Monday, October 3, 2011

A call for INDEPENDENT journalists.

It has been a VERY busy couple of weeks with classes all going well and so much going around campus that it doesn't seem possible that we have already completed five weeks of classes. Yesterday afternoon there was a program presented by the campus Peace and Justice Club which, in honor of Gandhi's birthday they presented their Annual Peace Pledge Ceremony. Ten of us from across campus who had been nominated were then selected by the Club to read the Peace Pledge prior to a keynote speech by Amy Goodman. I was honored to be one of those chosen by the students to read one section of the pledge!.

Amy Goodman is the producer and host of "Democracy Now" and she spoke eloquently about having just returned from the funeral of Troy Davis - she spoke of his case in Georgia, how our Supreme Court had refused him a stay of execution (despite 7 of the 8 witnesses recanting their own testimony, calls from the Pope and from former President Jimmy Carter, pleas from several law enforcement officials across the country and countless other pleas for a stay) and of her coverage, as an INDEPENDENT JOURNALIST of his last hours AND of his funeral. She held the entire audience (it was a full house with a good mix of our students and many folks from the Burlington community) with her quiet but determined explanation of WHY this country desperately needs INDEPENDENT JOURNALISTS. She spoke of her (and her colleagues') beating and arrest in Minneapolis during the Republican Convention and told us that today there will be a press conference from Wall Street talking about the settlement of that lawsuit. She spoke of how she covered the conflict in Timor and how she and her cameraman were attacked and almost killed UNTIL they showed their American passports (the guns the soldiers were holding on her were paid for by the USA) - it was one of the most powerful and riveting talks I have seen in many, many years and we should all be grateful to her for her courage, her passion to keep making a difference and for her message about the importance of INDEPENDENT JOURNALISTS. I also want to thank Prof. Laurie Gagne and the students from the Peace and Justice Club for bringing her here.

A student is waiting to see me so I have to close, but, as always, please keep the members of our military in your thoughts and prayers.
Take care

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