Osprey Fall 2021

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Joy & Love in Transition Indigenous Land


A Personal Account of Being Afghan in America


The Legacy of the Negro Leagues


land acknowledgment We, the staff of Osprey magazine, acknowledge that Humboldt State University, which we attend, sits within the traditional land of the Wiyot people. Goudi’ni, translated roughly as “among the redwoods,” is Arcata’s original place name. It is vital we use language that reflects the present tense when speaking about Indigenous peoples, so while we identify the traditional land of the people we also emphasize that these people are still here today. We acknowledge the larger Humboldt County area is made up of roughly 15 different federally and non-federally recognized tribal nations. Some of these nations include Wiyot, Yurok, Hupa, Karuk, Mattole, Tolowa and Wailaki. We are grateful for the presence that these cultures bring to our campus and community. We encourage readers to learn more about whose land you’re on, as well as find ways to directly support Indigenous communities by donating to Indigenous-run organizations, supporting Indigenous artists and authors, and learning from and working with Indigenous communities in your area. written by Raven Marshall Krisanne Keiser

Contents The Importance of Land Rematriation By Krisanne Keiser


The Design Behind HSU By Sebastian Taylor


The Community of BIPOC and LGBTQ+ Art in Humboldt By Rosemary Kelly


Aerial Arts and Drag in Humboldt and Beyond By Alexis Valtenbergs


Protecting Your Crown in Humboldt By Skylar Gaven


Mushroom March with the Mycological Society By Abraham Navarro


Being Me in America by Sabriyya Ghanizada


Music Artists in Humboldt Perservere Through the Pandemic By Brianne Beronilla


Fire! In Humboldt County By Jessica Stahl



Centering Indigenous Relationships to the Land By Raven Marshall


The Darkness of Academia By Dobby Morse


Acknowledging Discomfort in Nature for Marginalized Communities By Sophia Maghran


Voices from the Past: Embracing the Legacy of the Negro Leagues and their Players By Camille Delany


The Mental Health of Our Military By Payton Belle


Blood on Our Hands: The Disregard for Menstrual Health of Those in Need By Bethany Brooding


It’s a Dog’s World By Griffin Mancuso

48 Joy and Love

in Transition By August Linton


Editors’ Note Working tirelessly to write, design, oversee and publish a studentrun magazine feels like hard work, though it’s worth it. It allows us to embrace ourselves as emerging adults in a trying world. We sign on knowing each semester will be unique, beginning with a fresh set of perspectives and stories to tell. We ebb and flow like the tides — ever changing in a sea of people. No two semesters are, or ever will be, the same. That is the beauty of it. As we embarked on this journey, there was no telling what to expect. We certainly didn’t enter with the intention of becoming Editor in Chief or Managing Editor, but we embraced the challenge, knowing we had a team of 23 incredibly intelligent, heart-centered individuals with a desire to tell meaningful, impactful stories. A profound pattern emerged early on as we read through pitches for EDITOR IN CHIEF our upcoming Fall issue of Osprey — community. We have pursued Whitney McCoy degrees during a pandemic that has isolated us all. Now, we seek connection, engagement, vulnerability, and responsibility. Not only from ourselves or our colleagues, but from the world around us. This is why we chose to run a magazine issue surrounding the ways in which we can better connect with peers, community and Indigenous land, near and far. The stories in our magazine reflect a range of marginalized perspectives and heroic voices, amplifying the concept of unification. We aim to inspire our readers through this semester’s community focus. We dream to become leaders, storytellers and journalists that cultivate diverse forward-thinking communities. It was imperative that Indigenous voices be present in our issue, and that began with acknowledging the many tribal nations that surround the Humboldt County area. Native people are at the center of our community, and rightfully so. We have been deeply moved by what we have learned from local Native community leaders on how to interact in the best way with the land and the people of this place. It is our intention that our stories honor and give rise to the generosity, strength and insight of the people who have been here since time immemorial. Getting 23 people to creatively collaborate and form our own cohesive community is no easy task. It is the unique talents and connections we formed in Osprey that bring this issue to you.


ADVISOR Jessie Cretser-Hartenstein LAYOUT EDITORS Alexis Valtenbergs Sebastian Taylor SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER Sabriyya Ghanizada SOCIAL MEDIA COORDINATOR Brianne Beronilla AD COORDINATORS Jessica Stahl Sebastian Taylor PHOTOGRAPHERS Payton Belle Destiny Carter August Linton Dobby Morse Abraham Navarro COPY EDITORS Camille Delany August Linton Skylar Gaven Rosemary Kelly Rachel Marty WRITERS Bethany Brooding Emily Dreyer Skylar Gaven Rosemary Kelly Griffin Mancuso Dobby Morse A.B. Navarro Jessia Stahl Alexis Valtenbergs Raven Marshall Sebastian Taylor Sophia Maghran August Linton Sabriyya Ghanizada Krisanne Keiser Camille Delaney Brianna Beronilla Payton Belle ILLUSTRATORS Krisanne Keiser Sophia Maghran Griffin Mancuso Sam Salek GRAPHIC DESIGNERS Chloe Quinones-Crosby Sam Salek SPECIAL THANKS! Ricardo Lara Nava Karina Ramos Villalobos Morgan Hancock


Staff Destiny Carter

Brianne Beronilla

Alexis Valtenbergs Payton Belle Sabriyya Ghanizada Sebastian Taylor

August Linton

Camille Delany Jessica Stahl

Skylar Gaven Dobby Morse

Bethany Brooding Abraham Navarro Emily Dreyer

Rosemary Kelly

Rachel Marty Krisanne Keiser Chloe Quinones-Crosby

Griffin Mancuso

Sam Salek Sophia Maghran


The Importance of Land Rematriation By Krisanne Keiser

Photo by Raven Marshall

"You’re rectifying a historical injustice and so when we talk about the creation of the United States we are necessarily talking about a legacy of genocide, dispossession, removal and theft."

Those who are familiar with the history of colonization of North America know that the land that would become the United States was violently stolen from Indigenous tribes who called those lands home. Indigenous peoples have endured forced relocation and removal from their territories, which caused most tribes to lose access to their gathering sites, culturally sacred areas, natural food sources, and more. It was commonplace for Indigenous nations to be removed from their ancestral lands and “given” desolate reservation allotments. This land was not desirable and could not properly support a community of people. Today, tribes have been pursuing land rematriation projects to reinstate their sacred relationship with their ancestral land and the natural world. To rematriate land means “to restore a people to their rightful place in sacred relationship with their ancestral land,” according to the Sogorea Te’ Land Trust nonprofit. Additionally, land rematriation practices could provide opportunities for ecological growth and restoration as well as serve to mitigate the effects of climate change. Dr. Kaitlin Reed (Yurok/Hupa/Oneida), an Assistant Professor of Native American Studies (NAS) at HSU, explained that land rematriation simply means to return stolen land. “Land rematriation is not a synonym for social justice,” said Reed. “It’s not a synonym for environmental justice. It is returning lands to Native peoples.” Reed provided several reasons why land rematriation is important to Indigenous communities. Centrally important is that returning the lands is the only way for the United States federal government to make proper reparations to Indigenous tribes. “You’re rectifying a historical injustice and so when we talk about the creation of the United States we are necessarily talking about a legacy of genocide, dispossession, removal and theft,” Reed said. Reed emphasized that the California treaties in particular were never ratified. Thus, there is a legal argument to be made that both the United States government and the state of California did not go through the proper channels to legally and ethically obtain land. “Tribes did not cede any lands to the state because our treaties were never ratified,” Reed said. “So it’s the only way to really rectify this historical injustice.” Another reason why land rematriation is important to Indigenous peoples, specifically in California, is due to tribes not having access to cultural sites that have valued cultural significance.


“The rematriation of sites that are culturally or spiritually significant are central to maintaining and revitalizing Indigenous cultures,” Reed said. Reed discussed the land rematriation work that Sogorea Te’ Land Trust has been undertaking. Sogorea Te’ is an Indigenous women-run organization located in Huchiun, known now as Oakland, California. This region is home to the confederated villages of Lisjan, of the Chochenyo-speaking Ohlone. Ohlone people comprise several descendant groups whose ancestral lands are in the San Francisco and Monterey bay area regions. None of these groups are federally recognized, which means that they do not have access to federal health care, housing, funding or a land base. “They had to create a nonprofit just to acquire spaces that their communities can go,” Reed said. “Many of these tribes don’t have reservations or don’t have any places to go and so land rematriation can lead to having a place where your community can gather.” Reed highlighted that Indigenous peoples are usually seen at the forefront of environmental injustice issues. From an ecological perspective, recent studies have found a correlation between land that has been returned and stewarded by Indigenous peoples and a significant rise in the ecological health in those regions. “They’re the ones that are speaking up on behalf of the river, on behalf of the mountain,” Reed said. “Tribal nations have long been asserting that we need to practice ecological responsibilities in the ways we manage places.” Reed explained that tribes have been working conscientiously to clean up environmental degradation regardless of jurisdiction. One example of this is the rematriation of Tuluwat, in Arcata Bay, that was gifted back to the Wiyot Tribe in 2019. Reed clarified that long before the island was returned to the Wiyot tribe, their community had begun the expensive process of cleaning up the soil contamination that was caused and left by the City of Eureka. Kerri Malloy (Yurok/Karuk) is an Assistant Professor of Global Humanities at San Jose State University and was a NAS lecturer at HSU for seven years. Malloy emphasized that settler

colonial societies are looking to Indigenous communities for help in solving environmental issues such as wildfires. “If we had been [historically following TEK] prescribed burning, we probably wouldn’t have had the extent of the Paradise fire,” Malloy said. Malloy expounded that both western science and Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) can only go so far in mitigating climate issues. Malloy suggested that if the best of both practices were incorporated in fighting environmental degradation, then there would be positive outcomes. With regard to land return, Malloy would like people to understand that even when land is returned, tribes are required to abide by settler laws, such as paying taxes on that land. While some tribes have had land returned to them, there are still strings attached. “There’s a component that gets left out that if that land is returned to Indigenous people, they have to have jurisdiction and sovereignty over it,” Malloy said. “We’re seeing Indigenous nations having land returned to them that doesn’t actually fall within their jurisdiction. They can manage it because they now own it, but they’re still subject to state law, they’re still subject to county codes.”

