A HEALTHY Relationship
BESTIE A TRUE
A BETTER Sibling Bond
l a u n n A 2nd
S E L P U COSURVIVAL GUIDE
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TRUE STAR Foundation A LEADER IN YOUTH PROGRAMS
Our Purpose TO INSPIRE DREAMS SO THAT YOUNG PEOPLE CAN FIND THEIR VOICE, CHOOSE THEIR PATH, AND PREPARE FOR LIFE.
TRUE STAR FOUNDATION
The True Star Foundation’s mission is to demonstrate healthy transitions for youth coming into early adulthood by exposing them to real world experiences in the workforce through the development of their own media and being an intricate part of the strategic direction and overall business operations of the organization.
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
ON THE COVER: Creative Director:
Joi Mitchell, Wardrobe Styling: Joi Mitchell & Lynn Augustine, Hair: Diamond Beach of Beauty Boulevard, Make-up: Deanna Beach of Be, Photography: Shelby Brown. Models from left to right: DeShawn Thompson, Nadia Barnette, Tiffany Blair, and Christopher Butler. Girls clothing from H&M and Everybody Eats. Guys clothing from Marshalls and H&M.
THE RELATIONSHIP ISSUE
23 VINTAGE, ANYONE?
40 FREE LUNCH ACADEMY PLANS TO PUT AN
8 HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS MATTER
24 COZY COMFORT
END TO BULLYING 41 TENISHA TAYLOR MAKES A DIFFERENCE IN
9 ROMANTIC LOVE
30 COMMUNITY LOVE
THE LIVES OF BLACK MALES
COULD YOUR BESTIE BE THE ONE FOR YOU?
30 YOUTH SOUND OFF ON POLITICS
42 DESIGNER’S LEGACY LIVES ON
10 6 SIGNS THAT YOUR MATE MIGHT BE
31 HOW COMMUNITIES POSITIVELY
11 ARMANI DARLING ADVISES WOMAN IN
44 THE GENDER WAGE GAP & FAMILY
LOVE TO “JUST THINK”
RELATIONSHIPS / PROTECT YOUR OWN
12 WHAT MEANS “NO”
32 - 33 REAL LOVE
13 LOVE DOESN’T HURT: HOW TO AVOID
45 GET CREATIVE TO MAKE SOME CASH /
34 FAMILY LOVE
COULD RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR CLOTHES
14 BREAKING FREE FROM ABUSIVE
34 SIBLING LOVE: CREATING A BETTER BOND
INSPIRE A BUSINESS?
35 LEAN ON ME: THE IMPACT OF THE SIBLING
47 YOUNG CEO CECIL WILSON WINS BIG
TIPS ON HOW TO FIX YOUR FLAWS
36 CREATING A HEALTHIER BLACK MAN
17 PREGNANT? HELP IS AVAILABLE
37 THE IMPORTANCE OF FAMILY
UNDER THE RADAR
19 COMING OUT TO FAMILY & FRIENDS 20 NO GREATER LOVE THAN SELF-LOVE
22 SPIRITUALITY THE COMPLEXITY OF RELIGION
TRUE STAR MAGAZINE
48 YOUNG B. BANDZ / CHRISTOPHER WATKINS
38 FRIENDS & ACQUAINTENCES
49 ILL MINDED ODESSEY
THE FRIENDSHIP QUIZ: IS YOUR BEST FRIEND A
WHAT MATTERS TO US
50 WHAT MATTERS TO US?
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CHICAGO, IL 60605
True Star Magazine is produced by Chicago area youth through apprenticeship programs to celebrate the voice of today’s young people.
EDITOR’S LETTER BRIANA WILSON
SENIOR, VON STEUBEN SNAPCHAT: @BRII_OXO
ur winter issue aims to inform teens about relationship ups and downs and how important they are in life. Now, before you get to thinking this magazine will be full of couples, we are determined to teach teens that relationships don’t only involve romance. In this issue, we’ll also highlight family, community and friendship relationships. The relationship that should be your main priority is with the one with yourself. In the Self-love section, the article “Tips on How to Fix Your Flaws,” offers advice to help change some of your negative ways. Having a social life is really important to most teenagers. It is vital to surround yourself with great friends, which could make your social life even better. Check out our “Friendship Quiz” to find out how loyal your bestie really is. When the roads go left with friendships, you always have your siblings to rely on. Read “Sibling Love,” and pick up some tips on how to bond better with your bro or sis. Of course, we’ve got romance in this issue as well. Read the cover story that spotlights two local couples to see what keeps their relationship healthy. Is your boyfriend having a hard time with respecting your decisions? Or are you the one who finds it difficult to accept the word “no” coming from your partner? Check out “What Means No” to better understand the meaning of consent. Have your parents ever told you that when you leave home you will be representing them? Ever been told you represent your community once you step foot into another one? Read “How Communities Positively Impact Youth” to learn how your environment can help you succeed, both personally and professionally. As you read this magazine, make sure your pen and pad are near, so you can write down all the helpful tips to improve the relationships with those around you. We hope you enjoy this issue! PLEASE LET US KNOW YOUR THOUGHTS ON TRUE STAR MAGAZINE Letters to True Star • 1130 South Wabash • Suite 302 • Chicago, Il 60605-2717 Letters become the property of True Star and may be edited for publication. EMAIL email@example.com
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VISIT OUR BLOG FOR DAILY NEWS, INFO & ENTERTAINMENT
WWW.TRUESTARIS.COM 6 TRUE STAR MAGAZINE
Executive Directors J. Na-Tae’ Thompson & DeAnna McLeary-Sherman Managing Editor Marti Parham Art Direction Design and Illustration Angel D’Amico-Bauer Copy Editor Shirley Henderson Promotions Manager DeShaun Adams Special Projects Manager Philistine Thompson Marketing Manager Joi Mitchell Web Content Assistant Henry Collins
Graphic Design Instructor: Polina Zionts Assistants: L’Oreal Pace and Channa Smith Junior Art Directors: L’Oreal Pace and Kamari Robertson Tristan Adams Jessica Allen Nakyra Allen Tara Branigan Marquinn Brown-Tate Paris Butler JayShari Chears Belinda Goodwin Eugene Gutter Robert S. Guzman Jada McCurdy Jaelyn McCurdy Dominique McDade Pierre Poindexter Bryana Robinson Nia Staggers Dantae Thomas Haley Williams Marleya Williams Autumn Thompson
Cristian Hines Jonah Howard Brianna Jordan Thomiya Kendricks Micah Loudermilk Imani Manson Makayla Mitchell Maurice Phipps Makayla Smith
Multi media Instructors: Shelby Brown, Lateefah Harland & Trenton Sapp Assistants: Christopher Brown & Michael Walton Julius Burch Debrianna Cousins Lauryn Jackson Meghan King Dorien Levy Lorena Marez Daniel Merrick Catorree Ross Morgan Sanders Michael Sykes
Radio Broadcasting Instructors: Chi-Blizz & Teefa Kiara Adams Erin Baker Hezekiah Basemore Jada Brooks Octavia Clavelle Chyane Coleman Rayn Crawford Christopher Griffis Jalen-Ahmad McClay Kayla Niles Camryn Quarterman Brene’ Stamps Ania Stewart Editorial @ Garfield Nicholas Stroud Instructors: Dion Dawson & Kayla Sullers Camron Smith Ariell Toney Assistant: Briana Wilson Tia Walker Aaron Barnes
Digital Media Instructor: Shelby Brown Kylon Belk Donnell Boyd
Marketing Instructor: Joi Mitchell Assistant: Braylyn Brown Taylor Coward Cameron Cox Kayla Crittle Nikkia Ferguson Pierrerasha Goodwin Kaiqwan Johnson David Omana Jamal Ray Jasmine Roberson Editorial @ Brooks Instructor: Marti Parham Assistant: Mina Waight Sullivan Anderson Artej Benson-Carson MeKya Booker Coriana Brown Kennede Coleman Aurielle Drummer Dominque Ewing Ebony Hayes Kayla Henry Trinti Maye Taylor Miggins Alina Scott Zanea Spencer Moneshia Stampley Lailah Webster Kayla White
Lakenya Chapman Kiara Dale Teoni Dorsey Dreamer Edwards Leah Ellis Russell Garcia Dazah Haywood Sakora Henderson Jasmine Holloway Brenjanae Johns Devin Kuykendoll Laquesha Mims Khalil Myles Tyun Myles Imani Osborne Willie Overshown Jordan Powell Donovan Powell Akia Renae Janiya Robinson Tyson Smith Kennedy Stewart Deja Taylor Jameriqua Underwood Arlandrea White Brianna Williams
CONTRIBUTORS 1. If money were not a factor, what would be your romantic dream date? 2. When do you know it’s time to break up with a friend? 3. Would you consider yourself spiritual or religious? 4. What activities would you create at your school to discuss race relations? 5. What personal flaw do you embrace and what flaw needs improvement?
SENIOR TF NORTH RADIO BROADCASTING TEAM 1. A picnic at the beach with homemade foods. 2. You know it’s time to break up when you can’t trust that person anymore. 3. I consider myself religious because it’s what I was taught as a child, and sometimes I still believe in [my faith]. 4. I would first try to partner everyone with someone who’s not of their race and have them talk about their perspectives on race relations. 5. I feel that my personal flaw is my body because of my stretch marks. I can’t wear what I want, but I have learned to embrace the marks. I don’t think I have a personal flaw that needs improvement.
JUNIOR NOBLE STREET COLLEGE PREP WEST SIDE EDITORIAL TEAM 1. It would have to be a day at the carnival. There’s nothing more special to me than when a boy tries so hard to win you the biggest teddy bear. 2. It should never get to the point where you feel like that friend is becoming a burden, and the only reason you won’t break up is because you don’t want to see him with someone else or because you don’t want to hurt [your friend’s] feelings. Sometimes it’s OK to say goodbye, but who says that must be goodbye forever? 3. I strongly believe in God and want to grow more like Him in every way, but there are a lot of doubts I have in the Bible, and as I grown older, I began to question. I attend church every Sunday, but the more I go, the more I begin to question things. 4. I would create a day of workshops. I would set up one room where everyone could watch the effects of the “Doll Test.” The next workshop would be an interaction of how students feel they are treated when they go into a store. Finally, [there would] be a Q&A talk with the Chicago police about discrimination and interrogation. 5. The flaw I embrace would have to be my curiosity. I question everything. The flaw to that is that I’m gullible. This is something that I’ve already begun to improve on.
ALICIA WORMLEY JUNIOR BROOKS COLLEGE PREP GRAPHIC DESIGN TEAM
1. My romantic dream date would be to first go to a carnival for half of the day, and then for the other half, go to my date’s house and watch a bunch of movies. 2. It’s time to break up with your friend when you no longer feel happy to see the [person] or when [he or she] begins to bring you down instead of building you up. 3. I would consider myself to be more religious than spiritual. 4. Since I want to major in art in college, I would want to do activities where students create posters and drawings showcasing the race relations going on in Chicago. 5. A personal flaw that I embrace is my lisp. I don’t think I would be me without it. One personal flaw I have to work on is that I actually take a lot of stuff to heart and get really easily upset, even if someone is just joking around, I still get hurt easily.
SENIOR BROOKS COLLEGE PREP TRUE STAR RADIO AT UBM 1. It would be a day where we just chill and do nothing. Order some food, watch a couple movies, marathon a couple of episodes of a TV series and probably play some cards or PlayStation. 2. It’s time to break up with a friend when all you do is argue, hate each other and both people are not progressing in bettering the relationship. 3. I do believe there is a higher power. I am a firm believer that there is a God, and Jesus died for our sins, and we pray to Him for forgiveness. I have this mindset because this is how my mother and grandma raised me. I just don’t go to church as often as I should. 4. Everybody would bring food that is special to his or her ethnicity, and we all bond while eating food. Everybody eats, so everybody should be satisfied and neutral toward anything racist. 5. I embrace my sense of humor. It’s very odd and unique, but only a select few understand it. The flaw that I need to work on is my work ethic. I should do my work whenever I get the chance instead of waiting.
