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journal of excellence / fall 2017 / volume 8

standing rock jesse nuese yaker textbooks and boxing rings christina sterling

the things i’ve been told

Dakota Access Pipeline, known around camp as the

black snake.

Carousel reed

Editor in Chief:

Alisha Nikodemus

Photo Editor in Chief:

Jonathan Hidalgo

Art Director:

Michelle Laramie

Contributing Editors:

Christina Sterling Claudia Tena jessica Harner Genesis Webb Carousel Reed Shavanna Beardsley

Photo Editor:

Joseph Robertson

Assisting Photo Editor:

Hao Lai

Faculty Advisors:

Kristi Strother, Journalism Chair Lisa Erickson, English Professor Douglas Ekstrand, Faculty MGD

special thanks to:

lincoln phillips, FACULTY ART mark broyles, FACULTY Architectural Technology

Mission Statement The Star, Community College of Denver’s student run Journal of Excellence, incorporates visual and written media to provide a platform of expression available to all CCD students. We adhere to Associated Collegiate Press guidelines.

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Editors Note Our Final Thoughts On This Edition.

editor in chief, alisha nikodemus


Creativity. Innovative Minds. Strong Ideas.


Communication. Staying on the Same Page.

Hopes for our Readers

They Will Be Inspired to Tell Their Stories. They will Show the World Their Talent.

photo editor in chief, jonathan hidalgo


Raising the Bar. Changing the Meta. Paving a Road for the Future.


Uniformity. Finding the Balance.

Hopes for our Readers

They Will Capture the Moments. Their Perception Will Break Walls.

Thank You We would like to specifically thank our editors for their hard work, dedication, and creativity. Additionally, we would like to give a special thanks to Kristi Strother and Lisa Erickson for their mentorship, support, and guidance throughout the editorial process this semester. The entire editor team is grateful for the continued support we receive from faculty, administrators, and especially from our biggest supporters Christa Saracco and the President of CCD, Dr. Everette Freeman.

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8. 14. 20. 26.

cheap or just cheapened alex hopkins

reducing implicit bias and discrimination in the united states jill porzio

inside colorado public radio with nathan heffel katherine lepree

standing rock jesse nuese yaker

socializing versus social media: smartphones in traditional bar culture krystn powers

the things i’ve been told carousel reed

fighter roberto alba and editors

textbooks and boxing rings christina sterling photography by roberto alba

34. 42. 46. 50.

by alex hopkins, ccd alumni


entering the Domo, I was greeted warmly by a mother-like hostess; she doted on me as I was the first patron to enter the restaurant. She immediately asked if I’d been to the restaurant before, and if I had any dietary restrictions, such as strict vegetarianism. I found this quality extremely accommodating. The Domo has a cabin home appeal to it, and as soon as a you enter the dining area, roars from the kitchen

I noticed that the prices were average for a lunch fare, which is not something I expected for authentic Japanese cuisine in Denver. I assumed the dishes must be tiny due to the more affordable prices. I was wrong, when my entrée of House Teriyaki Salmon came to the table. Although the use of a lunch tray was not aesthetically pleasing, it boasted the question; how else could you get this copious amount of food delivered to you? I first ordered the Edamame Appetizer with Cajun salt, it was delicious, but as with all edamame, it was not warm for long. This did not matter, as by the time

it so quickly; I even debated on ordering another right then and there, so I could savor its deliciousness another time. Food quality for its price is unparalleled to any other Japanese restaurants in the Denver area. For an appetizer, entrée, three sides included, and a soda, I spent $20 and still ended up leaving with leftovers. It is not often that one can find mouthwatering dishes at low prices. Even though the character of the restaurant was compromised with the ‘gimmickyness’ of it, the exceptional food alone stands to be reason enough to continue to visit the Domo. Next time

There were several flyers dedicated to t-shirt sales, or other charities that they donate to, asking patrons to donate as well. These advertisements, though small, indubitably took away from the atmosphere that had been so lovingly established. erupt, reminding a reminiscent feel of relatives in your home kitchen gearing up to prepare a love filled meal. The minute you walk into the dining room, it’s as though you’ve entered a calming Japanese forest, complete with log seating and tables, setting you up for a calming and relaxed experience. Interestingly, the ambiance is slightly Cracker-Barrelesque as there are eclectic collections of teapots and small hand painted Japanese style Russian nesting dolls, perched upon window sills that face the award-winning garden. I was seated facing the window on both visits, as it was too cold to sit outside. I didn’t get to enjoy the garden, housed in a courtyard. I was however delighted to be able to take pleasure in the serenity of the view. fall 2017

it started to cool down, my meal was delivered. And I was excited to eat. As I sat chewing, and taking in the entire experience of the restaurant, I noticed small distractions from the aura of serene Japanese forest grove. There were several flyers dedicated to t-shirt sales, or other charities that they donate to, asking patrons to donate as well. These advertisements, though small, indubitably took away from the atmosphere that had been so lovingly established. The ads basked the overall experience with a cheapened feel, demeaning the ambiance of the intended Japanese style in The Domo. Despite the depreciated feel and the low prices of the cuisine, the food was delectable. The Teriyaki Marinated Salmon left such an exquisite taste on my tongue that I knew I would be back. I devoured

I go, I plan to sit outside, and perhaps they can redeem the dream of the serene Japanese feel it was hoping to maintain. the positives: Delectable dishes that will ‘bargain more than a bang’ for your buck. the negatives: The CrackerBarrel like atmosphere detracts from The Domo’s traditionally intended ambiance. DON’T MISS: The house teriyaki sauce, no matter your meat selection, this sauce is the perfect amount of savory and sweet to indulge your taste buds. Details: If you are a strict vegetarian or vegan, this is not the restaurant for you. Be sure to check out the garden at least once! THE DOMO IS LOCATED AT 1365 OSAGE ST, DENVER, CO 80204. THE LUNCH HOURS ARE 11:00 AM TO 2:00 PM AND DINNER IS 5:00 PM TO 10:00 PM; OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK.


