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The Social Justice Issue

In this issue: Gays, Faggots, Lesbians, Transexuals, Bi-sexuals, Consumerism, Stereotypical, Health Care, Haiti: The Forgotten Country, Poetry

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Black, White, Brown, Yellow Fight Together as One!

By Bianca “Boombastic� M.

Black, White, Brown and Yellow represent the colors of our growing nation. A nation, filled with hate and discrimination. We as a people need to come together and form a perfect community. We all have stories and different backgrounds, but in order to be as one and have the same opportunities we need to accept ourselves. Today we are seen as the salad bowl which represents the new generation and it needs to be exuberated. Whether we put our heads or fists together we need to be one and hold on to each other and lend a hand. Black, White, Brown and Yellow are the future ethnicities that someday will have their own enlightenment because we are all one and have the greatest and most persistent knowledge of ourselves and others. By encircling our fists together we will better our hearts and communities. No violence is needed, but firmness and vigilance is. With that we will rise and take on this world together and never hate or discriminate, but love and produce. This day is coming and will forever change the outcome of this entire civilization. Black, White, Brown and Yellow are the colors of our future nation. illustration by Dennis L.

Welcome to a new issue of Nia Swagg Welcome to the third issue of Nia Swagg.

The staff have been working over-time to bring this issue to you. It is full of passion, dedication and SWEAT! It is no easy feat to create a magazine. There are all kinds of obstacles that come at you from every direction, especially being students. Homework is just as important as extracurricular activities which is equally as important as Community Service which is also as equally important as proper rest and taking care of yourself.

As the coordinator of the magazine I do my best to let students have their say ─ this issue is no different. Some of the hard hitting topics that are seen internationally are topics that we discuss in our weekly workshop. As a result this issue is Human Rights “heavy”. When we started our workshop in September the issue of Gay Marriage was a huge discussion. So some of our staff felt the need to expound on the social justice topic of what it means to be gay in an unaccepting society from which emerged three separate and distinctly different articles on the topic. We were also struck with the tragedies in Haiti, Chile and Puerto Rico. Not to mention Health Reform and the Arizona Immigration Law SB1070, all topics covered in this Nia Swagg. I am extremely proud in each step that has been taken in CentroNia’s Magazine workshop every year. We went from a trial workshop to a staff of three and can now boast of a staff of nine! To Amana (contributing writer), Bianca, Claudia, Dennis, Josue, Kadejah, Maria, Michelle, Nicole and Ruth have been a great pleasure to work with and have truly created an interesting, thought provoking, and introspective piece of work in this latest issue.

It doesn’t stop here though! Check out our blog at where you can find articles, polls, quotes and more that these pages just could not hold. Thank you for picking up this issue. We look forward to bring you the next one!


Kimberly C. Gaines Teaching Artist Nia Swagg

Nia Swag

Table of Contents 6. 7.

“Thats so gay...” .................................................... Claudia M.

Why is it wrong to refer to the gay community as “fags” or “faggots”? ......................... Michelle G.


Consumerism......................................................... Ruth S.

10. Lesbian, Gay, Transexuals, Bisexuals.................... Claudia M. & Michelle G. 11. Poll for Magaine..................................................... Dennis L. & Claudia M. 12.

Stereotypical: A Cartoon ............................................ Dennis L.


Health Care............................................................ Maria M.

16. Alto Arizona............................................................. Maria M. 18. Haiti: The Forgotten Community............................ Amana B. 20.

Poetry...................................................................... Josue G. & Kadejah J.

Nia Swag



Ruth S. is a 16 year old who attends Benjamin Banneker Academic High School. She personally likes to to eat everything, but preferably Arepas; a Venezuelan traditional dish. Also she likes to hang out with her friends and walk around the mall. She likes to draw portatits play the violin, and swim. She has 3 sisters and 1 brother. Her favorite place in the world is Italy and she is from Venezuela and is 5’5.

Maria M. is a 16 year old who attends Benjamin Banneker Academic High School. She loves to eat pasta and during her free time she likes to watch T.V., jog, and eat. She has yet to find her talent in this world and has 1 sister and a brother. Her favorite place in the world is Barcelona, Spain. She was born in El Salvador, but raised in the District of Columbia. She is 7’1 and proud!

Claudia M. is a student at Benjamin Banneker High School who is 17 years old. She is from El Slavador and loves american and mexican food. She has 2 brothers and 2 sisters. Some of the things she likes to do in her free time is talk on the phone, go shopping, and hanging out with friends. Her favorite place in the world is El Salvador and she is 5’4.

Bianca M. is a student at School Without Walls High School who is 17 years old. She is from the Dominican Republic and El Salvador. She loves to eat Chipotle, barbeque ribs, and fried chicken. She has one little sister. She loves to take long walks on the beach and to dance. Her favorite place in the world is Cuba and she is 5’2.