"Tribal nations have long been asserting that we need to practice ecological responsibilities in the ways we manage places." Malloy explained that if the land was returned to tribes in a truly sovereign manner, then they could have full jurisdiction over those lands. “They could address the underlying causes of MMIW [Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women],” Malloy said. “Even on the lands that are controlled by tribes we have a jurisdictional issue, we have a huge federal gap in how non-native people can be brought to justice and prosecuted by the federal government or by states, or by tribes.” Moxie Alvarnaz (Mahu Kanaka Maoli), the Outreach Coordinator of Sovereign Bodies Institute, has a background in studying the relationship between ecological extraction and state violence. Alvarnaz said that violence on the land is connected to the violence and social injustice that Indigenous women and children face. “It makes sense to me that if I were an imperial nation that I’m going to target the people that I see as the mothers, the people that I see as the bodies that produce new bodies,” Alvarnaz said. Alvarnaz explained that land seizure is the war itself and that if land were to be returned, it could help put an end to the MMIW epidemic. “There is no formulation of the U.S. empire that will see this violence end,” Alvarnaz said. “The U.S. empire is predicated on eliminating our populations, eliminating our cultures, our languages, our religion. … Returning the land is the only way we’re going to be able to move forward.”

Photo by August Linton


The Design Behind HSU

Kinesiology Building

Overview: Humboldt State University is uniquely positioned. Founders Hall commands views of the Humboldt Bay and ocean, classrooms punctuate the redwood forest floor, and the Redwood Bowl stadium juts out of the mountainside. Moss covers the roofs of dorms tucked into the lush forest along the creek, and if you thoroughly explore the campus, you might stumble upon an indoor jungle in the botanical garden dome. Although the land where the school is located is publicly owned, it is important to acknowledge that the school is truly built on the present and ancestral homeland and unceded territory of the Wiyot Tribe. It is the school’s responsibility to educate students and community members about the land’s history. As the resident architect and Director of Planning, Design, and Construction at HSU, Kassidy Banducci recognizes that, “Every great space gives people a feeling or an emotion.” The art of architecture is being able to communicate with people through design. The architecture of HSU was designed around this purpose. Through this philosophy, each building has an effect on us psychologically.

Recreation and Wellness Center

The school’s diverse assortment of architectural styles is apparent throughout the campus. Every building was designed with a specific function as well as an aesthetic. This is true of nearly every structure, though style and function generally go unnoticed by those who utilize it.

of the Mission Revival style, which reflects the Spanish inquisition of California. This style takes inspiration from colonial Spanish Missions and is characterized primarily by the red tile roof. Founders Hall, a pinnacle of Humboldt State University architecture, is a prime example of this style. The building has an open-air design and a traditional European appearance. It features archways filled with windows on the interior, not a very popular style in the cold, rainy Pacific Northwest.

If you have a chance to take a stroll around the campus and up and down the hills, you would notice a theme in the form

Not all the buildings on campus adhere to this style. However, Michael Fisher, the Associate Vice President of Facilities Man-

Design Choices:


agement at HSU defends the campus’ range of architectural styles. “That’s really what the makeup of the architecture is on campus. It’s a collection of history,” Fisher said. “Different periods of time introduce different buildings on campus. Just how we walk through campus has been dictated by time.” As it turns out, the Founders Building style was not exactly suitable for HSU’s climate. The original design called for an open air courtyard in the center. “So, adapting to our climate, those were in-filled with windows because of the rain and the cold,” Banducci recalled; an obvious disconnect between form and function.

Kinesiology Building

When you begin to venture deeper into the heart of HSU’s campus, you start to see the different shades, materials, and styles of architecture. The West Gym, or Recreation and Wellness Center, is made nearly entirely of concrete and has no ornamentation. Being nestled against a small patch of tall redwood trees creates a shaded walkway beneath their branches. The greenspace dominates the built environment leaving a serene path, often adorned with redwood needles and wisps of fog. Perched upon an adjacent hill is the Behavioral & Social Sciences (BSS) Building. Built in the style of ecological postmodernism, the building looks extremely modern, yet it still earned a LEED gold rating by the U.S. Green Building Council. Guidelines from the Chancellor’s office require that all new buildings meet LEED Gold Standards, according to Banducci. Fisher says that the building was blessed by the Wiyot tribe. Its Native American Forum was modeled after Wiyot tribal architecture. These design choices affect everything from material selection to engineering, all of which is apparent in the grandeur of the BSS Building. Whether we walk through this campus or get to know it from afar, being mindful of the design choices and the context behind these choices can lead to a more equitable future generation of Humboldt State architecture.

Native American Forum

BSS Building


Club Sports are Joining the Athletics Department Why This is a Great Play By Emily Dreyer Photo By Abraham Navarro With limited in-person classes back in session, campus has been more lively than it has been in over a year due to the pandemic. The university gave sporting events the green light to start up again if teams followed all the necessary precautions, and students were eager to comply. This is huge for all athletes whose seasons were abruptly cut short, and unfortunately many athletic careers ended during the school closure. Humboldt State has multiple athletic opportunities, including intercollegiate teams, club sports, and intramural sports. Club sports and intercollegiate athletics have historically been separate entities, but after restructuring during the pandemic, the athletics department took in club sports. Now, decisions regarding club sports will go through the athletics department instead of Student Affairs. Additionally, club sports agreed to not tap into the athletics budget, so club sports and athletics will still be funded separately. Both athletics and clubs will directly benefit from this restructuring. The programs will be more diverse, clubs will get more recognition and access to facilities, and students will have the opportunity to more closely engage with other athletes.

tention to the university as official sports do. There are 19 club sports offered at HSU; 16 compete competitively and 3 are strictly recreational. They range from unique offerings like fencing and archery to more common selections like lacrosse and baseball. The unique rural location of Humboldt State attracts students for hands-on learning and outdoor activities, but sports competition is not the main attraction to HSU for most students. However, intercollegiate athletes do enroll in Humboldt as an athletic opportunity, and many stay at Humboldt for that reason. Athletics seem to play a substantial role in the overall satisfaction of many students with their college experience. Likewise, students are not drawn to HSU because of club sports. It is after starting their college journey that they find that clubs are an opportunity to make friends and create hobbies. Martin Gordillo is the president of the club baseball team. “As a transfer student, and being twelve hours away from home, it was kind of hard to make friends in a university where you don’t know anyone,” Gordillo said. “If it wasn’t for my team, I do not think I

Club sports is one of the most engaging programs on campus and has a huge overall approval rate by students. Through them, all students have the opportunity to play a sport in college, while also learning leadership and management skills. Solely run by students, the clubs’ leadership is appointed from within the teams. Students work together to recruit new members, fundraise, plan and travel to events, and create jerseys or other merch. Involvement in club teams varies, and each group has the ability to decide how seriously they want to take their season. HSU’s teams can compete against other universities while traveling around California and out of the state, or simply enjoy competing with each other. Club teams competing nationally can bring just as much at9

Photo By Abraham Navarro Members of the Humboldt State University Archery Club practice in the Student Recreation Center indoor field house on October 14, 2021.

would last that long at HSU.” In the 2019-2020 academic year 447 students were engaged with a club sport, and over 400 students are currently involved, according to HSU. Even though COVID meant multiple semesters of no practicing, that number remained relatively the same for the 2020-2021 academic year. This shows not only that a substantial number of students participate in club athletics, but that enrollment in club sports is stable as students graduate. Helinna Leone, Women’s Ultimate Frisbee president, is one of those students very engaged in the social aspect of club sports. “My favorite aspect of participating in club sports is the community,” said Leone. “We all choose to be present and participate without any outside pressures or influence so it guarantees that whoever is at practice every week wants to be there with the team. If I hadn't joined frisbee I would not have interacted with people outside of necessity and would not have found my support system in school and in Humboldt County.”

is intrinsic to club sports, it can also be a set back not having athletics faculty help students. “While autonomy is part of what makes these groups special, it would still be helpful to have a little more support and less restrictions on the club end. There are many hoops to jump through for fundraising, which are understandable as we are connected to the university, but it adds an extra layer of difficulty,” Leone said. Another concern circling around the club department is the current inability to access an athletic trainer.

Including club sports diversifies the athletic program, adding sports that are generally not as popular. Offering these athletic opportunities has the potential to build HSU Athletics into one of the most versatile and unique programs in the CSU system, according to Cooper Jones, the new Executive Director of Intercollegiate Athletics & Campus Recreation. The athletics program historically has a wider audience and more community attention than club teams. Their social media accounts reach more of the Humboldt community, and may be taken more seriously. “There are a lot of positive things while being with athletics. They included baseball in their Instagram post for upcoming games for the week, and wanted to know our results so they can post in their articles,” Gordillo said. He says that the relationship between NCAA and club sport teams is much closer than it used to be. HSU is beginning the process of transitioning into a polytechnic university. Though it may not directly fund non-academic programs, it will indirectly benefit the athletics program via higher enrollment. Humboldt State's polytechnic self-study reports an expected enrollment increase of 50% within three years and 100% in seven, which will directly translate into more funding for programs all around, including club sports. Another hurdle in the way of students organizing club events is finding space. In the past, athletics have had the right of way when reserving field space for practices. This was a hurdle that Jan Henry has dealt with for years as athletic director for club sports. However, this alliance between clubs and regular athletics has evened the playing field. “It used to be that I would fight for facilities. Now, we are just equal and get to use the fields as they do if they are available,” said Henry. The majority of tasks necessary to keep the clubs running are completed by students, which is what makes club athletics such a valuable learning opportunity. Leone explains that though autonomy

Photo By Abraham Navarro A member of the Humboldt State University Archery Club practices in the Student Recreation Center indoor field house on October 14, 2021.