artwork by guillermo andazola


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artwork by sena bryant

In 1965, Martin Luther King Jr. said,

“I can see nothing more urgent than for America to work passionately and unrelentingly to get rid of the disease of racism.” by Jill Porzio OUR COUNTRY HAS THANKFULLY OVERCOME SOME OF THE violent and more blatant discrimination we saw in the 1960’s, and we have become less tolerant of such explicit prejudice and stereotypes in our society today. Despite these changes, we continue to see discrimination strongly affecting many individuals’ basic human rights. This is often seen through an implicit bias, an unconscious or indirect prejudice one has towards a specific group of people depending on race, gender, or culture. I believe that by creating and promoting more interaction and communication between diverse groups in our country, we will continue to break down these barriers, dilute negative perceptions caused by implicit bias, and finally rid this country from the disease of prejudice and discrimination that plagues it. The implicit association test (IAT), developed by three scientists in 1998, is largely used by researches, and claims to measure a person’s implicit bias through a course of pictures. It is believed the response time between seeing these pictures and hitting the correct key associated with that picture somehow relates to our implicit bias in real life. I noticed when I participated in the test myself my response time increased as I became more comfortable and familiar with the pictures being shown. They (the creators of the IAT) are presuming the cognitive thought given to hitting the correct key to be an implicit bias. I feel this is a dangerous assumption that might increase implicit fall 2017

bias by having people focus on differences, rather than effectively work towards decreasing those perceptions. I participated in the test twice, receiving different results each time. Because of this, and the numerous factors that could influence the response time, I found this test completely irrelevant and ineffective at providing any real change in prejudicial behavior. Many people feel that implicit bias, or unconscious attitudes towards others, does not affect our behavior. Although I do not believe the IAT test to be an accurate measure of implicit bias, I do believe implicit bias influences stereotypes, which then leads to prejudice and discrimination in our society. An interesting article, Intergroup Disparities and Implicit Bias: A Commentary, discusses the findings of a study examining the disparate outcomes resulting from implicit bias. Through this study, they found large inequalities resulting from implicit bias, leading to heightened racial and gender prejudice in our legal system, health care, and employment opportunities. These biases directly affect the health, livelihoods, and basic human rights of minorities in our country. Numerous studies have shown the incredible disparities regarding the inequality minorities face in our justice system. This increasing problem is discussed by the National Research Council in, The Growth of Incarceration in the United States: Exploring Causes and Consequences. The authors thoroughly discuss 15

I believe to create an effective and dramatic change in our society; we simply need to become more familiar with each other.

the racial bias seen in our prisons and throughout the judicial process, and how this has continued to affect our country. A group called The Sentencing Project is working diligently towards changing our perceptions about crime and punishment in our country through education and community involvement. The group is directed by Marc Mauer, a well-known author who is considered an expert on bias shown against minorities in sentencing procedures and our criminal justice system. Many of the alarming facts and statistics posted by The Sentencing Project are taken from a study conducted by the National Research Council. The Sentencing Project and the National Research Council’s study show the implicit racial bias and disparities affecting minorities throughout the criminal justice process, and how our sentencing procedures are counterproductive. I believe to create an effective and dramatic change in our society; we simply need to become more familiar with each other. A study was done with the idea of improving explicit and implicit bias with positive interaction between diverse groups in, Reducing Implicit Prejudice by Blurring Intergroup Boundaries. The change in perception that comes from seeing similarities rather than differences, creates a better understanding of each other, reduces implicit bias, and is shown to decrease stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination. We are often unaware of the implicit bias we have towards others who we feel are different from us. These unconscious thoughts and feelings often lead to stereotypes, which results in the discriminating behavior that continues to profoundly impact our country. As a society, we continue to struggle for equality and the basic human rights we are all entitled to have in this country.

It is time we change our perception as a society, and as Americans, to lead by example and show the world how to fight for each other, not against each other. References: Fisher, E. L., & Borgida, E. (2012). Intergroup Disparities and Implicit Bias: A Commentary. Journal Of Social Issues, 68(2), 385-398. Greenwald, T., Mahzarin, B., & Nosek, B. (1998). Implicit Association Test. Project Implicit. Copyright 2011 Project Implicit. Hall, N. R., Crisp, R. J., & Mein-woei, S. (2009). Reducing Implicit Prejudice by Blurring Intergroup Boundaries. Basic & Applied Social Psychology, 31(3), 244-254. King, Martin Luther, Jr. (1965). Oberlin College Commencement. Oberlin Alumni Magazine. 61(6). August 1965. Copyright 2014 The King Center. National Research Council. (2014). The Growth of Incarceration in the United States: Exploring Causes and Consequences. Committee on Causes and Consequences of High Rates of Incarceration, J. Travis, B. Western, and S. Redburn, Editors. Committee on Law and Justice, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. The Sentencing Project. Copyright 2017 The Sentencing Project.

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artwork by daniel ferry


arrowhead by jonathan hidalgo


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wait by roberto alba

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Inside Colorado Public Radio with Nathan Heffel By Katherine LePree DURING MY VISIT TO COLORADO PUBLIC RADIO (CPR), I discussed the field of journalism with Nathan Heffel, host of Colorado Matters. Heffel has excelled in journalistic work for about a decade and believes his path in this profession has been rewarding to date. We shared a conversation, which provided a magnified look at Heffel’s past and present in journalism, as well as some guidance for journalism hopefuls.