JUNIOR MORGAN PARK SOUTH SIDE EDITORIAL TEAM 1. My dream romantic date would probably be walking around and talking for hours. 2. It’s time do break up with a friend when everything [that person does] starts to annoy you or when the connection between you starts to dwindle. 3. I would probably say yes and no. I am being brought up in a Christian home, I attend church regularly, and I believe in God; however, I am not a saint. Since I’m still young, there are some things that I may say/think/do that aren’t pleasing to God and I know it, but I still choose to say/think/do these things. 4. I would set up a big assembly and just have some experts come out and talk to my peers. 5. One personal flaw that I embrace is that I am very blunt. One personal flaw that needs improvement is being nicer to other humans.
MATTER BY CORIANA BROWN, JUNIOR, MORGAN PARK SNAPCHAT: @CORIWITHTHECAKES
IFE IS ALL ABOUT CREATING UNFORGETTABLE BONDS WITH THE PEOPLE YOU ENCOUNTER. THERE ARE MANY TYPES OF RELATIONSHIPS YOU CAN BUILD, FROM INTIMATE, TO FRIENDLY, OR EVEN SIMPLY GETTING TO KNOW YOURSELF BETTER. NO MATTER WHAT TYPE OF RELATIONSHIP YOU’RE INVOLVED IN, MAKE SURE YOU DO THE RIGHT THINGS TO KEEP IT STRONG.
THIS SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP ISSUE OF TRUE STAR IS SPONSORED BY CHICAGO DATING MATTERS INITIATIVE (CDMI) WITH THE GOAL OF GETTING THE WORD OUT ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF MAINTAINING HEALTHY AND LOVING TEENAGE RELATIONSHIPS. EVEN IF YOU’RE NOT DATING ANYONE AT THE MOMENT, THERE IS STILL PLENTY OF GREAT ADVICE ON THE FOLLOWING PAGES TO APPLY TO YOUR OWN LIFE AND TO THE RELATIONSHIPS THAT MATTER TO YOU MOST. 8 TRUE STAR MAGAZINE
COULD YOUR BESTIE
Be The One For YOU? BY AALIYAH FRANKLIN, JUNIOR, MORGAN PARK SNAPCHAT: @FVCKLOVEEEE
“...BEFORE YOU DECIDE TO DATE YOUR BEST FRIEND, MAKE SURE YOU ARE READY FOR THAT LEVEL OF COMMITMENT.” - ARMANI DARLING
hat guy or girl that you call your bestie—the one who knows everything about you, cares about you and supports everything you do—out of the blue sends you a text message that says, “I want more than what we have.” Chances are you may be pretty confused on how to handle the situation. Lucky for you, True Star is here to help. Armani Darling, author of the relationship book Don’t Think Like A Man, Just Think, believes being honest is important when having the “status” talk with your friend. “The best way to respond is with the truth. Let [the person] know how you truly feel,” he says. “I know you may be caught off guard, so be careful how you respond. You can let [him or her] know that you are surprised, but really figure out what you’re feeling for this person before responding.” It’s natural to have some apprehensions on whether or not a relationship with your best friend can actually work. The thought of being “together” might seem odd or even weird at first, but it wouldn’t hurt to take the time to seriously take the matter into consideration. If there is even the tiniest part of you that thinks you also might want more from your best friend, that could be a good thing because you know each other well enough to be together. But, of course, there is one consequence to consider: There’s a slight chance that the bond with your best friend could be broken if things don’t work out. “There is always a good and a bad in any situation. The
worst thing that can happen is that you lose a friend,” says Darling. “While that might be a big deal, I believe you have more to gain.” Darling adds that a benefit to dating your best buddy is that he or she probably has many of the qualities you want in a partner. “This is the person who knows you best and wants the best for you,” he says. Another plus is that you don’t have to act a certain way or be someone you’re not because this person likes you for you. If you are leaning more toward saying yes to a relationship with you bestie, Darling advises that you make sure you are prepared for what it means to be a couple. “I believe a true friendship will last forever. You know yourself, so before you decide to date your best friend, make sure you are ready for that level of commitment. You have to respect your friend. In any relationship you should be faithful, but especially this one because you have more to lose.” When you do have the talk with you bestie, have it in person, and be sure to establish up front whether he or she was joking around or being serious. Look at body language and facial expressions for clues of dishonesty. If they are playing, disregard the matter and carry on as usual, but if he or she was on the up and up, then you need to be prepared to give an honest and heartfelt reply. If you seriously consider all the advice that’s been offered here, what happens next could be the start to a beautiful relationship. TRUE STAR MAGAZINE 9
THAT YOUR MATE MIGHT
BE CHEATING BY SYMONE WRIGHT SOPHOMORE, MORGAN PARK
f your significant other is acting weird, this could be a sign that he or she might be cheating. Take a look at the list below and if any of the things on it sound familiar, you may need to prepare yourself for the worst.
! DOESN’T TEXT BACK FAST
! PROTECTIVE OF PHONE
When you come around, does your sweetie automatically lock or shut off his or her phone? According to the Huffingtonpost.com article, “Cheating Signs,” a move like this could be to avoid a disturbing text or phone call from a new love interest. If you’re not even allowed to touch your steady’s phone, something is probably up.
If your mate ALWAYS has an excuse on why it takes them so long to text back, they could be slowly fading you out. Before jumping to conclusions, question your partner on why there is such a delay in his or her reply time. If the reason sounds suspicious, take note.
! HIDING SOCIAL MEDIA
All of a sudden your mate isn’t being open with online information anymore. He/She may have even told you that one of the social mediums has accidentally deleted or blocked you. If your love interest has become so secretive to where you can only see certain posts, you could have a problem.
! PRIVATE PASSWORD
Does your mate have your password but you don’t have his/hers? Have you ever asked for his or her password only to have your request ignored? It’s only natural to want privacy, but if only one of you is open to sharing a password, the other could have something to hide. 10 TRUE STAR MAGAZINE
! ACCUSES YOU OF CHEATING
Your boo might accuse you of cheating, even though they know you’re not. He or she could be playing the victim to make you feel like you’re doing something wrong when in actuality, they are the one with the guilty conscious.
! NO TIME FOR YOU
When you want to hang out to do couples’ stuff, does your sweetheart always have an excuse or something else to do? If this sounds familiar, your boyfriend or girlfriend could be creating distance from you in order to be with someone else.
Keep in mind that none of these clues are one hundred percent accurate, and obsessing over someone’s faithfulness can do more harm than good. But if your intuition is telling you that something about your bae doesn’t feel right, it’s time to have a serious talk.
ADVISES WOMEN IN LOVE TO ‘Just Think’ BY KAYLA WHITE, JUNIOR, MORGAN PARK
rmani Darling, a Kenwood Academy alum, is the author of Don’t Think Like A Man, Just Think, a book that gives advice to women on relationships. Darling gives an honest answer as to why men write relationship books for women. “I believe most relationships books are catered toward women because women are more willing to listen and seek information. Men are still too prideful. A lot of us might not want to have a relationship book laying around the house because we don’t want to seem ‘weak.’” Darling admits that being in his 20s—28 to be exact—has presented some challenges for him in this line of work. “Being a young author speaking on the topic of love can have its ups and downs,” he says. “On one hand, I’m able to reach a younger audience, but on another, the older crowd always asks the question, ‘What do you know about love?’ Surprisingly, the older crowd has gravitated toward the book very well. I spoke with a reader who happened to let her mother read the book, and I was very surprised to hear that the mom said she wishes she had a book like this when she was younger.”
A lot of people think that in order to write a book solely based on relationships, you need to have been in several. Darling was simply a friend who gave good advice to his female friends. He decided that women all over should benefit from what he had to say. Extending a helping hand to women who have these same relationship issues was his goal. “My inspiration for writing [the book] came from love and happiness. I believe everyone should be able to experience true love and be happy while doing so. Many times in a relationship, we forget the reasons why we are in a relationship, and I just wanted to remind people of the feeling they ‘should be’ feeling. Several of my friends would be so happy when they began their relationship, but over time those joys turned to sadness. One of my closest friends would always talk to me about her significant other, and it came to a point where I would get fed up. I knew she deserved better, and as a male, I knew the games that her boyfriend was playing. I started to see that the issues she was facing were becoming a pattern for many women, so I wanted to create a helpful way of helping them through their problems.” Not all women need help to be in successful relationships, but if they do need assistance, it’s good that they have authors such as Darling who committed himself to writing something he believes is useful. There is more to Darling than being an author; he is also a special education assistant at a CPS school. “Since I’ve been working in special education the past five years, I think I want to write a series of educational adventure-based books for early elementary students. I like to mold young minds, and I think a good story with a character that kids can get attached to is a good start.” For more information on Darling or his book, visit his website at armanidarling.com. TRUE STAR MAGAZINE 11
WHAT Means NO BY ALI SCOTT, SENIOR, MORGAN PARK TWITTER: @BAMXITSXALINA
here are people in the world who believe that life owes them. Unfortunately, they think that access to another person’s body without permission falls into that category.
aware that being intimate can wait. You’ll have to wait, that is, if you think he or she is worth it.
Clayton State University junior Christopher Lawrence doesn’t believe that a person is obligated to have sex under any circumstance. He thinks that intimacy should be a choice between two consenting parties. “There is never a justification for [sexually assaulting someone]. If [sex is] not wanted or not consensual, then there’s no reason why one person should sexually interact with another person.”
This is a plain and simple response that needs no justification. A person does not have to give a reason for not wanting to be intimate.
Body language and even actual words are often used to show when someone is not willing to consent to an intimate act. True Star has provided these examples to demonstrate other ways your date might be saying “no.”
1. “This isn’t what I had in mind.”
If you’ve invited someone over for Netflix and chill, and you hear these words, then the person actually means he or she wants to chill and hang out. Your date is not obligated to do any favors or perform any acts for you.
4. “I don’t want to.”
5. “No thanks.” / “No thank you.”
You may be making your date nervous or uncomfortable if he or she says this. What the person is secretly saying is, “Go away.” Respect your date’s space and heed his or her request.
6. “Go away” / “I’m uncomfortable.”
These phrases are blatantly telling you that you are not welcome and are clearly intruding on your date’s personal space. Respect his/her space.
7. Backing Away / Putting Space Between You
2. “Not until we’re married.”
Although it is not verbal, the person you are trying to pursue is trying to spare your feelings, but there is a good chance you are making him or her uncomfortable. Once you notice that the person is constantly trying to get away from you or doesn’t want to converse, stop trying to get close.
3. “School comes before sex.”
If you persist with your harassment, be prepared for the consequences. If you’re not apprehended by authorities first, which is the ultimate outcome, you may experience physical harm from the person in defense of himself or herself. Remember, there are many ways a person can say no. Pay attention and listen to the nonverbal and verbal signs.
If your partner has vowed to abstain from having sex for religious or personal reasons, don’t look at the situation as a personal challenge to sway him or her in the opposite direction. You should take their beliefs as seriously as they do.
At this time in life, you and your partner should be focusing on school. The person who uses the above phrase wants the best future for his or her life. This person is 12 TRUE STAR MAGAZINE
LOVE DOESN’T HURT:
How to Avoid
Dating Violence BY ALI SCOTT, SENIOR, MORGAN PARK TWITTER: @BAMXITSXALINA
xperts believe that the types of romantic relationships we develop in our teens can influence the partnerships we develop in the future. This theory is reason enough to stay clear of any sign of violence and abuse when it comes to dating. Ylonda Ware, a professional counselor at Charles R. Henderson Elementary where the Chicago Dating Matters Initiative (CDMI) is implemented, has made it her mission to help in educating young people on the difference between healthy and unhealthy behavior in a relationship. She believes that there are pitfalls in society that make teens more vulnerable to dating violence. “I think that dating violence has increased among teens because of culture, music and the environment they’re growing up in,” Ware says. “I think that teens who grow up in environments that are saturated with poverty and crime, combined with the music they listen to, [that culture] makes it seem like violence is acceptable.”
