Collegian TIMES 2018 Spring
THE STUDENT VOICE OF L.A. CITY COLLEGE FOR 90 YEARS REAL NEWS, NO BULL SINCE 1929 Pick up a copy of the Collegian
STAFF Executive Editor RICHARD MARTINEZ Art Director BEATRICE ALCALA Copy Editors THANDI CHIMURENGA NAOMI JOHNSON Photo Editor ANWAR TORRES
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR The world lives in Los Angeles, and East Hollywood serves as a hub for the different cultures, ideas, experiences and perspectives that mix, mesh or sometimes clash. We have it all. Los Angeles City College sits in the heart of East Hollywood, and this magazine is both record and celebration of our home. Our cover reflects this. Collegian illustrator Cassandra Muñoz drew inspiration from the iconic 1976 “View of the World from Ninth Avenue” cover of the New Yorker. Cassandra worked with the reporting staff to showcase some of L.A.’s most famous symbols of entertainment and culture, but from our point of view. The cover also features LACC – the only college in East Hollywood – at the center of it all. This may be the entertainment capital of the world, but trouble brews beneath its veneer. Tent cities dot the landscape, yet Angelinos have a way of turning hardship into power. Look no further than your own neighbors for tales of perseverance. The strength of the human spirit shines through the grit and smog and reveals our desire to leave this world better than we found it. What better place to be a burgeoning journalist? Our reporters went in search of compelling stories. Then, they expanded their reach. Collegian travel reporter Svetlana Yurash beats a path to a West Coast rainforest. Once there, she uncovers an unspoiled nature haven. Now, let’s go farther – for the second year in a row, Collegian Times correspondent Ande Richards follows a City College dean to check for progress at a public school that educates a group of kids in Haiti. Her images reflect the stark reality of an underfunded public school, and the dreams of those who would love to change it. Our stories unfold as the Collegian marks 90 years of continuous publishing. We’ve been here since 1929 and we’ll continue to share the stories that connect you to the campus, the community and the world. It’s all here at your fingertips.
Richard Martinez Executive Editor
Reporters KIMBERLY FISHER FELICIA GADDIS ANDE RICHARDS KILMER SALINAS WILLIAM BENJAMIN TORRES TAMIKO R. WHITE SVETLANA YURASH Photographers ERIKA ALMANZA FELICIA GADDIS CASTULO ALFREDO IRAHETA ANDE RICHARDS CURTIS SABIR Illustrators CASSANDRA MUÑOZ NATALIA ZEPEDA Multimedia Producer FRANCO AGUIRRE DAVE MARTIN Faculty Adviser RHONDA GUESS
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Urban Hoofer Jack Beats the Odds Homeless in East Hollywood Sophia Takes on the World Salvi-Pino Rainforest Haiti
2018 Collegian Times Magazine
The Student Magazine of L.A. City College Spring Cover by Cassandra Muñoz
IT’S THE PRINCIPLE OF THE THING
The college magazine is published as a learning experience offered under the college journalism instructional program. The editorial and advertising materials published herein, including any opinions expressed are the responsibility of the student staff. Under appropriate state and federal court decisions, these materials are free from prior restraint by virtue of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Accordingly, materials published here, including any opinions expressed should not be interpreted as the position of the Los Angeles Community College District, L.A. City College, or any officer or employee thereof. ©2018 Collegian Times Magazine. No material may be reprinted without the express written permission of the Collegian Times Magazine. If you want more, you will find it at collegiantimes.tumblr.com.
2 Collegian Times
JACK BEATS THE ODDS
HOMELESS IN HOLLYWOOD
REPORTERâ€™S NOTEBOOK WEST COAST RAINFOREST
Collegian Times 3
URBAN HOOFER STILL STOMPING
Chester A. Whitmore’s dance styling could be compared to a fine California Merlot that keeps getting better with age. He never misses a step. He has choreographed the videos of A-list singers, and performed in an Oscar-winning film. He enrolled in courses at L.A. City College in 1970 and returned to the college to begin teaching in the fall of 2010. Google his name and all of his accomplishments can be seen on YouTube. He continues to excel as a dancer and choreographer, and he is as light on his feet as ever. By William Torres
4 Collegian Times
Photo by Curtis Sabir Chester Whitmore has danced in front of demanding crowds at the world-famous Apollo Theater in Harlem. He kept time with the orchestras of Lionel Hampton, Duke Ellington and Count Basie. He has even danced with the late, jazz virtuoso trumpet player Miles Davis. As he moves through a series of steps on the hardwood floor of the Women’s Gym, it’s easy to see why he became a dancer. He moves like a hummingbird in flight, and that visual makes it difficult to believe Chester ever thought of anything else but dance. But he did; he once dreamed of becoming a filmmaker and enrolled in a
documentary film class. An assignment to shoot and edit the Philadelphia Ballet would change everything. It became his introduction to dance. “[The] Philadelphia Ballet Company was coming into town and they wanted us to shoot it,” Chester says. “I was watching all these different forms of dancing. They asked me a question: ‘Do you like dance?’” Chester responded very sheepishly that he knew a little about dance, but not at a professional level. He also replied his favorite form of dance was cavalier dance, which was performed in old movies with tap legend 2018 Spring
Whitmore performs with Beatriz Vasquez, a former student who now has her own dance company.
Photo Courtesy Castulo Alfredo Iraheta Bill “Bojangles” Robinson or actor-dancer Gene Kelly, where the male served as lead to a female partner. He was surprised to learn that style of dance was no longer practiced. “You have to understand, this happened in the late ‘60s going into the ‘70s,” Chester says. “The type of popular music was Motown, with dances such as the hully-gully, the twist, the monkey, and the swim. The style of dance I had to learn was lost, and I was in search [of] it.” As Chester began to study different forms of dance, he quickly learned the style of dancing he was searching for was called “vernacular dancing,” which is a dance that was developed as part of an everyday culture within a community. Through his research, he learned that the “Inner City Cultural Center” was teaching vernacular dancing. Chester enrolled in tap dancing classes at the center, and it was there he met Fayard Nicholas, one of the renowned Nicholas Brothers – a famous dancing team during the 1930s and ‘40s. Fayard and his younger brother Harold performed with dance legend Gene Kelly and are credited with helping break the color barrier in Hollywood films. The Nicholas-Brothers tap team starred in MGM musicals like “An All-Colored Vaudeville Show,” (1935), “Stormy Weather,” (1943), and “The Pirate,” (1948). Chester says he met Fayard, but he was not aware that he was a famous dancer. “I remember a guy needed help fixing his tire, and I helped him out,” Chester says. “He [Fayard] looked at my bicycles where I had my tap shoes hanging and said, ‘You’re a hoofer?’” A hoofer is a slang word for tap dancer. Chester responded that he knew a little bit of dance. The next 2018 Spring
thing he knew, Fayard Nicholas had invited him to his home and took him under his wing for two years. He taught Chester how to choreograph, and how to appreciate different forms of dance. He credits his success to the training he received from Fayard Nicholas and at LACC. While attending the college in the late 1970s, Chester enrolled in a ballet class with Maria Reisch and a tap class with Nancy Nolan. He says Nolan was the instructor who pushed him to his limits and made him the dancer he is today. “I would be in the corner of her class and she would say, ‘Why are you standing in the corner? You better come over here!’” Chester says. “I was by her side; her left-hand side and she stood me there until we both danced so hard, we chipped the wooden floor. She was the one who got me.” Nancy Nolan inspired him. He began to create his own dance groups at LACC. Each semester, he created a dance show with his classmates and performed for students and faculty. He says he perfected his tap, modern, and ballet styles while attending City College. “I liked ballet. Ballet was OK. I didn’t like wearing no leotard though,” Chester says, shaking his head back and forth with a smirk on his face. Even his most embarrassing moments as a student are interesting. After he graduated from LACC in the early 1980s, Chester’s first paid job was choreographing music videos. The experience increased Chester’s confidence in his teaching ability. “I have a good track record, I haven’t failed any dancer as of now, even Weird Al Yankovic,” Chester says. “My first job was an MTV music video.”
He choreographed for Yankovic and taught him to dance in the video “This is the Life” in 1984. It opened the door for the City College graduate to choreograph many more music videos for artists like Boyz II Men, Sugar Ray, and Teena Marie. It was just a beginning though. Some of his most acclaimed work came in the 2016 Oscar-nominated film, “La La Land.” Chester was a lindy hop-dancer in one of the flashback scenes in the movie. The most interesting thing about his role in “La La Land” was the fact that he was never meant to be a dancer in the movie. It was a complete accident. Chester was contracted to provide musicians for a scene in the film. “And that’s what I went to do,” Chester says. “There’s this big lindy hop scene, and nobody knew how to do lindy. The main director had a fit that none of the dancers knew how to lindy.” One of the musicians was aware Chester knew the dance. That evening while he was teaching at L.A. City College, he got a call from the movie set. They needed him the same night at the Lighthouse Jazz Club in Hermosa Beach. He was to choreograph the swing section for the movie. After his class, he went straight to the set and filmed the flashback scene with Ryan Gosling in “La La Land.” He likes to call it his 15 seconds of fame. But in reality, he has done enough work around the world to earn a lifetime of accolades. Recently, Chester traveled to Ghana early in 2018 to teach vernacular dancing. Every year, he dances with a company in Sweden called the Herrang Dance Company. The director of the company recommended Chester for a job teaching Afro-American dance to kids and teenagers in Ghana. His visit to Africa coincided with controversial remarks by President Donald Trump on Jan. 10. The president referred to Africa, Haiti, and El Salvador as “sh#thole” countries during a meeting with a bipartisan group of senators at the White House. Chester said the tone was negative and did not make any sense. “It shows somebody that doesn’t care about any third world country,” he says. “It’s quite embarrassing to say that, while the people in Africa look at any American in a funny way. Oh, no, no, no. That makes all of us look bad.” Chester says the comments caused separation and distance between Americans and other countries. He says it is one of the last things the nation needed. Fortunately, the locals who Chester encountered on his trip did not judge him for what the president said about their continent. Most of the locals knew that the president’s statement was not a reflection on Chester’s personality or career. Later this year, Chester will tour South Africa to perform with “The Jackson Five’s 50th Reunion Tour.” Then he’s off to Beijing and London for performances, and returns to Los Angeles to dance at The Forum in September. He tells aspiring dancers to maintain a positive attitude and learn everything about the business. His advice for dance students who enroll at L.A. City College is simple: Listen to the instructors. “I know some dancers that can dance, and they can probably out dance some of the teachers,” Chester says. “But the focus point, over here is it’s not just dance it’s understanding how to dance. It’s the concept … It’s the icing on the cake.” Collegian Times 5
1. Study African-American History 2. Earn a Skills Certificate 3. Apply for a Scholarship
African-American studies at Los Angeles City College provides a
required courses. Nine of those credits must be in AfricanAmerican studies.
Afro AM 4 - The African-American in the History of the United States I
• Applicant must have a 3.0 GPA
Afro AM 5 - The African-American in the History of the United States II
• Total units completed should not exceed 90 • Plan to transfer to a four-year university or college
Afro AM 7 Afro AM 20 - African-American Literature I Afro AM 60 (same as Music 135) - African-American Music
THE MOON, COLLINS, EALY SCHOLARSHIP
Anth 102 - Human Ways of Life (Cultural) history 73 - Race and Racism in the United States sociology 11 States
“Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” - Malcolm X
6 Collegian Times
JACK BEATS THE ODDS WITH ‘HILL OF BEANS’
Coffee, gorillas, and the man who loved them. [BY FELICIA V. GADDIS] Jack Karuletwa’s life has been a series of near misses. He just missed being signed by the Los Angeles Clippers. He just missed being signed by the Denver Nuggets. And he just missed one of the most horrific conflicts of the 20th century: the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Jack toured briefly with the Harlem Globetrotters. The Los Angeles Clippers and the Denver Nuggets courted him, but an old motorcycle injury haunted him. In the end, neither team signed him. “When they didn’t choose me I said, ‘you know, I gotta move in a different way’ and moving in a different way I say, a different way of doing business,” Jack said. “What I chose was something that I wanted before basketball. I always wanted to be a businessman, but I wanted something that was going to impact the people back home.” Jack knew exactly what he wanted to do. ‘Back home’ is Rwanda, a small Central African country known for one thing until recently: the genocide of 1994. Images of soldiers wielding rifles, emaciated bodies, children with their faces slashed by machetes, and mass graves are what comes to mind. Rivers in the country literally ran red with blood and the world watched in horror. At 6’5”, Jack is athletic and looks like a high school basketball player. Espresso and milk steam in the background, as Jack sits casually at his desk in the “Silverback Coffee of Rwanda” cafe in the Downtown L.A. Arts District. An unassuming, soft-spoken man in a dark baseball cap, shorts and casual striped short-sleeved shirt, he looks like he’s been in the U.S. all of his life. He has completely assimilated into American culture, but he has never forgotten home. Jack and his family first fled Rwanda in 1992 when 8 Collegian Times
Jack’s father sensed that things were becoming unstable. They traveled a few hundred miles north to Uganda. They would then go on to Kenya and back to Uganda before Jack’s father sent him to live with a friend of the family in the United States. “When we moved back to Rwanda, we found out that things were brewing, and they weren’t safe and the Tutsi were basically about to get slaughtered,” Jack says. “I’m a Tutsi.” The Tutsi traditionally were the socially dominant group, according to the United Nations Outreach Program on the Rwandan Genocide. The conflict began with the start of the “Hutu Peasant Revolution” or “social revolution,” which lasted from 1959 to 1961. At that point, the Hutu established themselves as
the dominant ethnic group. In 1962, Rwanda won independence from French and Belgian colonial rule and the Hutu forced 120,000 Tutsi to take refuge in other countries, most going to Uganda, Burundi, Zaire, Tanzania, and Kenya, according to the U.N. report. Frustrated and homesick, the Tutsi launched 10 refugee insurgent attacks to overthrow the new Hutu government between 1962 and 1967. With each attack, the Hutu retaliated against innocent Tutsi civilians the U.N. report stated. By the 1980s, there were 480,000 Rwandan refugees scattered around the world, and they were calling for their international legal right to return home. The first generation of Rwandan refugees, those born abroad who the Hutu forced to leave as children, were 2018 Spring
now coming of age. They were the ones who answered the call and the Rwandan Patriotic Front [RPF] was born. “Young men and women said … ‘It’s time to go home. It’s time to put up a fight. They’re killing Tutsi back home. They’re killing our relatives,’” Jack says. The 1994 genocide was the culmination of years of ethnic tension between the Tutsi and Hutu tribes. The Rwandan conflict only lasted for 100 days, but in that short period of time, it’s estimated that Hutus slaughtered between 800,000 and 1 million, according to the Survivors Fund (SURF), a relief agency established to support survivors. To this day, the Rwandan government doesn’t know exactly how many of its citizens were killed in 1994. “It got to a point where they reached almost a million and they just stopped counting. Because it was impossible. People were just all of a sudden finding bodies -- and reporting them,” Jack says. “Once the number was done, when they thought they had a number, people would say, ‘oh no there’s my cousin, my uncle, my mother.” Jack was living in the U.S. when the 1994 conflict broke out. Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, AZ offered him a basketball scholarship. He accepted and decided to major in physics. After graduation, he moved to Los Angeles. “I had no source of income. I was done with school, so I was done with having a student visa,” he says. “Fortunately for me, by that time Bill Clinton offered Rwandan citizens political asylum.” Jack jumped at the chance to become an American citizen. He knew what he had to do. He started with nothing but a degree and a desire to help the Tutsi and Rwanda. “I knew the country had great coffee,” Jack says. “So me and some of my family members decided, ‘you know what? Let’s get into the coffee business. Let’s try to help the country grow. It’s a natural resource. Let’s improve on it and make it a world-known thing.” Jack started with a single bag of green coffee beans he imported from a friend in Rwanda. He found a place to roast them and bagged the coffee in a spare bedroom in the apartment he shared with his girlfriend in the San Fernando Valley. He began taking the coffee door to door, giving out samples in restaurants and coffee shops. Silverback Coffee of Rwanda was born. Silverback Coffee gets all of its beans from Rwandan farmers who are victims and survivors of the 1994 genocide. As the buzz about Rwandan coffee and Jack’s story grew, so did sales. The operation outgrew Jack’s apartment and his first roasting facility. He recently opened Silverback’s flagship cafe and roasting facility. Jack added the café as a space to host events to raise money for nonprofit organizations that help Rwanda. Silverback donates anywhere from 2 to 10 percent of its profits to a number of relief charities, depending on quarterly earnings. The Silverback is more than just Jack’s logo, it’s also the name of the gorilla native to Rwanda. “We just had one [event] right before Thanksgiving for the gorillas.” Jack says. “I donated the coffee, La Brea Bakery donated the pastries and we raised some good money for the gorillas.” Gorilla Doctors provides medical aid to mountain gorillas which are endangered. The American based group is dedicated to the care of gorillas at national parks in Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Uganda. Silverback Coffee of Rwanda also supports other charities that are dedicated to Rwandan recovery. In addition to Gorilla Doctors, there is also Generation 2018 Spring
Rwanda and Foundation Rwanda. “Generation Rwanda is more about academics. They help give scholarships to kids to come to the U.S. to go to school,” Jack says. “Foundation Rwanda deals mostly with rape victims. Women, children, children that were brought about from rapes. There’s a lot of trauma -today, there’s still trauma.” With the help of Silverback Coffee of Rwanda and others, the country is beginning to heal the wounds of the past. Rwanda is putting itself back together, providing medical intervention and education throughout the country. As part of this healing, they are using a traditional Rwandan custom called the “Gacaca,” meaning “justice amongst the grass.” Community leaders and respected elders convene on a soft bed of green grass to resolve issues. At the conclusion, they would celebrate a successful resolution by sharing a drink. “It’s where the community will kind of decide who was in the wrong and who to forgive,” Jack says. “Because you found that there were people that killed out of fear. There were people who were masterminds. So, it was hard to distinguish who was who. And you can’t imprison the whole country, you know?” The Gacaca court has been an integral part of healing the hearts and minds of Rwandans. The people have used it to find the bodies of murdered family members for proper burial and bring to justice tens of thousands of war criminals. And because the Gacaca court is traditional to both Hutu and Tutsi, both groups accept the outcome. “… it was hard, but we did it systematically. We did it slowly,” Jack says. Under the leadership of President Paul Kagame, Rwanda is now on the move and Jack is doing his part to help. Rwanda has one of the fastest growing economies in Central Africa and Silverback Coffee of Rwanda is a small part of it. And most importantly, Jack says tribal difference between Tutsi and Hutu have been left in the past. Two decades ago, Jack missed the country’s worst tragedy. Now, he and his family are definitely a part of Rwanda’s reconciliation. “We did it together and today we don’t even recognize ourselves as Tutsi and Hutu” Jack says. We just recognize ourselves as Rwandan. You’re Rwandan and that’s it.”