What initiated your professional path into the journalism industry? I came to radio; it was really where I entered into the journalism field. It wasn’t like I went and did a newspaper or things like that. I did some stuff with WLFM at Lawrence [University], which was a student-run radio station. Getting into fall 2017

journalism came out of my first job in radio at KYGO [Denver], the country station. I was working on the morning show with Kelly, Mudflap and Jojo. But there was a woman, Simone, who was their newsperson and she needed some help in the morning; and so I started to work with her, putting together newscasts. She had access to AP news, to CNN news, all this access to all these wire reports…so she really helped me to start to design newscasts and understand how that worked. When I moved into my next position, I was able to bring that skill on board: After KYGO, because I went to KUVO, which is the jazz station here in Denver, I worked as an unpaid intern for about a year or so. Then they brought a show on called The Takeaway, by Public Radio International. It’s a news show and they wanted to debut it in Colorado, so they chose KUVO to do it. My boss was like, “You seem to know what you’re talking about, you’ve got a

pretty good understanding of world events, and you can do a newscast. Let’s throw you in there and be our news manager.” So I worked with him and we basically created the local breaks for The Takeaway in Denver, which was my first real attempt to get into the news aspect of things. I was an on-air host with Carlos Lando, and then I was also kind of a producer in the background. That was really the first step I took from what I was doing at KYGO… to really getting into the news aspect of it.

When you spoke on radio for the first time, what was it like to hear yourself? Not nearly as ‘cringeworthy’ as some people think it would be. I loved it. It was like, this is so cool! I’m on the air! It was electrifying. 21

What do you enjoy most about the news industry? It is always changing. There is always news. Even on a slow news day, when we’re in the office and there’s “nothing happening,” there is something happening. There’s always a story to tell. There’s always a piece of information that we can find that will lead to a bigger story. I love that. I have a passion for that, a passion for finding the stories that people haven’t heard yet, or if they heard they haven’t heard it in this way. I love the research I get to do, I love meeting the people, and I love chatting with someone who I would never have chatted with on the street.


What do you enjoy most about your current position [ as host ] at CPR?

In your line of work, what makes a great story?

At least for an interview, we have to have something called What I love about this [job] “the arc.” Any story has an is that I’m able to have a arc – beginning, middle and conversation with people… end. A good has to be it’s like sitting down for a Colorado centric, at least for cup of coffee with a friend. our show. It has to actually Some of the interviews I do provide some sort of context are really intense. I did one for the listener. We wouldn’t recently about transgender just have Justin Bieber on rights issues and it was intense. because he’s in Colorado; there But the conversation still was, has to be some connection “I’m able to ask you a pointed there. It has to be compelling question;” “it’s not like I’m radio – compelling in terms attacking you;” “it’s not like I’m of, “I didn’t know that before” lashing out;” “I’m just saying, or “this got us thinking.” we’re in this conversation together;” or “I don’t get this. You need to answer this.”

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Tell me about a favorite story you have covered in your career. There’s so many. One of my earliest stories I did was I covered one of the final flights of the Liberty Bell B-52, one of the big World War II planes. This was so cool! I just had my press pass and I was like, “whatever!” It’s a horribly produced piece. I did it all myself…but it got to the fact that I was able to be with some of these final World War II veterans who aren’t alive anymore. And we actually took the plane. I actually have the sound of the plane turning over and the guy on the plane going, “I can remember dropping the bombs.” That’s one of my favorites because it was one of my firsts. I was testing my wings, no pun intended.

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What has been your favorite interview? It was just was about this class at Regis University called “Stories From Wartime,” and I interviewed two Afghanistan war veterans. The interview was taped and it got off to a really rocky start – they were uncomfortable, they didn’t get it. They were like, “I’m really nervous,” and “well, you know, war is tough.” They were being very – not cagey, but just – they weren’t polished at all. We took about an hour and 10 minutes to interview them. But through that interview, and probing of my questions with them, they opened up. This gentleman talked about his suicide attempts, seeing bodies and experiencing the drama of war. Just hearing that in his voice – how he got to the brink of suicide, or falling apart because of what he saw over there and how he’s trying to figure this out and figure his life out…the other gentleman as well, same thing. By the end of the interview, they were so casual and comfortable. They were talking about something they would probably never tell anyone else.

What advice would you give to someone trying to succeed in the journalism field? That’s a great question. I love that question. Just based on my experience, you’ve got to be willing to get your hands really dirty and be willing to work really hard for little or no pay. When I was coming up, I worked for a while without pay, I worked for a while with very poor pay and I worked for a while as a volunteer. You just have to always be willing to learn, always be open to learning something new and not think, “Well this isn’t how I learned it.” Well that doesn’t matter now; this is how we’re teaching you to do this. Be willing to make mistakes. Be willing to understand that sometimes, everything’s going to go really crappy; but there’s always success in that… and you will do that. Just be really open to that idea.



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photgraphy by irving martinez

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awarded best of article

One of the things that has always fascinated me about America is the multitude of different experiences that are contained within one country. A person who grows up in New York City will have a vastly different experience than one who grows up in rural Texas, yet we as a people are bound together by common human experiences.

by jesse nuese yaker I LEARNED THIS IN AN EXCEPTIONALLY VISCERAL way during my time in the military. An infantry platoon in the US Army is one of the most powerful examples of America’s strength through diversity, with men from all over the country from many different walks of life coming together to participate in the ultimate problem solving exercise, combat. I served as a paratrooper in the storied 82nd Airborne Division, a unit that has seen combat in every significant American conflict since World War 1. My platoon had Texan gunslingers, Missouri rednecks, and New York gangbangers. Our fraternity of blood contained Christians, Jews, Mormons, and Atheists. Crammed close together in foxholes full of mud and rain, it was not, perhaps, the multicultural politically correct utopia of liberal imagination, with jokes and jabs about race, religion, and origin flowing constantly. But underneath those barbs was the deep, unabated love of men who would lay down their lives in defense of each other and in defense of the American ideal that people should be able to live their lives according to their own beliefs. This was a group of men that were there for one another in any firefight, any breakup, any personal crisis of faith. We saw each other as Americans, paratroopers, and brothers first, rather than Republicans or Democrats. I joined the Army at nineteen fall 2017

and went to war at my country’s request at twenty. It would be these deeply transformative experiences that laid the framework for my personal belief in the American people. The US Army is a rigid hierarchy, with clearly defined rules, customs, and sharply drawn lines. Uniforms are standardized to the inch and Army values are shared and codified in creeds of every kind. You can meet another soldier, and regardless of gender, race, religion, or sexuality, you know how to treat that soldier based on the rank on his or her chest, the awards over his or her heart, and the patches on his or her shoulders. The military is insulated from society at large, having its own language and values. The mission comes first, before anyone’s feelings or aspirations. In this environment, the welfare of the group will always come before the welfare of one’s self. This sharply defined world is where I came of age, learning about my own capabilities and growing from a lanky teenager into a self-assured combat veteran and leader. When you grow up in this world, where doing the right thing is black or white, it can be easy to mistake the real world for being the same way. It’s easy to know you are on the right side when you are fighting the Taliban, who throw acid in the faces of young girls on their way to school, or ISIS, who has made their name beheading journalists.

