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person typing on gray and black HP laptop

Is Google/Facebook a threat to technology?

In the article, “Is Big Tech Too Powerful” I learned those top internet companies such as Google, and Facebook have become monopolies in the technology world.  In Facebook’s example, they have bought out their competitors such as Instagram and Whatsapp.  This has made these smaller companies shut down and join Facebook as one. Google has also made contracts with other mobile companies such as Apple to make it the automatic search engine of that phone.  This has caused search engines such as Bing, Yahoo, or Firebox to have fewer people using them and only contribute more to the monopoly these huge companies have created.

I think what is happening in the technology world is very dangerous, as many of the smaller companies are being cut.  These smaller companies that have provided for many are shut down and those users are affected.  These large monopolies are having too much control over the average person who uses the internet.  They are making billions of dollars from collaborating with other monopolies.  They are also taking your data and selling it or using it to help advertise to your likes to further increase their sales. Once one company becomes the only provider, users will have nowhere else to go if it’s taken away.

Do you think these major companies are a threat to technology?


man in black jacket holding blue and white banner

Inauguration Day 2021

On January 20, 2021, Joseph R. Biden Jr. was sworn into office and officially became the 46th president of the United States of America. In his inauguration speech, he spoke of healing the wounds that have America divided. He went on, “To overcome these challenges, to restore the soul and secure the future of America, requires so much more than words and requires the most elusive of all things in a democracy: unity.” However, President Trump, who has falsely insisted since his loss to Biden in November that the election was stolen from him, wasn’t in attendance. It was the first time since 1869 that a former president doesn’t attend the ceremony of their successor. Biden has repeatedly pledged to get “100 million Covid vaccine shots into the arms of the American people” by his 100th day in office. 

The presidential election of 2020 was interesting and the outcome was a victory. Donald Trump is out of office and we have new leadership. We can only hope for the best and that Biden is an honest man who will keep his word.


man in black jacket holding blue and white banner

Biden the New President

Joe Bubar the author of Biden Is Sworn In as President wrote that in the past 20th of January of 2021 Biden became the 46th president of the United States when he was able to state some of the things he claims he will change in the country. Wounds of divided countries will heal leading to working with one another, helping each other become one united nation. To be able to make actual change words mean nothing, actions are the ones that with time will show and teach that with unity everything is possible. Harrison becoming the first woman vice president with Black and Asian roots was something with a big impact for being the first woman vice president of the United States. There were not a lot of people like in past inaugurations, but precautions were taken at all times even if it was in a very difficult situation. This inauguration, the whole meaning of it, is to peacefully transition the power to the new president, where Trump did not follow this tradition and decided to not attend. 

The way things took place this day was really hard, but it was great to see and hear that a change is what we should look forward to. When Biden claimed that helping each other can really make a big difference it was an inspiration. The way he said and what he said stated that he is willing to make the country a better place and that he is willing to listen and help everyone who needs it. The way Trump decided to act and not attend this ceremony was really disrespectful not to mention that he should have not acted the way he did, being mad because of not receiving the power that was not his any more.

Fatima Esparza


Are We Too Wired?

Whats the type of world that we live in?

Everything is digital now and days. Now every classroom has computers for students to work on rather than pen and paper. To an extent it is great to have students work with technology because it’s growing bigger and bigger each and everyday. Yet there are some instances were the internet isn’t a good place.

For starters, the growth of the internet has gifted us with so much knowledge. Now just by typing a couple of words into a search bar, you could access so much in a matter of seconds. Rather than going to a library and spend hours after hours searching for one book. It has also created a space for many people to keep in touch especially those that live great distances from each other.

We only ever see this side but we must acknowledge the effects it has on everyone. No one is talking to each other anymore or interacting. Everyone is glued to the little device in their hands. Posting selfies and updates of their life. We do all this just to get the approval of the public but with this, it could damage people. This can create massive anxiety for any human being.


Have Big Techs Become Too Powerful?

The article, “Is Big Tech Too Powerful?” explains how our lives revolve around technology and how tech companies are abusing their power. For instance, when you want to search for something up you use Google or when you want to shop for something online you might use Amazon. It’s even become a great advantage for people to connect with friends and family over social media yet lately, there’s been buzz about these big tech companies for being so dominant.

Most recently the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a lawsuit against Google for illegally having a monopoly over internet searches. The DOJ says that Google is abusing its power when it comes to internet searches. So let’s say when you search for something on the internet your device automatically uses Google unless otherwise, you change it in your settings. Google has used its dominance to block its competitors like Microsoft and Bing. Google even pays millions to Apple to do default search engines on Apple products. On the other hand, Google argues that no one is forcing people to use Google, they use it because they want to and prefer it. It also seems like not just the DOJ has filed a lawsuit against Google, many other companies have also filed because they say Google is abusing their dominance with online ads. 

Now for Amazon critics say it’s affecting online shopping. Amazon is putting other smaller businesses through struggle as they’re making it hopeless for these retailers to sell their products. Many think it will be hard for people to switch away from these companies because it’s a little late as they’ve gained so much power. 

What are your thoughts? Should these big tech companies be broken apart so that they don’t hold so much power? 


Is Big Tech Getting Out of Hand?

In the article, “Is Big Tech Too Powerful”, I learned that big corporations such as Google and Amazon are becoming illegal monopolies. This has now been investigated by the Department of Justice back in October 2020. Why Google and Amazon? If you need to look up something, most likely a person will use Google and also if a person needs to shop, they will preferably lean towards Amazon, which in fact Amazon offers Amazon Prime where you get your products twice as fast. In fact, the number of Google searches per year round up to 2,540,000,000,000, or 80,000 searches in a single second. 38% of all online sales in the U,S go to Amazon. The second is Walmart with 6%. The pattern here shows you that people rely on these both applications for every single thing, and more and more people are using it.

I think what is going on with Amazon and Google becoming illegal monopolies is crazy! We use these sites on everyday basis and personally, I wouldn’t know what to do without them. I believe that the bigger these sites get, the more and more we rely on them and I feel like if they catch them doing illegal activities, they won’t be as big and there will be more competition. Google and Amazon aren’t alone as they own their own sites as well. Google owns Gmail, Google Classroom, Chromebooks, Google Chrome and also Youtube. Amazon owns Whole Foods, Twitch, and Zappos. It is inevitable not trying to use these applications because we all use them all day everyday. No matter whether we are hopping on Google Classroom for school, getting on Youtube for our leisure time, those sites will always be used.

Do you depend on these big monopoly sites ?


Penny Elimination

In the article, “Is It Time to Eliminate the Penny?” I learned that the U.S. produces more than 7 billion pennies a year. To produce these pennies the U.S uses a type of mineral named zinc which is really expensive. The cost to produce pennies made from zinc is about 1.99 which is way more expensive than what the actual penny is worth. Also, producing pennies is more than 145 million dollars per year. Therefore it seems the government is losing money by producing pennies each year. Now with the pandemic, the U.S has had a shortage of coins due to most shoppers staying home and wanting to avoid touching cash or coins.

I think this topic is very controversial. This topic can go in two ways: you either believe it’s time to eliminate the penny or you don’t. I believe that the penny should not get eliminated because pennies help keep the inflation in check and protect America’s hardworking families. Prices will also be higher because transactions would have to be rounded to the nearest nickel rather than a penny. Pennies are also very important because many charities use these coins to raise money for important causes like cancer and hunger research.

Do you think it’s time to eliminate the penny?


running field during daytime

Patina plot summary

Recently, I read Patina, by Jayson reynolds  I enjoyed this book. I thought that Patina was a really well developed character.

The protagonist is Patina. Her story is set in the same town as the last book, specifically Chester school. The significance of the Chester school as the setting is that Patina feels like she doesn’t fit in there. The significance of the setting shifting from Chester school to the track is that she feels like she belongs at the track and she is a really good runner.

Patina faces certain forces and pressures. Her mom gets hit by a car. She meets these forces and pressures by deciding to just continue to run to get her mind off of it. 

The tension rises when her mom gets hit by a car. This might leave a reader feeling sad. We grow to like the mom because she is really nice to Patina.

The book climaxes when Patina goes to the track meet.The falling action ultimately resolves the conflict. She gets to the track meet even though she has all these things happening in her life.


Soft Thorns

I think this is my favorite out of the many poetry books I’ve read, mainly because of how so little words can bring such deep feelings and hidden truths we would all prefer to hide from. 

This book makes me feel open because I can connect with most of the poetry for all the wrong reasons. Things that the author wouldn’t have even meant when writing, I can connect to based on the rhythm and word play. 

A poem that I feel a pull towards is “Were only haunted by the things we refuse to accept.”

I choose this poem because of how much I agree with it. We are all burdened by the reality of curtain situations that we do not want to accept. And We downplay the truth because we don’t want to feel the sadness,anger,relief,denial, etc. At least I know that I don’t. 

As I said above I enjoy the Rhythm and word play because of how the author applies it. She makes it feel as if she’s talking directly in front of you, trying to cheer you up. Like she’s a friend.  

Making the poems so much better. 


Why are we likely to empathize with anti-heroes?

In one of my previous blog posts, I discussed some key differences between heroes and villains. Heroes are typically portrayed as “perfect” characters who empathize with others and work to protect these people from the villains. However, the concept of heroes and villains in society is not purely black and white because people cannot be defined as completely moral or completely corrupt. There is a lot of gray area that almost every human falls into, making stories with perfect heroes and innately evil villains unrealistic and hard to relate to. As a result, in the media today, the concept of heroes and villains is slowly being altered and replaced by the anti-hero and anti-villain. 

An anti-hero is the protagonist of a story who typically acts in ways contrary to society’s standards and has questionable morals (“How to Create an Antihero That Readers Love”). Stories or films with these types of characters tend to be more popular in society today, and the audience generally empathizes with these anti-heroes who stand for almost everything society is against. In reality, we tend to empathize with these characters because the more we relate to a character in a story, the more we like this character and root for them to succeed (Bedingfield). In other words, anti-heroes make literature and film more realistic as most people are typically anti-heroes in their own right. 

Anti-heroes also must overcome the same emotions and hardships that we endure in life, meaning they must be strong and determined in order to face their demons and achieve their goals (“The Psychology of Anti-Hero: Why Do We Admire Them so Much?”). Typically, we either believe that we are strong people or we wish to be strong people, so seeing a character we are able to identify with gives us hope that, like them, we will have the strength we need to face our own demons. As we know, humans are far from perfect just like anti-heroes, making it easy to see ourselves in these characters. This is especially attractive to us because anti-heroes are almost always redeemed at the end of films or novels, allowing us to believe that redemption is possible for ourselves as well.

Works Cited

Bedingfield, Will. “Why We’re Destined to Sympathise with Anti-Heroes like the Joker.” WIRED UK, WIRED UK, 5 Oct. 2019, www.wired.co.uk/article/the-joker-movie-review. 

“How to Create an Antihero That Readers Love.” Writer’s Digest, Writer’s Digest, 4 Feb. 2014, www.writersdigest.com/write-better-fiction/how-to-create- an-antihero-that-readers-love. 

“The Psychology of Anti-Hero: Why Do We Admire Them so Much?” Steemit, steemit.com/psychology/@dysfunctional/the-psychology -of-anti-hero-why-do-we-admire-them-so-much.


Milk And Honey

 I appreciate the way this book makes you imagine things. If there are multiple ways of seeing something and making others see it too just by your wordplay more and more people will be attracted to it, and listen. 

In my opinion that is the best way of creating stories/scenes, your personal experience can be something people are used to everyday.  

My favorite poem from this book is 

“You tell me to quiet down cause my opinions make me less beautiful but I was not made with a fire in my belly so I could be put out I was not made with a lightness in my tongue so I could be easy to swallow I was made heavy half blade and half silk difficult to forget but not easy for the mind to follow.”

After reading this it gives me a certain persuasion and understanding because only you can control what you believe is right. If you give others power to see it for you, is it them talking or is it you. Is their definition of life what you want to believe in. 

Is it something YOU wanna stand for?

I like This poem mostly because it provides you with a whole bunch of questions on the person you truly are. It makes you think twice about the things you might let slide. And make you want to take a stand for. 

I noticed this poem mostly because of the word choice and the ending line “I was made heavy half blade and half silk difficult to forget but not easy for the mind to follow”. I can’t necessarily explain why, it just flows with the wording and brings it all together. 


gray and black cat sketch

The Widespread Problem among teens today: How the Pandemic has increased social media usage

As a follow-up article in response to my last article in which I reflected on the widespread problem of anxiety and depression among teens, I realized there was much more that needed to be said. Indeed, it is not a secret that the global COVID-19 pandemic has greatly affected the mental health of everyone, but I believe teens have been one of the hardest hit. As a teenager myself, I have had to manage an enormous amount of new emotions and had to figure out how to handle it over the past 10 months. Not only were many sports events, dances, and other gatherings canceled, teens have had to learn to cope with another factor that I can confidently say I myself was not ready for: isolation. 

At the start of the pandemic, it seemed that having no school for two weeks was going to be no more than just that; a two week break from the stresses of school and everything it encompasses. However, as time went on, the slow realization that life was not going to go back to normal anytime soon set in, and I discovered that my life was going to completely change. For teens and high school students everywhere, it was disappointment after disappointment, and it seemed as though the cycle was never going to end. In addition to these cancellations, the factor of isolation contributed to the intensity of these changes. According to the article “How social Isolation Affects the Brain” by Catherine Offord, the “absence of human contact is associated with declines in cognitive function.” For teens especially, whose lives revolve around friends, teachers, sports, and extracurricular activities, the transition to isolation did not come easy at all. The article included a quote by Stephanie Cacioppo, a professor at the University of Chicago, which states “We’re a social species. We really need others to survive.” So what was the response of many teens that were forced to isolate themselves from the rest of the world? How did they cope with the gravity of the circumstances around them?

Perhaps this is not the case for all teens, but it is arguable that a large percentage of young people turned to social media in response to these setbacks. Social media, for many, myself included, can help one to escape reality; it offers one the ability to hide from his or her problems. In short, it potentially becomes addictive, as our brains receive “a rush of dopamine and sends it along reward pathways,” allowing us to “feel pleasure” (Offord). For a young person that is forced to handle the devastating effects  of COVID-19, along with the many additional lifestyle changes that came with this virus, it is only natural that he or she would turn to social media. It is not only highly accessible, but constantly relevant in the lives of all teens. Its relevance contributes to its popularity; teens want to be included in the loop and stay updated on the lives of other people, because it offers escape. Ultimately, social media has proved to become a source of addiction to many teens who find themselves struggling to manage their emotions and problems in their lives. 

So what can we do? My last article explored the different ways in which one can restrict their social media usage. But why? Personally, I realized that the damage of social media is much greater than solely brain damage and addiction. Quite simply, I do not want to miss out on my life. I do not want to miss spending time with my family while I still can, because as we all know, life is short. Why spend your life hovering over a screen obsessing over someone else’s life when you could obsess over your own, wonderful life? This realization was what I truly needed to put my phone down, and I hope perhaps more teens will come to realize that there is so much more to life than an Instagram post, a celebrity birthday, or a Snapchat story. We must begin to live our lives for what is truly real, not for what is hidden behind a screen, which, very likely, is photoshopped.

Offord, Catherine. “How Social Isolation Affects the Brain.” The Scientist Magazine®, www.the-scientist.com/features/how-social-isolation-affects-the-brain-67701.

“Social Media Addiction.” Addiction Center, 20 Nov. 2020, www.addictioncenter.com/drugs/social-media-addiction/.


To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before

Recently, I read To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han. I relished the fake love/real love aspects the author played with, and how in the end the protagonist finally found the person she was looking for.

The protagonist is Lara Jean. Her story is set in her second year of high school when she was 16 years old. The significance of the high school setting is that she is described as the girl who’s considered a “nobody” that stays in the shadows. Until she begins to “date” the most popular boy. This area matters most because the book is described as the daily life of a teen, and what they would experience. 

The reason she begins to date the popular boy/aka Peter is because of letters she once wrote to people she’s had a crush on. “Lara Jean keeps love letters to all the boys she has ever loved in a teal hatbox”. One of those crushes being her older sister’s boyfriend Josh. 

Soon after it is finally time for Lara’s sister (Margot) to leave for college, she breaks up with her boyfriend.

Leaving Lara Jean, (who once had a crush on Josh) feelings for him to come back after Margot leaves for school. The continuous amount of letters Lara has written were never supposed to be sent out. She only wrote them for her well being,

But one day, Peter Kavinsky, one of the guys Lara Jean wrote a letter to, approaches her and tells her he does not have any sort of attraction to her. Lara Jean is confused but realizes that he is referring to a letter she wrote him years ago after he received it in the mail. “Horrified, she tells him she wrote it a long time ago when they were in seventh grade, playing a game and Peter kissed her.”

That night, Lara Jean cannot find her hatbox at home. And she hears Josh come over and “hides in a treehouse she used to spend a lot of time in as a kid.”

The next morning at school, Josh asks her about the letter to him. She lies and admits to Josh that she is dating someone else which leads her to kiss Peter as he walks by in the middle of the hall. But to her surprise he kisses her back. 

Lara Jean later explains her situation to Peter. And he decides to go along with the lie that the two of them are dating, To make his long term ex jealous that just broke up with him. 

The significance of the setting shifting from Lara Jean being a loner in high school to Lara dating someone in high school is that she is starting to be seen by everyone and everyone is involved in the drama of her and Peter’s relationship. 

She can’t go back because everyone will know that she is lying, especially the boy she is hiding from by dating Peter. 

Lara faces certain forces and pressures. When her class takes a ski trip in a cabin. She meets these forces and pressures by deciding to spend more time with Peter because she feels that her feelings for him are real now and she is no longer faking the relationship.

The tension rises when Lara gets into a hot tub with Peter and they both admit that they have REAL feelings for one another. This might leave a reader feeling excited. Because their relationship is cute and there are moments when things looked like they were actually together. 

The book climaxes when The school gets back from the trip and there is a rumor going around that Lara feels humiliated by and Peter doesn’t deny. Leaving Lara upset at Peter and them not talking for the whole Christmas Break. 

During Christmas break Margot, Lara’s older sister comes back home from college. 

The falling action ultimately resolves the conflict. When Josh comes over to Lara’s house to see how she’s doing and admits once AGAIN that he has feelings for Lara, Leaving Margot to hear and find out. But soon after Margot isn’t upset anymore and accepts Lara’s apology. 

 After things have cooled down between the two, Lara’s other sister Kitty admits she’s the one that sent the letters out. Lara’s mad for a little but brushes it off and accepts that Kitty was just trying to help, when she says that “Peter really cares for her” and returns the hatbox that is now filled with notes that Peter gave Lara Jean while they were fake-dating. As Lara reads them over she has a change of heart and wants to get back with Peter because she loves him. Writing a new letter to him, all about it. 

The resolution is person v person because Lara and Peter get back together in the end and enjoy their REAL relationship. 


man running along seashore during golden hour

Ghost Plot summary

Recently, I read Ghost, by Jason Reynolds.  I  thought that this book had very good characters and an interesting plot.

The protagonist is Ghost. His story is set in modern times in a town that isn’t specified, specifically His school. The significance of the school setting is that he gets bullied a lot and takes out his anger at track practice. The significance of the setting shifting from school to the track is that Ghost has a lot more friends at track.

Ghost faces certain forces and pressures. He is bullied by a kid named Brandon. He meets these forces and pressures by deciding to beat Brandon up. 

