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Local news reporters continue to shine a light on the Garcia Center for the Arts in San Bernardino, which is hosting the “Art of Dreaming” exhibit through June 3.
Juan Delgado, professor of English, and Liliana Gallegos, assistant professor of communication studies, are helping in the effort with CSUSB students. The exhibit is a fundraiser for DREAMer students at the university, through a silent auction of photographs, paintings, drawings, and mixed media pieces.
“It’s a difficult time right now,” said Delgado in an interview with the Inland Empire Community Newspaper group. “The more support we could show for these students the better.”
Gallegos helped her communications students develop a media conglomerate — named the Coyote Pack — to help organize the event. The students wrote press releases, developed video and wrote news stories to spread awareness of the exhibit.
The money raised will be disbursed into an emergency scholarship fund for the university’s undocumented students that are in dire need of financial assistance, explained Coyote Pack spokesman Francisco Rodriguez.
The article, published May 25, 2017, and may be read at “CSUSB students empowering dreamers through art and journalism.”
Delgado also was interviewed by The Sun’s Michel Nolan in her coverage of the exhibit and other events at the Garcia Center for the Arts, named for CSUSB College of Education Dean Emeritus Ernie Garcia and his wife Dotti, longtime supporters of the art community. Delgado said the community is nearing a “dam-burst of creativity, with so many outlets of expression through art.”
In addition to the “Art of Dreaming” exhibit, the article mentioned that the center has been the gathering place for local organizations, including Cal State San Bernardino’s Art Department, under the direction of Matthew Poole.
The article was published May 25, 2017, and may be read at “What’s going on at Garcia Center for the Arts in San Bernardino this weekend.”
The Sinclair Broadcast Group interviewed Levin for its story on President Donald Trump’s administration’s counter-terrorism policy that focuses mostly on groups such as ISIS and Al Qaeda. Levin said fears that the Trump administration’s focus on radical Islam will take attention and resources away from fighting the political violence of the hard right and far left.
“We really have a diverse threat matrix … and I think the counter-terrorism policy has to take that into account,” he said. “It’s almost like whack-a-mole.”
And the Trump administration’s executive order on temporarily banning Muslims from entering the U.S. from certain countries threatens to undermine President Trump’s effort to unite and win the trust of Muslim allies, both within the U.S. and abroad. “The travel ban is like doing surgery with a chainsaw,” Levin said. “It emanates not from a deep knowledge, but rather a modeled perspective that, at the worst, appears to view Muslims as a whole as an undifferentiated pool of potential terrorists.”
A terrorist attack often leads to a reevaluation of current policies, but Levin said the key is to consider whether an approach is efficient and effective, not just ostensibly tough or restrictive.
“An intemperate and non-nuanced response has the risk of escalating the extremism that we’re trying to eradicate,” he said. “We can’t just appeal to lowest denominator politics. We have to have a really thoughtful and substantive, lengthy approach to this issue.”
According to Levin, that might ultimately include a serious overhaul of immigration policy, but it does not validate the travel ban order.
The article, published May 25, 2017, may be read at “White House terrorism expert says we must defeat ISIS like we defeated the Nazi.”
KPCC, the Southern California public broadcasting radio station, had Levin on its “Take Two” program on May 23, 2017, to discuss public safety at venues such as concerts and places where large numbers of people congregate. The interview came in the wake of the May 22 suicide bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England.
In one excerpt, on whether people should be worried when they hear of an incident like the one in Manchester, Levin said: “They shouldn’t be worried, but they should be situationally aware. Look, we have over 30,000 deaths on the freeways and roads of the United States, and we’re not paranoid about it. We put on our seat belts, we don’t follow too closely, we take different measures when it’s raining. I think we have to approach this in a similar manner and not just say, ‘Oh, it’s a terrorist attack’ … there could be a variety of things that can happen at a large venue. There could be a fire, there could be a blackout – so the bottom line is to be situationally aware.
“And, I think this is really important and we’ve heard it before: If you see something, say something,” he said. “In 30 to 40 percent of cases involving terrorism, there’s leakage. Somebody says something, or they have a behavioral clue that is broadcast. I think if someone sees something suspicious – and I’m not talking about someone’s race, ethnicity, or faith, I’m talking about if they’re wearing a coat on a hot day or if it looks like they’re secreting something on their person – call authorities.”
The podcast of the interview, along with selected excerpts, can be found at “Manchester bombing: How SoCal venues, audiences can stay safe.”
And Christopher Mathias of The Huffington Post interviewed Levin for an article on traits neo-Nazis seem to share with ISIS. Mathias began with the case of a neo-Nazi, accused of murder in Florida, who has pledged his allegiance as an ISIS-inspired jihadist. Levin and other experts say such an ideological switch is not unheard of.
Levin pointed to the story of Ahmed Huber, a Swiss neo-Nazi who converted to Islam and was later accused by the U.S. government of funneling money to al Qaeda. Levin told Mathias that Huber, who died in 2008, embodied many of the shared ideologies of neo-Nazis and Salafist jihadis. Namely, he was anti-American, anti-Semitic, and against the meddling of Western powers in other countries.
However according to Levin, the most unifying characteristic between neo-Nazis and Salafist jihadis might be psychological. “The bottom line is this: Extremism does not attract the most stable of people,” he said. “Much of the appeal of extremist ideology is not only based on doctrine but on the kind of empowerment it yields to the follower.”
The article, published May 26, 2017, may be read at “The enemy of my enemy is my friend: What neo-Nazis like about ISIS.”