I left the Army in March 2016, smack in the middle of one of the most divisive elections in our nation’s history. When I stepped back into this bitterly divided society, suddenly I no longer knew who was on the right side. I was unmoored in a strange world that I didn’t understand. Little things that would never have flown in Army life, like being late or dishonest, made me unreasonably angry. I had spent years going through life according to what I thought was a commonly accepted set of rules, but in the civilian world everyone lives according to his or her own code. The media whirlwind around Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, their drastically different sets of values and the tribalism surrounding them made it even harder to understand where I fit into this new version of America, a version that was so different from the one I had grown used to. After transitioning from a world where the needs of the group were put above the needs of the individual to a world that seemed to be losing its collective mind, I was desperately looking for something to believe in. I went to Standing Rock in search of something that was easy to believe in, a pillar of righteousness in a nation going mad. What I found instead was a swirling, careening, dystopian conflict that encapsulated both our nation’s best and worst qualities. What I saw on the news about Standing Rock appeared 27

straightforwardly wrong. A private corporation building a dangerous, leaky oil pipeline directly through a sacred burial ground seemed to go against a basic American creed that all people should be able to worship how they choose, uninhibited. The most alarming fact about the Dakota Access Pipeline is that it was originally planned to pass north of Standing Rock, not through any tribal lands, but close to the primarily white city of Bismarck, but the risk of oil spill was deemed too high, and as such, it was rerouted through land that belong to the Standing Rock Sioux under the Treaty of Fort Laramie. For hundreds of years, Native Americans have been marginalized and treated as less than, making it all the more shocking that in the modern age of 2016, they were still the target of injustice. I think about the rage I would feel if a private business were to build an oil pipeline through the middle of Arlington National Cemetery or the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall. We see photos of mass graves from the Holocaust and are horrified at the indignity of denying human beings a proper resting place. The places where


we lay our dead are places of reflection and remembrance. To deny a people the right to bury their sacred dead is to deny their very humanity. That this could happen in a country that declares all men equal is jarring and flies in the face of everything I have

There is a great and terrible beauty in America. We are a country that has beaten fascism in Europe, sent the first humans to the moon, and yet we are also a country that has enslaved people of color and practiced genocide on Native Americans. ever believed about my country. This sense of injustice, combined with my own personal, desperate search for a higher purpose outside of the Army, would lead me to North Dakota in the dead, numbing heart of winter. I didn’t have much of a plan, but I had a plane ticket and a duffel bag. Everyone on the plane was clearly headed for Standing

Rock. Veterans and civilians alike crowded into a plane that was full to the brim. There were men and women, veterans from every war, young and old, and the cabin bubbled with conversation. We landed in Bismarck and people were left to find their own way to Standing Rock, which was about an hour drive away. I hitched a ride with a professor of Native American studies who had the foresight to rent a car. Me and 4 other strangers piled into an SUV and headed out towards the camp. In less extraordinary times, the drive to Standing Rock could take fifteen minutes, but the police had shut down the northernmost road towards the camp, forcing would-be protesters to drive almost an hour to access the camp from the south. North Dakota is beautiful in the winter, full of rolling hills covered in snow. The reservation itself was bleak and poor. Small, rickety wooden shacks propped up with plywood sat on every corner, with broken down rusting cars and dogs on chains loitering in lawns. It was the most obviously poor place I had ever been in the United States. When I deployed to Afghanistan, I expected abject poverty, and it was easy to find.

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I starkly remember Afghan children running up a hill that we had just shot hundreds of bullets into, to pick up the little the bits of brass left behind to sell for scrap metal. People lived in huts made of mud, with little running water or electricity, and we often saw them bathing in rivers. I grew up comfortably in middle class America, so I had never seen poverty like this up close and personal, but I expected it, as I was in one of the poorest, war-torn nations in the world. Where I did not expect to find it, was in a beautiful, shivering corner of my own country. Wild but friendly reservation dogs were everywhere, loitering about. I spent a night in the gymnasium of a run-down middle school. The paint was peeling and everything was clearly built in the 1970’s or earlier. There were only 4 classrooms and none of them had windows. I reflected on my own educational past, full of artsy private schools and then later, a brightly painted, modern, suburban high school with computers in every room and a football field with crisp green grass and painted end zones. My youth was brimming with teachers, coaches and parents who encouraged me to

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be whatever I wanted. It was an environment that was fraught with typical youthful indiscretion but ultimately affirmed my worthiness to participate in the American Dream. Get good grades, go to school, contribute, I was taught. All the while, the

The Oceti Sakowin Camp is the main camp, probably the one you’ve seen on TV. Thousands of native people from tribes all over the world congregated there in opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline, known around camp as the black snake. facilities and resources represented a tacit endorsement of the idea that I was worthy of having society invest in my future. That was decidedly not the message sent by this school. This school personified neglect, down to the deflated basketball that sat stuck to the floor in a corner. Native American teenagers aren’t any less worthy of investment than

a white teenager in Wisconsin. The school struck me close to the heart, another wound to the body of my own romantic notions of what it meant to be an American and who was allowed access to the American Dream. The reservation was centered around a casino, the heartbeat of the local economy. We would eat breakfast there as it was one of the only places in town to get a hot meal. It was there I would meet a seventy-year-old Vietnam veteran from Boston named Dan. Dan drove to North Dakota by himself, sleeping in his car in order to stand up for what he believed in. He was a short, stocky man with one pierced ear, but he exuded kindness and warmth. I knew Dan for only a few days, but his perspective and example will be one I will never forget. He told me of a relatively young nation, gifted with great success and faced with epic struggle. The ever-present human flaws of greed and brutality will lead people to oppose the freedoms supposedly inherent to America, he told me, and there will always be a struggle, a spiritual warfare between the free people of America and those who would seek to undermine that freedom to suit their own greed.


