Collegiette Issue 005

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Issue 005 · Spring 2021


IN THIS ISSUE: Black Women Are Political Heroes: Time to Honor Them Properly The Reality of Zoom Anxiety Women Make Their Voices Heard at the Farmers Protests Her Body, Her Choice: Normalizing Women Not Wearing Bras Your Favorite Grocery Store is Probably Racist: Food Deserts and Gentrification




Welcome to the Spring 2021 Edition of Her Campus American’s Collegiette! We are so excited to welcome you into our collection of remarkable hard-hitting articles, outstanding graphic design, and beautiful photography. Through HCAU, we aspire to empower women’s voices and foster an inclusive space of genuine expression. We are overjoyed to present each writer’s and designer’s individual and shared expressions through this vessel of artistry. We have navigated a number of challenges this year during the pandemic, from online formatting adjustments to new editorial goals to expanding our HCAU family. Yet, we embraced these changes that resulted in a new way to connect HCAU to the rest of the world. While I have held a long tenure as Editor-in-Chief at HCAU, this is sadly the last edition I have the honor of producing. The last 3 years in HCAU provided me with the opportunity to grow, thrive, and connect with a community of lifelong friends and colleagues. I am beyond honored and am so incredibly proud to play a small roll in cultivating a platform on which our writers and designer can freely express themselves – and I hope you are moved by the dedication and passion that went into the production of this magazine. This edition is a culmination of light, happiness, freedom of expression, and passion and it has been my greatest pleasure to be a part of something so lovely. I truly hope you draw inspiration from the pieces of identity that come together to highlight our mission. We are extraordinarily proud of this issue and we hope it brings you as much joy as it brings us. HCXO, Hannah Andress, Editor-in-Chief


RICAN We are so pleased to share with you yet another issue of Her Campus American’s magazine, Collegiette! Women have faced a wide variety of challenges and have had their voices silenced by those who participate in sexism and misogyny, but that is why Her Campus American was created. Her Campus American is designed to empower women’s voices and be inclusive for all women to express themselves and to not be silenced by society. Inside this issue of the Colleigette, you will find a range of opinion pieces and well-researched articles that speak to Her Campus American’s mission. Our writers and designers worked tirelessly amid the global pandemic to create this powerful collection of writings and extraordinarily designed magazine. I am so proud of all the work our writers and designers have put into this magazine, and I am so grateful to play a small role in creating such a great publication for our writers and designers to freely express themselves. We hope that when reading this issue you draw inspiration from the pieces that highlight our mission at Her Campus American. We are extremely proud of this issue and we hope you enjoy it as much as we do. HCXO, Gianna Matassa, Publishing Director

IN THIS ISSUE Black Women Are Political Heroes: Time to Honor Them Properly Hannah Andress


The Reality of Zoom Anxiety

Amplifying Queer Voices


Peyton Bigora

The Rise of Gentrification in D.C. and How it Affects Black History Jordyn Habib

Riddhi Setty



Allesandra Plourde

Women Make Their Voices Heard at the Farmers Protests


25 Hyphy of The Yay Area Emma McDowall

Gun Violence: The Unresolved Tragedy of Our Generation


Aaditi Narayanan

Mackenzie Riley


29 Being Bisexual: The Neverending Fight Isabella Bobrowsky

Your Favorite Grocery Store is Probably Racist: Food Deserts and Gentrification The Power of Resilience: How to Cope When You Find Out You Are Not Graduating ‘On Time’ Due to Medical Leave Hannah Brennan

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Her Body, Her Choice: Normalizing Women Not Wearing Bras

A Love Letter To Yourself

Gianna Matassa

Gabrielle Levy

55 Our Team

BLACK WOMEN ARE PO Time to Honor Them Properly



Hannah Andress Grace Nowak Doodles by Cameron Fisher HER CAMPUS AMERICAN | 2

Once again, Black women have proven to be this nation’s enduring political heroes. They have organized and voted to save American democracy, and many argue, drove the slim margin by which Democrats succeeded. Following the 2020 elections that handed multiple wins to Democrats across America, Black women are finally being recognized for their incredible political and social contributions. Stacey Abrams, for example, will be remembered as one of the most politically influential figures of our generation; Vice President Kamala Harris has become the face of the Democratic party’s future; and Black women activists and organizers are being credited for flipping the notoriously red state, Georgia, twice in the same year. However, the outpouring of thanks and gratitude to Black women falls short of the real justice that they deserve. Black women give back to a political party that fails them time and time again with a lack of comprehensive legislative action towards erasing economic racial inequalities, bridging wealth disparities, ending police brutality, updating the Equal Rights Amendment, and the list goes on. The Democratic Party owes a huge debt of racial and gender equality policy and legislation to the Black women that are giving them their platform. The reliance on Black activists is crossing into perilous territories. Black women are being idolized and used as a seemingly inexhaustible resource to save American democracy against oppression – oppression that affects them the most. While the celebration of their efforts may seem innocent at first, the lack of a deeper understanding of the enormity of their tireless political contributions to the racial equity in the United States will sadly repeat yet another chapter in America’s history of political ignorance towards Black women. The current political characterization of Black women faithfully doing the work of reforming a country that is still oppressive both in theory and in reality is a sad truth of America’s political failings. With menial compensation as a trivial punchline rather than a moral imperative, it is merely the most recent incarnation of this painful construct.


Grace Nowak

The Most Politically Influential Woman in Our Generation It is important not to rely upon Black activists to save American democracy. However, when they do remarkable work, it is essential to acknowledge their extraordinary contribution and give credit where credit is due. Obviously, Stacey Abrams, a personal icon and hero of mine, who has worked tirelessly to ensure voter rights and protections are being met in her home state of Georgia. While most know her as a voting rights activist, Abrams is also a lawyer and author who served in the Georgia House of Representatives from 2007 to 2017 and as minority leader from 2011 to 2017. In addition to her already impressive background, Abrams founded Fair Fight Action, an organization to address voter suppression and her efforts have been widely credited with boosting voter turnout in Georgia. Stacey Abrams was the Democratic nominee in the 2018 Georgia gubernatorial election, becoming the first AfricanAmerican female major-party gubernatorial nominee in the United States. Losing by a small margin to Brian Kemp in 2018, this election was surrounded by accusations that Gov. Kemp engaged in voter suppression as the then Georgia Secretary of State. Due to his alleged suppressive means of ensuring primarily Black counties in Georgia did not receive voting machines on time, had understaffed polling locations, etc., Ms. Abrams has continued her charge to end voter suppression, furthering her extraordinary dedication. After her loss in Georgia, members of the Democratic party called upon Ms. Abrams to run for the open Senate seat in Georgia in 2020, but Ms. Abrams had an even more formidable idea in mind. Her work in political activism, voter registration, and southern mobilization led to two Democrats being elected in a heavily red state and thus handing the Senate majority to Democrats and painting a blue Georgia on the election map.

In 2020’s election, 1.2 million African Americans in Georgia voted, which is up from 500,000 in the 2016 election, according to the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus. A large outpouring of gratitude is owed to Stacey Abrams’ voter registration organization, Fair Fight, that registered over 800,000 Black voters. Due to Stacey Abrams’ success in 2020, we see how influential and important Black women are to the democratic system. Due to their influence, the national vote tally for President Joe Biden overtook those for former President Trump in Georgia, and congratulations began rolling in immediately to Stacey Abrams for her advocacy and efforts in making voter registration a priority.

We changed the trajectory of the nation. Because our combined power shows that progress is not only possible— Interviewing Stacey Abrams it is inevitable. After my home state’s blue flip in January, I was overjoyed to have the opportunity to interview Stacey Abrams at - Stacey Abrams American University. As a former intern on the “Abrams It is clear that as the state of Georgia has grown over the last decade, Black voter turnout helped make the state’s historically close election trend turn for Biden. Some credit for that leap has gone to the organizers in Georgia who helped register more than 800,000 new voters since Ms. Abrams lost the governor’s race; of those registered to vote after November 2018, about half are people of color and 45% are under 30—both demographics that tend to favor Democrats.

for Governor 2018” campaign and fellow Georgian, it was one of the highlights of my career (and life) as a student media journalist.

