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News of Otsego County

lecture

SUNY lecture looks at ‘The 57 Bus’ incident

SUNY lecture looks at ‘The 57 Bus’ incident

By MICHAEL FORSTER ROTHBART • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

ONEONTA — At 18, Sasha Fleischman was lit on fire while riding the bus home from school in Oakland.
Fleischmann is gender non-binary and uses they/them pronouns. They fell asleep, and another teen, Richard Thomas, lit their skirt as a prank. Thomas was arrested at school; Fleischmann was hospitalized for weeks with severe third-degree burns.

Dashka Slater, a journalist who lives close to the bus route, began covering the story. She spent three years following both instigator and victim.

Slater’s book “The 57 Bus” tells both their stories, and in doing so, explores the difficult collisions of gender identity, race (Thomas is Black, Fleischmann white), class, crime, punishment and forgiveness.

“The 57 Bus” was selected as SUNY Oneonta’s 2021 Common Read, with 1,200 free copies distributed to students. Slater came to Oneonta on Tuesday, Oct. 18, to give the annual Mills Distinguished Lecture.
Within days of the fire, community members were trying to balance contradictory feelings, Slater told a crowd of 225 at the Alumni Field House.

“Concern … for Sasha who was the victim … and at the exact same time, this sense of condemnation and dismissal for Richard.” There were public calls to try the 16-year-old as an adult. Slater rejected the idea that she could only have compassion for one of the two parties, and set out to understand root causes. “Curiosity is how a conversation begins. Opinions are what ends it,” she said.

The final chapters tell how this incident changed both their lives: medical procedures for one, imprisonment for the other, and then, eventual rehabilitation for both.

“We think about hate crimes in a legalistic fashion, as opposed to being a social problem,” Slater said. People tend to see these crimes as a violation, “rather than as a manifestation of the wounds in our own community fabric,” she said.

“I was open to the possibility that the truth would remain murky, that I would have to hold two things in my head at the same time: the fact that Richard did something horrible and cruel, and that he was more than the sum of his worst actions,” Slater said.

In opening remarks, President Alberto Cardelle wel-comed the public, the first public event on campus since COVID began.

“We weren’t sure we’d be able to do this until ten days ago, but the (COVID) numbers are really good now,” said Bill Harcleroad, director of campus activities. “We cancelled alumni weekend because we weren’t ready. We’ve got to be safe.”

The next large event, a delayed commencement celebration for the class of 2020, is scheduled for Oct. 30, with graduates limited to two guests each.

 

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO: Learn about the Sullivan-Clinton campaign 09-28-21
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 28

Learn about the Sullivan-Clinton campaign

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HISTORY LECTURE – 6:30 p.m. Join historian Mary Alexander for a discussion of how the villages of Upstate New York in 1929 Commemorated the Sullivan-Clinton expedition of 150 years previously which destroyed the Iroquois Confederacy. Registration for Zoom required. Presented by the Arkell Museum, Canajoharie. 518-673-2317 ext 113 or visit www.arkellmuseum.org/events-calendar

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO: Stop Invasive Spotted Lantern Fly 03-18-21
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for THURSDAY, MARCH 18

Stop Invasive Spotted Lantern Fly

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INVASIVE SPECIES – 7 p.m. Learn about the Spotted Lantern Fly, an invasive insect that poses a threat to NY’s agriculture, forest, & quality of life. Learn about the life cycle, threat, and how to recognize this insect. Participants will then have opportunity to hunt for the egg masses in March 20. Free, registration required. Presented by Otsego County Conservation Association. 607-547-4488 or visit occainfo.org/calendar/spotted-lanternfly-egg-hunt/

CLICK HERE FOR THE LIST OF CANCELLED EVENTS
CLICK TO LOOK AHEAD AT WHAT’S HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for FRIDAY, JANUARY 24, 2020
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for FRIDAY, JANUARY 24

Otsego Chamber Hosts

State Of The State Panel

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STATE OF THE STATE – 11:45 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Hear from your elected officials in local, county, state, federal government on the State of Otsego County. Learn about legislation & initiatives that may impact your business. Featuring Antonio Delgado, James Seward, John Salka, others. Cost, $40/non-member. Otsego Grill, Morris Hall, SUNY Oneonta. 607-432-4500 or visit otsegocc.com

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for TUESDAY, DECEMBER 3, 2019
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for TUESDAY, DECEMBER 3

SUNY Oneonta Presentation:

‘Fish, Fishing, Dams, Climate’

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ANGEL TREE PROGRAM – Give the Gift of Christmas this holiday season. Adopt a family in need. Visit www.allotsego.com/angel-tree-program/ to learn how.

LECTURE – 7 – 9 p.m. Dr. Daniel Stitch delivers this years Richard Siegfried Lecture. He will present “Fish, Fishing, Dams, and Climate: What have we lost, and what do we stand to gain?” Craven Lounge, Morris Conference Center, SUNY Oneonta.

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 16, 2019
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 16

Holiday Market In

Heated Green House

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ANGEL TREE PROGRAM – Give the Gift of Christmas this holiday season. Adopt a family in need. Visit www.allotsego.com/angel-tree-program/ to learn how.

HOLIDAY MARKET – 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Find holiday gifts from 50+ vendors selling textiles, herbal products, jewelry, wreaths, more in heated greenhouse. Includes food/wine tasting, hot apple cider donuts, pies more. Sunnycrest Orchards, 7869 St. Rt. 10, Sharon Springs. 518-284-2256 or visit www.sunnycrestorchards.com

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 1
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 1

Percussive Dance Of North America

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LECTURE – 7:30 p.m. Join Mick Moloney for 2018 Buckley Lecture. Learn about Percussive Dance Traditions in North America ranging from Appalachian, African American flat foot, clogging to Irish sean nos, step dance. Donations welcome. 607-547-2586.

HISTORY SERIES – 7 p.m. “Scots-Irish Immigration and Defense of the Colonial New York Frontier including the Cherry Valley Massacre, 1740 to 1778” by Terry McMaster, independent historian whose research focuses on American Revolution in the Mohawk Valley, settlement patterns, family connections, border warfare along New York’s western frontier. Suggested donation, $5. Fort Plain Museum, 389 Canal St., Fort Plain. 518-993-2527 or visit www.fortplainmuseum.com/viewevent.aspx?ID=1032

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