The tension rises when Ghost is punished by the coach and forced to run extra laps. This might leave a reader feeling proud. I think that Ghost deserved this because you shouldn’t take your anger out on people that way

The story climaxes when Ghost goes to the track meet “

The falling action ultimately resolves the conflict. He has trained for a long time and he wins his race. It’s a person vs person type of conflict that’s driving this story. Ghosts goal is to beat everybody else on the track.


man standing while holding microphone

lil key x lil baby

Lil key x lil baby

I say lil baby on the track ayyyy , 
I got my mans from philly 
Her name is lil key 

I say philly philly
is  where i am from 
got lil baby from atlanta 

we bouta turn the city up 
with this one 
i say six 9ine 
is a rat bouta 

hit him with gat  


Where I’m From

I am from the lawnmower, from john deere and store bought parts.

I am from the warm bright sun coming in from the sliding glass doors.

I am from the aloe vera, sunflowers, and the pine tree planted in my backyard, the amazon sword tail, the moonflower, the plants that grow through the top of the fish tank. 

I am from Sauerkraut ball making day  and cathothilic eastern and western europeans, from Debbie and Hugh and the Meldrums.

I am from the hotheads and smart people.

From “you can be anything” and “don’t become me, be better”.

I am from reformed catholics. My parents who shed their religion.

I’m from Lansing and Ireland and Poland, Pierogies and Kielbasa

From the waking up on christmas with my mom then going to sleep on christmas night at my dads, the 11 hour drives to the U.P., and the smell of my grandma’s christmas ham

I am from the pictures hanging in my mother’s house, the young Aidan staring down on me. The recipe of my great grandma hanging above the fireplace letting us know family traditions is still alive and well. 

By. Aidan Gallagher in the style of Where I’m From by George Ella Lyons


And Still I Rise

This poetry book makes me feel confident and inspired from the way it can grab your “insecurities” or lack of judgement, and create a brand new vision.  I appreciate it because of her go getter mentality. The way she speaks and puts it all together is wonderful. She can make something you thought was wrong, better.

 It gives me self-assurance because of her continued self esteem, She’s pushing not only herself but us to “rise above society”/”the society one was brought up from”. 

One particular poem that gives me these emotions is “Phenomenal Woman,

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies. I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size but when U start to tell them, They think i’m telling lies. I say, It’s the reach of my arms, The span of my hips,

The stride of my step, The curl of my lips. I’m a woman Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, That’s me I walk into a room just as cool as you please,” (This is only the beginning of the poem.)

I picked this poem because of the realization of who I am as a person, The way I’ve carried myself over the years, and the things I’ve learned to love. It speaks to me in every way. And my understanding gets better every time I read it. 

The word choice Maya used was giving be and look however you want. Embrace what is Yours. Don’t try and deny it. 


Selected Poems Of Langston Hughes

Selected poems by langston hughes 

The Selected Poems Of Langston Hughes makes me feel “educated” (in a sense)

 because of the quick turn it can take from appreciating life and the littlest things, too big issues like Racism and gender equality.  

I also appreciate the way he expresses his feelings towards everything, and gives you another way to view the world.

The poem that sticks out to me most is..

Tired 

I am so tired of waiting,

Aren’t you,

For the world to become good

And beautiful and kind?

Let us take a knife

And cut the world in two –

And see what worms are eating

At the rind.

I picked this poem because of the different ways it could be interpreted. It can be referred to as global issues, everyone would care about. Or peculiar issues that apply to a certain group. 

I find that the best type of way to give a poem, A way so everyone can see it and understand the in debt meaning.

The rhythm it provides, gives you a 100 different ways to respond and think about.


Facing the Lion- Simone

Recently, I read Facing the Lion, by Simone Arnold Liebster.  I enjoyed and appreciated this book. The author, Simone shares her experience of being a Jehovah’s Witness during a time where they were banned. Although being threatened many times, Simone stayed faithful and loyal to her God. she always looked to her God, Jehovah, for help and relied on him, to endure all her persecution.  

The protagonist is Simone. Her story is set in the 1930s in between Germany and France, specifically in Alsace Lorraine, a region right on the border of Germany and France. The significance of the Alsace setting is that it was invaded by Hitler and German Nazis. Jews and Jehovah’s Witnesses were persecuted, anyone who didn’t accept Hitler as savior were sent to concentration camps. There was a war going on between Germany and France. 

The significance of the setting shifting from her home in Alsace to the Wessenberg’s Reformatory for Girls is that speaking to her classmates was not permitted, and she was forced to do physical labor while looking after and taking care of a little girl in her school. She didn’t have much opportunity to read her bible, and she barely learned anything educational wise. Simone faces certain forces and pressures. At age 13, she was forced to help cook for all the students in her school, while sewing and patching up holes in old socks, and forced to do laundry, while babysitting a naughty five-year-old girl that always tried to get her in trouble. Simone had to make her bed and help wash with her laundry as well as clean her teacher’s bedroom and bathroom. She had to do all this in total silence, and on an empty stomach, the food rations were barely enough. She wasn’t allowed privacy, and her personal belongings, gifts and letters from her family were often taken away from her. She had to read her bible in secret, if she got caught she would have been punished with hand whippings. She meets these forces and pressures by deciding to follow all of her teachers instructions, praying to her god and secretly reading her bible when she has the chance. You can see this early in the memoir on page 102.

The tension rises when her mother and father are both arrested. Her father was first sent to the Dachau concentration camp, then later sent to Mauthausen, a harsh penal camp meant for exterminating inmates by means of extremely hard labor. Her mother was sent to the Gaggenau camp, and they both faced many hardships. This was all happening during a war between Germany and France, so this made it even harder for her aunt to visit and to give any updates on her parent’s conditions. 

After Simone receives a letter from her mothers prison mate, instead of the letter coming from Simone’s mom herself, and after sending many letters to her father without getting a response, she believes that they are dead. it’s understandable for her to react this way and jump to conclusions because of all the chaos of the war going on and constantly hearing war machine guns. Because of this, more restrictions and precautions were taken at her school. All the changes no doubt  gave Simone a lot of added stress, fear and sadness, it must have been hard for her to think positive at this time. “One day, I received a letter from one of Mum’s prison mates. Why didn’t Mum write? I suddenly feared the worst. Surely she was dead. Dad hadn’t written either; he too must be dead. Maybe aunt eugenie was killed in the battle of alsace, and perhaps Bergenbach was burned to the ground! Frightful images flashed through my mind.”

Thankfully, Simone’s prediction of her parent’s death turns out to be  false. Although in rough conditions, sick and malnourished Simone gets to see her parents again. The happy family is reunited, after the war ends. 


A Dog’s Purpose

The protagonist is playing the story of a dog who goes through four reincarnations, and comes back every time as a different hound. He is seeking “a dog’s purpose in life” each time he has been resurrected and “given another chance”.

At the beginning of the book, he is the archetypal “pawn”. This can be seen in the earlier pages, towards the beginning, where the author writes:

“A few weeks later, after being nursed by their mother, a feral as well, the dog and his siblings Fast, Sister, and Hungry go outside of their den to explore the woods around them. Soon after, men come and capture them. 

Not long after, animal control agents arrive with orders to shut down the place, the men brought Toby too, due to poor sanitation and welfare conditions. Many dogs, including Toby, are subsequently euthanized.”

But by chapter 5, Toby has begun to transform into the archetypal “survivor/hustler”. When he is reincarnated as a new dog, and is set to live in a new environment. For example, “Toby is reincarnated as a Golden Retriever puppy. A few weeks after birth, when Toby and his new brothers and sisters have matured enough, he and the others are allowed to play outside the cage. Toby climbs up onto a table and bites the doorknob, opening the gate to the outside world and leaving him to explore. A truck driver picks up Toby on the road and drives to a bar. After the man has been gone for several hours, Toby begins suffering from heat exhaustion in the truck. 

However, a woman appears and breaks the car window. She revives Toby with water from a water bottle. The woman brings him to her car and returns home. The woman introduces Toby, renamed Bailey, to her eight-year-old son, Ethan, who is overjoyed to have a puppy of his own. 

Over the course of many years, Bailey lives a full life with Ethan. He accompanies Ethan through many difficulties, including arson, causing a permanently injured leg, ending Ethan’s athletic career. Ethan goes to live with his grandparents at their farm in Michigan so he can be with his girlfriend Hannah and finish his senior year in high school. Around that time, things are not going well in the family, with Ethan’s injury, an eventual breakup with Hannah, and a divorce between Ethan’s parents. 

Soon after moving, Ethan goes off to college, leaving Bailey with infrequent visits from him during the holidays. Bailey’s health starts to decline, with him taking naps very often and being weak. Soon, Ethan’s mother and grandparents take him to the vet, where he is once again put down.”

Toby, renamed Bailey, is no longer the dog he used to be. So far he’s lived 2 different lives. And continues to live more.  

A reader might predict that the turning point for Bailey comes when He is once again reincarnated. But what comes after? With only one adventure left. The middle/ending of this book encourages this prediction>: “Bailey wakes up once again as a German Shepherd. Bailey, who realizes that he is now a girl, is picked out and named Ellie by a police officer, named Jakob, and trained to be a search-and-rescue dog. But as years pass he dies of old age,

 He is reborn once more but this time as a Labrador Retriever with Wendi, his new owner, who is ecstatic with Bailey, whom she renames Bear. However, she is unable to keep him because of a no-pet rule in her apartment building. Instead, she gives him to her mother, who is dating an alcoholic. The mother’s boyfriend, fed up with the dog upon receiving a notice that he needs to provide better living conditions, ditches him on a country road. Bear recognizes his surroundings, having been there before with Ethan. Using the skills he learned as Ellie, Bear is able to trail the scent of one of the farm’s animals to the Farm, where Ethan lives. Ethan, now an elderly man, decides to keep Bear, who he renames Buddy, and marries Hannah.

 Years pass, and Ethan suffers from an apparent stroke, and as he is dying suddenly recognizes that Buddy is Bailey.”


woman in black bikini holding bouquet of flowers

Body positivity

People told me that I shouldn’t show my skin 
or that I’m not perfect enough 
or fit enough to be able to have self confidence 
with revealing my skin. 

Only women who are skinny 
are the perfect size to be able to reveal their skin. 

I am Lizzo 
I am Lizzo 
I love my body 
I’m glad what god has given me

I am perfect in my own way. 
I should be able to have self confidence, 
I should be able to reveal my skin if I want . 
who are you to tell me how I should be. 

Everybody should be able to have self confidence ,
and  everyone's body is beautiful, 
nothing can change that. 
Why should plus size womens need to cover up? 

I want my audience and both genders
 to have self confidence the more 
we are confident we are most 
likely to become stronger. 

woman in black bikini standing beside red wall


man in black and white jacket

Struggles of Indigenous Women

The issue I have chosen to study is Indigenous Women. The articles that I looked at talked about how many women are killed. Every day, Indigenous Women have to worry about their lives. I chose his topic because I wanted to spread awareness about it because it’s not something you see in the news a lot. It’s something that has got to end.

People die every day. Although I don’t think it’ll impact other people. However, black people go through a similar struggle. They have to face police brutality all the time. It’s not exactly the same but people still die all the time from each group. 4 out of 5 women are affected by violence every day. These women face murder rates 10 times more than the national average.

I didn’t really find in any of the articles how people are helping but I’ve seen people on social media speak out about it and raise their voice. These killers need to be caught and charged for their crimes. Nothing is being done about it and that really upsets me. It would be helpful if people spoke out more about this and tried to find places to donate to Indigenous Women. I want to continue to learn about this topic and find ways to help.

Sources

“MMIWG2S.” CSVANW Coalition to STOP Violence Against Women, www.csvanw.org/mmiw/

“Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Inquiry.” Human Rights Documents Online, doi:10.1163/2210-7975_hrd-9902-2016008.

Segers, Grace. “Congress Tackles Crisis of Missing and Murdered Native American Women.” CBS News, CBS Interactive, 2019, www.cbsnews.com/news/congress-crisis-missing-and-murdered-native-american-women/.


A Sports Dilemma: Controversial Team-names and the Indigenous Community

I have chosen my research topic on the controversy about the use of the terms “Indians” and “Redskins” as mascots and team names in sports. Major teams in sports have been using racial slur names as the team name which is not appropriate for audiences especially since this controversy affects Native Americans and Indigenous people. Native Americans and other organizations for a team name change have spoken out about this problem that’s been going on for a long time and that there needs to be changes. I chose this topic because I know that American Football and other sports leagues have a big impact on social media and that those impacts can affect the audience watching the games. There had been other scenarios about use of terms within other teams and it is one of the problems we still have today. 

FedEx Field, home of the Washington Redskins, is located in Landover in Prince George’s County. (Doug Pensinger)

There have been many things that have attempted to address the issues such as, banning team mascots and names in high schools, organizations and court action, and lastly the removal of big team names. I think that these rules and laws need to be put into effect for the big sports teams. In California Governor Bans Redskins Name at Public Schools, Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation on the ban of public high schools making the state the first to bar public schools from using the Redskins name for sports teams. He also signed a measure that bans players and coaches from using smokeless tobacco at professional baseball parks. The mascot legislation signed will prevent public schools from using a term that American Indians regard as offensive, which went into effect in 2017. In Trademark Rules Against Redskins Name, the Washington Football team (used to be formally known as Washington Redskins) had the trademark board ruled that the Washington Redskins nickname is “disparaging of Native Americans” and that the team’s trademark protections should be canceled. This makes it so that their decision applies pressure into the team name change. This step taking into account the name change is putting the effect on the Washington Football team and organizations that are complaining about this issue about the NFL team. 

Recently, in an article Washington Football Team to Drop Name explained that the NFL team will finally remove the name “Redskins” from their team and logo. There has been a movement to address George Preston Marshall, the founder of its N.F.L. team, by removing the monument and his name from team facilities. The team has a long history with attention because of its racial past. The decision came after the franchise said it would review the 87-year-old team name under pressure from major corporate partners including FedEx, which had threatened to end its naming rights sponsorship of the team’s stadium. Daniel Snyder (current owner) said the new name, when chosen, would “take into account not only the proud tradition and history of the franchise but also input from our alumni, the organization, sponsors, the National Football League and the local community it is proud to represent on and off the field”. Now that the team has let go of its current name, it will have to find a replacement, a process that requires navigating trademarks and the league’s licensing deals with partners, which can often take years. After conducting this research I would like to spread more awareness on this topic because more than 2,200 high schools still use Native American imagery in their names/ mascots, according to a database of mascot names. This makes it offensive taking into account on the Native Americans and indigenous people. Once the Washington Football team has chosen a new name, it will have influence on other schools and teams in the N.F.L to do the same.

LANDOVER, MARYLAND – OCTOBER 04: The Washington Football Team takes the field before playing against the Baltimore Ravens at FedExField on October 4, 2020 in Landover, Maryland. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Washington Football Team did not host fans during the game. (Photo by Patrick Smith)


Words of Oppression

 I am choosing to address the topic of Indian related things on sports teams mascots and flags. The NFL team, Washington RedHawks,  used to be named the Washington Redskins. And there is a lot of controversy surrounding the team’s name and flag. I chose this topic because I like sports and I wanted to research more about this particular NFL team.

Throughout US history native Americans have been constantly harassed and disrespected. The term redskin is disrespectful towards Indians because of the history of the word. The Indian head symbolizes a bad period of history for the native Americans, but the Washington team decided to use the head as their flag.

This issue does not affect people who are not native American. Because people outside the native American community don’t have that connection to native American history. A study in UC Berkeley showed that 48 % of students found the term redskin offensive, 38 % said that it wasn’t offensive. And the remaining students couldn’t decide whether it is offensive or not.

In 2009 a group of native Americans took the redskins to court in an attempt to define the term redskin as an offensive slur. They lost but their efforts were carried on by other people. It took many years, many protests and petitions. Lots of people spoke up and tried to get the name changed. Finally during the protests for George Floyd in 2020, the Washington team was pressured into changing their name by multiple sponsors and investors.

The thing about this issue is that people who don’t get affected by it won’t truly understand how it feels. For example, if an Indian who finds the term redskin offensive talks with someone who belongs to a racial group that doesn’t get disrespected or oppressed in any way, no matter how much the native tells the person he is talking to about how bad it feels to be called a red skin, the person will not understand. But on the other hand, if that same native American talked with an African American person, who finds the n-word offensive and has been called the n-word by people.

African Americans will be able to understand how it feels because they have been through the same thing. That is why it is important for people who haven’t been oppressed to really keep an open mind and try to put themselves in other people’s shoes. How would you feel if there was a word used to oppress your people throughout history?


Insensitive Sports Names and Mascots

Indians, Redskins, Braves, Chiefs, Blackhawks. A history of racially insensitive team names and mascots in professional sports has persisted far beyond the time when it was acceptable, so why are they still in use? Many sports organizations that compete at the highest level have team branding that is very insensitive to Native Americans. They perpetuate native stereotypes and have them alongside traditional mascots, animals. Dehumanization, is a phrase that I think a lot of people ignore nowadays. They say that we got past it a long time ago, but we haven’t. And mascots like these are some of the things that are pulling it forwards. This issue is really hurtful for native people, but for almost all of the people who watch and support these teams it’s nothing. They wouldn’t look twice. This is why it’s taken so long to get rid of some of these mascots.

I am happy to say that things are starting to change. As of this week two of the big offenders have decided to rebrand their team. The formerly redskins are now known as the Washington football team, and the Indians have made a statement that they will change their branding but have not done anything as of 12-17-20. These are tremendous steps forwards and I am hoping that there will be more to come. These decisions came as a result of “significant pressure from major corporate sponsors” (White) but really it was the people who were and still are speaking out and protesting. Those that use their voice to fight injustice. It’s because of those people that big companies don’t want to be associated with controversial organizations. There is a long way to go but the ball is rolling, and now is a better time than ever to tell someone. Spread the word. Speak the truth about these names and mascots and get more people to understand why they need to go. 

White, Joseph. “NFL’s Redskins May Lose Trademark Protection.” Newsela, 2014, newsela.com/read/redskins-trademark/id/4401/. 

Waldstein, David, and Michael S. Schmidt. “Cleveland’s Baseball Team Will Drop Its Indians Team Name.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 14 Dec. 2020, www.nytimes.com/2020/12/13/sports/baseball/cleveland-indians-baseball-name-change.html.


Not Your Mascot

In this artifact I put an image of a football field with the Washington Redskins mascot symbol (before they changed their name). This is saying that Native people shouldn’t be used as mascots because it is dehumanizing and blatantly disrespectful.  When you see hundreds if not thousands of other sports teams with animals and objects as their mascots, it makes it seem as if they are saying that Native people aren’t human.  

This artifact has a photo by photographer Sings In The Timber, and it is depicting an Indigenous person in regalia walking by a more than likely Caucasian person with redskins merchandise.  This is eye opening because you can really see how wrong and uncomfortable it is.  Indigenous people aren’t characters, they are human people.  Many people have come forth and have tried speaking out against this and have said how wrong it is.  People can learn more about this by searching up the photographers name, and looking at other similar pictures and information.

This artifact has an image of an Indigenous person holding up two middle fingers with images of different redskins logos on them as the main focus.  This is implying that Native people are not on the side of the teams with these names, and are actually very against it.  In the person’s face, you can see that they don’t look too happy, and this explores the point further that they do not support the use of the terms.  Below the image is a hashtag in the middle of a half-circle with the words “Notyourmascot”  which is a hashtag used to speak out about this issue.  To learn more about this, you can just type in the hashtag on Instagram.