As the interview began, my questions centered around her position in Georgia politics and the future of her role in the ever-changing political landscape that is a newly purple state. My first question centered on her organization, Fair Fight, and how extraordinarily successful it has been in registering voters from all across Georgia. It is clear that the recent blue wave is largely attributed to Ms. Abrams’ dedication to Georgia politics and voting rights. After her years of hard work and commitment, I asked how she felt when Georgia elected Democrats to both the Presidency and Senate seats. With a huge grin, she expressed her gratitude for my volunteer work on her campaign (the greatest moment of my life) and her jubilation for a blue Georgia. After her gubernatorial loss, she explained, it hurt to see it play out on a national platform. While she did allow herself to grieve, she quickly went back to work and the outcome, she stated, “was more exciting than [she] imagined it would be.” While I was eager to get a glimpse of what her political future may hold, I also wanted to understand the future of Georgia’s political landscape. Georgia did elect Biden, Harris, Warnock, and Ossoff, but on the other side of the aisle, Georgia’s 14th district also elected Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene to Congress, demonstrating two very different political ideologies at play.

Grace Nowak

With the future of Georgia politics looking differently than it has in the past few decades, I wanted to gauge her confidence levels on steering Georgia’s blue path and the role she sees herself playing in its new political landscape.


Abrams went on to explain that Georgia is more of a purple state than a blue state. “It will take time before it is permanently blue...we see now that demographic changes proceed electoral changes so we must marshal our resources towards these future elections in order to keep Georgia on a blue path,” she explained. Abrams plans to continue her action in Fair Fight to extend voter registration methods and put an end to voter suppression.

Although Ms. Abrams, as she said, suffered a painful public loss in 2018, she redirected her anger at our country’s political failings by amplifying marginalized voices and empowering people of all walks of life to vote. Even after declining to run for Senate after losing the Governor’s race, her esteemed work in Georgia that warranted the election of the first Jewish-millennial and Black Senators from Georgia, a Black-Asian woman as Vice President, and a Democrat for President, makes a pretty good argument to position Stacey Abrams as one of the most influential women in United States history. Abrams worked tirelessly alongside Black activists to make the political win of 2020 as large as it was. While honoring and expressing gratitude to Black women may seem satisfactory, the most important takeaway of Black women’s activism is to love and value Black women as much as you reap the benefits of their laborious efforts. By loving Black women apart from their excellent work and by acting upon your gratitude, we can finally allow Black women to equally benefit from their victories.

Grace Nowak 5 | COLLEGIETTE

Rose Harris

Grace Nowak 7 | COLLEGIETTE



Allesandra Plourde Doodles by Maya Goldenberg

The coronavirus pandemic has limited human-to-human inperson interaction. The sole connection for most people is to communicate with others online. Work meetings, classes for school, and even virtual happy hours are all part of day to day life now. With new online forums like Zoom, virtual interactions can become debilitating. This can result in Zoom anxiety. Zoom anxiety is a feeling of stress and fear when on a Zoom call. It can be characterized as having trouble unmuting and participating in discussions, having a crippling fear of contributing in class, trouble reading social cues or body language online, fear of unsolvable tech problems such as wifi connection, and uncertainty about the professionalism of your space, including background or appearance. Zoom can leave room for awkward silences, people talking over one another and misunderstandings about who speaks next, all this contributes to the anxiety. Oftentimes Zoom fatigue; weariness after a Zoom call, gets the limelight, but Zoom anxiety is just as important to recognize and acknowledge.


Zoom Anxiety can be draining and it is one of the many adversities that Zoom has caused for online students. American University senior journalism student Hunter Rich feels that his anxiousness does not stem so much from Zoom itself, but rather from the feelings of disconnectedness and falling behind. “I feel less connected with professors as there’s no opportunity to build rapport. I feel less connected with my assignments, projects and papers as there are fewer opportunities to discuss them with my professors and classmates,” Rich said. “In general, I think it’s all of the worst parts of college-before-COVID with all of the redeeming qualities washed away and that, some days, leaves me feeling hopeless.” The American University Counseling Center does offer advice and resources to students dealing with anxiety with the COVID-19 pandemic like online counseling services for students with clinicians. This allows students to have the opportunity to talk about anxious feelings surrounding the global pandemic and Zoom calls. This can be contradictory as it is also in a virtual setting, but, having your camera off can help with expressing your feelings in a safe environment.

University of Pittsburgh freshman Tate Mueller says she is much more likely to participate in-person discussions rather than online. “You just don’t know when someone is going to unmute themselves or going to talk next and then you end up talking over someone.” Mueller said.

professors for breaks. If you are starting to feel disengaged or anxious, allow yourself to walk away for a moment and regroup. Second, prepare yourself as best you can for the meeting. Prepare a few talking points for yourself ahead of time. Preparing can always make the overwhelming feeling much less burdensome. Also practice speaking to yourself in a mirror, as silly as it sounds, it can help build confidence and mimic the experience of a zoom call. Lastly, use the chat box! The chat box is your friend! If you have something you’d like to say type it there. That way you are still engaged with the conversation but don’t have to unmute yourself or put yourself in an uncomfortable situation. Overall, Zoom anxiety is a topic that is not as openly spoken about and should be. People struggle with anxiety and virtual forums like Zoom can create an isolationist feeling. As a society, we need to have a deeper conversation about what the pandemic has done to our social interactions and be compassionate towards one another.

Zoom Anxiety not only affects participation but can impede on students engagement with class material. “I feel a lot less engaged and it’s a lot harder to stay focused.” Mueller said. There are ways that professors can keep students engaged, by allowing for open discussion in the chat box and reading answers aloud, having group discussions in smaller breakout rooms for a more intimate setting, and holding virtual office hours for students to talk one on one. Even then the virtual setting impedes some students from even trying to cultivate those relationships with professors because of the online forum. “Part of the reason I came to AU was for the amazing faculty and being able to do things, like get coffee with them,” Rich said. “Now we just can’t do that.” There is no easy remedy to Zoom anxiety just like all versions of anxiety. It is a daily struggle but there are ways to help counter it. First, ask your



Peyton Bigora What started as simple conversations between a couple has grown into a platform with over 30,000 monthly listeners in 118 countries, a successful blog, and a published selfreflective journal furthering the voices of women, the queer community and anyone represented through feminism. This is SHE, a podcast for the non-traditional. An acronym for Shifting Her Experience, SHE was founded by engaged couple Sophie Dunne, 26, and Tiana DeNicola, 27, from their Los Angeles home in early 2020.

“Both of us have experienced the things that we’ve talked about in each episode and if we have not experienced them and we want to educate ourselves more, we bring on a guest who can best speak to that experience,” Dunne said. Having featured guest speakers gave Dunne and DeNicola the confidence to continue pushing conversations even if they couldn’t speak to them personally. Episodes have featured women in the adult entertainment industry, a friend of theirs who is non-binary, and they are currently working towards hosting a transgender man to speak to their experience.

The pair saw an opportunity to create a brand that was geared towards having unconventional conversations mainly surrounding the female and LGBTQ+ experiences amongst “We don’t just have anybody on,” DeNicola said. “We want other topics they felt society wasn’t necessarily talking about. somebody that is perfect for the topic, is open and willing and educated on speaking about them.” “And who will do their peers justice,” Dunne continued.

Kelly Milar

Dunne and DeNicola have traveled the globe, are in a healthy, committed relationship, and approach all of their topics with a critical eye and tons of research, allowing them to feel qualified to speak on a number of women’s issues as well as the LGBTQ+ community from an intellectual and personal perspective.


Dunne and DeNicola

Simi Singh Doodles by Emily Stinneford “Yes, it was created by two queer women,” Dunne said, “but it’s for anyone. And it’s a very, just, self-reflective tool. It’s a guide that humans, I feel like, need. And we had a lot of fun creating it.” Before releasing the book, Dunne and DeNicola had a mental health professional comb through the book to ensure they were not promoting any negativity or harmful messages. SHE, as a brand and platform, is a prime example of queer creators finally having the representation they deserve in media and Dunne and DeNicola continue to reach out to other queer creators to boost their platforms as well.

This same level of inclusivity is represented on their blog and social media as well, using Instagram as their main platform for promotion and their website to publish more formal articles on topics they’ve discussed.

One of their first episodes, “un-bi-lievable: explaining bisexuality,” was one of their most tuned-into podcast episodes, by myself included, as it helped me begin the process of coming out to my family.

“We’re happy to say we’re two gay women because that’s how society perceives us,” DeNicola said. “But at the end Despite producing weekly podcast episodes, writing articles and of the day, we’re just Tiana and Sophie and we’re just in a building up their brand, SHE is neither women’s full-time job. loving relationship, you know? So, I think we really want to humanize that experience, too.” Dunne is a copy editor at both WebMD and Mighty Scribes, a writing agency in New York, while DeNicola works as a Video Supervisor at Variety.