“The discrepancies have been brought to light even more now that we’re under athletics. We’re under athletics and don’t even have a trainer for injured students, while athletics has three,” Jan Henry said. Steps in the right direction are happening. On October 23, 2021, a Cheer club member spoke on behalf of club sports, proposing that Associated Students work with the budget to allow a trainer. Associated Students members acknowledged the concern and said there will be follow-up and consideration. Transparency and discussion between students and faculty is necessary to ensure that students are supported but also understand limitations in the school’s funding. Becoming polytechnic is going to fill in a lot of the cracks when it comes to funding and allocating adequate resources. The differences and similarities between intercollegiate and club sports are valuable, and each diversifies the experience of athletics at HSU. This restructure has the opportunity to bridge the divide between clubs and athletics, and each is intrinsic to being a Lumberjack. 10


The Community of BIPOC and LGBTQ+ Art in Humboldt County By Rosemary Kelly | Photos by Dobby Morse Art is a powerful tool and outlet for millions of people all around the globe. It can be used to express the artist’s own emotion, which in turn evokes emotion from the viewer. It can also serve to educate and expose people to lives outside of their own. Different types of art showcase aspects of a culture or community as each artist develops their relationship with art. Art is powerful. The values and intricacies of communities are demonstrated and showcased through the art that the community produces. That art is meant to be seen and supported. On a pleasantly warm and sunny day in August 2021, there were tables and booths set up in the front and backyard of a small townhouse in Arcata, California. It was quite an overwhelming and exciting environment to be in. There were around 25 spaces set up for various artists to display and sell what they had created, and all had eye-catching and bright displays set up in a way that drew people towards them. The August 2021 BIPOC and Queer yART sale was set up by the organization entitled Humboldt Homies (@humboldt.homies on Instagram), the fourth of its kind after the organization began recently in May of 2021. Humboldt Homies quickly gained traction, as many creators were thrilled to see a space open up for them to showcase their art in an inclusive and safe environment. One of the founders and the current organizer of Humboldt Homies, Karina Ramos-Villalobos, spoke to me about why she thought Humboldt County needed an organization such as Humboldt Homies, and what the organization means to her. Ramos-Villalobos and her former roommates were inspired by popup art events that they used to attend back in their hometowns, and wanted to create a similar space here in Humboldt County. She said that she saw a large amount of need in the community for a space such as this. One of the main goals of Humboldt Homies is to foster a safe and welcoming environment for everyone, but Ramos-Villalobos stated that she “wanted to center [the yART sales] to BIPOC and queer artists because those are two communities here [in Humboldt] that lack representation.” The need for safe and welcoming environments is felt throughout the community. “There are not many events or spaces [in Humboldt] where people can just hang out and feel welcomed, and if there is then it’s at a bar or somewhere where students can’t go,” said Ramos-Villalobos. 11

PATRICIA RIVERA’S MERCHANDISE The events that Humboldt Homies puts together are all non-profit, and do not require a vendor fee or deposit. When I asked Ramos-Villalobos why she chose to operate her organization in this way, she explained that she “wanted the space to be sustainable” and that as an artist herself, she recognizes that “it’s already hard to get income through art” and she wanted the yART sales to facilitate artists, not hold them back. One of the many vendors at the yART sale on that pleasant August day was a business named Homeboldt (@homeboldtapparel on Instagram), a screen printing and design business with strong



Victoria Alvarez-Conn learned how to crochet as a child, but she only started selling her creations at the beginning of the pandemic. Her business Kunty Crochet (@kuntycrochet on Instagram) is also a regular vendor at the Humboldt Homies yART sales. “I didn’t intend to sell these things; another reason why it’s important for me is because no matter what, I really enjoy it,” Alvarez-Conn said. “I really enjoy creating, and it gives me something to do with my hands.” Alvarez-Conn crochets a variety of hats, swim-suit sets, and tops, all brightly colored and eye-catching. On LGBTQ+ creators specifically, Alvarez-Conn eloquently stated that “We are like everybody else, but we’re also not. We don’t fit into straight peoples’ mold, but we’re human beings so we’re like everybody else.”

FUNKY EARRINGS FROM MARIPOSA MAGIC ties to Humboldt county. Their t-shirts and hats sport a variety of scenes taken straight from Humboldt county. I spoke to the owner and creator Tommy Hernandez about how and why he started his business, and what his art means to him. Hernandez explained to me that the main purpose of Homeboldt is that it’s community-based, and that it is “based on the feeling that I get from the community and, just the love of the outdoors particularly.” Homeboldt’s designs can be found not only at the yART sales, but also at a number of other festivals and fairs in the Humboldt area, and at their storefront on 8th street.

Humboldt Homies was scheduled to have another yART sale in October, but it unfortunately got cancelled at the last minute due to unforeseen circumstances. The business GhettiVerse (@ghettiverse on Instagram) stepped up in order to put together a last minute pop-up yART sale. The Indigenous/Queer owned thrift store Brainwash Thrift (@brainwashthrift on Instagram) hosted a pop-up event as well, making even more space for these artists with nowhere to set up their art. This is what art creates, this is the importance of art. Art creates community. A community that will step up when issues arise, people that are willing to make space for each other and support each other. 12

Aerial Arts & Drag in Humboldt By Alexis Valtenbergs

Samy Bartoli unravels a thick cord of braided silk and separates the fabric. The silk cascades from a sturdy metal rig bolted to the tall ceiling of Synapsis Nova, an aerial studio in Eureka. Bartoli wraps a silk band around her foot and stands up. She climbs up with unerring grace and alternates between wrapping the silk around her limbs, flipping forward into terrifying drops and twisting her body into poses that defy imagination. Tragedy led Bartoli to aerial silk. Her father took his life when she was a child and she was left alone by the passing of her mother when she was twenty years old. “I had to find myself again, and performance art is where I found myself,” Bartoli said. “When I’m on the silks, I feel a connection with both of my parents as if they’re flying with me.” Bartoli can be found performing aerial silk at various local events. She can be found on Instagram @_mystic_foxx_. Bartoli picked up fire spinning before she got into aerial silk. Aerial silk is an acrobatic art form that was popularized by Cirque du Soleil, while fire spinning is an art form that combines dancing and manipulating flammable props. The first time Bartoli spun fire, she wasn’t afraid.

“I had to find myself again, and performance art is where I found myself.” Club Triangle director and performing artist Noël August is better known as her drag king persona, Tucker Noir. Drag kings dress as men and perform in male drag. Drag helped August embrace her repressed gender identity and sexuality. When she first joined the local drag scene in 2013, she didn’t identify as queer. “I didn’t when I started, but now I do,” August said. “Because there was something about the whole thing that resonated with me, but I still had so much internalized homophobia.” The first time August saw a drag king perform, she fell in love. When she performed as Tucker Noir, she subverted her own femininity and, by extension, the status quo. “For me it was at the time really about stepping fully into stereotypical masculinity,” August said. “As soon as I was on stage, it was like some other spirit bursted out of my body.” Synapsis Nova is a haven for aerial artists in Humboldt. Kitsu is a local aerial performer and instructor who teaches group lessons at Synapsis and individual lessons at their home in Eureka. Outside of aerial arts, they also do drag. In drag, they transform into the vivacious queen Nova Six, whose name is a reference to a deadly nerve gas in the video game Call of Duty. When she performs, Nova Six strides onto the stage front and center, demanding to be perceived, and seeps gracefully into the rapt audience like her namesake. The first time Kitsu saw an aerial silk performance in person, they were MC’ing at an aerial cabaret show. During the show, an aerial performer fell during her number and got injured. Kitsu wasn’t deterred at all. “I saw silks for the first time and I was amazed by how graceful and dangerous it was,” Kitsu said. “It instilled a sense of danger and wonderment in me. I wanted to do it because I’m a bit of an adrenaline junkie.”


“The fire called to me,” Bartoli said. “It was like a vision inside the flames.” Performing arts stretch the boundaries of what is possible and foster authentic self-expression. Aerial artists and drag performers in particular have left an indelible mark on the performing arts scene in Humboldt and beyond. DRAG (dress resembling a girl) is an art form that showcases performers lip-synching and dancing while dressed in exaggerated clothing and makeup that challenges gender norms. 13

As a dual aerial and drag artist who was born and raised in a queer family, Kitsu has a deep appreciation for both performing art styles and is a strong proponent of disregarding mainstream gender roles altogether. When Kitsu does drag and Nova Six takes over completely, gender roles disappear. “You can throw normalcy out the window and tell the mainstream to bugger off,” Kitsu said. “It kind of pushes the borders of gender and sexuality.” Outside of Humboldt, aerial silk is becoming increasingly more widespread. In some areas, though, it is only just gaining traction. Sara Kaiser opened the first aerial studio in the small rural town of Bishop, California. She is the director of Wakeful Ascent Aerial

dt & Beyond


Arts and she teaches aerial classes to students enrolled at the studio. Still, there is virtually no performing community in Bishop. “I figured out that there was no aerial studio, no aerial community,” Kaiser said. “So I decided to start teaching.” Kaiser stumbled across aerial arts by accident in college. She took an aerial class and found that it came naturally to her. She kept doing it on her own and fell in love with it. Kaiser is a self-described creatrix - a woman who is in tune with her innate creativity and feminine power - and epitomizes this role every time her feet leave the ground as she climbs up on her silk apparatus. “It completely changed my perception of what I can do and who I’m allowed to be,” Kaiser said. “It’s a powerful art form.” Kaiser is constantly training on her aerial silk rig at her home and posts photos and videos of her progress on Instagram @silk.tangles. Wakeful Ascent Aerial Arts can be found on Instagram @ wakefulascentaerial. Aerial silk and drag are two very distinct performance arts, but they are intertwined threads of the same canvas. Such practices can be used as powerful tools for activism and healing. Art immortalizes lived experiences.