BLM and the Representation of Kneeling During the National Anthem

The action of kneeling during the national anthem began back in 2016 when Colin Kaepernick refused to stand during the star spangled banner in order to protest racial injustice and police brutality. “I am not looking for approval. I have to stand up for people that are oppressed.” He was later fired because of choosing to exercise his rights. Following this on October 2nd, 2016 the NFL decided to impose fines on players who kneeled. This put the issue of racial injustice behind closed doors and silenced the players more from expressing their rights. It led to only a few players kneeling during the national anthem but the coverage of racial injustice had finally been put out there more. 

The commotion of the cause died down, and got silenced more as time went on and was pushed into the background. However, on the 25th of May in 2020 an African American man by the name of George Floyd was murdered by a police officer who had knelt on his neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. The policemen had come to arrest George Floyd for allegedly using a counterfeit bill and it ended with him dead on the street. After this, protests arose for Black Lives Matter and seeking justice for George Floyd and all those who had been killed by police brutality. In a way, it seemed as if the country had finally realized how big of a problem racism still is. Protests arose within 24 hours of the murder all around America, and the globe. People from every single state protested in the United States, along with places in Europe, Canada, Australia and even some in South America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. 

Many groups throughout all of America began to support Black Lives Matter too. One of the bigger examples are sports teams. Not only the professional level sports teams, but college-level and even high school level sports teams. This then circles back to the choice of kneeling during the national anthem. So many sports teams have supported this cause. Either kneeling as a team during the national anthem, or not going out of the locker room as the national anthem plays. This has been the action of so many to not only show their support to Black Lives Matter but promote and enforce change for racial injustices.


Champions League

The Champions League is one of the most-watched tournaments in the world big teams, like real: Madrid, Barcelona, and Liverpool play.

An incident just happened a ref called a player ¨black¨ and he got very offended by it. Both teams then stopped the game until they got a new official to ref the game. They did not want him.

The teams and players want people to know that racial discrimination should not be allowed in FIFA or in around the world. They then stopped the match completely and left the pitch.


Astroturfing and The Importance of Corporate and Political Transparency

If you have been keeping up with political news and campaigns, especially in this election year, then you are probably familiar with grassroots organizing and what it consists of. For those who may be unaware, grassroots organizing is when ordinary people use the power of the internet or their own resources to take collective action and attempt to get policy enacted in their favor. The tricky part about organizing in this day and age is the tendency of lobbyists, large companies, and interest groups to further their agenda by any means (or falsehoods) necessary.

Cases in which grassroots organizations misrepresented and used to back the interests of companies who may not actually stand for public interests are referred to as “astroturfing” or fake grassroots organizing. This is an admittedly clever term for much more sinister subject matter since astroturfed ads, events, and testimonies ultimately affect legislation in the US that directly affects its people. 

First, how does astroturfing even work? Many may not understand the complexities of this but may recognize certain aspects. For example, President Trump has often referenced in his speeches an organization called “Crowds on Demand” in which protestors are paid to support a cause that they may or may not agree with.

Astroturfing at its core consists of “multiple online identities and fake pressure groups are used to mislead the public into believing that the position of the astroturfer is the commonly held view” (Bienkov). This example highlights one of the strongest arguments against astroturfing which is that paid protestors who are revealed to be hired create a sense of skepticism within the American public regarding social movements and media.

This is intrinsically a good thing, but healthy skepticism can lead one down a darker path which was shown in the aftermath of President Trump’s remarks mentioned earlier. Theories about paid protesters led to theories about crisis actors and ultimately to the widespread conspiracy theory that grieving parents at the scene of the Sandy Hook massacre were actually paid actors. And it doesn’t even stop there.

Cases like “Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission opened the floodgates for dark money” to flow through elections and ultimately into media and advertisements (Scott). In one notable case, an ad was released by a non-profit organization called HumaneWatch that depicted a strangely Italian dog named Tony harshly accusing the Humane Society of stealing money from local shelters, claiming that they “stick most of the cash in hedge funds” (“Tony”).

Now, it didn’t take a genius to put together that the ad was not actually created by a nonprofit dedicated to the livelihood of animals. It was credited to an organization created by Rick “Dr. Evil” Berman who is known for his defense of controversial products such as tanning beds and for founding nonprofit groups to fight regulation that benefits his corporate clients.

This is just one example of the kind of ads that are running constantly and many are not nearly as questionable as this. The existence of such ads highlights a need for awareness and regulation in Washington and for corporations around the world. 

Astroturfing is a fundamentally deceitful practice that tricks good-intending citizens into getting behind a cause that they believe is highly supported due to the number of people in the pocket of corporations and powerful politicians. Regulation is important and very needed but due to the current state of affairs, it may be unreasonable to expect them soon.

In any case, awareness about this topic and its harmful effects should be more widely known in the average American household. Healthy skepticism is important and realizing that not every non-profit is looking out for your best interests is an integral part of a never-ending journey to think for yourself and to trust your own beliefs in the face of an astroturfed crowd.

Works Cited

Bienkov, Adam. “Astroturfing: What Is It and Why Does It Matter?” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 8 Feb. 2012, www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/feb/08/what-is-astroturfing

“Tony Is Mad.” HumaneWatch, 24 Dec. 2013, humanewatch.org/ad/tony-is-mad/.

Scott, Matthew. 105 Iowa L. Rev. 431 (2019). “Ripping Up the Astroturf: Regulating Deceptive Corporate Advertising Methods.” Iowa Law Reviewilr.law.uiowa.edu/print/volume-105-issue-1/ripping-up-the-astroturf-regulating-deceptive-corporate-advertising-methods/.


How is the fight for the COVID-19 vaccine going?

Everyone in the world wants COVID and the pandemic to be over and it might be coming our way because there has already been two organizations that have successfully come up with a vaccine for COVID-19 that are from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna. So far they have been running many tests and they have constructed along with the vaccine, they have found some side effects of the vaccine and with that, they are doing more and more testing for the vaccine.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/health/2020/12/04/vaccine-ethics-does-continuing-covid-1


selective focus photography of woman wearing black cold-shoulder shirt using megaphone during daytime

Seeking Racial Justice

In the article, “Speaking Out About Race,” five teenagers wrote essays voicing the need to build an antiracist society.  The essays come from five distinct teenagers with the goal to critically make society be more informed and educated to make differences to better their own communities. To forward action, rallies are formed so that the message of racial justice is spoken for.  These five students explain how they take action in different ways to fight for racial justice.

Pressing for change in the education system is significant.  The younger generations lead to be the influencers of upcoming generations so it is important that they are being educated correctly about diversity within races.  Regardless of segregation being a time of the past, it can still be seen through the neighborhoods that are considered “rich” or the neighborhoods seen as “poor”.  Racism needs to stop being ignored but confronted and voiced.

What can the young people do to make a change?


Virtual classes, advantage or disadvantage?

Virtual classes have gotten to their peak this past year. Many of these reasons are not only because of the high cases of covid, but also because of students who work full time jobs and students who cannot make it to traditional in-person classes. It gives them an opportunity to participate in class, without physically being there. Have the ability to learn and be part of a class without having to feel left out. However, with all these advantages there are its disadvantages. 

“With remote learning moving into the long term, experts say the mental, emotional and academic impacts of that shift are likely to be challenging”(Burke). Many disadvantages include no personal contact, poor time management skills, and lack of interaction. All of which could lead to more serious problems like poor eye sight, stress, and depression, along with many others.

 Virtual classes are worse for the younger generation. It impacts children’s health, not only physically, but mentally. Many students are more hands-on learners, being in physical classrooms.  Research has shown that “Generation Z” students — those born after 1996 — have surprising preferences for face-to-face learning, even though their parents rarely see them without their smartphone in hand”(Reed). Having to stare at a screen for 7-10 hours a day affects the eyesight, impacts sleep, and can be a major distraction. While there may be many benefits to virtual classes, there are many more disadvantages to top them. 

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“The Mandalorian” Helping the Franchise

The second season of the Mandalorian has begun to air on Disney Plus and has drawn many links to previous Star Wars movies and TV shows.  This has made many fans become more invested in the show and the Star Wars franchise.  Most of these links have come from the animated shows such as “Clone Wars,” “the new season introduced Katee Sackhoff as Bo-Katan Kryze, reprising a Mandalorian warrior she voiced on those animated programs,”(Lowry).  The next link was Ahsoka Tano who was one of the most popular characters both in “Clone Wars” and in “Star Wars Rebels.”  

In the decade between the release of the third and seventh movie the animated shows helped to keep the fan base alive and invested in the franchise.  Now those animated characters who have been converted into live action are helping the franchise the same way they did a decade ago.  “One key ingredient in “The Mandalorian’s” evolution would be Dave Filoni, who executive produced the animated series and has joined Jon Favreau in shepherding along this first live-action TV show,” (Lowry). 

Filoni also wrote and directed the fifth episode of season two titled “The Jedi,” in which Ahsoka Tano is introduced into live-action.  However “The Mandalorian,” has also made a connection to the original trilogy and the prequels.  In episode five “Temuera Morrison formalized his role as the bounty hunter Boba Fett — the original wearer of that iconic armor,” (Lowry).  

With all these connections to the animated series and the movies “The Mandalorian” is keeping the franchise alive, and helping to get the fans reinvested in the story. 


How Selena Quintanilla Valued Her Nation, Culture, and Traditions

Like many citizens of America who value and think highly of their country, Mexican Americans are the same. They value their nation, culture and traditions. Mexican culture is a combination of many influences handed down as earliest as the mesoamerican civilization to the diverse population today. Because so many people of different backgrounds live in the United States, multi-background citizens are not uncommon. Selena Quintanilla Pérez being one of these people, born and raised in the United States with Mexican American roots. Despite Selena’s difficulties as a Tejano woman, her music, and legacy showed others her own self identity. 

    Selena was known for singing a genre of music, “Tejano” which fuses Mexican, European, U.S. influences together (britannica). “Tejano” literally translates to “Texan”, which is very fitting because Texas is the origin of this music (Ilich). Thousands upon thousands of musicians have used this specific type of music. Tejano music is not only popular, but also rich with history.       

In 1989 Selena joined EMI records, a major record company. The head of the company, José Behar had high hopes for Selena. He saw her as the “next Gloria Estefan” a Latina artist who wasn’t bound by any language or genre (Chavez). José Behar also knew that she could appeal to a greater audience, not just Tejano fans. In 1991 her song “Buenos Amigos” became number one on the billboard, making her known in the United States and a wider audience (Chavez). Her growing fame expanded to the whole United States, Central American, South America, and even Asia.

Selena became eager to make an album in her first language, so she would become successful as some of the artists she was being compared to, for example, Madonna and Mariah Carey. Selena began recording English language songs and continued performing.  In 1995, Selena was shot and killed by the president of her fan club, Yolanda Saldivar. Millions of people mourned her death, and thus the attention of her death gained her even greater fame. A year after her death her crossover album was released containing English and Spanish songs. 

Her success in a male- dominant Tejano genre was a breakthrough for Selena, the genre of Tejano music became very well known. Selena helped popularize Tejano music among a broader and younger audience than it had previously drawn (Chavez). Through Selena’s music, and the legacy she was able to help the Latin community in American to come to terms with their Identity. Selena helped many Mexican American’s who were struggling with their bicultural life, to feel like they belonged somewhere.

https://www.britannica.com/art/Tejano-music

https://www.giarts.org/article/tejano-local-music-global-identity

http://www.facts-about-mexico.com/mexican-music.html

https://fiestadelaflor.com/info/selenas-legacy/


Should students be required to wear school uniforms?

School uniforms have become one of the most debated topics in our society today. Some people believe that wearing uniforms to school is a “must” while other people think that uniforms are a complete waste of money. In this post, I will try to compare both sides and provide different arguments supporting each side.

To start off, I would like to provide some background regarding the use of uniforms in schools. It is believed that school uniforms were first introduced in 1222. This means that uniforms have existed for a really long time and they have been required by almost every school, but Why? Why were school uniforms required?

According to ProCon.org, uniforms are not considered simply as an exercise in conformity, but a connection to the rich history of the school and a symbol of its distinguished community. People who support school uniforms argue that uniforms are one of the things that best distinguish/describe each school. Uniforms are like a “patriotic symbol” for the school, and they are worn because of what they represent.

Also, one of the most important reasons why school uniforms are important is because they can break down class barriers between students (When students don’t wear school uniforms it can be easy to spot kids with the most and least economic privilege based on what they wear to school). On the other hand, people who are against school uniforms argue that ditching school uniforms would not only cost parents more money, but they would be a bad idea all around.

Rather than promote an orderly and disciplined student environment, mandatory uniforms would cause massive student disobedience and take away valuable instruction time. According to Smartasset, Uniforms limit student self-expression, They can be expensive for parents, and they are not fair for both boys and girls because girls have to wear skirts and boys don’t. 

In conclusion, the use of school uniforms will never be considered either right or wrong. In my opinion, school uniforms should be worn to school because of all the benefits that students get from wearing them, especially because they can break down class barriers between students. School uniforms might limit students’ self-expression, but let’s remember that students go to school for one reason, LEARN, they don’t go to school to show off how cool they are or the expensive clothes that they have.

I believe that students should be required to wear school uniforms up until middle school. Starting high school, students should be given the option to either wear uniforms or not.  


How the “History Of Septa” Represents My Neighborhood

The mural I am doing in my neighborhood is titled the “History Of Septa.” It is located near Cottman and Torresdale. It is a mural I am very familiar with. It is located very close to me, so I go to visit it sometimes because I love the creation of the mural. 

I don’t exactly know the meaning of the mural but I know it means something special to my neighborhood. I lived in my neighborhood for about 6-7 years. So I have passed this mural about a million times. 

I didn’t exactly notice it the first time I walked past it but once I started to notice it I saw how amazing the mural looked. And became very familiar with it being in my neighborhood. 

My experience visiting the mural was incredible. I loved the way it was created to show the importance of the transportation center in my neighborhood. I would not want any other mural there. 

The first person I told was my dad, I told my dad about the mural being in my neighborhood because I used to always get on the bus with my dad there. The mysterious question I asked first was  “DID YOU NOTICE THE MURAL?”

He said “No,” but then he said, “It looks amazing, I am surprised I didn’t notice it.” 

I told him that it represents my neighborhood. I also told him how much I loved and admired it. I also talked to my mom about that mural being in our neighborhood, and I asked, “Do you like it?”

She said “YES!” She went on and told me how much she adored the mural. And how much it feels at home when she goes to see it. 

What I think would have happened before I visited was that they were going to replace it with something different. Because that mural has been there for years.

I saw a little peek of it and years later I thought it would be replaced with something different. I am glad that it wasn’t replaced because then my neighborhood wouldn’t feel the same anymore. The different things that surprised me were the creation of it. And the trolleys being in the mural. What also surprised me was the colors they used. What also surprised me was how amazing the creation was. 

Such as the traffic lights and the houses in the mural. I am glad that I got to experience visiting and seeing the amazing mural. I am glad that years later it is still there. 

I wouldn’t replace the mural for anything. I am feeling a general feeling of happiness that the “History Of Septa” mural represents my neighborhood. I will continue to visit it and admire it.


woman in water

The Impact of Physical Activity During the Development Stage

Growing up, I was always very active and involved in as many sports as I could possibly play. I played hockey, softball, golf, soccer, basketball, and even football. In more recent years, I have seen the significant impact playing those sports during my development has made on me. I have always believed that being active not only has a physical effect but can have a positive impact on cognitive performance. Recent studies have shown that physical activity can help prevent cognitive decline later in life. Although the benefits of playing sports outweigh the adverse side effects, if not coached or supported correctly, playing a sport can lead a child to become burnt out. This will eventually lead the child to drop that sport in the future. Being a golfer has taught me how to deal with mental and emotional stress. Stress can be useful in some instances, but too much of it at a young age is not beneficial. 

Sports, whether team-based or individually based, are a great way to provide a variety of benefits for children in their development phase. According to the article” The Impact of Sports in Young Children,” some proven benefits are “Participation in sports can help build self-esteem and confidence, can motivate children to excel academically and can help build social skills.”(Lawrence). All of these aspects described above are all components of the stability of one’s mental health. It has been proven that physical activity or the playing of sports can help treat depression. Being a part of a team can give someone a sense of belonging and importance. Being a part of a group can help teach a child how to grow with others and ultimately be a leader. “Team sports teach your child about why teamwork is important, which can be helpful when he’s an adult and may have to work as part of a team to get his job done.” (Sutton). Learning how to be a leader at a young age will eventually help children in their adult years when being a leader is an essential factor for everyday life. 

In the world  we live in today; confidence is often a vast problem in young lives, particularly in young girls. Getting a head start on overcoming mental health issues can have a massive effect on kids “Kids who participate in sports are less likely to be depressed, have anxiety and exhibit bad behavior, according to the New York University Child Study Center.” (Sutton). Children are taught the importance of work ethic because, in sports, you are often praised for hard work. This encourages kids to work towards a set goal and ultimately build self-esteem. Overall, Sports and physical activity has many benefits, especially for young, developing children. 


Marijuana in Professional Sports

Marijuana for a long time has been the best friend of professional athletes. Endless amounts come out after their career and admit to smoking after a game to relieve pain and stress, or even being high during games. Even with the high usage among players it has continued to be a banned substance in most if not all major leagues. Josh Gordon was a up and coming receiver in the NFL, In 2013 he posted 1,600+ yards and nine touchdowns in just 14 games. Then it was revealed he failed a drug test for marijuana and was drunk and high every game. While still being the best receiver in the league that very same season. Now josh gordon has been suspended so many times it could be permanent.

   Ricky Williams is the perfect example of this, he is one of the most egregious examples of how this policy was wrong. Unlike Josh Gordon, Ricky only smoked weed and had no off the field issues. He was a heisman trophy winner for the University of Miami in 1998, He started smoking his heisman season. He said “ I really used it as an aid to recovery,” he said. “After busting my ass at practice, I’d come home and smoke a little bit, and I felt good. It helped me get up the next day, ready to go back to work.” But then he was busted and the NFL sent him to rehab with three counselors and made him lose the love of the game as a hall of fame potential running back. But now that the drug is legal and more acceptable these stigmas and punishments are corroding along with the stigma in everyday life.

  But just yesterday, The NBA was the final professional sports league to stop testing for marijuana, a trend set by the MLB and shortly followed by the NFL. I completely agree with these decisions. The physical trauma these athletes endure, day-in, day out is inhuman, especially football. In a sport where your main goal is take someone out every play, many times with your head, you are going to need some type of medicine to help yourself, so why not a universal, safe, naturally occurring drug instead of opiods?  

   Then there are the athletes that don’t get caught during their time in sports. There are countless examples of athletes like Harrison Barnes, Kevin Durant, Donovan Mitchell, etc, etc most of your favorite athletes smoke weed to relax. Calvin Johnson, or megatron, a first ballot hall of famer, who set tons of records in the NFL, revealed in an interview after he retired “ I can get Vicodin, I can get Oxy[contin]. It was too available. I used Percocet and stuff like that. And I did not like the way that made me feel. I had my preferred choice of medicine. Cannabis.” The Opioid epidemic is a whole other problem that kills millions of people every year. Cannabis has never killed anyone just by getting high. If these athletes are choosing a safer substance to keep themselves going to perform for the fans then they should be left to do their own thing and people should just mind their own business.