Josue G. is a student at Benjamin Banneker High Dennis L. is a student at Don Bosco Cristo Rey High School who is 17 years old. He is from the United School, who is 16 years old. He lives in Washington States of America. His favorite fast food place is D.C. His favorite place in the world is Japan. He loves Chipotle. He does a little bit of everything, but is to eat pasta and loves to draw. He plans to make a very comical. His favorite place in the world is one profit out of drawing. He has 2 little brothers and is of the seven wonders in the world. He has 2 brothers 5’6. and 1 sister and is 5’7.


Nia Swag

wag a Swag Kadejah J. is a sudent at Benjamin Banneker High School who is 14 years old. She enjoys the three P’s: Pizza, Pasta and Pie! She enjoys sleeping under her colorful strip comforter and eating out often. Her favorite places to eat is Chili’s because of her peculiar taste for steak and shrimp. She loves to shop when she can afford in. Her talent is to be very social and motivate others. She has four sisters and one brother. She loves to visit Jamaica because that is where her parents are from. She is 5’ 2.25 inches.

Michelle G. is a sudent at Benjamin Banneker High School who is 16 years old. She lives in Washington, DC and her favorite place in the world is the beach. Her favorite food is pizza and snickers bar. She loves to listen to music and go out with friends and family. She has 2 sisters and 2 brothers and she hopes to be a predestrian in the near future. Her parents are from El Salvador and she is 5’2.

Nicole G. is a student at Benjamin Banneker High School who is 14 years old. She lives in Washington, DC and her favorite place in the world is the mall. She is outgoing and a usually happy person. She loves to eat pizza and cheesecake. Her favorite place for cheesecake is Cheesecake Factory. She loves to to text on her cellphone and she has 3 brothers and 1 sister. Her parents are from El Salvador and she is 4’11.

Nia Swag


“Thats so gay...!” By Claudia M. We hear those who find something to be weird or that they don’t like and come to say “That’s so Gay” words that for some people may cause laughter and others an offense. “That’s so Gay” is used by many who do not take into consideration the thoughts of those who are gay, lesbians, or bi’s. Yet when those who use this around people who are under this sexual orientation may not know that they are a gay, lesbian, bi, etc. and continuously use it near them. We see that these groups of people, seem to be separated by those who aren’t the same as them. We have those people who are against the gay’s, bi’, and lesbian’s, so these people come to go to places where they all could be without being disturbed like their own clubs. We have this conflict between those who are heterosexual and homosexual that separates people within a community. Yet there are those who may support them but yet are not under this circumstance and want to support these people because everyone deserves to be living a free life and have their freedom of will, but there still are those who believe a man was made for a woman and that it shall be that way and therefore cause what we have today the choice of having gay marriages in certain states and cities. Now it’s up to you a part of this community to see if we would use such word’s that may cause a disturbance for those who are gay, lesbians, or bi’s because when you say “That’s so gay”, do you realize what you say? Photo by Kadejah J.


Nia Swag

Why is it wrong to refer to the gay community as “fags” or “faggots”? By Claudia M. & Michelle G.

In a literal since, faggot is a bundle of sticks branched together used for fuel or as a torch. Most people do not know this of course. In Europe during the burning days, gay man were either burned or used as fuel when there were no more faggots (sticks) to burn witches. The word suddenly appeared in the United States referring to homosexuals. So, is it okay to acknowledge gays as “faggots”? Certainly to those of the gay community it is not. In fact, it’s an insult and can be very hurtful. The word “faggot” touches on a time period where gays were burned alive on sticks. Not because they did something wrong, but because they were gay. I know that there are different views of the gay community, and that’s the truth of the world today. But is it okay to hurt those who are gay? Just because you disagree with the idea of homosexuality, does not mean it is okay to show hatred and absolute disrespect with this word. When you call someone a “faggot” it almost telling that someone they should be burned like the brutal past that homosexuals had to face. It is also important to remember that when you call a homosexual a “faggot” you not only hurt them, but their families and friends.