“Art has to be preserved because it’s where humanity lives,” August said. “If we take away artistic expression and our catalog of art that we’ve created, we lose culture. We lose humanity.” 14

Protecting Your Crown In Humboldt County

By Skylar Gaven | Illustration by Griffin Mancuso Nestled in the Redwood forest, Humboldt county is celebrated for its outstanding beauty. Humboldt State University students move to the small town of Arcata to get away from the city and experience life within the trees. However, as a person of color (POC) coming from large diverse cities down in SoCal and the Bay area, moving to Humboldt can be a cultural shock. According to HSU only 3.4% of undergraduate students selfidentified as Black/African American. Only 1.4% are Black/ African American in Humboldt’s overall population, according to the 2020 Decennial Census. There is no question that finding a strong sense of community and resources for basic needs can be hard for Black students to find when first moving up north. One of these basic needs is as simple as hair care. Natural hair comes in all different shapes: waves, curls, and coils. For Black people with textured

“We really can’t just go anywhere. If I did just go somewhere, they would try to treat my hair the same way as someone with wavy hair or straighter hair.” hair, maintenance requires much more than just good shampoo and conditioner. Each head is unique: requiring different treatments, routines, products, and styles. Protective styles, specifically, are any hair styles that tuck away the ends of one’s hair, resulting in less breakage and minimizing hair damage. They protect your hair: from humid or damp weather, the use of heat damage or chemicals, and daily manipulation that can leave your ends damaged. Styles such as box-braids, faux locs, cornrows, locs, bantu knots, and twists make it so that heavily textured hair is maintained and stays looking fierce. Protective styles date back to 3000 B.C. in Northern Africa, according to an article in Allure by Ekua King, titled “Protective Styles Are the Armor Black Women Have Worn For Centuries.” In the article, King writes that “no other group of people finds it necessary to use the term ‘protective styles’.” These styles have been worn for centuries; they are cultural, fundamental, and expressive for Black people. In a predominantly white college town, resources and stylists that are able to provide haircare services for textured hair can make a positive difference in how new students and community members feel about their home away from home. When I moved to Humboldt in 2017, I was extremely excited to start a new life on my own, but to say I was hit with culture shock was an understatement. Coming from San Diego, CA, I didn’t see much diversity when I first arrived. I realized that finding the resources that I needed, especially for my 3C/4A hair, was not going to be as easy as walking down the street and finding multiple shops I can definitely get my hair done at. Amanda Madden graduated from HSU in 2015, and is currently living in Arcata. As a freshman moving from Pasadena, CA, she too noticed a lack of diversity in the area. Madden was struggling to find a place in which she belonged in the community, and was “not used to feeling or looking around and seeing people that didn’t necessarily look like me.” She added “one of the things that I noticed in myself was that I felt more different than I usually did back at home.”


Photo by August Linton Skyler getting braids by Gennie Nunley

Photos (left and right) by Skylar Gaven Butterfly Oldham with braids styled by Gennie Nunley, AKA “Humboldtnaturalista”

When looking for someone or a salon who offered any type of protective style or hair care for her 4C hair, she had to search quite a bit.

Butterfly Oldham, an anthropology major, originally came to HSU from the L.A. area in 2017. She was interested in nature and how people up here seemed to care about the environment.

“It was more abundant down from where I was from, you could just drive around and probably run into two or three verses up here where it’s not the same,” Madden said.

When she first moved to HSU, Oldham expressed that “there were other POC in general, but not too many [Black people].”

Madden eventually found a stylist that goes by the name of “Humboldtnaturalista,” and has been getting her braids done by her for a while. Besides getting it professionally done, Madden practiced on herself and learned to perform these services on her own head from time to time. “I did want to learn to do it, I definitely need more practice but it’s cool to have a vision and really just work on it,” Madden said. As a Black/brown student, moving to a new place that is small and doesn’t have many options to choose from can make one feel like they can’t really find what they need.

Oldham ran into the same issue of finding a stylist and/or salon for her 4B/4C hair in this small college town. “I didn’t go anywhere until last year and that’s like three years in,” Oldham said. She mentioned that someone with natural hair can’t go to regular salons and be expected to be served with the proper experience, materials, and products. “We really can’t just go anywhere,” Oldham said. “If I did just go somewhere, they would try to treat my hair the same way as someone with wavy hair or straighter hair.”

“I think it’s just good to have resources, it is definitely difficult coming up here,” Madden said. “It’s just nice to have support and it’s nice to be reached out to, I felt very supported through the Black community when I was coming up here.”

Oldham has a set routine of washing her hair every once in a while to make sure her hair doesn’t dry up or get stripped of any natural oils. She also likes to deep condition frequently, but usually tends to rely on protective styles to get her through the months.

Even though natural hair calls for a lot of attention and care, Madden finds that it’s a fun canvas to play around with. “Sometimes it takes a little bit more maintenance, which is okay because we have the best hair to do all different types of styles,” Madden said. “But it is more to manage, paying attention to it just like anything else on your body and finding the right products for growth so that you feel more comfortable,” Madden said.

“I wear protective styles because it makes maintaining my hair a lot easier, it’s more of a wake up and go type of thing, you don’t have to braid it every night and wash it every week,” Oldham said. Knowing that her hair is simply doing its thing and is growing in a healthy way while in braids has made Oldham’s life much easier while in school. 16

“If you want your hair braided up, you should be able to go to class everyday with some good looking braids ... and feel good about yourself and know that you can find someone in the community that is able to do that.”

regarding hair,” Nunley said.“It was very scarce if limited or not existent at all.” With years of experience since early childhood of braiding and adding extensions to dolls, herself, and other people she knew she had herself covered. However, when she graduated, Nunley chose to stay up north instead of moving back home to the Bay. Nunley thought that by staying in Arcata she could use her talents to ultimately help serve the Black community. “When I saw the lack of services for people of color and AfricanAmericans, I just felt this urge to stay and I felt that if I didn’t stay, who else would,” Nunley said. “How much longer would it take for someone to come up here like me to realize that there is a need and to really go for it and take that leap of faith.”

Photo by August Linton

With her efforts, Nunley launched her own business in her apartment. Nunley has catered to many students as well as community members seeking services like hers. Dedicated to long hours, getting the word out, and saving up enough money; Nunley’s hard work eventually paid off, as she is currently working in her own business studio. “I started doing hair in 2017 [in Humboldt] and it took me up until this March in 2021 to finally get myself established in a shop, out of my apartment, having a full set of clients, booking consistently and being able to call myself a ‘naturalista’ hair stylist,” Nunley said.

“Protective hairstyles are so important, our hair is pretty fragile and it’s a lot of maintenance,” Oldham said. “It makes it a lot easier on your hair and on you to keep it healthy, I know it’s in good hands and I don’t have to set like another two hours in my day to do my hair.” Oldham stated that Arcata and Eureka are more “transition” college towns, meaning that they are not a definite stay for most. Possibly because of this it can be difficult for Black stylists around here to find set locations to establish and build their businesses for other community members to gain access to.

Nunley provides many services to clients in need of protective styles. These protective styles include extensions, locing, braiding, faux locs, and more. Nunley added that “Protective styles ensure that your hair will be left alone while it is doing it’s thing; growing and stabilizing in its environment.” For those who do their own braids or other styles, give yourself a round of applause. Braiding hair takes up a lot of time out of the day. “It does get tiring, and doing something like braids on yourself can get pretty laborious at times. Not only that, you’ll have to have the time to sit for 4+ hours maybe, if you’ve been doing it for years” says Nunley.

“Hairstylists are everywhere for a reason, and it shouldn’t be so difficult for Black hair stylists to be able to find spaces to cater to the Black community,” Oldham said. “I feel like when there are more hairstylists more people of color will feel more welcome too, and feel that we’re supposed to be here.”

After finishing high school Nunley became a student at HSU and graduated in 2016. When she was a student, she recognized the lack of representation and resources for the Black/brown communities. Coming from the Bay area, Nunley was used to seeing many salons on a daily basis, but Humboldt was not the same. “I realized the lack of representation for people of color 17

Photo by Skylar Gaven

Gennie Nunley, aka “Humboldt-naturalista’’ (Insta: @ Humboldtnaturalista) is a natural hairdresser that has been running her hair business for about four years now. Madden, Oldham, and myself have each gotten our braids done multiple times by her. Nunley has been one of the main few that caters to the care of Black/brown hair types in Humboldt county.