Sources:

https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/ex-lions-star-calvin-johnson-reveals-that-he-used-to-break-one-particular-nfl-rule-after-every-game/

https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/29114415/future-marijuana-drug-policy-nfl-pro-sports

https://www.nbcsports.com/boston/patriots/player-profile-look-josh-gordons-career-stats

https://www.dailyprincetonian.com/article/2019/10/calvin-johnson-marijuana-in-sports

https://www.theringer.com/2016/7/25/16041898/josh-gordon-nfl-conditional-reinstatement-9473e2ae39d5


Fashion and Men

In today’s society, it may seem difficult to come into terms with a lot of people’s difference of opinions. Although we are all entitled to share our voice and thoughts, I believe that it all comes down to the respect we show others for their different beliefs. Throughout history, the one controversial topic that always seems to pop up is the definition of masculinity and what it means to be a true man. Some part in this debatable topic can stem from the things that men put on their bodies – clothes. Fashion has always caused great questions and as history changes, fashions seem to, in some aspect, change with it. 

When you first think of Ernest Hemingway and Franklin D. Roosevelt, you may picture men with brilliant minds. And although they are intellectuals,, they were also some of the most famous individuals of the 20th century to have their picture taken wearing skirts. Though this may come as a surprise, the 1920’s was a time like no other. In the early twentieth century, pink was considered by numerous guides to be more suitable for boys and blue for girls. Many U.S. retailers including our own, Marshall Field, advised parents to dress boys in pink and girls in blue. Regardless of color, both genders would wear dresses. The clothes back then that were worn by boys and girls were nearly identical, indistinguishable from one another (indiatoday.in). The fashion trend of boys in dresses slowly died out but returned in the 1960s and 70s where men routinely dressed in what would be considered women’s clothing today. In those days, men wore high heels, skirts and dresses with belts. 

Fast forward today, men in the music industry are starting to challenge gender fashion norms. Gender-fluid style is gradually immersing hip hop culture (liveabout.com). Rappers like Kanye West and Jaden Smith have brought attention to skirts in today’s society. Pharrell Williams made history as the first guy to model for any Chanel handbag campaign. Williams also frequently incorporates women’s pieces in his wardrobe (revelist.com). Fashion is gradually evolving and more artists have influenced others to express their feelings through their outfit choices. 

Most recently, Harry Styles has stirred conversation about his clothes. He made Vogue history on November 13th rocking a skirt as the first solo man to appear on the cover in the magazine’s 127 – year run (billboard.com). Harry Styles shared in the article, “The people that I looked up to in music — Prince and David Bowie and Elvis and Freddie Mercury and Elton John — they’re such showmen. As a kid it was completely mind-blowing. Now I’ll put something that feels really flamboyant and I don’t feel crazy wearing it.” Styles later shares how, “I think if you get something that you feel amazing in, it’s like a superhero outfit. Clothes are there to have fun with and experiment with..” Many people have spoken out about their thoughts on Harry Styles making history wearing dresses and skirts on a famous magazine cover pleading to, “bring back manly men” and calling Styles’ outfits, “steady feminization of our men.” On the other hand, there were tens of thousands of messages quickly flooding social media with words of support for Harry and praising him for defying toxic masculinity. Harry Styles like several other famous celebrities have come to terms with what they feel comfortable wearing and like to express themselves through their clothes which influences others to do the same. 

 Fashion has always been a great way to express yourself. It is something that makes you even more unique than you already are. I believe that this harms no one and is a great way to express your feelings and show your creativity in a way that should not be judged. Although some people may be sensitive to examining and exploring gender roles in society, I believe that change happens for a reason, and that this is not something we have never seen before. In today’s society, people might be quick to judge but it is important to remember that we are all human and we should respect one another’s harmless beliefs and uniqueness. 

                    Works Cited 

“8 Rappers Who Prove Clothes Have No Gender.” Revelist.com, www.revelist.com/style-trends/fashion-rappers/10726.

Adaso, Henry. “These Rappers Are Challenging Gender Norms.” LiveAbout, www.liveabout.com/gallery-male-rappers-in-womens-clothing-2857983.

Desk, India Today Web. “The Times When Men Wore Dresses and There Was No ‘Pink for Girls and Blue for Boys’!” India Today, India Today, 28 Mar. 2018, www.indiatoday.in/education-today/gk-current-affairs/story/the-times-when-men-wore-dresses-and-there-was-no-pink-for-girls-and-blue-for-boys-1199794-2018-03-28.

Mamo, Heran. “Harry Styles Is the First-Ever Solo Male Cover Star of ‘Vogue’.” Billboard, 13 Nov. 2020, www.billboard.com/articles/columns/pop/9483940/harry-styles-vogue-cover-photos/.


Is storytelling still the same today as it once was?

Storytelling (in a straightforward sense) was once important to humans. We used storytelling to connect, entertain and pass along information all the way from 15,000 B.C.. Now, storytelling isn’t used to sit down and tell a story by heart, say, like the Native American’s would do around a fire when passing down traditions to their younger generations. Now, storytelling is primarily useful for TV shows or movies, or at least, that is where we see storytelling most of the time. I won’t forget books, as those are also important for storytelling, but in today’s world, you won’t see younger generations reading as often as the older generations used to.

The first step to good storytelling is who you’re marketing to, “who are you speaking to?” Nowadays, everyone is watching TV shows and movies, so most storytellers focus on cinematic storytelling. The audience can easily be found through the type of storytelling, and most of the audience storytellers focus on are younger people, millennials and Gen-Z, who will watch TV shows and movies more often. There’ll be an occasional Baby Boomer and Gen-X who will want to watch as well, storytellers haven’t forgotten about those generations too.

 Although, Baby Boomers and Gen-X tend to have different ways of storytelling because storytelling is a way to synchronize with one another. They’ll use their power of storytelling through books and poetry, music even, most of what I’ve heard was oral storytelling, based around their childhood and how younger generations should be ‘working harder.’ “We have been telling stories for so many years that it has become ingrained in our DNA.” This shows that storytelling is still important, it still is a part of everyone’s lives, no matter how it’s presented to us. Storytelling may not be bedtime stories to you but it could be someone’s passion to write children’s books full of bedtime stories.


Women’s Ambitions Due To Social Media

As social media has become a growing source of entertainment, communication, and information it has begun to provide a space in which the voices of the marginalized can be more widely heard. However, the free speech and variability of those on all the different platforms can be the source of a lot of hate and discrimination. This can be seen through a study done by Amnesty International, in which women aged 18-55 from the UK, United States, Spain, Denmark, Italy, Sweden, Poland, and New Zealand. They were asked about their experiences online and any hate, abuse, and harassment they received. The study found that 33% of women from the United States said they had received some form of abuse or harassment through the internet. The article states, “Online abuse can have a serious psychological impact with women reporting stress, anxiety or panic attacks as well as lower self-esteem as a result of the abuse.” This type of abuse can manifest in many ways, whether through personal attacks or through blatant and general attacks on women.

Through more research, we can conclude that there can be long-lasting effects on people from harassment and negative comments on social media. For everyone, these effects can be severe. When looking at women particularly, it has been found that these effects typically include women feeling silenced and lowering their ambitions, self-esteem, and self-belief. This can then even be seen in the professional world. A research paper about this exact effect cites the portrayal of women in the media, including social media as much more negative than that of men. It states, “The empirical analysis yielded results in support of the expected pattern: the OLS regressions showed a significant relationship between media sexism and the share of women candidates in two of the selected indicators.” It is clear that this not only has a psychological effect on how much women want to strive for leadership roles, run for office, and if they do, how the population views them throughout their career. 

It is very clear that social media can have many positive and negative effects on our population, and as it is becoming more widespread, we need to continue to do research on these effects. Seeing as someone’s comments on Instagram, Twitter, and many other social media platforms can have such a large impact on someone’s ambition, we must question the things we put out there. We also need to emphasize the fact that all this can happen to everyone, women are talked about negatively at disproportionate to men. There is still ongoing sexism in the workplace, our society, and now social media. To change this, we have to first draw the necessary attention of the people to the problem and move forward. 


Assembled Ideas

Assembled Idea

Hey everyone, in my English class we are using a quote from a specific reading and are expressing how it connects to our life or for everyone. I would love to see what everyone thinks about it so far. I will be putting colored paper behind each letter to make it pop more but is there anything else I can do it for it. Please let me know and express your thoughts, I love feedback.


Wild tongues…

I was looking for some input before I glued everything down. What does everything think? I like the arrangement, and I might add some more background layering to the letters. Critique welcome!


character hand wallpaper

48/6

SIX-WORD MEMOIR TEMPLATE (Copy)


person reading book on white surface

Importance of a Catharsis Magazine

Catharsis: the process of releasing, and thereby providing relief from, strong or repressed emotions.

High school is a strange and awkward time in a teenager’s life, where they semi find who they are during it. It is difficult to gain and keep the confidence that they have or get. Most don’t even have the confidence, to begin with when starting high school, and this can end up leading to an extremely difficult time. This can result in a teen holding in their emotions in an unhealthy way. But, high school is also a place for new experiences and a place to find new hobbies.

Much of the time, the high school’s focus is on the athletics department, rather than the arts, except if it’s a performing art. This may lead to not giving the recognition that many of these teen artists and writers deserve.

A Literary Magazine, aka a Catharsis Magazine, is a magazine where artists and writers can submit their pieces to be featured in it. When they have a Literary Magazine (Catharsis Magazine) in high school, it can give recognition to those artists that work extremely hard.

Artists and photographers work on their pieces throughout the year, ask for opinions, restart, and so much more. While prose and poem writers can get their emotions out in writing or get inspired at a random part of the day.

Having a Catharsis Magazine may also expand the horizons of other students. There is an opportunity for them to submit poems, artwork, anything that they may do in their free time, but not seriously. It could motivate new students to find something that they are passionate about, something that is totally out of their comfort zone. By finding a new hobby that they genuinely enjoy, it could become a stress reliever for them. Something that many high schoolers need, and want.


man in gray polo shirt and black pants wearing black sunglasses

When are you really an adult?

When do you truly know when you are becoming a “Adult”? Some states use it to turn you physically into an adult when you turn 18, but you’re still an adult mentally. Some people even say that at the age of 21 you should not drink alcohol, so why do they do that so that you are able to vote at the age of 16. You are eligible to vote in some states by the age of 14 and you are considered an adult to do some activities that can be accomplished by 18-year-olds. Also, if you are under 18 in certain states. You are still considered a juvenile and if you commit a felony they appear to go easier on the fines they give you, but it won’t be as straight forward as the underage if you turn 18 and commit a crime.

I agree that the age to be able to do any of these things (voting, drinking, driving, etc should be reached in all states at the age of 21 so you are psychologically prepared for it. I also think that teenagers should not be too light on law enforcement because most of them know what they do and see that getting into trouble is like a game for them.

So When is the actual age you become an adult?


blue and white plastic bottle

Covid-19 Vaccine

The rise of Covid-19 has surged over the past 3 weeks.

Many companies are rushing to get a vaccine out as soon as possible. There are two companies that have a vaccine that is 95% effective, but is that enough?

There is research showing that we may have to get two rounds of the vaccine because the first will have many side effects that relate to Covid-19 and the second one is to stabilize it. These side effects that we will get from this vaccine can actually hurt the human body.

Do we take the risk of getting the vaccine twice? Or should we wait till they continue doing the research and making a proper effective vaccine?


blue Art neon sign turned on

Art

Art has played a role in most people’s lives in one way or another. And there are always these conversations about what is considered art and what is not.

What do you consider art?

I am wondering this because I am an artist, and I am also the art editor for my school’s lit mag. And we are getting art submissions from students to put into the book, and I just want to know what you consider a good piece of art.

I tend to look at art differently from those that do not make art. So I hope that I can help those in my staff have a better understanding of the art they are seeing.

For example, do you consider things like modern art, art?

What about digital art, comics, music, or photography?

No matter how you look at it, everyone has a different opinion about what is art, and what is not.

So I am wondering what do you consider art? And where is the line drawn for you about what is not art?


My Name

My Name

Tap left to go back, right to go forward.


Why I joined Lit Mag

Why did I join Lit Mag?

Art has always played a subtle role in keeping my sanity anchored and engaged. So when I was told one of the only available classes for 6th period was lit mag I did not hesitate. Music and writing have helped me get through the darker times in my life. Overall if you look at my apple music I listen to at least 1000 hours of music a year, that is no exaggeration either. Those long hours have really led me to look at my own writing, whether it’s a poem, story, or songs, and connect with them

I am so grateful I found a safe and secure way to express things hard to put into words. And that is what drove me to lit mag, besides the fact the actual pieces being submitted are fascinating and it is always fun to see the skills my classmates have, I truly enjoy the art and symbolism, it’s very unique to get to compile the experiences and works of people you spend every day with for hours. I am a storyteller at heart and everything submitted has its own story. My safe haven is their safe haven we just show it in different ways.


The Importance of a Second Language in a Multilingual World

Today, although most of the world is multilingual, many Americans are not fluent in a second language. This is due to the lack of emphasis on foreign language by the United States education system as only ten states require foreign language courses as a high school graduation requirement (Engle). Some argue that it is unnecessary for native English speakers to learn another language because English is the “language of the world/business.” While it is true that English is the most prevalent language, learning a second language is highly beneficial as it leads to heightened cultural understanding, an attribute much needed in today’s divided world, and offers a host of cognitive advantages.  

Language helps express our feelings, desires, and questions to the world around us. Words, gestures, and tone are utilized in order to portray emotion and communicate with others. The ability to communicate through complex processes such as writing and spoken language is what “allows us to form bonds with each other and what separates man from animal” (De Valeos). Learning a second language provides access to different cultures and a unique insight into the way of the world. It encourages empathy, openness, and prompts a curiosity of other countries’ histories and cultures. By opening up an avenue to understanding others, people can become more tolerant and patient. 

Travel requires the desire and willingness to adapt to new cultures. In some occupations, it is essential to be able to communicate with many different peoples as the global business community has become more and more integrated. Even though many countries study English in addition to their native language, it is “arrogant to assume that everybody speaks his or her native tongue” (De Valeos) . Likewise, it is extremely rude when Americans ridicule immigrants for their broken English. By learning a second language, Americans can become more responsible global citizens and empathetic to those who have trouble articulating their thoughts. (Burton). 

The communication skills formed as a child will provide a strong foundation for success later on in life. They also shape a person’s cognitive ability by improving memory and judgement by encouraging rational and nuanced thinking (Engle). If Americans want to be active and intelligent participants in a multilingual world, foreign language is critical. Thus, it is necessary that the United States create an accessible, widespread, and standardized foreign language curriculum in order to prepare the future generations and the nation for “security and prosperity” (De Valeos). 

Works Cites

Burton, Neel. “Beyond Words: The Benefits of Being Bilingual.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 28 July 2018, https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/hide-and-seek/201807/beyond-words-the-benefits-being-bilingual

De Valeos, Leonardo. “Importance of Language – Why Learning a Second Language Is Important.” Trinity Washington University, 13 July 2020, https://discover.trinitydc.edu/continuing-education/2014/02/26/importance-of-language-why-learning-a-second-language-is-important/

Engle, Jeremy. “How Important Is Knowing a Foreign Language?” The New York Times, 29 Mar. 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/29/learning/how-important-is-knowing-a-foreign-language.html


The Power of Language in Music

Music has become such a common occurrence in our daily lives. Whether it be on your car radio, from your school’s orchestra, or just inside a local restaurant, music is everywhere, yet it may sometimes come to a point where it becomes so ordinary, it is not likely that one will properly acknowledge the influence it has and the unity it brings. The melody, lyrics, and meaning of a song can affect our emotions, bring awareness to critical topics, and can unite a diverse group of people with a common goal or nature. Music is so much more than notes on a page, it is a language that unifies the world through rhythm and energy, despite any deep demographic or cultural differences. 

Everyday, popular music tends to be overlooked, or it can even hide some questionable lyrics in between some captivating rhythms and melodies. Most people do not take the time to listen closely to what the artist is saying. When describing the breakdown of songs such as “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke, the author states that “we should all be critical consumers of the media…And awareness is the first step toward solving problems” (Martinez). In this specific song, Thicke uses derogatory terms and phrases against women or any victim of sexual assault, which demonstrates that catchy pop songs such as Thicke’s can contain dark underlying meanings. However, those who advocate for sexual assault use this song as somewhat of a unifier, as it spreads awareness and breaks the stigma about speaking out against assault. Music, if listened to intently, can be used to build up empathy and introduce different perspectives on certain issues. These lyrical messages, once discerned properly, can reveal deep truths and touch many hearts.

Music is a powerful tool that offers moments of contemplation and affects our emotions, which can connect people of different lifestyles. Music is an influential part of people’s lives and can make one feel “entirely caught up in [the] energy, in the overwhelming intensity” (“The Power Of Music (Even When You Don’t Know The Words)”). As stated in the previous paragraph, music can be utilized to spread a message. It can also be used to reflect on one’s inner thoughts and how to better themselves. Music is a way to express emotions, therefore, it is quite easy to convey complex feelings through the diction of a language or song. Using the power and tone of music, it is proven to be universal, connecting different individuals through passion and sentiment. The universality of music acts as a force of unity, bringing people together under one nature.

The complexity of music is vital in spreading certain messages, affects our deepest passions, and ultimately unites the world despite the vastness of diverse cultures. In popular music today (and in all music genres), it is important to listen intently to the lyrics of a song, which may offer a deeper understanding for different topics. Music in general provides a way to convey emotions, which in turn connects individuals through a common feeling, whether it be happiness, sorrow, or resentment. Music allows the listener to become more aware about complex issues in the world today and lets them express who they are or how they truly feel about certain individuals or circumstances. Music in itself is a powerful language that changes lives and transforms one’s world into a bigger and sometimes brighter place.

Works Cited 

Martinez, Kristen. “The Power of Language in Popular Music.” Pacific NorthWell, 5 May 2015, pacificnorthwell.com/power-language-popular-music/. 

“The Power Of Music (Even When You Don’t Know The Words).” Wandering Earl, 22 July 2016, www.wanderingearl.com/the-power-of-music-even-when-you-dont-know-the-words/.


woman standing watching LED light musical instrument

The Strength of Words Through Music

In a time when so many hateful words are spread like wildfire, music seems like the only calm in the storm. People find solace in the comfort of music for many reasons: to improve their mood, to get away from the noisiness of life, for a sort of familiarity or nostalgia. The list goes on and on. Then there are the artists: those who find peace in making their feelings and words come alive through their music.

At the end of the day, music is something that has touched the human race for centuries. It is something that brings people together, helps people to heal, and allows us to understand each other on a deeper level. On the “This is My Brave” show, featured speaker Kevin says this: “I have seen music do powerful things that no politician can do. I have seen music unite people who hate each other, and I have seen music form instant connections with total strangers.”

Why is it, though, that music is able to have such an effect on us? This is because it allows the artist to use words and instruments to speak relatably and touching stories and messages, and it does this in a mostly peaceful manner. In his article, David Rothenberg states, “Singing takes language and pulls the most possible feeling out of it.”

Some people might classify music as the closest thing to magic since no other form of words can cause us to feel the same way as music can. It possesses its own uniqueness and effect on the human race compared to books, talks, and such.

