WSW: Can Civic Involvement Prevent the Next Ferguson?

Oct 20, 2014

Disturbances in Ferguson, Missouri after the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown
Credit Wikimedia Commons

Commentator LZ Granderson says it's hard to hold people accountable if you're not watching what they are doing. 

Note an earlier version of the story had the wrong time for Granderson's talk. He speaks at 5:00 Wednesday at Sangren Hall. 

Granderson, a contributor to CNN and senior writer  for ESPN will speak at Sangren Hall on Wednesday night at 5:00. The Western Michigan University graduate's address is titled We are all Ferguson: How Not Being at the Table Puts You at Risk of Being on the Menu. Granderson says being "at the table" means registering to vote, being informed and engaged in your community. 

LZ Granderson
Credit The Associated Press

Granderson has written extensively on Ferguson for CNN, including the extremely low percentage of African-Americans voting, despite making up a large part of the population of the town near Saint Louis. Granderson says voting is still sacred for older African-Americans, who understand the history of voting rights. But he says for younger people, they aren't as motivated to register and get to the polls. 

A senior writer for ESPN, Granderson is often called on to comment on sports and society. That includes off the field problems involving NFL players such as Ray Rice who was suspended for hitting his girlfriend, now his wife, in the elevator at a hotel in Las Vegas. Granderson says much of the focus has been on the discipline handed out by the league. But he says it also shows that the judicial system and society in general don't take domestic violence seriously. Granderson says it's not just athletes who get favorable treatment. He has also written about U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller of Alabama, who was involved in a domestic altercation with his wife. 

In the extended version of the interview, Granderson discusses the Ebola outbreak, and Republicans blaming President Obama. He says it's fair to criticize how government agencies have handled the discovery of Ebola in the United States. But Granderson says the charge that the Obama administration wasn't paying attention is not accurate. He says the administration was working in March to try to contain the outbreak in West Africa. 

Last year, Western Michigan University's magazine profiled Granderson