There is a great and terrible beauty in America. We are a country that has beaten fascism in Europe, sent the first humans to the moon, and yet we are also a country that has enslaved people of color and practiced genocide on Native Americans. We carry will always carry these contradictions with us. Freedom is not promised. It is the responsibility of every new generation of Americans to continue to participate in this struggle, to hold our society and government to our founding ideals, and to ensure our children and grandchildren will live in a free, just world. The Oceti Sakowin Camp is the main camp, probably the one you’ve seen on TV. Thousands of native people from tribes all over the world congregated there in opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline, known around camp as the Black Snake. It was a frenzied, sprawling combination of green standard issue Army tents, RVs, airstream trailers and tepees. There were vehicles everywhere, trucks and jeeps, and even a coach bus stuck in the middle of the camp, wheels spinning free on the packed ice. Young Native American men


ambled about on horseback, ancient warriors juxtaposed with the high pitched modern whine of the surveillance drone hovering overhead. Cell phone service was sparse and people skittered to and fro, attending meetings on what to do if you were ar-

The juxtaposition between the new and the old, the traditional and the modern, was stark and in your face. rested, chopping wood, and cooking in communal kitchens. The juxtaposition between the new and the old, the traditional and the modern, was stark and in your face. Ford trucks were parked next to tepees, with ancient Native American flags standing next to Gadsden flags. Police in riot gear stared down old women in traditional Native American garb. I was struck by how many different kinds of people there were in the camp. There were hippies with bleached dreadlocks that fell past their waists and tall, broad men with shaved heads. One of the things

that made me the proudest was meeting fellow 82nd Airborne paratroopers from every war from Vietnam to Afghanistan, several of them standing out in the crowd by wearing our distinctive maroon beret. I met professors from universities all across the country, suburban housewives, veterans from every war, and Native Americans from every tribe and corner of the country. These people represented a nation’s collective conscience that was crying out, and the diversity of the people there ultimately represented one of the great strengths of our nation. On December 4, the US Army Corps of Engineers announced that the pipeline would be delayed in order to conduct more research on its environmental impact. I had only been in Standing Rock for a few days. The camp turned jubilant, with fireworks exploding in the air. A great victory was declared and Native Americans broke out into traditional song and dance. Cries of Mni Wiconi, or Water is Life, echoed through the night sky. The news had spread slowly through the camp, first met with skepticism and then with

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jubilation when the tribal leadership confirmed that it was real. All the veterans congregated the next morning at the casino. There was a ceremony conducted by tribal leaders blessing us and thanking us for our help. There were moving speeches and songs of victory were sung. With our mission over, and a brutal snowstorm moving in, the tribal leaders asked us to leave the reservation to allow for a de-escalation of the situation. I went back to Bismarck for 1 night before flying home. I ate at a Mexican restaurant run by a small family, and upon hearing that I was a veteran leaving Standing Rock, they refused to let me pay for my food. I realized the solidarity that this family of immigrants felt with the people of Standing Rock was rooted in the shared experiences and injustices that had been visited against them as well. The idea that the indignities visited upon the Native American people were not exclusive to them, but were parallel to the struggles of many people of color in America, was jarring. This revelation further accentuated the deepening rift

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between the country I believe in and the country I live in. Standing Rock and the injustices that occurred there represent a continuation of the brutal mistakes and injustices we have made and perpetuated throughout our history, but I

A great victory was declared and Native Americans broke out into traditional song and dance. Cries of Mni Wiconi, or Water is Life, echoed through the night sky. cannot ignore that the Veterans march on Standing Rock also stands for the values that make me so proud to be an American. Thousands of people from all over the country, people of every color and creed came together to stand up for freedom and against injustice. It’s the ability of our people to self-correct, to recognize when we are failing to live up to our creed, and then to spill sweat, blood and tears in order to live up to the eternal idea that all are created equal that gives

me eternal hope for our nation. 6 weeks after I left Standing Rock, and 4 days after he was inaugurated, President Trump signed an executive order advancing the construction of the pipeline. I vehemently disagree with this decision, and it serves as a reminder that our nation is far from perfect, and that there are Americans who face overt oppression within our borders. I also believe in the ability of the American people to make this nation a more just place in line with our founding ideals. The people of this country, from the paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne Division to the beatnik hippies of Standing Rock, have never ceased to amaze me with their compassion and grit, their openness and willingness to sacrifice for something greater than themselves. My view of America continues to change and grow, and while it is no longer the wide-eyed adoration of my youth, I still love it with the heart of a parent who hopes to see a wayward teenager grow into everything he or she are capable of. America is young and full of contradictions, but then again, so am I.



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blue haze by paola scharberg

fall 2017



the star

photography by jacob uftkes

by krystn powers PEOPLE HAVE BEEN BREWING BEER, FERMENTING wine, and drinking socially for millennia. From ancient religious festivals to medieval inns and taverns, to the bars, pubs, craft breweries and other tasting rooms of today, the act of people coming together to imbibe and share stories is timeless and has evolved into a culture all its own. In fact, bar culture is not only socially acceptable, but is also so socially ingrained that bars have become common backdrops and plot devices in countless stories across all different genres and types of media, from Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales to the television show Cheers and beyond. And yet, thanks to advances in technology, people no longer need to seek out common spaces in order to connect with one another. Telephones and the internet allow people to communicate instantaneously, regardless of physical distance. Social media websites allow users to broadcast thoughts, fall 2017