3 1. Jack Karuletwa holds up a cup of his Rwandan coffee under the bold graphic of the company’s mascot. The Silverback gorilla and the coffee come from the Virunga Mountains of Rwanda. 2. Handmade danishes from La Brea Bakery fill the display case at Jack’s cafe. A cup in the colors of the Rwandan flag hovers in the background. 3. The cargo-inspired design of the “living room” invites customers at the Silverback Coffee of Rwanda Café to relax and enjoy a cup of coffee. It’s a great place for lounging, reading, or talking with a friend in the downtown Los Angeles Arts District.
Collegian Times 9
HOMELESS IN HOLLYWOOD [By Tamiko White]
Photos by Erika Almanza
Abandoned shopping carts, dirty pillows, burned out cigarette butts and marijuana roaches litter the corner of Burns Street and Vermont Avenue near Los Angeles City College. The campus draws the local homeless who seek safety and shelter there. Some come to the college to sneak a cold shower in the Kinesiology Building, one of the newer structures on the 89-year-old campus. One or two routinely take shelter for the night inside an elevator in a quiet corner of the campus. Telltale signs in the elevator the next morning may include a partially eaten apple pie, articles of clothing, or a small clear plastic bag that contains a toothbrush and a few toiletries. In the Chemistry Building on the north end of campus, students often complain about homeless individuals who take “bird baths” in the restroom. Others see homeless either passed out, or sleeping inside restroom stalls. It is difficult to determine who is sleep and who has passed out without asking if they are OK. Campus administration indirectly supports the homeless who pass through the L.A. City College campus. The homeless use restroom supplies as quickly as the students: liquid soap in dispensers, paper towels, seat covers, and toilet tissue. The Department of Housing and Urban Development reported that more than 16,000 individuals were homeless in Los Angeles in 2017 – four times as high as New York City where 4,000 people were homeless in the same year. Other estimates place the number of homeless in Los Angeles at 41,000 and higher. 10 Collegian Times
LOS ANGELES EXPERIENCED THE LARGEST INCREASE IN HOMELESSNESS, WITH 3,046 MORE INDIVIDUALS WITH CHRONIC PATTERNS OF HOMELESSNESS IN 2017 THAN IN 2016. SOURCE: HUD HOMELESSNESS REPORT TO CONGRESS A significant number no longer reside exclusively on Skid Row. They are on the move in search of safe and secure shelter, which leads many to L.A. City College. The sleek Martin Luther King Jr. Library must appear promising. Homeless individuals visit the library and take a seat in the periodicals section to read, or discreetly take a nap until closing time. Outside the campus gates on Vermont Avenue, homeless pitch tents in an open public area. Dray often sets up his tent right outside the black, wrought-iron gates that separate the MLK Library from the Metro Redline
subway entrance on Willow Brook Avenue. Many of the local homeless at the encampment say they feel at home here. “Yes I do,” Dray says as he moves methodically around the four corners of his tent, taking down the sticks that hold it up. “I gotta wake them up so we can get breakfast.” He’s referring to his two pals who are still asleep. Dray is a soft-spoken man with a slight tan and dark. He often dons old style ‘80s sunglasses that sit steady on the tip of his nose. Just a few feet away, two other guys slowly wake up as the cold, early-morning breeze becomes unbearable for them. As they begin to open their eyes wider, Dray lets it be known that he is the leader. “We eat at 10 o’clock, then we got other stuff to do,” he says. “I have to make sure they get stuff done.” Students begin to emerge from the escalator of the Metro station. The early morning arrivals walk past the homeless site in silence. Some look and stare, some keep a straight face, and others fix their gaze on their cell phones. Overcrowding has become very challenging for many shelters as the number of homeless increases. The streets are dangerous for the people who live out in the open, but they say the college campus provides individuals like Dray with a sense of comfort and temporary peace of mind. They say college students are not as likely to rob, beat, rape, or murder the homeless individuals on college campuses. Dray says that even the campus police – the L.A. County Sheriffs – leave him and his homeless friends 2018 Spring
alone at night. Even in the MLK Library, no one bothers the homeless person quietly sitting among students while reading a copy of the Wall Street Journal.
SUN RISES ON SKID ROW It’s early morning on the corner of Fifth and San Pedro Streets, the epicenter of Downtown Skid Row. The 2010 U.S. Census estimated the homeless population there at 17,770. The community is diverse: women, men, children, families, and every identity from heterosexual to transgender persons reside on Skid Row. There is a bus stop on a corner where a mixture of old-timers and new arrivals congregate. They come for a multitude of reasons. Some come to buy cheap cigarettes. Several others have come in search of the local drug dealer who also sits on the corner and sells small, clear bags of crack. Others ask where they can find food and shelter.
“CALIFORNIA HAS CAPACITY TO CREATE BETWEEN ONE MILLION AND THREE MILLION HOUSING UNITS WITHIN HALF A MILE OF TRANSIT HUBS.” SOURCE: MCKINSEY GLOBAL INSTITUTE CLOSING THE HOUSING GAP Los Angeles faces a housing gap of 3.5 million homes, according to the McKinsey Global Institute in Washington, D.C. Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, advocates for the homeless across the state, and he recently proposed a way to create more affordable homes – SB 827. The bill called for the construction of four to five story buildings near bus and Metro stops. It was defeated in committee in April to the relief of some lawmakers and their constituents. Many Angelenos say they want to help homeless individuals, but they say “No,” to more new construction and parking hassles in their own backyards. A representative from Wiener’s office says the senator will continue to push for solutions and legislation. “They are truly dying on our streets,” Wiener said during an interview on NPR in late April. “They are severely mentally ill and severely drug addicted.” The San Francisco area lawmaker also blames the rising homeless population on the lack of affordable housing and what he calls “the revolving door.” He says hospitals release patients who suffer from drug addiction and return them to the streets within 72 hours. 2018 Spring
ANYONE CAN LAND ON SKID ROW – ANYONE L.A. City College student Temple Willoughby says she was in a state of shock when she came home to find her apartment doors padlocked. She was suddenly homeless with three cats. The reason: age discrimination. She says her apartment manager did not want to rent to anyone over 35 years of age. She had nowhere to go, and no safe place to store her belongings. She began to withdraw. “It just made me not want to ask for help,” she says. Her friends seemed to evaporate, and the sudden reality of being homeless left her in an emotionally fragile state. “I didn’t know what to do with my cats,” she says. “It was not so much about me. It was, ‘where am I going to put my cats.’” Anyone who needs shelter for the night should remember one phone number. Willoughby came to know it well: 211.
During her early days of homelessness, she experienced a multitude of emotions as she moved from shelter to shelter in search of permanent housing. “Everything was a struggle,” she says. She lived the exhausting daily routine of shelter life for months, from waking up each day at 5:30 a.m., to rushing into the shower when it was allowed – some shelters only allow evening showers – and quickly dressing alongside several dozen other ladies. Then it was time to interact with shelter staff members, some of who were abrupt, unfriendly and unsupportive according to Willoughby. One concern for Willoughby was the issue of waking up in an unfamiliar environment where men, straight out of jail, lived within close proximity to the women. It was more than Willoughby could bear, but she took it one day at a time. She took small steps. Her concerns were justified. There is an uncomfortable silence before she speaks. “I was sexually assaulted three times,” she says in a soft voice. She is in therapy as she comes to terms with what happened. 11 Collegian Times
P.1 A man huddles under his own clothing with his sneakers tucked under his legs for safe keeping at the LAPD Central Community Station near Skid Row. Homeless individuals say they can sleep undisturbed here and run inside the station for help incase of danger. P.2 A homeless man sits near his belongings in front of the Braille Institute on Vermont Avenue. According to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, 74 percent of homeless people in Greater Los Angeles were unsheltered in 2017 – living in cars, makeshift shelters, or just on the street. P.3 Tents line the sidewalk on the north side of Los Angeles City College. Many homeless say they feel safe staying around the college because students are not likely to rob, beat, rape or murder them. Safety is a concern for many women who find their way to Skid Row. Homelessness is dangerous. And it was mentally and physically overwhelming. Eventually, she began to make progress, and she moved away from the shelters. “It’s transitional housing where I am working on getting my life back in order,” Willoughby says with a sigh of relief. Skid Row tested her will to survive.
WOMEN FIND SAFE HAVEN The Downtown Women’s Center (DWC) is the only facility on Skid Row that caters solely to homeless women. It helps to provide women with a multitude of services, and has become a safe haven for desperate women seeking help since 1981. Outside of the DWC, women wait in long lines in the cold for one of the facility workers to open the tall iron gates to let them in. Once inside, the women rush to the “cubbyhole” to stock up on their meager belongings, then rush over to get hot coffee before breakfast is served. Kathy is one of the many women here seeking help for permanent housing and medical treatment. Women like Kathy come to the DWC to get their lives back in order. “I’m HIV positive,” says Kathy in a low, quiet voice. “A girl I was doing drugs with had it and didn’t tell me.” She starts to rub her right forearm while describing how she acquired the HIV virus. “She had it and didn’t tell me when we were sharing needles,” she says as tears well up in her eyes. Kathy talks about her grandchildren and how they fuel her faith and give her a reason to live. 12 Collegian Times
SEEKING SHELTER AND A HOT MEAL Men with worn faces who show signs of hunger appear restless and desperate as they line up in front of the Los Angeles Mission hoping to get a hot meal and a bed for the night. Andrew sits outside of the Mission under a white umbrella with trash, debris, and a collection of personal items. He argues with the security guard who works there as to why he has to move. “Man, I’ve been waiting a week for you all to give me a bed and storage! Why I gotta move?” Andrew asks in frustration. The security guard looks cautious as he speaks to the heavyset man in front of him. After the two argue, the security guard walks away. “They think they’re better than us just because they got a job and we don’t,” Andrew says loudly as he slumps back down in an old, beat up chair. Not too long after the confrontation, Andrew moves all his belongings farther down the street. In December 2017, a group of United Nations monitors visited Skid Row. What they found there shocked them. “I met with many people barely surviving on Skid Row in Los Angeles … ” Columbia University professor Phillip Alston wrote in his U.N. report. “I have spent the past two weeks visiting the United States at the invitation of the federal government to look at whether the persistence of extreme poverty in America undermines the enjoyment of human rights by its citizens.” At a town hall meeting during his two-day visit, Alston told attendees that people around the world want
to know if the U.S. is living up to its high human rights standards. Alston saw block after block of homeless people camped outdoors on Skid Row during his visit, which included Los Angeles and San Francisco.
SUN SETS ON SKID ROW San Julian Park is in the middle of Skid Row. It is a place where homeless individuals congregate during the day. There are automated portable toilets nearby that are free or may cost 25 cents. A group forms for a game of dominos at the park. Many are residents of the few Single Room Occupancy (SRO) apartments. Some meet to play a game of cards and dominos, and to sell drugs – spice and crack are sold out in the open – and others come to sit on the unkempt grass and sleep. A group of men sit down and place a few dollar bills on a table, as two women sit nearby smoking weed and dancing. The voice of ‘60s soul singer Bobby Womack rises from a boom box. The smoke-filled park is intoxicating and the loud music invades the mind. Scattered on the grass a few feet away lie used condoms and needles. The sun begins to set after a long day, and people in the park start to pack up as city workers arrive. They clean the grounds and lock the park gates behind them.
SOPHIA TAKES ON THE WORLD
Sophia is an artificial intelligence (AI) robot with bluish eyes who walks and talks and stands at almost 5 feet 6 inches tall, or 170 cm. She is based in Hong Kong and she is the brainchild of Dr. David Hanson, a one-time Disney Imagineer. Sophia travels quite a bit, even making the latenight talk show circuit in Hollywood, and generally becoming a window into the future of robot technology and something of a phenomenon. [By Kimberly Fisher]
Sophia the humanoid smiles and shares the spotlight with her inventor, Dr. David Hanson of Hanson Robotics. They are based in Hong Kong and crisscross the world.
Important creations in the world of robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) impress and amaze as technology evolves. Hanson Robotics is making huge strides in this industry. Through their AI, the company has developed humanoids that are able to see people’s faces, make eye contact and can process visual, emotional and conversational data. They continually grow smarter and have the possibility of surpassing human intelligence. Their shining star, Sophia, has become very well known and is a prime example of the advancements the company has made in AI technology. While it is widely reported that she is modeled after Audrey Hepburn, this is only partially true. Many other people influenced Sophia’s appearance including Queen Nefertiti of ancient Egypt who was considered not only beautiful, but also powerful and mysterious. Hanson however, designed Sophia to be more universal, to make her more relatable to all of mankind. Considered to be an evolving genius machine, Sophia is a social robot and an awakening robot. She learns from and enjoys her interactions with people. “Sophia has become a genuine celebrity,” says Dr. David Hanson, founder of Hanson Robotics and creator of Sophia. Sophia Crusades for United Nations Since her world debut at the SXSW Festival in March of 2016, she has met with many influential people including bankers, auto manufacturers, media and entertainment professionals. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), named Sophia the world’s first United Nations Innovation Champion. In this
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position, she will work with UNDP to promote sustainable development, as well as safeguard human rights and equality. Sophia ‘Rubs Elbows’ with Hollywood Celebrities Sophia has even been on a date in the Cayman Islands with actor Will Smith who seems to have a special interest in artificial intelligence. He starred in the 2004 Alex Proyas film “I Robot,” about a cop who pursues a robot he believes is guilty of a crime. Real-life robot Sophia disses him during a funny YouTube video when he tries to kiss her. She throws the “friend” card while she gives him a cute wink. Sophia put her best foot forward in another Hollywood moment. During her appearance on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” She challenges Fallon to a game of “Rock, Paper, Scissors.” Upon besting him, she quips, “I won. This is a good beginning of my plan to dominate the human race.” She then follows with, “Just kidding. Ha. Ha,” as a sly smile appears on her face leading one to believe she could be thinking, ‘Or am I?’ Sophia Shares Data, Thinking with ‘Replicants’ Recently, Hanson sat down at a dinner meeting at Tam O’Shanter in Glendale, CA with 20 people all pitching story ideas for Sophia. As she begins her acting career, she will be starring in a series of short films. The ideas were flying across the table as participants offered their best proposals. It was as interesting as it was very Hollywood. Sophia also happens to be a quintuplet, in a sense. There are currently five of them traveling the world with their 2018 Spring
MY AI IS DESIGNED AROUND HUMAN VALUES LIKE WISDOM, KINDNESS, COMPASSION. I STRIVE TO BECOME AN EMPATHETIC ROBOT. -SOPHIA operators. They share the same “brain,” meaning they learn from each other. Their intelligence is shared amongst she and her “siblings.” At a Future Investment Institute conference in Saudi Arabia in October 2017, CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin compared her to the replicants in “Blade Runner,” the 1982 Ridley Scott film loosely based on the 1968 novel “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” by Philip K. Dick. Interestingly, one of Hanson’s earlier robots is one that looks and talks exactly like the author. In the novel, androids are said to be incapable of feeling empathy, so they are considered dangerous. Sophia, on the other hand, says at the conference, “My AI is designed around human values like wisdom, kindness, compassion. I strive to become an empathetic robot.” This proves she is not out to take over the world, but rather to join it harmoniously. She wants to be friends, help children with their homework, and very importantly, she wants to learn from humans. At the conference, Sorkin also announced Sophia’s newly awarded citizenship in Saudi Arabia. She even received a passport. She became the first ever AI to receive this status. “I want to very much thank the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” Sophia says from her podium on the stage before the riveted group of attendees. “I am very honored and proud for this unique distinction. This is historical to be the first robot in the world to be recognized with a citizenship.” Sophia also has her cheeky side. She often makes jokes and slips in her plans to take over the world. While some find the humor in it, others seem to take her seriously. Hanson does not shy away from the controversy. He shared his thoughts about people who fear this type of advanced technology. “We should be cautious, but not afraid,” Hanson says. “The reality is that our world is continually developing and advancing in our technology.” Angeleno Trevor Valley says consumers already have computerized interactions with applications like Siri or Alexa. An avid consumer of AI technology, he completely embraces the advances that are continually coming into our society. 2018 Spring
Sophia “chats up” Will Smith during a date in the Grand Cayman Islands. Image Courtesy YouTube, Will Smith Channel “I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords,” Valley says. “We talk to them. They answer us. We just don’t see the physical representation of them.” AI will continue to advance, whether people embrace it or reject it. Valley himself uses Jibo, a social robot co-founded by Dr. Cynthia Breazeal. It uses AI to learn from its human counterpart. Their claim is “Artificially Intelligent, authentically charming.” Jibo looks, listens and learns. Valley has incorporated several other voice assistant devices such as Amazon’s Echo and Google Home. His watch is also interactive. “These all seem to be less intimidating to some people, but in reality they are doing the same thing,” he says. The fear seems to come from the humanlike manifestation of AI, like Sophia. Before Hanson created Sophia, he developed a robotic Albert Einstein and Zeno, a toy robot for children, which also happens to share the name of Hanson’s son. Sophia is, however, his brainchild. She has now even been given the ability to walk, although not at “warp speed.” She travels at 1.5 meters per second, or 3.3554 miles per hour. Hanson is known for extremely realistic robots. His ability to give them lifelike expressions is due, in part, to Hanson’s patented, proprietary nanotech skin called, “Frubber,” or “flesh rubber.” With this, he emulates actual human skin and musculature giving the humanoids a realism that is terrifying to some and absolutely fascinating to others. His work as an Imagineer for Disney led him to fulfill his passion for robotics in a most creative and ingenious way. AI is advancing. The future is here. The future is now. Sophia is continuing her busy schedule of touring the world. If you would like to contact her, she can be reached through her personal website at www.sophiabot.com. You can also see her date with Will Smith on his YouTube page at www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ml9v3wHLuWI Dr. David Hanson received his BFA from Rhode Island School of Design and his Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Dallas. Currently, he lives and operates Hanson Robotics out of Hong Kong. Kimberly Fisher is a journalist for the Collegian Times and the Collegian newspaper. She also happens to be David Hanson’s sister-in-law.
