LA GENTE NEWSMAGAZINE
Colita De Rana
Si No Sanas Hoy, Sanarás Mañana
The Reality Behind Astro-TikTok, Spiritual Growth, and a Sense of Self: A Q&A with Rozie Ramati Lesley Ramirez
La Gente Staff Recommendations for Self-Care
Reflections in Yoga
Burn it Down
We’re All at a Distance
Fundación Teletón: a Makeshift Mexican Hero During COVID
Karim Hyderali Isabella Poma
Sana, Sana Playlist
Emilia Acevedo Corona
It’s the Little Things
Espy de la O
Front and Back Cover Art Ruth Chincanchan
Janet Elizabeth Rivera
La Gente Newsmagazine is published and copyrighted by the ASUCLA Communications Board. All rights are reserved. Reprinting of any material in this publication without the written permission of the Communications Board is strictly prohibited. The ASUCLA Communications Board fully supports the University of California’s policy on non-discrimination. The student media reserve the right to reject or modify advertising whose content discriminates on the basis of ancestry, color, national origin, race, religion, disability, age, sex or sexual orientation. The ASUCLA Communications Board has a media grievance procedure for resolving complaints against any of its publications. For a copy of the complete procedure, contact the publications office at 118 Kerckhoff Hall @ 310-825-9898
Sana, sana, colita de rana. How can we translate this saying to non-Spanish speakers? How can we ever capture the consolation it brought us when we fell and got hurt? How can we capture the warmth we felt when our loved ones kissed our heads and told us we’d be okay?
Sana, Sana came about in a staff discussion regarding growth and healing. As we encounter different issues every day, we want to value the importance of consolation, healing, and growth. We fall, we get pushed, and we cry at our bruises. However, the support of like-minded individuals is something we can rely on. We aim to highlight not only the hurt, but the healing as well. We sat and asked ourselves: How do we grow and come to learn more about ourselves? How has quarantine made us face what we are like when we’re alone? How do our communities move forward together? How can we remain hopeful that things will change? Now more than ever, we found that the most important thing to us was recognizing that growth has no destination and there is no book teaching us how to move forward. We don’t have all the answers, but we do have the space to discuss what matters to us and our loved ones. The space to come together and grow together. This issue is the byproduct of talented writers, poets, editors, artists, designers, etc. coming together to share how our communities are forever growing. To the La Gente staff: you are all amazingly talented. Your thoughtful and creative minds are what keeps us moving forward. Your golden energy is medicinal as we navigate a tough year. You are what brings us comfort in discouraging times. We recognize that healing and growth takes time. We recognize that everyone heals in different ways. We recognize that our communities have been repeatedly hurt in recent years. We highlight the pain, the growth, the moves being made to heal, the difficulties of trying to survive. We hope that this issue serves as a reminder that: Si no sanas hoy, sanarás mañana. Con Amor, Angela Vargas Editor-in-Chief
editor’s editor’s editor’s note note note 2
colita colita de de rana rana
by Kevin Bernal-Rivera
Artwork by Haven Jovel Morales
There once was a small remote pond that flourished for generations. All types of aquatic life lived in relative harmony. That was of course – with the exception of the frogs that battled for power and ruled with impunity. They took, they withheld, they controlled.
With his final desperate plea, Phyoretic exclaimed, “My lineage has been known to assassinate those unworthy and has created allegiances to those who aid in times of need!” Gered jumped at this opportunity, and proudly yelled, “Exterminate Droghain, and you shall share my spoils until the day you die!”
Then came the years of drought. Slowly, the pond shriveled up and death became the only certainty. Soon, only the three most powerful frogs remained: Phyoretic the Perilous, Gered the Graceless, and Droghain the Draconian.
Before Droghain had time to realize what happened, Phyoretic leapt up and stomped him into the ground. A quick and painless death, but one that put fear in the eyes of Gered. He realized the disadvantage he was at now.
Each frog owned a section of the pond and sought to lengthen their own survival. Droghain stockpiled food and refused to share. Gered possessed land in the most shaded region of the pond. Phyoretic had no advantage of his own: he held no food and had land in the sunniest section. Fearing his demise, he attempted to make separate deals, but to no avail.
“If you could have taken our resources that easily, why didn’t you take them earlier?” asked Gered. “Well, it’s simple really,” said Phyoretic. “I needed to see which
of you two was the most desperate to survive. The least desperate was not long for this world, better for them that their life was taken quickly and –”
following nightfall. Phyoretic understood that his only means for survival was to find another pond before morning. He ventured out of the safety of his shriveling kingdom and began his search for an aquatic paradise. After hopping for hours and using camouflage for protection, he soon found himself near a pond.
Gered, interrupting him and realizing the peril he was in: “Since I promised an alliance, I will share my shaded land once you share your resources!”
“What luck,” he thought to himself. “My life will be spared and stories of my exploits will be passed down to subjects within this pond!”
Phyoretic scoffed at this idea. “Deals are for the weak, and you’re in no position to offer anything to aid my survival,” said Phyoretic. “Your wickedness serves me no purpose as an ally and for your treasonous act of calling for the death of another frog, I sentence you to a slow and painful death!”
Just as he took his final leap into that deep blue pond, a large garter snake grabbed him with its mouth. This garter snake took its time working the frog into its stomach. Phyoretic desperately tried leaping and pleading, but his efforts were ineffective. Just before reaching the snake’s stomach acid, he heard the sound of rain hitting the ground. Drawing his last breath, he cursed mother nature for her cruelty and died as wickedly as he lived.
