Local fundraiser helps Lagunitas students


Eli Warthall , Reporter

The school hosted a fundraising event featuring three prominent journalists in December. The event raised proceeds for a Lagunitas Middle School 8th grade trip to the southern United States, where they plan to study the Civil Rights Movement and racial inequality.

Father and son duo Peter Osnos, a writer for the Atlantic, and Evan Osnos, of the New Yorker, spoke. Both men have worked in the United States and also abroad, as foreign and war correspondents. The two discussed their experiences covering the Vietnam and Iraq wars and the state of journalism during the Trump presidency, among other topics.

The event, attended by about 125 people, was moderated by Michael Krasny, host of KQED’s radio news program Forum. The Osnos pair were adamant in their belief that the United States made many mistakes during its involvement in Vietnam and Iraq, including the initial decisions to get involved in the first place. “We were taken to war on completely false pretenses,” said Peter Osnos about the Vietnam War. “One of the trends of American history is to repeat the same mistakes over and over again.”

Peter Osnos struck a pessimistic tone on the state of journalism and other civic institutions under President Donald Trump. “What troubles me now is that our institutions are very weak,” he said, and followed by comparing the current situation to the chaos of 1968, when protests over Vietnam and the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy rocked the United States. However, Evan Osnos painted a brighter picture and spoke of what he saw as the potential benefits of the current administration.

“The Trump era has galvanized the press,” he said. According to him, in response to Trump, journalists have been forced to clean up their act and produce higher quality and more accurate content. The Lagunitas 8th grade class plans to visit such locations as the Edmund Pettus Bridge, where Alabama troopers attacked 600 black protestors marching to Montgomery, Freedom Park in Montgomery, and the National Human and Civil Rights Museum, located in Atlanta. They are still taking donations on a GoFundMe site, located online at gofundme.com/bun9y-lagunitas-8th-grade-goes-to-alabama.