But it was through their work experience they were able to further SHE with the publication of reflect, a self-reflective journal to help with self-awareness. “You’re following along with the podcast and then you also have this journal to reflect on yourself and how you feel about things,” DeNicola said. Dunne, already having her own book of poetry published, wrote separate poems for the journal to go along with its reflective exercises while DeNicola used her skills to design and format the final product.


THE RISE OF GENTRIFICATION IN D.C. AND HOW IT AFFECTS BLACK HISTORY Jordyn Habib Doodles by Lily Conti Washington, D.C. is one of the worst cities in the United States for gentrification. The capital of the United States is now losing much of its Black culture. Areas such as Logan Circle, Shaw, Columbia Heights, and Capitol Hill are all pivotal examples of neighborhoods that have lost most of their Black heritage. Gentrification does not just make the city more white, but it often dissolves the city of its Black history.

Black History throughout Neighborhoods Each neighborhood in D.C. has its own subset of culture. Logan Circle for example was once the epicenter of Black Washington. According to the Jason Martin Group, notable figures of the Harlem Renaissance helped Logan Circle become an example area of Black affluence; these figures include Duke Ellington and Langston Hughes.” However, this area was heavily impacted by the war on drugs, and the 1968 riots, which followed the assasination of Martin Luther King Jr., which caused crime to become a commonality. After years of struggling to grapple with the war in drugs, the gentrification process began. Another area known for celebrating Blak culture is the U Street area. Neighboring a prestigious HBCU Howard University, and home to the infamous Ben’s Chilli


Jordyn Habib

Bowl, U Street was previously given the title of “Black Broadway’’ due to the immense amount of Black businesses such as the nightclubs that were prevalent in the area. The owner of Ben’s Chili Bowl, Virginia Ali, recalled to Equal Times, that when she came to D.C. she realized, “how prominent and classy the Black community was. We had our own banks, Howard University, two state-ofthe-art movie houses, without mentioning all the businesses, doctors, lawyers and architects we had.”

Washington was previously a haven for Black culture and Black excellence. U Street is located in Shaw which has a history of its own. This neighborhood is historically Black, dating all the way back to the Civil War with many Union army camps housing newly freed slaves that made it to Washington. Shaw is also home to the former house of Dr. Carter G. Woodson who has been named the “father of Black History’’ after the first Black man in history to receive a Ph.D. from Harvard. Unfortunately, this area, similar to Logan Circle, was greatly impacted by the 1968 riots and the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. Aside from the neighborhoods having a distinct history and culture, D.C. has its own Black culture with go-go music serving as a symbolic culmination of it. Its creation can be traced to Chuck Brown

and is often played at dance parties in the streets of D.C. Go-go music is a pivotal part of D.C. and in February 2020 it became the official music of the District. It also is often a symbol of resistance to gentrification which is shown in the #DontMuteDC movement. In 2019, a tenant of a luxury condo building nearby complained about a nearby corner store playing go-go music too loudly. The store was known for playing go-go music on their speakers for many years, and being one of the only public places that residents could listen to Gogo music at. In response to the silencing of this store came the #DontMuteDC movement that has pushed for anti-gentrification actions.

Negative Effects of Gentrification Gentrification dramatically influences the Black culture of D.C. and in many places eradicates it. The example of go-go music displays this with the defense of go-go music equating to the protection of Black heritage in Washington. One of the organizers of #DontMuteDC, Kymone Freeman, stated “we’re rebelling against the status quo that gentrification is natural and we have to get prepared for it. We’re here to say to the powers that be that gentrification is cultural genocide, and the result of public policy without public input”. This movement is not just about the beloved go-go music, although the store was able to turn the music back up, the issues Black Washington natives face continue to persist.

Avenue (NOMA). One side is filled with tent cities and a population still struggling to rebuild after the war on drugs, and years of violence and crime. The other side of NOMA is filled with young professionals with the NOMA bid site claiming that 95% of its 12,000+ residents hold a bachelor’s degree or higher. NOMA already has 7,500 apartments with 4,800 under construction currently. Unfortunately, this rebuilding means that most of the former residents have been relocated. D.C. is not only one of the worst cities in America for gentrification, but it is also one of the only cities where displacement regularly occurs. Many former D.C. residents move to more affordable areas or to public housing. This displacement is shown in the drastically different racial composition of D.C. compared to its pasts. In neighborhoods such as Navy Yard, which is the worst for gentrification in the city, the population went from 95% Black in 2000 to 24% in 2018, according to Story Maps. Statistics such as these explain why many Black Washington natives are concerned for the culture of their city. Although gentrification can occur without displacement occurring, this is not the case in D.C. In Washington, it is common for developers to approach building owners and ask to buy the land from them. This happened in the H Street corridor with Betty Hart, owner of These Hands Hair Gallery. She was quoted as saying “[w]ell, they came here the other day and said that they came here to buy my place,” Hart said. “I said, ‘Well, wait a minute. Man did not put me here. God put me here. When God gets ready for me to move, then I’ll move. Until then, I’m standing on God’s promises”. This is a common sentiment among many residents of D.C.; many do not want to leave even if they are given money to do so. Many do not have this luxury, as those that rent are often at the mercy of rent prices and landlords. The issue of increasing property taxes also causes displacement. The National Community Reinvestment Coalition found that from 2000 to 2013 20,000 Black D.C. residents were displaced due to gentrification.

An article in DCist summed up the issues by citing “[c]omplaints against Black business owners, concerns over school budgets, rising living costs, how noise will be regulated in the city” as pivotal topics of conversation. Gentrification exacerbates the stark dichotomy of Washington’s wealthy inhabitants and those that were essentially left behind by the everchanging city. A pivotal example of this is the area previously named Eckington along with other names that is now titled North of Massachusetts


Gentrification not only causes people to lose their existing homes, but it also prevents them from finding affordable housing nearby. When residents are displaced they are often pushed to government housing that has poor conditions such as toxic mold, collapsed ceilings, and pests. In 2019, 38 public housing residents testified to legislators about these conditions. There are also extremely long waiting lists for a home in D.C. public housing. Also, affordable housing units are also often demolished which was shown in 2013 with Barry Farm. The Empower D.C. movement was organized to oppose the demolition and redevelopment of this housing property in 2013 but unfortunately, it was demolished in 2019. Although the redevelopment plan has some affordable housing, it is still unclear how much it will be. Nonetheless, many residents lost their homes for multiple years. These events often occur when developers ignore the needs of the current community in order to maximize profit. In addition, gentrification confines who is able to move into certain neighborhoods. Even if in the short term it may create some wealth for those able to sell their homes for a large profit, it leads to an overall negative impact for lower-income residents. Gentrification also causes great distress for residents that still reside in their communities. Firstly, many residents that are lucky enough to stay do not feel it is the same; with new neighbors and corporations replacing mom and pop shops, the culture of the neighborhoods are often destroyed. It is also hard for lowerincome residents to complete basic needed tasks if all affordable options nearby are destroyed. With gentrification, comes a higher cost of living, which prevents lower-income residents from being able to afford the businesses in their neighborhood.

A pivotal example of this is hair salons that specialize in Black women’s hair. In areas that are gentrified, small businesses often close and many times, it is hair salons specializing in Black hair. Ibijoke Akinbowale, director of the Housing Counseling Network and Financial Equality Center at the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, explained to WUSA9 that she used to get her hair done on the H Street corridor and the community was filled with Black families and businesses. She emphasized the fact that the area now looks much different. A decline in Black businesses causes a lack of representation of the needs of the Black population. Thus making Black residents commute to other areas in order to complete daily tasks puts this population in a truly stagnant position. The disappearance of Black-owned businesses is an extremely concerning aspect of gentrification. A key to progression in society is ownership, and if this trend continues the disparity between the white population in America and the Black population in America will only continue to grow.

The Causes of Gentrification Gentrification is not an isolated incident but rather a cause of systemic racism against Black Americans. Many of the neighborhoods that are currently being gentrified were hit hard by the riots of 1968 and then sent straight into the crack cocaine epidemic.

Jordyn Habib 15 | COLLEGIETTE

Washington, D.C. particularly struggled with the epidemic with two kingpins, Rayful Edmond and Tony Lewis, Sr., controlling the city and selling more than 400 pounds of cocaine per week with a profit of $8 million a month. One Southeast D.C. resident, Lamont Carey, explained that he “was being groomed as a drug dealer without knowing that [he] was being groomed as a drug dealer”.