For those who are still in the learning process, like myself, or are just getting the hang of it, Nunley added, “if you are an amateur that’s 6+ hours, and then you have to break that up into days because most people don’t do braids for a living and they work, so you have to figure that out as well.” Eventually, Nunley wants to build a team of stylists and braiders so that more services like these can be provided for people in Humboldt. “As long as you have more people like ‘we’ coming up here to live, to stay for the long haul it is very important to have people like me,” Nunley said, “people who can provide services to those people who come from other places that have quantities of places that provide services to people of color.” Nunley added that “It is highly important that students have those resources so they won’t feel alone, they won’t feel deserted and can feel more at home and comfortable while they’re doing something stressful like going to school.” Another local protective hair stylist is Paula Elizabeth Jones, 67. She runs her business, “Braids with Love,” along with her two daughters. When Jones moved to Arcata 12 years ago, she realized the importance of actually demonstrating hair braiding in a public way.

Photo byAugust Linton

“It was a challenge, because [...] I don’t think that anyone Black was just sitting in Arcata Square braiding, and I knew how important it was for me to be seen,” Jones said.

“When you’re studying and you have the burden of getting in different assignments and stuff like that, you don’t want to be worried about your appearance,” Jones said. “If you want your hair braided up, you should be able to go to class everyday with some good looking braids, if it’s cornrows, individuals, whatever, and feel good about yourself and know that you can find someone in the community that is able to do that.”

This was Jones’ first step to establish herself and her business into the community. Paula went as far as to represent her business at local festivals and events to spread the word about the services that she was able to provide.

Paula Jones and her daughters provide braiding, locing, twists, weaving, cornrows, hair washing, and a variety of other styles for the community. Jones is always open for anybody to come to her door and ask for help or services.

“We began braiding all of the festivals: Kate Wolf, The Summer Arts festival, Reggae on the River, Northern Nights,” Jones said. “We’re braiding as roving vendors anywhere from 6 to 7 hours a day,” Jones said.

“This is what we do because we know how to do it,” Jones said.

Normally people hear about “Braids with Love,” and other businesses by word of mouth. But Paula speaks and thinks with an open heart, and knows that this area is slowly but surely progressing. “And what I try to tell the kids and the students is ‘give it [Humbodlt] a chance,’ eventually you’re going to find me. But do I have a salon? No I don’t, people come to my home where it is comfortable and relaxed and they get their hair braided.” As a student, you have so many other things to be worried about: getting your education, making new friends, establishing a new life. The last thing that you want to be stressing about is how your hair is going to look and/or feel every time you wake up in the morning.

Our curls and coils are an essential and unique part of who we are and how we carry ourselves. One thing that HSU itself can do is educate Black students about these resources, so that they are prepared for their new life. Though resources may be scarce, those who contribute their part in the community make it so that Black students know that their hair is in good hands. That their needs matter, that resources are here to access, and no matter where they move to, their hair is beautiful, and should be protected and handled with proper care. “Your crown is our everything, if you don’t take care of your crown everything else will crumble,” Nunley said. “It is the first thing on your body so it should be one of your top priorities, not to say the ‘glitz and glamour’ but the health part of it, the essential part is what people ultimately benefit from it.” 18

Mushroom March with the Mycological Society Story and Photos by Abraham Navarro


The Humboldt Bay Mycological Society has been a community for fungi enthusiasts in Humboldt County since 1978. The group provides a space for professionals and amateurs alike to come together to celebrate their love of mushrooms. Members of the society receive a monthly newsletter, listen to speakers who offer their unique perspectives on the world of mushrooms, and can attend monthly members-only field trips.


During field trips, members search for mushrooms and harvest samples to be identified by the trip leader at the end of the forage. In this way, members can learn their mushrooms’ species, uses and habits. Members gather on field trips looking for mushrooms, with a diverse array of intentions. Some want to gather fungi to photograph, eat, or make dyes and art with, while others are more interested in samples for cultivation and research. Armed with







“They are delicious and have the fringe benefit of helping with brain and nervous system health.” - Liz Zaganti colorful baskets, magnifying glasses, mushroom ID books and pocket knives, members of the club walk into the Van Eck forest in Mckinleyville. Part of 2,000 acres of forest purchased by Fred M. Van Eck in 1969, the forest is managed by Duke University. The Van Eck forest is a living laboratory used to study the ecological interactions within an environment. The Mycological society is foraging with the goal of developing an inventory of the fungi found in the forest for Duke University. Liz Zaganti, 67, has been involved with the HBMS for five years, but has been foraging on her own property for 30 years. One common mushroom she gathers on her property is Lion’s mane, in the genus Hericium (H. Erinaceus).


He spends the better part of an hour pointing out the difference in gills between false chanterelles and the coveted golden chanterelles, explaining the pores on a bolete as opposed to the common gills on most mushrooms. All while documenting each species in a small yellow notebook he produces from his vest pocket. Chris Wilkins, 34, has been involved with the HBMS for three years. He joined the society after moving to Humboldt from the Midwest. After discovering the incredible variety of fungi dispersed throughout the forests of Humboldt County, Wilkins was excited to join a group of people who were as passionate about mushrooms as he was. Wilkins enjoys talking to the trip leaders during forays and learning about the fungi he is collecting. “All of the board members are inspirations to me,” said Wilkins. “I really enjoy getting to pick their brain and learn more.” More information about the Humboldt Bay Mycological Society can be found at hbmycologicalsociety.org BELOW: DAVIDSON SHOWS FORAGERS PICTURES FROM THE BOOK ‘MUSHROOMS OF THE REDWOOD COAST’

“They are delicious and have the fringe benefit of helping with brain and nervous system health,” she said. The oddly shaped fungi are a mainstay at farmers markets, as they are easily cultivated. At the end of the foraging expedition, members gather around a small folding table and add their finds to the pile. The trip leader Scott Davidson stands in front of the haul, teaching the group about each different sample presented in front of him.


n i e M g n i e B a c i r e Am

By Sabriyya Ghanizada

My grandmother was born in Kabul, Afghanistan. In the mid-1970s, at the age of 15, she gave birth to my mother. On the cusp of New Year’s Eve in the early 1990s, I was born on the most American soil there is, just seven miles from our nation's capital. While she grew up I was tucked away in an egg in my grandmother as she walked to school and got straight A’s on her report card, and I was there when my mother rode camels in Kabul. While I may not have any firsthand knowledge of what life was like for them I was a part of them so energetically, in my heart, Afghanistan is home. Family photo taken at Olan Mills around 1995. My mother immigrated to America as a young child, met my father in high school and had me shortly therejawline. “Ethnically ambiguous,” some call after. At first glance when you see me, you’ll it. I hear it’s very trendy these days. For most While I may not have any know I’m a girl and I’m Black. Maybe mixed of my life I have identified as Black because with... something? I have dark curly hair that that’s how the world has chosen to perceive firsthand knowledge of strangers love to ask if they can touch— the with any trace of melanin in them. what life was like for them those answer is usually no, only if I can touch yours. There’s even laws about it! Ever heard of the My skin’s complexion waxes and wanes with I was a part of them so one-drop rule? the light from the sun sending me from a soft energetically, in my heart, caramel in the cold winter to a clay red in the Growing up I quickly came to terms with beAfghanistan is home. summer months. My chubby cheeks further ing the black sheep on either side of my famiconfuse people when they get to my sharp ly. My oldest cousin would joke with me that I was adopted from Mexico because my hair was just a little bit ‘nicer’ and skin a lot lighter. There was a literal language barrier between me and one side of my family. I never fought it, I just accepted that learning Dari— the dialect of Persian my family speaks— was not for me because I was Black.

My mother, who was 20 years old when she had me, was still in the throes of assimilation. As a foreigner and woman, she experienced harassment from the moment she began going to school in Virginia. From bullies who spit on and kicked her, to police officers who worked with racist civilians to create intimidation tactics on the road, the abuse was ceaseless. As she navigated the early stages of motherhood, she wanted me to have the protections and privileges that she didn’t have as an immigrant. One method she tried was making me as American as possible, so I would be protected from the type of kids who harassed and physically harmed her.

My parents, Soraya and William, at Herndon High School Prom, 1991.



Despite her best efforts to give me a sense of normalcy, being a mixed race little girl in 1990s Virginia was not going to be an easy ride. Arlington was mere miles from our nation’s capital, so it is a lot more diverse than one would expect. It was a melting pot of different cultures and people, but the way of thinking before the turn of the century was still very much set in the colonial ages. Nav-

igating social situations meant to stay small and not bring much attention to myself. Above all else, be polite and have some manners. It was in Virginia that I learned about slavery and how its legacy continued to affect me. I learned that slaves, my ancestors, were banned from reading and writing. At my afterschool program we would read poems by Maya Angelou and Langston Hughes. The fact that there were people who didn’t want people like me to read poems by Angelou and Hughes sparked something within me. People who didn’t even want these poems to be written. In Virginia I found my love for the written word. I read as many books as I could get my hands on and reveled in my growing vocabulary. It stuck with me, that learning to read and write was the most important thing I could do; that educating myself was my birthright. If Western colonization and trans-Atlantic slavery meant keeping my people illiterate and dependent, I felt strongly that it was my duty to combat that.

In New York, I found my independence and love for the arts. Thanks to my mother, I found a sense of community at my elementary school, PS 321. Even though she commuted to the city for work, where I lived and went to school was especially important to her. She knew that the neighborhood we moved to, Park Slope, prided itself on being racially diverse, and inclusivity was at the core of ethics for PS 321. A place I consider home, Park Slope was also where I experienced the devastation of 9/11 firsthand. It was during 9/11 that I was reminded of my Afghan side. Even though I knew the customs and the people and the language, what that meant to me and what it meant to the world were not the same. I watched the news and I listened to the adults. I realized it may be better to just let people continue to assume I was Dominican. After 9/11 I had a feeling of actually being protected by my Blackness. It covered up the terrorist stereotype that I felt the world would view me as. Television and media in the early 2000s were littered with stereotypes of people from the “Middle East”. The stereotypes ranged from submissive women covering themselves head to toe to crazed gun-toting Islamic extremists. Places like Afghanistan were portrayed on the news as being a third-world country in a desert wasteland— a far cry from the stories my mom would tell me of playing in a river full of iridescent multi-colored rocks or the smell of fresh bread and jasmine flowers in the mornings. If you were to watch a recording of the next decade or so of my life, you would see a young girl consistently navigating new spaces and being brave in the face of adversity. A little girl who wanted to dance and sing on stages and be a really good friend. A little girl who did her best in school, but was never encouraged or seen by those who were meant to nurture her.