Another thing that Kevin, a rap artist  says on the “This is My Brave” show is, “I feel I have a gift and a responsibility to use my voice, my power, my words, and my music to represent the struggles and the turmoil I have lived through.” Just as music might be a therapeutic and growing experience for the artist it just as well can do the same for the listener.

Overall, using music to speak ideas, stories and messages is, and will forever be, one of God’s greatest gifts to the humankind. 

Works Cited

The Power of Words and Music. 13 Feb. 2020, thisismybrave.org/news/power-words-music/.

Rothenberg, David. David Rothenberg Believes Singing Is More than Words. 10 May 2009, www.theguardian.com/music/2009/may/10/david-rothenberg-singing-words.


Poems By Langston Hughes

Recently, I read Selected Poems, by Langston Hughes.  I relished the thought of the ingeniousness Langston uses in his poems. This book gives me a sense of all the ideas that ran through his mind, his creativity. 

This book only contained poems so “it’s not much to go off.” But Langston was passionate. He wanted his words to have meaning and be repeated till they were fully understood.

He wanted others to feel the pain/promise/passion/peace/pureness and even placid emotion. It needed to stand out. It needed to tell his story without actually writing it. And I see it.  


(Good Will) Hunting for Meaning in How Something Is Said

Language is a communication tool that gains much of its power not from what is said, but from how it is said. Language is used all the time in therapy in an effort to heal a patient, but sometimes the means and process of healing can be overlooked. Good Will Hunting is a movie about a man named Will Hunting who is a genius that can solve any worldly problem but cannot seem to confront or overcome his own internal struggles. After two failed attempts with other therapists, Will was sent to Sean Maguire in the hope that Sean would be able to get through to Will. By the end of the film, Will was able to confront his past with the help of his complex verbal and nonverbal communications with Sean.

As Will went into the initial session, he sarcastically remarked, “Let’s do it. I’m pumped. Let the healing begin.”  Will was uncomfortable, so he used sarcasm out of fear so that he could preemptively attack to show dominance in the conversation (French and Stevens). Will used sarcastic language to express his pessimistic attitude toward the idea of therapy. In doing so, Sean learned that Will would most likely try not to cooperate and make Sean’s job more difficult. Sean realized through Will’s language that this just meant that he would have to be patient. 

A few sessions later, Will sat in silence for the entire hour twiddling his thumbs and counting the seconds. Sean also sat in silence because he knew that Will had to be the first to speak. Even though no words were spoken, their silence still conveyed a message. Sometimes silence can say more than any words (Smith). By staying silent the entire time, Sean gathered that Will wanted to prove that he did not have to talk if he did not want to. Again, Sean showed patience because he knew that Will would not directly express himself verbally. Sean picked up on Will’s mannerisms in order to discover more about Will in the silence.

As Sean began to understand Will, he used certain methods of conversation to encourage Will to open up. One of these methods was humor. Humor is a valuable and effective communication tool that can break down barriers and encourage the acceptance of new ideas (Tabares). Sean told Will stories about his wife and her funny habits which caused both of them to burst out laughing. Sean used humor to connect to Will and make him feel more at ease and more comfortable with opening up. 

In their last session, Sean was able to help Will face his childhood trauma and move past it. Sean told Will, “It’s not your fault.” Although Will heard these words the first time they were spoken, Sean repeated the same phrase 9 more times. Will eventually broke down having realized that none of the internal struggles caused by his traumatic childhood were his fault. Repetition is an important language tool because a message heard repeatedly is more likely to stay in the mind (“The Power of Repetition: the Secret of Successful Leaders” ). Sean was able to get through to Will by repeating the phrase 10 times and giving Will the reassurance that he needed. 

Language can come in many forms, but the way that language is conveyed can sometimes have more power than the words themselves. Will Hunting’s therapy sessions with Sean Maguire in the movie Good Will Hunting provide a prime example of the importance of the delivery of verbal and nonverbal language. Language is powerful, and we can learn so much more if we pay attention not only to the words spoken but also how others express themselves. The different ways that people use language can teach us more about them. It is important to remain attentive to how people express themselves because it could be a gateway to a deeper understanding of others. 

“The Power of Repetition: the Secret of Successful Leaders.” Lighthouse, 11 Oct. 2016, getlighthouse.com/blog/power-of-repetition-successful-leaders/. Accessed 11 November 2020.

Smith, Kurt. “Silence: The Secret Communication Tool.” World of Psychology, 8 July 2018, psychcentral.com/blog/silence-the-secret-communication-tool/. Accessed 11 November 2020.

Stevens, Linsey, and Eric French. “Sarcasm: Is Invoking the Power of Irony Healthy or Hurtful?” Iphelia, 13 Feb. 2018, www.iphelia.com/sarcasm-invoking-power-irony-healthy-hurtful/. Accessed 11 November 2020.

Tabares, JoJo. “Humor: A Powerful Communication Tool?” Creation.com | Creation Ministries International, creation.com/humor-a-powerful-communication-tool. Accessed 11 November 2020.


An election like no other

This election in 2020 is completely different and something new. No election has ever been this way and I think it is crazy how we are apart of it. COVID-19 had affected the voting to be done different and the rules have changed. The votes took a huge amount of time to be counted since they are mail votes. Trump even tried to put the blame on the votes or is using covid as a steal in the election. It was pretty scary to see how the people will react on who their president is because nowadays in this world it is violence.

I think that this was a scary election and that it took me a while actually to know who I wanted to vote for. I think that trump does have a point in some things but I also know biden is better and has a plan to make American people have peace again. I also find it very crazy how no election has ever been like this and that how much things have changed. Back then no one would hate or cause violence for their president being elected, but now it is like the world is afraid to come out after the results because they know this generation is full of violence.

How would you feel to be put in one of the president’s position and watch what is going on in this world now?


Trophies

In the article, “Should Everyone Get A Trophy?” I learned that people have mixed feelings about giving participation trophies to the youth. Many sport programs have been rewarding trophies to athletes despite their performance. The positive of giving trophies to young athletes, is that it can help them celebrate for learning a new skill, having fun with their teammates, and as well as belonging to something bigger than themselves. Trophies can also reward those athletes that aren’t as talented as others. The negative of these participation trophies can be because it can build arrogance amongst the youth. They will tend to expect something now everytime they do something. Fun fact, Americans tend to spend $3 billion on trophies each year.

Personally, I believe that not everybody should get a trophy. Trophies should just be given to the best because it can build character and motivation for the rest. Many athletes can thank losing for their motivation to do better the next time they play. Overall, without getting a trophy for everything you do, it can make you value the time and hard work you put in when achieving that trophy.

Should Everyone Get a Trophy?


Should pro athletes be getting paid more than those who save lives?

In the article “ Are Pro Athletes Overpaid?” I learned that pro athletes are highly paid. There are some who think they are paid way more than people who save lives, school teachers, and emergency nurses. Jesse Spector a sportswriter thinks they should pay a special tax that would help fund better salaries for those who save lives because he thinks pro athletes get paid too much just to toss a ball around. However, it’s important to remember that those athletes are an essential part of profitable companies. Without the players, the famous leagues wouldn’t exist. Millions of people wouldn’t waste their time and money if it weren’t for these professional athletes that worked hard to get where they are now.

I think pro athletes are not overpaid they put their lives on the line some of these sports can be dangerous if you think about it. The truth is though some of these professional athletes get highly paid because people are happy to pay money to be entertained by their favorite teams and sports play. 

Do you think pro athletes are overpaid?


person holding two baseballs

Should High School Sports Be Canceled Because of COVID-19?

High School Sports is only around for 4 years for a student. High School sports really form who you are as a person. I say this because I am a student-athlete.

Sports impacts you by teaching you that you should grind no matter what. Due to the impact of COVID-19, there has been a talk about canceling High School sports for the 20-21 school year.

They are worried about the health of all the students who are athletes. For some seniors, it’s their make or break year. Some seniors have the shot to go play college sports but their senior season is highly needed. Athletes can just record themselves doing drills and all but nothing compares to game film.

Sports keep students active and healthy all the time. Let me remind you again high school sports only happens four times in your lifetime. It is really sad to take away sports for students.

What are your thoughts on this topic?


Young Voters

This election has been the most important election of our lives, considering the fact that this is the next four years where we start living our lives as adults. It is important that we are all educated about this election, and to realize the importance of voting. But those who track youth voter turnout are wondering if this year might be different because of a combination of factors: the massive number of young people who’ve turned 18 in the past four years; the intensity of emotion surrounding the Covid19 pandemic and the racial justice movement spurred by the killing of George Floyd; and the high stakes of this election.

I think it is important to vote as a younger generation because this is the next four years of our adulthood. This time around it affects us just as much as anyone else that is voting. If we want change then we have to believe that every vote counts.


What the Internet Really Knows About You

In the article “What the Internet Really Knows About You” by Zeynep Tufekci is about how you have to be careful what you share on the internet. Your electronic device can figure out who you are without you ever posting something. Your device can infer your political beliefs if you subscribe to a certain magazine. Not only can they tell your political beliefs but they can tell the mood you are in without you ever posting something like “I am happy”. It can tell what you like or your interests so that your feed can be more enjoyable. When you share your contact information on Facebook, Facebook shares it so you can find friends. There has been an investigation where Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint have been sharing your location. People can know where you are at and can question why you are at a certain place. The author suggests that there should be laws that directly regulate computational reference and that phones should be more privacy protected. 

There has been this theory that your phone can listen to what you are saying. For example say you’ve been wanting to buy a certain broom or you’ve been wanting to go to a place, in your feed there will be ads about a broom and about the certain place that you’ve been wanting to go. This has happened to me before. At first, I was a little skeptical but what if it’s just a coincidence. Do you believe that our devices listen to us? 


Teen Homelessness

In the article, “No Place to Call Home” by Jessica Press and Rebecca Zissou I learned that there is a vast majority of youth without a home. There are many reasons for them being homeless such as them running away from home due to violence or they were kicked out by their family due to religious reasons or because of their sexual orientation.

Being homeless especially as a teenager is difficult because you have to face many problems. Since they don’t have a stable home they have to be looking for where to spend the night, no financial support for their necessities, and it can affect their education. These problems can lead teenagers to depression, stress, or acquire a drug addiction.

Believe it or not, the number of homeless teenagers in the country is rising more and more. For instance in Washington between 2016 and 2017 the number of teens that were homeless increased by 700 percent and in San Diego California by 40 percent. 

This problem can be fixed, but a lot of work will be needed to do so. A solution to this problem is to make more shelters. According to the National Coalition for the Homeless, there are only 4,000 beds in shelters that are available to homeless youth that are alone. This causes more teens to stay living in the streets because they have nowhere else to go. 

What else do you think can be done to end teen homelessness?


Paid Sick Days

In the article, “Should Paid Sick Days Be Required?” I learned that most U.S companies offer their employees a certain amount of sick days and still get paid. Although there are many companies that offer this not all of them do. There are about a quarter of American workers that do not have paid sick days. As Covid-19 began to spread throughout American communities public health officials gave a simple advice to slow down the virus which was “If you feel sick, stay home from work.” This seems like a simple action to do but for those workers who don’t get paid sick days that can be very hard to do. For those workers without paid sick days, getting sick means having to choose between going to work and getting paid or having the day off and a possible chance of losing a paycheck. These workers who choose work over their health risk the other workers of getting sick. 

This is a very controversial topic. This topic can go in two ways you either believe paid sick days are important or you don’t. I believe that paid sick days are very important especially because of the circumstances we are in at the moment. During this pandemic there have been many more cases of coronavirus in jobs. This is a danger not only to those workers being at risk of this virus but their families as well. 

Do you think paid sick days should be required? 


Young People On Voting

In the article, “Could Young Voters Decide the Presidency?” by Patricia Smith, past and younger generations haven’t been involved in politics, but that has shifted in recent years.  In past generations, young people have never been moved to being involved in politics due to having little knowledge about politics, thinking politics are corrupt, or feeling inferior because they’re a minority.  Not only this but they’d feel discouraged or think that their vote will not make a difference.  Recently, the younger generations have been mobilizing together through the pandemic and protests,  using their voice to motion onto their input on the election.

These younger generations are the future and it is important for them to know that they have a say on what our future will look like as Americans.  It should be mandatory for young people to be educated on politics and how the system works, so they’ll have a better understanding when voting.  They must use their voices to make a change to better the world we now live in.

Do you think young people should have the right to vote?


shallow focus photography of gray mailbox

Issues On Postal Service

In the article, “Post Office Panic” by Patricia Smith, Postal services have been having difficulties with their businesses due to the pandemic currently which has raised concerns about the election.  Since there have been delays with shipments, people are concerned that the ballots will not be counted in time of the election.  The President, Trump, started resenting the Postal Service because of this, granting them no additional funding.  Democrats argue Trump’s actions are to discourage others from doing mail-voting as they’ll assume it won’t be on time for the election.  Postal Services are depended by Americans to deliver paychecks, medicines, and other products, which makes their importance extremely significant.  

This current issue should be that Postal Services are being defunded, not so much the delay of the products.  Postal Services are doing their job to the best of their ability, they can’t control the effects of a pandemic or the amount of time it takes for them to receive a product.  They thoroughly do their job to the best of their ability and they shouldn’t pay the consequences for something they aren’t capable of controlling.

What do you think about this occurring issue?


2020 Presidential Election

This year’s presidential election is a very controversial topic, I have seen many people stand on one side strongly. Yet, I have also seen many people choose one side because they do not like the other side. Many people have been seen voting for Biden because they dislike Trump, I believe if you are going to choose a side you should have a strong statement as to why you are choosing that president, not “I am voting for Biden because Trump is racist”. As a citizen of the United States I believe people need to be open for change and once we can learn to accept that, then our country will be seen with power again. 

Many people are so focused on who they elect for president yet they are not looking around to how the rest of the world is seeing us. America is seen as a leading and powerful country but if we really look at it right now, that is not the case. America has been dealing with a pandemic since February/March of 202o, it is almost 2021 and this pandemic is still going on. All I want to say is if and when you can vote, please vote for someone because you strongly believe they should be the next US president not because you dislike the other candidates. 


fountain pen on black lined paper

Staff Pick

For many years now, Judge Memorial students have been putting together an annual literary magazine. Our litmag, called Catharsis, features art, poetry, prose, and more that the students have created during the school year. Before publishing, the staff editors single out a piece from each category that is especially exceptional. The piece below is a staff pick from the 2017-2018 edition:

Girls Watching Boys

Sweating and smiling in spaghetti straps

blowing bubblegum and peeling it off the edges of their lips, 

pruning, stretching, flattening it against the backs of their teeth

and the corrugated roofs of their mouths.

Twisting flimsy rings around fingers,

stained sea glass green by cheap metal.

The sound of basketballs hitting cool pavement sliding through

open windows

and looping around the napes of their necks and ankles.

Swiping at flyaway hair that changes colors in the sun

and gets caught between eyelashes.

Squinted eyes watching the breeze 

ripple the boys shirts against

their broad backs.

Sera Cazares 

This piece is one of my personal favorites from the 2017-2018 edition. It has stood out in my head since the very first time I read it. The author’s use of alliteration in the first line and simple imagery throughout the poem set an easygoing, casual scene that I wish I could be a part of. My favorite part is the line about cheap rings staining the girls’ fingers. 


Individualism as an American Value

Liberty, equality, and equal opportunity for all are at the core of our values as Americans. None of them misrepresent what our country believes in, but they are very baseline ideas. “Freedom” is a very top layer value in my opinion, and yes, our country gives us certain freedoms to ensure our liberty but I would argue that one of, if not the most important American values is individualism.  

Individualism is a “political and social philosophy that emphasizes the moral worth of the individual” (Lukes, 1). In individualistic societies, people tend to favor freedom of individual action over collective control. Whether this will work forever or not is a different story, but for now, that’s where we’re at. If we like to admit it or not.

Our economy is probably the best example of how individualism influences the United States. Statistics show that in the past few months, the net worth of America’s billionaires has risen 15% from 2.9 to 3.4 trillion dollars (Beer, 1). And at the same time, 40% of people making under 40k a year lost their jobs in February alone (Beer, 6).  With a mixed economy like we have, and with little financial aid available from the government, personal economic growth and self-sufficiency are encouraged and expected. 

The only way these numbers are possible is because individualism supports the idea of big business. You get what you deserve, if you “make something of yourself” congratulations. Now all that’s left to do is reap the benefits of a system that helps the rich grow richer and the less fortunate to fend for themselves. It’s a solo race to the top in America, and many wish for it to remain that way. 

There are many other values our country holds dear, but the most profound is individualism. This idea also explains how many Americans may view society in relation to themselves, “people in individualistic cultures view themselves separately from the group” (“Personal Space and American Individualism”). I believe that to be very true of the USA and its people, but, in my opinion, if we viewed ourselves as a collective rather than apart from the group we would be much better off in the future. 


The Harlem Renaissance

(Since this story doesn’t revolve around one person, I thought I would create the protagonist as a whole. Basically making the “protagonist” all the African Americans involved in this change.)

African Americans are the protagonist in this book, they have a few traits that influence their relationships with others. 

One they are determined. Two, they are Trustworthy. Three, they are daring. 

These traits influence their relationship with others “The Harlem Renaissance was in many ways the result of the Great Migration. Between 1900 and 1930, nearly three million African Americans left the south to seek their fortunes in the North, sending the black population of the North soaring by 400 percent. Although African Americans had been moving north since the time of the Civil War, the largest migration boom occured around World War 1, when nearly half a million rural blacks left the south in search of racial equality and greater economic opportunity.” This shows how African Americans, “adventurous courage” (aka daring) comes into play when they are looking for change/ a difference.    

Later, on page 83, Carl Van Vechten interacts with multiple groups of these Americans, becoming a big associate with the Harlem Renaissance . “MORE THAN ANY OTHER white American Carl Van Vechten became synonymous with the Harlem Renaissance. He was introduced to Harlem in 1924, when he and his wife… accompanied Walter and Gladys White to an NAACP dance at happy Rhone’s Black and White club. Van Vechten’s fascination with black culture grew to such a degree that Time magazine acidly commented ”that he had been playing with the negros lately” …. But even Van Vechten did not believe that his fascination with Harlem would last– Van was wrong, His interest in Harlem would be lasting. Writing and contributing amateur photography for such publications as Vanity fair, he would become one of the most important and influential chronicles of Harlem’s literary and musical talent.” African Americans’ response here deepens a reader’s sense of their trustworthy/charming persona. 


body of water between mountains during daytime

Pilgrimage: The Art of Wandering

The human being is, by nature, a creature of curiosity. We are drawn to what we don’t understand and haven’t seen. We fixate on nature and that of others in hopes of discovering our own. It is in the purposeful exploration of both the physical and personal aspects of nature that we conduct pilgrimage. Pilgrimage, coming from the Latin words peregrinus and per ager, translates directly to “stranger” and “through fields” (McGeary). As we wander in new territory, we accept the foreignness of which we seek. In history, the word and its association have often been indicative of a holy and spiritual journey, typically afoot, in search of some form of fulfillment. We commemorate sacred memories of past fulfillment in travels of our own. For example, one can pilgrimage through the Holy Lands of and around Bethlehem, Nazareth, and Jerusalem, where various basilicas and locations directly connected to Christ remain. To one such visitor, “the biblical texts and the very spot where she stood helped her to witness sacred events and so to believe more deeply” (A Pilgrim’s Perspective). This woman walked where she knew bigger footprints to be, and her presence there was graced with fortified belief. Reaching the satisfaction and resolve that responds to the need of our being breeds freedom and healing of the strangeness we first venture to endure. 

