Tag Archives: Danielle Pendleton

“Yes and…” Accepting Comedy as a Career and Rolling With It

Moderator: Sophia Ashley

Anchor: Alexi Chidbachian

Producer: Danielle Pendleton

Social Media: Joshua Spidel

Reporters: Sophia Ashley, Alexi Chidbachian, Gabrielle Ortega, Danielle Pendleton, Scott Sanders and Joshua Spidel


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Homegrown Terrorism: The Truth We Don’t Know

Since September 11, 2001, when many Americans hear the word ‘terrorism’, or when they think of a ‘terrorist attack’, they think of an act perpetrated by a foreign entity. The September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center were perpetrated by 19 foreign-born Arab hijackers recruited by Al-Qaeda, leading some Americans to equate all attacks to Islam, leading to Islamophobia, or a fear of Islam, and a fear of foreigners in general.

“It is important to go back to the definition of terrorism,” said Edina Lekovic, the Director of Policy and Programming at the Muslim Public Affairs Council, “so that Americans know the United States is talking about all forms of politically-motivated violence that take civilian lives, instead of misunderstanding what terrorism is about.”

In fact, every lethal terrorist attack in the United States since 9/11, whether in Fort Hood or Boston or San Bernardino, has been conducted by American citizens or legal permanent residents.

“Terrorism has to have three vital components,” said Erroll Southers, USC’s Director of Homegrown Violent Extremism and Director of International Programs. “It has to have a threat or an act of violence, some legitimizing ideology it’s attached to, and have a civilian, most likely a victim, that’s going to be some political driver to it.”

Media play a huge role in the misconception some Americans have that all terrorism is linked to Muslim perpetrators.

“Today, when there’s an act of violence, if [the media] don’t mention that the person who perpetrated it is Muslim, I know he’s not and that is a code,” Southers said. “It becomes a driver for what the public hears and perceives, and they pick up on that.”

“The media give us ways of thinking about things,” Lekovik said. “When we only get one piece of the overall picture, and that picture is exclusively through the lens of bad news, then we have a fundamental misunderstanding of who a group of people are.”

Last year, 52 people were killed in acts of domestic terrorism, Southers said. An equal number of those 52 were killed by white supremacists as were by Muslims, yet the majority of law enforcement officers’ efforts seem to be against Muslims.

The Department of Homeland Security started the campaign, “See Something, Say Something,” to raise public awareness of the indicators of terrorism and terrorism-related crime, as well as the importance of reporting suspicious activity to state and local law enforcement, but Southers argued the campaign is skewed too strongly against foreign threats.

“The government needs to “see something, say something” on all things,” he said, “and that’s not being done equitably. The best approach to handle this is through real community engagement. Communities have to own, and direct, and drive and sustain efforts, so violence doesn’t happen.”

“It’s powerful to model for the public, a way to engage with Muslims, that says ‘we stand together’ in solidarity,” Lekovic said.

She pointed to Los Angeles’ Mayor Garcetti’s 2016 visit to the Islamic Center of Southern California, where he participated in the weekly prayer, and shared a message of unity and support for Muslim-Americans living in Los Angeles.

“Those messages are very powerful, and need to get out to Angelinos and Americans at times like this, when we feel uncertain,” Lekovic said. “When we feel uncertain, we feel fear. When we feel fear, our brains turn off and our hearts turn on and we don’t always make the best decisions in those circumstances.”

Moderator: Alexi Chidbachian

Anchor: Scott Sanders

Producer: Gabrielle Ortega

Social Media Editor: Danielle Pendleton

Reporters: Sophie Ashley, Alexi Chidbachian, Gabrielle Ortega, Danielle Pendleton, Scott Sanders, Joshua Spidel

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Generation Why: Millennials’ Relationship Status with the News