Third grade photo day, PS 321, Park Slope, 2001.

When I was getting ready to enter the second grade, my mom’s producing job at BET moved her to their new studios in New York City. Despite my desperately wanting to stay in Virginia with my father, my mother made the decision to take me with her. New York was a world where I navigated custody battles, a new school and driving about eight hours from Brooklyn to Arlington and back again for summers, holidays and weekends. I split my time between the states and eventually adopted two personas. Telah (my first name, meaning “gold” in Arabic) would play with her cousins and watch movies with her grandma Kay. She would grow tomatoes in Gramma’s backyard and spend summers cooling down in museums with her dad. In Brooklyn, however, I decided to adopt my middle name. Sabriyya (meaning “patience” in Arabic) was the cool kid. She spent her days at school doing art projects and plays in class, and she spent her afternoons with the adults who worked below her brownstone, helping them at the cash register or cleaning up whenever they needed.

Once again my mother packed us up in pursuit of her profession and we landed in Southern California. I had to leave my performing arts middle school (that I auditioned to get into) only to spend the last few months of my sixth grade year watching soap operas at my grandmother's house. Eventually I found my way to a new school for the last month, and graduated from elementary school

Places like Afghanistan were portrayed on the news as being a third-world country in a desert wasteland— a far cry from the stories my mom would tell me of playing in a river full of iridescent multi-colored rocks or the smell of fresh bread and jasmine flowers in the mornings. again, yes again. Because I went from a junior high in New York to an elementary school in California, I wasn’t able to get back to middle school until seventh grade. For an eccentric kid, being forced to leave Brooklyn, middle school and high school in the suburbs of Glendale, California sucked. 22


Today, I go to school at a Predominantly White Institution (PWI) for Journalism. Despite the tough journey I have gone through over the last decade, I recognize the privilege I have. My mother left Afghanistan at the edge of the takeover but can still recount gunshots coming through the windows if lights were on past curfew. Since 9/11, I have watched girls my age have acid thrown on their face for going to school. My grandmother has fought hard for a family member in Afghanistan who was raped by the Taliban and then jailed for being raped. We fear for her now that the Taliban is reinstating their regime and no one is able to get out. The oppression that women endure under the Taliban’s rule is almost unimaginable for me. That is why it is so important that I continue my path through higher education, so I can create a world where women do not have to live in fear. What I have experienced are the obstacles of being a first generation American of immigrant parents who is pursuing higher educa-

That is why it is so important that I continue my path through higher education, so I can create a world where women do not have to live in fear. tion. Since graduating high school I have attended three community colleges. While both of my parents attended college, neither of them graduated. It was during a career and development course of my first semester at Glendale Community College (GCC) that I learned this fact made it statistically harder for me to even get my butt in the chair I was sitting in, let alone graduate with a bachelor's degree. An associate’s? Maybe! The obstacles in front of me have always only been just that— challenges to overcome or a hurdle to jump past. One very common obstacle is not having financial support. I paid my way through

Afghan Fashion Show in Washington, DC, September 1981

I can say that I am happy I went, because I found the structure and stability I craved by diving head first into activities that took me away from my life at home. I poured my time into drama club, cheerleading, and dance team. I wasn’t worried about being liked or popular, or even getting good grades. I just needed to stay busy, get creative, and graduate. I slipped through the cracks in high school. Teachers let me change my grade on the computer. My counselor agreed with me that I didn’t need to take a math class senior year— that caught up to me in college when it was time to transfer. I’m not sure how I walked at graduation. By the time we moved to California, my mother was checked out of my life and focused on her own. My father who lived 3,000 miles away from me would show up to more of my dance competitions and events than my mom did and we lived across the street from my high school. 23


On the Carousel at the Na tional Mall in Washington, DC, 2017. Photo by my cou sin Quimari.

school with the help of government aid. During my first few years at GCC my dad would help me pay for large school fees that FAFSA did not cover. I began coaching my Alma Mater’s dance team immediately upon graduation and found much success as an instructor and judge, so I leaned into that work. I picked part time jobs while attending school and coaching. I dabbled in the gig economy with jobs like Lyft and Postmates. While doing my 2018 taxes, I realized I had worked nine jobs while simultaneously going to school part-time.

My mom Soraya (center) at the Afghan Fashion Show around 7 years old here. She was the only child represented in the show in Washington, DC 1981.

An Afghan traditional dance, Attan, performed at the Afghan Fashion Show in Washington, DC 1981.

Obstacles also came in the form of advisors steering me the wrong direction. Having to retake courses. Dealing with subconscious bias of professors who frankly, should not have been in charge of molding impressionable minds. Obstacles like wondering why the hell I was even at school. Signing up for 7 a.m. Math classes when I wanted to be partying with my friends. Navigating a social life and becoming a woman. Imposter syndrome. What would I do with a career? Can I really make a living writing? These obstacles have delayed me completing my undergrad in the fantasy world of four years that most of the media likes to tell us is fact. These are just that, obstacles, and not a real threat to my safety

give birth to as many men as possible. Afghanistan has a long and arduous history of war. Despite being tested by conquerors ranging from Alexander the Great to the occupation by the Soviets, its most prevailing domination has been from the radical Islamist groups within. It is important to note that the Taliban is not composed entirely of wayward Afghans. Islam extremists are insidous and recruit young boys from anywhere. Most of these boys are illiterate. Geographically, Afghanistan is prime real estate. There are many players involved in keeping Afghanistan in this dangerous stalemate because there is much to be desired from a land so abundant with resources, including gemstones, rare minerals, and poppy fields. Despite the politics of Taliban rule and Western intervention in Afghanistan, I think most about the patriarchy. How it aims to de-

Portrait of Sabriyya Ghanizada taken by Deyanira Lopez in Arcata, California, 2021.

or life. I do not live in fear of the Taliban coming to threaten me because I have a degree, like they are currently doing to women in Afghanistan. Make-up artists have had to go into hiding and beauty salons are shuttered. The Women’s Afghan Robotics team and sports teams like Women’s Cricket are currently seeking safe asylum elsewhere. These are all things that, under the Taliban’s warped idea of Islam, are not allowed. To the Taliban, women should be seen and not heard. They should make the food for the men and

mean and control women and chilI do it for my ancestors that dren everywhere. were not allowed to read and I think about the write and for the women that I patriarchy and I share blood with who are being become angry, but not defeated. forced back into the dark ages. I I cannot dismando it for them. tle the patriarchy in a day, but I can educate myself and make deliberate changes within my life and my work. Being on an educational campus is important to me; it’s embedded into my core. Everything about who I am has told me: get up and get to class. Turn in that assignment. Meet with that professor. Do your best. Pursuing higher education is bigger than me. I do it for my ancestors that were not allowed to read and write and for the women that I share blood with who are being forced back into the dark ages. I do it for them.



Music Artists in Humboldt

Persevere Through the Pandemic By Brianne Beronilla | Photos by Sebastian Taylor The music scene in Humboldt County has slowed down over the past year due to the pandemic. However, musicians continue to persist despite the fact that live shows have come to a sudden halt. 4est Green is a Humboldt local musician who began making music in middle school, when he played guitar in a punk band. He now has 50 monthly listeners on Spotify. “I had been writing my own lyrics and songs with no plans for them to be heard or seen by anyone else for 6 years,” Green said. “It got to a point where I couldn’t stand simply just listening to music, I wanted to create and contribute and one day I finally just decided to do it regardless of what anyone thought.”

"I had been writing my own lyrics and songs with no plans for them to be heard or seen by anyone else for 6 years." Another music group in Humboldt, called City Hippie, is led by Archie James. He is a recording and performing artist who has been writing music for five years. The group’s other members are called Juice, Onest, DEVDLLOVEE, S0ul, Wierdo, and Reeph. Archie James started out doing music for his own creative outlet but it ended up growing into more when other people started relating to it on a deeper level. “That’s what really began to fuel my passion,” James said. “Healing people through music, but also music you can turn up to.” As for Green, the global pandemic had its positives and negatives. Without being locked up in the house with nothing to do, he most likely wouldn’t even have started his music career in the first place. “At the start of the pandemic, I really challenged myself to try to be creative,” Green said. “I was painting on denim jackets and even sold one commission early on, and eventually I noticed my song25

writing improving, and thought I would just take a shot at putting out music.” The pandemic has also limited his and many other artists’ opportunities to network and perform. Thankfully, social media has helped him keep up with the networking aspect of his career. Green has struggled with depression, which has impacted his motivation. After waiting for COVID-19 vaccines to be available, Green recently played his first two shows. “I performed at a couple of local shows put on by myself and other local artists such as Beninpayne, Rapunzel Thug, DeadInParis, Wierdo and Ijal, and we are planning on doing more,” Green said. Another local band, City Hippie, has also struggled with the pandemic. Their group sold out the Arcata Theater and Lounge weeks before the show, but due to COVID-19 the show was cancelled. “Initially, the show date was going to be pushed back a couple weeks, then to cancelations, then to trying to find dates down the road which never worked out,” James said. “The big headlining show was just canceled. All our investments and time were for nothing. Alongside social media marketing, our shows gave us our best exposure and attracted new City Hippie fans.” The alternative rock group was devastated. They weren’t able to play shows for a year and a half. 4est Green stands for openly expressing yourself no matter what anyone thinks of it. He’s on a constant journey determined to

"My music is always evolving and going through changes as I continue on this path to find my own fully formed sound, but I would say right now I make chill hip-hop music." evolve and improve day after day. “My music is always evolving and going through changes as I continue on this path to find my own fully formed sound, but I would say right now I make chill hip-hop music,” Green said. “Songs you can just vibe out to with lyrical content that reflects my own personal experiences and those of the ones close to me.” There is so much talent musically coming out of Humboldt right now,” Green said. “I’ve been so fortunate to have been able to meet and work with such greatly creative minds. Listening, sharing, and even something as simple as liking a social media post really does go a long way for small artists. I hope everyone can find something they enjoy from my catalog, and I’m only going to get better. So get with the 4est green movement before things pops off.”