As the days passed, Gered pleaded and pleaded, but Phyoretic refused to help. Soon, Gered weakened from starvation and floated up to the surface of the pond. As soon as he reached the surface, a great big heron swooped down and swallowed him whole. Just then, Phyoretic remembered the predators outside were much more strategic than frogs. For now, he took pleasure in finally controlling his own kingdom once and for all. All that was needed, was just a little bit of rain to ensure his survival. What he got was the opposite: a harsh sun that refused to surrender. That shaded region of the pond soon shriveled up into nothingness by the
Si Si No Sanas Si No No Sanas Sanas Hoy, Hoy, Sanarás Hoy, Sanarás Sanarás Mañana Mañana Mañana
by Alize Magaña
Lady Bird (2017) is a film that I love and hold very dearly in my heart — but one I can only watch once a year. Sometimes, it’s too painful to watch. I see myself, I see my mom, I see my friends, and it parallels the struggles of so many other Latine mother-daughter relationships.
Latine immigrant mothers demonstrate their profound love with their sacrifices to their children — though it can also be used as a tool of manipulation, one that instills guilt and expects unquestioned obedience. This can be toxic and traumatic for children of immigrants who feel the weight of these sacrifices. There are gendered expectations as well: Latine daughters are often expected to fulfill the stereotypically feminine duties of taking care of the home, other siblings, and having “ladylike” behavior.
Lady Bird is a coming-of-age movie about a young girl struggling with relationships with boys, her friends, but most importantly, her mom. Lady Bird’s relationship with her mom is beautiful, sad, and honest. It reveals the pain behind a strained mother-daughter relationship, pain that is both unique and universally understood.
The culture of respeto for your elders and for your familia necessitates that these expectations are fulfilled, while simultaneously feeling almost impossible to do so. To be responsible for others’ meals, clothing, cleaning and space is not only expected, but enforced. They seem to be neverending and often require that daughters sacrifice their youth and autonomy in the name of respeto. Many Latine daughters feel as though they lack agency, a sentiment that doesn’t dissipate after reaching adulthood. Keeping close family ties and keeping the family intact is yet another responsibility imposed on Latine daughters. And it is not uncommon for daughters to feel restricted after they turn 18, the age at which you are a legal adult. However, for many Latine households, that number means nothing, and it can feel infantilizing and belittling for their children.
For many immigrant Latine mothers and daughters, this pain is often rooted in cycles of intergenerational trauma. The painful experiences of mothers who have left their homes in search of better opportunities for their families are extremely courageous and honorable. However, these experiences also become sources of trauma that their children must learn to sort out for themselves. I am extremely grateful for the sacrifices my mom has made in order for me to succeed. Sometimes I wonder, could I ever be as brave as her? Would I ever be willing to sacrifice as much as her? This is something me and many of my Latine girlfriends have struggled with. How do you overcome the guilt? How do you attempt to live up to the expectations of someone who gave up everything for you to succeed? How can I ever repay
her mother’s sacrifices, and so on bears heavy on our shoulders. Similarly, other Latine women share these mother-daughter dynamics. It is important to look inside these strained Latine mother-daughter relationships and understand how these traumatic experiences can affect future generations of women. These traumatic experiences come from struggle, from pain, and contribute to the need for real emotional support. They cause heartbreak and tension and can be difficult to understand at times. The expectations of being a dutiful daughter often means bearing the consequences of these traumatic experiences and feeling overwhelming guilt for the sacrifices made. But through these experiences and these intergenerational relationships, there is love and resilience at its very core. Although I worry I may never overcome the guilt of the sacrifices made for me, I feel extremely proud of my mom, my grandma, and all the women in my life who made it possible for me to be where I am today.
For daughters especially, a lack of agency over romantic relationships and social outings can be particularly frustrating when reaching adulthood. Access to therapy and emotional support is not only hard to come by for low-income immigrant families, but it is also frowned upon in a Latine culture that is dominated by machismo. For immigrants, achieving the American dream is entirely about pulling yourself up by the bootstraps, a dream that cannot be held back by emotions. For daughters of immigrant mothers, there is less need to push those emotions to the periphery. However, the attitude about being emotionally vulnerable remains. This can unintentionally lead to emotional abuse, generating a cycle of toxicity and troubled relationships. Not allowing Latine daughters to express themselves honestly and freely can be a huge strain on mother-daughter relationships. By using guilt as a tool for manipulation, it is not uncommon for mothers to say ya lo se, yo soy una madre horrible or other similar statements when their children try to express their grievances with them. This makes it especially difficult for daughters to process their emotions since they are expected to maintain close ties to their mothers, but it can be difficult to feel understood when you don’t feel you can be honest with them. The weight of my mother’s sacrifices,
The reality behind astro-tiktok, spiritual growth, and a sense of self A Q&A with Rozie Ramati by Lesley Ramirez
Artwork by Haven Jovel Morales
Rozie Ramati is a UCLA fourth year transfer American Literature & Culture major who recently blew up on the social media platform TikTok. With over 173k followers and 3.6 million likes, Rozie shares her knowledge of astrology and love of music on her profile. In her first video to receive over a million views, Rozie shared her feelings of astrologer “imposter syndrome” that have come as a result of her TikTok career. She explained that she was afraid to share what she knew about astrology after studying it for the past ten years because she was wary of people’s judgement. However, due to the large amount of misinformation she saw spread by other creators, Rozie felt urged to share what she knew about astrology and spirituality.
and spirituality. What is spirituality? How did your journey begin? Rozie shared that spirituality is something gradual, as opposed to a spontaneous enlightenment. She remarked that, as a whole,“we are inherently spiritual people” and that “we can uncover more parts of our spiritual self.” Ramati emphasized that we should be wary of seeing spirituality as “magic” and aggrandizing because spirituality “is just how things work.” She shared her mantra of “everything definitely happens for a reason” and reiterated that in the end, “there’s a lesson to be learned in every situation.” Rozie credited her journey thus far and her “huge spiritual awakening” to the sports-related injuries that once seemed like major obstacles in her life.