opinions, and experiences to a mass audience with a few clicks and keystrokes. Now with smartphones, people have constant access to the benefits of technological advances via the mini-computers they carry with them at all times in their purses and pockets. Smartphones link people and make them thoroughly accessible to each other through many different platforms. The ability to connect to others is fundamental to human survival, and technology has undoubtedly enhanced the ways in which people can connect to each other. The smartphone, in particular, is harmful to traditional bar culture because it distracts people from meaningful face-to-face interactions and stifles the banter that is pivotal to (and used to be so characteristic of) barroom discourse. My boyfriend compares being a regular at a bar to being a member of a church: bars are community places where people

find and make friends with whom they can celebrate in times of joy and upon whom they can lean in times of need and sorrow. Bars are places where people go to feel part of something bigger than themselves, and people choose bars instead of other public spaces because of the social lubricant that is alcohol. The thirst for alcohol, however, is secondary to the thirst for camaraderie. People primarily go to bars to seek out and enjoy the company of others. Or to put another way, “Sometimes you want to go/ Where everbody knows your name,/ and they’re always glad you came” (Portnoy). As a bartender, I cannot count the number of times I look down my bar and see that half of the people sitting there are staring at the tiny screens they brought with them rather than engaging with the people around them. So often bar patrons are more engrossed with the virtual lives of their friends on social media than inquisitive 35

about the people sitting beside them. They display more interest in the newsfeed on their smartphones than in discussing current events with their compatriots. While bar patrons may think that their social needs are still being met this way, they are missing out on the spontaneity that verbal discussion with another human being yields. By definition, socializing is not an individual activity, so for a person to sit at a bar and pay attention only to his or her smartphone is to demean the bar-as-social-space paradigm. To choose to focus on a selectively portrayed Facebook profile or a heavily edited article rather than hold a conversation with a fellow human is to deprive him or her of the rich variety of perspectives outside his or her usual fodder. It is to disregard the very forum that he or she sought out in going to the bar in the first place. Even when people do put down their smartphones and engage with each other, their pocket computers do not sit idle for long. People, rather, have their mobile devices ready to recall a trivial bit of information that reinforces one point that has


been made or disproves another. While the ability to gather facts and verify information is a positive skill, the immediacy with which it can be done often hinders a discussion from ever fully getting underway. Building on the idea that socializing is a fundamental part of bar culture and that person-to-person conversation can expand one’s scope of perspective, and allowing a conversation to unfold organically is paramount. The exchange of stimulating ideas and experiences, the desire to relate to another person or a small audience, and the satisfaction of immediate and revelatory feedback are the gratifying takeaways from barroom banter. If, as mentioned before, the desire for alcohol is secondary, then the need to look up facts and validate arguments is tertiary at best in traditional bar culture. This is an activity that one can do on his or her own when reflecting on the conversation or experience afterward. But without the discussion in the first place, a person has less to contemplate later. The importance of the many ways in which technology, specifically the smartphone, fosters human

interconnectivity on a global scale cannot be overstated. However, traditional bar culture does not operate on a global scale. Quite the opposite, bar culture deals with the relatively few people who inhabit a shared space for a while together over libations. A smartphone, for all of the apps and functions it may possess, can no more laugh at a joke or give a conciliatory pat on the back than it can offer up an impromptu and relevant cheers. It is a tool, an inanimate object that cannot replace the social experience of having a conversation in real time with another person who is in the same room. Therefore, out of respect for fellow bar patrons and a culture that has been centuries in the making, a smartphone in a bar is best powered down and tucked away in a pocket or purse where it cannot impede the interpersonal interactions of its owner. Works Cited Portnoy, Gary. “Where Everybody Knows Your Name.� Music from Cheers, Earthtone, 1983.

the star

artwork by daniel ferry

fall 2017


artwork by joseph robertson from left: muscle man skater stoner hipster


the star

fall 2017


photography by jason brown


the star

photgraphy by jose murillo

fall 2017


by carousel reed “This shit is hard, but that’s the beauty of it, beauty behind the struggle. Things will fall into place. Keep your head up and stay in the game!” Derrick E. Ratcliff (Chop) October 9th, 1989 - May 10th, 2017 (age 27)

WORDS OF AN HONORABLE, WISE MAN. I KEEP trying to put his words into play, into existence again. Someone who always gave great advice, but will never be able to give it again. Gone, like a drunk singing his life away. I ask God, “Why do bad things happen to good people? Is there an answer?” I had never met someone like him before, and I don’t think I ever will again. A heart of pure gold, he showed me many things about myself. I remember being at his little brother’s house, drifting off to sleep on the couch. I felt someone take off my shoes and yell to get me a pillow and blanket. That’s when I started to get to know him. He taught me things not only about myself, but about others and life. I used to think that life wasn’t fair, but it is. Everything in life has a mission, pattern, or story. My life can be very chaotic, but with his words replaying in my mind, I strive! Gone. That’s how I have felt plenty of times in my life, but the first time I remember like it was yesterday. I was in tall green grass and the sunlight was as bright as a white, perfect smile. I don’t know what brought me out of this near-death daze. Once I woke up, I was drenched in sweat. His arm was still around my neck. I

fall 2017

followed his instructions. Once I was free, I grabbed my six-month-old son off my bed and held him so tight. I’m still holding on to that day. Death was whispering in one ear, while life was singing in the other. Since that day, my life has been foreign. I’ve changed a lot since then, and I’ve had to learn to cope and move forward. Chop (Derrick) helped me do that and then some. Have you ever felt like it was you versus you? I struggled with making myself feel like I belonged on this earth. But I was literally given a second chance in life. Chop made a difference. His statement helped me believe life is what you make it. Set standards. Achieve goals. Set trends. Make statements. If it comes, let it; if it goes, let it. Life does go on. Tomorrow won’t hold the same problems or pain as yesterday. Yesterday will not hold the same passion or pleasure as today.

“There’s beauty behind the struggle.”

No matter what has been said or done in life, things can be fixable if you strive. Through guilt and guidance, pressure and progress, homelessness and hustles, love and lessons, I have become a better person. I have learned I do not have to be ashamed of abandonment. There are many types of struggle. People struggle with relationships, school subjects/assignments, finances, and shelter. There are even physical struggles (sight, speech or weight). We have choices within each struggle; will we let that one situation define our actions or aspirations? Or will we overcome it and use it as a turning point or an example to do better.