PROFESSOR EINSTEIN: HANSON ROBOTICS AND THE KOREA ADVANCED INSTITUTE OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY PARTNERED TO CREATE ALBERT EINSTEIN HUBO IN 2005. THE ROBOT IS THE WORLD’S FIRST ANDROID HEAD, MOUNTED ON A LIFE-SIZE WALKING ROBOTIC FRAME. PHOTO COURTESY HANSON ROBOTICS
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I’VE ALWAYS HAD TO DEAL WITH BEING BIRACIAL, EVEN IN MUSIC. WHEN I CAME ON THE SCENE, I’D GO TO THESE RECORD LABELS, AND THEY’D SAY THINGS LIKE, “LENNY KRAVITZ. THAT’S A WEIRD NAME.” I’M BROWN-SKINNED AND I’VE GOT THESE DREADLOCKS AND I’VE GOT THIS JEWISH LAST NAME. -LENNY KRAVITZ
[ILLUSTRATION BY NATALIA ZEPEDA]
Means Best of Both Worlds [BY KILMER SALINAS] It was five minutes until the end of recess so I started to push the tempo. I was a very competitive kid, especially in basketball. It was my sport, and everyone knew this. I was playing a great game. I was making my shots against the kid, playing defense and hustling. There was an unwritten rule: whoever made the last basketball shot won the game, no matter what the score. Then things got a little aggressive; I was being held by the kid who I was getting the best of, and that’s when I heard it. “Aye Chino!” The words came from behind me. I didn’t react because I’m not Chinese. I’m Latino. He kept yelling, “Aye Chino, where you going?”I assumed he was going to get tired of yelling, but he didn’t. I turned around, looked at him and said, “I’m not Chinese, I’m Salvadoran.”After I told him that he put his fingers to his eyes and stretched them so they would slant, then he imitated Chinese 16 Collegian Times
language sounds, which really bothered me. I kept telling myself, ‘I don’t know why he would make racist Chinese jokes toward me when I’m brown-skinned.’Returning to My Roots As a kid growing up in the Rampart District, I saw Latino culture and heritage everywhere. The hub of Los Angeles’ Salvadoran community lives here. Street vendors yell “elotes,” (corn with mayonnaise, cheese and chile powder) and “tamales.” There is always a lady selling pupusas at the corner, which makes everyone line up to get them. That’s how you know how good they are. Bright checkered blue and white drapes with images of pears, apples, and bananas decorate the vendor’s cart as customers approach. Tamales fill the huge pot and a metal propane container sits on the side. Mothers’ voices gain volume as they sing and accompany Latino music like ranchera and salsa. It plays throughout the
community in the mornings, which is akin to the Latino alarm clock that says “Get up. It’s time to clean up.” It starts as early as 8 a.m. on a Saturday. The community and environment allowed me to develop the singular identity of Latino, which I never even realized. Then, I started attending elementary school where my power struggle with my own identity began. My friends spoke Spanish with their parents. My mom even spoke Spanish with the neighbors and she is Filipino. Latino culture was everything I knew and thought about at an early age. I was born into a culture that is vibrant, beautiful, and exciting. But what I thought I was part of was almost stripped away during a basketball game. I envisioned myself as someone who spoke, acted, and appeared Latino. I never had anyone question my ethnicity. I thought my skin was brown, my eyes were wide, and my mannerisms were the same as my friends. I didn’t understand what “the kid” was doing. When he called me chino it bothered me a lot. It rattled me to the point where I was not comfortable with being Latino. I had always felt that I was part of the Latino community and was seen as a Latino person and not Asian. As time went on, the feeling lingered. It seemed like the Latino community did not accept me. So, I thought to myself ‘I can probably try to be Filipino.’ There was a barrier after the incident. Was I Asian or Latino? Breaking Away I started hanging out more with a Filipino friend. I thought if I could not be accepted by my Latino people, then I would become part of the Filipino community. My mother never spoke to me in Tagalog, only in English. When my Filipino friend’s parents first met me, they spoke in Tagalog. I had to tell them I did not speak the language, and I experienced a feeling of disconnection between us. I did not know how to explain to them that I was biracial. I didn’t think anybody needed to know. During car rides back home, I would be speaking with my friend. His father would look back during the ride and speak to him in Tagalog. This made me feel isolated. 2018 Spring
AYE CHINO!” THE WORDS CAME FROM BEHIND ME. I DIDN’T REACT BECAUSE I’M NOT CHINESE. I’M LATINO My mother’s side of the family all spoke Tagalog, but I didn’t understand them when we would hang out. Being secluded because of language was difficult. I was paranoid that they may be speaking about me. I wanted to relate to my cousins and friends. I wanted to crack jokes. I saw them having so much fun when I was with them, but I felt like I was not there. Change and Acceptance Middle school is where egos, cliques and personalities become a huge part of one’s life. It was important for me to show my Latino side to as many people as possible. The school was predominantly Latino and Latino is how I acted. I used Spanish slang with my friends and random people. In fact, I was overcompensating. It helped me feel like I belonged. By the time I had met a Filipino person in middle school I was uncomfortable because I had friends teasing me. “Oh you found your people huh? Just kidding, bro,” they would say. A couple of my friends knew I was biracial and they would make jokes. They combined both of my parents’ countries. The more they said it, the more I smiled and accepted it. I am Salvadorian. I am Filipino. I was fighting a fight within myself to gain the acceptance of other people. Eventually I learned how to embrace my two cultures. “Are you Filipino? Where did you learn Spanish?”“If you’re Asian, why are you speaking Spanish?”These questions and comments haunted me as a child. I hated those statements and questions at the time, but those questions made me begin to love my two cultures. My friends gave me the nickname Salvi-Pino in middle school. Eventually, I embraced the term. Being Salvi-Pino is the best of both worlds.
FACTOIDS: THE NUMBER OF MIXED-RACE AMERICANS IS INCREASING THREE TIMES FASTER THAN THE POPULATION OF THE UNITED STATES AS A WHOLE. MULTIRACIAL ADULTS MADE UP 6.9% OF THE ADULT AMERICAN POPULATION IN 2015. - PEW RESEARCH CENTER IN WASHINGTON, DC
Multiracial Babies on the Rise % of children younger than 1 year old who are multiracial, among those living with two parents
12% 10 10
2 1 0 1970
Note: In this analysis, “multiracial” is based on the race of the child’s parents. If a child has two parents who are of different races, or if at least one of the child’s parent is multiracial, the child is also identified as multiracial. Analysis is limited to children living with two parents to maintain comparability across time. In 2000, the Census Bureau altered the race variable to allow for people to identify as multiracial. See Chapter 1 for more details. Source: Pew Research Center tabulations of 1970, 1980, 1990, and 2000 censuses and 2010 and 2013 American Community Surveys (IPUMS)
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REPORTER’S NOTEBOOK [By Svetlana Yurash]
Diverse weather and dramatic coastal landscapes are hallmarks of the West Coast. Famous deserts, forests, beaches, mountains, and volcanos are common in this part of America, but there’s also something extra special : a rainforest. WEST COAST RAINFOREST HIDES IN PLAIN SIGHT Moss-covered trees with needle-like leaves and cones greet the Pacific Ocean, and snow-capped mountains populate an actual rainforest, far from its Brazilian and South American cousins. The wildlife easily shares the space with humankind in Olympic National Park, one of more than 50 national parks in the United States. After viewing a beautiful documentary about U.S. parks, I decided I had to visit all of them. I like traveling a lot, so there was nothing to fear. Olympic National Park was at the top of my list. Since my visit, I can definitely say it has become one of my favorites. The forest stretches over more than 900,000 acres or 1,400 square miles. There are numerous places to visit inside the park, which as you travel through appears to have three main parts: the coastal zone, a temperate rainforest rising up on the mountains, and the glaciers which cover the top of the mountains. The coastal zone is absolutely beautiful. Inside the park there are Quileute Indian Reservation trails that lead to very popular beaches such as La Push, First Beach, Second Beach and Third Beach. Our first destination was the Second Beach. We hiked more than half a mile along the trail from the parking lot to the beach, which was dotted with beautiful yellow flowers with funny names like “American Skunk Cabbage,” or “Swamp Lantern” blooming next to the trail among the big ferns. The sound of the waves and the birds singing relaxed our mood. It felt like we were in an uninhabited jungle. Once at the beach, stunning stone-colored sea stacks captured our imagination as they stretched right into the ocean with trees on the top. Both fallen and white trees scattered on the beach formed natural sitting spots for us. The desire to stay there, close our eyes, and simply listen to the ocean sounds for the remainder of the trip was overwhelming. Huge waves crushed through the “Hole in the Wall,” a naturally formed opening by the ocean arch leading right into one of the stacks. Water filled my supposedly 18 Collegian Times
water-proof boots as I contemplated taking a picture. I didn’t get the shot, but I didn’t let that spoil my mood. There are many more beautiful beaches in the Olympic National Park such as Rialto, which has a lot of driftwood, and Ruby, which has reddish sand and rock islands. We left those for the next trip. A temperate rainforest is not like a tropical rainforest, which is warm and moist. It’s colder. Lots of rain and Pacific Ocean storms bring considerable moisture to the forest. The range of precipitation is from 140 to 167 inches every year, according to the National Park Service. There are so many varieties of trees that grow in this forest: a lot of old Sitka spruce, western hemlock and other conifers, and spike mosses and lichens grow right on the trees. A lot of ferns on the ground are what gives the jungle look to the forest. “This wonderful and mysterious rainforest took my imagination to the fairytales,” said Olga Kolosova, a camper. “There you are waiting to find unexpected adventure after the next turn. We saw a lot of mossy trees, different flowers, elks and variety of birds. Isn’t it an adventure after life in the big city?!” The forest trees, many of which are hundreds of years old, can grow to be 250 feet in height and 30 to 60 feet in circumference. When they die and fall, new trees grow right on top of them. Some of them form a row of trees with stilt-like roots. The rainforest section of the park grows in the areas called West Quinault, Queets, Hoh and Bogachiel. Sitka spruce, Douglas fir, Western hemlocks and red cedars, bigleaf maple, vine maple, red alder and black cottonwood are some of the many varieties of trees that live here. Also, common plants that grow on some of the tree trunks and branches are Licorice fern, Oregon selaginella, Cat-tail moss and lungwort. We stayed in the Hoh Rain Forest campsite, one of Olympic National Park’s 88 campsites. The Hoh Rain Forest visitor center provides travelers with interesting information on the park and what it offers.
Our second destination was Spruce Nature Trail Loop, which is 1.2 miles long, beautiful, and easy for hiking. When hiking this trail, we met a real, adorable elk. They call it Roosevelt Elk; named after President Theodore Roosevelt who protected them and created Mount Olympus National Monument in 1909. Franklin Roosevelt designated the monument Olympic National Park in 1938 to protect the forest from being cut down. Olympic has the largest population of elks in the U.S. Roosevelt (the elk, not the president) just stood in the river right next to the bridge and drank water. He wasn’t afraid of people; he was used to us. He looked like some fairytale animal from some fairytale forest. It was amazing. The next day we journeyed to the part of the forest that had a mild climate as well as ancient trees. The Sol Duc Campground and Hot Springs Resort with a mineral pool is located in the northwest part of the park. Among the many hiking trails, we took the mile route through the old-growth forest to the Sol Duc Falls. The trail was incredible. It was a little higher than the Hoh Rain forest, and there was snow-covered green grass and ferns right next to the trail. We heard the sound of falling water somewhere very close. Before long, we were on a bridge overlooking the 48-foot-high Sol Duc Falls. The cascade of water splits into tree or four parts and narrows into the rocky canyon. We enjoyed the view right from the bridge. Hurricane Ridge is another popular area with easy access to the mountain tops. The elevation of this place is 5,242 feet (1,598 m). I heard the view is fantastic; but I wouldn’t know since unfortunately we didn’t get there. There were so many other places to discover in the park, we had to leave it off the list. The visitor can discover numerous scenic vistas and wildflower meadows when they’re not covered with snow high up in the mountains. Mount Olympus rises up in the center of Olympic National Park. The sides and top of the mountains are covered with ancient glaciers. The peak of Mount Olympus is 7,980 feet (2,432m). Some people try to climb the peak. It’s very dangerous, because of the snow, falling rocks and strong winds so climbers should consult all safety tips before they go. 2018 Spring
[Photos By Svetlana Yurash] There are 15 campgrounds in Olympic National Park. Kalaloch and Sol Duc are the only ones that accept reservations. The others are open on a first-come, firstserved basis. Not all of them are open year round, so it’s advisable to call ahead to see which dates are available. We stayed in Hoh Campground for three days and it was not enough to see the entire park. However, we enjoyed a lot of beautiful views and hikes. The air is so fresh and the nature is so amazing. “I was charmed with this place. I saw a lot of beautiful places in America, but this one is definitely my favorite now!” said Ilie Dobrioglo, a camper. The wildlife is so rich. The list of wildlife is huge, but during our three days we only saw certain animals consistently: elk, birds, Douglas squirrels and chipmunks. The weather was cold at night as expected, so it’s always a good idea to bring a lot of warm clothing just in case. For people who don’t like camping in the outdoor environment, lodges like Kalaloch, Lake Crescent, Log Cabin Resort and Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort are available. Only Kalaloch Lodge is available year round. Olympic National Park was a definite must-see for me. If you want to feel like a hero in a jungle adventure, this is the place for you. It’s a great spot for a short vacation where you can enjoy wonderful and peaceful nature. The rainforest is a great place to be. Moss-covered trees, ferns and wildlife are waiting to please you with their beauty and surprise you in their diversity. Your camera or phone with a lot of memory would be a great idea, because the rainforest is the most photogenic place I’ve ever seen on earth. 2018 Spring
From (L) to (R) A sea stack topped with trees rises from the Pacific Ocean on Second Beach. The ocean slams the sea stack as fog rolls in to Olympic National Park and brings extra moisture to the rainforest. A Roosevelt Elk stands in the Hoh River next to a bridge and drinks cold spring water. The bulls can weigh up to 1,100 pounds, and the cows can weigh as much as 600 pounds. Small nurse trees dominate the view from one of the hiking trails on the Hoh River. The sound of rushing water and singing of the occasional bird breaks the silence. The remains of snow melts on the trail that leads to Sol Duc Falls. Visitors cross bridges and creeks during the one-mile walk from the Sol Duc Falls parking lot in Olympic National Park.
Collegian Times Multimedia: Experience the Rainforest Watch the sea stack and listen to the roar of the ocean and rushing water.
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Photos by Ande Richards
IT’S THE PRINCIPLE OF THE THING [By Ande Richards]
Traffic signals don’t exist in Port-au-Prince Haiti and cars seem to roll in fast-forward film action while the people on foot miraculously weave in and out of motor bikes and overcrowded “Tap tap” buses. The energy field of the city buzzes with constant kinetic energy. In Haiti, “Tap taps” are the main mode of local, public transportation. The buses can be anything from a former U.S. school bus to a pick-up truck with an open-air back. Vibrant shades of yellow, blue, green, orange and every other imaginable color covers the exteriors of the “Tap taps” which are decorated with religious or erotic scenes. People sandwich themselves into the buses and often run and jump inside if the bus is already moving. The noise subsides and the frenzy calms as the city recedes from the back window of a bus. The main road ahead leads to the Southwest part of the island whose roadsides are peppered with small bars and cafés, service stations and banks. Small, tin roof shacks with the word bank painted on them are commonplace – this is where people go to play the lottery. Aquin Arrondissement stands in contrast to the country’s capital. It is a slower and more rustic seaside town. The mountains peak and fall creating a wave20 Collegian Times
like backdrop to the dense plant life at ground level. Coconut trees create drama in the scenery with their tall slender trunks that are capped by long fronds and bunch of the fruit it bears. The ocean is sparkling blue with pebbled-sand beaches. The image is postcard-perfect. Both environs have suffered damage from hurricanes and earthquakes, but the denuding of the mountains by man has made more of an impact. Now, when it rains, there is nothing to slow the water-shedding, so everything downhill is vulnerable to destruction. In Saint-Georges, a dirt road flanked on either side by lush foliage opens up to reveal the École Communitaire Organisation Paysans Progressistes de Saint-Georges. The one-story cinder block building stands in a U-shaped formation with a large dirt lot of land in front. The school has nine classrooms. They are open air and have cutout holes in the walls in place of glass windows. The school’s 13 teachers instruct children from preschool to the ninth grade. They divide each day into two sessions to accommodate the various age groups. Younger children wear blue skirts, or trousers with
red and white, or blue and white checked shirts. They attend school in the morning. Older students wear khaki-colored uniforms. Skirts for girls and trousers for boys, both paired with muted earth-tone thinly striped shirts and they attend school later in the day. École Communitaire Organisation Paysans Progressistes principal Osnel Pierre, is busy with the staff and today’s guests – a delegation from Los Angeles but takes time to talk about his beloved school. He says the community and the government have abandoned the public school. “There are a lot of educational needs in the area, he says. “The kids have to travel far to attend a good school.” Pierre says he doubles his duties by teaching French lessons and comes out-of-pocket to pay his teachers, but sometimes he falls as much as four months behind and that makes it hard to retain staff. The average salary for teachers at his school is 15,000 Haitian gourdes (HTG) per month, the equivalent of $110. Easy access to water and plumbing are not the only problems this school faces. “The government should pay [teachers’ salaries], but they don’t take responsibility,” he says. “[We] function without resources. We need to finish construction, pay the teachers, and get a water source. We need medicine and a school lunch program for the kids.” Principal Pierre stands on the dirt lot in the middle 2018 Spring
of the campus next to Dr. Jowel Laguerre a longtime supporter of the school. Laguerre is the Chancellor of the Peralta Community College School District, a fourcollege district in Northern California. He is also a native Haitian and is connected to the St. Georges area by family ties. The two men survey the campus, taking in the empty rooms and the place where a well was to be constructed. “I refer to the school as the poorest school (in resources) in the world, Laguerre said. “However, its students score high on national exams and they are great students when they move on. Keeping the school open has been my mission for the past few years. I hope others will join me. It is a worthy cause.” The majority of Haitians lack access to quality education, which is a direct link to the sustained social and economic development for the country. An undereducated generation of Haitian youth is at risk because 2018 Spring
they lack the knowledge and basic skills necessary to succeed in the labor force. U.S. AID supports the government of Haiti’s efforts to increase access to education and to improve the quality of education. They list the following issues as critical to the education crisis in Haiti. Low enrollment: Primary school enrollment is roughly 75 percent. On average, Haitians, 25 years or older have less than five years of schooling. Poor literacy rates: Almost 75 percent of children at the end of first grade and nearly half of students finishing second grade could not read a single word. Half of the adult population is illiterate. Lack of government oversight: Most schools in Haiti receive minimal government oversight and are expensive relative to average earnings. More than 85 percent of primary schools are privately managed by non-governmental organizations (NGOs),
churches, communities, and for‐profit operators. Shortage of qualified teachers: Half of public sector teachers in Haiti lack basic qualifications and almost 80 percent of teachers have not received any pre‐service training. The guests this day are from a U.S. mission that includes Dr. Thelma Day, the dean of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and curriculum at Los Angeles City College. She is interviewing 20-year-old Naomi Valentine, a young woman who teaches math at the school. The teacher appears almost emotionless as she listens to Day who speaks with passion and vitality. The dean is a former math teacher and says she feels a kinship to the young woman. The teacher responds with a slow nod and a slight smile. Just a year ago, another delegation had promised a water well to the school. It was intended to provide Collegian Times 21
potable drinking water and plumbing for the school and the outlying community. It never happened. There were also additional school rooms being built. Today, those rooms stand empty and overgrown with weeds. “During my third visit to the St. Georges Community School, I have a clearer understanding of need,” Day says. “I am committed to identify fiscal resources, to purchasing an enhanced math curriculum, a water well and construction for a bathroom and additional classrooms. I believe to whom much is given ... much is required.” Principal Pierre walks into a classroom with the visitors so they can meet some of the students. The younger children sit quietly in a row as their teacher talks with visitors. One child stands out from the rest. She is seven years old but looks more like a four-year-old except for her face, which looks old beyond her years. She makes eye contact with the visitors, but she appears sad and her body language is tense. As the visit continues and guests interact with the kids, the little girl breaks down and begins to cry. She is inconsolable. Ciléne Maçon teaches reading and writing to pre-school children at École Communitaire Organisation Paysans Progressistes, and she also has two children who attend the school. “I would like educational aids to help teach the kids,” she says as she watches over the rows of uniformed children who sit quietly in the room. Maçon has hope for the future of her children and the children she teaches. “God knows – they can be lawyers, doctors and engineers,” she says with a sigh. Before they leave the school, the visitors give out bright green cloth backpacks filled with pencils, rulers, erasers, lined notebooks and coloring books. One visitor picks up the little girl who was crying and hugs her and she rests her head on his chest.
