Peralta Community College District's Only Student-Run Publication
Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Breaking: PCCD appoints former San Leandro police chief to Interim Executive Director of Public Safety
Breaking: PCCD appoints former San Leandro police chief to Interim Executive Director of Public Safety
Abdul Pridgen will lead the district’s community-based safety program
Li Khan, Editor in Chief • June 21, 2024
Carpentry instructor spruces up department
Carpentry instructor spruces up department
Rym-Maya Kherbache, Staff Writer • April 24, 2024
A cap at the Laney College commencement ceremony on May 24 reads in Spanish, This is for my mom who gave me everything. (Photo: Marcus Creel/PCCD)
Graduations, resignations and more: PCCD Trustees wrap up school year at 5/28 meeting
Romi Bales, Staff Writer • June 17, 2024
Student Trustee Natasha Masand believes her voice has the power to impact the PCCD community.
Student Trustee Natasha Masand finds her voice
Isabelly Sabô Barbosa, Social Media Editor • March 19, 2024

    Words from the Tower’s editor-in-chief

    Otherwise known as the ‘BBQ Becky Slayer,’ Tower editor Michelle Snider Concludes the semester in her own words.

    by Michelle Snider

    In the newsroom, Tower Editor-in-chief Michelle Snider looks over the Nov. 21 edition of the Tower. (Photo by Tiehui Fan)

    Swaying and ready to attack, four men dressed in grey sweat suits with white bandanas covering their mouths stood in front of me as they punched their right fists into their left hands. I gripped my camera in anticipation as a loud bang and smoke went off next to us.

    The men’s furrowed brows deepened as they watched an estimated 200 black-clad anti-fascist protesters turn and run towards one guy with a MAGA hat. Now, all that was left between the four men and me was a flimsy orange police fence.

    They soon plunged over the fence. One attempted to knock me down, but missed as I ducked, swiveled and maintained my camera recording as his cohort punched a counter-protester. The four men then zig-zagged through the crowd in Martin Luther King Civic Center Park in Berkeley on April 15, 2017, moving like offensive-minded football players. I later learned that these men I had recorded were part of a well-known group of white nationalists that goes by the name of Rise Above Movement (R.A.M.).

    That moment in Berkeley ushered me into the world of journalism.

    The footage I recorded was recently purchased by PBS and ProPublica for a Frontline special called “Documenting Hate.” The footage also helped to identify some of the white nationalists who had attacked counter-protesters at the violent “Unite the Right” rally on August 12, 2017 where in the downtown mall of Charlottesville, Va, counter-protester Heather Heyer was murdered when a motorist purposefully drove his vehicle into a crowd of peacefully protesting anti-fascists.

    There are spoils in taking risks and pursuing passions. Not only did I help expose a white nationalist group formed to beat down protesters of political dissent, I got paid for it. The adrenaline rush wasn’t unusual for circumstances like those, but for the first time in my life, I had another purpose for attending anti-fascist actions.

    In my first semester at Laney College, I documented one of the most viral videos of the year and I will probably never hear the end of it. I filmed Jennifer Schulte, aka “BBQ Becky,” at Lake Merritt on April 30, 2018.

    That afternoon, Schulte spent over two hours calling the police, multiple times, on two black men for barbecuing with charcoal at Lake Merritt. Those who know about the video often introduce me as the “BBQ Becky Slayer.”

    This semester is my second one at Laney and the first as the editor-in-chief of the Laney Tower. We are located in room G-233, not in the administrative building, aka the Laney Tower as many people assume. We find that many students do not even know Laney has a newspaper, much less where the newsroom is on campus.

    Not only does Laney have a newspaper, but the paper also covers stories for the entire Peralta Community College District.

    Being an editor brings a constant feeling of dread and anxiety for approaching deadlines. Gathering writers, photographers and designers to complete deadlines is like herding cats. There have been plenty of setbacks that came up this semester, and many times I believed we could not complete the newspaper on time. For example, the construction at the beginning of the semester kept the staff from being able to enter our newsroom until the first Friday of the semester.

    That gave us one weekend to turn around and produce an issue when we usually have almost two weeks to prepare. We are also still waiting for new computers that we desperately need, as we are currently working with two computers so old that they barely support the outdated version of InDesign we are forced to use for our page layout.

    Despite all of that, we have accomplished a surprising number of high-quality stories, design and photography. Whatever the reason that brings people into the Newspaper Production class, they have their own unique stories and passions for pursuing the world of media and journalism.

    As journalists, we understand the power of information and media. The First Amendment includes, “Freedom of Speech,” protecting a free press that informs the public of more than just news that makes them feel good, but news of political corruption and the problems that exist in our society as well.

    Maybe that is why it is such a thankless job. Those who have plenty to hide, we chase, as we hear claims of “fake news” while the public has little interest.

    “Tell me a story I want to hear, not one that adds to my burdens,” seems to be the theme of the massively misinformed public we have today. Most people agree there is a problem with our media consumption, but do they understand why that is?

    I am hopeful. Times are changing fast. People are finding new ways to consume news stories and stay aware while organizing communities, so who can tell what our future will bring? All we can do is continue to expose the true nature of our society and hope that it makes a difference.

    Until next year, the Laney Tower staff hopes you have a great Winter break. When we all come back for the Spring semester, be ready! We will hit the ground running to bring our Peralta community information that can keep it informed, viable and intact.

    About the Contributor
    In the fall of 2019, The Laney Tower rebranded as The Citizen and launched a new website. These stories were ported over from the old Laney Tower website, but byline metadata was lost in the port. However, many of these stories credit the authors in the text of the story. Some articles may also suffer from formatting issues. Future archival efforts may fix these issues.  
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