@4ESTGREEN @WeAreCityHippie

Both artists have music on all streaming platforms. 26

Fire! In Humboldt County By Jessica Stahl In the summer of 2020, there were at least ten major wildfires burning across the state. According to the United States Forest Service, three of them were within or nearby Humboldt County. One of these fires became infamously known as the August Complex Fire. This fire erupted in the county bordering Humboldt to the south, and quickly grew into the largest fire in California’s recorded history, burning four million acres. Fire changes the proportion, arrangement, and characteristics of habitats across the landscape. There is a long and expensive recovery process, environmental impacts that can last for years, and an effect on fire personnel that is a growing concern with the increase in wildfire activity. This is most notably due to climate change and water control. John Friedenbach is the General Manager of the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District. Friendenbach has been working with the Water District for over ten years in each of its three locations. The Eureka location holds the administration office, while Essex (near Arcata) has the operations office where the water disinfection is pumped. Ruth Lake is the third location, where the dam operators oversee the operations of all personnel. Ruth Lake is the district’s direct source of drinking water, pro27

The Monument Fire left smoldering patches of forest that lit up as the sun set | Photo by Kris Nagel

“That’s where you have a burned forest... They salvage the burned trees and convert them to lumber. And that’s the first major step in the environmental recovery to take the old dead forest out, which we’ve completed.” viding water to over 88,000 customers. However, the Mad River runs down from Ruth Lake 70 miles toward Essex, so if there is a fire anywhere near Ruth Lake or the Mad River watershed, that has the potential to affect water quality and supply. “The most recent wildfire was the August Complex Fire. … That was huge, you know, that was the first mega fire, over a million acres burned, and a large percentage of that burned in the headwaters of the Mad River watershed,” says Friedenbach. “And actually, all the way down to Ruth Lake and burned about 1,000 acres of district property around Ruth Lake, so we were directly impacted by that wildfire. … We’re still in the recovery process with that, even a year later.” The August Complex was a massive wildfire that burned in the Coast Range of Northern California, in Glenn, Lake, Mendocino, Humboldt, Tehama, Trinity, and Shasta Counties. The complex originated as 38 separate fires all started by lightning strikes carried northward from the weakening tropical storm, Fausto, in mid August of 2020. By August 30, the Doe, Tatham, and Glade fires caused immense damage to the communities of Ruth Lake. Friedenbach describes the recovery process in several stages. “The first stage is in the first thing that our district did last

October ... to install erosion control measures around those burn structures because we didn’t want runoff from the burned structures to enter into the lake,” says Friedenbach. “Then, when there is a state and national disaster in which welfare was declared ... FEMA comes in, and Cal OES comes in, and they pay for the cleanup of those burned structures.” The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) started the extraction in March 2020. However, the process is still ongoing and is just beginning to show signs of winding down, finally giving the locals a chance to rebuild their homes. Both organizations also set up contracts to bring in specialized personnel to clean up the material left behind, because fire residue can become hazardous. While this stage was happening, the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District hired a logging company to come in and do what is called salvage logging. “That’s where you have a burned forest. ... They salvage the burned trees and convert them to lumber. And that’s the first major step in the environmental recovery to take the old dead forest out, which we’ve completed,” says Friedenbach. Fortunately, the Water District applied and was awarded a Healthy Forest Grant. This grant is a four-year program that provides the Water District with just under $5 million to replant the forest. The U.S. Forest Service has also partnered with the Water District because they hold majority ownership of the Headwaters area through the National Forest System and Six Rivers National Forest. All four companies have just begun the process down at Ruth Lake as the final stage in recovery. Things are looking very positive. CalFire has even approached the Water District to conduct a Fuel Reduction Program. “Fuel reduction is basically going into the green forested area and thinning out trees and brush and whatnot for a more fire resistant forest,” says Friedenbach. “And we’re going to do that, start that process on property that the district owns that didn’t burn in the August Complex so that if and when another fire comes through, there won’t be as much damage.” Firefighters are trained professionals specializing in controlling fires, search and rescue operations, and other related activities where significant loss or damage to life and property is imminent. However, firefighting is one of the most life-threatening and emotionally traumatic occupations. They risk heat exhaustion, smoke inhalation, and severe injury while on the job. They are sometimes required to spend long hours outdoors in bad weather conditions. Not to mention the state of anticipation preceding a significant threat can be highly stressful in itself. Kyle Kertcher has been the Fire Captain at the Fortuna Volunteer Fire Department for two years and has worked for the Fire

Department for over ten years. From his experience, most fires that occur in Humboldt County are closer to the boundaries of Trinity or Mendocino County. However, Humboldt County’s fire personnel are always helping other counties deal with wildfire activity, especially in southern California. “We actually have been combating California’s biggest fires... the Valley Fire a few years ago when it burned all southern California...and the Thomas Fire that burned most of the Santa Barbara area,” says Kertcher. “And then this last year [in northern California] we were in the August Complex Fire and the Dixie Fire … that’s the largest single start fire we’ve ever had. But the August Complex was the largest fire we got to experience firsthand. It was eye-opening for sure.” Unfortunately, this constant active duty has its complications. In 2019, California passed Senate Bill 542, which establishes Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in firefighters and police officers as a work-related injury. Under the new bill, California’s firefighters and first responders now have a greater chance to earn worker’s compensation for a PTSD diagnosis.

“...the proof is in the pudding. It’s “...the proof is in the pudding. It’s climate change and water manageclimate change and water management. I mean, those two things are ment. I mean, huge.” those two things are huge.” Here in Humboldt County, fire personnel have workman’s compensation, which provides outreach services such as the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), and what Kertcher calls a Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (CISD). “We have a big training call, we’ll call multiple people from different agencies for stress debriefing for the incident,” says Kertcher. “It’s actually really cool. We got folks from fire and police all in one area, talking about the theoretical. There’s a big retreat in the Bay Area where these folks can go for like a week and basically focus on mental health and getting over those mental scars.” Kertcher is talking about the West Coast Post-Trauma Retreat in Oakland, California. It’s a place where first responders can seek help, but there’s a six-month wait to get into the residential program. The center was created in 2001 by retired police officer and psychologist Dr. Joel Fay. Clinicians and peer counselors (who are emergency responders) treat police officers, paramedics, and firefighters for six days, every two weeks. Californians should always prepare for a wildfire in the area. The California Fire Service Training and Education System, California State Fire Training, and CalFire were established to provide a statewide focus for fire service in California. To that end, they solicit applications for projects to prevent catastrophic 28

organic matter along the forest floor, which has had a major effect on the amount of large fires between 1984 and 2015 in the western United States. The organization’s research shows that anthropogenic climate change has created drier conditions which result in drought and an extended fire season. Communities, builders, homeowners, and forest managers can reduce the impacts of wildfires by discouraging residential developments near fire-prone forests through smart zoning rules, maximizing the space between structures and nearby trees or brush, and clearing space between neighboring houses.

Photo by Jessica Stahl

Regardless of where in California you live, preparation for fire season is something you shouldn’t take lightly. In the past ten years, there have been large wildfires in places that historically have never burned before, or only very rarely. For example, Monterey and Big Sur have experienced extreme wildfire damage. So even though we live close to the coast, Humboldt County residents are never immune from the threat of wildfires.

wildfires and forest restoration, in turn protecting communities. The wildfire season has lengthened in many areas due to warmer springs, longer summer dry seasons, and drier soils and vegetation. So why is it that wildfires in California have been increasing so dramatically in the past few years? According to Verisk’s 2019 Wildfire Risk Analysis, 4.5 million U.S. homes are classified as high or extreme risk of wildfires, with more than two million in California alone. And since then, the massive destruction of over two million acres has occurred in the August Complex Fire of 2020 and the Dixie Fire of 2021. Whether wildfires are caused by nature or by human influence, the fires grow more deadly each year. “Well, I mean, the proof is in the pudding. It’s climate change and water management,” says Kertcher. “I mean, those two things are huge. So until we get a good handle on both sides, it’s going to be pretty hard to be reversible in our local area, but folks here can see their water usage, and reduce it. And then also watch their carbon footprint, I mean every little bit helps, you know.” According to the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, climate change and fire suppression has increased the drying 29

Tina DeProspero, a lieutenant at the Petrolia Volunteer Fire Department, deals firsthand with the aftermath of wildfires. “I think the main thing we’re working on out there is water storage, you know, just designated for fire,” says DeProspero. “Fuel reduction and then control burns … people can follow the guidelines that CalFire has put forward for their defensible space. If they have overgrown properties or made vitiation management problems on our property, they recommend that they clear their immediate space around the house up to 100 feet to prepare for wildfire hazards.” Wildfire season typically occurs in Humboldt County after months of low rainfall and warm temperatures. CalFire urges all California residents that being ready for wildfire starts with maintaining defensible space, hardening your home, and planning to evacuate in the case of an emergency. Suppose you or someone you know have been devastated in a wildfire or other natural disaster. In that case, The Humboldt County Office of Emergency Services would respond to that situation. They respond to a variety of natural disasters and emergencies, from wildfires and floods to health crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic. When it comes to wildfire activity in Humboldt County, it’s essential to realize that as California residents, all of our communities should be doing our part to combat climate change. The effect of the wildfire activity in Humboldt County might start to become apparent in the water supply and the beautiful redwood forests, and have a devastating effect on firefighters and fire personnel. By doing our part, we can protect the place we call home and all future generations that will come to see Humboldt County.