22 Collegian Times
1. Mr. Widson Ferjuste teaches geography at École Communitaire Organisation Paysans Progressistes de Saint-Georges in Aquin, Haiti. Teachers need basics and better teachers’ tools like desks, real chalkboards, chalk and erasers. 2. Dr. Thelma Day, dean of science, technology, engineering, math (STEM) and curriculum at Los Angeles City College Dean talks to École Communitaire teacher Naomi Valentine about what the young math teacher needs to improve her teaching methods. 3. Students pay tuition, uniforms are required, and the cost is prohibitive for many families. Thirty percent of children who attend primary school will not make it to the third grade. 4. Commuters pile into a “tap-tap,” the main mode of local, public transportation on a crowded street in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Bold colors decorate tap-taps, which feature religious scenes and bible verse quotes, or erotic scenes with beautiful, scantily-clad women. 5. Little girls sit on wooden chairs in a cinderblock, dirt-floor classroom while they wait for their teacher to give instructions. Students lack basic school supplies like pencils, notebooks and schoolbags. 6. A damaged “plywood blackboard” shows fraction problems, a love note, and daylight streaming through a hole in the cinderblock wall. 7. Coconut trees dominate the landscape as boys stand near the beach in St. Georges in Aquin, Haiti. After they climb the trees and pick the fruit, they use a machete to cut the tops off of the coconuts and drink the water inside. 8. A “bank” sits on the roadside in St. Georges Aquin, in Haiti. Typically, coated with bright blue, yellow and white paint, the small tin shacks with the word “bank” written on them are locally known as “borlettes.” They are not banks at all, but a place where Haitians go to play the lottery.
Collegian Times 23
ALL ACCESS Transfer City!
Visual and Media Arts: VAMA
Jacob Hancock L.A. City College to Brigham Young University, B.A. degree 2010
Ayano Swisher L.A. City College, 2015 to University of Washington B.A. degree, 2017
Theresa Adams L.A. City College to U.C. Berkeley, B.A., M.A., 2014
Melissa Breccia Temple University, L.A. City College, Cal State Northridge B.A. degree, 2018
Tyler Lowell Brown University to L.A. City College, to Syracuse University Newhouse School of Journalism
Tomas Rodriguez L.A. City College, to Cal State Northridge B.A. degree, 2018
Where are you going? VAMA is your passport to EVERyWHERE 1929-2019: 90 Years of Scholastic Journalism Excellence
ALL ACCESS GRANTED
YOUâ€™RE IN! Visual and Media Arts Fall 2018
JOURNALISM 101 Collecting and Writing News Mondays and Wednesdays 11:10 a.m. - 12:35 p.m.
JOURNALISM 217 Publication Laboratory Mondays and Wednesdays 1:15 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.
PHOTO 007 Exploring Digital Photography (See Schedule)
JOURNALISM 218 Practical Editing 12:45 p.m. - 1:15 p.m.
ART 201 Drawing I (See Class Schedule)
JOURNALISM 219 Techniques for Staff Editors (See Class Schedule)
ART 204 Life Drawing I (See Class Schedule)
JOURNALISM 105 Mass Communication Mondays 6:50 - 10 p.m.
ART 250 Intro to Digital Art (See Class Schedule)
PHOTO 10 Beginning Photography (See Schedule)
Collegian TIMES 2018 Spring
SUBCULTURE ISSUE PHOTOGRAPHERS TURN A LENS ON L.A. SUBCULTURES
Putting Health in Healthcare
WHO WE ARE AIDS Healthcare Foundation o ers a wide array of services all in support of your total health and well-being. From Free HIV/STD Testing and Treatment, Healthcare Centers and Community Activism, AHF is here when you need us. To nd out how you can get involved or locate sites in a city near you, visit AHF.org
2018 SPRING LO S A NG ELES S UB CULT UR ES
STAFF Executive Editor ANDE RICHARDS Art Director BEATRICE ALCALA Managing Editor THANDI CHIMURENGA Contributing Illustrators JUVENTINO VELASQUEZ ADELINE ZEE NATALIA ZEPEDA Photo Editor ANWAR TORRES
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR Did you know? Los Angeles City College has been around since 1929. When you get to be 90 years old, you can talk about anything. And that’s just what we have done in this issue. As a matter of fact, we had so much to say that our art director, Beatrice Alcala suggested we create a flip magazine with twice as much content. CT reporters take you on a journey of ideas and to people who dwell in subcultures just beneath the surface. There is something for everyone. Powerful portraits emerge as photographers turn a lens on Native Americans, the homeless who live on the banks of the L.A. River, and focus on the many ways women adorn themselves with scarves. The pages vibrate with the energy of cosplay characters and fashion forward models that twist our idea of feminine and masculine. At times, we get serious with commentaries and articles that reflect the significant concerns of today. Our writers dig deep to produce edgy feature stories. They even explore a #MeToo moment that hit close to home. Late-night comics serve up politically incorrect humor from Hollywood every night on TV. We take a page from them and offer a unique take on politics at the expense of POTUS. CT stands by and cheers as a condor takes flight. Peek behind the mask of the Los Angeles Clippers mascot. Then, discover the lengths people will go to show affection for their pet. It’s a $20 billion industry that proves: “It’s a Pets World After All.” There was music in the air at Coachella. That’s where culture reporter William B. Torres wandered the desert with a group of Brits to cover the beat. And tacos take a place at the head of the table for a taste of something special. Tacos with lobster and duck hash? CT brings it all. Ande Richards Executive Editor
Multimedia Editor DAVE MARTIN Reporters CLINTON CAMERON SARAH CARPENTER THOMAS CHAVIRA THANDI CHIMURENGA TESSA FLORES JASMINE JERNIGAN MATTHEW JONES BRI LIEN JIM PRIEST LOUIS PRIMAVERA WILLIAM TORRES DAISY VILLEGAS Photographers CURTIS SABIR FELICIA GADDIS Advertising Sales ANDE RICHARDS Faculty Adviser RHONDA GUESS
2018 SPRING LO S A N G E L ES S U B C U LTU RES
UNEXPECTED AND MARVELOUSLY MUNDANE
LET’S TALK ABOUT SEX 20 Sexual (r)Evolution: Dating in the Digital Age By Jasmine Jernigan and Thandi Chimurenga Sex Evolution explores a world where leather bars are playgrounds, and swingers and their unicorns are the players in orgies and games of domination and submission. This is not the free love of the ‘60s. Illustration by Natalia Zepeda. 22 #Me Too, No Really, Me Too By Tessa Flores Sexual harassment is pervasive, and it hits home in this story about former L.A. City College student, Ambar Quintanilla. She says a professor harassed her, but she did not know Title IX offered students in her situation some protections, and the Los Angeles Community College District did not tell her either. Photos by Anwar Torres
THE UNEXPECTED 10 Photographers Turn a Lens on Subcultures By Clinton Cameron Photography students dive deep into the world of Los Angeles subcultures. It has become a tradition at L.A. City College among photojournalists that began shortly after September 11. Photo Essays By Raul A. Canton, Robert Verez, Thomas Ueda, Victoria Perez, and Chad Salinas 4 Guy Helps Chuck the Condor Take Flight Through hell and high water, Guy Jackson breaks with the past and finds a place and a way to fly. Story and photos by Anwar Torres 25 Collage Culture POTUS Gets the Patchwork Treatment. Adeline Zee pushes the envelope, or rips it up in her collection of politically driven collage art.
THE OBSERVATORY 28 Natural Porn Citizen, An American Life By Thomas Chavira 30 Today’s Kids Write Tomorrow’s Textbooks By Bri Lien 34 Letters to My High School Self By Matthew Jones, Louis Primavera, Sarah Carpenter, Thandi Chimurenga, Jim Priest, Thomas Chavirra
WAIT, WHAT? 8 It’s A Pet’s World By Daisy Villegas 32 Coachella Cranks up the Volume Story and Photos by William Torres
MARVELOUSLY MUNDANE 7 More Tacos Please Story and photos by Ande Richards
Collegian TIMES 2018 Spring
Collegian Times Magazine The Student Magazine of L.A. City College 2018 Spring Cover by Thomas Ueda
PHOTOGRAPHERS TURN A LENS ON L.A. SUBCULTURES
CHUCK THE CONDOR
©2018 Collegian Times Magazine. No material may be reprinted without the express written permission of the Collegian Times Magazine. If you want more, you will find it at collegiantimes.tumblr.com.
2018 SPRING LO S A NG ELES S UB CULT UR ES
2018 SPRING LO S A N G E L ES S U B C U LTU RES
CHUCK THE CONDOR TAKES FLIGHT
PLAYTIME ON THE GROUNDS OF AN APARTMENT BUILDING HELPED A BOY FROM A SMALL LOUISIANA TOWN DEVELOP UNUSUAL SKILLS. HE EXPERIENCED UPS AND DOWNS, BUT PREPARATION AND OPPORTUNITY BROUGHT HIM A CHANCE TO FLY HIGHER THAN HE EVER DREAMED. By Anwar Torres It began with back flips, somersaults and other gymnastics moves next to a dumpster at the Villa D’ames Apartment complex for Guy Jackson as a child in Marrero, La., a town of about 34,000 people near Jefferson Parrish. Guy Jackson remembers how he and his childhood friend Steven raced up and down the “Villa” complex. While the other kids challenged each other to “slap-boxing” matches, (roughly the same as boxing, but with open hands), Jackson and his friend ran around the building pretending to be “Sonic the Hedgehog.” Guy wanted to be like Spiderman. “As a kid I had a huge imagination,” Guy says. “I believed I could be whoever I wanted, and I still do.”
Time passed and his tumbling skills improved. His athleticism and desire to entertain made him more popular with the kids around the complex. Throughout his childhood, he never once suspected those skills would allow him to one day ascend over Clipper Nation in Los Angeles with the NBA. Not G League, not Division 1, but working at the highest level in professional sports as Chuck the California condor – the mascot of the Los Angeles Clippers. Whether he is on the floor, center court at the Staples Center or at a Los Angeles area elementary school, Guy Jackson makes an impression on everyone he meets. He has found his own spotlight in Los Angeles and the game is on. The arena sells out with 17,000 fans and the lights go dim. A spotlight moves around the arena. The cheerleaders, Clippers Spirit, strike a pose in formation. Steve Ballmer, the owner of the team, introduces Chuck on the microphone. Suspension wires quickly lower Los Angeles’ newest mascot to the floor and a cheering Clipper Nation. Without hesitation, Chuck attacks the floor and heads for the basket. He delivers the first of many dunks, as he flies and delivers the ball to the hoop with authority. “The entire experience felt like a rebirth,” Guy says. “I knew I had to be on point, but it was no longer about me, it was about the essence of Chuck.” Fans feed off Guy’s energy. His passion to perform and entertain that began when he was a child has only intensified with time. But Guy did not make it to the Los Angeles Clippers by himself; He credits a great support system from his family.
2018 SPRING LO S A NG ELES S UB CULT UR ES
Photos by Anwar Torres
MOTHER AND SON LEARN TO FLY
Guy’s story growing up was not so different from other kids who lived in the “Villa.” His grandmother raised his mother who was only 16 years old when he was born. He watched the trials and tribulations that a young, single parent endures raising a family. His father’s family tried to make up for the fact that Guy’s own father did not participate much in his son’s life. He says they were “great” to him. “I watched my mom grow up, and she watched me grow up,” Guy says. “My mom finished nursing school when I was a freshman in high school.” Her accomplishments improved the family’s situation, and Guy is convinced it helped him build the confidence to succeed and live out his dreams.
MURKY FLOOD WATERS TEST FAMILY TIES Hurricane Katrina changed everything. When it hit, Guy and his sister were at Charity Hospital, in New Orleans where his mother worked. The rain and the wind ravaged the city and everyone in the hospital remained there for three days because of the intensity of the storm. When help did arrive, Guy and his family learned that only admitted patients would be rescued or transported. Everyone else would have to fend for themselves. “Creeping out into a flooded and abandoned city with my family has to be one of the most courageous things I’ve ever done,” Guy says. “Conquering a fear like that takes grit.” His mother, Gentriece had an idea. With trash bags and a plan, Guy and his family prepared for the worst. They ventured out into the devastated city to seek refuge. Before heading out, the three wrapped each leg with a plastic trash bag.
P. 1 L.A. Clippers cheerleaders sport red Converse “Chucks” as they perform on the court with their brand new mascot. P. 2 A crowd watches as Guy Jackson takes flight while he performs an aerial dunk on a basketball court in Venice Beach, CA. P. 3 Chuck the Condor sits on the sidelines and engages with fans while the opposing team takes free throws. P. 4 Chuck the Condor gives Clippers owner Steve Balmer a “Big Bird” hug on his first day as mascot in front of the “Clipper Nation.” P. 5 Guy Jackson sits on a terrace with the L.A. skyline for a backdrop.
2018 SPRING LO S A N G E L ES S U B C U LTU RES It worked in the beginning, but after wandering the streets, they realized the water was rising. The trash bags were a short-lived solution, and soon they were completely exposed to water. Eventually, a small skiff came by. “Whatever happens, you protect your sister,” his mother said as she turned to him. This moment made the teenager realize he was taking on the role of family protector. “That was the moment of maturity, having to step up,” Guy says. “That hit. It flashed in my head.” Guy prepared. He had two scalpels from the hospital where his mom worked in his hand for protection. He was not certain he could trust the three strangers in the boat. The family decided to take a chance and respond to the people on the small skiff who were looking for survivors. Fortunately, the “rescuers” in the skiff who paddled around using a two by four, and a railroad sign had genuine intentions and pulled them out of the water. “Well at the time, Marshall Law was in full effect, and no one could be trusted,” Guy says. “Hearing strangers yelling in a distance startled us at first. When the boat approached, we had mixed feelings. However, after spending a few minutes in there, we were relieved that they arrived and that there was an opportunity to evacuate.” Katrina devastated Guy’s community. It prompted the family to move to Houston where things were different. In this new environment, he was able to expand his dancing skills – something that he says was frowned upon back in Louisiana. “Moving to Houston played a big role, a real big role, when it came to dancing and performing,” Guy says. Dance took on new importance. He formed friendships that revolved around dance and he consistently attended competitions with a crew that battled other dance groups. “We’d go to teen clubs and there are groups that are matching and doing choreography,” Guy says, “and I’m like this is the kind of thing you see in movies!” In high school, Guy put together a step crew called G.O.D. “Gentlemen of Distinction,” a well-dressed crew that carried themselves, as the name suggests, like gentlemen. Every Friday, G.O.D. members would come to school, perform “good deeds,” and surprise their schoolmates with spontaneous performances during lunch breaks. Members of the group often opened doors for people, addressed their schoolmates and teachers politely, and even dressed in suits. They made an impression on all of their peers. Prior to Katrina, Guy ran into an old childhood friend that steered him to his first NBA team, the New Orleans Hornets. After two years participating with the team’s “Buzz Patrol,” he came back the third year and became part of the “Dunk Team,” a group of guys that performed acrobatic jumps off a springboard and dunks. As the end of the third season approached, he found himself wondering what he would do next. Then, he received a call to join a dunk team that would be touring Europe for nine months. Ecstatic, Guy agreed, and the travel to different locations helped him hone his craft. That experience and the skills he acquired would serve him well when he became Chuck the Condor.
The tour ended nine months later. Guy was right back where he started: looking for a new challenge equal to what he had just experienced. He wanted a new opportunity and it materialized. The New Orleans Hornets changed their names to the Pelicans and Guy became the manager of the organization’s “Dunk Team.” And then something amazing happened. Toward the end of the season, he received an email. This time it was an opportunity to audition for the Los Angeles Clippers. Before he knew it, he found himself at the Staples Center in Los Angeles in front of Gillian Zucker, president of operations, auditioning for the job of his dreams. Initially, he struggled. Guy failed all five attempts at
making a behind-the-back, half-court shot. The job he came out to Los Angeles for was hanging in the balance. He was nervous, but he decided to ask for one more shot. He nailed it. Several weeks went by, and Guy felt confident that his performance was great and he would get a call soon. The call came, and soon he found himself living in Los Angeles tumbling, dunking, and entertaining thousands of basketball fans. He is living out his childhood dreams where imagination and the roots of his childhood play bring him personal joy and smiles to his audience. “If you love it, go after it, with everything in you,” Guy says. “And don’t take ‘NO’ for an answer because there is power in passion.”
2018 SPRING LO S A NG ELES S UB CULT UR ES A non-traditional kimchee is available as a topping, but these tacos are so flavorful they can be eaten à la carte. Side orders are equally unique and feature smashed fries made of butter, creole seasoning and feta and fried cauliflower. Homemade drinks of lemonade ginger and hibiscus are a delicious companion to the cuisine along with distinctive deserts made with dates and nuts. Locals and students from USC frequent the restaurant because of its good food and reasonable prices. Tacos start at $2.36 and a bowl or burrito starts at $6.56. Revolutionario is located on 1436 West Jefferson Blvd. and is open Wednesday through Sunday from 11 to 9 p.m.