In an interview with Rozie, we delved into her background and what led her to become involved with astrology and spirituality. As a Santa Monica native, Rozie was born to a Mexican mother and Jewish father and grew up facing familial pressures to pursue higher education. In an effort to be recruited by colleges, Rozie joined the rowing team her junior year of high school and practiced synchronized swimming for 7 years, even competing on a national team. Unfortunately, this all came to a halt after experiencing multiple sportsrelated concussions. The abrupt stop to her athletic career pushed Rozie to branch out and explore other interests such as learning to play the ukulele and guitar, teaching herself how to sing, and yes— starting her journey into astrology
How can we grow spiritually? Rozie’s advice is to begin by “accepting that there are going to be really tough times,” and to know that, “you have to keep building yourself back up again and again no matter what.” Rozie confirmed that “there’s always going to be obstacles,” but it is best to face the obstacles for goals that will make you happy. Hard work became a recurring theme in our talk about reaching life goals and Rozie shared that, “spirituality can help with that.” To reach personal life goals, shadow work – a spiritual aspect – must be something that you build upon. Shadow work, Rozie laid out, “is confronting things that you don’t want
How much is within our control? When asked this question, Rozie made sure to note that it is important to remember that “astrology does not necessarily define where you’ll end up,
Rozie Ramati Photo by Sophie Ramati
or who you’ll be, nor does spirituality. You define that yourself.” Astrology is an added tool to help you visualize your potential, “but it doesn’t set anything in stone.” However, astrological placements can still be beneficial. An example Rozie shared is that “some people may have favorable fame degrees, but they won’t be famous and that might be because they didn’t believe in themselves, or because they didn’t pursue fame or didn’t want fame.” No one’s destiny is permanently written in the stars and ultimately, “it really just depends on what the person wants out of their life and how their placements can serve them.” What about manifestation? An example of how much control we have is seen in the practice of manifestation. Rozie explained that for her, manifestation led to a boost in self confidence. Rozie claimed that “this past summer I was manifesting heavily in a journal, every single day for a month. If after that month I feel a little more confident in myself and my abilities, then I will only manifest around new moons.” Rozie shared her guide on how to manifest and included reasons for why it is extremely promising: “You manifest around new moons, because they are new beginnings. How I manifest is by saying things like ‘I am’ and ‘I have’ actively in [my] life. Also before you start manifesting… [you] always write down what [you] are grateful for. [Gratitude] is very important before you start asking the universe for anything. You don’t want to ask for
Artwork by Haven Jovel Morales
to confront, like your ego or trauma.” It goes without saying that you will not see positive fruition with spirituality alone, “you have to put in work before you can really get anywhere” especially if “you want to get somewhere good.” Rozie asked that we take a step back and begin with addressing our present selves. To work on your spiritual growth, she suggested that everyone should “be grateful for where you are now.” Rozie used her social media platform growth as an example. In the beginning, she was not actively pursuing a career nor did she have a large audience— “before I even started gaining a following on Tik Tok, I was practicing gratitude for the life I have right now… because I knew that if I’m grateful for my life now, I will definitely be grateful for my life later.” In full transparency, she shared “of course it’s hard to be grateful every step of the way… but any obstacle along the way will make [you] stronger.”
anything really, you want to say ‘this is my reality,’ and then it becomes your reality. Another really important thing that helped me tremendously was positive affirmation. Saying these things out loud. They help, they work, and they will become true. [Another key is] being specific and general at the same time. Never ask the universe to bring in a specific person. Manifesting people is not the best. Instead I would say manifest your ideal partner, if you’re looking for something romantic, or your soul tribe– people that resonate with your soul. Try to keep it general so the universe has room to bring it into your life. Things will happen unexpectedly, like I had no idea I was going to blow up on TikTok due to astrology. I could never even fathom it because for so long people had ridiculed me for my interest in astrology and tarot and spirituality. So the fact that it’s what people want from me now– for the most part– is kind of crazy. But yeah, manifesting changes your life completely.” The Saturn and Jupiter great conjunction of 2020? Rozie stated that the Saturn and Jupiter great conjunction of 2020 helped solidify any new projects that people had begun. “I started working on music around that time because I really wanted to focus on my following to be a music and astrology balance,” shared Rozie, “that actually ended up working. I started doing a series where I covered songs that reminded me of certain placements. Those started blowing up.” Rozie’s first musical video to blow up was an FKA
twigs “cellophane” cover, which received over 153k views and 43k likes. She’s since learned that it’s easier to receive 100 thousand likes on an astrology video than a cover, but claims that “there’s no brain that goes into those. Usually it’s a random signs video, but when it comes to music and covers I get so overwhelmed and cry.” Soon after that cover, Rozie started to get recognized for her voice and music alongside her knowledge of astrology. The balance in recognition between the themes, she said, “really shook me,” and Rozie credits this to manifestation and starting the new project around the great conjunction. Upcoming astrological periods to look out for? Rozie shared with certainty that there will be two eclipses in the future— Sagittarius and Gemini— and “depending on where that falls in your astrological chart, [it] defines the degree of impact
F F A ST CS! RE
GO FOR A WALK “Being in nature really calms my mind. Sometimes there is no time to actually be in ~nature~ so going for a walk around the neighborhood helps. It’s grounding, refreshing, and - at times where every day is filled with endless mundanity absolutely necessary.” Melissa Díaz, Managing Editor
SING & DANCE LIKE NOBODY’S WATCHING
Late night drives
“Dancing is so liberating. It’s where I find and love myself the most.” Paulina Fernandez, Social Media Staff
