FOLLOWING OUR LEADERS: LEARNING FROM GAZA AND FERGUSON

by SAMANTHA BIEGEL 

“What We Can Learn From Gaza and Ferguson: A Discussion on Living the Manhattanville Mission” took place on the night of October 8 and featured Palestinian author Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish, former Police Chief of Hartford, Conn. Daryl K. Roberts, and Manhattanville Associate Professor James Jones. Both of Professor Jones’s seminar classes, “Terror and God” and “The Power of Prejudice,” attended the event and student volunteers spoke on behalf of their particular seminars.

Dr. Abuelaish spoke on the war outbreak and terror within Gaza, a small strip of land residing in Israel, and the necessity to strive for world peace via individual responsibility. After showing an emotional and dramatic news report on the bombing of his home, which killed his three daughters, Dr. Abuelaish gave a powerful speech, pleading with the audience to humanize, not politicize, for the sake of creating global harmony.

Chief Roberts, on the other hand, presented his opinion and understanding of the Ferguson shooting. Coming on strong with his perspective as a police officer, Chief Roberts shared his story of why he made the conscious decision to take on his career. He claims that trust in the police system is the most important factor, and his motto, “Building trust in the community through service, relationships, and safety,” succeeds this notion. He addressed the justice gap in the United States and how this problem obscures us from realizing that we are all human beings, and he also urged the audience to follow the golden rule: treating others the way we want to be treated.

Professor Jones also related on what we can gather from the Ferguson case, paralleling this tragedy to his son’s, Malik Jones, death by a police officer in 1997. Professor Jones discussed how “The Black Male Code,” which states that African-Americans need be careful and treat white male police offers differently, prevents equality between the police force and African-Americans. The tension amongst races flows through today, and is due to a number of factors, but Jones claimed that, in the end, the solution is in applying principles. Principles do not matter unless one uses them when stressed, and when this is practiced successfully, by habituation, one will become a moral individual.

Heather Krannich ’18 attended the event as a member of “The Power of Prejudice” seminar and commended Chief Roberts and Dr. Abuelaish for their empowering words. “I enjoyed both [speakers]. They were two vastly different people from two vastly different backgrounds essentially saying the same thing: how life is valuable and [that] regardless of any blame, peace is the utmost priority in both situations.”

 

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