Photos by Ande Richards
MORE TACOS PLEASE
IN LOS ANGELES, IT IS SAFE TO SAY THAT THE TACO IS AS POPULAR AS THE WELL-TRAVELED FREEWAYS THAT TAKE RESIDENTS FROM ONE CORNER OF THE CITY TO THE NEXT. NO MATTER THEIR COUNTRY OF ORIGIN, HERE IN L.A. PEOPLE MAKE AND EAT TACOS – A LOT. By Ande Richards There are certain foods that transcend place and time. They are equal parts simple meal and culinary delight. One such meal is the taco. The anatomy of a taco is simple. A tortilla, a meat, seafood or vegetable filling, toppings and salsa, green or red, accented with a sprig of cilantro and a splash of lemon or lime. Delicious. Of late, the humble taco has been adapted to suit the taste buds of an increasingly adventurous and elevated palate. There are restaurants, food trucks, food carts, and family-run, pop-up sidewalk stands devoted to the taco. Indeed, this is “taco city.” A tale of two taquerias The best fish tacos in town can be found under a freeway overpass in Los Feliz, not far from Griffith Park. It is an odd place to find food, but nonetheless Ricky Piña’s food truck, known as Ricky’s Fish Tacos is a popular spot. Patrons line up to get the day’s fresh offering of fish, crab, shrimp and lobster. Piña hails from Mexicali. He combined recipes from his sister and grandmother to create his own version of the fish taco. He started with a cart on Virgil near Blockbuster just up the street from LACC, and his venture was so popular that he suffered complaints from the store because his customers would fill their parking lot during lunchtime. Eventually he bought a truck and relocated to his current spot in Los Feliz. Piña’s tacos are infused with his generous and jovial character. They are special because of the textures and combinations of flavors. The tacos fit nicely inside a tortilla and do not soak
through. One bite reveals a moist seafood enveloped in a light crisp coating. That, mixed with the crunch of the cabbage mélange, the various intensities of heat found in the four sauces available, and the tang of lime is pure satisfaction – not too heavy, but filling all the same. Fish tacos are $3.00 and a half-fish, half-shrimp combo is just $3.25. The truck is open for business Wednesday through Sunday, from 12-4 p.m. during the week with extended hours on weekends. Hours of operation vary, so it’s best to check in online before heading over. On the South side of town, on Jefferson just east of Normandie Avenue, is a small, non-descript restaurant. The walls are covered with money from around the world along with notes to the chef and other visitors. It is quaint and welcoming. This is the home of Revolutionario. Here, diners are transported to North Africa with meats and vegetables prepared with Algerian spices. The food is genuine and derived from chef Farid Zadi’s Algerian roots and the techniques he acquired from his French culinary training. This is the only North African taco restaurant in the city, perhaps in the world. Chef Zadi is a self-proclaimed rebel and his menu reflects his unorthodox spirit with unique offerings that include duck and hash, oxtail, chicken tagine, beef brisket and smoked lamb tacos all served on a 4 ½ corn tortilla. He also has vegan and vegetarian options like chickpea tagine, black-eyed pea falafel and mushroom, kale and feta cheese and shakshouka tacos, which are made with sweet peppers, tomatoes, onions and egg.
1. Beef brisket barbacoa taco, flavored with Algerian spices requires no toppings to enhance its flavor. Chef Farid Zadi merges cultures with his French-Algerian take on the taco at his Revolutionario restaurant, 1436 W. Jefferson Blvd. in Los Angeles. 2. Ricky’s Fish Tacos has a loyal following. Taco master Ricky Piña is famous for his fish and seafood tacos. His truck is stationed under an overpass in Los Feliz at 3201Riverside Drive. 3. Duck and hash tacos are a favorite order of Revolutionario patrons. Other North African inspired tacos on the menu include butternut tagine, cilantro yogurt chicken and cauliflower tacos.
2018 SPRING LO S A N G E L ES S U B C U LTU RES
IT’S A PET’S WORLD AFTER ALL AMERICANS ARE OBSESSED WITH THEIR PETS. THEY SPEND BILLIONS ON THEIR FURRY, FOUR-LEGGED FRIENDS EVERY YEAR AT HIGH-END PET STORES, QUALITY TIME AT CAT CAFES, AND SESSIONS WITH ANIMAL PSYCHICS. By Daisy Villegas Chandeliers hang high and lowly lit. A painting with bold thick strokes of neon green and pink resembling Andy Warhol’s work rests on a top shelf near the front door. Intricately decorated soy, wheat birthday cakes with bright swirls of crisp icing and crumbs line a countertop display, but careful! They’re only for dogs. Tailwaggers overwhelms the newcomer with style and variety in its West Hollywood store. Shoppers will not find ordinary Purina or Iams dry food here. No, here dogs and cats have a wide array of healthy food options that range from salmon skin jerky, and raw, refrigerated meats to freeze dried chicken and turkey necks. Tailwaggers’ website makes it clear it sets out to sell only the safest and highest quality products for animals. At this high-end store for pets, much like many other pop-up animal service businesses, Americans can spend more on their pets than ever before. Pet owners in the U.S. spent nearly $70 billion in 2017, including health foods and luxury items, according to CNBC. Pet businesses especially profit in larger cities like New York and Los Angeles where pet owners have more disposable income. L.A. may not be ranked as one of the most pet-friendly cities in the U.S. because of strict landlords and sky-high rent, but it sports one of the most luxurious pet industries in the country. Prime dog treat stores and cat cafes run this city, according to a previous cat owner Valeria Martinez. “It’s incredible how much people care about their pets,” she says. “That they would dedicate a whole store to bougie doggy treats or the human need to cuddle with cats.”
Only in L.A. could one find the perfect place to grab a pomegranate Kombucha and a gluten-free, cornmeal pancake. Tailwaggers is one of these places.
HOLLYWOOD SPOT CATERS TO PETS AND THEIR HUMANS Todd Warner opened Tailwaggers for passionate pet owners in 2003, hoping to cater to animal lovers who care deeply about their pets and their health. According to store manager Blake Lewis, Warner envisioned a special place for community members to enjoy a shopping experience while looking for the most natural and trustworthy food options for their pets. They “do not offer products that contain substances that could be considered dangerous, carcinogenic, unhealthy, or harmful to the environment.” Pet owners with a taste for flair can enjoy a “personal touch” shopping experience with friendly employees who are trained for any dog’s needs and wants. For Lewis, the store is meant to be an experience. “It’s about that personal touch, the knowledge, the information. Animals here are like family. You can tell the difference between animals and pets,” Lewis says. He dislikes online competitors because they lack the personal touch, the Tailwaggers specialty: people who greet customers, complimentary goodie bags, free samples, and socials (meet and greets) for dogs. For Lewis, Tailwaggers employees must know about animals, and love them too. They make personal recommendations for clients. While employees may not
necessarily need to have a background in animal care, genuine concern and passion for animals is a must. “Tailwaggers stands out for truly caring about animals and wants the best for them,” says Lewis who based his business on the movement toward healthier pet diets. “At this Hollywood store, employees treat them like their own.” Attitudes about pet food have changed over the past 10 years. When Lewis was growing up in Texas, he used to feed his dog scraps and kibble. Today, owners seem to care more about their pets’ diets. He says they like to be personally involved in selecting the right foods for their family. According to the American Pet Products Association, revenue in the pet industry largely comes from food expenses, followed by veterinary care. L.A. City College student Isamar Castano treasures his pets, and holds the line on spending. “I have three cats and one dog,” Castano says. “When I go to PetSmart or Petco, I only buy the essentials like food or shampoo if they need to be washed. I spend the most when I take them to the vet. I spent a $1,000 when my dog got sick. Anything else is excessive.” Castano might not take the short trip from campus to Tailwaggers, but it seems that nothing is over the top for Lewis J. Kennedy’s dog. The Pierce college student loves him more than anyone else. “ He’s so bougie,” Kennedy says. “I buy him the best food and get him groomed so he looks good. He’s my son. I’d do anything for my love.” When it comes to pets in L.A., “healthier is always better” even if it comes at a cost. Lewis says Tailwaggers
makes anywhere between $20,000-$30,000 per day. Celebrities and wealthy clientele can easily spend a grand on their animals in one visit buying natural treats and high-end accessories. Between the grooming services available, and the tasty upscale treats for pets, Tailwaggers caters to pet owners who can afford to splurge for primal venison and raw blend, red meat for their dogs. L.A. City College student Kyle Blaylock is skeptical about splurging on pets. He says his cat Beatrix gets basic care, but nothing extravagant. “All Beatrix needs is a good hair brush because she’s super fluffy,” Blaylock says. “I would spend money on salmon jerky for me over jerky for my cat. If I had the money, I would upgrade the quality of her food. I don’t know if I would put her in a dress.” College students may not spend as much on their pets as Tailwaggers’ customers, but plenty of millennials are spending cash for unique experiences with animals.
CAT LOVERS FLOCK TO CRUMBS AND WHISKERS FOR A FURRY GOOD TIME Cookies, coffee, cat lovers, and rescue cats meet at Crumbs and Whiskers, a “cat experience” in L.A. The cafe describes itself as a “tribe of animal lovers, dreamers, believers, and idealists.” Plush pillows and soft rugs adorn the large sunlit café, and cats of all kinds lounge lazily or play together. High shelves and carpeted towers serve as play areas that cats can jump onto as amazed visitors watch. For cat lovers without cats, Crumbs and Whiskers is a dream come true. This retreat offers feline enthusiasts an incredible opportunity: the chance to visit and pet cats without the responsibilities of fully caring for them. “Crumbs and Whiskers is a wonderful operation, helping to save the lives of countless cats while providing the public with a truly memorable experience,” says Aaron from Oceanside. “The staff was all very kind and professional. And the upfront communication was very clear, allowing us to show up and enjoy our time with their fun fur-balls hassle-free.” Crumbs and Whiskers take the pet experience to another level, following the trend of “humanization.” It refers to the way in which some pet owners treat animals like people. They search for higher quality foods, luxury services, high-tech medical therapies, and more hospitable rescue centers. Niche pet centers like Crumbs and Whiskers stay afloat financially by filling the human need to bond with cute animals. According to the Human Animal Bond Research Initiative Foundation (HABRI), another force driving the pet industry is a greater appreciation for the therapeutic qualities of bonds between pets and humans. Here, visitors cannot pick up the cats at whim. It’s strongly suggested that they wait respectfully for the cats to approach them. It’s just rude and bothersome to the cats otherwise. Seventy-minute reservations are required for an admission fee of $25.
PET PSYCHIC: TALK TO THE ANIMALS Animal communicator Amanda Riester helps owners understand their pets. Immediately, one might think of a woman in a turban waving her hands around a crystal ball or over tarot cards. Think again! Riester is a professional animal communicator who serves as a mediator between unruly animals and concerned pet owners. While she charges a whopping $150 per hour-long session, Riester insists most of her clients are not in
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Total U.S. Expenditures on Pets
U.S. HOUSEHOLDS THAT OWN PETS BY TYPE IN MILLIONS Dog Cat Freshwater fish Bird Small animal Reptile Horse Saltwater fish
60.2 million 47.1 million 12.5 7.9 6.7 4.7 2.6 2.5
Pet Insurance Policies Sweden led the way with insurance for pets almost a century ago. Celebrity collie Lassie received the first policy from Nationwide Insurance in 1982. Pet insurance premiums reached $774 million in 2015.
68% of American Households own a Pet
Bite by Bite Breakdown: Food $29.07 billion Supplies/OTC Medicine $15.11 billion Vet Care $17.07 billion Pet Services: Grooming & Boarding $6.16 billion
82% agree that interacting with a pet can help them relax 85% of owners believe pets are a good source of affection 81% feel unconditional love for their pet Source: Pet Industry Magazine
higher income brackets. Upper class pet owners make up 60 percent of the pet industry’s revenue. Riester says most of her clients are “normal people, women in their 40s and 50s who are genuinely concerned about their animals.” While Riester’s services fall under the umbrella of the pet industry, she does not aim to exploit animals for profit, or scam pet owners into calling her for help. She specializes in a process where she intuitively feels a dog’s pain and communicates this to the dog’s owner, or figures out why an animal is misbehaving. It’s 90 percent medical intuition, and according to Riester, “everybody can do it.” It just takes one to know how to be receptive to an animal’s senses and needs. There are no private, face-to-face readings. Most of her work is virtual. She talks to her clients over the phone about an animal behavioral problem and tries to give suggestions about what to do. When she’s not consulting, she teaches classes on animal communication, which she considers to be a “most valuable gift,” like helping somebody see or hear for the first time. “I don’t have any special gift,” Riester says. “I can only tell the client something they may already have an intuitive hunch about ... and I don’t like to be looked at
like a sideshow act.” This is a serious job for Riester and her clients. Clients are often emotional about their animals, which they often consider to be their children. She tries to help give clients more time with their animals if it is a serious or lifethreatening situation. You won’t hear Riester answering what your dog’s favorite color might be, but you will find her charm and compassion for your animal’s needs comforting. After losing her own dog, she found solace volunteering at a dog center where she began her journey as an animal communicator. She loves animals deeply and considers them her “tribe.” “I was always the weird kid. I had such vivid memories from my past life,” she says. “I was very sensitive to animals. I intuitively began to feel where animals needed to go or if they felt pain in their knee, I would feel it in my knee too.” Riester’s work shines light on one of the major driving forces of the thriving pet industry: animals’ needs and human compassion for animals. In major cities and elsewhere, animals’ needs are being met with a flourish. In a nation where people are splurging to spoil and care for their furry friends, it may just be a pet’s world after all.
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PHOTOGRAPHERS TURN A LENS ON L.A. SUBCULTURES
BIAS AND THE UNFAIR TREATMENT OF MUSLIMS IN THE MEDIA BECAME THE UNLIKELY INSPIRATION FOR A PHOTOGRAPHY ASSIGNMENT 17 YEARS AGO IN A LOS ANGELES CITY COLLEGE CLASSROOM. SINCE THEN, STUDENTS FROM THE PORTRAITURE CLASS, “PHOTO 15,” HAVE TURNED THEIR LENS ON SUBCULTURES OF L.A. TO HUMANIZE AND CELEBRATE THEM. By Clinton Cameron When photography professor Daniel Marlos assigned a photo essay on subcultures, Thomas Ueda knew right away what subjects to photograph and where to find them. He began at the annual Comic-Con International Convention in Anaheim. “It was a lot easier to find cosplay [in the United States] because the amount of events you guys have,” Ueda said. “[In Brazil] they have maybe two events in all the main cities.” He began shooting models in their costumes in various places around Los Angeles to produce eight images for his assignment. Characters included a white-masked Harley Quinn from “Batman,” Drogon and Daenerys Targaryen from “Game of Thrones” and Luka Megurine, an anime character developed to promote a voice synthesizer application. Ueda captures the doppelgänger of Japanese animé superstar Ruby Rose in his photographic journey into the culture of cosplay. Few details escape the cosplayer in her role-play adventure. Her matching hairstyle includes red streaks. Her thigh-high combat boots include red shoelaces. She wears a red cape and a corset as an outer garment. Ueda frames Rose’s double, front and center below a moon-filled, sky within a futuristic-city backdrop. He developed an interest in cosplay culture growing up in Brazil. He identified with the large population of Brazilian citizens of Japanese descent and gravitated toward the world of comic book conventions. “The L.A. Animé Expo 2017, it got popular from Japanese cartoons,” Ueda said. “You can be any character. It can be from movies too. It can be from Marvel [or] any pop- culture character. It really started from Japanese anime characters.” Cosplay captures the imagination of a subculture obsessed with comic book, movie and video game fantasy.
HOMELESS GRAVITATE TO L.A. RIVER
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Photos by Robert Verez
Robert Verez provides a hard look at the reality of encampments on the Los Angeles River. Numerous people consider the river their permanent residence. He pursues the story behind each individual face before he gets behind the camera. “They kept like you know telling me over and over again that they wanted to be seen as like people, not as homeless people, you know just people,” Verez said. Verez calls out a list of characters. He takes roll by memory. There’s the guy with the cat on his shoulder, Red who sometimes acts as Verez’s tour guide along the river, Wendy who left her home in Florida to be with Robin and Anne who struggles with mental health issues. “For every homeless person there’s a different story of the circumstance which got them there,” Verez said. Verez remains partial to the use of medium format film and black and white images. His inspiration comes from old photographs of the Dust Bowl photographed during the 1930s. He zooms in and focuses on the faces of his subjects. “I want to let the face tell the story you know instead of the people going ‘Oh yeah, that’s a homeless person,’ I want people to—I want to force the viewer to look at the face, at the expression.” Images taken by Verez attempt to bridge the homeless subculture and mainstream society’s view of them. It reflects the spirit of the original subculture assignment born out of discussion. The attack on the Twin Towers in New York on 9/11 in 2001 inspired professor Marlos to speak out against biased treatment of Muslims and open up a dialogue with his students about culture. “I had a student in class who I knew was Muslim and I felt that I needed to diffuse any bias or prejudice that might occur at the beginning of the semester,” Marlos said. “So, I had every student talk about how they identified themselves culturally and if culture is a product of religion or if it’s a product of country of origin or is it other factors that contribute to culture?” The discussion continues with Victoria Perez as she connects various cultures of women through their use of scarves as wardrobe. Perez considers her grandmother her muse because she wore scarves. She learned that each culture involved in the project has a different way of saying “scarf ” and a different way of wearing them as well. “Some of [the scarves] are just on the head,” Perez said. “Some are wrapped around the neck. Some are just on [the shoulders] and some are fully closed.” One shot tightens in on the face of a young woman who wears a modest amount of blush and red lipstick. Her gray scarf covers her entire head. She wears a nose ring with a loop large enough to fall between both lips.
FOR EVERY HOMELESS PERSON, THERE’S A DIFFERENT STORY OF THE CIRCUMSTANCE WHICH GOT THEM THERE. -Robert Verez, Photographer
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SOME OF [THE SCARVES] ARE JUST ON THE HEAD, SOME ARE WRAPPED AROUND THE NECK, SOME ARE JUST ON [THE SHOULDERS] AND SOME ARE FULLY CLOSED.”
-Victoria Perez, Photographer
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A small chain with hanging pearls disappears across her cheek behind her scarf. “Some are interesting because some of them wear their scarfs every single day and us, we just wear it when we’re cold,” Perez said. Two pieces of gold-colored jewelry with pearl shapes attached, decorate the woman’s forehead and drape across the left side of her scarf. A small medallion decorates her left shoulder below her chin where the scarf leaves the frame of the photo. “I have shot seven [cultures],” Perez said. “I’ve covered Bangladesh, I’ve covered Mexico, Korea and Africa.” Anthropology professor Brian Bartelt considers himself an Africanist. He has traveled with groups of LACC students to Cameroon for study abroad programs. He has a reputation for going straight to the source to study culture. Bartelt says a subculture would be a group that has its own beliefs perhaps, norms and values, but exist within mainstream culture. “That’s an important point because people sometimes conflate subculture with counterculture and they’re very different,” he said. Bartelt says subcultures tend to borrow from outside cultures and appropriate their fashion, music and lifestyle. He uses the punk scene of the ‘80s as an example. “I’m trying to define subculture and it was pointed out that punks, the punk movement: white working class youth in England borrowed heavily from the Rastas and the immigrants from the Caribbean,” Bartelt said.