“I love driving with no destination, just some Starbucks and my favorite tunes, it allows me to reflect and sometimes not think at all but just be.” Rebecca Gonzalez, Web Manager
MEDItATION “Box meditation: breathe in for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, breathe out for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds. Repeat as many times as needed.” Lesley Ramirez, Spanish Writer
ZOOM HANGOUTS “Talking to my school friends gives me a sense of normalcy and keeps me from feeling completely isolated.” Marilyn Chavez-Martinez, Radio Staff
DO YOUR NAILS “Looking down at my nails and having such a small thing look so put together helps me feel put together as a whole person, even if I look like a mess and haven’t done anything all day.” Emilia Acevedo, Spanish Writer
yoga “By taking a few moments to just breathe and stretch, I focus on where I am in the moment and ground myself instead of letting my anxiety run wild.” Ashley Huendo, Spanish Writing Editor “Yoga allows me to move my body and release tension and stress.” Haile Arriaza, Social Media Coordinator
step outside your routine “...life may get boring doing the same routine. Have some time available to do something spontaneous or exciting for a day to practice self care!” Jonathan Valenzuela Mejia, Spanish Intern
reflections reflections in in y yoga oga by Janet Elizabeth Rivera Reflect back, it’s March 2020 and your world is now all on a screen. You’re on Zoom making sure you’re muted and you’re at a good angle (or your camera is turned off), while being told to “just concentrate”. Then, anger consumes you because of the perpetual injustice to Black people and lack of accountability by and to the nation state which infuriates you even more. Then, your professors or colleagues make it harder to adjust by ignoring these topics. Grappling with this new reality is grueling because of the unrealistic expectations to adjust innately and with little to no resources. You may have a space where issues are discussed head on to hold the U.S. accountable and raise awareness about injustices, but these topics begin taking a toll on your psyche and body. For me, that space was an Education course I took during the spring quarter of 2020.
phenomenal person, a brilliant and inspiring scholar and educator. She is a powerful yoga instructor who introduced me to the seamless connection between yoga and education. Weekly, she never failed to instill yoga in some form, whether it be a breathing exercise, small meditation, or end of the quarter yoga session. Des emphasizes, “Yoga is a practice. There is no goal, there is no prize at the end. The reward is the mental, spiritual, and physical benefits that YOU experience. It’s a consistent practice.” She always reassured us that we should make the practice suited to our own bodies. My first experience with yoga was comforting as it is powerful and stays true to the person. It doesn’t ask for over-exertion, it meets everyone’s mental and physical capabilities and never asks for more. This genuine consideration to help people is what makes it powerful. Harsh experiences can manifest in our body. Yoga centers around taking a moment to listen to your body. Listening helps us indicate what our body is experiencing and how these practices are helping
My TA Destiny (Des) McLennan (Instagram) offered space to not only discuss class material, but also reflect on everything happening in the world and to us. Des is a Black woman, a
these manifestations dissipate. When I first tried yoga on my own, I felt the manifestations of pain from events but later felt the alleviation of some of those feelings.
are not mutually exclusive and “yoga is a philosophy.” To hear more about personal experiences regarding yoga as a practice for people of color, more specifically for Black women, I asked Karina Halliman, a senior at the University of California, San Diego, about her relationship with yoga. In January of 2020, Halliman was diagnosed with leukemia. When asked about her diagnosis she stated, “Diagnosis and treatment took a toll on me so I began therapy. I was recommended to find ways to move my body. Yoga was a low impact way I could move my body and feel grounded. After finding a great yoga instructor I was hooked. Through practice, I have found it has helped me more than just feel better physically.”
Yoga helped me take a breath and served as a reminder to myself that I am worthy of time and care. After slowly incorporating yoga into my life, I realized yoga is transformational, and I would like for it to help persons of color. I saw how yoga can serve as a form of healing for communities of color who at moments may not want to speak about what bothers them and also might not have access to mental health resources. When asked if she would recommend the practice to other persons of color, Des shared benefits and addressed a concern some people have when beginning this practice stating, “Yes. It is so beneficial spiritually and mentally. With what communities of color experience on the daily, yoga would definitely help in unpacking and releasing anything negative. I find that many people of color don’t practice yoga because they see it as sacrilegious.” Practicing yoga and retaining one’s religious beliefs is doable, Des clarifies they
Karina also touched on the role yoga has in her life and the larger implications it brings. When asked “Is there a certain culture to yoga that is actively dismantled when people of color take this practice?” she said, “Absolutely, I want the stigma of yoga being only for skinny white women to stop. Everyone can do and benefit from yoga. You don’t need expensive yoga pants and equipment to do yoga. All
Artwork by Karina Arenas
it takes is making the time for yourself to do it. White people have capitalized on Eastern practices that I myself am having to unlearn. When I first became aware of yoga, I was taught it was a low impact workout… unaware that it is a practice with history and culture.”
me about yoga and a great resource for finding culturally competent yoga instructors.” Before the pandemic, depression and anxiety were leading in diagnoses for mental health conditions in the United States. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 1 in 5 adults reported symptoms that fit the criteria for being diagnosed with anxiety. Now, a growing pandemic plagued with constant uncertainty and isolation forced us to take closer looks in the mirror to reevaluate relationships with ourselves and self-care. The World Health Organization defines self-care as “what people do for themselves to establish and maintain health, and to prevent and deal with illness.” Prioritizing self-care is necessary. While carving a time that feels right helps, it is difficult as the grip of capitalism forces us to put our needs second while subjecting our bodies to the labor market for immediate survival.