ACCORDING TO THE CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION, IN SOME COMMUNITIES, MORE THAN 30 PERCENT OF YOUTH REPORTED EXPERIENCING SOME FORM OF DATING VIOLENCE.
alternatives for what they go through on the daily basis,” she says. “They help the teens learn the limits and boundaries in relationships. They help them learn that physically, emotionally and verbally abusing their partner is unacceptable. They teach them how a relationship should feel, along with helping [young people] to develop a healthy self-concept.” Ware explains that a healthy relationship is when two people value and respect each other. They can demonstrate healthy limits and boundaries, and they know what is offensive or hurtful to the other individual. She adds that in a healthy union, partners “purposefully make an effort to not hurt, effect or offend the other person. They consciously make an effort to build that person up.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in some communities, more than 30 percent of youth reported experiencing some form of dating violence. The website, loveisrespect.com, reports that girls between the ages of 16 and 24 have the highest rate of partner violence and have a higher risk of succumbing to substance abuse, eating disorders and more domestic violence. Half of the youth who experience abuse or violence attempt suicide.
Some victims may say they never saw the abuse or violence coming, but if they are honest with themselves, the early signs are often overlooked. “The signs are always there,” says Ware. “You should know from the tone, the language that is being used against you, or if the person is constantly threatening you, either physically or verbally—that’s a sign. If the person is threatening you sexually, you should know that that person is sexually abusive and emotionally abusive. If you don’t know anything about that person’s history or the [individual’s] family history, then find out. Those are things that hover, but they matter.”
CDMI is a necessary program to have so that teens can avoid the long-term effects of violence. “[CDMI] helps the teens think another way. It helps them consider
When it gets down to it, the more we know about violent relationships, the less likely we are to end up in one. TRUE STAR MAGAZINE 13
FROM ABUSIVE Relationships BY ALI SCOTT, SENIOR, MORGAN PARK TWITTER: @BAMXITSXALINA
iolence in any relationship is not acceptable. No matter how some may try to rationalize mistreatment, it is still abuse. Some examples of violent relationships are emotional and verbal abuse, physical abuse and sexual abuse. Let the following advice from Chicago Dating Matters Initiative (CDMI) help you break free from these unhealthy relationships.
If your relationship lacks trust, honesty and support and is bountiful in aggression and is one-sided, it’s more than likely an abusive relationship. Abusive relationships aren’t all physical, such as having bruises and marks or broken bones. There is also emotional abuse, which causes depression or a low sense of self-worth. Even worse than that, people are often murdered, whether purposely or accidentally, as a result of abuse. Once the relationship is abusive, it will always be this way. There is very little chance of a healthy relationship developing.
Ending an abusive relationship safely
If you’re wary of the person in the beginning of the relationship, then trust your instinct. If you find yourself dating someone who is aggressive, alcohol or drug dependent or who bullies others, is domineering or gets angry easily, then it’s imperative that you quickly end that relationship in a way that does not put you in danger. Be sure to tell someone about your plan to break up with the abuser. When you break up with the individual, be in a public place. Be direct. Make your wishes and boundaries very clear. Don’t be gentle with your words to save this person’s feelings. Avoid all contact with him or her afterward. If you feel you’re still in danger, don’t hesitate to call the authorities. 14 TRUE STAR MAGAZINE
ONCE THE RELATIONSHIP IS ABUSIVE, IT WILL ALWAYS BE THIS WAY. THERE IS VERY LITTLE CHANCE OF A HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP DEVELOPING.
Dating and acquaintance rape
At any time, a person is allowed to say no to sex, even if you’ve had sex with the person before. No will always mean no. It will never mean yes, and it will never be an act of passion. It’s a crime. Don’t push anyone, or don’t let someone push you into having sex. It could turn into rape. It doesn’t necessarily have to be forced with physical strength. The individual could threaten your life, the life of others or make threats to harm himself or herself if you don’t comply. The most common date rape drug is alcohol. Others include, but aren’t limited to, ketamine, Rohypnol and GHB. Approximately 17 million women have experienced some form of sexual abuse. Ten percent of rape victims are male. If you are in an uncomfortable situation that may lead to sexual assault, try to get away and yell for help. If you are raped, get help right away. Go to the doctor before showering. Whatever happens, you should know that it wasn’t your fault. What to do if you or someone you know has experienced sexual abuse Sexual abuse could mean a variety of things: rape, unwanted sexual contact or inappropriate comments. If you know someone who has experienced this kind of abuse, it’s important that you support him or her. Sexual abuse is an awful lifechanging experience that can wreak havoc on an individual’s emotional stability or caused physical complications. If you have had the unfortunate experience of being abused, tell someone you trust or call a rape crisis hotline (1-800-656HOPE) and find out what guidance they can offer you. In any case, if you or someone you know are potentially in danger, call 911 without hesitation. It may very well save your life.
“I’M RUNNING LATE FOR
“MOM...WHY ARE YOU TEXTING?”
WORK AND IT’S A LOT GOING ON, BUT DON’T WORRY ABOUT THAT.”
“BUT WE COULD GET
“WE ARE NOT GOING
HURT. YOU KNOW THAT’S
TO GET HURT, I AM THE
6 years later... “BRANDON... YOU ALMOST RAN THAT LIGHT!”
“I SEE, I SEE I’M PAYING ATTENTION.”
“NO YOU’RE DISTRACTED
“I’VE LEARNED IT FROM
BECAUSE OF THAT PHONE!
YOU ALL OF THESE YEARS
YOU NEED TO STOP
MOM, YOU SHOULD TAKE
TEXTING AND DRIVING”
YOUR OWN ADVICE.”
Don’t Drive Intexticated. Practice Safe Text. Parents Take Your Own Advice. TRUE STAR’S TEEN SAFE DRIVING PROGRAM IS POSSIBLE DUE TO A DONATION MADE BY
TIPS ON How to Fix Your Flaws BY JOANMARIE MORRIS, FRESHMAN, MORGAN PARK SNAPCHAT: @JO.MONEYYY
f you are real with yourself, you can admit that you’re not perfect. In fact, we all have flaws. But just because we have them, doesn’t mean we have to keep them for life. Chicago mental health therapist Ngonzi Truth Crushshon, Psy.D., offers some advice on ways to improve yourself and cut loose some of your negative flaws forever.
ARROGANT This person is prideful and enjoys feeling superior to others. Crushshon’s FLAW FIX: “Arrogance usually distances a person from others based on the premise that they are superior or ‘better’ than others and on the basis of them having more ‘stuff’ (money, clothing, intelligence, expensive items or possessions). Ask yourself, ‘What purpose is the arrogance serving in my life? Is it a defense mechanism to keep people from knowing my business or to make people like, respect or fear me?’ “Find ways to distinguish between arrogance and confidence. There is a way to have ‘stuff,’ be humble and secure in who you are so you no longer have to use your ‘stuff’ or degrade anyone in order to be successful.”
TROUBLEMAKER This is a person who likes to instigate negative situations/trouble often. Crushshon’s FLAW FIX: “Identify patterns and reasons [as to] why you are getting into trouble. Ask yourself, ‘Am I causing distractions, gossiping or fighting because I need help with my academic work/assignments? Is there an unaddressed personal issue or is someone bothering me at home/school/ community? Do I feel hopeless or feel like what’s the point of trying?’ Follow up with a responsible adult regarding your answers. If you are ready to change your behavior, identify a student or teacher who can hold you accountable. Ask [him or her] to assist you with staying on task in the classroom.”
NO FILTER This can best be described as speaking freely and not considering
“There is a time for certain conversations to take place. Some conversations should be had in private, not a public setting. Some conversations are better had one-onone versus in a crowd of people, as not to embarrass someone, or it may escalate into a fight.”
DISLOYAL This person breaks the trust of someone with whom he or she has a relationship/friendship. Crushshon’s FLAW FIX: “Everyone does not define ‘friend,’ ‘family’ and ‘associate’ the same way. Many people’s past experiences in relationships affect their current relationship patterns. One should re-evaluate which type of relationship/friendship they want and which type of friend they want to be known as. When relationships end, whether on good or bad terms, do some self-introspection. Ask yourself, ‘What went wrong? What was my role in this relationship?’”
CRUELTY Here is someone who purposefully causes pain and suffering to others. Crushshon’s FLAW FIX: “Watch your words. If you do not have anything good to say, remain silent or walk away. Try not to engage in the same cruel behavior that others inflict on you. This can be considered ‘verbal/emotional abuse.’ Inform a counselor if this is the case.”
the consequences of one’s words. Crushshon’s FLAW FIX: “Think beforehand how others will feel after you voice your opinion. Practice using ‘I’ statements: ‘I felt upset when you made that statement’ or ask a friend to help you choose your words wisely. 16 TRUE STAR MAGAZINE
Once you begin to do some self-reflection, you can identify positive and negative personality qualities that you can take small steps to change. According to Crushshon, this will in turn help you improve your character and to become a more well-rounded person.
Pregnant? HELP IS AVAILABLE BY AURIELLE DRUMMER, JUNIOR, KING COLLEGE PREP TWITTER: @AYYOO_AURI
ftentimes when teens are in trouble, they feel as though they have no one to talk to. That’s especially true when the teen is pregnant and doesn’t want to deal with the consequences of having a baby. Because a girl doesn’t want to face the judgment of family and peers, she sometimes takes it upon herself to do something drastic, such as abandon or harm the baby. A case like this happened in Lowell, Ind., where a 9-year-old girl found an abandoned baby behind her house. According to the Chicago Tribune, the child was found wrapped in a black towel about 100 yards from the road with the placenta and umbilical cord still attached. The girl told her mother what she found. Later, sheriffs took the child to the hospital to be examined, and the infant was placed in foster care.
“AN UNHARMED NEWBORN, UP TO 30 DAYS OLD, MAY BE HANDED TO STAFF AT ANY HOSPITAL, EMERGENCY MEDICAL CARE FACILITIES, POLICE STATIONS, FIREHOUSES, COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITY POLICE STATIONS AND ILLINOIS STATE POLICE DISTRICT HEADQUARTERS. NO QUESTIONS NEED TO BE ANSWERED, AND THERE IS NO FEAR OF PROSECUTION.” —DAWN GERAS
The baby was lucky, but not all are. Dawn Geras, founder and head of the Save Abandoned Babies Foundation, says she feels strongly that getting the Baby Safe Haven information out is vital to both saving the babies and helping a desperate parent who does not know what to do. “The goal was to save the lives of newbornbabies by providing an alternative to illegal abandonment, which too often resulted in the death of the infant,” says Geras. “An unharmed newborn, up to 30 days old, may be handed to staff at any hospital, emergency medical care facilities, police stations, firehouses, college and university police stations and Illinois State Police district headquarters. No questions need to be answered, and there is no fear of prosecution.” Not reaching out for assistance is common, but there are places to go for help early on during a pregnancy. A variety of organizations specialize in helping teens become parents, offer mental and emotional support and give teen moms guidelines on how to take care of a child. Kalijah, a Chicago teen mother, says instead of doing what some scared pregnant teens often do, she reached out and got help from Catholic Charities, which has a program that caters to pregnant women ages 16 to 21. “Catholic Charities provided mental support during my pregnancy. If I had any questions or I thought something was wrong, I would call,” says Kalijah. She also adds that girls in this predicament are usually embarrassed about being pregnant and young because it’s looked down upon. “My advice to teen mothers is to join a pregnancy group because no one judges you, and [the group] makes the experience much easier.” Kalynn Dunn, director of programs for Caris Pregnancy Counseling and Resources, says for the past 30 years, thousands of teens and women have utilized their services during their time of need. The nonprofit group specializes in providing free services, including pregnancy testing, counseling, group therapy and other resources. According to Dunn, “A teen girl can walk into one of our sites or schedule an appointment and have the space to sort through her feelings so she can decide what to do. That support may look like finding out if she is pregnant or not, discussing her relationship(s) and counseling if she receives a positive pregnancy test.”
