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

(Illustration: Eliot Faine/The Citizen)
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Journalism chair to serve on ‘Pillars of Democracy’ panel

Eleni Gastis will speak alongside Oaklandside EIC on strengthening democracy through education
Eleni Gastis. (Photo: Citizen staff)

Laney College Journalism Department Chair Eleni Gastis will speak at a sold-out Berkeley event on the “Pillars of Democracy” Thursday. Gastis will be one of three panelists who will discuss strengthening and engaging with democracy through education, journalism, and “difficult conversations.”

Gastis will speak alongside The Oaklandside Editor in Chief Tasneem Raja, and activist and author Joan Blades. The panel will be moderated by Lance Knobel, CEO of Oaklandside’s parent organization, the Cityside Journalism Initiative.

Raja, who co-founded the Cityside Journalism Initiative and serves as its Chief of Strategy, has worked to resurrect local journalism and amplify community voices. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker and NPR.

Gastis has served as the faculty advisor to The Citizen since 2019. She was honored by the Society of Professional Journalists with the Beverly Kees Educator Award in March 2023 for her work in the Laney College Journalism Department.

Blades is the co-founder of, a nonprofit that seeks to bridge ideological and political divides by facilitating open discussions.

The three panelists are each intended to represent a “pillar of democracy,” according to the event description.

“We believe that by strengthening these three ‘Pillars of Democracy’ – education, local media, and difficult conversations – we can fortify the foundation of our democracy and promote a more informed engaged, and united society,” the description states.

The panel discussion will take place Thursday at 6 p.m. at the David Brower Center in Berkeley.

About the Contributor
Li Khan
Li Khan, Editor in Chief
Li Khan is the Editor in Chief of The Citizen, and a member of the CalMatters College Journalism Network. She believes in the power of student media to keep educational institutions transparent and accountable. She's particularly interested in analyzing how changes to higher education policy trickle down from the Capitol to colleges and their constituents. Li holds a degree in Computer Science from The University of Texas at Dallas and hopes to incorporate that knowledge into data-centered reporting projects. 
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