February 13, 2015

BY TERI CAMPBELL
Logan Media Services

CARTERVILLE - With race relations and claims of excessive use of force by the police making recent headlines, John A. Logan College will present a panel discussion, Beyond Ferguson: Perspectives, on Tuesday, March 3, at 11 a.m. in the Tarvin and Crisp Conference Rooms at the college.  The event is free and open to the public.

Dr. David Cochran, professor of history and a member of the diversity advisory committee at Logan, is moderating the discussion.

“After the shooting of Michael Brown and the conflict in Ferguson, Mo., last summer, the members of the diversity advisory committee thought the issues of police and community relations, especially police and minority community relations were something we should focus on,” Cochran said.  “We wanted to bring a wide range of people together to talk about how these issues are impacting southern Illinois.

“We’ve invited police officers and community members, in particular young people of color because there is often a perception on part of both the police and these minority populations that creates a certain antagonism between them and a great deal of suspicion.  We thought this forum would provide an opportunity for people with a variety of perspectives to come together and be heard.”

The panelists include Sgt. Angelo Hightower of the Marion Police Department, Catherine Field with the Racial Justice Coalition of Carbondale, Carmen Allen Adeoye, a precinct committee woman in Marion with a background in law enforcement and one of the founders of the Southern Illinois Chapter of National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice, and JALC students, Mark Walker and Stefan Santiago.

“We believe this panel will encourage thoughtful discussion about the causes of tension and hostility between police and communities of color,” said Toyin Fox, director of diversity & inclusion at Logan, whose office is sponsoring the event.  “We hope a frank and honest dialogue will be the start of a reconciliation and improved relationships between both parties.”

Cochran is hoping for a good turnout.

“I would urge students, staff, and members of the community to come,” Cochran said.  “This is a topic that a lot of people feel passionately about.  The panelists will share their knowledge and expertise on the issue, and the audience will be able to ask questions, share opinions, and hopefully learn something.”

For more information about Beyond Ferguson: Perspectives, contact Fox at 618-985-2828, Ext. 8586.