With an increase in the sale of cocaine came an increase in arrests around the city. A former police chief for Metro PD claimed that in the late eighties to early nineties they were arresting 800 to 900 people per weekend. It is indisputable that these many arrests greatly affect a neighborhood. When arrests occur the cycle of poverty only continues with families throughout the city being devastated both emotionally and economically. Neighborhoods that were once pillars of Black excellence were destroyed by civil unrest in 1968 and then devastated by an epidemic followed by mass incarceration. These neighborhoods were then left open to redevelopment and a complete overhaul. In addition, the rise of neoliberal policies aided by deindustrialization left room for gentrification as well. According to Professor David Harvey the rise in neoliberalism causes “[t]he social safety net is reduced to a bare minimum in favour of a system that emphasizes personal responsibility”. With the rise in this ideology in the past decades’ aid to lower-income families has made the devastation on their communities even worse. This has been coupled with

Jordyn Habib deindustrialization with a move into the tech sector. With this process has come a loss of jobs as industrial industries moved to the suburbs and relatively low skilled and uneducated workers lost the ability to find a job in the industrial sector. In D.C. specifically, these correlations are undeniable as a report from the National Community Reinvestment Coalition reports that about 40% of D.C.’s lower-income neighborhoods experienced some gentrification from 2000-2013. The neighborhoods that were greatly affected by the riots of 1968 and the crack cocaine epidemic, such as Logan Circle and Shaw, are the same neighborhoods that are being gentrified at intense rates. Developers saw an open door to maximize profits and were given the ability to do so thus causing the displacement of native Washingtonians for years to come.


Black culture and excellence. Gray stated, his movement is not a direct response to gentrification but a way for Southeast to “honor who we are and can be”.

Responses and Solutions to Gentrification Criticisms of gentrification in D.C. have worked a fair amount; as the city’s ranking in the most gentrified cities list has fallen in the past couple of years. A civil rights attorney in Anacostia, Ari Theresa, claims this fall in rank is due to legal appeals she and other residents have filed against development projects. Legislators have also worked to combat gentrification with Ward 8 councilmember, Trayon White, proposing “East of the River High-Risk Displacement Prevention Services and Fund Establishment Act of 2019”. This bill was proposed to allocate funds to“help curb evictions, improve housing conditions, and protect rental subsidies”. Many credit Planned Urban Developments to the increase in gentrification and say the limit of these would help solve the problem as well. Residents and civil rights leaders have made many appeals to these across the city and some have helped stall the process. In 2018 there was also a court case against the city for its role in gentrification with the suit claiming “[t]he city is intentionally trying to lighten Black neighborhoods, and the way they have primarily been doing it is through the construction of high density, luxury buildings, that primarily only offer studios and one bedrooms”. This suit along with other claims, reports that the government has been intentionally causing displacement in order to build a “creative class” that mainly consists of white residents. Therefore, continued outrage towards politicians that engage in this is necessary. In terms of preserving Black culture in Washington, many have claimed it is imperative to highlight spaces of Black history. Public spaces are utilized to represent this preservation; such as Meridian Hill Park which has been unofficially named Malcolm X Park. Activists have begun to work on ways to showcase D.C.’s Black history throughout the city. Vernard Gray, a longtime resident of Southeast, has created a project to curate art and artists titled Made East River in order to propel Black creators. Movements like these can help ensure the preservation and perseverance of


Ultimately, gentrification has led to an immense change in the culture and composition of D.C. but the history of the city is not lost. Long time residents of the city are actively trying to preserve the Black culture of D.C. Nonetheless, the vast amount of negative effects due to gentrification require immediate action from the government along with attention from the D.C. population. With a vast history of Black excellence and an important city for Black American’s, it is necessary that the capital of this nation preserves its Black history.

Gentrification in DC: A Map

Logan circle

u streeT shaw

columbia heights

Madison Renck






Riddhi Setty

Riddhi Setty Doodles by Rozhina Amini

Every morning at six a.m., farmer Jagat Singh Rathi can be found giving out breakfast to anyone he lays his eyes on. “The farmer is a person that feeds everyone,” Rathi said as he stirred the giant pot of channa and called out to people around him to grab a plate.

the Indian constitution, it was primarily pictures of men driving tractors that took center stage. It would be a mistake, however, to think that these pictures are representative of the protests as a whole.

What started as a few tents on December 16, 2020, has now evolved into a community of hundreds of farmers at the Ghazipur border, determined to keep protesting until the government accepts their demands to repeal the new farm laws. “Right now we’re on the streets. In a while, it will be our children. We will bring our animals and tie them here,” said farmer Choudhary Mahender Singh, who has been at the camp since the first day it was set up. With no intention of returning to his village any time soon, Singh said, “we’re building our homes here - we will not leave till they reverse the three black laws. We belong to the movement.”

However, when most of the farmers’ children were sent back home after the violence at the Red Fort on January 26, Nirdesh Singh and the volunteers found a different reason to keep the school open. “We saw that the underprivileged children of the surrounding areas were more in need of an education,” explained Vishant Singh Sohna, one of the many part-time teachers at the school.

Not only are women present at the protests, but more Rathi, affectionately known as chacha or uncle, has been importantly, they are active and passionate participants. at the Ghazipur border of New Delhi for over 100 days Jasween Kaur arrives at the Ghazipur border nearly every now. At the border, farmers have set up a self-sustaining day at 2 p.m. and jumps right in, chopping vegetables, camp that stretches three kilometers both on and below cooking, and serving food. She explains that they hold langar the highway, in protest of the land laws proposed by the - a community based food service - all day, with delicacies national government in India. These land laws would lessen ranging from lassi to jalebi, and that anyone is welcome to government involvement and open up more room for the food, even those who are not a part of the camp. private investors, which the government believes will allow The farmers at the camp have welcomed underprivileged for agricultural growth. Farmers, however, are against the children from nearby slums, taking it upon themselves laws because they fear that the further removal of already limited state protection will leave them at risk of being taken to feed them and provide them with an education. In the initial stages of the protest, Nirdesh Singh recognized that advantage of by private companies. They believe these laws there was a need to provide the children at the protest with will deregulate crop pricing and lead to the elimination the means to continue their education. With the help of of the Minimum Support Price that provides them with volunteers, she set up a tent that would serve as a temporary guaranteed income by setting a uniform crop price. “The classroom for the children of farmers present at the protest, government has set farmers back thirty years,” said Rathi. complete with school supplies such as pencils, notebooks “The rate of everything is increasing and the value of our and books, and even a projector for the children to log on to crop is decreasing. That is why we’re here,” he said, pulling online classes from. crates of water bottles out of the supply tent to hand out.

Men like Rathi and Singh are at the forefront of this movement visually. When farmers took to the streets of New Delhi on January 26, a day that is celebrated nationwide as Republic Day to mark the implementation of


Women can be found not just in the food and education tents of the camp, but also in administration. Harsharanjeet Kaur, one of the volunteers at the camp, is a 28 year old cloud consultant from Dubai and has been at the Ghazipur border since the protests started in December. Kaur manages the organization of events at the protest, organizing several different themed events such as “Youth Day” and “Women’s Day”.

Kaur is also responsible for overseeing the stage built by the farmers on the highway where many of these events take place, and says that in her experience, the women at the camp are some of the most enthusiastic and passionate members of the movement. She explained that typically, 11 designated volunteers sit on the stage at the protest every day and fast from morning till evening as a symbol of resistance. On the days that women are designated to sit on the stage however, there is always an abundance of volunteers. “On women’s day there were so many women that we had to seat 28 women. We have to stop the women from sitting because there are so many.” In addition to her administrative role, Kaur aids the women at the protest, finding them bedding and helping them with sanitary needs. She explained that many women spend months on end at the protest and to accommodate for this, there are women’s tents with sanitary provisions, as well as designated tents for women to sleep in.

Riddhi Setty

Despite government recommendations for women to return home, they remain at the borders of Delhi, fighting alongside their male counterparts for justice and a repeal of the proposed land laws. This January, The Chief Justice of India SA Bobde posed the question “why are women and elders kept in the protest?” and asked lawyers that were representing the farmers to persuade women and elderly citizens to return home. This points to a misunderstanding of the role of women, not just in the protests but in the agricultural industry of India. According to a 2018 report by The National Council of Applied Economic Research, “women comprise over 42 percent of the agricultural labor force in the country, signifying increasing feminization of agriculture, and yet they own less than 2 percent of its farmland.” A report by the People’s Archive of Rural India stated that nearly two-thirds of the female workforce is engaged in agriculture, “either as cultivators or agricultural laborers”.

