Category Archives: Features

Former Skinhead Frank Meeink Inspires Hope

“Your job is to be the old elephant,” said Frank Meeink — a former neo-Nazi skinhead — staring into a crowd of Hofstra University staff and students, wearing an unbuttoned flannel t-shirt with his sleeves rolled up to his elbows and his forearms covered in tattoos, encouraging them to show the younger generation how to treat other’s as equals.

“It’s so great that he’s able to admit his wrong doings and now he’s able to help others,” said Joy Jones, a freshman journalism student who was empowered by Meeink’s words.

Meeink grew up in South Philadelphia, where he struggled with identity issues and lived in a combative home. His mother battled drug abuse and he struggled to cope with an abusive stepfather. “He used to tell me we’re at war over my mom,” he said.

Meeink lost that war and not before long, he was sent to live with his father in West Philadelphia. One summer, Meeink was excited to go visit his uncle in the suburbs of Lancaster, PA. He looked forward to hanging out with his cousin who loved to skateboard and had a half-pipe in his backyard.

That trip changed Meeink’s life. Meeink’s cousin wasn’t the same. He was no longer the rock and roll loving skater kid who used egg whites and Elmer’s glue to keep his Mohawk standing straight. The half pipe was torn down as was the rock band poster’s Meeink remembered his in cousin’s room.

He had become a neo-Nazi skinhead and it didn’t take long to turn Meeink into one too.

Meeink went on to become a well-known leader of the neo-Nazi movement but after realizing error in his ways, he reconsidered his beliefs and abandoned the movement.

“If someone can go from one extreme to accepting everyone,” said Alexander Levine, a Jewish grad student who heard Meeink speak in high school. “Then that means change can happen.”

-Alexander M. Pineda

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HUABJ: Book Signing with Cheryl Wills, Open with Bryan Ogilvie

Photo taken by Jagoda Obuchowska

Photo taken by Jagoda Obuchowska

Hofstra University’s Association of Black Journalists high lighting event of the fall 2013 semester, Book Signing with Cheryl Wills, was a success.

“This is the greatest career to me in the world, you’re writing the first draft of history,” said NY1 Weekend Evening News Anchor Cheryl Wills, speaking to a group of prospective journalists at Hofstra University on Oct. 14, 2013.

Wills addressed stereotypes about how competitive the broadcast industry is and presented a general career plan, telling students “my objective (tonight) is to show you how to get there, and most importantly, straight off the bat, you can get there.” Her message sparked several smiles in the crowd.

Wills was invited to Hofstra for a book signing to commemorate the anniversaries of the Emancipation Proclamation and the March on Washington. The event was hosted by Hofstra University’s Association of Black Journalist in collaboration with the Hofstra Cultural Center, the Black Student Union, Collegiate Women of Color and Ed2010.

The television personality declared that the first step to success in the workforce is proactivity in the job hunt and getting ahead of the competition. Wills encouraged students to apply for jobs well before the end of senior year to possibly have a job lined up as soon as they graduate.

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Black Ink TV: Oct. 9 show


Black Ink TV is our new web series for aspiring broadcast journalists, on-air talent and producers. We post bi-weekly and members get to share their talent for the world to see. We’re working on making Black Ink TV better with every take.

This week features:

HUABJ’s trip to Washington D.C., Hofstra’s School of Communication name change, a story on college debt and an entertainment piece on Rihanna and more.

-Claudia Balthazar, President 

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Outside of “I”sland

Over Hofstra University’s spring break March 24 to 29, 2013, 30 students decided to sacrifice their vacation to make a difference in another person’s life.

This year, Hofstra’s Office of Student Leadership and Activities (OSLA) Alternative Spring Break (ASB), partnered with the National Relief Network (NRN) to allow students to work with Hurricane Irene relief in Bayboro, North Carolina. NRN is a non-profit organization that sends groups to federally declared disaster zones that have been destroyed by natural disasters.

ASB is an annual program, founded in 2006 when OSLA partnered with the Interfaith Center and Student Government Association (SGA) to volunteer in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

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The Life and Times of Activists

I have been involved with the study of activists and minority activism for quite some time– it’s important to know the people on whose shoulders we stand.

On Friday, Dec 7, I did a little documentary/editorial style film shooting at Plymouth Church in Brooklyn, NY: site of the Grand Depot of the Underground Railroad, here numerous slaves were freed, where both Abraham Lincoln and MLK delivered the first drafts of their most famous speeches.

Special Thanks go to everyone involved in this project!

To read more, visit
– Jeanine Russaw

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The Museum of Modern Art adds piece by Hofstra Professor

Poster features in the MOMA by Hofstra ProfessorThe Museum of Modern Art in New York City (MOMA) recently added a “punk/post-punk archive” to its permanent collection; a poster that was created nearly 30 years ago by Tom Klinkowstein, Professor of Graphic Design and New Media in the Department of Fine Art at Hofstra University. Klinkowstein designed the poster in 1980 and has long since forgotten about it.

“Looking at it now, it is quite­ a piece of visual archeology: hand-made with label-maker typography in the tradition of ‘zines,” he said. “There’s the Polaroid SX-70 of Laurie Anderson and Peter Gordon and in the background is an image of an IBM digital device of some sort, very new for that time and a specter of things to come.”

Klinkowstein designed the poster, a lithograph, for performance artist Laurie Anderson. A lithograph is the process of printing from a plane surface, as a smooth stone or metal plate. “It is [also] what museums call “offset” printing, a common printing technology most newspapers use for instance,” Klinkowstein said.

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Pictured above, is Hofstra Alumna Rachel A. Fenderson, at the Atrium Tables, highlighting her new fashion line Pepper Jaques.

Since Rachel A. Fenderson graduated from Hofstra in 2006 with a degree in English Literature, she created and distributed a clothing line called Pepper Jacques.

Fenderson was born in Jamaica, Queens, and raised in the St. Albans neighborhood of Queens. As a child Fenderson always dreamed of designing clothing. She considered pursuing this ambition at Parsons The New School For Design for her undergraduate education, but the traditional four-year track for education won out. Thus she began attending Hofstra University in fall 2002.

Yet Fenderson never abandoned her ultimate dream. After graduating from Hofstra in 2006, Fenderson spent the summer in Japan. She visited the design center of Issey Miyake, a prominent worldwide brand. The creative force there and everywhere else in Japan moved her to make fashion design her forefront goal.

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From strutting the Unispan to the runway

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John Amandola: A Lighthouse on Long Island

John Amandola Photo taken by Li Wang

“When I was in college I made a commitment to follow Jesus no matter what.  I felt that I wanted to make my life count. I was not interested in gaining wealth or accumulating stuff. I just wanted my life to result in benefiting others.”

This was a statement professed by John Amandola, 49, Pastor of Lighthouse Community Church in Merrick, Long Island, on his commitment to choose an unusual life.

Amandola was born in Astoria, Queens, New York, and was raised in Babylon, Long Island. He attended University at Buffalo, The State University of New York, majoring in Psychology. Upon following the call to obey Jesus Christ, Amandola attended Pheonix Seminary School, in Pheonix, Arizona, where he obtained his Master’s in Divinity. While attending Pheonix Seminary School, Amandola helped out with neighboring high school ministries, spreading the word of Christ. After 15 years of being involved in high school and college ministries, he and his family decided to return to his roots of Long Island.

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