If you or anyone you know is going through an unplanned pregnancy, remember help is available. TRUE STAR MAGAZINE 17
Game Changers A video contest celebrating African-Americans in Baseball
True Star and the Chicago White Sox invite students to honor current or past
African-American baseball players. Submit a video that celebrates these men and their contributions on and off the field. Each entry will be reviewed by six-time
All-Star and White Sox great Harold Baines as well as the White Sox front office.
Videos should be two minutes or less
The Winning Video Will Receive:
and can be submitted individually or in groups
•On-Field recognition and four(4) tickets for a 2017 White Sox game
March 31, 2017. Contest is open to students
•Video played prior to a 2017 White Sox game at Guaranteed Rate Field •White Sox Prize pack
of 2-3 students. Submit videos to
firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday, in grades 6-12 in the Chicagoland area and Northwest Indiana.
Contest Rules: No purchase necessary to enter or win. Contestants may enter by submitting name, grade, phone number, mailing address and video that is 2 minutes or less to email@example.com. This contest is open to students in grades 6-12 in Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana. Submissions will be judged on their content and creativity by six-time All-Star and White Sox Ambassador Harold Baines. By entering the contest you grant True Star and the Chicago White Sox permission to use submission without compensation. Entries submitted after the deadline will not be considered. Participants need to provide valid contact information. If the winning contestant(s) cannot be contacted, the runner-up will be awarded the prize. The Chicago White Sox and True Star reserve the right to use any and all information related to contest for editorial, marketing, and other purposes unless prohibited by law. Complete contest rules are available at truestaris.com.
TO FAMILY & FRIENDS BY CORIANA BROWN, JUNIOR, MORGAN PARK SNAPCHAT: @CORIWITHTHECAKES
oming out of the closet may be one of the hardest things someone might have to do. At this stage of life, you may worry about what people will think of you and if they will accept you for who you are. You also might fear rejection, especially if you know that your sexual orientation isn’t accepted in your community. The first thing you should ask yourself when deciding if you are ready to be a part of the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) community is, “Am I ready?” Morgan Park High School junior Annasia Williams, 17, came out to her family and friends when she was 15 years old. She believes coming out is a personal decision. “When you’re coming out, do it when you’re ready. Remember you’re not doing this for the next person; you’re doing it for yourself.” According to Dr. Loren A. Olson, psychiatrist and author of Finally Out: Letting Go of Living Straight, “there is never a ‘right time’ to come out,” he says. “Each person needs to consider the risks in [his or her] personal situation. Those values of manliness and self-reliance are very important in urban cultures where the dangers are much greater than those I experienced.” Olson encourages young people to think about their safety possibly being in jeopardy, as well as being confident about their sexual orientation. “You may lose friends. Family may reject you. Churches may ask you to leave. All of these things are things I have experienced. … The best way to combat that is to surround yourself with people who offer hope that you will get through this as you begin to redefine what it means to be a man or a woman.” In contrast, some people receive different and more positive reactions after coming out. Ezekiel Montgomery, 17, of Julian High School, claims that he has actually been treated better since disclosing the truth about his sexual orientation. When asked how his family and friends reacted, he replies, “They were shocked, but they really didn’t care because they felt there wasn’t a difference [between] me loving a boy or a girl.” When you make the decision to come out, start by telling someone you consider to be trustworthy. “Coming out should not be an event where suddenly you announce to the world, ‘I am gay and proud.’ It usually begins slowly and spreads to a broader community as one develops support. It is best not to do it during a holiday,” Olson advises. Keep in mind that it is likely that someone’s opinion of you may change from their initial reaction. “Remember, you have been considering this for a long time while others you love are only beginning to confront the reality of it when the announcement is made. They will need time to process this information.”
HELPFUL HOTLINES If you need help coping with the repercussions of your news, there are available hotlines that assist teens.
The Trevor Project This organization assists LGBTQ young adults from the ages of 13-24 with dealing with mistreatment due to your sexual orientation. 1-866-488-7386 / thetrevorproject.org
GLBT National Help Center This organization works with people under the age of 25 and answers any questions you have to assist you in your journey. Hours: Monday-Friday (4 p.m.-midnight ET) & Saturdays (noon-5 p.m. ET) 1-888-843-4564 / glbthotline.org
TRUE STAR MAGAZINE 19
NO GREATER Love THAN Self-love BY DEJA TAYLOR, JUNIOR, NOBLE STREET COLLEGE PREP
ou may not be aware of it, but you probably know a youth or teen who has thought about committing suicide. According to 2015 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, suicide is the third leading cause of death among people age 10-14 and the second highest among ages 15-34. The research also showed that 17 percent of students in grades 9-12 have seriously considered attempting suicide within a year’s time. These young people have a difficult time practicing self-love and are usually functioning in a dark place. Oxford Dictionaries defines self-love as the regard for one’s own well-being and happiness. This meaning can be different things for different people. Self-love looks like waking up in the morning and telling yourself that you love yourself and that you are the best. Some teens struggle with this because there’s so much stress to fit in at school, home and work. At school, teens struggle with fitting in with the popular crowd. At home, they struggle to meet the expectations of their parents, and at work, situations can be even harder. There you have to deal with the pressure of your peers and the expectations of your boss. In those moment of stress, you have to find the strength to prove to yourself that everything will be OK. Jasmine Smith, a 16-year-old junior at Providence St. Mel, says that in times of stress she tries to remember her purpose in life. She states, “I try to remember why I am still on this earth and who I’m trying to please or make proud, which in every case is my great-grandmother.” Smith feels that having self-love and a healthy relationship with yourself “is very important. It is essential to life.” Smith isn’t the only one who agrees with this statement. According to the Psychology Today website, “self-love is important to living well.” One post on the site states “self-love is not simply a state of feeling good. Self-love is a state of appreciation for oneself.” Without love for yourself how can you expect to love someone else? Love and relationships start with you. Every 40 seconds someone else dies. Self-love can change lives. One thing to remember, there’s no greater love than your love. If you are having suicidal thoughts or feel as though you may need someone to talk to, contact the National Teen Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. 20 TRUE STAR MAGAZINE
1.Tell yourself something positive every day. 2. Say goodbye to toxic relationships. 3. Silence your inner critic. 4. Find something to be grateful for each day. 5. Reach out to family and friends to get through rough times. 6. Stop comparing yourself to others. 7. Embrace the things that make you different. Source: Lifehack.org
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TRUE STAR MAGAZINE 21
The Complexity of Religion BY KAYLA WHITE, JUNIOR, MORGAN PARK
n today’s American society, religious worshipers who are of any faith other than Christian are often frowned upon and disrespected. That includes those who practice the Islamic faith. Some without any knowledge of the Islamic faith assume that all Muslims have ties to any or every terrorist group. This is a horrible assumption to make. Christianity and Islam do have their differences. For instance, Christians study Scriptures from the Bible while Muslims study their own set of Scriptures from the Qu’ran. Both religions believe in Jesus; however, Christians consider Jesus to be the son of God, while Muslims view Jesus as God’s messenger. Despite these and other differences, the thing both faiths have in common is the love of God. Tariq l. El-Amin, Resident Imam of Masjid al-Taqwa, offers his view on his faith. “The Qur’an teaches us that there is only ‘one’ religion in the sight of God. That religion is submission to God. This submission is exemplified in the Abrahamic faiths (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) by the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his son. The differences in the practice of those religions have been influenced by time, location, language, culture and the context surrounding revelation. Those differences may present themselves in the form of variances in mode of prayer, sacrificial rites, holy days, etcetera, but the moral code of conduct is identical for those who call themselves believers.”
YOUTH FASHION MUSIC TRUESTARIS.COM
Eric Nicks, a minister at Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church on 46th Street and King Drive, has a slightly different take on the faiths that people practice. “What makes religions different is the fact that religion is man-made. The Bible does not give us different divisions of religion. It is man that created [division], causing the mix-up in religion. Each religion teaches a different method of serving God.” In the past, focusing on the things that make us different has had a way of tearing us apart as a people. Once we are able to move beyond our narrow way of thinking about each other’s beliefs, we open up ourselves to the possibility of a new and improved way of life. El-Amin sums up this concept perfectly. “By respecting the inherent dignity of human life, regardless of religious affiliation or lack thereof, we can achieve the goal of living lives of respect and mercy.” Amen.
URBAN CULTURE BLOG
Anyone? BY JASMINE HOLLOWAY, SENIOR, VON STEUBEN
ut with the old and in with the new” is a saying people applied when talking about clothes, shoes or anything else. When it comes to fashion, this is a saying that doesn’t apply anymore. As the years go by, our society is always ready for the next big thing. So imagine the shock of having the ‘90s trends make a comeback over the past few years. Berry-colored lipstick, choker necklaces, Dr. Martens and sky-high platforms are just a few trends that have made a comeback. When reporting on the latest fashion trends, InStyle magazine stated that “history does repeat itself.” Providence St. Mel High School sophomore Caylyn Gates says vintage fashions are always fun because they are essentially new to the younger crowd. Fashion hasn’t changed that much; it has just become broader, thus giving people more ways to express themselves. Isn’t that what fashion is all about anyway? Everyone has worn an outfit that made a grandparent or parent ask, “Where are you going with that on?” For girls, it’s usually when we wear crop tops or shorts. The funny thing about their question is that they wore the same things back in the day. We just wear it differently now. Lindsay Brown, a writer for the online magazine From the Grapevine, wrote, “Generations aim to stand out from a crowd with their clothing choices.” Our generation uses fashion as an outlet to express ourselves. Overall, fashion is something different for everyone. For 17-year-old fashion enthusiast Latifa Shoyan, “Fashion is an artistic choice,” she says. “Your clothes or the way you present yourself are a representation of you.” Like many others, Shoyan has a strong opinion when it comes to the impact fashion has on you and the way you’re perceived by others. Fashion does that to people; it gets them passionate. More variety and no limit on what’s to come—that is what fashion has to offer. Seeing styles that were first worn by our grandparents or aunts is crazy to imagine. In a world that is constantly changing, fashion is one thing that stays consistent by always leaving an impression on us. Whether it’s good or bad, these new old trends are just a small thing in the bigger picture that we need to see. Our society needs to stop trying to create new things and oblige by new rules. Fashion has come to be one thing in this crazy world that is evolving and affecting people for the better.
So how about a new saying:
“In with the old is actually new.” TRUE STAR MAGAZINE 23
DeShawn Thompson & Nadia Barnette Him: Jacket, sweatshirt, sweat pants - H & M Shoes - Marshalls Her: Jersey Dress - H & M Shoes - TJ Maxx
24 TRUE STAR MAGAZINE
Creative Director: Joi Mitchell, Wardrobe Styling: Joi Mitchell & Lynn Augustine, Hair: Diamond Beach of Beauty Boulevard, Make-up: Deanna Beach of Be, Photography: Shelby Brown.