Riddhi Setty

Though the role of women in agriculture in India is largely invisible, within the protests, their passion and hard work do not go unnoticed. Sitting on stage in the midst of “Youth Day” preparations, Kaur said that despite what many may think, “You’ll find women in every sector - from administration to volunteering to making food. This is a farmers’ protest, it is not a man’s protest. There is as much respect for women as there is for men. In the end, it is ultimately for the farmers.”



Emma McDowall

Doodles by Rozhina Amini Hyphy is the music of the Bay Area in California. It was matching energetic beat. Since Keak da Sneak coined the created in Oakland, California also known as ‘The Town’ term many consider him the father of hyphy. However, it or ‘O-Town’, which is a part of the Bay Area. The Bay Area wasn’t Keak da Sneak who made hyphy “mainstream”. is home to singers like Kehlani, G-Eazy, MC Hammer and Saweetie. However, artists like E-40, Mac Dre, Keak da Sneak, Soon thereafter, rapper E-40 entered the scene. Some of his well-known songs include “I Don’t F*ck With You” or Too $hort, Rick Rock, Mistah F.A.B. and the Federation, are “Choices (Yup)”. E-40, like many Bay Area rappers, helps also big contributors to the Bay Area music scene. the Bay carve out its own culture. E-40 was the one who Many have probably heard hyphy-influenced songs, but made hyphy more mainstream with his popularized songs just never realized it. One example is Gas Pedal by Sage the compared to Keak da Sneak, however, even then E-40 didn’t Gemini featuring Iamsu!. Gas pedal hit fame in 2013 and was label himself a Hyphy rapper. then played at almost every party. It also elicited its own dance trend where people would handstand twerk against the wall. As explains, Hyphy was not created out of nothing, but instead grew from mobb music, another form of music created in the Bay Area. Mobb music was the Bay Area’s take on funk music in the early ’90s. The influence can still be heavily heard in a lot of Too $hort and E-40’s work. In an interview with SF Weekly rapper, Keak da Sneak explained that hyphy came from his hyper behavior because when he was younger he would eat a lot of candy. Keak da Sneak and his friends would act hyper from their sugarhigh and freestyle, resulting in animated lyrics leading to a


E-40 is from the Bay but never explained that the influence of his music was the hyphy movement in the area. E-40 impacted the culture surrounding hyphy in other ways regardless. He coined terms like “The Yay” or “Yay Area”, which everyone in the Bay, regardless of music taste, calls it. E-40, in an interview with Vanity Fair, explains that many of the words people hear in his songs are just common Bay Area slang and that he and rapper Too $hort “were the first to ever put it on wax”. Unfortunately, E-40’s label, the Warner Brothers, heard about the traction hyphy was gaining and decided to capitalize on it. Soon thereafter, they bought the rights to and branded hyphy as their own creation. They controlled the narrative put out to the masses about the origins of hyphy and those behind it. As a result of Warner Bros commercializing the Hyphy movement and trying to make it their own, they monopolized all the top talents like Too $hort, Keak da Sneak, Mistah F.A.B and The Federation. They stifled the movement by trying to control the production, generation, and dissemination of hyphy songs. This left a sour taste in the mouths of these rappers because many of them felt cheated by Warner Bros. Instead of giving credit to the culture, they monopolized and commercialized it.

Most great movements have a key figurehead most people recognize, however, Hyphy did not have a known leader or any form of organization. As stated previously, Keak da Sneak was considered the father of hyphy, however, in the same interview with SF Weekly, Keak da Sneak explained that he “didn’t really like the definition that people were making for [hyphy]. So I wasn’t gon’ step up”. Hyphy wasn’t organized in a fashion where it could gain traction nationwide. It was a very individual journey. In the same interview, rapper Rick Rock explained that the hyphy movement didn’t have the same organization as the crunk movement in Atlanta, but instead was “40 was just 40, Keak was just Keak, the Federation was the Federation”.


Many of the rappers who grew into figureheads of the movement felt jibbed by the commercialization of hyphy. They felt as if it had become corrupted and it was not what they wanted to associate themselves and their work with. Before many of the figureheads had started to disassociate with the label of hyphy when it was starting to grow, a major player entered the field. Mac Dre grew up in Oakland where many of the figureheads of hyphy also grew up, however, when Mac Dre first started his career he focused more on gangster rap. A lot of his songs were about his gangster activities and lifestyle, however, during his 4-year prison stint for conspiracy to commit robbery, he found himself drawn to a new sound and a new lyrical approach. He started rapping about police brutality and injustice as well as his stoner activities. It was his sound that changed the music the most by adding depth and distinction. He curated an uptempo frenetic sound which soon became the distinction between regular rap and hyphy. However, hyphy doesn’t stop there. Because of the distinct hyper beat that hyphy encompassed, a distinct dance type became associated with the sound.

Sage the Gemini

The most well-known dance is called the Smeeze. Once you watch the actual dance you may soon realize you have seen it on Tik Tok. The Smeeze is like an energized side-to-side step with some arm flares. It is one of those dances that looks so easy off the bat but the coordination needed is astounding. On Tik Tok, there is a group called the Next Kidz and they are a phenomenal dance group out of the Bay Area. They know all the distinct Bay Area dance styles and pair them with distinct Bay sounds. Today hyphy has lost its traction and momentum because of the commercialization and narrative created by big labels. Like Rick Rock said, “each rapper was just a rapper who rapped”, whose sound was influenced from their background. Hyphy’s music influence never reached very far outside of the Bay Area, yet it remains a hidden gem for those who find it and get to experience it.



Word Scramble Here are some of the the most popular hyphy artists. However, the letters in their names are mixed up! Try to unscramble the names below! (Hint... Check the article to see the original names!)

IKCR KCRO HTE RDEEFAOINT CAM EDR EAKK AD SKEAN CM AMMHER Check the bottom left to see if you were right!

Madison Renck

1. RIck Rock 2. The Federation 3. Mac Dre 4. Keak Da Sneal 5. MC Hammer

BEING BISEXUAL: The Neverending Fight Isabella Bobrowsky

While watching Transformers for the first time, I was introduced to Meghan Fox, a beautiful and talented woman, which had my little 12 year old heart racing.

My Experience with Bisexuality: Conforming to Society’s Standards

A book my friends and I commonly refer to as our bible is Glennon Doyle’s Untamed, which discusses how women are supposed to perfectly fit into tiny categorical boxes like In the following years, I would come to then lock myself in ‘skinny’ and ‘perfect’. my bathroom at my parents’ house, cry, and pray that I wasn’t attracted to women and that these feelings about finding This is the same when it comes to women and their sexuality. women attractive were just false intrusions. I worried about what I would do and how the world would look at me if these Women are expected to grow up, go to college, meet the feelings were real. I didn’t want to be different and I most perfect guy, and live the perfect life. If women struggle definitely didn’t want to be seen as different. with mental health issues, question their sexuality, or fall into any other category that is not seen as ‘normal’, society My most distinct memory from before I came out is feeling disapproves and invalidates the different feelings and like I had this huge secret that I constantly had to suppress experiences. As a result, women exploring their sexuality feel further and further within myself until it became so small as though they longer fit in those boxes. that it wasn't real. Looking back on this, I ask myself why I had these feelings as my parents were liberal and accepting Being bisexual, I find myself unable to conform to society’s people and I considered myself to be an ally to the LGBTQ+ standards and I began to seek a form of unachievable community. validation. People around me always expect me to be in a relationship with a man, and when a man is removed from Why is it that when some women are faced with questions the idea of a relationship, people begin to question, create about their sexuality they instinctively suppress it? assumptions, and invalidate. This is why, more often than not, the phrase “who is the man in the relationship” or “who wears the pants” is heard by women in same-sex relationships. Common assumptions are always brought up like, “you will end up with a man” or “you’re just experimenting.” When a relationship does not include a man, he is inserted into a relationship by hypothetical means. This was my first realization that I was bisexual.

My struggle with conforming to society's standards is nothing new. Growing up I thought people could either be straight, gay, or lesbian; and when I had crushes on girls I thought that I must be lesbian. When I had crushes on boys as well, I confused myself even more. It wasn’t until I was a freshman in high school that I discovered the word ‘bisexual.’