 Emblems of pilgrimage in our history illustrate the deepest of human needs in both solitude and numbers. Do we turn inward with self-reflection, or do we find solace in creating change among others? On one hand, theologians to which some of the earliest ideas of pilgrimage trace, such as Saints Jerome and Augustine, “endorsed spiritual travel as a retreat from worldly concerns” (Sorabella). Spiritual awareness is cultivated within and shared outward if possible, so to step away from the faults and distractions of life would, ideally, clear the air for such internal peace. Recall May 17, 1957, though, when the Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington held thousands of people in one place, rising together for a more active response to civil rights issues and commemorating the Brown v. Board of Education case, described by Martin Luther King Jr. that day as “a joyous daybreak to end the long night of enforced segregation” (Cave). This pilgrimage, every bit as enlightening as a journey through the Holy Lands, seems to be rooted in the turning toward, rather than away from, worldly concerns. Striving for greater human fulfillment, thousands participated in a united pilgrimage that established deeper faith in a future clean and free of the long-lasting racial divide. In light of this momentous event, the Saints’ ideology takes on new significance; the worldly concerns which we are meant to abandon have to do with our own miscalculations as faulted beings, and tend to them we must in our pilgrimage. 

    Pilgrimage is defined by the departing for a journey which seeks to bring one or many closer to a transformed state of living. It is unlike any ordinary expedition in the renewed sense of being that we plant at our destination. The seed of an idea, the roots of a home—pilgrimage breeds growth all the same. As the “ultimate trope,” this wandering endeavor “is really a ritual reenactment of our sacred human condition within reality” (McGeary). The most universal form of self-revelation, we set off again and again to question the world, and each time, our place in it takes new form. We create monuments and basilicas in honor of past pilgrimages so that we may journey once again and revive its meaning for ourselves. Providence to strangers in the open fields of the earth, pilgrimage offers free healing to the unfulfilled soul and mending to the fractured society. 

Works Cited

Cave, Damien. “A Pilgrimage for Equal Rights.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 31 Jan. 2016, www.nytimes.com/interactive/projects/cp/national/unpublished-black-history/prayer-pilgrimage-lincoln-memorial-martin-luther-king-jr-1957.

McGeary, Kacie. “The Art of Pilgrimage.” Passion Passport, Passion Passport , 16 Feb. 2019, passionpassport.com/the-art-of-pilgrimage/.

Sorabella, Jean. “Pilgrimage in Medieval Europe.” In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/pilg/hd_pilg.htm.

“A Pilgrim’s Perspective: The Pilgrimage of a Lifetime.” The Holy Land Franciscan Pilgrimages, Franciscan Holy Land Pilgrimages, 31 Mar. 2018, holylandpilgrimages.org/a-pilgrims-perspective-a-pilgrimage-of-a-lifetime/.


woman wearing red sweatshirt looking at top between trees near grass during daytime

The World’s need for Pilgrimage

In today’s fast-paced culture, taking a step back to enjoy life every so often is unheard of, and now, more than ever, with the 2020 election before us, the world seems uptight, chaotic, and even a bit hostile. Seen almost everywhere, people are constantly on their phones, laptops, iPads, or whatever electronic device is at hand, reading headlines and new stories, filling their brains with constant news. Yes, it is important to remain up-to-date on these topics and stay as informed as much as humanly possible, but is there a line as to when the intake of news becomes unhealthy? A study revealed that the average young person, between the ages of 16-29, spends about 3 hours or more on social media daily, which means 21+ hours on their phone per week (“Demographics”). It is not a secret that social media tends to weaken one’s mental health, and this amount of media consummation has the potential to do more harm than good in a teen’s life. 

The word “pilgrimage,” although seemingly unrelated to this topic of business and everyday American life, is one that is universally recognized as some sort of sacred journey, or, defined as “a long journey or search, especially one of exalted purpose or moral significance” (“Pilgrimage”). However, does one truly need to embark on a 310 mile journey in Turkey, the trail that St. Paul, the Christian apostle of Jesus, followed to spread the news of the Christianity (“Top”)? The answer is no. 

Pilgrimage does not necessarily require one to be religious, because it can be differently interpreted by everyone. Although some religious people travel far to go on a long journey to a specific destination, a pilgrimage can be a personal experience that brings someone a sense of peace and spiritual renewal. In this world of social media and news at our own fingertips, perhaps we have forgotten what it’s like to be at peace, with a new sense of who we are. Oftentimes, taking a “pilgrimage” from time to time is essential for our wellbeing and happiness, because if one does not pause to recognize his or her life, growth will never be achieved. In this sense, a pilgrimage can take the appearance of a long walk or hike, time in prayer, journaling, or quiet time in self-reflection. Surely, we need spiritual and emotional nourishment, and in a world that is as fast-paced as ours, it is even more essential that we take the time to take part in such activities.

So, as our country nears Election Day and continues to consume news and the media, let us take a step back to ponder our lives, and recognize where in our lives we need to grow, whether spiritually, physically, mentally, or emotionally. If humans did this, truly society would become a much kinder and hospitable place to live. 

“Demographics of Social Media Users and Adoption in the United States.” Pew Research Center: Internet, Science & Tech, Pew Research Center, 5 June 2020, www.pewresearch.org/internet/fact-sheet/social-media/.

“Pilgrimage Definitions.” YourDictionary, www.yourdictionary.com/pilgrimage.

“Top 10 Historic Pilgrimages.” Travel – National Geographic, 21 Jan. 2010, www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/top-10/pilgrimages-sacred-journeys/.


Effects of Empathy Throughout COVID-19

Living life in a pandemic is not easy for anyone, but there are some groups of people who have been affected more than others. Personally, I believe the current high school seniors and the older generation, the people just beginning the rest of their lives and the individuals nearing the end of their lives, are most negatively affected by this pandemic. However, the attitude these individuals have towards the effects of the virus depends on who they have been surrounded by throughout quarantine. Each person has their own single story, a story that shows an event first hand from one side only, within their lives. When shown empathy, people tend to have a more positive attitude towards unfortunate events, affecting their single story. 

In the article “Alan Alda On The Importance Of Empathy During The COVID-19 Pandemic,” Alda explains, “The thing that worries me the most is that we seem to have a lowering of our compassion for one another – not – but not so much compassion as empathy.” An individual’s single story about their quarantine may only show the mental health issues they experienced, because of the way they felt towards the events taking place, their single story may now show the empathy that their loved ones showed them throughout the difficult time. When individuals are surrounded by others who show them empathy and put themselves in their shoes, their attitude towards everything happening around them becomes more positive. While the unfortunate events of 2020 have taken a toll on most people in one way or another, Alda ensures us, “We’re smart enough and good enough at heart to help one another out” (Alda). In this quote, Alda is proving that everyone’s single story can improve if we just lean on our neighbor and help each other out. Finally, Stefon Harris uses music to help portray the idea of empathy and utilizes his musical single story to help, “change the way people relate to each other — to create empathy” (Harris). Like many others, Harris wants individuals to see people as more than just their single story and create positivity within his listeners. Seeing an individual from just their single story can be degrading and it is important to look further into one’s life.


group of men playing soccer during daytime

Sports Played During COVID-19

While we still have this dangerous virus sports across the world are still having practices and games. The first sports to have practices and games were the NBA and Soccer. When Soccer was they had to get a test every day before practice or a game. For the NBA they were in a bubble which meant they had to get tested every day and have to stay in a hotel room and they couldn’t go anywhere like to go see their family.

For Soccer they were able to see their family and they were able to go out they weren’t as strict as the NBA. This one NBA player had lied to his coaches and he told them that he was gonna go out and go get wings but instead of doing that he had gone to a club and then he got suspended 3 or 2 games for lying. In Soccer they had players get the virus because they didn’t have strict rules on the players so some players and coaches ended up getting the virus. In Soccer there was this one player who had bought an island for him and family because he didn’t wanna have him and his family to get the virus. For Soccer they still had one of the biggest tournaments in the world called the UEFA Champions League with no fans in attendance. For the NBA hey had the playoffs in the bubble with no fans in attendance as well and they weren’t as exciting as if there were fans.


Empathy

A single story is where the same story gets told over and over again, but it is never told by a first-hand source (“The Single Story” ). Even in the definition of a single story you can already see the problem with the term itself, “never told by a first-hand source.” Even with advances in society in learning about new cultures and people, single stories still are produced and thought to be the truth rather than an assumption.

An example of a single story is from the movie Wreck-It Ralph. The story is about a video game villain named Ralph who is programmed in the game to destroy the buildings in the town. Ralph runs away to another game where he meets a character named Venelope whom of which is a “glitch” or someone who is a virus to the game which Ralph had heard many single stories about a glitch and was quick to judge her.

Ralph assumed that she was a problem or very bothersome toward the game and deserved to be hidden away from the rest of the characters, but after spending time with her and getting to know her he realized that she was as normal as anyone else in the game and he felt a great deal of empathy toward her and “the two characters gradually grow sympathetic towards each other’s similar plight—both having been ostracized by their peers and desiring to be more than current status” (Jr.).

Through Ralph’s empathy toward Venelope he formed a close relationship with her and they became very good friends. Empathy is essentially the science of understanding,” (Burnett) and Ralph emitted this feeling so much because he could relate to her in people making assumptions about them without truly getting to know them. Through this relationship, Ralph advocated against the single story about a “glitch” and was able to unite the characters in the game to demolish this belief that they had about this subject. 

Works Cited 

Burnett, John. “Stefon Harris – Vibraphonist, Educator, Thinker – Teaches Empathy 

From The Bandstand.” NPR, NPR, 30 Mar. 2020, www.npr.org/2020/03/30/822024071/stefon-harris-vibraphonist-educator-thinker-teaches-empathy-from-the-bandstand. 

Jr., Film Reviewer. A Complete Analysis of Wreck-It Ralph Part 4 (FINALE): Going 

Beyond Mere Cameos and References (Film Analysis), 1 Jan. 2012, thefilmguystash.blogspot.com/2018/11/a-complete-analysis-of-wreck-it-ralph_25.html

“The Single Story.” Abagond, 12 Mar. 2016, 

abagond.wordpress.com/2009/10/30/the-single-story/.


Empathy and a Single Story

Empathy has a huge affect on every aspect of life and especially in people’s behavior. The amount of empathy you have affects your behavior by making you be more considerate of other people and what they might be going through. Empathy also helps you be more considerate of others beliefs. Empathy often ties into single stories because a single story most of the time doesn’t include the whole story it just shows things from one viewpoint.

The single story I chose to talk about is the Flat Earth Theory. According to the website flat earthers believe that “the earth is flat and that round earth doctrine is little more than an elaborate hoax.”(Flat Earth Society Wiki) This theory is harmful to all the scientists who have worked hard and spent their whole careers giving us the information we have about space and the earth because it discredits all their hard work. An example of how they discredit science is through talking about space travel, “The Conspiracy is the blanket term most commonly used by proponents of Zeteticism to refer to the active faking of space travel.”(Flat Earth Society Wiki) This nonchalant discrediting shows how empathy is important for both sides of the earth theories to have.

Why do these people have this lack of empathy for other theories? It’s simply because they are blinded by the stubbornness of their own theory. This can be attributed to positive feedback, “When a person gets just a few jolts of positive feedback for their belief, they feel very certain they’re right.”(Pappas) This ties back into empathy because when a group of people who believe a certain thing (such as the Flat Earth Society) are surrounded by other people who believe the same thing as them they begin to be desensitized to other people and what they might believe in. This leads to a purposeful or sometimes unintentional lack of empathy towards other people. 

Works Cited

https://www.livescience.com/63554-why-false-beliefs-stick.html

https://wiki.tfes.org/The_Conspiracy


YouTube

On February 14, 2005, YouTube was activated and has developed throughout the years.  The first video was uploaded on April 23, 2005 and took place at the San Diego Zoo.  

YouTube is a platform used to upload videos and express your creativity online.  It has impacted many people’s lives by paying thousands of dollars to those who are known as “YouTubers” and those who simply enjoy watching content videos.  There are many variations of videos including storytimes, ASMR, gaming and vlogs.  Just like any other social media app there are both positive and negative sides.  Content creators are at risk of losing their channel, valuable time and posting videos that may not be able to be deleted.  Music artists also take the opportunity to upload their music on YouTube which helps them earn extra money and get people’s attention.  

Personally, I enjoy watching videos on YouTube in my free time.  I watch multiple YouTubers including Sweetea, Nikki Glamour, Louie’s Life, Larray, J Cook, Brawadis, etc.  Not many people are aware of the channel named “Sweetea” but I promise you their content is the best and I hope they get the recognition they deserve.  Subscribe to Sweetea! 


“Don’t You (Forget About Me)”

Most kids growing up in the 2000’s were most likely watching Disney Channel or maybe Nickelodeon. But when I was younger, my mother would always put on 80’s movies and TV shows. Of course, I’m not complaining! 80’s movies taught me about kindness, how life isn’t always a fairytale, and the ability to empathize with other people.

The movie that especially stood out to me was the movie The Breakfast Club. The Breakfast Club is an impactful film that conveys the change of concrete thinking of a “single story” and the ability to understand differences between one another by putting forth empathy. The film also further explains that when you put forth empathy it involves experiencing another person’s point of view or adapting to the behavioral aspect of caregiving. 

The “popular girl,” “the basket case,” “the geek,” “the bad boy,” and “the jock.” All of these characters display empathy at one point or another throughout the film. For example, when “the bad boy”, John Bender, talks about the abuse from his parents many of the other characters like Claire Standish (“the popular girl”) empathize with him because they only assumed his single story of being a failure or a criminal.

Furthermore, the article “The Dissolve Reviews” states that “Regardless, those of us who grew up with The Breakfast Club aren’t kids anymore. We’ve grown up, gotten jobs, become parents. Some of us may not even use the term “neo-maxi-zoom-dweebie” on a regular basis anymore. (Some of us.) It’s only natural for us to look at The Breakfast Club now and empathize more with the adults than we used to, perhaps even to notice that Hughes’ portrayal of grown-ups here is more nuanced than it initially seemed.” This quote further shows how empathy plays a huge role in this movie and in the lives of the listeners. It helps depict how as we learn and grow we continue to empathize with others because we are better able to understand that people are more than just “a single story.”

Throughout the movie, we also see a behavioral aspect of how all the characters react to one another. According to “Very Well Mind”, “Empathy leads to helping behavior, which benefits social relationships. Humans are naturally social creatures. Things that aid in our relationships with other people benefit us as well. When people experience empathy, they are more likely to engage in prosocial behaviors that benefit other people.” This quote overall depicts the true meaning of empathy and how the behavior of individuals impacts our view on a “single story.” Our behavior is what we put out into the world and by putting this behavior out we are communicating with hours.

The movie Breakfast Club is the ultimate representation of empathetic behavior and how it impacts the way we look at a “single story.” The sentence “We’re All Pretty Bizarre. Some Of Us Are Just Better At Hiding It; That’s All (Breakfast Club)” shows how none of us are perfect and how we are more than what a person thinks of us. You are more than “a single story,” and always remember BE YOU.

Works Cited

Chaney, Jen, and By. “The Adult Sympathies of The Breakfast Club.” The Dissolve, thedissolve.com/features/exposition/952-the-adult-sympathies-of-the-breakfast-club/.

Cherry, Kendra. “Why Empathy Is Important.” Verywell Mind, 2 May 2020, www.verywellmind.com/what-is-empathy-2795562.

Grubbe, Logan. “We’re All Pretty Bizarre.” The Odyssey Online, The Odyssey Online, 16 Oct. 2019, www.theodysseyonline.com/were-all-pretty-bizarre.


What are the highest pandemic pastimes in the USA?

This chart shows the most Googled hobbies in each state during the Covid-19 pandemic. Streaming movies and TV shows were the most popular pastime, taking up 35 percent of Internet searches. Which of these activities have you spent the most time on during lockdown?


Disney Is a Magical Place, But Is It a Realistic One?

As women, we strive to prove societal stereotypes wrong, working to be the greatest we can be. The world of Disney was not always a realistic place for women. Sure, as children, we fell in love with all the characters and wanted to be just like the Disney princesses; but societal stereotypes, especially gender roles, played a huge part in early Disney films. Understanding this allows us to feel empathy for those around us who struggle with their identity because of the films they see that send the wrong message.

For example, most of the films portrayed women as helpless and weak. Those two words are probably very harsh considering the topic they are describing. However, it wasn’t until later that Disney began creating strong, independent female leads such as Merida in the film, “Brave” as well as Elsa in “Frozen”. These two princesses were a representation of what women strive to be and teach children to never give up on their dreams because of stereotypical societal expectations.

Aside from this, there was still a “blatant lack of diversity amongst characters” which sent a bad message to all young girls (Griffin). Not only were a majority of the Disney princesses white, but they also held the expectation that women had to be skinny and beautiful to be accepted in society. This unrealistic expectation hits hard for a lot of women and really affects their view of themselves and their identity.

Feeling empathy for these women can help us understand them as well as open our minds to the other side of a single sided story. Another issue in the Disney film industry was the fact that male characters had a majority of the lines despite the movie being centered around the life of a young woman. “The Little Mermaid” was the first film in which the men significantly outspoke the women in Disney movies (Guo). It includes  Ariel without a voice for a majority of the film. This was not the only Disney movie in which women spoke less than me; in fact, it started a trend.

In the five Disney movies that followed, women spoke even less and men had three times as many lines as women (Guo). Men have always had the upper hand over women for years now. In order to stand up against this, women, as well as men,  must stand together no matter what race they are. Empathy for what a woman has to go through in society can make them feel more accepted and understood. Knowing that they are not alone, will give many women the confidence they need to strive for greatness.      

Works Cited

Griffin, Hannah. “The Danger of the Single Story in Today’s Society.” ImPossibilities, 8 Oct. 2016, morrison.sunygeneseoenglish.org/2016/10/08/the-danger-of-the-single-story-in-todays-society/.

Guo, Jeff. “Analysis | Researchers Have Found a Major Problem with ‘The Little Mermaid’ and Other Disney Movies.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 7 Aug. 2019, www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/01/25/researchers-have-discovered-a-major-problem-with-the-little-mermaid-and-other-disney-movies/.

                                                                     


The Impact of Single Stories with Empathy as a Factor

The values that are seen in society can be prioritized differently depending on each individual. Some people are heavily influenced by these values. An example of one is empathy. Empathy can play a huge role in other aspects of a person’s life. Another factor is the concept of a single story. A single story and empathy both play a heavy role in the behavior of society.

The effect of a single story can alter the lack or sufficiency of empathy. This also leads to the behavior of society. One example is that women are not seen as capable enough as men. Women were not shown empathy or support. Therefore, it affects how they viewed themselves and made them question their abilities. This correlates into jobs, academics, and sports.

In sports today, it is “biased against women in terms of opportunity in the professional ranks as well” (“United States Sports Academy America’s Sports University”). Women still face gender bias today. Gender norms confirm with single stories to create different behaviors.

Tied along with gender norms, other aspects have been continued to be generalized. One example is music. Music has only been known as instruments coming together to create a symphony of notes. According to Stefon Harris, a musician states that music is “ ‘… the mission behind the individual who’s utilizing the tool. My ultimate passion is about the proliferation of empathy’ ” (Burnett).