Tiffany Blair & Christopher Butler Her: H & M Boots - DSW Him: Shirt - Everybody Eats
ON Politics ALI SCOTT & STAFF
ome would say the 2016 presidential election was a very close race between two undesirable candidates: One was bad and the other was worse. Many Americans were convinced Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton would win the presidency. When it was announced that Republican candidate Donald J. Trump would be destined to become our new president, many citizens were taken aback, even disappointed. Here are opinions from some Chicago youths about the election. “Trump said things that appealed to the Republicans and racist Democrats. He said things they wanted to hear. Maybe he was tapping into their primitive thoughts, and he convinced people to vote for him. I want him to do something about the racism and sexism and help people at the bottom instead of helping the rich.” —Bleck Clermont, Senior, Morgan Park “People voted for Trump looking at things as a ‘lesser of two evils.’ Some people took it from the perspective of, ‘He’s not really going to win, so why not [let him run]?’ I felt like the election was taken very lightly until he was leading in the polls. I really just want him to improve the economy. Making things fair to all. People say they want equality, but I want equity. You should only be able to do the things you are able to do. I believe Trump played the racist card because he honestly had no way to win the presidency. He doesn’t know much about the government; maybe from a business perspective but not internal affairs [and other major issues]. He’s probably not even going to act on anything happening.” —Jacob Bonds, Freshman, Illinois State University “There are many benefits to having Trump in office. For example, not enough people will stand behind him to do much. I do want to see social changes from him.” —Xavier Meyer, Senior at Devry University Advantage Academy “Honestly, I want him to step down. But, if I could ask him to make a change I would have him refine education budgeting for schools, and in the process, be honest about whether this country will even have public education in the future. And if not, what will replace it? When it comes to the racial tension, I feel like Trump will not do anything about it but say, ‘Stop,’ like he has said already. That isn’t enough, as we also have seen.” —Clarissa Cowley, Junior, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale
30 TRUE STAR MAGAZINE
“I think a lot of people voted for Trump because they were either anti-Hillary, they liked the policies that Trump was pushing, or they just thought he’d do a better job. I have no idea what Trump will be trying to do with race relations, or if he even has any intention to do anything at all, but someone needs to address it.” —Christopher Lawrence, Junior, Clayton State University “I think so many people voted for Trump because they didn’t trust Hillary at all. She was known for being a liar and other negative behaviors. Also a lot of people didn’t vote at all because both of them were looked upon badly, or people went for the third party.” —Jabari Powell, Junior, Perspectives High School of Technology “I wanted Trump to literally get up at the inaugural address and say ‘Just playing guys. I didn’t mean anything I said during the election. I was just messing around. Let’s fix the American debt, boost education and military spending and increase taxes on the wealthy.’” —Hassan A. Thomas, Woodland High School grad, Army Soldier
How COMMUNITIES Positively Impact Youth BY BRIANA WILSON, SENIOR, VON STEUBEN SNAPCHAT: @BRII_OXO
t is safe to say that many adults work hard to maintain positive images for youth to emulate. Teenagers can see which actions are acceptable in society and which ones aren’t, especially when they have a great role model. In addition to adults affecting a teenager’s behavior, the community can play a big part as well. A teenager’s neighborhood is often the first place he or she interacts with others outside of the home. It’s also possibly the first place the teen will learn lessons and morals that will continuously affect his or her life. DeAndre Wright, a junior at Von Steuben High School, explains how his community impacted his upbringing. “I grew up in a tight community. [Adults] scolded me if I didn’t clean up my mess outside, when I argued with the other kids down the street and even when my pants weren’t pulled up to my waist,” he says. “It’s like a habit now to make them satisfied by always staying clean and making sure I have a belt at all times. It’s like they helped to form who I am today.” In addition to learning things that would help them as individuals, a teenager’s community may also motivate a young person to avoid things that may affect them negatively. According to the Texas State University article “The Positive Effects of Youth Community Engagement,” teenagers who are engaged in their community are less likely to drop out of high school and less likely to be involved in criminal activity. Therefore, it is safe to say that growing up in an intimate community is beneficial to a teenager’s behavior and aspects in life.
Photos from 2016 Perspectives For Peace March “My neighbors basically helped raise me, so I make sure none of my actions disappoints them, just as if they are all my parents,” Wright explains, noting how important the adults in his neighborhood are to him. In addition to the neighborhood-youth relationship benefiting teenagers, it may also affect the adults as well. Known as the neighborhood babysitter, Delshana Mims talks about how looking after young people has positively impacted her. She explains that being a mentor and role model to the adolescents in her neighborhood always motivated her to stay on the right path and make sure she kept a positive image. “I’m known on the block as the woman [who] would never tell the children no,” Mims explains. “I’d spoil the kids with candy and even little games to play outside. It would hurt me to the core if I would ever hurt them. That’s why I make sure to always do the right things, so they would never have to see me in trouble or doing anything I’d scold them away from.” Having relationships are essential to a teenagers progress to adulthood. Therefore, having bonds with those you would see on an everyday basis helps to not only strengthen your relationship with them, but also prepares you mentally and socially for others in the future. All in all, it is essential to be surrounded by positive influences and role models. As a result to having correct guidance, teenagers are able to grow into outstanding adults. TRUE STAR MAGAZINE 31
Real Love BY BRIANA WILSON, SENIOR, VON STEUBEN SNAPCHAT: @BRII_OXO
rue Star sat down with two Chi-town couples who explained to us the perks of being in a good relationship with someone, which can be like a dream come true. After sitting with these lovebirds, it is safe to say that you just may be lucky enough to find your life companion in high school.
Nadia Barnette Kenwood Academy Junior
South Shore International College Prep Senior
Dating since: July 2014 How did you two meet? Nadia: His friend introduced us to each other at their football practice. How do you maintain your relationship? Nadia: We spend as much of our time together as possible. If it isn’t during the school days, then we’d see each other on weekends and at his games. DeShawn: We try not to argue, but if we do, then we’d always talk it out. I don’t like seeing her mad or down. How will you sustain this relationship after high school? Nadia: We said that for the times he doesn’t have football practice, we’ll FaceTime and text each other, and we’ll spend time with each other when he comes back to the city for holidays. We will work it out. DeShawn: Trust, and we both believe that we’ll do nothing bad. How do you handle disagreements? Nadia: If we disagree with each other, then I’ll tell my side, then he’ll tell his side. Then we’d just say, “OK, I see where you’re coming from,” and then move on from it. DeShawn: I go with whatever she says. Name something you love about each other? Nadia: I love the fact that he is active and has something going for himself, he doesn’t give up easily, he pushes himself to do things, and he works for everything. DeShawn: Her smile. How do you express your feelings toward each other? Nadia: We spend a lot of time with each other. We just sit and chill and not even go out much. We’re like best friends. We like to sit at home, watch TV, laugh and talk about anything. DeShawn:It’s a lot of things. I set up surprise dates just to show her how much I appreciate her. But mainly, we show our feelings by talking all of the time. 32 TRUE STAR MAGAZINE
What do you appreciate most about your mate? Nadia: I appreciate that he pushes me to do better at times I feel like giving up on myself, or I feel as though I’m not good enough. He actually supports me and makes me feel as though I should do good. DeShawn: I appreciate that she listens and understands me. What is the likelihood that you will get married? Nadia: I think we will get married. DeShawn: One hundred percent. What does a happy/healthy relationship look like to you? Nadia: Loyalty and trust. I mean, every relationship has disagreements and arguments, and I feel like if you can push through it, then you have a great relationship. DeShawn: Being able to talk everything out, trying your best not to argue, and not make the wrong decisions. Making sure you’re always thinking of the other [person]. What couple makes you smile when you see them together? Nadia: My mom and my dad. I love their bond; it’s really strong. They’re not together but they’re each other’s first loves. DeShawn: Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union. I’m an athlete, so I know it’s hard to find someone who can make you happy all of the time; someone who understands that you’re not going to be able to be with them every day because of sports. I feel like Gabrielle Union is a perfect wife to Dwyane Wade because she understands him. What advice would you give about having a happy/healthy relationship? Nadia: Communicate, trust and talk to each other. If ya’ll don’t, then it’ll ruin everything because it’ll lead to miscommunication. Keep ya’ll business between each other because you can even have friends who could be hating and spreading your business. DeShawn: Be real all of the time. If you really care about your partner, then you won’t do bad or hurtful things, and you’ll always take them in consideration.
“TO ME A HAPPY HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP IS [ONE IN WHICH] SOMEONE CARES ABOUT AND LOVES ME FOR WHO I AM, AND THERE IS NO ABUSE IN MY RELATIONSHIP.“ – TIFFANY BLAIR
“BE REAL ALL OF THE TIME. IF YOU REALLY CARE ABOUT YOUR PARTNER, THEN YOU WON’T DO BAD OR HURTFUL THINGS, AND YOU’LL ALWAYS TAKE THEM IN CONSIDERATION.“ – DESHAWN THOMAS
Name something you love about each other. Tiffany: What I love about Chris is he’s caring, he’s sweet, and he is always there for me no matter what it is. Christopher: I love her personality, and she’s really cool and fun to hang out with. How do you express your feelings to each other? Tiffany: We express our feelings by hugging and kissing and respecting each other. Christopher: Talk it out, or we just go out for walks around the block.
Tiffany Blair Noble Butler College Prep Sophomore
Christopher Butler Thornwood High School Junior
Dating since: June 2010 How did you meet? Tiffany: We met through his brother. We all went to the same elementary school: Philip D. Armour School in Bridgeport, Ill. How do you maintain your relationship? Tiffany: We maintain our relationship by visiting each other and [being] on the phone and texting. Christopher: We talk on social media or the phone, and we go over each other’s house. How will you sustain this relationship after high school? Tiffany: After high school, we’ll visit, text and call. Hopefully go to the same college. How do you handle disagreements? Tiffany: We handle disagreements by talking it out and giving each other space. Christopher: Try not to.
What do you appreciate most about your mate? Tiffany: I appreciate that Chris always makes sure that I am safe going home, and he’s always there for me whenever I need him. Christopher: I appreciate everything about her because I love her. What is the likelihood that you will get married? Tiffany: The likelihood that we would get married is one hundred percent. Everybody always felt that we would get married someday. Christopher: I really don’t know. What does a happy/healthy relationship look like to you? Tiffany: To me a happy healthy relationship is [one in which] someone cares about and loves me for who I am, and there is no abuse in my relationship. Christopher: Not too much arguing or fighting with each other. What couple makes you smile when you see them together? Tiffany: My little sister’s relationship with her boyfriend. I admire my sister’s relationship for always being there for one another, even when they have their differences. Christopher: DDG Pontiac & Essence Nicole. They love each other for who they are and they do everything together. What advice would you give about having a happy/healthy relationship? Tiffany: Have good communication, wait to have children, stay in school and fulfill your dreams! Christopher: Make sure it’s the right girl or boy for you, and if it is, continue with the relationship. Do not cheat, stay true to him or her and don’t lie about anything. Be happy with each other, and don’t believe what [others] tell you. TRUE STAR MAGAZINE 33
Sibling Love: CREATING A BETTER BOND BY SULLIVAN ANDERSON, FRESHMAN, JONES COLLEGE PREP TWITTER: @AMOURSULLIVAN
CHINA ANNE, LAURYN ALISA AND SIERRA MCCLAIN
rowing up with a sibling is an experience many can relate to. Stephen Bank and Michael Kahn, authors of The Sibling Bond, wrote, “The sibling relationship is life’s longest lasting relationship, longer, for the most of us by a quarter of a century, than our ties to our parents.” But, sometimes brothers and sisters don’t have the unbreakable bond they should have. If you yearn for that closeness, True Star suggests giving the following ideas a try:
•Simply get along. Even though getting along does not come
naturally or easily all the time, it is certainly not OK for you and your sibling to battle 24/7. Not only does it get you angry, it also upsets your parents to see you argue. Even if an altercation isn’t your fault, sometimes it’s OK to just apologize for your actions and take that L. You can even compromise to make sure that the fight or altercation doesn’t happen again.
Just like any other person, siblings will make mistakes.
That’s why it’s important to remember to never hold a grudge, especially against your own family member. You’d be surprised how easily little disagreements can turn into lifelong disputes. “Many carry their resentments and anger to old age,” explains Amanda Kolburn, Ph.D. Be willing to forgive your sibling so you guys can be on the right path again.
•Share Your Emotions.
During childhood, siblings are there 99 percent of the time to talk to. From parenting problems to relationship problems, it is always a good feeling to explain how you feel to a sibling who you know understands where you’re coming from and hopefully won’t sell you out.
•Encourage Them. Most likely, you know your sibling well
enough to spot his or her weaknesses. Instead of being a jerk and feeding off those things, try encouraging your sibling in those trouble areas. This can also help strengthen your family bond.