Nia Swag



By Ruth Sauls


Nia Swag

Consumerism is the theory that an increasing consumption of goods is economically beneficial. This immense dilemma could result in inflation. Society is using brand name products with out being aware of the struggles to produce the hundreds of expensive brand names. All the brand clothing and shoes originally take $4 to $10. Then the sell to other countries and those who bought it from India, Sri Lanka, etc, sell it for $150 to $250. While consumption has of course been a part of our history, in the last 100 years or so, the level of mass consumption beyond basics has been exponential and is now a fundamental part of many economies. Luxuries that had to be turned into necessities and how entire cultural habits had to be transformed for this consumption. A well known example of this increasing consumption and its associated impacts is the use and promotion of consumption by children. Kid’s markets are enormous and there are many products and foods geared towards children. From many perspectives people seem to observe that kids are being increasingly influenced by commercialism. Issues relating to consumption also affect environmental degradation, poverty, hunger, and even the rise in obesity that is nearing levels similar to the official global poverty levels. Political and economic systems that are currently promoted and pushed around the world in part to increase consumption also lead to immense poverty and exploitation. Much of the world cannot and do not consume at the levels that the wealthier in the world do. Indian “slave children” were found making low-cost clothes destined for GAP. “According to one estimate, more than 20 per cent of India’s economy is dependent on children, the equivalent of 55 million youngsters under 14 (www.” This is happening all around the world, especially in small countries.

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transexual LGBT

So what exactly does “LGBT” stand for? Each letter in “LGBT” has a different meaning. The “L”, which stands for lesbian. The “G”, which stands for Gay. The “T”, which stands for transgender and the “B”, which stands for Bisexual. The term “LGBT” has been used for about 19 years now. There are many complications and insecurities with people in the “LGBT” community. Some of these insecurities are shown when trying to “come out”. What exactly does “coming out” mean? Coming out is when you begin to accept your sexuality or gender identity and start to talk about it with others. Other insecurities that are notice are not being accepted by family. This leads to a distance relationship between the ones they love. Another major problem is they are not accepted by religious groups. Many churches do not accept or support the idea of gay marriages. Here are some interesting statistics you may be interested in: · Students who describe themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered are five times more likely to miss school because of feeling unsafe. 28% are forced to drop out of school.

By Nicole G.

· Due to sexual orientation discrimination, lesbians earn up to 14% less than their heterosexual female peers with similar jobs, education, age and residence. · As many as 7.2 million Americans under age 20 are lesbian or gay.

· 45% of gay males and 20% of lesbians experience physical or verbal assault in high school; 28% of these young people feel forced to drop out of school due to harassment based on sexual orientation. There are multiple organizations here to help with any problems within the “LGBT” community. Whether she or he needs help to come out or just needs someone to talk to.

Take this poll 1. Do you judge people based on... a. their personality b. their appearance c. their style

b. Banana Republic c. Hollister d. Vans

3. Do you think everyone (LGBQT/ Races) deserve the right to be happy?

9. Color means to u....? a. society b. art c. race d. power

2.Are you stereotypical towards... a. Latinos/Hispanics b. African Americans c. Caucasians

5. How do you feel about the gay community in the DC area? 6. Do you make your purchases based on... a. brand b. price c. material

8.Your life effected by.... a. style b. race c. society d. beliefs

10. What does social justice mean to you?

7. Based on these brands, which one would you prefer to buy? a.Nike

Nia Swag


STEREOTYPe: a cartoon

illustrator Dennis L. Colorist Claudia M.

!!!! Y A OW



Health Care By Maria M.

Health Care is about the most important factor in any Americans life now days, but the only problem is receiving it. The United States is the only developed nation that does not have a comprehensive national health care plan for all its citizens. About 50 million of America’s 300 million people are without health insurance. The government provides coverage for the poor, disabled and elderly, but most Americans rely on private insurance, usually received through their employers. However, not all employers provide insurance and not everyone can afford to buy it on their own. With unemployment rising, many Americans are losing their health insurance when they lose their jobs. That is not the only problem that is occurring. One of the main problems is that large amounts of America’s population are immigrant families or minorities. Many of these people have families here and only some members of the family are covered by insurance. With many sicknesses going around it is hard for people not to get sick. Therefore it is necessary to have health insurance. In this case social justice issues arise. Some illegal immigrants are able to benefit from healthcare insurance but others although they pay taxes with used social security numbers are not able to receive it; many citizens of America believe that because they are deprived of their eligibility for healthcare even though they pay taxes then immigrants should not be able to receive it either: “they are getting all the health care they will ever need and then some. Thanks to us the tax we cannot get health care unless we pay out the rear for it”. ( imm.html) While some disagree others agree that many of those people despite their immigration status should be provided with healthcare.