Many people do not think deeply about music. Music is not about the instruments, but more about the artist and their creativity with their music. They express different emotions or vibes within it. Harris wrote multiple songs about his hardships. For him, music provided empathy for those who are suffering. It “ ‘.. was there to amplify the pain that we were going through…’ “ (Burnett). With that support, people are able to have a moment of comfort. Their behavior can change with the music by feeling more supported. Music signifies other emotions people experience, so they are aware they are not the only ones who feel this way. Both gender norms and music continue to break through the general thinking of the public. 

 Through these examples of single stories, it demonstrates the power of empathy. Empathy can be crucial to the confidence and outlook of others. It can also affect positively or negatively the behavior of people. 

Works Cited

Burnett, John. “Stefon Harris – Vibraphonist, Educator, Thinker – Teaches Empathy From The Bandstand.” NPR, NPR, 30 Mar. 2020, https://www.npr.org/2020/03/30/822024071/stefon-harris-vibraphonist-educator-thinker-teac hes-empathy-from-the-bandstand.

“United States Sports Academy America’s Sports University.” Gender Bias in American Sports: Lack of Opportunity, Lack of Administrative Positions and Lack of Coverage in Women’s Sports | The Sport Digest, https://thesportdigest.com/archive/article/gender-bias-american-sports-lack-opportunty-lack-administrative-positions-and-lack-coverage


Blossoming Genius

The flower, sometimes known as a ‘bloom or blossom, which have been adored and admired by humans to bring beauty to their environment, and also as objects of pure romance, medicine, ritual, religion and even as a source of food’. These plants, of various colorful appearances that symbolize many things, are even a favorite among many worldwide artists as well, such as ‘Van Gogh’s sunflowers series, or even Monet’s water lilies’. Surprising as it may seem to some or a bigger sum that just ‘some’ flowers can actually improve your mental wellbeing too, there has been research found that have indicated that flowers have a long-term positive effect on moods after being exposed to flowers on a regular basis. 

Flowers being used not only as a ‘way to improve one’s mental wellbeing, but also in medicine around the globe’, whether they are turned into oils, herbal tea mixtures, and in addition, have been found in many different skin care products. Over the years there have been more medicinal substances founded that have included flowers in some sort of way, commonly seen in herbal tea blends, and essential oils, which have been found to being very effective when used, ‘they can cure/treat such things as fevers, constipation, headaches, stomach pains and more down the line’. 

Whilst throughout the history of art, ranging with inspirations from things such as cats or even cupid, at the forefront of ‘muses’ there are flowers. ‘Reaching all the way back to the Ancient Eqyptian where the lotus flower would symbolize the sun and had strong ties to the concept of creation and rebirth’. ‘Medieval times, The Renaissance, and the eras that occurred up to the present time have used flowers in art to portray beauty’, or symbolize certain emotions, all determined by the artists choice for the piece. The many founded ways flowers have been used in life throughout the decades have been exquisite and fascinating, showing that something as simple as a plant that we use in occasions like weddings, or even as gifts, has portrayed many various uses, for art, medicine, and improving one’s mental wellbeing. 


women playing volleyball inside court

How Mental Health Affects Those Who Play Sports

Has anyone ever told you that you look like you play a specific sport? The reason for this is because of our body frames and how we are all built in unique ways. “In early days, female volleyball players were cautioned not to expose too much. A hundred years later, they were encouraged to expose more (281)” in a way to show off their uniqueness’ such as long legs, or muscular arms, that allow them to show off their skills in that sport. Many people see this as a single story, meaning the clothes volleyball players wear are to show off inappropriate body parts instead of showing the other side of the story.“If people want to come check us out because they’re scoping our bodies, I don’t have a problem with that, because I guarantee they’ll go home talking about our athleticism (283). The other side of the story are these women’s identity and how they express themselves, and their empathy, through this sport and other sports,  Because there is this stereotype it is hard to understand others feelings and how they decide to demonstrate this. 

    We can see these stereotypes through everyday routines and activities. Women feel each other’s empathy through their behavior or self confidence. “This weak self-confidence may hold some women back as they count themselves out of pursuing prestigious roles in professions they believe they won’t excel in, despite having the skills to succeed (Katherine B. Coffman).” Women can relate to one another and can show empathy to other women who they know are experiencing the same thing. 

Work Cited 

“How Gender Stereotypes Kill a Woman’s Self-Confidence.” HBS Working Knowledge, 25 Feb. 2019, hbswk.hbs.edu/item/how-gender-stereotypes-less-than-br-greater-than-kill-a-woman-s-less-than-br-greater-than-self-confidence.

“United States Sports Academy America’s Sports University®.” Gender Bias in American Sports: Lack of Opportunity, Lack of Administrative Positions and Lack of Coverage in Women’s Sports | The Sport Digest, thesportdigest.com/archive/article/gender-bias-american-sports-lack-opportunity-lack-administrative-positions-and-lack-coverage. 


people holding white and black poster during daytime

Police Brutality vs. Equality

Race has always been a big factor in the type of life you have in America. Most minorities have gone through many struggles to continue a life in America. Americans and African American continue to live separately, with unequal treatment from the government. “Every one of our systems in America has been impacted—infected, in fact—in some significant way by these racial disparities and these racial inequalities,” says Yohuru Williams, a civil rights scholar at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota.

People of color are in a constant battle to keep their lives due to minor inconveniences with government officials. This has been going on for 400 years, but it is more normalized now. Black people have had to live with constantly being suppressed. Today, nearly 80 percent of people in federal prison for drug offenses are Black or Latinx even though studies show that people of all races use and sell drugs at similar rates.


Should Paid Sick Days Be Required?

In the article ¨Should Paid Sick Days Be Required?” by Patt Murray and James Lanckford it argues whether sick days are paid.  Most U.S. companies offer their employees a certain number of days that they can stay home if they’re sick and still get paid but not all. Some argue that for these 34 million workers without paid sick days, getting sick means having to choose between taking the day off to get well and losing a paycheck—or going into work sick and risking the health of themselves, their colleagues, and their community.Never has our country so desperately needed a paid sick leave policy than during the coronavirus crisis.

If more workers had been able to stay home when they were sick without losing a paycheck, we could have significantly reduced the spread of the coronavirus at the beginning of this pandemic. However others argue that in the world of work, people also get sick and have to stay home, but the work still has to be done, and it’s not right to get paid for work you didn’t do. That’s why the government shouldn’t require employers to pay workers when they call in sick.

Paid sick days are a benefit that companies of all sizes use to attract the best employees. When a company provides paid vacation days, a cell phone, or paid sick leave, people want to work there. But when companies are young or very small and don’t have as big a budget to spend on these kinds of perks, should the government mandate that every business still provide paid sick leave? No.

I thought this article was interesting and overall I agree with both perspectives. Paid sick leave should be paid because of the pandemic precautions but it shouldn’t be mandated for  every business depending on its economic situation.


Should America Still Welcome Immigrants?

In the article “Should America Still Welcome Immigrants?” by Wendy Feliz and Congressman Paul Gosar inform others if immigrants should be welcomed in America or not. Felix writes that America should welcome immigrants and her reason was that America should since it was built by immigrants. Immigrants build a business, feed the nation, raise a family, and build homes. Gosar on the other hand disagrees with Feliz. He writes that American workers don’t need competition from immigrants because due to COVID many Americans have lost their jobs and are currently struggling. He believes that American business should ask Americans who are jobless instead of immigrants. 

In my opinion, I think that America should welcome immigrants. Most of the immigrants that come in are working in the fields, going into construction, or clean houses. Americans don’t want to work in those jobs. I don’t understand how some people think that American workers don’t need competition because it’s the jobs that they don’t want to work in. Do you really think that Americans would want to work in the heat and in the freezing cold? I don’t think so.  


Marijuana In Sports

Should marijuana be allowed in sports? It is a very controversial question that raises many eyebrows around the entertainment world. Many players and doctors believe that THC should be taken off the banned substance list, yet coaches and league officials believe that it should stay. There are both positives and negatives to allowing recreational marijuana in sports, but which one outweighs the other?

Sports are really starting to ease up on the punishment for catching players with THC in their systems. Leagues ranging from the NHL to the MLB, according to Axios, have been making efforts to provide players with information to let them know that they will no longer be testing for the substance, as they believe there are no negative effects and it can decrease the risk for injury. However, if teams or the leagues catch players high on the drug, they are subject to a hefty punishment and fine, meaning that they don’t want the players to show up to games or practices high as it can set a poor example for the youth.

US states have been on the verge of legalizing weed since 2013, says American Bar. Marijuana has been one of the top substances on the banned substance list, and players are calling across the country to get it removed, as it has no effects worse than alcohol. One reason sports test for marijuana, is to avoid possible entanglement with the government if a player gets caught. Former Utah Jazz forward, Thabo Sefolosha, was previously suspended from the league for five games due to a positive marijuana test. Should the players take their voices to the government instead of the league officials?


How can we reach a new norm?

The last few months the world has been struggling with the Covid-19 pandemic. Some countries more than others and they all have dealt with them differently. The United States has been trying to recover like how others have but have run into some obstacles. In order to get past these obstacles we will need to find a “new norm” because things won’t be able to go back to the way they did before. One thing we need to do to reach said “new norm” is attending to people who have been affected by the pandemic, whether it be physically, mentaly, or economically. We can also reach a new norm by making adjustments to how society works. 

Finding a new normal will require that some people get mental counseling. We can’t let the new normal be something that stops us from being able to self heal. It is also important not to rush into a new norm. We need to give ourselves time to process everything that has happened. Psychologist Francis Weller has said “it’s important to identify the losses we are feeling and to honour the grief surrounding us through methods like meditation, communicating our struggle, and expressing ourselves through art or by keeping a journal.” I think that its important to take all these things into consideration when finding a new norm. 

There are many steps being taken to get back to a new normal. One such example is schools changing days and making class sizes smaller. Many people are in support of going back to school like California Gov. Gavin Newsom who said, “We need to get our kids back to school. I need to get my kids back to school.” There has also been a change to stadiums and other large group gatherings. Sporting events have decided to play with no fans or have them socially distanced in the stands. Other countries have taken other precautions. China for example has begun to track citizens who are healthy and others who are at risk. 

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/06/theres-nothing-new-about-this-new-normal-heres-why/

https://www.cnn.com/2020/04/16/us/coronavirus-pandemic-new-normal/index.html


Golden Gate Bridge during daytime

Challenging America

We are repetitively being told by schools and politicians to have pride in our country and its values. Values of freedom, individualism, equality, patriotism, and a fear of government corruption. Being American means sharing these ideals and values. But America’s biggest struggle is upholding these values into law and life because of the failure to spread information where we should. 

 In the song “Waiting on the World to Change” by John Mayer, John sings about citizen’s inability to make a change in America because we are dependant on the information that politicians and media tell us. So, we have to wait for other people to solve problems for us. This is not supposed to be how things work, especially in a free democratic state. The people not having enough independent voice of what happens in our government directly translates to a slow and tiring process of fixing problems and upholding values. 

This problem is also used as a solution in songs like “This Is America” by Donald Glover. In this song, Donald is using the media to spread information and awareness about problems being ignored that are important to solve to uphold American values. Another example would be the song “Pumped Up Kicks” by Foster the People, where the artist tells the story of a school shooter, which is a common problem in America. 

Using these platforms to spread information is extremely important, but we would not need to rely on songs going viral for the spread of ideas if public schools, politicians, and media took on these challenges themselves, as they are meant to. These challenges can be overcome, but it is important that we continue to fight for our values. 

Works Cited 

“Childish Gambino – This Is America.” Genius, 6 May 2018, genius.com/Childish-gambino-this-is-america-lyrics.

“Foster the People – Pumped Up Kicks.” Genius, 14 Oct. 2010, genius.com/Foster-the-people-pumped-up-kicks-lyrics.

“John Mayer – Waiting on the World to Change.” Genius, 1 Aug. 2006, genius.com/John-mayer-waiting-on-the-world-to-change-lyrics. 


Rhea Boyd, 18, of Thomas Jefferson High School in Denver, Colorado, registers to vote online April 6, 2010. Some leaders believe the right to vote should be extended to 16- and 17-year-olds as well. Photo by: Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post via Getty Images

When are you considered a grown up adult?

Knowing the age when you are considered an adult with all privileges is an important issue. This is because in most cultures the age at which a person is considered an adult is 18 years old, but in the United States this age is undefined. As a result, folks of 18 years old have some adult privilege, but when someone reaches 21 years old they receive all adults’ privilege. It is necessary to clarify an age when people get to be treated as a real adult with not only a part of its benefits, but getting all the benefits of being an adult.

 One reason the US government should agree on the age of an adult is because the age of consent is different in many states. The age of consent laws say that you are considered an adult by society and your family, and you can make your own decisions about sex and marriage. However, the age of consent can range from 16 in Hawaii, while in California the age is 18.  For example, one area of adulthood that needs to be chage is the age of consent. In Alaska people as young as 14 years old can already get married with a court order. how is this going to be possible for an immature person to get married when they are just growing up and getting to know the world? Consequently they might get distracted from their education, or even not to study because they must work to be helpful  for the family or wife.    

 Another reason why the age of consent needs to be clarified is that 18 year olds  can be condemned to life prison. According to the article “When do you become an adult?” states that “18 year old adults can run for office, go to strip clubs, be sentenced to a life in prison”, but still they are not considered old enough to have all over age privileges.  As a result, somehow they are already considered old enough to be punished for a crime they had committed. They are punished by the same law that prevents them from having adult benefits, but after all it seems difficult to believe that this is the right decision.not only by society, but also by the law to be treated as an over age folk, but they don’t yet have all the full privilege an adult should have. 

Additionally, some people feel that 16 year old kids should be eligible to vote for who they want to be the ruler for the country. According to the article “Across the country, mixed support for lowering the voting age to 16” confirms that “Across the country, teenagers are becoming more politically active. Students are leading protests and pressuring lawmakers, and people think they should be able to vote” some people might wonder if this is the right age to choose the leader of your country. This is something that only a grown up adult should do, because 16 years old is not grown enough. Although some people say  that the age when people are considered an grown up adult is 21 years old. I must refute this argument because lots of juveniles under 21 years old are already treated as a grown up adult, because they start to get some over age responsibilities. Therefore the age of consent should be available to all people when they are truly considered as a grown  up adult, and should not be any longer under 21 years old.   

 In conclusion, the age to be considered as an adult should be 18 to 21 years old, and those young adults should get all privileges. The issue of not clarifying the adult age is significant because 14 years old folks and over have some adult privilege, but they are not considered a legal adult yet. If this problem is not solved the consequences will be very shocking or even worse than this, then I propose to make clear what would be the age when someone is an over age adult with all the benefits of it.

Sources:  When Do You Become an Adult?

   Are 16-year-olds grown up enough to vote? – Newsela

Image: Rhea Boyd, 18, of Thomas Jefferson High School in Denver, Colorado, registers to vote online April 6, 2010. Some leaders believe the right to vote should be extended to 16- and 17-year-olds as well. Photo by: Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post via Getty Images 


topless man wearing black boxing gloves

High School Athletes Impacted by COVID

I was remarkably fortunate enough to experience an entire football season during my senior year of high school with summer workouts, practices, and Friday night games. However, this wasn’t the case for the majority of high school athletes across the nation devastated about an end to their season due to the Coronavirus.

Moreover, families are struggling financially to support and fund programs for their athletes to even participate in sports due to exceedingly high unemployment rates during the Pandemic. Ap News states “the most significant impacts will be felt in low-income communities” trying to provide opportunities for their child. This is especially devastating for those that were trying to proceed to the next level in college or even the professionals. To have this year ripped away from them and hindering their ability to showcase their talents in a particular sport becomes a struggle for them to acquire. 

The impact, psychology, on teens during this pandemic with extracurricular activities is substantial towards social interactions and to build essential camaraderies with other students. According to the Sentinel COVID-19 Impact, athletes not being able to participate in their sport causes psychological effects to their ambition in school, confidence in who they are, and can become considerably stressful. However, as a Dickinson psychology professor mentions the importance of “resilience can be something an athlete leans on during the pandemic.” The idea of having resilience in the time we’re in is crucial to have and is a precious trait to have as we embark on our life journey after high school. In other words, stay safe by following safety protocols to expedite the process coming out of this pandemic and strive to remain resilient during these hectic times.


The Harlem Renaissance By: Veronica Chambers

(Since this story doesn’t revolve around one person, I thought I would create the protagonist as a whole. Basically making the “protagonist” all the African Americans involved in this change.) 

African Americans are the dynamic characters. Their archetype changes over the course of the book. At the beginning of the book, they are the archetypal world redeemers. This can be seen on page 12-13, where the author writes:

“Whatever their motivations may have been, the critics’ fanfare was justified. The awards dinner was one of the key events of the Harlem Renaissance, a movement that began early in the 1920s as an assertion of an African-American artistic and cultural identity.” 

But by page 16-20, African Americans have begun to transform into survivors.  I say this because all the things they have started to establish and create over the years. For example “Nonetheless, the shows established a number of black singers and dancers (most famously Florence Mills) as bona fide stars.”… , “The Jazz craze reached Harlem soon after that, and the explosions of new nightclubs and cabarets charged the neighborhood with musical energy.”…. , “Despite the explosion of African-American creativity.”…

African Americans  are no longer the people who can be “controlled”(quotations indeed), they are not owned by anyone, and are not any less human than anyone walking down the street. There people as they always were.  Their past does not define them and the people they are to become .A reader will recognize the turning point for African Americans when their story gets repeated as a defining moment in history. Page 23 encourages this belief. “How did Harlem become the center of a black cultural revolution? The story of the Harlem Renaissance is actually many stories: of politics and power, race and gender, and especially art, music and literature. For perhaps the first time in American history, African Americans were able to see themselves as inheritors of an ancient culture that was rich and more varied than many could have imagined.” 


brown mountain near body of water

What Does it Mean to be American?

What does it mean to be American? Whenever someone asks me this question, I instantly think back to the Revolutionary War. The cause of the war was the Americans. The American colonists were fighting for their precious creeds and values, which they believed were being violated by England. England gave almost no rights to the colonists and heavily taxed many imported supplies such as spices and tea. Over time, the colonist’s annoyance grew, and they soon revolted against Great Britain. American values and creed were important enough to the colonists that they were willing to die for them. Like the American values themselves, the colonists who fought off England’s army are inspiring and worthy of praise.

One important American value is the concept of being independent. There are traces of this concept in almost every founding document. The fourth amendment states, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, (U. S Const. Amend IV)”. Congress put the fourth amendment in place to protect our houses from police or other authority with no warrants. This American value is even present today. Almost every American teen after high school (18 years of age) is required to be independent. Whether that’s going to college or getting a job, you are thrown into the adult world.

Thomas Jefferson famously wrote, “all men are created equal” (Jefferson para 2), in his draft of The Declaration of Independence. The claim that “all men are created equal” helps illuminate another American value. Being American means having full freedom. We can see this with the fifteenth and nineteenth amendments. The 15th and 19th amendments protect all non-white and female citizens to vote. This ensures all American citizens the right to voice their opinions. However, America isn’t doing a good job of providing the promised freedom to her people. America is having a difficult and ugly time with equality. African Americans are being unfairly treated and prosecuted even today, and tensions are increasing every day as we get closer to the election.