•Have Your Sibling’s Back. As teenagers, we may get
caught up in some trouble every once in a while. So, if your sibling ever needs help staying in the clear, always make sure you lend a helping hand. You never know when you’ll need help. By backing up your bro or sis, you are showing that you are trustworthy. 34 TRUE STAR MAGAZINE
•Most Importantly, Have Fun. To have this bond,
you will need to add a little love to the mix. “In general, sibling relationships are characterized by many different and complex emotions, such as love, conflict, protectiveness, envy, warmth, anger, rivalry and fun—all at the same time,” says Kolburn. Do your part to bring the fun into the relationship by sharing a joke, suggesting a game to play or inviting him or her out to a movie from time to time. It doesn’t matter if you’re the oldest, middle or youngest child. If you want to be closer to your sibling it’s not too late. By following these tips, you will be one step closer to creating new family memories.
LEAN ON ME:
THE IMPACT OF THE Sibling Relationship BY BRIANNA MURFF, JUNIOR, INTRINSIC SCHOOLS
our first companion in life is usually a sibling. When you lack relationships elsewhere, or you’re uncomfortable expressing yourself with others, you always have your sibling to go to. Many teenagers struggle to get along with peers for a variety of reasons, but when no one else is in your corner, trust your kin. According to nursingschools.net, siblings often spend more time with one another than anyone else in life, laying down the foundation for a lasting relationship. “By the time children reach age 11, they’re spending about 33 percent of their free time with siblings,” according to the site. “Even as they grow into adolescence and get busy with their own lives, a Penn State University study found that they still spend about 11 hours a week with one another.” Time spent with one another has a way of shaping the behavior of siblings, too. The Boston Globe article, “Having A Sibling Has Many Positive Impacts,” reports that the sibling relationship helps young people develop sympathy and social skills and foster “pro-social” behaviors, such as helping and sharing. “Siblings provide a unique opportunity for children and teens to resolve conflict and take the perspective of another person, both of which promote feelings of caring and concern,” the article reports. According to Indira Lakshmanan, a contributor of POLITICO magazine, “An estimated 80 percent of Americans have siblings, and whether those relationships are good, bad or somewhere in between, researchers and therapists say they are some of the most important and longest of our lives.” This is important to consider because basically, eight out of 10 humans have siblings. Abena Boamah-Acheampong, an adviser for female youth at Intrinsic School, had positive feedback about her relationship with her sibling. “I love my brother to death,” she says. “We bond amazingly well, and even to this day we travel through cities supporting one another’s ambitions.” This shows how a loved one is capable of motivation and support as well as having fun simultaneously. Boamah-Acheampong was asked if her brother still communicates with her. “Yes,” she responds, “we text and talk on multiple occasions.” Sibling relationships are the most important to maintain throughout life and can definitely impact one’s journey. Younger or older, a sibling who is present when help is needed is a friend and much more. The saying, “blood is thicker than water,” is true and proves that sibling relationships should be nurtured and cherished. TIA AND TAMERA MOWRY TRUE STAR MAGAZINE 35
CREATING A HEALTHIER Black Man BY EBONY HAYES, SOPHOMORE, CHICAGO HIGH SCHOOL FOR AGRICULTURAL SCIENCES SNAPCHAT: @BARBIEVIBE8
“LEARN ABOUT WHAT’S GOOD FOR THE BODY AND WHAT ISN’T. LEARN ABOUT JUICING AND DETOXING THE BODY, AND STOP EATING AT FAST FOOD RESTAURANTS.” - MARYAM K. MUHAMMAD
e all have at least one male we care a lot about. It’s important that we are aware of what’s going on in their lives so we can stop the alarming statistics that overwhelmingly include Black men, such as being unhealthy and dying at a premature age. “In my research, I have found that the most common health concerns that Black males suffer from are cardiovascular disease, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, cancer and asthma,” says Maryam K. Muhammad, founder of Chicago’s Heal Thy Life Center. “Unfortunately, American Black males are at the top of the list for being diagnosed with these diseases.” Often, these diseases and conditions are contracted because of eating unhealthy foods, insufficient exercise, not going to the doctor’s office regularly and stress. It may be hard to believe at first, but there are things you can do to help the person you care about from becoming another statistic. Muhammad says that one of the first things you can do is to be supportive. She suggests you “be the example, and don’t judge the weaknesses of others. Be humble, and understand everyone’s journey is different.” You can show your concern for their health by making sure healthy foods are stocked in the house, instead of junk food, such as chips, cookies, doughnuts, soda and sugary juices. This means bringing home nutritious foods. To get started, Muhammad says that you should “begin to research different types of foods. Learn about what’s good for the body and what isn’t. Learn about juicing and detoxing the body, and stop eating at fast food restaurants. They put you on a fast track to bad health.”
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You can encourage the man in your life to start working out regularly by going to the gym together. Have him start the exercise process slowly to avoid becoming overwhelmed and getting tired quickly. As time progresses, encourage him to go a little further during each workout. Workouts will not only better his physical appearance, but also improve his cardiovascular system. Most men feel that they only need to go to the doctor if something is wrong; however, that is not true. Many times, things like a slight headache or a toothache aren’t thought of as serious issues, but often can be symptoms of other problems. Be sure to encourage him to regularly go to doctor’s visits. If possible, schedule his appointments. Make these much-needed events less dreadful by planning something enjoyable together afterward. Research has shown that many health problems, such as Alzheimer’s disease, gastrointestinal problems, depression, anxiety, diabetes and obesity, are partly caused by stress. When possible, avoid putting the man in your life in stressful situations. Instead, create a calm, relaxing environment. Muhammad suggests having him “take daily moments to cleanse the mind of the negative energy it came into contact with that day. Go for a walk, write in a journal or hang out with a friend.” Unfortunately, stress will come naturally, but try to minimize it by suggesting meditation sessions. Encourage him to take deep breaths during stressful situations and to go to bed at a reasonable time every night. By following all the steps mentioned, you can worry less about the man you care about, and in return, he will be on the path to a healthier lifestyle. This way you both win.
THE IMPORTANCE of Family
BY DEJA TAYLOR, JUNIOR, NOBLE STREET COLLEGE PREP
he Raising Children Network website states, “Many people think that families become less important to children as they move into the teenage years.” But the reality is that children need their families, mothers and fathers as they get older just as much as they did when they were younger. Most teenagers begin to grow defiant at age 13 and 14. As they grow, they feel that being independent and mature is a life goal to be achieved before they are truly ready or experience allows. These children feel they are seeking independence and believe they can do more for themselves. Aniyah Wilson, 19, described her relationship with her mom as “not the closest.” “As I began to grow older, from the ages of 13-15, I began to grow apart from being a ‘Mommy’s girl.’ I felt that I didn’t need her as much as I use to. I grew very aggressive, which made our relationship worse. She never understood how I felt or where I was coming from. Looking back from ages 16 to now, I begin to get tired of fighting and yelling. I learned how to do things on my own and to separate myself from my mom. Over time, it became easier to come in the house and say ‘hi,’ and walk right into my room then close my door. Although we don’t have the best relationship, we still know how to get along.”
Raising Children Network reassures parents that things aren’t always as they seem. “It’s normal for teenagers to be moody or seem uncommunicative, but they need you. Your child still loves you and wants you to be involved in his or her life, even though at times a teen’s attitude, behavior or body language might seem to say he or she doesn’t.” Teens need to understand a parent’s main responsibility has been, and continues to be, to love and protect them. Letting go of that protective mode while the teen is seeking independence is what causes most family friction. To keep arguments to a minimum, safeteen.org suggests that teens avoid insulting and yelling at their parents because it only makes them look immature. Reasoning with the parents logically shows a sign of maturity, which puts the teen in a better position to negotiate. Both children and teenagers need their families and parents more than they realize. It’s normal for kids to have a bad day or to get upset; it’s how you choose to handle the situation that’s most important. So, forget about creating a space from your parents or hiding the fact that you need them because in the long run, you will. TRUE STAR MAGAZINE 37
IS YOUR Best Friend A True Friend? BY LEXI SHADLOW, SOPHOMORE, MORGAN PARK SNAPCHAT: @LEXI3MUCH
e all have friendly relationships with a variety of people, and as we go through life, we figure out who our “true” friends really are. The following unscientific quiz offers some situations to help you weed out the fake friends from the true ride-or-die besties. 1. How long have you and your friend been “best friends”? A. Six-11 months. B. Two and one-half years. C. Four years or more. 2. How much do you trust your friend? A. Not at all. B. Somewhat. C. Very much. 3. How long would it take for your friend to talk to you again after having a disagreement or fight? A. Two weeks or more. B. Five-seven days. C. Three days or less. 4. If you were being bullied by someone, what would your bestie do? A. Fall back—this isn’t his/her problem. B. Attempt to help you, but not too much. C. Stick by your side and fight. 5. People have been talking about how bad your outfit looks. When you ask your friend for his/her opinion, what is your bestie’s reaction? A. He/She keeps quiet and changes the subject. B. Your friend lies says it looks great. C. He/She gives you an honest answer you may not like. 6. You haven’t reached out to your bestie in five days because you’ve been busy with schoolwork. How long does it take for him/her to reach out to you? A. He/She doesn’t. B. He/She waits and calls you five days later. C. Your friend calls on day six. 7. Your ex just approached your bestie about going on a date. How does your friend react? A. “Totally! Let’s go out!” B. “Um, let me think about it.” C. “No way! That’s my bestie!” 38 TRUE STAR MAGAZINE
8. A rumor is going around that you have been bad-mouthing your best friend. What does your friend do? A. Believe the instigators and end the friendship. B. Have doubts and questions the relationship. C. Trust that you would never do such a thing. 9. How often do you and your friend hang out? A. Once a month at the most. B. About three times a month. C. A few times a week. 10. You ask your friend for a favor. What is the response? A. “I can’t, I have to ________.” B. “Depends on what it is.” C. “Sure. What do you need?”
Results Mostly As
Chances are that this relationship really isn’t as strong as you think it is. Pay closer attention to the way your friend communicates with you and how his/her behavior is during both important and minor situations. Does he/she really have your back? If your friend values what you have, make some suggestions on how things can be improved between you two. If he/she is open to changing his/her ways, consider this individual a keeper. If not, cut your losses.
You and your bestie and in good standing, but things between the two of you could be better. Right now the level of trueness seems to be at the bare minimum. You all still have some things to work on, such as trust and loyalty; however, you and your friend are almost at that tried-and-true point.
Your bestie is a true friend! This is the person who’s got you, no matter what. He/ She will be honest with you and is supportive in good and bad times. This bestie is a keeper for sure.
SHOP ONLINE AT RUVILLA.COM
TRUE STAR MAGAZINE 39
Free Lunch Academy
PLANS TO PUT AN END TO BULLYING BY ALISHA ARMSTRONG, JUNIOR, MORGAN PARK SNAPCHAT: @LOVESNENEA
ome children and teens may have a hard time in school while they are trying to find themselves, especially if they are getting bullied. Fortunately, there’s Free Lunch Academy (FLA), an artistic program that is dedicated to eliminating bullying and violence through artistic creativity. Calvin King, the founder of the organization, believes that we are each here on the planet for a divine purpose. In an effort to empower young people to explore, identify and pursue their purpose, Free Lunch Academy was born. “In my opinion, one of the biggest deterrents from [the] display of selfactualization is the social anxiety associated with not fitting in and/or being rejected by your peers. This fear of rejection ultimately resulted in less confidence, communication and authentic idea sharing among our youth,” says King, who has created a way to mentor and entertain today’s youth without being boring. To date, the organization has performed at more than 75 school communities throughout Chicagoland. FLA uses the art of performing skits to get its positive message across to the audience. The FLA family members use their experiences and collective journeys to form a winning recipe for their performances. FLA also works closely with Chicago teens, known affectionately as Free Lunch Academy Ambassadors, who contribute to the content, themes and storylines that are used to help create the performances. The teen ambassadors play a very important role in FLA because they know what it’s like growing up in today’s generation. Ambassador Dominique Taylor, a junior at University of Chicago Woodlawn Charter School, says that being a part of the FLA family has helped her gain valuable life experiences. “I am responsible for the accounting of FLA’s income and spending. Junior accounting allows me to pursue my dream career at an early age. I dream of being a chief financial officer; getting the knowledge and experience now puts me ahead of the game.” The actors and actresses in the FLA family bring the skits to life and receive positive reactions from the students in the audience. “We are constantly changing lingo, music, dances, and references to keep the students engaged in the message of the play,” says actor Calvin Evans. Evans plays the role of the bully, Billy. He says that “seeing the effects [the performances] have on students daily and wanting to make ‘not bullying’ cool” are just a couple things that inspire him most about being a part of this program. King believes that true friendship is essential to the development of young people to help them deal with the challenges they will face in life. He says that there is one thing he wants audience members to walk away with after seeing a FLA performance. “Our message is simple: Be a buddy not a bully. Because when you make the choice to be a buddy, it becomes contagious in a positive way.” If you or someone you may know is interested in learning more about Calvin King and the Free Lunch Academy family, please visit their website at freelunchacademy.com. 40 TRUE STAR MAGAZINE
TENISHA TAYLOR MAKES A DIFFERENCE IN THE LIVES Of Black Males BY JANELL MASON, JUNIOR, MORGAN PARK TWITTER: @FEMALEMAKAVELI9
Ezekiel Taylor Scholarship Foundation Application Guidelines
n April 23, 1982, 34-year-old Ezekiel Taylor stopped at a fast food restaurant on Chicago’s South Side where he was robbed of his car, kidnapped and murdered. His killers were 15, 19 and 21 years old. Taylor’s only child, Tenisha Taylor, mourned the loss of her father like any child would, but that is not all she did. To keep the legacy of her father alive and to help young AfricanAmerican men lead better lives and make good life choices that impact the community in a positive way, Tenisha founded the Ezekiel Taylor Scholarship Foundation (ETSF).
