Angela Waseskuk was only in kindergarten, and the third grade boy had backed her up against a wall and was yelling in her face.
Waseskuk was a shy child, trying to blend in as a South Korean brought to Iowa by her foster parents, who adopted her when she was 2. But she was out in the open and in tears as the boy hurled racial epithets.
“What’s wrong with your face? Can you even see out of those eyes? Why don’t you go back where you came from?”
A gift from Robert and Annette Morden, both two-time graduates of UNI, supports campus initiatives that promote cultural acceptance, collaboration, awareness and education. Two new projects – a student-driven film from the theater department and an art project about Indigenous land rights – are underway with help from the fund.
When the Milwaukee Bucks refused to take the court for Game 5 of the NBA playoffs in protest of the police shooting of Jacob Blake, it sparked a wave of similar wildcat strikes across the NBA and MLB as athletes called for an end to police brutality.
The first time Joyce Levingston watched the video of George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police, the mother of four said her heart “shattered.”
Seeing Floyd on the ground, crying out for his mother brought back all the battles she’s fought for her own children - how, as a single, Black mother, she’s sometimes felt overwhelmed fighting her own battles against racism in America.
The death of George Floyd reawakened demands for police reform across the country. From calls to defund police departments, to reexamining use-of-force policies, policing practices are once again falling under scrutiny. Here, University of Northern Iowa criminology professor Gayle Rhineberger-Dunn discusses these topics and the role UNI plays in preparing future criminal justice professionals.
What is your work at UNI focused on?
Anger over the death of George Floyd has led to a reappraisal of the history of racism and oppression in America. In recent weeks, demonstrators have toppled Confederate statues, Congressional leaders have proposed renaming military bases and NASCAR has banned Confederate flags from being displayed at events. We asked UNI associate history professor Thomas Connors, an expert on historical memory and monuments, to weigh in on the discussion.
Despite crime rates that have fallen for decades, the United States still imprisons far more of its population than any other country in the world. COVID-19 has forced Americans to take a closer look at our society — including the millions behind bars in jails and prisons where infections are hard to contain. While some county jails have released thousands of detainees to slow coronavirus’ spread, prisons have been reluctant to follow.