Doodles by Maya Goldenberg No one tells us that sexuality is a spectrum and that we can exist in multiple spaces of sexuality, choosing whether or not to label ourselves entirely. Society puts pressure on everyone to apply individual labels, stemming from the need to fit into boxes. Some people cannot just fit into the blanket terms of ‘gay’ or ‘straight.’ The refusal to fit under a preconceived label immediately confuses these standards.

girlfriend’s hand or kiss her in public, I am reminded of how my relationship is still oversexualized by the many strange and inquisitive looks I receive from people passing by. I am reminded that being with a woman is still seen as something that happens solely for men in private and not for ourselves all the time. Women in relationships with other women, that do not exist for male pleasure, fail to fit in the tiny box that society has created for us. Society creates these boxes and for each bisexual woman, including myself, and each experience with these boxes is different. We are told, not by words, but by our lived experiences, that our lives will be easier if we remain in our box. As a result, bisexual women sometimes feel the need to exist within these parameters and daring to step outside of them to face society’s marginalization is a feeling no one should have to constantly endure.

The Sexualization of Women Loving Women In addition to conforming to blanket standards, same-sex relationships are often oversexualized to compensate for misconceptions about the LGBTQ+ community. Women in same-sex relationships are oversexualized through porn, media exposure, and the general idea that they solely exist for male pleasure. This takes form in movies of women kissing for attention at parties as well as women engaging in sexual relations for the sole purpose of pleasing men in porn. The culture of over-sexualization that we are exposed to, even since childhood, creates a taboo narrative about women in same-sex relationships. Even now, as I hold my


GUN VIOLENCE: The Unresolved Tragedy of Our Generation Aaditi Narayanan Doodles by Lily Conti Gun violence can be considered a shared experience among those in this day and age. My first experience occurred at the age of 10, when a gunman open-fired an unloaded gun while driving around my elementary school. When I was in middle school, the Sandy Hook shooting occurred, and afterwards, my classmates and I were raised in an era of gun violence, making it a common occurrence. When many of us were in high school, the Parkland shooting took the place, "Today, as we mourn with the Parkland a massacre that affected the whole nation. community, we mourn for all who have lost loved ones to gun violence," On February 14, 2018, a gunman opened fire at Marjory Biden said. Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, killing 17. The events of Parkland are still fresh This past February was the third anniversary of the Parkland, in many of our heads, and the little action that followed made this event Stoneman-Douglas Shooting. In honor of this horrific even more tragic. Today, the gunman day and the lives that were lost, President Biden issued a is still awaiting trial. Many student statement calling for Congress to pass stricter gun laws, and advocacy groups formed as a including banning assault weapons. result like March for Our Lives, who then received a large amount of media attention and publicity. March for Our Lives has specifically pushed for Biden to appoint a gun czar who would serve in a Cabinet-adjacent position. This would be a role similar to the climate change cabinet position of Biden’s administration. Many feel that this is a necessity, and that gun violence a public health crisis that puts our most vulnerable populations at risk every day.


While on the campaign trail, President Biden promised to take action on gun laws within his first 100 days in office. Biden has met with several gun control advocacy groups in the past couple months, including: Everytown for Gun Safety, Moms Demand Action, and Students Demand Action. After these meetings, Biden released a statement that mentions his intention to keep his campaign promise. This administration has been keen on keeping promises when it comes to COVID-19, that being the hope that it may be so diligent in tackling other issues as well.

It is imperative for our legislators to take concrete steps towards restricting gun sales, banning assault weapons, and mandating strict background checks so that the shadow of gun violence cast across my childhood does not shade future generations. As a 19 year old, I have grown up in gun violence, but that does not mean that the generation that follows me must be plagued with this same fate. This next generation deserves to live in a country in which an assault weapon does not write our history for us.

It is not only the President that we must push to pass gun violence legislation, but Congress as well. The House of Representatives has put forward countless bills in the past decade to this effect and the Senate refused to pass any of them under the Trump administration. Now under democratic control, the House and the Senate have the opportunity to ensure safety for children across the nation.


HER BODY, HER CHOICE: Normalizing Women Not Wearing Bras


Gianna Matassa

Doodles by Emily Stinneford HER CAMPUS AMERICAN | 34

Bras have been a part of society and women’s lives since the beginning of time. They have always been seen and used to help women contain their breasts and often conceal them from the world. There was a time when women wouldn’t wear bras and it was seen as beautiful, but now, women who don’t wear bras are seen as objects and are sexualized for going against social norms, despite it being their body and their choice. Women adopted the idea of covering their breasts in ancient times as a fashion statement and at that point in time, wearing a bra wasn’t a social requirement for women. This idea continued into the middle ages when women would use cloth binding to make their breasts look smaller and they then soon found the binding supported them while wearing dresses. The idea of women’s breasts being bound continued to grow into the

Victorian era when women began to wear corsets to show cleavage and create the ideal figure, despite the negative health impacts. The first modern bra was created in 1869 by Herminie Cadolle which was called a two-piece corset. This was just the tip of the iceberg, the invention of the first modern bra eventually led to the creation of backless bras, sports bras, etc., according to Postoast and The Exploress. The long history of the bra has led to the idea today that women cannot be out in society without wearing one. Women for a long time have accepted this idea because they were ousted from society until recently, but times are changing and women are tired of not being able to not wear bras only because men say it is wrong. Women chose to censor themselves for a long time—that time is up. Society tells women they must censor themselves, yet a woman's body is her

own, not anyone else’s. Regardless of the sexist standards imposed by society, it is quite beneficial for women not to wear bras in terms of health. When women do not wear bras, there are many health benefits. According to Health Shots, these improvements include: improved blood circulation, better sleep, better breathing, less chance for a fungal infection, hydrated nipples, and less chance of breast cysts. Other benefits of not wearing a bra include increased relaxation, retention of breast shape, and promotion of better skin health, according to India Times. Not wearing a bra is healthy and natural for women. By examining the history of the bra, it is imperative to remember that women chose to wear them in the first place and now they can also choose not to.


Fast forward to our current lifestyle, the pandemic forced the world to quarantine. With this new normal, women were stuck at home and no longer felt required to wear a bra to conform to societal standards, which demonstrates how comfortable women became with the idea of being braless. In addition to the new at-home work and school lifestyle, this trend is seen throughout social media platforms like Instagram or Tik Tok, where women promote bralessness. This is a major change compared to a few years ago when women would never go braless, and if they did they felt uncomfortable. However, there are many platforms on social media to promote the idea of going braless. One very popular movement on social media is the Free the Nipple movement (@freethenipple on Instagram). Free the Nipple uses social media to promote going braless and to empower women who decide to do so. They work towards normalizing women being braless and fight against patriarchal societal values of women hiding their bodies while men can wear whatever they please.

Miley Cyrus - POPSUGAR

While movements like Free the Nipple continue to grow, women still have to fight every day against societal values to not wear a bra despite it being healthy and natural to do so. The decision to wear a bra should be a woman’s choice and hers alone. Society should not dictate a woman’s body. So, with that, do what makes you happy and make decisions based on your levels of comfortability and not based on conforming to unrealistic standards.


Bella Hadid- InStyle Magazine 37 | COLLEGIETTE

Rose Harris




Mackenzie Riley

Grace Nowak Doodles by Rose Harris

Do you ever visit a new area and ask yourself, “where do these people shop for groceries?”. For some communities, the closest grocery store is more than a thirty-minute walk away and a store with fresh fruits and vegetables is even farther. Areas where this phenomenon occurs are known as food deserts and they dramatically impact the well-being of the communities they are within. Food deserts are rooted in classism and racism, primarily affecting low-income communities of color. Without access to a grocery store nor public transportation, many of these individuals have no option but to continuously rely on corner stores and fast food chains to survive. Over time, this has the possibility to cause severe health consequences that can last generations. Decreased access to healthy foods can lead to compounding health issues such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. Food deserts have developed into a public health emergency that is killing individuals residing within them. Unfortunately, this crisis has become a norm across America that continues to perpetrate a cycle of racism and gentrification, dating back to segregation . With the rise of “upscale” grocery stores like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods, this problem has only worsened as these retailers continue to

Grace Nowak 41 | COLLEGIETTE

neglect communities that they do not view as their “ideal” customers. Many individuals and marketing experts sum this up to “a brand” that certain companies have created, but the reality is that food deserts are preventable and accountability must fall onto city leaders and the chains that refuse to expand into communities of color.

