted by the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, which encourages learning without boundaries in its more than 50 departments, programs and centers. Through innovative research and teaching, the College emphasizes interdisciplinary education, global awareness and experiential learning. The College is KU's broadest, most diverse academic unit.