1. Be a Black male and a high school senior 2. Provide proof of residency (Cook County) 3. Maintain at least a 2.5 GPA 4. Provide proof of ACT/SAT score 5. Must plan to attend a two or four-year college or university 6. Must write an essay 7. Provide a copy of high school transcript 8. Provide two recommendation letters on original letterhead • Applications must be printed or typed and signed by the student, parents and guidance counselor. • Applications MUST be postmarked by April 30, 2017. • Applications will be reviewed by the Ezekiel Taylor Scholarship Foundation Committee. • Winners will be announced via mail by June 30, 2017. • All winners MUST attend the Scholarship Awards Fundraiser on Saturday, October 7, 2017. Visit the website for more details.
“I believe that if the young people who took my dad’s life had hope, dreams, someone to believe in them and to encourage them, I would have my dad here with me today,” says Tenisha. One thing that makes the Ezekiel Taylor Scholarship special is that it was created to help out the young man who is far from perfect but wants to better himself. “Usually, scholarship funds are only targeted to the A or B student. So what about the C student ... or the student who has great potential but just needs the extra push?” says Tenisha. “The ETSF includes that male. We make sure we give opportunity to the young man society often overlooks. We allow young men with a 2.5 GPA to apply. We do not exclude them. We also allow you to use the funds at a junior college, trade school, college or university. So if a scholar needs funds for a barber license, a construction license, business license, etcetera, we will assist.” The young men who are chosen to for a scholarship will be awarded $3,000 to apply to the college, university or trade school of their choice. The scholarship committee will grade the applications and make final decisions after taking a close look at the essay portion of the application. The question to answer for this year’s essay is, “How has the Chicago gun violence impacted my life, and what will I do to make a difference?” Fellas, if you are a high school senior, this is a great opportunity you cannot pass up. The application can be found on the ETSF website at eztaylor.org. The deadline to mail in all the necessary requirements is April 30th. Best of luck to all that apply!
TRUE STAR MAGAZINE 41
ON WITH THE UIC OSMOSIS CHARLES HARRISON Scholarship BY KAYLA STEWART, JUNIOR, MORGAN PARK
harles “Chuck” Harrison is a pioneer in the field of industrial design who is responsible for designing things like the View Master, plastic outdoor garbage cans and early models of the portable hair dryer. To keep his legacy alive, Project Osmosis and the University of Illinois (UIC) have joined forces to award two of their students with the UIC Osmosis Charles Harrison Scholarship. Industrial design major Sara Ramirez, 22, from Arlington Heights, Ill., and graphic designer Justin Demus, 23, from Rockford, Ill., are the two scholarship awardees. Both are students at UIC’s School of Design with promising futures in their selected majors. The students spoke with True Star about receiving the prestigious award. Why did you choose to major in design? Sara Ramirez: I decided to pursue industrial design late in my freshman year. I had come to UIC planning on pursuing graphic design but found that it didn’t satisfy my creativity in the way I wanted it to. I was very excited by the materiality, physicality and close relationship to research that industrial design requires. Justin Demus: I chose to major in graphic design because I am a creative at heart. I was drawn to the logic of the graphic design world. It’s all around us at all times, and we hardly realize it. Describe how you felt when you found out that you won the Charles Harrison Scholarship?
How do you plan on using the scholarship prize?
SR: I was incredibly excited and honored. JD: I felt wonderful and honored when I found out I received the Charles Harrison Scholarship. It felt good to be recognized for my work, and it made me feel like my educational endeavors were all worth it.
SR: The scholarship prize has helped me establish myself in the city where I plan on staying for many years to come. Making the transition from university to professional life has many costs. JD : I have already used the scholarship money to help pay college bills and buy programs that would help me further advance my design abilities.
What does it mean to you to have won this honor?
What are your plans after college?
SR: This scholarship is a very meaningful recognition of my hard work in a field where there are very few women and even fewer people of color. It makes me proud to be a part of UIC design, where this is a part of the conversation, and steps are taken to correct and balance the shortcomings of the field and its culture. It is also an honor to receive the award named after Charles Harrison, a man who made significant contributions to industrial design with all of his wonderful objects and triumphed in the face of discrimination. JD: To have this honor means that I am recognized as a leader, an innovator and a person of influence; and that I must maintain my status as a model for younger generations and give back to the community in any way I can.
SR: I am now working as a junior product designer at a 30-year-old Chicago housewares and gifts company called Tag Ltd. I’m staying close to my UIC
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community in the West Loop. JD: I recently moved to Los Angeles to work as an intern at BuzzFeed media, working on their Snapchat edition. I hope to continue my career and maybe work for a big design firm like Pentagram one day. For more information about Project Osmosis and the Charles Harrison Scholarship, visit projectosmosis.org and design.uic.edu/support-our-school/studentscholarships.
. . . n o o S g n i m o C
Featured on LIFETIME TV @ 9PM CST
The Gender Wage Gap & FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS BY NATASHA CHAIYARAT, JUNIOR, LINCOLN PARK
T With the Economic Awareness Council’s Chicago Entrepreneurship Challenge happening this spring, I thought it would be a great idea to talk about Chicago’s spirit of entrepreneurship. In the near future, entrepreneurs will have access to the newly adopted Chicago Community Catalyst Fund. This program is meant to increase economic opportunity by providing $100 million in investment capital for small business and real estate projects across Chicago’s 77 neighborhoods. Chicago has been the home to some of the greatest entrepreneurs whose products or stores you may use or visit every day. These business giants include Charles Walgreen, who opened his first store in 1901; John H. Johnson, founder of Johnson Publishing Company; and Marshall Field, whose store dates back to 1852. I encourage you to research these entrepreneur legends in hopes that they will be the catalyst for the next generation of great Chicago entrepreneurs. I hope that someday many of you will build great companies and keep Chicago’s entrepreneur spirit burning.
Kurt Summers Chicago City Treasurer Have a business venture or a new business idea? Learn more about entrepreneurship, the Chicago Entrepreneurship Challenge and how to apply by visiting OntheMoneyMagazine.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The financial education information in the Teen Biz section is provided in partnership with the Economic Awareness Council, On the Money Magazine and the City Treasurer of Chicago and is sponsored by HSBC USA, N.A. and State Farm Insurance Companies®. 44 TRUE STAR MAGAZINE
here have been many advances toward equality in multiple areas of American society. The pay disparity for males and females, however, is still a problem today and forces women to take home less compensation than men. In 2015, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, full-time female workers made only 80 cents for every dollar earned by men, a wage gap of 20 percent. Pay inequality affects many, including the families of the working class, which includes teenagers. Says Briana Barner, a Ph.D. student majoring in media studies, “Family relations can be compromised due to the pay gap.” Essentially, the husband receives a higher salary than the wife, which could lead to the notion that women are inferior and that they are dependent on men’s salaries. The magnitude of the pay gap is most obvious among women of color. For example, in 2014, only 35 percent of Black women and 26 percent of Hispanic women were employed in higher-paying management, professional and related jobs, compared with 48 percent of Asian women and 43 percent of White women, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. With 66 percent of Black and 42 percent of Hispanic children living in single-parent homes, according to recent research from the Annie E.
Casey Foundation, this may make it harder for these minorities to thrive economically. One of the ways to potentially reduce the pay gap and its effects is to become better informed. Sandra Koehler, a history teacher at Lincoln Park High School, believes that “financial literacy is important to people of all ages.” Financial knowledge allows for more appropriate decision-making, which leads to a better lifestyle.
PROTECT Your Own Identity BY CHRISTI WRIGHT, SENIOR DEVRY UNIVERSITY ADVANTAGE ACADEMY
any teens and young adults are anxious about obtaining money for college, which could cause them to fall victim to scams, such as false scholarships or grants. Many such scams attempt to gather personal information from students who are looking for financial aid, while others focus on charging students for scholarship information that may not actually exist.
is often a felony offense and has steep punishments, including possible jail time.
Over the last 14 years, it has been estimated that approximately $22 million has been lost due to scholarship fraud, according to findings from the Federal Trade Commission. Some college students are scammed with false checks and credit card cracking. A source that remains anonymous states, “We first find a willing account holder and get the [owner’s] social security, account number, personal identification number (PIN) and debit card number. Then we write and deposit a false check in that account ... If the check is approved, we either take all the money for ourselves or split the money 95/5.”
Another scam that teens should be aware of is “phishing.” Phishing consists of “a type of criminal activity that uses fraudulent techniques to trick you into providing sensitive information,” according to JPMorgan Chase. For example, a fraudster might disguise themselves as a credible corporation—such as your bank—and may ask you for your account number, username password and PIN. Chase’s Senior Service Specialist Nana Awuah states, “If there are transactions on the customer’s account that are out of the ordinary, then we will block the transactions and notify the customer by text or email to confirm that it was the customer who made the transaction.”
This leaves the account holder and “victim” of the fraud with a negative account balance, owing money to the bank and at risk of significant legal trouble. Fraud
Check your account activity often to spot any fraud, and be sure to reach out to your bank directly if you have any questions.
Your Relationship with Money: GET CREATIVE TO MAKE SOME CASH! BY ALLEGRA MENDONSA, JUNIOR, JONES COLLEGE PREP
ven though it seems like teenagers are always looking to make more money, the youth employment rate in the United States was 10.4 percent as of October 2016, according to tradingeconomics.com. Whether for entertainment, clothes, food, or savings, all teenagers would benefit from some extra cash. Sixteen-year-old Olivia Landgraff says, “I usually make money through focus groups, selling clothes and babysitting. It’s really easy and helps me pay for all the concerts I love to go to!” Sound interesting? Take a closer look at some of the moneymaking opportunities available to teens. •Sell your old clothes at a resale shop: Most local resale shops, such as Plato’s Closet, allow teens to sell their clothes if they present an ID. For more information, go to platoscloset.com.
•Be a student poll worker: Searching for money a month prior to an election? You can be a student poll worker! According to Ken Porter of the Mikva Challenge, “You must have at least a 3.0 GPA and teacher recommendation; upon completion of working the polls from 5 a.m.-8 p.m., you’ll receive $170.” •Listen to music for cash: Using the app Music Xray, you can listen to songs based on your preferences and get paid up to 10 cents for each song you listen to.
•Focus groups and taste tests: Q-Research Solutions allows for youth who are 13+ to taste test new products in order to make up to $110. You can apply at www.qpanelist.com.
•Take surveys: Using websites like Global Test Market, SurveySavvy and Survey Junkie you can redeem points for gift cards and cash.