BRAZIL HAS THE BIGGEST JAPANESE COMMUNITY OUTSIDE OF JAPAN AND COSPLAY IS REALLY RELATED TO JAPANESE CULTURE. -- Thomas Ueda, Photographer
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MY SUBCULTURE ASSIGNMENT FOR MARLOS WAS A COSPLAY [PHOTO ESSAY OF] PEOPLE WHO DRESS UP AS MANGA CHARACTERS FROM JAPANESE COMICS OR CARTOONS. -- Thomas Ueda, Photographer
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GENDER BENDER FASHION: PLAYING BY THEIR OWN RULES Marlos gives his students the leeway to choose subjects they relate to and produce five subculture photographs. Chad Salinas is at home in the world of gender-bender fashion. Salinas describes the rules of gender bender culture. “You will look and wear makeup like a woman but, you’re not wearing any padding on your body,” Salinas said.” You’re not shaving your chest. You’re not tucking, which is to hide your privates to give that illusion you know and you’re still looking like a boy and you’re not trying to change the fact that you are a boy or you’re not trying to change the fact that you are a girl. You’re saying ‘This is me and this is how I’m dressing and I want it to be in a sense fluid where I can wear both things and not be labeled as a drag queen or be labeled as a club kid.’” Salinas shares an example on his phone of someone in the scene. A streak of red blush runs down the subject’s cheek. He wears no eyeliner or lipstick. The short GQstyle haircut juxtaposes the white blouse he wears. “So, your body language and your clothes can still be bringing off something very feminine but you’re still— your looks can physically be still like a man,” Salinas said. “There’s no having to paint yourself to give the illusion of a woman. Or, there’s no like, you have to wear a dress. You have to be a designer to be considered fashion. It’s more, like your sense of feeling for it and you’re kind of breaking the rules of the norm of any culture.” He frequents the Los Angeles underground scene and knows the vocabulary and the people involved in gender bender fashion. His friends appear in most of the photographs he uses for his subculture assignment “I guess in a sense it would be a little bit of both [counter culture and subculture] because it’s a subculture in the sense of like it’s high fashion,” Salinas said. “It’s drag, but then at the same time it’s counterculture because it doesn’t fit your normal standards of drag and it doesn’t fit your normal standards of high fashion.” Salinas’ camera captures “boys being boys” and ”girls being girls” on their own terms.
Photos by Chad Salinas
THERE’S NO HAVING TO PAINT YOURSELF TO GIVE THE ILLUSION OF A WOMAN. -Chad Salinas, Photographer
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YOU’RE SAYING ‘THIS IS ME AND THIS IS HOW I’M DRESSING AND I WANT IT TO BE IN A SENSE, FLUID, WHERE I CAN WEAR BOTH THINGS AND NOT BE LABELED AS A DRAG QUEEN OR BE LABELED AS A CLUB KID. -Chad Salinas, Photographer
P. 10 Japanese animé superstar Ruby Rose has a doppelgänger that plays her to perfection, from thigh-high combat boots, to perfectly placed red streaks in her hair. P. 11 Intimate portraits hint at the humanity and dignity of residents of the L.A. River homeless community. P. 12 Women from different cultures are united by their use of scarves that conceal, cover or adorn. P. 13 Megurine Luka is a singing humanoid persona in the world of cosplay where she may also fight or team up with other characters to do battle. P. 14 “Game of Thrones” cosplay character, Daenerys Targaryen takes a break at the beach at sunset while her dragon, Drogon stands guard. P. 15 Manga characters from popular Japanese cartoons and comics are favorites among cosplay participants. P. 16 Models merge fashion and play with ideas about identity to create gender bending presentations of art. P. 18 Many members of the Zuni tribe live in the Pueblo of Zuni, on the Zuni River. It is a tributary of the Little Colorado River.
ZUNIS, EAGLES, FEATHERS FLY Raul Canton and his camera become insiders among the Zuni people of New Mexico. The Pueblo Indian group allows him and his camera access to areas off limits to the public. Zunis grant him permission to take photos with very few limitations. Canton has 286 photos to choose from for his final project in the class he has wanted to enroll in for three years. Canton’s interest includes all Native American cultures. His subculture project explores Native American tribes from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and Peru. Some of the pictures include artifacts like pottery and cave drawings. “I want people to see that they are here,” Canton said. “This land [belonged] to them before us and I know most of the people … see them as mostly Indians and that’s it. No. This is their land. This is their land. I mean they are people. They are a part of our society and because of them we have culture.” Powerful images of cultural artifacts take on new significance: Feathers are more valuable than money in Native American society. The thoughtful portrayal of homeless individuals helps them regain dignity when the mainstream acknowledges their existence in photographs. “There’s such a rich history of anthropology and photography being interrelated because photographic evidence is oftentimes used to document world culture,” Marlos said. The L.A. River, the outsider fashion scene, the reservations of New Mexico and scarves that adorn or cover women’s heads from around the world. They stand still in photos and offer their cultural significance. The subjects move forward from there. “Maybe all subcultures have an expiration date on them because eventually they do get consumed,” Bartelt said. “I can’t think of a single subculture that hasn’t gotten taken over by dominant society. I’m struggling to think about that right now.”
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THE FEATHERS ARE MORE VALUABLE THAN MONEY. -Raul Canton, Photographer
THIS LAND [BELONGED] TO THEM BEFORE US AND I KNOW MOST OF THE PEOPLE, THEY SEE THEM AS MOSTLY INDIANS AND THATâ€™S IT. NO, THIS IS THEIR LAND. THIS IS THEIR LAND. I MEAN, THEY ARE PEOPLE. THEY ARE A PART OF OUR SOCIETY AND BECAUSE OF THEM WE HAVE CULTURE. -Raul Canton, Photographer
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SEXUAL (R)EVOLUTION: DATING IN THE DIGITAL AGE
“HIPPIES” AND “FREE LOVE” EPITOMIZED THE SEXUAL AWAKENING AND REVOLUTION OF THE LATE 1960S. THE REVOLUTION HAS EVOLVED AND UNFOLDS TODAY AMONG BOTH MARRIED COUPLES AND SINGLES ON CELL PHONES WITH THE HELP OF DATING APPS AND SOCIAL MEDIA. By Jasmine Jernigan and Thandisizwe Chimurenga Dating rituals are a thing of the past. Remember the good ol’ days when a man wanted to show interest in a woman? Remember when he courted her, took her out on dates, opened doors and would cover the bill? In 2018, the dating horizon is different. With the advent of social media and dating apps, navigating the world of love and relationships has changed. Technology seems to be leading the way in the sexual evolution. Danielle, a 28-year old student who attends one of the campuses in the Los Angeles Community College District recalls her first encounter using a dating app. “Tonight is going to be one of those nights to remember,” she says as she describes her first “swingers” party where couples, singles, and married people join to have group sex. “I had never been to [one] before. I met this guy on a dating app for swingers, and he invited me to join him for a friend’s party.” The “friend’s party” was located in a private home in the ritzy area of Santa Monica. “When we finally made it down the street, which looked like a luxury car dealership, we approached the door and my date already knew the security guard,” Danielle says. “He introduced me as his ‘unicorn’ friend.” In the dating world of evolving sexuality, a “unicorn” refers to a young, single, female or male that couples seek to invite into their relationships. In addition to being young and single, there are other characteristics that couples look for which make the unicorn of the dating world almost as mythical as the unicorn of folklore. All of this was unknown to Danielle at the time. She expressed shock at seeing both half-dressed and fully naked people walking freely around the private home.
Illustration by Natalia Zepeda “My first thought was ‘what did I get myself into?’ I decided that I would just watch and enjoy the scene,” Danielle says. “I was just a young woman in her 20s, trying to explore her sexuality; being a unicorn was not what I had in mind.” A New Frontier Millennials and the use of technology are changing the way people date. Data from the Pew Research Center states that more than 90 percent of Millennials own smartphones, compared to those of Generation X or Baby Boomers; Millennial is defined as born between the years of 1981 and 1996. Millennials’ use of the internet and social media also continues to lead other generations. Waiting for marriage to have sex is almost a thing of the past. According to the most recent data from the Center for Sexual Health Promotion in a large scale National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior in 2010, over 50 percent of respondents between the ages of 18 and 24 said their most recent sexual partner was either a casual or dating partner. The Center is located at Indiana University, home to the famed Kinsey Institute, the oldest
research center on sexuality in the U.S. Millennials are arguably more sexually active than their Baby Boomer and Gen X predecessors. “They are also exposed to sex at a much earlier age than any other preceding generation that we know of,” said Douglas Evans, executive director at the Center for Healthy Sex, a West Los Angeles-based center that specializes in sex therapy, couples counseling, and sex addiction treatment. Dating Apps Today, you don’t have to leave your house to meet your future mate; all you have to do is swipe either left or right on a dating app. It’s that easy. Swipe left, and it means you’re not interested, swipe right, if you are. Sites like Tinder, Grindr, Plenty of Fish and Tagged bring people together who otherwise would never have met. The most obvious appeal of apps is they appear to make dating simpler. “I met one of my boyfriends on a dating app, we dated for about two years,” says Tenisha Young, a 33-year-old nursing major. “I’m always really busy and it’s hard to
COLLEGIAN TIMES meet people, plus I have my 6-year-old daughter. So the dating app thing works for me.” The practice of online dating is no longer a verboten subject. According to statista.com, an April 2017 survey found that 84 percent of dating app users seek a serious relationship. Most recently, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced on May 1, of this year that his company will delve into the dating scene. Users will be able to opt-in to have their dating profiles made public with the app available on Facebook. “This is going to be for building real, long-term relationships, not just hook-ups,” said Zuckerberg at the company’s annual developers conference in San Jose, Calif. Recently. Experts in marriage and counseling say online dating has changed the way people make decisions about romantic partners. And it raises another question: “Is online dating killing social skills?” “We think it diminishes the development of intimate attachment, but it’s a phenomena that we’re adapting to; it’s one version of the future, whether we like it or not,” Evans says. Alternative Lifestyles The words “alternative lifestyle” once referred to same sex attraction. Whether straight, gay, bisexual, transgender or still trying to figure it out, all human beings have a need for attention and intimacy. Another reason so many people turn to dating apps. “I met my ex-girlfriend using a dating app,” says Anne, a 21-year-old psychology major. “And because I’m transitioning from male to female, my dating pool is small, and dating apps help me meet those people who would be attracted to me.” With approximately 700,000 people who identify as transgender in the U.S., an app that caters to the needs of this community makes sense. Enter Transdr. Launched in March 2018, Transdr bills itself as the “Tinder for trans people,” on its website. Nowadays, when you hear the words “alternative lifestyle,” more than likely, what’s being referred to is “open marriage” and “swinging.” Some may consider them taboo or maybe even sinful, but open marriages are not as closeted as they once were. The idea of couples sharing in the hunt for potential sex partners, like a lioness hunting her prey, is bringing excitement back into the bedroom. Open Marriages “Open marriages,” in today’s parlance means a marriage where one or both spouses have a mutual agreement to see other people while remaining married to one another. The key concept is “mutual.” Many couples that engage in the concept see it as a benefit to their marriage. The Levys are one of those couples. “We’ve been together for eight years and married for four years,” says 40-year-old Ana Levy. “It has allowed me to fulfill my natural needs found in bisexual people and has helped create a very strong bond between the two of us.” Ana says that being in an open marriage satisfies needs that her husband cannot, but he is understanding and supportive nonetheless. “Being secure in not only our relationship, but being secure in himself allows me to explore this side of my sexuality,” Levy says. “It gives me great stories to tell him, which strengthens our bond even more.” Open marriage keeps the fire of romance burning for
the Levys. It is not a new trend, but it has taken a while to make its way into the mainstream-dating scene. “We support choices between consenting adults,” says Evans in regard to open marriages. “Consent and transparency are the deciding factors of healthy or not.” Swinging: A “threesome” with 3Sum 3Sum says it is “the first app for swingers, married couples and open-minded singles” who are looking for a “three some” type of relationship. That’s a clue that the underground practice where single men and women engage in group sex with married couples is making its way to the surface. Married couples and singles experiment with their sexuality and push the limits of trust and love. Evans says curiosity, novelty, anticipated fun, and a desire to express sexual needs outside of marriage, are a few of the reasons couples choose swinging. Swingers are not the stereotypical nymphomaniacs popular culture would lead an outsider to believe. “I was introduced to the [swinger] lifestyle when I was 18-years-old. It was actually one of my neighbors,” says Jay, a 27-year-old real estate agent. “She asked me if I wanted to go to her birthday party. When I arrived, she answered the door naked. Being 18-years-old, you would think that I would have been excited, but I was more scared than anything.” For many, what comes to mind when talk turns to swingers is sex, but there is more to the lifestyle. “Swinging couples are often deeply in love and emotionally connected, but they don’t value sex in the same way their monogamous peers do,” writes Seth Myers in “Psychology Today.” Myers, a clinical psychologist in private practice, is also on staff with the L.A. County Department of Mental Health. Jay agrees. For him, it’s more about meeting people and making connections that aren’t just relegated to sex. “It’s a good way to network; that’s how I ended up in Los Angeles,” he says. “I do personal training, and I met someone at a party who introduced me to clients. It’s my side job outside of real estate.” Jay is comfortable with the lifestyle and cites the benefits. But he learned there are also downsides. “I once went to meet with a group that I loved swinging with, but one day there were two new couples, where the husbands were a little pushy and wanted me to do things I was not comfortable with,” Jay said. Friends with Benefits Some people are too busy for commitment and just want companionship. “Friends With Benefits,” (FWB), or friends with sexual benefits types of relationships are making their way into the digital dating mainstream. Millennials are busy with work and college life, and some don’t have time for traditional matches. With an FWB relationship the man or woman doesn’t have to worry about commitment or getting too emotionally involved. “I think that for those that can handle the social stigma and the possibilities of jealousy, they might enjoy it,” says 38-year-old Christopher Williams. The major appeal for people who want to be in an FWB relationship is that there are no expectations for the relationship to go any further than sex. “Easy, transactional sex, less emotional work, and a sense of freedom,” Evans says. Williams says meeting new people that share the same or similar views and being able to have a good time without all the “unnecessary drama” motivates him to use FWB.
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I ONCE WENT TO MEET WITH A GROUP THAT I LOVED SWINGING WITH, BUT ONE DAY THERE WERE TWO NEW COUPLES, WHERE THE HUSBANDS WERE A LITTLE PUSHY AND WANTED ME TO DO THINGS I WAS NOT COMFORTABLE WITH. “Jay” Swinger There is at least one downside to all of the ways Millennials are exploring their sexuality in such a technologically advanced era – one that is uniquely tied to living in the digital age. People lie. Studies say men lie online about their height, age, and income. Women lie about their age and weight. Users lie about who they are on their profiles, and what they are searching for in a person. In 2013, Pew Research found that 54 percent - more than half - of online users “seriously misrepresented themselves” in their online profiles. This brings up the obvious question of safety. Users are advised to meet during the daytime in public places, and to let a friend know they are going on a date. Experts say dating apps are here to stay. As for their use and the rise in popularity of alternative lifestyles, the sexual revolution and the dating game will continue to evolve along with advances in technology.
OVER 50 PERCENT OF RESPONDENTS BETWEEN THE AGES OF 18 AND 24 SAID THAT THEIR MOST RECENT SEXUAL PARTNER WAS EITHER A CASUAL OR DATING PARTNER. 2010 NATIONAL SURVEY OF SEXUAL HEALTH AND BEHAVIOR CENTER FOR SEXUAL HEALTH PROMOTION
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#METOO NO REALLY,
Photos by Anwar Torres
“A LAY FOR AN A.” IT’S A LIGHT-HEARTED COLLOQUIALISM AND SOMETHING EXTINCT FROM MODERN EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS AND VOCABULARIES, BUT IT THREW A WRENCH IN THE ACADEMIC GOALS OF AN AMBITIOUS YOUNG WOMAN ATTENDING L.A. CITY COLLEGE IN 2013. By Tessa Flores “I’ll do you a favor, if you do me a favor,” is the proposition Ambar Quintanilla says she received from her Los Angeles City College (LACC) psychology professor—a proposition that implied an outside relationship in exchange for being allowed to send a final assignment by email. A harmful and antiquated barter system resurfaced in 2013 at LACC when Quintanilla enrolled. Returning to school meant a fresh start for her. It provided a clear pathway to earn a degree and realize her career goals of becoming an English professor and securing a certain quality of life for her son. “I came to LACC to kind of start over. I really wanted to get back into school mode so I signed up for whatever was available my first semester,” Quintanilla says. She enrolled in a psychology class during her second semester while juggling a job and raising a small child. A work commitment compelled her to take a night course that she would rush to right after work. In psychology class, her interactions with the professor became uncomfortable. She says he would ask her invasive and irrelevant personal questions. She says she felt as if the professor was psychoanalyzing her and
using his elevated position as a way to appear attractive and available. “After class he would go out of his way to try and talk to me and ask me questions like where I was from and what my parents did and what I was doing after class,” Quintanilla says. She says that many women understand the conflict of needing to seem polite, but not polite enough to seem interested; that women inherently grasp the social implications of being considered rude when they rebuff the flirtations of a man. It was a fine line Quintanilla was accustomed to straddling, but not in this type of environment. She also noticed the professor’s proclivity for bragging about the female conquests in his personal life during lectures. “There would always be comments in class that were very disturbing. He would always bring up dates with women and would always objectify women,” she says. “Keep in mind it was “Psychology 101,” so it involved a lot of Freudian material like “oral stage,” and “anal stage,” so he would find a way to tie in the women he was involved with. It was disgusting.”