Yoga is socially known as an “elitist white activity” and is popular in mainstream media amongst affluent, suburban, white women. However, yoga was created by people of color centuries ago and like many things, was appropriated. Anuradha Kowtha’s piece, “Decolonizing Yoga for People of Color and the Trope of the White Yoga Teacher” speaks about the colonial realities and original traditions of yoga and shares how people of color can really benefit from this practice. Kowtha explains how people of color exponentially reclaimed yoga after it was once prohibited. Although starting yoga may be intimidating for beginners, Halliman shares: “Find a yoga teacher that doesn’t put unrealistic expectations on you. Some yoga instructors’ videos I have watched do very elaborate movements and make it look easy when it is not! That can make it feel inaccessible. Jessamyn Stanley (Instagram) is who I recommend for everyone. They give alterations for movements and let you know that some moves you won’t get on the first try or even the second, that’s why it’s a practice. Jessamyn gives detailed steps on how to do the movements that I haven’t seen many instructors do. The podcast ‘Yoga is Dead’ helped educate
To understand if yoga is feasible during the pandemic I asked Halliman about personal feasibility, to which she responded, “I find yoga helps me step away from the overstimulation of screen time and provides me the ability to move my body when I am at my computer and the couch most days. It has also given me a space to make time for a good friend of mine. We schedule time every week to do yoga together over Zoom. It helps me stay accountable to keep going.”
These tough moments made undeniable demonstrations of how capitalism runs rampant withoutcaution to our bodies, so I wanted to highlight Halliman’s favorite yoga pose “Shavasana.” She elaborated how “you are laying on your back with legs and arms spread out, taking up space. A very vulnerable pose as you’re that open. I am able to absorb the movements I had done in my practice and be completely still for a moment in time and be present in the moment. Taking up space reminds me that I do not need to make myself small… and it also makes my back feel really good.” A yoga style Des recommends is “Yin” which she describes as “a practice Shavasana Pose Photo by Alex Fuentes
that is very different from the more traditional styles... It’s grounded, meaning you stay on the floor most of the time. It has three defining characteristics. 1. Cold relaxed muscles. In Yin, you want to relax your muscles as much as possible because we’re working past the muscles into the fascia (connective tissue). Putting stress on our fascia allows joint lubrication, which increase joint mobility, flexibility, and range of motion. 2. Long holds. In Yin we hold poses for long periods of time because that is what stresses the fascia. And 3. A commitment to stillness. So, once you find how the shape works for you in your own body, you want to commit to stillness.” Yoga is a practice that meets you wherever you’re at and is a practice that is flexible with what you want and are able to do. Capitalism, as Karl Marx explains, removes the autonomy we have over our bodies and places it in the control of corporations who manage us for the sake of accumulating wealth and power. Yoga is a form of pushing back against capitalist norms to preserve the agency we have over our bodies. Reclaiming the bodies we did not know we were ever out of touch with is instrumental, and our reflections are essential to how we move through the world and the boundaries we set. As persons of color, it is important for us to assess our bodies frequently as we are socialized to just keep going, hecharle ganas, and push forward. This is a reminder that you are worthy of rest and care.
by Karim Hyderali
CW: Violence, Self-Loathing, Animal Death
Burn it down Burn it to the fucking ground Let the ashes of yesterday wash away as the heavens mourn for all that is lost and all that is made As I journey through the forest of introspection, I see it all through various perceptions Perspectives from my former selves that still dwell within this cursed land I stared at the pitch black sky and wondered why the stars have faded I looked up and slowly watched as the heavens grew dimmer A rustling behind me, I sensed that it was one of many of the God forsaken sinners that haunt this space As I turned around, a murder of crows looked into my soul and fused as one As I realized who it was, I froze and immediately felt tears flow Tears of sorrow, tears of rage, tears for when I allowed you to let my soul decay Regret for all of those that you forced me to push away I reached in my pocket and found an obsidian knife I charged and cut deep, but this crow was not ready to lose its life Slash after slash and cut after cut, the murder dispersed and as my rage created flames, None of you bastards managed to escape But still, my journey continued as I walked through the valley of trees Frightened by how the beauty of this forest has been replaced by misshapen branches and discolored leaves As the journey progressed, I stopped for a drink However, the blood of this forest is now much like this dried up creek As I painfully reached in for droplets to quench my thirst, I sensed another evil presence, one who has a widespread curse I looked up above me in the trees and spotted the silhouette of an ape One who has absorbed enough darkness so that there are no more distinguishing traits
I call it out by its name, and it swooped down from the trees Although I could not see its eyes, I could sense it looking right through me I froze as it began to mock me and imitate my every move And all I could ask myself was, do I look like this too? As insecurity began to flood my mind, I dropped to the floor, and it dragged me to the edge of the creek Before my eyes’ murky water began to fill this empty abyss As I began to see my reflection, I once again felt your kiss Disgusted by the sight I had seen I closed my eyes, yet your comments continued to persist However, eventually having enough, I demanded you be dismissed I stood up and turned around, and without thinking, I tackled you to the ground As I overpowered you, you began to shrink But before I could adjust my grip, you slipped away faster than I could blink As you escaped into the trees I knew what had to be done I pulled out a match and dropped it onto the dry and barren grass Let the flames run rampant so that you have nowhere to hide, may the inferno cause you to depart from this life As I walked away from the flames and moved deeper into the forest, I began to sense the greatest of all evils that curse this realm I began to move slower and slower to remained undetected However, I knew eventually you would sense our strong connection As I stared back up at the night sky hoping for guidance, You pounced from the shadows and dug your claws deep “Wasn’t that impressive?” You proudly asked as you began your narcissistic speech As your voice grew louder and louder, my ears started to bleed Prideful lion, always so eager to take the lead For you are the ruler of this forest and I can never amount to what you want me to be Yet your speech rambled on filled with lies and deceit I realized that you were just a mere cat caught up in the heat
Artwork by Karina Arenas