I am striving to break through a storm, a storm that many people go through in different ways, aspects, and situations. I am a living example. I used to run and hide from my struggles. Now I embrace and find solutions for them. My advice to any outsider looking in or insider looking out: let people see your success, not your struggles. Always remember there is beauty behind it.

and motivation to get through life, and break out of its many negative scenarios.

“You have two ears and one mouth; you should listen as much as you talk; you’ll get further in life.” Mheron Doage

Mheron Doage is my son’s father, and out of all the things he’s ever said to me, this has stuck with me the most. I tried to win the arguments because Harry Gill I loved to talk. But I couldn’t win. Listening is a critical key in life. If I was sitting in a hotel lounge trying we don’t listen, how can we learn? I to relieve some stress. I started a friendly know for a fact no one knows everything. conversation with this guy, Harry Gill, Often people judge a situation, person or CEO of a few enterprises. He had flown in idea based on aesthetics or what things for a conference from Canada and had just look like. Just because we have two eyes finished dinner with colleagues. We began doesn’t mean they are always right. We a regular conversation about our names, the shouldn’t make opinions using only one weather outside, how our nights were going. of our five senses. How does what we see Well it ended up getting deeper -politics, make us feel? How does what we feel life, and occupations. Once he figured out make us hear? Open up your horizons, broaden them, and create a bigger picture. I was a student, he gave me some really Overall, life is what we make it. I good advice. He told me not to be nervous, but excited about graduation. Then he went had to ask myself, what are my goals, purposes, and passions? What topic has on to tell me that every day he goes by the same concepts, to “be confident, work hard enough significance to make me want to share with and persuade others? and treat others how I want to be treated.” I want to help people become more Those words stuck with me not only positive, inspiring, confident, and fobecause they are inspiring, but because they urged me to find out what steps I can cused. I want to show people that evcreate to achieve my life goals. It’s intererything does not have to glitter and shine to hold value. We can use our esting to see that someone can put life, disadvantages to create a critical perspecsomething so complex, into simple terms tive on our lives, morals, and desires. and principles. Find your determination

“Be confident, work hard, and treat others how you want to be treated.”


the star

awarded best of visual image

dark flower by mahidely montes

fall 2017


By Roberto Alba and Editors


the land of the free and home of the brave, as of September 5, 2017, President Trump ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which made DACA recipients wonder, “Are we really free?” If you’re not familiar with DACA or the reasoning behind it, I can tell you that DACA protects undocumented immigrants brought into the United States as a child so they can have a better life, away from drugs, human trafficking, and corrupt governments. Learning, understanding, being able to adapt to several environments -this is how young Jefferson County teacher and current DACA recipient Yessica Guerrero describes her life. Out of all the DACA recipients, every story is different, and this young lady adds her name to the list of people who want to have their voices heard by seven billion other people. “It’s 6 o’clock in the morning. I kneel down on the shaggy white carpet in my room and pray. As I pray, I wiggle my knee caps around because of how uncomfortable the carpet feels on my knees, but I continue to stay focused throughout my prayer. I lift 46

myself up and as my hands grasp the edge of the bed., I get ready for the day. I get dressed, eat breakfast, and drive to a job I worked my ass off for. How does that make me any different? I’m scrutinized by a president who doesn’t want me here. Why? I don’t know. He hates us. His followers hate us because they think I’m here to steal a job

“It’s 6 o’clock in the morning. I kneel down on the shaggy white carpet in my room and pray. As I pray, I wiggle my knee caps around because of how uncomfortable the carpet feels on my knees, but I continue to stay focused throughout my prayer. nobody wants. I had to become accustomed to the American culture before I even knew it.” –Yessica Guerro “Fighter,” one of the many words young Mexicana and DREAMER, twenty-oneyear-old Yessica Guerrero from Mexico City uses to describe herself. Clawing, scratching, and reaching for the ultimate goal of being a legal resident of the U.S. is

what she aimed for. As she was growing up, she learned to fight for what she wanted in life before she even knew it. Nineteen years ago, before her parents made the difficult decision to move from their hometown of Mexico City to the United States. Yessica’s father, twenty-one-year-old Lucero, was able to obtain a Visa of his own and lived in the United States for a year and worked. He sent his wife and daughter part of his checks to keep them steady while he was away. Lucero did back-breaking work from the time the sun began to rise and long after the sun set. He wanted to make sure his family was able to live comfortably while he was away. A year later, his girlfriend Cris, who at the time was nineteen-years-old, pleaded for her him to either come back or take her and their daughter with him. The love they had for each other was inseparable, and soon after, Lucero was able to put together all of his earnings and had the chance to bring his family to the Unites States. Their young daughter, who at the time was three-yearsold, arrived in the back of truck while Cris arrived by traveling on foot, from Utah to Oklahoma to (finally) beautiful Colorado, all in the span of a year. Yessica and her parents found their home. the star

At four-years-old, living in the Centennial State, Yessica quickly picked up the English language from her friendly next door neighbor. “To this day I remember his name, and his name was Kyle. He taught me everything; he taught me how to read and write.” Having parents who were unfamiliar with the English language was extremely difficult. Throughout elementary school, her parents were not able to help with English homework or sit down with her to take the time to test her grammar or punctuation skills. Since her father worked mornings and her mother worked nights, Yessica even walked herself to school every morning from preschool to fifth grade. Living across the street from the school, there was no one to hold her hand and help her cross the street. She noticed kids her age with their parents, receiving helpful advice to be safe and to have a good day. “Being a little girl who always saw other kids with their parents in the morning was difficult. Although my parents did work most of the time, I knew at a young age why they couldn’t be there all the time. It was for me, and they wanted me to get an education.” fall 2017

It wasn’t always easy learning a foreign language from scratch. While she was in class, her peers would communicate around her in English. Yessica would always act like she was fluent in English and tried to speak back to her classmates without knowing what she was actually saying. Her teachers would stay an hour after the day ended to

