About #FergusonPrj4

Thank you for showing interest in our Environmental Justice project.  This project is intended to address major issues and concerns that were discussed in our Environmental Justice course.  You may be wondering why the recent Ferguson concern is regarded under the realm of environmental justice, but this event and the continuing oppression of minorities within Ferguson, Missouri is has strong ties to the concerns within the environmental justice movement.  Environmental justice is often believed to primarily focus on environmental issues having to do with the natural environment, such as pollution, that impact communities. However, a large aspect of environmental justice is a concern with environmental inequalities, as in the Ferguson case. Many social movements and organizations gain awareness of environmental inequality and its impacts upon communities as such events become investigated and interpreted by a variety of stakeholders.

Why is Ferguson highly pressurized by inequality? Why is there high conflict amongst the community, the police, and the government? Disasters are often framed as a single event, though they are most likely the result of several actions, diverse stakeholders, and other factors. Moreover, after a disaster becomes mediatized and framed as a single event, people often do not look to see what systems led to the “event,” and what is occurring after the fact. As a result, such situations become forgotten, seen as being part of the inevitable. We disagree.

The shooting of Michael Brown was not the result of a single event, but rather an accumulation of several events and actions that have led to and continue to contribute to the uproar of what is known today as #Ferguson. In our analysis of what factors contributed leading up to this “event,” as well as its repercussions, we hope to gain a better awareness of different stakeholder’s perspectives of this issue, and thus build a more complete picture of #Ferguson, rather than let it be framed by any one entity, be it media, community members, activists, the police, the military, or the government.

Despite many platforms that have been used to discuss the environmental justice issues in Ferguson, we wanted to investigate the comments and discussions posted to and shared on one of the most followed and used media sites: Twitter. As a result of the shooting, many people took to social media and microblogging platforms, such as Twitter, using the hashtag #Ferguson. By using the same platform, we hope to reframe #Ferguson beyond something that is simply trending on social media, beyond something that can be easily forgotten about as a single “event,” as a result of media fatigue.

Though #Ferguson occurred over three months ago, we hope to address the issue that this is not just the result of one single “event” by representing the views, opinions, reactions, and information provided by various stakeholders involved in this issue. Each of our group members will represent a stakeholder, which will include: the media, the government, social activists and community members, and the military and police. We will not fabricate any information, but simply provide perspectives either previously provided in tweets or information or viewpoints that may have not been fully addressed.

In our final analysis, we will record the responses made by others in response to each stakeholders’ viewpoint and different reactions to each tweet.  Since these stakeholders are crucial to this event we hope to gain information about how people might respond to the validity of each perspective.  We will address in the project such questions as: Are many quick to respond? How aggressive is their tone? Do they provide additional sources? Do they trust the information provided? Have they read the source completely?

We have chosen to share the viewpoints of the different stakeholders through a single Twitter account to create a more full picture of #Ferguson. However, we would like to emphasize that the viewpoints being shared are products of a project, and are not meant to offend or criticize anyone’s perspective and point of view.

Unfortunately, we will only have approximately three weeks to perform this project. However, for those who are interested, we will provide our analysis once the project is finished, and invite you to continue the conversation afterwards. We hope you enjoy and follow our Twitter account as we attempt to understand and analyze your responses on social media.

We understand that this project may be highly controversial, and we invite you to contribute your thoughts, ideas, comments, and critiques, either writing to us on our blog or to our Twitter account. You can also email us using the form below.

Thank you,

The Ferguson Project Four


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