#StayWoke: A Ferguson-centered Follow Friday

by Niki Messmore

This #FF post is being written on Sunday, August 18th. My timeline is full of #staywoke, #HandsUpDontShoot, and #Ferguson. There are photos of men, women, and children who have been tear gassed. Reports of peaceful protests hijacked by police wearing military gear. Residents and journalists being threatened by riot police to “Get back! Or next time you’re going to be the one maced” or “Get out of here or I will shoot you.”

This is all the result of a police officer shooting an unarmed black teenager.  And really, it’s all about systemic racism.

What can I do? I feel helpless and angry as I read the young man’s autopsy report and scroll through tweets. There are some things I can do (especially as a white woman). One of them is to educate (myself and others).

The following is a list of folks who have been reporting & tweeting on the events in Ferguson (mostly thanks to Black Twitter). I know there’s a chance that by Friday that issues in Ferguson may have calmed down, but I guarantee we are still going to need to keep talking about this. As professionals in higher education we MUST acknowledge that systemic racism is a thing and that our society does not value the lives of people of color.

  • @Awkward_Duck: Black feminist activist, she has been organizing in the Ferguson community, including stopping looters
  • Mikki Kendall: Writer for hoodfeminism.com, her commentary is on it at all times, and she RTs all the key Ferguson things
  • zellie: Activist in the black community, he runs Black-Culture.com and flew to Ferguson to participate in the protests.
  • Antonio French: Alderman for St. Louis’ 21st ward, this man has been on the ground since Day 1
  • Maria Chappelle-Nadal: MO State Senator representing parts of Ferguson, she was tear gassed during a peaceful protest
  • Robert Cohen: Photojournalist for the St. Louis Dispatch, and photos like this and this make me question America
  • Jesse Williams: More than just an actor on Grey’s Anatomy, his tweets will get you reflecting on race in America
  • Christopher Hayes: MSNBC host who has been reporting a lot on site, including police run-ins
  • Wesley Lowery: Washington Post reporter who was arrested w/o cause by Ferguson police alongside Ryan O’Reilly and has been reporting on site
  • Imani: Senior Legal Analyst for @RHRealityCheck, her commentary and RTs are a must


Also, I put together a Twitter list of folks who are on the ground in Ferguson – both journalists and verified community leaders and activists. Get your info from the source.

At this point, there are probably new voices out there reporting on Ferguson. Who have you been following? Leave your suggestions in the comments or tweet them out to @NikiMessmore so I can follow them also.

And remember…we sometimes forget ourselves, locked in the Ivory Tower of Academia and focusing on our campuses. We need to continue our education, create discussions, and take action. But mostly? We need to wake up.


#StayWoke: A Ferguson-centered Follow Friday

Taking the #SACommits Conversation Offline

by Kristen Abell

Hopefully by now you’ve noticed a new hashtag in the Twitterverse – if you’re in the Twitterverse, that is – #SACommits. Or perhaps you’ve read a blog post or two in the “Committed” series on the Student Affairs Collective blog. Or maybe you’ve even seen the Pinterest board with lots of info and quotes all talking about mental health and mental illness. In fact, if you’re in the student affairs world online, I like to think it’s been a little hard for you to miss at least one of these. “Committed” is the baby of Sue Caulfield and myself – a month-long collection of posts and #Suedles (doodles by Sue) to highlight Mental Health Month in student affairs. By doing this series, we hoped to bring more than a one-shot spotlight to the issues of mental illness and mental health among not just our students but also our colleagues in student affairs.

This series has been a great example of using social media to reach out to our colleagues and rally our community around an important topic. It is the combination of the multiple forums where information is being shared with the continuous fresh content during the month that will most likely make this venture successful – online, that is.

Here is where things get tricky, though. Many of us have experienced the echo-chamber effect of Twitter. Everything sounds so loud on there, as if everyone in student affairs agrees with what we’re saying or knows who we are. In reality, there is still a relatively small percentage of student affairs folks on Twitter at all, nevertheless reading blogs or pinning. How many of us have had what seems to be a fairly self-explanatory conversation online only to go offline and discover that our colleagues are on a totally different page?

This is where it becomes so very important for us to take this conversation offline, into our offices and hallways, onto our campuses. We must engage our colleagues and our senior administrators especially in talking about mental illness and mental health in student affairs. It has to be an ongoing conversation and one we revisit often. All these things must happen in order to truly effect change in our profession – both for us and our students.

So I’ll hope you’ll join us this month talking about mental illness and mental health online with #SACommits and “Committed.” And then I hope you’ll take what you learn offline and make things happen on your campus.

Taking the #SACommits Conversation Offline