We wrestled, and I managed to get you off of me And when you readied yourself to pounce once more I dodged, you missed, and when I saw the look on your face, I knew you were pissed How could a mighty lion like you fail to attack its prey? Pounce after pounce, I managed to evade every single attack As you exhausted yourself, I could see your eyes fade to black As you began to weaken, my knife turned into a spear I launched it while you were dazed, and I purged you from my inner fears
As you struggled to take your last breath, you boasted about how you will never allow me to retake my place And as your life began to fade, your body suddenly was set ablaze Consumed in your pride, your anger at your failures caused you to die As I neared the end of my journey, I looked back and felt the power of the conflagration Rid this forest of all dark energy that has corrupted its former self I looked up at the sky and saw the cosmos begin to relight Suddenly three orbs zoomed across the sky As I entered the cave that separates my reality from ours, I was greeted by three noble beasts Oh mighty phoenix You have risen from the ashes and found a new purpose May your resilience and fiery soul revive this forest to what it once was And allow the sun and stars to once again shine so bright Oh harmonious chimp You have turned your insecurity into confidence May your expressive and emotional soul revive this forests spiritual connection And revive the animals which had roamed these lands before it was conquered by the wicked Oh ferocious jaguar You have turned your pride into valor May your fighting spirit revive this forest and restore its great power Protect our lands from ever once again turning sour So let it burn Burn it all down Burn it all to the fucking ground Let every ounce of darkness fade until it is incapable of rebound And once it’s over, let the rain wash away every bit of flame Never again will darkness have this forest to claim
by Isabella Poma When we were told to stay home because of the coronavirus on the headlines of news stations, no one expected the turbulent and unprecedented year we would face. Students looked to 2020 with hope and optimism. The new decade symbolized hope for an era of accomplishments and national unity. I don’t need to tell you this was an idealistic and inaccurate perception of what 2020 would bring. But why did the virus affect many of us so negatively? And why is it that we crave to go to a classroom? Even prior to COVID-19, plenty of university students turned to the more affordable and convenient onlineeducation option. In 2015, a Slovanian study attempted to better understand the individualized virtual learning environment. Researchers set up an online learning platform for a classroom where students would complete projects. Apart from assignments, the platform contained a Semantic Annotation and Indexing Service, which connected students to external learning sources, such as discussion forums, posts, webpages, and posted documents. It also contained a Resource Recommendation Service that generated a list of recommended
online resources within the system. The platform was based on Moodle, an online service similar to UCLA’s CCLE. Results indicated that students who were more active in forum postings improved their academic performance. There was also a positive relationship between quality of social interaction and academic success, suggesting that the stronger student relationships were, the more work improved. Lastly, as student satisfaction with utilizing an online tool increased, academic success decreased. So, as students
became well-versed in using
the platform to complete assignments, it seemed that academic performance worsened (Bele et al., 2015). This is especially applicable to our current predicament where we continue to predominantly use online learning methods. It is clear that even if online learning is available, we must maintain interest by seeking relationships with peers whether through social media or reaching out in discussion forums. We can then feel connected and improve the quality of our work in the classroom.
and lower risks of mental illness. In addition, relationships are essential for our health because they create psychologically safe spaces for us to learn and explore (2015). Unfortunately, we are now obligated to begin many of our friendships on the internet, and they may not hold these same benefits. Ludwigsen stated that the internet “has been negatively regarded for… absence of physical cues and personal interaction; resulting in lack of depth of emotion and interaction” (2015). While it has not been widely researched, we know that seeing someone through a screen doesn’t feel as genuine as in-person experiences. Luckily, the internet does provide the means to connect with people of common interests, build a support system, and foster a sense of community. It’s no wonder that we were lost on how to deal with interactions and friendships while social distancing. We either isolate from others completely or reach out through video calls, counting the days until we can meet.
Apart from online education, online relationships are as relevant as ever. Catfish, a TV show created in 2012, focuses on couples that date virtually without ever meeting in person. Kimberly Ludwigsen of Widener University, wrote a dissertation on “The impact of the internet on
University students, especially firstyears, had a new challenge in front of them coming into 2020. Sean Lynch, an editorial assistant and Yale graduate, states “a university possessed a special glamour, and as I grew older, I identified with this glamour with the infinite freedom to redefine myself--with the project of self-discovery” (2020). He admits that the university is not perfect, and it comes with its own challenges, but nevertheless, many students long for the full campus experience. There
relationships.” She stated those with strong social connections had fewer stress-related health problems Artwork by Haven Jovel Morales
is a diversity of people, activities, and classes that you’d be exposed to at every turn. He continues that for many of us, classroom conversations that would continue into the hallway or dining hall don’t occur, and interactions with a peer ends with a decision to leave the meeting. Aside from the changed campus, there are also disparities in our academic experience. Some students find quiet rooms in their homes where they can tune into a lecture on time. However, many others are in class between 12 am to 8 am with a sleeping family. Others have younger siblings who will cry unpredictably during their final exam or presentation. Colleges, like UCLA, keep this in mind when offering housing, but it is impossible to know and prioritize every student’s difficult home situation.
by Hunt that public concern on mental health has been rising as collegeaged students are overwhelming counseling centers. This could interfere with overall effectiveness of mental health centers across the country. Additionally, Wiesbrot and Ryt reported that evidence prior to the pandemic suggests that there has been increased mental health difficulties under our current health crisis (2020). This results from the sudden changes in our atmosphere as well as the turbulent, uncertain political climate. Many Americans of all ages are struggling with mental health and attempting to find contentment while we hope to find a new normal. UCLA students are not alone in this hope, and there are some means of keeping a positive outlook and making the best of our circumstances.