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The Arizona SB-1070: Fair or Unfair?? I never knew how big immigration was of an issue until I saw the recent passage of the Arizona Immigration Law SB1070. This law that has officially marked the Hispanic community to be targeted and discriminated against has caused a stir in the heart of many Hispanic communities. Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona signed the nation’s toughest bill on illegal immigration into law on Friday, April, 23. Its aim is to identify, prosecute and deport illegal immigrants. The law gives local and state police the authority to stop anyone, anywhere, to demand proof of citizenship based only on“reasonable suspicion.” In Arizona, “reasonable suspicion” of being an undocumented immigrant means being Latino and speaking Spanish. The bill also lets citizens sue government institutions for not enforcing immigration law aggressively enough. One needs to show proof that they are a resident or citizen if one is Hispanic on a “reasonable suspicion” given by a officer but I can honestly say that living in D.C has taught me better than this and that many police will be judgmental and will accuse many Hispanics not by “breaking a law” but by their actions, physical appearance and more. That is putting a stereotype on the Latin-American community. It will provide a way for “racial-profiling”. Just a few years back, African Americans were fighting for their right to vote, their right to attend an all colored school and the right to be free but now it is the fight of yet another group. They say we’ve come a long way since the discrimination but this is just a form of doing it legally it really does

By Maria M.

make me sad what the State of Arizona is doing to its Hispanic Community because you say this is for every alien but we all know it directly attacks Hispanics. So I’m guessing that brown skin is now a cause to be arrested. How is this different than when the Jews were asked to wear numbers and carry identification cards? President Barack Obama stated that the Arizona Law threatened“to undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans, as well as the trust between police and our communities that is so crucial to keeping us safe”. What offends me the most is the simple fact that many politicians say this law will lower crime rates and provide more jobs, while yes it may provide more jobs I still do not see how we take charge of the high violence rates. This controversial law has outraged many people and hurt a whole community. Have you ever heard “Don’t judge a book by its cover”? I remember this phrase was told to me in fifth grade by my English teacher because I was a picky reader, and still am. I believe that this applies here “don’t judge a Hispanic by their appearance”. Hispanics have contributed a lot to the American community and I believe that this is not the way you pay back someone who has helped your nation prosper, it’s unjust.

Nia Swag


: i t i a H gotten r o F The ry t n u Co

“L’Union Fait La Force” ---“Unity Makes Strength”

By Amana B

In thirty five seconds, a student can become a drop out, an unemployed man can become employed, a woman can become pregnant, and a human being can die. In Haiti, in merely thirty five seconds a devastating earthquake struck the country. On January 12, 2010, an earthquake of a 7.0 magnitude struck Haiti leaving three million people in need of emergency aid, and a nation in need of help and strength. Quickly, the news of the earthquake spread throughout the world, and relief efforts began. Immediately there were relief programs that asked for donations across the world.

Worldwide, presidents and representatives of governments made statements on what their country would do in response to the Haiti earthquake. For about two weeks, the media showed pictures and reported stories from the earthquake. Celebrities, radio stations, and internet social networks encouraged people to donate money. However, soon new scandals and news took the attention away from Haiti. Haiti was forgotten from the averages person’s mind, as Haiti was forgotten many times before the earthquake. Before and after the earthquake, Haiti remains

to be the poorest country in the western hemisphere with 80% of its population under the poverty line. 54% of the population is living in abject poverty. Haiti, a poor country, may not have a stable economy; however it has a rich history. Haiti was the first black republic to declare independence in 1804. Since then, Haiti has barely overcome the problems that have been caused by interference from other countries and revolts in its own land. Haiti has struggled and needed assistance; however, their cry for help was shunned away from the media. Many ask

what will happen to Haiti when the camera lenses are closed and Haiti becomes forgotten again. When Haiti was in the public eye millions of dollars and relief was sent. People who had little gave and people who were with abundance donated. However, it has been months since the earthquake and Haiti still needs help. Haiti is not mentioned in the news and the Haitian people have been forgotten once more. However, this time there can be change. On January 12, 2010, the world tuned in to Haiti and felt a sense of responsibility. The media was a major factor for people who

were made aware and donated. The media can play their role again and remind the world that Haitians are still struggling. It takes more than two weeks to build a nation up. The donations and organizations like the Red Cross have dramatically helped Haiti, but there is more to be done. Shelters need to be built, Haitians need financial assistance, Haiti needs assistance in preparing for Hurricane season, and important services such as the health care system need to be restored. In thirty-five seconds a person, can text HAITI to 90999 to donate $10 to Haiti. In thirty five seconds,

a person can go online to visit websites such as the Red Cross, UNICEF, Yele foundation, and the Salvation Army to donate money or their time. In thirty five seconds, a life can be saved. In thirty five seconds, a doctor in Haiti can receive necessary materials. In thirty five seconds an orphan can reunite with their family. In thirty five seconds a nation can be remembered and many lives can be saved. What will you be doing in the next 35 seconds that is more important than saving a life? Think about it.

Poetry I walk with them. Speak the same language as them. How and why am I different from them? I see what they see. I hear what they hear. But in terms of memories I think of fear. Even though I feel and am the same. I’m different. I look at my hands and I see the difference. I am who I am and that makes me different. By Kadejah J. & Josue G.

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Nia Swagg  

Nia Swagg is the youth designed magazine for CentroNia. In it's third incarnation Nia Swagg is moving forward and gaining momentum.

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