Paperwork on top of paperwork, and the chance to attend college was a blessing. She set her sights on one thing, becoming a teacher. help Yessica with her fluency, punctuation, and grammar in English. Even though she had trouble in school, becoming a citizen was what she always wanted, but as an immigrant, the troubles were only beginning as she moved further through life. As she squeezed through grade school and on to high school, fluent in both English and Spanish, Yessica was able to grow and further herself academically. From straight A’s and being able to declare herself one of Adam County’s top students in 2014, she thought she was on her way to a prestigious school. Until she started to apply for

colleges, she didn’t know how difficult it was going to be as an undocumented student. As an undocumented student, she was unable to obtain scholarships because of her legal status. It was devastating. In 2014, young Yessica was selected for a Daniel’s Fund scholarship. Unfortunately, her legal residency kept her from attending a top notch college. “I would have to start from scratch all over again.” Not knowing what she was going to do with her life, a tip came from one of her closest teachers to apply for DACA. When Yessica applied for DACA, there was a $495 application fee, and she fit all of the requirements to be recipient, which included proof of identity, documents stating she had been physically present in the U.S. before June 6, 2012, proof that she entered the U.S. before the age of sixteen, and proof that she did not commit any crimes since coming to America. (There was a huge sigh of relief from Yessica as she explained that moment). Paperwork on top of paperwork, and the chance to attend college was a blessing. She set her sights on one thing, becoming a teacher. Yessica couldn’t use many scholarships (especially the Daniel’s Fund Scholarship 47

she received in high school) to attend world-renowned colleges. Hence begging the question, “Where?” Community College of Denver is where Yessica ended up. She had become a temporary citizen and was not afraid to chase her dreams along with the other hundreds and thousands of people eligible for deportation relief. But she had no money to pay for a higher education. With her inability to pay $2,292 every semester without financial aid coming from the state, she had to act quickly. Without anything in her pocket, she received help to find the DACA scholarships that ultimately helped her pay for college. Not letting a single penny go to waste, she committed herself and her time to becoming a teacher. Not just any teacher, she wanted to influence the youth and the people around her, like the teacher who stayed after class to help Yessica grow and expand as a person.


In her last year in college, Yessica paid close attention to the political drama surrounding the presidential elections. Nothing had terrified Yessica more than watching, in her words, a “racist, sexist, bigot” be-

On September 5th, a little less than a year after he was elected president, Donald J. Trump repealed the DACA program and sent hundreds and thousands of people back into the shadows and to the confines of their homes. come president. Unfortunately, he did become president, and thoughts of him sitting in the oval office shook Yessica, this country, and this world. On September fifth, a little less than a year after he was elected

president, Donald J. Trump repealed the DACA program and sent hundreds and thousands of people back into the shadows and to the confines of their homes. When asked about how it would feel to be sent back to Mexico, Yessica responded, “What’s devastating is that I’ve been here my whole life. I don’t know another place called home besides here. I wouldn’t feel safe, I have no connections and I don’t know anybody there. I would have to start from scratch all over again.” It’s 2017 and people are being ripped away from their homes. They are being thrown out, not because they’re murderers or rapists, but because they came from somewhere else and decided that they wanted better lives -better lives, not just for themselves, but for their kids and families as well. It’s harsh to have to live in the United States as an immigrant. You earn everything yourself just to have it all taken away.

the star

artwork by daniel ferry

by christina sterling CHAOS IS THE LIFE OF A COLLEGE student. A life filled with exams, early morning lectures, and graveyard studying shifts. The average college student rarely seeks additional work. However, 5th semester Community College of Denver (CCD) student, 21-year-old, Kavyka Sosa, is not only a fulltime student, but he is an accomplished amateur boxer in the Denver area. “I’m always doing something. If I’m not in class, I’m at work. If I’m not at work, I’m in the gym or doing homework. I’m always doing something. I don’t really balance it.” In early 2017, Sosa became the Colorado State Champion, and the New Mexico Regional Champion. In addition, Sosa is one of the youngest members of the World Boxing Council, and he was recently promoted to head of the boxing program at The Red Shield Salvation Army in Denver where he trains. Originally from Maui, Hawaii, Sosa moved to fall 2017

the Rocky Mountain state specifically to box and to attend CCD. He accredits his success in school to his success in the ring. “I don’t think I’d take school as serious if I wasn’t in Colorado. When I’m here, I’m away from my family and I’m learning. I’m here to try and get a degree and [to] box, and so far, I’d consider myself successful. All the steps I take help me fulfill those dreams.”

What was the hardest part about moving to Denver? I wanted to attend school out here, but I had to find a trainer. No one wanted to train me. I had to find a train and gym all by myself, all I had was someone to hold my pads during a match.

Did you eventually find a trainer? My first trainer was amazing. He taught me plenty before

he had to relocate to Utah. I was heartbroken. Before he left, he referred me to The Red Shield Salvation Army boxing program, which is where I found my current trainer.

have nearly same amount of experience. They also had coaches; I started without a coach and made it that far, and I felt I did really well for my first fight at a national level.

Did the absence of a trainer affect your performance in the ring?

What does success mean to you?

It pushed me harder. I started winning and kept winning. I became the Colorado State Champion, and then I traveled to Regionals in New Mexico. I made it all the way to the Golden Gloves in Lafayette, Louisiana. That’s when coaches started to take interest in me.

How did the lost in Lafayette make you feel about boxing? Well every other boxer in my division had at least 25 fights behind their name. I only had eight fights. I was one of the youngest and didn’t

Success means fulfilling a dream. That might not mean reaching the big end goal every time, but the steps you took mean something. Every step you take towards your dream is success.

What are your plans after CCD? I plan on enrolling into Denver Health Medical Centers Emergency Medical Technician program. I want to study fire science to become a fire fighter. I still plan on boxing, but in that world, anything can happen. I want [need] a backup plan. There’s isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about being a firefighter or boxing. I know I can conquer in and out the ring. 51

light trails by jonathan hidalgo

spanish beach by paola scharberg

The Star Fall 2017  
The Star Fall 2017