America is a country full of diverse and interesting people. I think of it as a “melting pot” of cultures where we can experience many cultures. People of all races and religions escape their countries for a chance to be free of persecution. This freedom and liberty from an oppressive government is the foundation on which America was built. From the basic ten amendments on the bill of rights to new laws being made today, there are hundreds of laws today to ensure our freedom. For example, the First Amendment explains, “ Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press” (U.S. Const. amend. I). The first amendment, alone, grants all U.S citizens the right to free speech, practice any religion, and hold a non-violent rally. In America, no one can corrupt your freedom. You can go to college and get a job, or you can start your own company and be your boss.

The country of America and all of her citizens is truly incredible. Describing what it means to be American is a vague and thought-provoking topic. There are so many different aspects of being American and there are so many different “types of American” that summarizing it is a challenge. However, the physical act of being American is not hard. America is an extremely unique country, a country that has many different and opposing groups of people, but the only type of person one has to be is a kind one.


Why Parties Might be Useful to our Government.

Since our the constitution was founded, creating our government that we all know today there have been people who believed that parties would tear our country apart and one of those people was George Washington. Washington despised the ideas of partied believing it to take away the last bit of democrat freedom we had left and tried his best to set our country off with no parties. This did not work though and parties formed anyway creating the big two groups that we all know, the republicans and democrats.

Parties might not be all that bad for us doing everything that Washington believed they would do. I read an article about the benefits of parties and it makes some good points for how parties have actually made our country evolve. The author first talks about how the America today run by parties is much different than the one that Washington knew mainly, “is not just geographically bigger, but immeasurably larger in both population and diversity”(Hamilton). This is where he believes parties excel they, “accommodate different interests, opinions, and views”(Hamilton). He believes parties have educated people to vote and what their voting on, are great consensus builders and are effective at getting the things our country really needs to pass passed.

https://nowcomment.com/documents/235875/combined?embedded=true

This article brings up some great points about how our government has developed and how the people of our country have been represented fully. With the partied being census building and big enough to combine different groups brings representation in each party to a greater level representing not only their little group but hundreds if not thousands of groups all combined together into one big group. Also having two major parties rather than thousands of smaller parties allows the really important things in our nation to pass easily without dozens of groups all arguing and disagreeing. From the time when Washington was president our country has gone from 4 million to 330 million so attempting to represent all those people without some sort of party to be there representation for them. Parties have helped move our country forward and have united people to agree on common ideas throughout the years.


Are we being conditioned?

Event 201 was a, “3.5-hour pandemic tabletop exercise that simulated a series of dramatic, scenario-based facilitated discussions, confronting difficult, true-to-life dilemmas associated with response to a hypothetical, but scientifically plausible, pandemic.”, largely funded by billionaire Bill Gates. Most people would think something like this is only natural and probably necessary considering we live in the height of a global pandemic. Of course these people are right, except for one key detail; event 201 occurred in October of 2019, months before people knew about the outbreak, and more importantly months before the outbreak even occurred.

Naturally conspiracy theorists were quick to the task of trying to connect the dots and put two and two together. It was highly improbable that the world’s elites gathered to watch a simulated pandemic unfold in the exact way that the real virus did months before it even happened. And it didn’t help that Bill Gates, the man funding it and also the richest man on the planet, is also highly involved in the search for the vaccine. Media outlets and rational thinkers were quick to call out these theorists as right wing fanatics. There’s no way an event held in broad daylight was used to simulate how easily the general population could be controlled and manipulated by higher ups, right?

Less than a month ago Mariana Mazucatto, a professor and economist, published “Avoiding a Climate Lockdown.” It spoke of the dangers of climate change, and proposed a solution of a second lockdown to limit CO2 emissions. ‘climate lockdown,’ governments would limit private-vehicle use, ban consumption of red meat, and impose extreme energy-saving measures, while fossil-fuel companies would have to stop drilling. To avoid such a scenario, we must overhaul our economic structures and do capitalism differently.” Oddly enough, this idea has begun to gain traction with some Americans, namely in California, which has been greatly affected by wildfires over the past few months. The average person seems to be much more open to the idea of an all out lockdown. After being confined to your house since March, it doesn’t sound all that crazy. I think it’s time to start asking some somewhat scary questions, like who really benefits from the population being stuck in their houses and ruled by fear. I am afraid you might find that the answer isn’t climate activists.


Lake Powell Pipeline Construction

There has been growing concern among Utahns regarding the construction of a pipeline that would extend from Lake Powell to St. George and provide drinking water to the community. Many people are in favor of the decision as it makes it easier to get water in a desert area like southern Utah. Other people fear the damage it would cause to the environment because it is similar to the Alaskan pipeline that extends across the state of Alaska and disrupts the environment of that area. The image below shows where the pipeline would be running across Utah.

This article from the Salt Lake Tribune, “After insisting on expedited review, Utah now asks feds to delay Lake Powell pipeline decision,” discusses how a pipeline that would extend 143 miles from Lake Powell to St. George would provide water to the area because of its rapid growth. However, recently, state water officials have asked the Interior department to slow down this billion-dollar project. This was done because of 14,000 responses to an environmental impact statement (EIS) to which the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation is supposed to have a final EIS decision by November.

According to the Utah Rivers Council, this “$3+ billion dollar project” has many issues with wasteful spending and use of water. Because this pipeline would create a massive diversion from the Colorado River, it would have to pump 28 billion gallons 2,000 feet uphill across 140 miles for only 160,000 residents. These residents are among the wasteful municipal water users in America and would use most of the water for watering their lawns. This has a long standing impact as much of the water will not be able to flow through the Grand Canyon and to the ocean.


America: Land of Differences

What does it mean to be an American?  It can mean a lot of different things for a lot of different people.  That leads me into my first thought.  Individualism.  This is one of the biggest pieces of what it means to be an American.  I value the fact that I can, generally, say what I’d like, have whatever stance I want on a topic, and be relatively independent.  In the article, “The struggles of an immigrant student trying to fit in American culture”, Unathi Zibi points this individualism and independence of each person out by saying, “In the U.S., every person seems to have their own culture” (Acosta para 7).  Every person is different and independent, especially from a cultural perspective.

American culture doesn’t seem very distinct to me.  It’s a melting pot of various cultures from around the world.  “The United States: The land of cultural diversity”, takes a look at how extremely different everyone in the U.S. is, and how that has shaped the country into this melting pot of cultures.  I value this bit of diversity, as it can create a better understanding of others’ backgrounds outside of your own. It can be diversity in cultural background, race, gender or religion.

Even with all of these differences we have, everyone has the same freedoms.  These freedoms have come with some issues however.  Americans have had quite a number of problems in the past.  To be frank, the past in the U.S. isn’t very bright, but we’ve overcome quite a lot of that.  Through voicing our opinions and feelings toward problems we see in our community and country, and by using the power we have as American people to make a change.  Although, not everyone likes change.  Robert Kohls, a founding member of Society for Intercultural Research, talks about how change is a good condition, but others feel it is disruptive in many situations.

A big challenge to American people today is being accepting of other people’s views when they don’t align with your own.  People are so quick to judge another person’s opinions just because they are different.  It’s important to hear what other people have to say, as they may have a valid reason for why they feel a certain way.  Like I said earlier, everyone comes from a different background, and I think it would be beneficial to us to try to come to an understanding with one another.  That’s something that I would like to be of more value to Americans, being understanding of one another even with all of our differences.

Works Cited

Acosta, Elaisa. “The Struggles of an Immigrant Student Trying to Fit in American Culture.” City College Times, Admin, 29 Sept. 2020, sjcctimes.com/14937/lifestyle/the-struggles-of-an-immigrant-student-trying-to-fit-in-american-culture/.

Kohls, Robert. “THE VALUES AMERICANS LIVE BY.” Career Center Lehigh, careercenter.lehigh.edu/sites/careercenter.lehigh.edu/files/AmericanValues.pdf.

The London School of English. “The United States: The Land of Cultural Diversity.” The United States: the Land of Cultural Diversity – The London School of English, The London School of English, 13 July 2018, www.londonschool.com/lsic/resources/blog/united-states-land-cultural-diversity/.

Featured image from- https://depositphotos.com/7938234/stock-photo-everybody-is-different-7.html


To Be American

Jack Guggemos

Mrs. Reed

American Lit

18 October 2020

To Be American

What it means to be American is different for everyone. Everyone has different views and beliefs. No two Americans are the same. What it should mean to be an American is to have freedom and to not be judged by who you are as a person. As of lately I know it’s not the same. I found in multiple articles that the U.S is losing what it had or what it should be and isn’t as great as people say it to be. Take a look at what Trump has said to the public, take a look at his past. I know I shouldn’t make this political but isn’t that where it all starts. The one person who’s leading us, the one person that this country is supposed to follow.

 Some of the things Trump has said are unbelievable. He believes foreigners should not be in this country when all of us are foreigners to this country. It shouldn’t matter what we look like. In Nick Gass’s article he stats something Trump said in an interview which is “ I have black guys counting my money. … I hate it” (Gass 14) ,  Trump goes on to say “Laziness is a trait in blacks. It really is, I believe that” (Gass para 14). This doesn’t just relate to black people too, close to 20% of the U.S is foreigners. How does it sound that the person leading this country is saying things like this. He’s racist. He makes people feel there not supposed to be here and that they don’t belong. How can one person support this? Everyone, not just immigrants or someone with different colored skin should be ashamed to be called an American

Another big part of America is the thought of if you have money then you’ve won in life. In an article by Jeremy Engle he talks about and says “Success is more important than happiness” (Engle para 2). That one really stood out to me because I know so many people believe this. That money and success will buy you happiness and that it’s more important than being happy from something you love. For some people it might be like that and you know what, that’s great for them but a lot of people can’t go and do whatever they want whenever they want. A hobby for example or maybe you have a tradition that you love to do no matter the circumstance. Life is so much more than money. I personally believe that and yes I know kids this age probably don’t or shouldn’t think about those things. But for me, I have. I have some things that make me so much happier than I think money ever could. American values or beliefs are out of line because of what we are taught at a young age. 

A big one America deals with or is said to be a huge part of us is equality. The first paragraph kind of covered this but that was more political and beliefs in that viewpoint. Stated in the University of Portland handbook it says “all people are created equal” (University of Portland Handbook para 3) which is from the Declaration of Independence. From the beginning we’ve had these rules or laws that say we are all equal, but it doesn’t translate over to the real world. It’s just a saying us Americans use. Look at the Three-Fifths compromise that was created. Three whites would count as five African Americans when it comes to voting.  It shouldn’t be this way, I don’t see why it’s so hard for some people to accept others just because they’re different. There’s no room for racism in this country, or anywhere. It’s just really sad seeing things like this happen. We need to do more as a country to show to people that were all equal we can’t just say it.

I think that America’s beliefs should be what they first were said to be. We have all the right stuff down on paper but it doesn’t correlate over to the real world when it’s in use. Like I said before in the Declaration of Independence it says “all people are created equal”. If everyone followed this and used it this world would be different in every way. Every country would be better than what they are.

“American Values and Assumptions.” American Values and Assumptions | University of Portland, www.up.edu/iss/advising-services/american-values.html. 

Engle, Jeremy. “What Do You Think Are the Beliefs and Values That Define American Culture?” The New York Times, The New York Times, 24 Apr. 2019, www.nytimes.com/2019/04/24/learning/what-do-you-think-are-the-beliefs-and-values-that-define-american-culture.html. 

Gass, Nick. “The 15 Most Offensive Things That Have Come out of Trump’s Mouth.” POLITICO, POLITICO, 9 Dec. 2015, www.politico.eu/article/15-most-offensive-things-trump-campaign-feminism-migration-racism/. 


Being an American is not Always as Amazing as it is Explained to be.

Featured image from (https://www.delawarepublic.org/post/australians-plan-weekend-rallies-solidarity-us-black-lives-matter)

For many people America is an amazing country where people have free will and can be anything their heart desires. They have rights to protect them, a government that cares about them, and the privilege of feeling safe. These people typically view America with great pride and patriotism. I am not those people and neither are most Americans. Being an American is not always as amazing as it is explained to be.

Though America has more to offer than many other countries, it is quite far from perfection. Perspective plays a huge role in how we see the world. A white male has a much different perspective on life than any one person of color, or woman. Also, age plays a factor. Different generations go through different things that shape their lives and ideals. 

In my mind, America does not have a defined culture of its own. Our culture is just a mix of multiple group’s cultures. Many would refer to our country as a “melting pot in which different cultures have contributed their own distinct flavors to American culture.” (Zimmerman 5)  Other countries cultures are typically full of food, celebrations, clothing, and more. America food is “hamburgers, hot dogs, potato chips, macaroni and cheese, and meatloaf” (Zimmerman 14).  Most of the things we eat aside from our unhealthy American food, are (or are derived from) Mexican, Asian, Indian, and Italian cuisine. Something we do have is national holidays such as labor day, memorial day, presidents day, and more. These are things that many people celebrate nationwide and they often get a day off of work or school for these occasions.

American creeds are deemed as an accurate representation of our country, These also go hand in hand with our values. Some things that are emphasized are” life liberty and pursuit of happiness” (U.S. Const. Preamble) and “a perfect union… established upon those principles of freedom, equality, justice, and humanity” (Page 1) This take on the American creed was inaccurate because even our country stresses these matters continuously, they do not occur for everyone. This leaves our country an unfair and judgemental place. Discrimination against groups of people is, and always will be an issue because it is impossible to make everyone see the importance of equality. There will always be those crooked people only here to poison the world with their messed up ideals. When power is given to these types of people they can do a lot of damage, and since our justice system continues to fail us justice is hardly ever served. 

Overall, America is a country of broken promises, and despite how it is portrayed it is not as amazing as it seems for every inhabitant. There are many changes needed to happen in order for America’s reputation to precede them. We need to offer the values we continue to worship as our policy to everyone despite their demographics. Though this will never be a reality, we need to continue to fight for freedom and equality in order to get our country as equal as it possibly can be. 

Work Cited

1.“The American’s Creed.” Ushistory.org, Independence Hall Association, www.ushistory.org/documents/creed.htm. 

2.“The U.S. Constitution: Preamble.” United States Courts, www.uscourts.gov/about-federal-courts/educational-resources/about-educational-outreach/activity-resources/us. 

3.Zimmermann, Kim Ann. “American Culture: Traditions and Customs of the United States.” LiveScience, Purch, 14 July 2017, www.livescience.com/28945-american-culture.html. 


The Divided States of America

America is nowhere near perfect. Our history is not all sunshine. The shadows from our past loom over us and we still continue to make mistakes. However, in America, we have a drive to improve. Americans always want to take things to the next level. Once we complete one goal, we want to hit an even bigger goal. I am confident that with our drive to improve, Americans will create a better country for future generations.  

Americans are very goal-oriented. We have individual and common aspirations. A lot of the time, we have different goals than the person next to us. In the film American Creed, an interviewee states, “in America, it does not matter where you are. It matters where you are going”. In America, we have the opportunity to work hard to achieve our goals however, Americans are in an unfair race. Two different people could have the same finish line, but drastically different starting lines. Americans continue to try and make the starting lines closer together but unfortunately, the reality is, that things will never be fair or completely equitable.  Some people will have to work harder than others. In America, we are forced to “break the idea that we are a prisoner of our own circumstances” (American Creed). It’s hard to be a proud American knowing that things are not fair; especially when you have to work twice as hard as someone else. On the other hand, there is a guilty feeling when you realize your achievement is nearly impossible for some. Americans value the opportunity to achieve their goals even if their starting line is not the same. 

Often times our goals bring us together although, they can drive us apart. Americans value their freedom and individualism. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the definition of freedom is, “ the quality or state of being free: such as the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action”. The definition of individualism is, “ the conception that all values, rights, and duties originate in individuals”. Freedom and individualism go hand in hand. With this comes a lot of responsibility. Sometimes Americans get caught in the gray space between freedom and rights. This causes a lot of division in our country. However, when we have a common goal it brings us together. Americans value the freedom to achieve their individual goals. 

Currently, our nation is divided on the Coronavirus Pandemic. We have some people with the common goal of getting the virus under control. On the other hand, we have another group of people who don’t fear the virus and want to continue a normal life. Some people are in between these viewpoints. The opposite common goals are what is currently dividing our country. Americans fear opposing views. Right now, it is hard to live in America and not judge other people for views you don’t agree with. This crisis has been treated as more of a political issue rather than a public health issue. It seems like America is in a “virtual civil war”. We have two different views that are fighting through media and it is resulting in deaths. On October 13th, 2020, the Washington Post stated, “at least 215,000 people in the United States have died of covid-19”. To be an American, you eventually have to realize that it is not about you; it is about everyone else. 

So with all of this division, what has held us together? That would be our American Creed. The American Creed is not one size fits all. With the millions of people in the United States, it is impossible to have one specific value or goal that every single person agrees with. One of the interviewees in the film American Creed stated, “the American Creed is what holds us together and all we have to hold us together is a story”. Change is inevitable and Americans are constantly growing and changing. This growth is what influences our culture. In America, we are lucky to have so many different cultures. And each individual culture has experienced different changes. What is holding us together, is the lessons we have learned from our past. Maybe not everyone agrees with the specific lessons; but the mistakes, hardships, triumphs, and continual growth will never go away. 

Works Cited:

“American Creed.” PBS, Public Broadcasting Service, 27 Feb. 2018

www.pbs.org/video/american-creed-ikwuqf/.

“Dictionary by Merriam-Webster: America’s Most-Trusted Online Dictionary.”

Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster, www.merriam-webster.com/.

William Wan, Jacqueline Dupree. “Coronavirus Cases Are Rising in U.S., Sparking Worries the next Big Wave Has Begun.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 13 Oct. 2020, www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/10/13/coronavirus-cases-rising/. 


American Values and Beliefs

To be American means to be free. Americans’ beliefs consist of many freedoms like freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, and freedom of assembly. These are evident in the founding documents like the Constitution, Declaration of Independence, and The Articles of Confederation. Some of the values of Americans are equality, liberty, and self-government. These values are told through the Declaration of Independence. Americans used these values and beliefs to justify breaking away from Britain. These values and beliefs were always important to the American people. Different texts like The Declaration of Independence, The Articles of Confederation, and The Constitution show beliefs and values such as equality, freedom, and liberty were always important. Although we are far from obtaining some of these values they are still important are values and beliefs that every person should believe in.

The Declaration of Independence explained why freedom, equality, and liberty were important to the American people and why they wanted to break away from Britain. In the Declaration of Independence, it explains how Britain was holding these unalienable rights from the American people. Several times it explains how these rights were being violated by Britain. This document was written because the American people believed they could get these rights by breaking away from Britain. These values were obviously very important to the American people because they went to war for these rights.

The Constitution has many articles aimed at equality and freedom. The first 10 amendments or The Bill of Rights guarantee the American people specific rights pertaining to freedom and liberty. Although the amendments that guaranteed equal rights didn’t come until a lot later they are still in The Constitution. This document makes it evident that the values of freedom, equality, and liberty are very important.

The Articles of Confederation wanted equality, freedom, and liberty for the whole country but was more focused on states. Under the Articles of Confederation, the states had more power than the central government. Even though states were more powerful than the central government it still guaranteed freedom, liberty, and equality for the American people no matter what state they were in. The Articles of Confederation were not a really effective way to govern the country but it still showed that freedom, equality, and liberty were important and rights everybody should have.

Although equality is mentioned in all these documents and is a big part of American history it still isn’t fully achieved. If everybody had the same rights full equality could be possible. Equality is still an important value and we should still strive to achieve it as a whole country. These 3 documents still show how important these 3 values are and why they are important to the people.