•Babysit: According to care.com, the average hourly rate for babysitters in the Chicago-area are $11.91 for one kid, $14.07 for two kids and $15 for three kids. In order to gain clients, distribute flyers throughout your neighborhood.
Not only do all of these opportunities provide cash or incentives, they also allow you to get paid for being creative and finding unconventional ways to make money.
COULD YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR CLOTHES Inspire A Business? BY AMBER ANDERSON, SOPHOMORE, KENWOOD ACADEMY
yanna Watkins and Kimisha Moxley are teens who are part of a trend. According to Fortune magazine, the two are members of a huge group of entrepreneurs: African-American women. “The number of businesses owned by African-American women grew 322 percent since 1997, making Black females the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs in the United States,” the magazine reports. Watkins is the creator of the clothing line Rebirth, which she designed after being a camp counselor at XS tennis camp and having a conversation with one of the children who was being bullied because of the clothes she wore. Watkins let the young camper know that, “what she wears does not define her, [and] to never belittle herself due to not following a trend.” Watkins added that the girl should strive “to be proud of what she wears [and] to be different.”
Left: Ayanna Watkins, Rebirth Right: Kimisha Moxley, Kim Products recycled clothing, gave her a love for thrift shops, making her cultural appreciation of clothing flourish. Beginning in seventh grade, she would customize her own clothing, such as jeans, and make wallets from the back pockets of pants. Once she began high school, she started taking her craft more seriously.
The young designer says the clothing line comes from the concept “to rebirth the idea of always following trends for fashion.” The Rebirth line indeed sends out a powerful message to individuals about being confident in what they wear.
“This is only the beginning,” she states. She has branded the message of her clothing line well and talks about how each denim jacket sends its own individual message. She hopes to inspire other teens to get out and make their visions a reality.
Moxley is the creator of Kim Products, which was created as a result of her interest in arts and crafts from an early age. She also says that her parents, being fans of
In fact, her motto is “to not underestimate the mind and capability of a young teenager.” TRUE STAR MAGAZINE 45
A SPECIAL Thank You From
Thank you to our 2016
Thank you to our Small Business Sponsors
True Star would like to thank its Board of Directors. Thank you for bringing your passion, intellect, insight, experience and resources to the table.Â Thomas McLeary, Board President Kathy Chaney
Alderman Leslie Hairston
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True Star would like to acknowledge its VIP donors whose generosity will help provide outstanding programs, jobs, and experiences for Chicago youth. Alicia Allen Gail Arenberg Stephen Beard Tondaya Blissett Bailey Boone Kimyatta Dabney Michael Cathey Matt Cooper Cynthia Ellis Marsha Eaglin Melody Ferguson Brinton Flowers Berika Grant
Jaâ€™Mal Green Robert Grimes Craig Huffman Andrew Jackson Robert Scoop Jackson Joyce Johnson Congresswoman Robin Kelly Phillip Kranz Lee Henderson Augustine Lynn Gerald McCarthy Lydia Nantwi
Phillip Alphonse Reynold Martin Michael McGee Craig Richey Anthony Robinson Shelly Quiles Jack Silverstein JoAnna Thomas Steven Waller Angela Welch-Rice Elizabeth Whitaker Subria Whitaker
YOUNG CEO Cecil Wilson
BY ALI SCOTT, SENIOR, MORGAN PARK TWITTER: @BAMXITSXALI
ecil Wilson is proof that hard work pays off. After graduating from Bloom Trail High School, he took his passion for serving others in the community to a new level when he decided to start a business called Goffers Inc. The suburban start-up company focuses on busy working professionals and people with disabilities who do not have enough time to get tasks done. Now, a few years later, the 20-year-old CEO has officially earned the title of being an award-winning entrepreneur. Wilson received the honor during the What’s Da Business (WDB) Marketing Group’s recent 10-year anniversary gala and L.E.G.A.C.Y. Awards ceremony where he received a $10,000 prize. “When I learned that I won the Young Entrepreneur of the Year contest, I felt humbled,” Wilson says. “It was a humbling experience to see that strangers were touched by my presentation and moved by my company’s purpose and goal. I thank God for the opportunity He gave me to win the grand prize and inspire the people in the audience. Now that I have won, I can focus on building the company with business support and capital to carry out our mission.” Wilson plans to use the prize money to continue to market the business, build the brand and do a groundbreaking launch. According to Wilson, the employees of Goffers are trustworthy individuals who are available to complete on-demand services. “Goffers Inc. comprises but is
not limited to Runners, Taskers, and Goffers Connect,” explains Wilson. “For example, as Runners, Goffers Inc. does pickup and delivery to local businesses, such as restaurants, dry cleaners and other service-related businesses. As Taskers, these are nonskilled people who provide stationary assistance; they can perform different jobs from light housekeeping to heavy lifting, among other reasonable tasks. Lastly, Goffers Connect is a web-based platform that gets customers connected to businesses in their communities. It’s designed like the popular webbased List that people are familiar with.” The business consists of an executive team of 10 people, 25 Runners and an advisory board of numerous skilled business professionals to help aid the business. Wilson has a fixated dream on exactly what he wants for Goffers Inc. in the future. In doing so, he hopes that he will inspire other young entrepreneurs to pursue their dreams. “As a young emerging entrepreneur, my hope is for Goffers Inc. to become a ‘Ministry in the Marketplace,’” Wilson says. “I want people to be inspired that no matter what their background, race or status is, they can take a small idea and create something big. My dream is to involve the youth and motivate them with a platform of creativity and innovation. I want to evoke a spirit of leadership for the youth and others that connect to Goffers. I want people to connect to their neighbors and their community. Goffers Inc. wants to put that personal person-to-person touch back in the service industry.” Learn more about Goffers Inc. by visiting the website at www.goffersgotit.com. TRUE STAR MAGAZINE 47
UNDER THE RADAR
The True CW (AKA CHRISTOPHER WATKINS)
MUSICAL STYLE MUSICAL STYLE My musical style is unique. I have a real big image that young rappers my age couldn’t have. I am a young boss that does big things. I parallel my image and sound to rappers, such as Lil Uzi Vert, Future and more big artists. It’s amazing how I can compare myself to them and be as young as I am.
UNIQUENESS My sound is different from others because I talk about a lot of things without cursing one hundred. A lot of people think using a curse word makes your song sound good and that you have to curse when you really don’t. I challenge myself, and everyone who notices me not using a curse word is surprised because my songs are really good without any of it.
GOALS My goal is to become the biggest artist in Chicago within five years. I have only been rapping for a couple months, and people think I’ve been rapping for a long time because of how hard I go. I am a hard worker, and I have dreams and goals of becoming the best of all time and the best in my city. And I’m not gonna stop until I achieve my goals.
My music is very versatile. One song can be very energetic and fun, while another can be calm and reflective. I can satisfy many different crowds with my sound.
UNIQUENESS In regard to my appearance, I don’t look like the typical rapper who sags his pants or has a bunch of tattoos or shows off all of his jewelry. Within my music I always try to include punchlines, metaphors and other things to make you think. I don’t use any profanity in any of my songs, either, that includes the N-word. Personally, I consider that a curse word, too. I know to some, all of this seems to “break the rules” of being a rapper, but standing out and being different is needed in order to be the greatest.
GOALS My goals include getting my degree in contemporary music business, being an internationally known recording artist, and getting more into my acting career by taking on roles in movies and television. Winning isn’t everything, but I would love to win some major awards on the way to the top like Grammys, BET Awards and more.
My major influence for me to do this is my family because I have a big responsibility at a very young age. My family is on my back because there are no more men in my family besides me, my brother and dad. We have to set trends and get out here and get it. I want to set my family legacy up for success, so when I’m gone, there won’t be any struggle for them.
I really like Ty Dolla $ign, Chance the Rapper and Childish Gambino. Ty Dolla $ign’s melodies and voice stick with me. Chance the Rapper’s ability to switch up his music style and still make a song sound amazing is very inspiring. Childish Gambino’s wonderful vocabulary and voice inspires me to continue to learn more and do more. My major influences are my family members. They push me to want more for myself and to strive for greatness. I want to continue to make them proud.
Project: How I’m Coming Music: indy.livemixtapes.com/mixtapes/42062/b-bandz-how-im-coming.html Twitter/Instagram/Facebook: @TheRealBBandz
Project: “There He Go” (Single) Music: SoundCloud: @The_True_CW Twitter/Facebook: @The_True_CW
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Ill Minded Odyssey
MEMBERS INCLUDE: NICK FINE$$E, DANNY DINERO, VISIONARY J AND ACE BOOGIE.
UNIQUENESS We are very versatile when it comes to music. We are all the same as characters, but you can tell who is who on a track. We are not a “onelane” type of group, we can do old-school, new-school, happy, fast, slow, trap, party, rap, etcetera. You name it and we can pull it off to the point of all demographics vibing with our music. Ace and Danny are specialists at changing flows, while J and I are the metaphorical, double entendre guys.
GOALS We all want to make it major, influence and bring together all demographics, but we each also have individual goals. I want to be a mogul and have my name stamped on many industries. J wants his music to be heard and enjoyed globally. Danny wants to be looked upon as a person of good will and motivation like a Ghandi. Ace wants his music to influence unity.
INFLUENCES Our influences include: Biggie, Tupac, ASAP Rocky, Jay Z, Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Eminem, A Tribe Called Quest, N.W.A, J. Cole, and Kendrick Lamar.
MUSICAL STYLE All of us are lyrical and we each have our own style. J is very old-school lyrical; Danny has that free flow poetical lyricism; Ace has the most unique lyrical style of the group; and I have an East Coast style mixed with some unique flows for hooks.
Projects: Summer Nights: The Mixtape by Nick Finesse, “Cloud 90” by Visionary J Website: illmindedodyssey.wixsite.com/weareimo Twitter: @illminded773
TRUE STAR MAGAZINE 49
WHAT MATTERS TO US
What Matters TO Us? BY AKIA FOX, SENIOR, LINCOLN PARK
veryone likes to stay up to date with their clothes. Some teens wait in long lines for hours just to buy the latest pair of Jordans. Why can’t we change our priorities and wake up early for a protest to support our lives and stop the violence? “It’s because we value materialistic things more,” says Angel Banks, a senior at Lincoln Park High School who also happens to be a Jordan shoe lover. “We see a new pair of Jordans, and we have to have them before someone else gets them.” Believe it or not, everything is not a competition. Teenagers should really focus on things that actually matter. Banks believes this concept to be true. “If more people our age were a little more knowledgeable about the things that are occurring in our everyday lives and the history behind it, maybe teens would speak up.” Our elders have set the stage for us and have demonstrated how things should be done to create change, but if teens see that these old ways aren’t working we should try to find a new way to fix them. That starts with being open-minded to the possibilities of improvement. Unfortunately, the lack of focus that many teens have is too hard to ignore and there is data to prove it. According to the Bureau of Labor Statics, just last year the college enrollment rate was 72.6 percent for young women and 65.8 percent for young men. The college enrollment rate of AfricanAmericans was 54.6 percent, which is the lowest rate of our racial counterparts. 50 TRUE STAR MAGAZINE
Education is the key to helping us resolve the challenges that we face. And while we look to adults to teach us new things, we shouldn’t be surprised when there are communication problems between the two generations. Banks shares that she normally voices her opinion to younger friends and family members, but when she voices her opinion to older people, they don’t understand her, and they normally don’t listen because she’s only 17. If you feel like Banks, do not be discouraged. There are people who have the same ideas as you; all you have to do is speak up. Alexis Gonzales, a senior at Elmwood Park High School agrees with Banks. He says that, “… adults oppress our opinion. They never listen to us because they see us as children.” Let’s stand together, and if you’re tired of something, speak up. If you want to see change, do not sit back and wait. Do something about it! Nothing gets done if you won’t do it yourself. Brazilian author Paulo Coelho once said, “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” You have to really want it or no one will notice. African-Americans have been left behind for many years. It’s our time to create change so that future generations will be stronger and fare better.
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