The Dark History of Food Deserts The existence of food deserts originates in urban planning coupled with a lack of public resources. This, in conjunction with gentrification, has only worsened the isolation that communities have felt for so long. Gentrification has uprooted thousands of communities across the nation and as food retailers continue to move to follow it they build their new locations in gentrified communities--instead of urban areas leaving food deserts in their wake. As newer, more affluent individuals continue to move in, real estate prices begin to rise, the cost of living increases, and long time residents are forced to leave after not being able to keep up. As neighborhoods become gentrified, higher-scale retailers, especially grocers come, focusing their resources and diverting stores in rich-white neighborhoods. This phenomenon is called the “Whole Foods Effect”, named because the presence of a Whole Foods typically raises property value in that area. Food deserts used to be more common in more geographically sparse areas, but privatized transportation has allowed wealthier Americans to relocate to the suburbs. This trend is caused by both discriminatory city planning and discriminatory market practices being taken by grocery stores. Not only are these communities facing gentrification, after being forced to relocate, they are also faced with a lack of healthy food. This, coupled with a trend in favor of suburban living, has only exacerbated this issue. Grocery stores are avoiding urban areas, in favor of more “up and coming” neighborhoods.

Across the United States, in both urban and rural areas, Americans struggle to access healthy and affordable food. Indigenous American communities are constantly forced to choose between their sovereignty and survival. For example, the Oglala Lakota people of South Dakota’s Pine River Reservation must rely on 95% of their goods to be shipped from outside their land. This is a severe food desert that does not allow the Oglala Lakota people to maintain their independence.

A Public Health Emergency Living in a food desert makes an individual more likely to experience life-threatening health issues. As a result of limited access to healthy and affordable foods, families in these areas rely on corner stores and fast food chains to survive. In moderation, this lifestyle may not have lasting effects, but over decades and throughout generations it is killing Americans. Cardiovascular disease, obesity, and diabetes are just some of the illnesses that more commonly afflict those living in food deserts. These individuals are dying sooner and living with lower qualities of life. Cases of type two diabetes in Americans have doubled in the past twenty years, with the greatest increases occurring in Black and Brown communities. The same is true for cardiovascular diseasemore Black Americans die annually from heart disease than their white counterparts, even though they make up a dramatically smaller portion of the total population. When individuals are raised in a food desert their health for the rest of their lives is dramatically impacted. Children develop eating habits that will stay with them for the rest of their lives. Children residing in food deserts have an increased rate of diet-related illnesses and are not properly taught how to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle. When only fast food restaurants are available near schools there is a clear jump in obesity rates, going as high as a 5.2% increase. Americans are disproportionately dying because of their limited access to nutritious and affordable food. This is a public health emergency that has been ignored for too long. Black and Brown Americans are dying because urban planners will not advocate for the development of more affordable and nutritious stores and companies are unwilling to expand into communities that do not match their “target” demographic.

Food Insecurity in Washington D.C. A study conducted by the D.C. Policy Center found that 11.3% of the city is a food desert. Washington D.C. is one of the most gentrified cities in America and wealth is very obviously concentrated in the Northwest wards. This impacts a large portion of D.C. residents, with 14.5% of the residents being food insecure. More than three-quarters of D.C.’s food deserts are located in Wards 7 and 8, an area in which median income is far below the national poverty line. There are a total of 49 full-service grocery stores in D.C., only three of them are located in Wards 7 and 8.

Grace Nowak While I love Trader Joe’s just as much as the next person, its accessibility to American University students is no mistake. Within walking distance of Tenleytown there are three major grocery stores, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and Giant. Living in this bubble of Northwest D.C. it is easy for students to forget that our small area of the city is vastly different from the rest. We are actively benefiting from racist and classist policies that have uprooted D.C. natives and continue to worsen their standard of living.


What Can We Do? Food deserts are a compounding issue that requires immediate and comprehensive action. There is little that can be done on an individual level to combat the existence of food deserts, yet there are many things that every individual can and should be doing to support communities that are afflicted by food deserts. Community gardens are a great way to fight back against food insecurity and to introduce healthier alternatives to neighborhoods. SWAG Project is an urban garden and community building project in Newark, New Jersey. SWAG has been a leader and advocate in combating food deserts in this community for over ten years by educating families on the importance of a balanced diet and community well-being. Projects such as this develop the resources that are needed for a healthy lifestyle, but also empower communities to advocate for themselves. The most meaningful change will come from action being taken by urban planners and grocery stores. Urban planners have the responsibility to promote the well-being of their citizens. By promoting farmers markets and grocery stores to open close by public transportation hubs healthy foods are more accessible. By connecting existing grocery stores and farmer markets with public transportation, it connects families with healthy and affordable food options. Another step many cities have already taken is limiting the amount of “dollar stores” that open in poor neighborhoods. These stores target vulnerable communities, providing cheap and convenient options, at the price of the health of these communities. Limiting dollar stores alone will not end food deserts, but rather stop the spread of them. These solutions are just the start to dismantling a system that has continued to disenfranchise millions of people nationwide. Implementing these solutions will certainly take time and resources, but it is a vital step towards antiracism.


Grace Nowak


Gabrielle Levy Doodles by Simi Singh Jordyn Habib When was the last time you sat down and thought “Wow! I am amazing!”? It is often easier to find the time and space to care about others but we often forget to find that same space and time to care for ourselves. In order to be there for others, you must take the time to focus on yourself first, because if you aren’t emotionally available, nothing you say will really make a difference. With self-love often forgotten, it is important to find creative ways to focus on you. By writing a love letter to yourself, you can focus on all of the amazing things you are doing right now, even if it feels like nothing is going your way. To write a love letter to yourself, grab a piece of paper or your computer and get to work. What has been on your mind lately? What have you been doing a great job with? What have you been struggling to accomplish? All of these questions are themes that you can incorporate into your letter. There is no perfect letter to yourself, each letter is personal and unique, just like you.


A Cathartic Experience Taking the time to sit down and write a love letter to myself, amidst everything that has been weighing on me, is one of the most cathartic experiences I had this semester. When I finally sat down and let the words flow onto the paper, I realized that life is so beautiful, even when it seems like there are a million bullets being thrown in my direction. It takes time to realize that you are worthy of love, especially when it feels like you are giving your all to others. For me, writing a love letter to myself was one of the first times I stopped and sat down to engage with my thoughts. While I enjoy things like knitting and baking, these are all good distractions and hobbies, but they fail to acknowledge pain and suffering, they simply put up a roadblock to all that is on your mind.

Jordyn Habib

A Love Letter to Myself As the world spins in a million different directions and your mind is constantly racing, you need to realize you are doing amazing things. You are strong, you are beautiful, you are bright, and, most importantly, you are resilient. I think we can all agree that things have not been the easiest recently, but you are pushing through and being the best you can be. You are surviving each and every day and just that is amazing. As things continue to change, the world continues to go round. You are still smiling, laughing, and putting up a strong fight. And even if you are not smiling every moment of every day, you are finding a reason to smile every once in a while. These reasons may be small. It may be that you got dressed today, but still, that is a big feat. Be proud of these small accomplishments: continue to celebrate you! Please do not think that everything has to be perfect, especially right now. As we strive to grow and flourish, it is important to understand that perfection is nonexistent. You are going to struggle, and you are going to hurt, and you are going to feel a tide wave of emotions, but that is okay and totally normal. You and your feelings are completely valid. Please do not let anyone tell you otherwise, including yourself.

You are so strong, even when you do not see it, others do. While it is okay to take a break, try not to push those you love out of your life. They are here for you, they are here to support you, and they want to love you. You are worthy of all of the love around you. You try so hard to support and be there for others, but if you do not take the chance to love yourself first, then you can’t truly love others. Even when the world is turned upside down, there is a light inside of you, it is something special, and it isn’t going anywhere. Find that light inside of you, and kindle it. It does not have to ignite right now, but care for it and find that self-love. Find that little spark of energy to care for yourself. It may be hard, but you’ve got this. You have a community of support. And even if it feels like you don’t, I promise there are people rooting for you. You have a whole support system that wants to see you succeed. You are so loved and you need to see that! So many people care about you! You are stronger than the roadblocks thrown in your path. You’ve got this! Love yourself because you are amazing! Love yourself because you are strong! Love yourself because you are you!