In the wake of these changes, it is no surprise that mental health has been worsening in students and adults. In “Social Problems in the Age of COVID-19,” Hunt states, “The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that nearly one in five adults in the State have a mental illness” (2020). While less than half of adults received mental health services in the past year, that percentage lowered for young adults who are 18-25 years old. She also states that nearly “17 million adults and 3 million adolescents had a major depressive episode in the last year” (Hunt 2020). It is clear that mental health is a major concern especially during the COVID-19 era. What is most applicable for current UCLA students is the remark
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advocates that when coping with disasters or trauma, selfcare is effective in easing our minds. More simply, we must take care of our bodies, connect with others as much as possible, take breaks from our day-today lives, stay informed while avoiding excessive news-watching, and seek help when necessary — even if virtually (2019). These are straightforward tips, but it is useful to keep them in mind. We are all dealing with daily changes in the best way we know how, but there are ways to find hope and happiness even in the smallest moments. I encourage you to find what promotes relaxation and community in your life.
Listen to the playlist here!
by Emilia Acevedo Corona
A Makeshift Mexican Hero During COVID Forbes Mexico.
When talking about heroes, one usually thinks of Marvel and DC characters, war icons, important politicians, and other famous characters. One does not traditionally think of foundations and organizations built and run by normal people. Fundación Teletón has been a national hero in Mexico and a source of pride for Mexican society, earning recognition from many Latin American countries since its foundation in 1997. It is the world’s largest non-profit foundation for children with physical disabilities with rehabilitation centers all throughout the country, including a cancer hospital and an autism center. During the pandemic, not only did they continue to do their daily rehabilitation and treatment activities remotely, but they also offered their infrastructure for the Mexican government to use as hospitals to treat COVID patients as well as other vulnerable communities, free of cost.
their technology so that our health professionals and therapists could remotely provide therapy for their patients and continue their patients’ rehabilitation.” -Rossana Corona, Teletón Adjunct CEO Founded 24 years ago, Fundación Teletón has since built 24 rehabilitation centers throughout Mexico and have treated more than 454,000 people since 1999. In order to raise funds for their operation and maintenance, Fundación Teletón holds an annual fundraising event that is streamed on live television by Latin America’s largest mass media company, Televisa. This event maintains at least 1 million people watching the 17-hour-long event at all times, according to the Teletón board of directors. “Fundación Teleton has a very important role in Mexico, and it has been supported throughout many years by large international
“Fundación Teletón adapted
companies, such as Microsoft, DHL, Aeromexico/Delta, Unilever, CitiBanamex, and Toyota, among others.” -Rossana Corona
Fundación Teletón managed to make the best out of a situation that presented a difficult challenge to the entire world. What seemed like a daunting task— teaching patients’ families how to carry out remote therapy— somehow Excélsior. empowered the families and allowed them to actively be a part of their children’s progress. Teletón’s therapists and doctors were committed to making the Excélsior. challenge of remote therapy work, some even taking additional training to be fully equipped to handle the extraordinary circumstances.
Teletón’s mission statement is to “raise the quality of life for children with disabilities, autism, and cancer by promoting their full inclusion” which they seek to do by “building an inclusive country and being a leading organization in the field of disability, autism and cancer.” They achieved their objective more than ever when faced with the biggest health emergency since they were founded over two decades ago. In the midst of a global pandemic, Teletón provided for the country by truly serving in the best interest of the Mexican people, both for victims of the COVID pandemic, as well as for their regular patients. “Some of our facilities became temporary covid treatment hospitals, and other centers were made available to receive patients for non-COVID-related conditions, allowing for more room in hospitals for covid patients… Teletón also provided families with groceries to help them through a very difficult time, as well as turning a hotline, that was originally meant for donors, into a hotline to answer calls inquiring about COVID and to provide help from health professionals to people who suffered from COVID-related anxiety and stress.” -Rossana Corona
After contemplating cancelling their yearly fundraising event, Fundación Teletón concluded that it could not be called off since the foundation’s operations are mostly based on the donations received from the general public year to year. The annual fundraising event, typically the main
source of donations, consists of stories that narrate the journey of a patient and the impact that Teletón has had on their lives, along with entertainment from TV series, reality shows, and musical numbers. Woven among the stories and the entertainment, there are sections where Mexican celebrities call on the public to donate and remind the audience of why it is important that they achieve their donation goal for the evening.
state of the national economy. Everyone was surprised when the Mexican people participated more than ever and donated more than anyone could have hoped for, raising 380, 679, 601 pesos (19, 184, 539 USD).
Prior to the event, challenges are held which invite the public to become involved with Teletón by working towards a common good. Some of these challenges include environmental work, the promotion and showcase of traditional Mexican regional and folkloric dance and cuisine, and physical exercise events such as inclusive scuba diving for people with and without disabilities and a wheelchair marathon! Each challenge has a goal, whether that is a certain amount of miles traveled on a bicycle or the amount of people that joined in recycling, and once the goal is reached, a company related to the challenge makes a significant donation to Teletón.
“We felt so humbled and thankful for the greatness of the people’s generosity. There was enormous hope… people let go of their own problems for a day, and instead chose to help others.” -Rossana Corona
Teletón became the light at the end of the tunnel for the COVID-ridden Mexican people, achieving its ultimate goal— uniting the country and generating inclusion and empathy.