Millennials have a stigma of being uninformed and uninterested in news. The emergence of technology and social media is cited as the main reason behind this.
However a study done by the Media Insight Project at the American Press Institute shows that 85 percent of millennials say keeping up with the news is somewhat important to them. It also notes that 69 percent get their news daily.
“I think people think kids these days are lazy, or we don’t know what’s going on,” Democratic activist and linguistics graduate student Maya Wax Cavallero said. “We’re the future. Millennials are the future.”
News is brought to the public in many different ways. Television has its traditional political news shows, but viewers also get news from comedic shows like ‘The Daily Show’,  which may influence millennials’ opinions, too. Social media have also created a way for people to get their political news, and to spread awareness about a cause that interests them.
“What’s changed around us in society is that the media have fundamentally been re-shaped [in how they deliver news],” CSUN Political Science Professor Tom Hogen-Ecsh said. “I don’t think millennials are any different [than past generations] in the way they engage in politics…In some ways I think they’re more engaged.”
This current election has demonstrated the power social media has had for the different political parties, and perhaps also the view that millennials are keeping up with the news, and are aware of what’s going on in the world around them.

Moderator – Scott Sanders

Anchor – Gabrielle Ortega

Producer – Danielle Pendleton

Social Media Editors – Sophie Ashley and Alexandra Chidbachian

Reporters – Sophie Ashley, Alexandra Chidbachian, Gabrielle Ortega, Danielle Pendleton, Scott Sanders and Joshua Spidel

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Forced Labor: Hiding in Plain Sight

California has recorded more than 700 cases of human trafficking this year, according to the National Human Trafficking Center.

The first laws in California for protecting minors involved in human trafficking were in 2005, written to protect young men and women starting at the age of 12 years old.

“These are kids and it is important that kids are being treated as kids,” said Director of Saving Innocence, Amber Davis. Saving Innocence advocates for victims of sex trafficking.

Last month Governor Jerry Brown signed another bill, introduced by Sen. Holly Mitchell of Los Angeles, to help decriminalize minors involved in sex trafficking.

“There is no such thing as a ‘child prostitute’,” said Mitchell. “We needed to change our state law so we would not victimize or criminalize young women and men who are victims of sex trafficking.”

Los Angeles is one of three cities with the highest rate of sex trafficking in California, according to Human Trafficking Research. In the San Fernando Valley, Sepulveda Boulevard and Lankershim Boulevard have the highest number of arrests made.

“Prostitutes migrated into low income, minority, ethnic, more franchise communities at the time,” said CSUN Professor of Urban Studies Dr. Henrik Minassians. “More Asian Americans, African Americans and Latino communities ended up establishing their own businesses there.” Minassians is working with the L.A.P.D. to try to find ways to change urban environments in ways that would discourage prostitution.

Journey Out is an organization in Los Angeles that helps victims whose lives have been destroyed by sex trafficking.

“We started out helping adult victims of human trafficking,” Executive Director Stephany Powell said. “We have now partnered to a youth aspect of it. We get our clients through other organizations such as court systems, and we have an agreement with the city attorney’s office that if a person is arrested for the crime of prostitution, we have a diversion program that they can go through.”

Powell said 80 percent of trafficking victims are being exploited for sex; the other 20 percent are being used for labor, according to a sex trafficking report at dosomething.org.

Trafficking survivor Kanthi Salgadu says she came to America in 1996 to help provide for her family in Sri Lanka.

“I went to an agency, where they said I did not have to look for a job [in the U.S.]; they would help me find one, and they found me a place to work as a house keeper and nanny,” Salgadu said.

Salgadu was held captive in a Los Angeles house for four years before a neighbor reported suspicious activity to the authorities, and the Immigration Customs Enforcement rescued her. Salgadu is now an advocate for survivors, who speaks all over the country about her experience.

“[Survivors] want out; they want to start their lives,” said Stephanie Molen, Director of Partnerships at CAST. “They came to this country to start their lives and to work, and they want that opportunity.”

California law enforcement officials continue to make attempts to crackdown on human trafficking, by arresting the highest number of pimps in the country in 2014 and 2015, according to a FBI report.

Powell says giving survivors a safe place to live is the priority. Without that, there is no way to keep them from going back onto the street.

To watch the full interview with Professor Henrik Minassians, click HERE.

For a January 2017 update on the Task Force’s efforts, click HERE.

Moderator – Gabrielle Ortega

Producer – Gabrielle Ortega

Anchor – Sophia Ashley

Social Media Editor – Scott Sanders and Joshua Spidel

Reporters – Sophie Ashley, Alexandra Chidbachian, Gabriella Ortega, Danielle Pendleton, Scott Sanders, Joshua Spidel

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