It is okay to take a moment for yourself. It is okay to cry. It is okay to show emotions. Showing emotions does not mean that you are not strong; in fact, it makes you even stronger. You are constantly striving to be present every moment of every day, and that is hard, but you still continue to try. Please, love, do not be so tough on yourself. It is okay to take a break. It is okay to say I need a moment to breathe. Time will pass, the winds will shift, the tides will change, and your world will keep on turning, but in order to get there, you need to find the time and space in your heart to love yourself. Because, love, you are doing amazing things! Some people in your life may try to bring you down but, you are stronger than this. No relationship, family drama, or life struggle should ever define your worth. Yes, all of these things will change you, your perspectives, and belief systems you thought were unshakeable, change who you surround yourself with, but they should not change your ability to see that you are worthy of love.


Jordyn Habib


Abigail Greenberg

A Love Letter to Myself: Dear me,

Love, me List some things that make you happy: List some things you love about your life:

THE POWER OF RESILIENCE: How to Cope When You Find Out You Are Not Graduating ‘On Time’ Due to Medical Leave Hannah Brennan

Biting my nails, tapping a foot, shoving unruly hair behind an ear. It was the end of spring semester and I sat, sandwiched between my parents, as my academic advisor asked me one last time if I was sure. Was I sure? Was this the right decision? All I knew was I could not keep on going this way. Two years of college had flown by in a blur of sleepless nights and groggy days. Miraculously, I had made it through four semesters, but I knew in my heart that carrying on like this was not sustainable. It was time for me to step back, take a break, and give myself the time to heal by taking a medical leave from school. Making the decision to take time off was not an easy one. I was wracked with guilt about falling behind my peers, disappointing my parents, and the overall feeling of failure. Expectation dictates that we are supposed to go to college, have the time of our lives, and graduate in four years with new perspective and life experience.

The first two years of my college career had been spent with a constant weight on my shoulders, and so I was unable to take full advantage of experience. What I did not know when I moved down to D.C. for university, was that I was suffering a combination of invisible illnesses. An invisible illness is an illness that impacts a person’s ability to conduct their own life and function normally, and it is something that you can’t see. Most people with invisible illnesses experience subjective symptoms like extreme fatigue, joint and body pain, and headaches. I had been dealing with my symptoms for years, but the transition to college exacerbated my conditions. Upon giving myself the opportunity of a medical leave, I discovered I was living with multiple autoimmune disorders coupled with severe OCD, general anxiety, and depression. Day in and day out I suffered from debilitating symptoms that seriously impacted my daily functions. I dealt with overwhelming fatigue and joint pain and I was frequently getting sick. No amount of tea or coffee could fuel me throughout my classes and by the time my head hit the pillow it was impossible to sleep. I existed in that foggy state that comes

Simi Singh 49 | COLLEGIETTE

Simi Singh Doodles by Noël Sedona James

with being constantly tired but being unable to rest. Not only was I feeling physically weak, but I barely had the mental capacity to focus on my school work. My pain physical and mental - might not have been visible, but I sure could feel it. Whenever I sought out medical help I was told that I was just a normal teenage girl dealing with anxiety and depression, and while that certainly was part of the problem, it was only the tip of the iceberg. Having a medical professional relegate all of my symptoms to something going on in my head was infuriating and invalidating. When I finally did take a medical leave from American and pressed my doctors to give me proper testing, I was so relieved to find out that what I was experiencing was something real and tangible.

Imposter syndrome can have serious negative effects on someone with invisible illness. Others may assume your struggles are all in your head because they can’t see them, and unfortunately, it can make us question if that really is the truth. In response to this, I have learned that constantly doubting yourself gets in the way of actually healing and benefiting from treatment or medication. Invisible illnesses can have life-threatening consequences if left untreated, and so, the best thing a person can do for themselves is listen and show compassion to the needs of their body.

Being able to put a name to all of the things I was suffering from was a long time coming, and it Simi was soSingh gratifying. Unfortunately, invisible illnesses and conditions like mine often go undiagnosed. Our symptoms can be vague and complex, and they often are down-played, misdiagnosed, or ignored by medical care providers all together. Diagnosing an invisible illness can be like piecing together a complicated puzzle, but the more pieces you gather, the more complete the picture becomes. My medical leave enabled me to discover what I was truly dealing with and I am so much better for it. I am now in a much healthier place and I am able to share what it feels like to look healthy on the outside while navigating everyday life with a serious physical and mental condition.

Simi Singh

Keeping your struggles a secret can be so tempting. I was afraid to open up to my friends and even some family about why I wasn’t attending school as usual. I was embarrassed and ashamed that I was not keeping up with society’s expectations for me and my own expectations for myself. It took time, but I have realised that I am too young to feel like I am running out of time. Life is not meant to feel like a race to keep up with our peers and it was an effort in empathy for me to acknowledge this. I have found that when it comes time to tell your friends, family, peers or coworkers about your health, it is best to have those conversations face-to-face. Being able to open up and be vulnerable about what is hurting you is a strength. We cannot control what other people think but we can educate them and offer to answer their questions. I feel extremely fortunate to have had my parents and sister in my corner as a support system when I went on medical leave. They were there to root for me when I had no faith in myself. While I was anxious about telling my friends the truth, it was extremely liberating when they responded with warmth and understanding. I also found that it is worth connecting with people who understand your experience without any explanation. To anyone else who is suffering from an invisible illness, I would highlight the importance of finding communities around your condition, because just interacting with people who understand can be incredibly empowering and inspiring. Adversity allows us to understand our own resilience. It is only when you are put under pressure, and face obstacles and stress that resilience, or the lack of it emerges. To anyone considering a medical leave, I would tell you that you didn’t go through all you did for nothing. Taking a leave of absence can be a time for growth and exploration and I can honestly say that mine made me a better version of myself.




Executive Board:

Hannah Andress Editor-in-Chief Riddhi Setty President Allesandra Plourde Vice President Peyton Bigora Managing Editor Marissa Parisi Business Director Simi Singh Events Director Emilie Austin Social Director Gianna Matassa Publishing Director Sophie Gilbert Design Director Wyatt Foster Multimedia Director Nicole Scallan, Christina McAlister Section Editors Aaditi Narayanan, Kathryne McCann Social Media Editors Mackenzie Riley, Gabrielle Levy Print Editors Isabel Thompson Multimedia Editor Rebecca Cichock Tik Tok Curator Tiffanie Roye Social Media Assistant Jackie Lamb YouTube Director Hannah Brennan Website Director Gigi Imperatore Multi-Media Content


Print Team:

Design Team:

Hannah Andress Editor-in-Chief

Sophie Gilbert Design Director

Gianna Matassa Publishing Director

Elaine Griffith Photo Manager Abigail Greenberg Illustration Manager Madison Renck Content Manager

Mackenzie Riley, Gabrielle Levy Print Editors Aaditi Narayanan Allesandra Plourde Emma McDowall Gabrielle Levy Hannah Brennan Isabella Bobrowsky Jordyn Habib Mackenzie Riley Peyton Bigora Riddhi Setty

Abigail Greenberg Content Cameron Fisher Doodles Emily Stinneford Doodles Grace Nowak Photos Jordyn Habib Photos Lily Conti Doodles Madison Renck Content Maya Goldenberg Doodles Noël Sedona James Doodles Rose Harris Doodles, Content Rozhina Amini Doodles Simi Singh Doodles, Photos Cover design by Sophie Gilbert This magazine was designed by Sophie Gilbert and the Her Campus American Design Team. The text of Collegiette is set in Avenir Heavy and EB Garamond. Collegiette is printed for Her Campus American University by Heritage Printing & Graphics, Waldorf, Maryland.

LETTER FROM THE DESIGNER Here we are at the end of another online semester of college. And here we are printing the 5th issue of Her Campus American’s very own magazine, Collegiette. Online school has been tough, to say the least. We thought that our team at HCAU deserved to have a physical copy of their work this semester – not just something that can be seen on a computer screen. Although the deadlines were a whirlwind, HCAU managed to pull off Issue 005 in all its glory. Thank you to the writers, designers, and editors who worked tirelessly on this issue, and who were determined to see this magazine in our hands (and yours). Our team buckled down to bring you a magazine filled with inspiring, stirring, and memorable pieces, with charming graphics, and exquisite photographs to match. In our new normal of staring at a screen daily, we hope that this magazine can bring you solace and delight in these trying times. I continue to be amazed by the incredible women that put their hearts and souls into creating Collegiette. We are incredibly proud to be able to present this edition of Collegiette in print, and I hope you find as much joy from indulging in this magazine as we do. HCXO, Sophie Gilbert, Design Director