Fundación Teletón has been, from the beginning, an advocate for inclusion, empathy, and generosity, and has become an active example of these values. It has fostered unity within the country, acting as an undercover bandaid for a nation broken by the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite not having muscles, a cape, or being part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Fundación Teletón is a real-life superhero. One that never fails to rise to the challenge, or lose sight of their mission: making a real difference.
The challenges and the event itself would typically have been in person, however, in 2020, Teletón adapted by carrying out remote participation from the public, as well as modifying the event’s production. Their biggest challenge was the expected significantly lower influx of donations from the people due to the complicated
To watch this year’s Fundación Teleton campaign, click here To watch the transformation of the rehabilitation centers into hospitals, click here
by Espy de la O
In the dark stillness of my room, my thoughts tend to consume me, and it is then I realize I no longer know what to make of my life amid a pandemic. When I look at it from afar, I want something exciting and grand. Not ‘exciting’ in the sense that living through a pandemic should be, but exciting in the sense that I want to be drawn in and utterly consumed by the little things in life. Waking up to my dog licking my face, playing another game of Among Us with my siblings after their insistent begging, turning in an assignment that I pushed away for ‘later.’ But when I look closer and think of the exhaustion pulling away at my flesh and bones after staying up all night finishing that assignment I put off, I think of how much I’m missing out on. The little things simply aren’t enough.
melancholy. It’s not that staying home was an issue, but it was the sudden loss of everything stimulating that I was having trouble coming to terms with. I like going to school, I miss seeing my friends in the classroom, I miss stopping at 7-Eleven for candy and soda and walking to the theater a few blocks away to catch the last showing of a low budget horror film. I liked flipping through books in the library and wishing there was brighter lighting in the hallways because it could get awfully dark once the sun slipped low in the sky. To me, those weren’t little things. They were the big moments that made up my life and they were suddenly gone. All of them. Suddenly I had nothing to look forward to, nothing to distract me. I didn’t know who I was or how to act without those things to rely on.
At least, they certainly didn’t feel like enough before the quarantine. Looking back, I’ve realized now that they were the only things to get me through it. When the first stay-at-home order was issued, everyone turned to gardening, painting, cooking, and more. All I had was my overwhelming sense of
I began to question everything I had thought to be certain. Did I like going to school or did I like seeing my friends? Why did I always go to the theater if I never liked any of the films they showed? Why hadn’t I gone to the library more if I was always so
productive when I was there? It was a confrontational period for me and in some ways, that confrontation never brought on resolutions.
UCLA one morning in the summer of 2020. I was nervous with anticipation and wondered if I was good enough for this school that I had only stepped foot on twice in my life. Opening up Zoom and logging into that very first class, going over the syllabus, and meeting people that I had no way of knowing would become very important to me in the future was the first time I felt truly excited about something since quarantine had started. It wasn’t just that UCLA had been an unattainable dream until I was accepted, it was about shaking off the dirt and the grit of my sadness and making something of the opportunity I had been given. It was about implementing a new mindset in which I would finally learn to appreciate the small gifts life has to offer.
I realized there’s so much of me that comes from everything I take in from the outside world. Like many of us, I relied on external sources to shape an internal understanding of myself, not just from the people I used to interact with daily, but from material objects that would catch my attention as well. People, places, and things would instill an intimate curiosity in me, creating a transcendental, artistic plane I could only hope to reach through a detached sense of appreciation. I long to experience this again, to see a handcrafted jar, a sculpture carved from the dark thickness of clay, brown eyes staring up at me from a long lost painting. Despite their stationary stillness, my mind brought them to life. When they were taken, I suddenly felt like I had lost a big part of myself. Friends too, the ones who practically lived in museums, galleries, coffee shops, bookstores, the ones who lived for the times they would get to retreat to their little corners of the world, all felt this loss of identity.
Artwork by Haven Jovel Morales
I finally felt like I had found my little corner of the world again when I started
I tried applying this mindset to everything I did. Logging onto Zoom wasn’t just about clicking a link, it was about gaining access to a world I had never before been privy to. Reading a syllabus was learning about the innerworkings of the professor’s mind. Being put into breakout rooms allowed me to establish deeper connections with classmates that I would otherwise only have insignificant fleeting conversations with. Doing this allowed me to make connections about the world around me and appreciate them from a fresh perspective.
the next. I need the ability to create happiness with the little things that come my way. In this strange floaty world composed of college and quarantine, in this space between the things that were so important to us back then and the things we turn to for alleviation of mundanity now, in this pocket of time that feels like a neverending waiting game, it is so easy to lose sight of what matters and of who we are. Are we the words exchanged in a conversation with friends, the books we choose to read outside of class, the plants poking up through dark soil that we’ve been gardening for several months? My answer to that is that who we are consists of everything we choose to do with our time. Yes, it may not seem ‘exciting’ or ‘grand’ at first, but they don’t have to be. They just have to be enough.
This newfound appreciation turned into something even greater. Suddenly it wasn’t about the slippage of one day to the next, it was about discovering what made each day different. One day I decided to rearrange my desk so that potted plants could bring life to my workspace with a fresh and earthy feeling. Another day I indulged in a giant bag of Cheetos and a bowl of fruit loops during class with the camera off. Some other times we watched George Lopez in class and discussed our critical commentary in the chat. This personalization and adjustment into these new, exciting things felt like I had finally settled into my mid-quarantine life (and quarter-life crisis). These things make me realize I don’t need to depend on movie theaters and 7-Eleven or dimly lit hallways to make me happy. I don’t need the reassurance of the outside world or the structured schedule of going from one place to
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