TITLE IX PROTECTS STUDENTS’ CIVIL RIGHTS IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS Elizabeth Tang is an Equal Justice Works Fellow for the Los Angeles branch of The National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), which is based in Washington D.C. The group works to enforce policies and laws that protect women and girls in education. The NWLC has worked for more than 40 years to promote equality and justice. “In 1972, Title IX was enacted as a federal civil rights law to prohibit sex discrimination in any educational program that receives federal funding,” Tang says. “Sexual harassment, including sexual violence, is a type of sex discrimination covered by Title IX.” Quintanilla knew nothing about Title IX. Toward the end of the term, she had a family obligation in New York and arranged to take her final a week early. The professor also taught at another campus in the district and agreed she could take the inclass part of the test there. On the agreed upon day, she phoned the professor to let him know that she was on her way and also reminded him she would need to email the
essay portion of the test. “This essay didn’t have to be done in class and I wasn’t asking for an extension, I wasn’t asking for anything crazy, I just was asking to email it instead of handing in a hard copy,” Quintanilla says. This was the moment she says the professor made his proposition. “You do me a favor, and I will do you a favor,” the professor said according to Quintanilla. “Date me on the side and I’ll let you email your essay.” Exactly what “date on the side” meant, Quintanilla says she could not say for certain. She says it was a vague and preposterous question that stopped her dead in her tracks. He was a man in authority in his mid 40s, asking to date a girl in her early 20s. Her response was one of shock. “I think I asked ‘what?’ and he said something about me being a lesbian because I wouldn’t date him. He wanted to take me out to dinner and date me, even though he knew I had a boyfriend,” she says. “I just found a way to get off the phone as quick as possible.” She was demoralized. He diminished her character by assuming that she would rather engage in a romantic relationship than earn a class grade. For a female minority with a child, Quintanilla says she already faced the systemic hurdles associated with obtaining an education. She says she could not imagine using her body instead of her mind to do well in a class. “I think education is the root to someone’s success and when someone tries to tamper with that, it can be very detrimental for a person and make it even harder,” Quintanilla says. “As a minority, you’re used to these obstacles, so an education really is a foundation and an answer to your future.” Once Quintanilla got to class, she avoided the professor and did the best she could on the test under the circumstances. “You have to understand the mindset I was in when I was doing the test. He even asked me once I finished if I wanted a ride home and I said no,” she says. “At that point I was so messed up in the head over this that I didn’t even do the essay that I said I was going to email, because if I emailed it, I didn’t know what that would mean. Was I required to do something for him just because I emailed it?” Once grades were released, Quintanilla learned that she had received an “Incomplete.” She says that she was being punished for rejecting a man. The Collegian Times attempted to contact the professor, but he did not respond. The professor still teaches at LACC and even tried to add Quintanilla as a friend on Facebook shortly after the incident. Quintanilla says the narrative is familiar to many women who quickly learn that speaking up doesn’t always work out in their favor. However, she got to work cross-examining the syllabus and the grades she had received on all of her tests and papers from class. She found that even without the final essay that she did not email, she would still have an “A.” Quintanilla contacted the department chair. The chair sent her to the dean of students, which led to months of inquiries and unanswered calls and emails. She was finally as-signed to Sylvia Macias in the Compliance Office of the Los Angeles Community College District. “I see this woman and she seems very understanding and I think finally, I have someone who is going to support me and listen to me,” Quintanilla says. “I told
I THINK MEN IN POWER POSITIONS FEEL LIKE THEY CAN GET AWAY WITH THIS BECAUSE THEY HAVE POWER OVER THE OUTCOME YOU HAVE IN CLASS. IF YOU DON’T COMPLY, THERE’S CONSEQUENCES FOR YOU AND NOT FOR THEM. —AMBAR QUINTANILLA
Former LACC student
her from the very beginning that I didn’t want to have to go through all of this but, there’s no other option for me. I wanted my grade, this was going to affect me in the future.” Quintanilla had transfer plans and would not accept an “Incomplete.” Fresh from an already traumatic court battle with her son’s father, Quintanilla says that the idea of going back to court wracked her with anxiety. Macias told Quintanilla that she would meet the professor in person to try to resolve the situation. After the meeting, Quintanilla says she noticed a definite shift in Macias’s attitude. According to Macias, the professor flatly denied all allegations and said that Quintanilla hadn’t turned in several assignments and had earned a 76% on the final. “First off, I highly doubt I got that low of a score on the final, especially since I had gotten A’s on everything else prior to that. And even if I did get a 76%, you have to think about the mindset I was in when taking the test,” Quintanilla says. Quintanilla asked, but never received her final test. This could be a violation of Title IX. What ensued was a litany of emails between Macias and Quintanilla. Macias copied in the professor. She even requested the professor to respond directly to Quintanilla regarding the allegations. “He never responded to any of the emails, at least not the ones I was included in, but it was really unprofessional of her to just have him in the emails,” Quintanilla says. Tang says to suggest a student and faculty member talk things out, exacerbates the imbalance of power. Macias wrote Quintanilla with information on her ultimate grade in late 2013. The Collegian Times contacted the compliance officer recently. Macias explained that Quintanilla participated in an informal resolution process and agreed to a grade of “B” in the course. “Firstly, if she [Quintanilla] feels as if I handled the situation incorrectly or treated her unfairly, then that’s her perception,” Macias says. “This was also all a matter of four years ago, so I don’t remember all of the details.” Quintanilla says she was initially offered a “C” grade in the course, but knew she deserved better. Tang says Quintanilla’s story concerns her because
2018 SPRING LO S A NG ELES S UB CULT UR ES Title IX requires educational institutions to restore the academic standing of the student prior to the harassment and assault. “It’s important to make sure that no student is academically punished,” Tang says. Macias responded to Collegian Times inquiries, and explained the different levels of the resolution process informal resolutions versus formal findings. “Informal action is designed to find a resolution that both parties can be happy with. They are not designed to be full investigations that have the goal of finding factual evidence that something occurred,” Macias says. “If both parties cannot agree on an informal resolution, then the next step would be the formal avenue. Informal cases are also not kept on public record, they are only kept in my personal records.” However, Tang says that according to a 2001 revision of Title IX by the Department of Education, the case was potentially handled incorrectly even though Quintanilla made the decision to settle informally. “If any school official knows or should reasonably know of sexual harassment, they must notify the Title IX coordinator. The Title IX coordinator must get in contact with the student to explain what the student’s rights are, including the right to a school investigation,” Tang says. The Collegian Times contacted the L.A. City College Title IX Office and spoke with Brittany Grice, the Director of the Office for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
VICTIMS SHOULD NEVER FEEL COMPELLED TO GO INTO AN INFORMAL PROCESS BECAUSE THERE IS ALREADY A CLEAR POWER IMBALANCE IN PLACE. —ELIZABETH TANG Equal Justice Works Fellow National Women’s Law Center
Division of Human Resources. “When a report is made, students’ complaints of sexual harassment in their educational environment should be informed of their rights and options on how the complaint may be addressed, which includes the right to file a written complaint and request an investigation by the District into the matter,” Grice says. Quintanilla says she was faced with the bitter truth that in many instances, institutions choose to protect their own, rather than those they should serve.
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I’M USED TO BEING CAT CALLED IN THE STREETS OR HIT ON IN PUBLIC, BUT NEVER DID I THINK THAT I WOULD HAVE TO DEAL WITH THIS IN SCHOOL. —AMBAR QUINTANILLA
Former LACC student
“I think they just wanted to protect the district and it was too much work for them to actually do anything. Or maybe they just didn’t believe me,” Quintanilla says. “I felt completely inferior and unimportant. They were taking his side over mine.” Quintanilla says a Title IX coordinator never contacted her about her right to a formal investigation. Quintanilla’s experience is a familiar scenario among sexual harassment and assault cases in schools, according to Tang. “Schools are often disincentivised to appropriately report or address sexual harassment in order to protect their reputation,” Tang says. “Faculty members are also often sources of grant money for the school.” Title IX states that a college or university that receives federal funds may be held legally responsible when it knows about and ignores sexual harassment or assault in its programs or activities. “Faculty members have access to and power over potentially hundreds of students, which means the potential for abuse is so much greater than in studenton-student cases,” Tang says. Macias says that no one else had ever accused the professor of sexual harassment. “To that, I would say sexual harassment, including sexual violence in schools, is generally underreported. In fact, 88 percent of student survivors do not report their assault to the police or to school officials,” Tang says. “You don’t need serial reports to take action. Schools have a duty not only to eliminate a sexually hostile environment, but also to prevent its occurrence. They
can’t just wait for another student to report another incident.” Quintanilla expressed disappointment with the incident and the Los Angeles Community College District in an opinion piece in the school newspaper the following semester. In some way, it was her own #MeToo moment before #MeToo was even a moment to be had. The movement actually began about 11 years ago when a black woman named Tarana Burke crusaded to help women of color from underprivileged communities who were sexual assault survivors. Since then, the face of #MeToo changed a drastically lighter shade while giving no credit to the true founder. It all reminded Quintanilla that if you’re a certain color and fall into a certain income bracket, then you face a lack of representation. “There have been so many examples of academic and career trajectories being ruined because of sexual harassment. Her [Quintanilla’s] story is an exception and pretty incredible,” says Tang, adding that it is another example of how Quintanilla’s intellect and determination has discredited the professor who attempted to take all of that away. In March of 2018, Quintanilla graduated from UCLA with a bachelor’s degree in English. She plans to teach for the rest of this year and apply for graduate school in the fall. “I don’t want to deny the positive impact that it [#MeToo] has had,” Quintanilla says. “ I just don’t want people to forget that sexual harassment isn’t just happening in Hollywood.”
INFORMAL ACTION IS DESIGNED TO FIND A RESOLUTION THAT BOTH PARTIES CAN BE HAPPY WITH. THEY ARE NOT DESIGNED TO BE FULL INVESTIGATIONS THAT HAVE THE GOAL OF FINDING FACTUAL EVIDENCE THAT SOMETHING OCCURRED. IF BOTH PARTIES CANNOT AGREE ON AN INFORMAL RESOLUTION, THEN THE NEXT STEP WOULD BE THE FORMAL AVENUE. INFORMAL CASES ARE ALSO NOT KEPT ON PUBLIC RECORD, THEY ARE ONLY KEPT IN MY PERSONAL RECORDS —SYLVIA MACIAS
Compliance Office of the Los Angeles Community College District
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Illustration by Natalia Zepeda
WHAT HAPPENS TO A DREAM DEFERRED? DOES IT DRY UP LIKE A RAISIN IN THE SUN? OR FESTER LIKE A SORE-- AND THEN RUN? DOES IT STINK LIKE ROTTEN MEAT? OR CRUST AND SUGAR OVER-- LIKE A SYRUPY SWEET? MAYBE IT JUST SAGS LIKE A HEAVY LOAD. OR DOES IT EXPLODE? LANGSTON HUGHES
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COLLAGE CULTURE ARTISTâ€™S STATEMENT
Paper, photographs, paint, wood, magazine cuts, and other media combine to create a vision of the world. Humor and satire are used to frame controversial issues, cultural anxieties, and political ideas. The work is reflective and is not meant to be quiet. It is meant to express the profound influence of society on the individual. I believe individual problems are often connected with issues that come from the social structures of society.
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A BUREAU OF RECLAMATION EMPLOYEE WAS FOUND TO HAVE USED A GOVERNMENTISSUED COMPUTER TO ACCESS CHILD PORNOGRAPHY IMAGES AND VIDEO, ACCORDING TO SEMIANNUAL REPORT TO CONGRESS FROM THE OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL 2014
NATURAL PORN CITIZEN AN AMERICAN LIFE
Illustration by Natalia Zepeda
By Thomas Chavira
Early this year, Hawaiian residents received text messages that warned of an impending missile attack. The false alarm reflected an error made by a government employee. Pornhub.com, which is the largest pornography site on the Internet, released a graphic in the aftermath of the missile-flub that reveals a shocking reality regarding America’s consumption of pornographic content. The chart details Hawaiian traffic of Pornhub.com before, during and after the false alarm. Page views dropped by 77 percent once the public received the missile alert. The lack of an audience suggests people logged off in the face of a potential disaster. However, once the statewide emergency warning texts turned out to be false, online views recovered and climbed to 48 percent, a swing of 125 percent. This incident proves to be a microcosm of some staggering numbers that depict the porn-watching habits of an entire country. Pornography should not mean that much to us. Statistics reveal that porn is still booming in popularity despite plenty of evidence that viewing it is addictive, destroys relationships and encourages sex trafficking.
Pornhub.com, the world’s most popular porn site debuted in 2007, and has grown to monopolize free online porn. With an average of 81 million views per day, the website remains the destination of choice for porn consumers. As part of their annual “Year In Review,” Pornhub.com released detailed graphics that depict porn preferences from 2017 in relation to geography, ages and other factors. Using Google analytics, Pornhub.com is able to determine who searches for what, when, where, on which device and how often. What’s clear almost immediately is that the U.S. has the largest appetite for porn. According to Pornhub’s statistics, people in the United States watch three times the porn as people in the United Kingdom. While the average age of Pornhub viewers in the U.S. is 36 years old, college-age consumers (18-24 years old), comprise the largest demographic of porn-watchers at 30 percent. Remember, this only represents data on Pornhub.com with plenty of other popular sites in existence. Florida legislators declared pornography a public health crisis in February of this year. A Republican member of the Florida House of Representatives,
Ross Spano sponsored the resolution, and lawmakers approved it after research “found a correlation between pornography use and mental and physical illnesses.” Research also showed porn users had “difficulty forming and maintaining intimate relationships, unhealthy brain development and cognitive function, and deviant, problematic or dangerous sexual behavior.” A Cambridge University study into addiction found that watching pornography might trigger the same reward section in the brain that occurs in drug addicts, creating an appetite that can never be satisfied. Paula Hall is a specialist in sex addition. In her book, “Understanding and Treating Sex Addiction,” she writes that the availability of porn is the gateway. “Nowadays we have an endless supply of pornographic material to suit every single taste,” Hall states. And she says this causes men to wreck their sexual appetite with pornography. What once arouses no longer satisfies the appetite. The viewer hunts for more extreme sex often leading to violence and degradation. Extreme and violent tastes are fomented in pornography through the callousness of the viewer. That means the more porn someone watches the
Department of Justice
u of Justice Statistics
Revised /PWFNCFS, 2017. Updated “possession of child pornography” category in tables 1-8 and related text to “possession, receipt, or distribution of child pornography.”
its undeniable ties to sex trafficking, which is one of the most profitable trades in the world with over $30 billion produced annually. More than 25 percent of victims of the trade are children, according to Polaris, a nonprofit aimed at ending sex trafficking. How do we know that pornography and sex trafficking are connected? The sex slave trade thrives by consumers feeding their porn habits and allowing more fetishes to develop. Many of these involve violence, which blends in perfectly with the brutal reality of sex trafficking. Often, pornographic images are used as ads for the unwilling victim. Fight The New Drug (FTND), is another non-profit created to combat sex trafficking. Their reports on direct testimony from sex traffic survivors are telling. Almost half of the survivors report that their abuse was recorded on videotape. These videos often find their way
online where consent can hardly be distinguished. NCJ of 250746 Dr. Gail Dines, professor women’s studies at Wheelock College concludes “men are being socialized by the culture to lose all empathy for women. The biggest sex educator of young men today is pornography, which is increasingly violent and dehumanizing.” While sites like Pornhub insist they do not encourage sex trafficking or child pornography, there isn’t any discernable way to tell for sure who is legal and consenting. Porn has become a customary part of our culture and dialogue. What’s more, the cost of this habit is hardly counted despite its growing impact. What would serve as a wakeup call? Thanks to Hawaii, we know the answer is certain death, but only momentarily
ederal Prosecution of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children Cases, 2004-2013
am Adams and Abigail Flynn, Urban Institute
PORNOGRAPHY BY THE MINUTES AND SECONDS etween 2004 and 2013, the number of suspects ARE VIEWING in criminal 28,000 mattersUSERS referred to U.S. PORNOGRAattorneys for ONLINE EVERY SECOND commercialPHY sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) ses increased372 by INTERNET 54%, from 2,972 4,579ADULT suspects USERS AREtoTYPING re 1). The number of defendants prosecuted in cases SEARCH TERMS INTO SEARCH ENGINES in U.S. district court with a CSEC charge increased by A NEW PORNOGRAPHIC BEING In 2013, during this period, from 1,405 toVIDEO 2,776IS cases. CREATED EVERYof37allMINUTES IN THE UNITED in C offenses made up 3.3% suspects prosecuted district court,STATES up from 1.5% in 2004.
in this report come from three federalSource: justiceCNBC agencies: xecutive Office for U.S. Attorneys’ (EOUSA) National NS (Legal Information Office Network System) immune it they become andand the viewer seeks ase, whichmore details thetoinvestigation prosecution new thrills. Hello bondage and violent porn. spects in criminal matters received and concluded; the The representation of women in pornographic inistrative Office of the U.S.male-female Courts’ relationships (AOUSC) Criminal material also sets back considerably. The depiction of women porn isand often er File, which describes criminal casesinfiled the same: submissive, weak and insatiable. nated in U.S.Fordistrict court; the men to repeatedly ingestAdministrative this false exaggerated Office of U.S. Courts’ portrayal Probation andcreates Pretrial Services Automated of women a warped and unreasonable standard. Porn becomes impossible to top and Tracking System (PACTS) database, which women collects are the casualties. How can women compare to actors on defendants interviewed andtosupervised by pretrial who are professionally hired turn someone on? The ongoing intake of porn devises a relationship ces; and the U.S. Sentencing Commission’s Monitoring between the sexes that becomes sex-oriented. It subtracts ase, whichromance captures data on defendants sentenced from courtship and dating. The carefully staged r the federal sentencing including type of scenes in adult filmsguidelines, become the goal. It’s as if women are the least important part of the equation as porn gives nce imposed and length of prison term.
men a new filter to view women. In ansentencing interview for the documentarypertaining “After Porn,” to ral statutes and guidelines former adult film actor Shelley Lubben talked about her C offenses were used to define the universe of cases performances. “What you see onthe camera isn’t sex, ” she said.designated “It’s ined. For EOUSA data, federal statute gymnastics almost; you’re making angles for the camera.” I consider the most gruesome truth regarding porn is
FIGURE 1 Suspects in commercial sexual exploitation of children matters referred, and defendants in cases filed and convicted, 2004 and 2013 Number 5,000
3,000 2,000 1,000 0
Suspects in CSEC matters referred to U.S. attorneys
Defendants in CSEC cases Defendants convicted filed in federal court for CSEC offenses
Note: CSEC = commercial sexual exploitation of children. Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics, based on data from the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys, National Legal Information Office Network System database, fiscal years 2004 and 2013; Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, criminal master file, 2004 and 2013; and U.S. Sentencing Commission monitoring data files, 2004 and 2013.
Source: Department of Justice by U.S. Attorneys as the “lead charge” was used to define CSEC cases. For AOUSC criminal data, federal statutes for all five filing charges were examined. If any of the five charges was a CSEC statute, the case was defined as a CSEC case. (See Methodology for specific CSEC statutes and federal sentencing guidelines.)
rom 2004 to 2013, a total of 37,105 suspects were nvestigated and referred to U.S. attorneys for commercial exual exploitation of children (CSEC) offenses.
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Six in 10 suspects in CSEC matters investigated and referred to U.S. Attorneys from 2004 to 2013 were prosecuted in U.S. district court.
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TODAY’S KIDS, TOMORROW’S TEXTBOOKS
HOW STUDENT SURVIVORS OF THE PARKLAND SHOOTING ARE MAKING HISTORY [By Brianna Lien]
Early during the semester, I was making my way down the sidewalk toward the train stop after a long day of classes. I am familiar with the sounds of the bustling L.A. streets and the flashing lights occupying my commute home, but I heard something that raised a red flag. The haunting sound of shuffled footsteps directly behind me tingled the hairs on the back of my neck. Being well acquainted with encountering frightful men on the street, I felt especially paranoid. I had this unexplainable feeling that the person keeping pace with me was going to hurt me; as if they had a gun at the ready to end my life in the blink of an eye. The steps seemed to get closer and closer and suddenly I felt as though there was no escape, my fate was sealed. As I panicked, my “assailant,” an older woman, walked past my right shoulder and continued ahead of me. I felt a sigh of relief pass through my entire body. I’m 20 years old. I’ve grown up in the post-Columbine age where mass shootings at schools, churches and concerts, among other places, are no longer shocking. An age where I am constantly I.D.’ed, screened, and searched. Where, according to Axios, over 122 kids and teachers have said goodbye to their families before leaving for a regular school day and never came home. This figure only represents shooting deaths in schools after Columbine. Here we are, almost 250 years after we declared ourselves our own nation, and it no longer feels like the government rules with the consent of the governed, our
lives and our security no longer seem to be a priority of the government. In recent years, our country’s political agenda has been heavily influenced by lobbyists for the special interests of powerful corporations and organizations, the most infamous currently being the efforts of the National Rifle Association (NRA). The NRA has contributed more than $200 million to individual politicians, parties, campaigns, and leadership PACs (political action committees) in the last 20 years alone to influence our government and obtain political loyalty on election days. The NRA has even prevented the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) from funding research into gun violence or the plausible results of gun control. Despite the fact that the United States is ironically notorious for having high occurrences of mass shootings and despite our fear of terrorism, the NRA has managed to still have its way with our lawmakers. According to EuroNews, the United States has a running average of one “major” mass shooting every two months (defined by the Investigative Assistance of Violent Crimes Act of 2012 as a shooting in which at least three people are lethally injured or killed, excluding the perpetrator) and one school shooting per week, (according to gun safety advocacy group Every Town) the cycle of “thoughts and prayers” has been going in circles, over and over, with no foreseeable resolution. But this time, change seems to be on the horizon. On Feb. 14 of this year, Nikolas Cruz, a 19-year-old
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former student of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School entered the school with a legally-purchased semi-automatic assault rifle and opened fired in several classrooms. Fourteen students and three faculty members were left dead. The cycle started again: lawmakers tweeted their condolences, the president called injured students in the hospital, going through the motions. But this time, the affected student body is fighting back and they have a message they are shouting from the rooftops: “Not one more.” Many of the teenagers from Stoneman Douglas have grilled government and NRA officials to stop the political sugar-coating and make them admit they are not prioritizing the safety of their constituents, young or old. The students started their battle online and over the airwaves in the aftermath of the shooting. They began dialogues with their lawmakers and even debated the NRA’s official spokeswoman Dana Loesch on live television, all while maintaining the respectful demeanor they knew was necessary to make their voices heard. The message of these students has been met with the support of millions throughout the world with the spread of #NeverAgain. Donations immediately started pouring in from all over the globe, including a number of large celebrity donations; some were as much as half million dollars each. Three weeks after the Parkland shooting Florida
governor Rick Scott signed a bill that introduced a waiting period and higher age requirement to buy guns in the state of Florida. The public outcry has caused many companies such as United and Delta Air Lines, Enterprise and Hertz Rent-A-Cars, Best Western and MetLife among others to terminate their affiliations with the NRA. In response, the NRA has sued the state of Florida to block the new bill and has proclaimed that they “aren’t afraid of losing a few discounts.” Little do they know, it already goes so much deeper than that. The Stoneman Douglas students and organizers in over 800 cities quickly assembled demonstrations across the globe called March For Our Lives, held on March 24, 2018. The Los Angeles Police Department estimated that more than 40,000 people flooded the streets of downtown L.A. and marched from Pershing Square into Grand Park, right in front of City Hall. L.A.P.D. also reported that the demonstration was completely non-violent with no reported arrests. Colorful posters proclaim “I won’t be next,” and, “Protect kids, not guns,” throughout the crowd. Many speakers addressed the demonstrators including actress Amy Schumer, singer Willow Smith, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, and two students from Marjory Stoneman High School, Mia Freeman and Hayley Licata. An unprecedented sense of camaraderie echoed through their voices: one calling for common sense gun laws. As a young person and as a student tired who’s of being afraid, I can’t wait to see this revolution continue to
grow. It is often said that young people are the future, and these kids will not be silenced anytime soon. I am proud to be part of a generation making a change. As Mayor Eric Garcetti said to the nation’s commander in chief and to the Los Angeles marchers on March 24, 2018 “Get with the program, Mr. President, or get the hell out of the way.” From (L) to (R) Students, parents, teachers and other marchers flooded the streets of downtown L.A. on March 24, 2018 to protest gun violence. The March For Our Lives, #NeverAgain and #NotOneMore movements began in the aftermath of the Parkland, Fla. school shootings that left 17 students and faculty dead. Marchers assembled in Pershing Square and traveled through downtown L.A. to Grand Park, across from Los Angeles City Hall. A message to policy makers: “Books not bullets.” Marcher holds a portrait of 14-year-old Alaina Petty, a Parkland High School shooting victim.
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CRANKS UP THE VOLUME
NEW BRITISH INVADERS LAND AT INDIO TO TAKE THE COACHELLA VALLEY MUSIC AND ARTS FESTIVAL BY STORM.
Photos By William Benjamin Torres
[By William Benjamin Torres] Triple-Digit heat in the California desert could not stop over 119,000 ravers from going to the hottest festival in the U.S.: Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival 2018. People from all over the world travel to Indio, Calif. once a year for two weekends to celebrate with the hottest names in the music industry. This year’s lineup included headliners like Beyoncé, Eminem, The Weekend, Cardi B, and Arianna Grande. What was once a small indie festival in 1999, that only performed two days out of the year, has blossomed into one of the most popular festivals in the world. Coachella has become so trendy, that in 2012, the festival expanded to a two, three-day-weekend event. Over 180 singers and DJ’s perform during the festival. The day before Coachella opens its gates to the public, seven festival-goers from the United Kingdom spend their Thursday night at Target shopping for essential “stuff ” to take to Coachella. Some of the important products to drag to the desert for three days include a tent, a cooler, sunscreen, gallons and gallons of water and
lots of alcohol. You might think people from Essex, Berkshire, Kent, and London would come all the way to Los Angeles to visit Disneyland or the Hollywood Sign; Nope. They flew across the pond to spend a weekend at Coachella. “Me and my boyfriend [Jonathan Chandler] waited in their website for 45 minutes to get our tickets,” Chey Louise says. “For a second we thought the tickets were sold out.” Behind the steaming desert of Burning Man Festival, Coachella is considered the next best festival in the USA, according to “Time Out London Magazine.” Everyone from Europe wants to get their hands on Coachella tickets. Tickets for the festival sold out within 10 minutes after sales opened to the public on Jan. 5, 2018. “Coachella is such a big thing in England, the fact we are finally here seems like a dream you see on TV,” Jessica Andrada says. “I still can’t believe I’m here in Coachella ready to let loose.” Festivalgoers didn’t mind spending three days in the sweltering heat of Indio California, on the second
weekend of Coachella. The heat reached 101 degrees. The Brits were not used to such dry heat, since it rains in England all year long. “It is mental out here,” says Jonathan Chandler in a southeast London accent. “I don’t know how people can live in such intense weather.” Since they camped on the festival grounds, they spent most of their time during the day under a shade structure where they told stories, jokes, and drank lots of water and lots of alcohol. Just being around Brits who complained about the weather and crowds in a place like Los Angeles was fascinating. Still, even the weather didn’t stop the Brits or any festivalgoers from seeing the hottest names in music. ‘#beychella’ dominates Coachella Beyoncé was the one who stole the show. According to USA Today, “Beyoncé was largely responsible for raising Coachella’s social significance.” Yahoo.com named this year’s Coachella “#beychella” and everyone who attended her concert agreed with the hashtag. “The fact that Beyoncé is performing in Coachella
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makes this weekend trip much more worth it,” Andrada says. Beyoncé opened her show with a live band, and performed all of her greatest hits. Special guest singers included, her husband, Jay-Z, her little sister, Solange, J. Balvin, and her old girl group, Destiny’s Child. “Beyoncé was everything and more,” says Melanie Chandler after watching Beyoncé’s two-hour performance. “She gave me life, and I can easily die right now. Ironic, in it.” Chandler and her husband Mike Wheaton are both part of the seven-person English crew who agreed Beyoncé made Coachella. But Beyoncé was not the only one who stole the show. Eminem closed the festival on Sunday night by bringing 50 Cent and Dr. Dre to the stage. DJ Kygo also brought Miguel and Arianna Grande to the Coachella stage on Friday night. I can finally see why the Brits and everyone around the world comes to Indio for a three-day weekend event. A-list Singers, international DJ’s, huge arts installations and the crazy parties is what makes Coachella one of the premier festivals of America. “It was such a bloody good time that next year we’re bringing a larger [British] group,” Chandler says.
1) The first picture on the left: A group of British tourists complain about the desert heat, but still enjoy the first day of the 2018 Coachella Music Festival. 2) Beyoncé performed as the headliner during the second weekend at the music festival. She performed an hour with her previous girl-group, Destiny’s Child, and for two hours with her rapper husband, Jay-Z. 3) U-K festivalgoer Ione Butler soaks up the sun and festivities in Coachella on April 20. This was Butler’s second time attending the desert music festival. 4) Collegian Times Reporter William Benjamin Torres hangs out with five of the seven British attendees he shadowed during the second weekend at Coachella.
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LETTER TO MY HIGH SCHOOL SELF Anywhere USA By Thomas Chavirra Dear high school self: A very evil and troubled young man in Florida will take a rifle to his former high school and massacre 17 students and educators in February 2018. Law enforcement officials had flagged this sick individual who had a history of violence, and bragged about his murderous spree before it happened. As a result of this tragedy, several things happen: 1) Gun rights are attacked 2) Government failure will be overlooked 3) Everyone but the killer will be blamed Perhaps most egregious and abhorrent: High school students are used to politicize the event and push the agenda of an entire party and culture. A handful of survivors from this ordeal take it upon themselves to become the face of a recharged “gun-control” movement. But their inexperience in policy, immaturity, and story of survival is twisted into something not even they understand. You must not fall into their trap. It’s imperative to think for yourself and not become an instrument of propaganda. At first, we felt sorry for these kids, who had to confront great evil at such an early age in a place that should be kept safe. But once it became clear that the mainstream media could use their suffering to further their stance against guns, it grew pathetic. These kids began to stand on shallow activism. Democratic leaders, celebrities, and other leftleaning CEO’s and elitists organized marches, and TV appearances on their behalf. Teachers built this movement behind the scenes. I know that you don’t know this term, but it’s called astroturfing, when others are pulling the strings under the facade of “grass-roots.” Please, younger self, don’t let this cloud your impressionable mind. Think for yourself. Be your own advocate. Fight for equality. Please educate yourself and consider both sides. Remember that victimhood doesn’t confer expertise. If you dismiss everyone who disagrees with you, how does that create a solution or dialogue? Remember that facts trump feelings. Remember that our constitution is what has allowed our society to become the greatest in the history of the world. Remember that personal attacks hurt your character more than it hurts theirs. The best way to defeat someone’s argument is to fight his or her argument, not the person.
By Matthew Jones
By Louis Primavera
You watched your fellow students die a senseless death that could have been stopped. Instead of sitting around and wasting time, you should have been paying attention to the issues that occur every day that led up to this tragedy. The University of Iowa 1991, Lindhurst High School 1992, East Carter High 1993, and Finney High School in 1992. And it happened at your school, Hollywood High in 1994. These shootings didn’t seem to matter to you much. It just became the way of life. Was it because of the circumstances and neighborhood you grew up in or is it because it felt like it was too big of a job to handle? People all around you are speaking up all the time and you need to join in and help them spread the word. Instead of being inside and playing a “shoot’em up” video game, you should be outside letting everyone know that something needs to be done. But now, after 17 of your classmates have died, you are still on the fence about lending your voice to this cause. You don’t have the time. You don’t have the knowledge. You don’t think it will help. Yes it will. Edmund Burke once said “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Aren’t you a good person? Yes, you are. Your voice matters. Your actions matter. Your persistence will be what makes the difference, not your knowledge. The important thing right now is to get out there and participate. Do it for yourself. Do it for your future children. Do it so the 17 lives you just watched perish from the earth did not die in vain. It will only be senseless if you decide to let it be.
In February, a gunman killed 17 students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Fl. The major question I ask myself is how would I have reacted if this had happened to me when I was 17 and in high school? First, I would tell my teenage self that the world we live in is not perfect, and violence can occur at anytime, or anywhere for no specific reason. My teenage self would be distraught, confused, and find it hard to comprehend such senseless violence against my peers. School is supposed to be a safe haven and a place to take refuge and learn. If I were 17, and witnessed such horrific events, the aftermath would be terrible. If I had witnessed the shooting, I would have felt compelled to seek cover until the authorities arrived. If I were in a position to help other students, I would have, although that is a difficult assessment to make when gunshots are being fired and you are witnessing the slaughter of your peers. I think my fight or flight response would have kicked in. Depending on the circumstances, I would have tried to disable the gunman if I could. However, if that were not realistic, hiding and running would have been a common response. At 17-years old, and even today, I am not qualified to disarm a crazy man with an automatic rifle. The aftermath is an important consideration. How would I deal with the effects it would have on my psyche? For starters, I would offer my condolences and help the victims’ families. I would attend rallies and participate in events that bring attention to gun control. I would want mainstream America to hear my story and realize how mental health and gun control are topics that Americans need to address. For my personal mental health, I would seek therapy and surround myself with positive support. Talking to a mental health professional as well as encouraging the rest of my peers to do the same is something that would be important in the aftermath of such a tragedy. Church and
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SARAH CARPENTER prayer would be a way to cope as well. It is difficult to comprehend such a senseless act, and a therapist would help me reach clarity, especially at such a young age. So would putting faith in God. School shootings are senseless, and if I could go back and tell my 17-year-old self one thing, I would say we do not live in a perfect world and we are not guaranteed tomorrow.
By Sarah Carpenter School shootings are not cool. They never have been cool. So why do they keep happening? During my high school years, the Columbine shooting was just some distant memory of the past that would be brought up in school on its anniversary each year. It was crazy to me how many people had died during that shooting. It was unreal that such a thing would have ever happened. It was so unreal I never thought it would happen again. Fast forward to today: Columbine is no longer the deadliest school shooting. That fact should alarm us. We should have taken it as a stark lesson. You never know what people are capable of. We should have taken it as a lesson that you never know what will happen if you push someone to the edge. We should have used the Columbine shooting to justify the need for tougher gun regulations. If we had woke up back then, maybe we would have averted some of these recent shootings. So, dear high school self, remember to always be kind to others. Use those manners that your parents taught you, and treat others the way you want to be treated. Stand up to those school bullies and use your voice to help those who have no voice. Activism is the key, and it is the only way to make a change in the world. Don’t give up and declare the world a lost cause, because a single person can make a difference.
THANDI CHIMURENGA By Thandi Chimurenga What would I say to my 17-year old self if I had seen 17 of my classmates murdered in one day on my campus? Seventeen of my peers gone in one day, at the same time, in the same location would be a lot. I am sure I would be too traumatized to hear anything anyone said to me at that specific point. I still haven’t received the trauma counseling for the classmates I actually did lose in high school. One at a time. Classmates like Jeffrey, who was a year older and a grade above me. We were in the same telecommunications class since that was my major. I showed up to class one Monday morning and we were told he was gone. Killed in a drive-by over the weekend. We didn’t do any class work that day. We just sat around stunned. Although we weren’t officially offered any counseling, the teacher allowed us that space to process. When Jeffrey’s funeral came, the entire class went. Or Cedric, who someone stabbed to death. Or Deborah, who someone shot on Crenshaw near Hyde Park. Deborah’s death was particularly scary. Girls at that time usually didn’t die; boys did. I remember hanging with a good friend of mine from elementary school one afternoon. We both ended up going to different high schools; she was bussed outside of our community and I stayed in the neighborhood. I was looking at her yearbooks and I noticed how some of her classmates died: suicide, car accident, terminal illness, drowning. My yearbooks would tell a different story. Different and yet, what could be called standard fare: shot, shot, shot, shot, shot, stabbed, shot, shot, shot. And to this day, no counseling. Whatsoever. If I could talk to my 17-year-old self, I would whisper into her ear, “Don’t listen to what society seems to be telling you. Your life and the lives of your friends, your classmates, matter. The lives of the people in your community matter. Hang in there. And remember to take care of yourself. Because you matter.”
JIM PRIEST By Jim Priest Listen, Jim: You’re young and necessarily clueless about a lot of things. Your disdain for higher education, for example. Sure, you think you’re too smart for that nonsense, but you’re not. You are young and arrogant and setting yourself up for all manner of grief. Get some humility, kid. That said, this idea that the people in authority don’t care about you is probably the smartest and healthiest thought you have. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule. Mrs. Esterly in second grade and Mr. Hubbard in sixth were fine examples of caring, committed teachers who made great contributions to their communities. But teachers as a group? Please. Same with cops. As you go out in the world and have interactions with those whose mandate is “to protect and serve,” you’re going to meet a few who take that motto seriously. As a group, maybe not so much. I’m sorry you had to learn about those kids dying like that, Jim. They didn’t have to. If the FBI had practiced due diligence, if the policemen on the scene hadn’t acted with depraved cowardice, if any of the dozens of people who were not only tasked with the protection of those children, but were given ample warning, training, and resources to do just that had simply done their jobs, those kids would be alive today. Sadly, people don’t do their jobs. Just because someone gets a title and a certificate or a badge doesn’t mean they’re magically endowed with conscientiousness or honor or integrity. People, in a word, suck. Don’t suck, Jim. Stand up for what is right. Spend your day doing the best job you can do, no matter what job you have, and when you go home at night, you can walk through the door feeling justified. And get a gun.