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Centering Indigenous Relationships to the Land By Raven Marshall | Art by Louisa McCovey

With the recent renaming of Sue-mêg State Park came a spotlight on Indigenous place names and relationship to land. A space was created for deeper inquiry into the weight that place names carry, and illuminating the value of Indigenous perspectives on building relationships with the land.

speak them to their place on earth, and shaping how they see the world says Lowry. It was recently renamed to what local Native peoples have called it for generations. The push for renaming the state park initially developed out of Governor Gavin Newsom’s issued apology through executive order of the Truth and Healing Council. The successful renaming is in no small way through the efforts and determination of the local tribes and tribal members, community members and the local State Parks agencies.

Skip Lowry, of Yurok, Maidu and Pit River ancestry, is an interpreter for Sue-mêg State Park. In the role of Interpreter, Lowry educates visitors to the replica of the traditional Yurok village on its history and culture. For Lowry, interpreting plays an import- Lowry remembers elders explaining to him that Yurok culture was ant role in creating relationships across cultures and provides not necessarily guarded, but meant to be shared with all who others. Engaging in learning the hisopportunity to create a sense of connection for others with of the Indigenous peoples is Engaging in learning the histories tories a necessary step in creating good the land. Su-mêg village is located in the ancestral Yurok relationships with the people and of the Indigenous peoples is a the land. land now known as Trinidad. Embedded into Indigenous languages are worldviews, connecting the people who 31

necessary step in creating good relationships with the people and the land.

“You’ll have a better opportunity to create a good relationship with the place and the people of the place if

you know a little bit of their culture.” said Lowry. Louisa McCovey, a member of the Yurok Tribe and also of Karuk ancestry, is a local Native artist who combines her culture and art into inspiration for mixed media artwork. Amidst endless appropriation of Native art and sacred cultural designs, it is refreshing to see the power of Indigenous artists taking their power back; creating their own art from their own perspectives. “As an Indigenous artist it is really important to put work out there that reflects our cultures, it reflects our values,” McCovey said. “It shows the beauty and the pain that we come from because all of that is what makes us who we are.” One form McCovey’s art takes is photography of her homelands throughout Humboldt County, combined with digital versions of her peoples’ traditional basket designs. There are specific cultural meanings for every basket pattern, and in layering these designs over her photography, McCovey shows how her culture and people are embedded into the land.

The newly re-named Su-mêg State Park in Trinidad | Photo by Raven Marshall Much of McCovey’s artwork centers on the philosophy that we must uphold a reciprocal relationship with the earth, and treat it more as a relative than a master having dominion over it. Land management and stewardship is an often overlooked concept in conversations about the Indigenous relationship to ancestral lands. “We know that to have a true relationship with the land and be a relative to the land, you manage it,” McCovey said. “You know you have this relationship with it, you practice your culture on it, you’re there every day, you nurture it with fire. You give thanks and you offer for things that you take, and you never take too much.” The early nineteenth century the theory of preservation “untouched wilderness” was misguided environmentalism at best and at it worst excluded and violently expelled Indigenous peoples from their lands, and with that went their role in shaping the land. Native people have continued to fight for access, authority and return of their lands which can result in the restoration of traditional stewardship practices. Recent studies have proven ecological benefits of land under Indigenous stewardship. Indigenous land stewardship refers to the historical and present day practices of shaping the landscape through various techniques such as the use of prescribed fire burning. For California tribes these practices ensured abundant production of certain traditional foods, intentional strengthening of plants used for basket-making materials and helped promoted forest-resiliencey against larger and much higher temparture wildfires. Today, there are a number of movements advocating for access to and the return of

“You know you have this relationship with it, you practice your culture on it, you’re there every day, you nurture it with fire. You give thanks and you offer for things that you take, and you never take too much.” land back into Indigenous hands. The renaming of Sue-mêg State Park is undoubtedly a signifier of a shift within one state government institution, but perhaps behind that awaits a larger paradigm shift. Regardless, it has created space to talk about the value of reexamining history and it’s contemporary implications on Indigenous access to and relationships with aboriginal land. Relationships with place may start but do not stop with Indigneous peoples and people who inhabitat lands they are not Indigenous to can learn from the local Indigenous population. Victor Bjelajac, District Superintendent for North Coast Redwoods District with California State Parks, played an important role in the renaming of Sue-mêg State Park. Bjelajac relies on the relationships he’s built over time with the local Native people in the area to inform his management of the local parks. He says that his philosophy about the job centers on being respectful of Indigenous people’s relationship with the land, and approaching those relationships in a “sovereign to sovereign” manner. “Any human being can establish that relationship, but when you have generation after generation after generation and you have that heritage to be able to reclaim, reassert and have a place that knows you and you know it, to be called by a name that is has been called for thousands of years–its huge.” said Bjelajac. The act of renaming is the tip of the iceberg for a larger movement encompassing Indigenous cultural revitalization and persistence, and there are many lessons to learn from these efforts. Much like weaving a basket, respectfully interacting with land and all other forms of life within it is necessary in forming strong interconnections. Renaming is an act of reclaimation, corroborating Indigenous connections to place that supercede merely a name. “You know what we do in ceremony is we’re “fix the earth” people right, we pray, we pray for world balance and world-renewal in our ceremonies” McCovey said. “I think one of the really profound things is that we are not responsible for climate change, we’re not responsible for dams on our rivers, we’re not responsible for degraded water quality or over fishing in the ocean. But we are all born with this obligation to fix the world, to fix the earth, so we are here poised and ready and we always have been, to fix these problems.” louisamccoveyartdesign.com 32

The Darkness of Academia By Dobby Morse

What would a university look like in an utopian society? Debtfree, sure. Perhaps a campus with beautiful trees and gothic architecture. Living in a little tower above a cozy library with bookshelves lined up on the walls. A university with just enough — a serene campus with quiet places to study without an abundance of empty rooms and over-watered lawns. Obviously, this is far from reality. Students have sat at cluttered desks or upright in their beds for the past year and a half, living with the never-ending feeling that you’ve missed an assignment but can’t for the death of you remember what class it was for. The Dark Academia aesthetic uses classical and gothic styles to create an elite sort of feeling, the feeling you’d presumably get if you were a matriculated student studying in Oxford’s Radcliffe Camera library. It’s old-school uniforms, blazers, and cardigans. The books in the genre follow a pattern — one lucky student from a normal or poor background is accepted into an elite clique. Some tend to be very stereotypical — If We Were Villains relies on standard Shakespearean tropes to convey that yes, these people are gay. It is also ok for these people to murder.



Dark Academia is many things, but it in some ways resembles a trauma response to college life, especially during the pandemic.

If you are not totally and utterly fascinated and consumed by your academics, what are you even doing here?

There’s other factors to consider in addition to the constant stress — “adulting” is really hard, especially when you’ve distanced yourself from any former support system by moving away from home. Books in the Dark Academia genre address this by forming an often cult-like friend group where the protagonist finds like-minded individuals with a literal skeleton in their communal closet. They become attached to one another because they have no choice — you have to trust that no one will report you for murder if you don’t report them.

The trend romanticizes late nights studying by candlelight, damaging your eyes with every word you read or write but not buying new glasses because you need that money to pay for the $50 textbook. Excessive caffeine drinking is an ~aesthetic~, not an unhealthy survival tactic to trade sleep for books!

This, of course, leads to the unhealthy dynamics portrayed in most Dark Academia media: homoerotic tension that only gets addressed after someone dies, the girl that has no discernable personality but is sexy and related to the guy that you need to kill, that one misogynistic guy in the group that gives you no choice but to murder him. College kills people, okay?

Dark Academia in online spaces, fashion, and books has increased in popularity in a desperate attempt to fill the void, the feeling that we’re missing out on something, something fundamental to the college experience. We don’t quite know how to define it because we don’t quite know what it is. It’s something about why we exist in the first place. It’s about finding ourselves, whether it be through an ordered rationality, or an embrace of the inherent messiness of the universe. We’ll probably go through stages of both. Dark Academia fashion, movies, philosophy, books, all focus on one question: if you are not totally and utterly fascinated and consumed by your academics, what are you even doing here? This reflects the reality that 78% of students report having a mental health crisis according to data by the National Alliance on Mental Illness. In books, mental illness among college students leads to muder, but on real college campuses, it results in low graduation rates. Liza Auerbach, a staff psychologist at HSU’s Counseling and Psychological Services, put it this way: “The reality of a college student is that they never really can say ‘OK, I’ve done everything I needed to do for today, I’m off for today’ because there’s always, always, something more to be done.”

I can offer no solutions, but I can tell you this much: there’s a reason Dark Academia exists. University is bad for us — it gives us warped perceptions of what good writing is, often destroying individual writing styles in favor of a standard academic voice. It also supports the idea that capitalism is normal, right, and just. We should pay back student loans, therefore we should go for the highest paying job over the job that would actually make us happy. We are paying thousands of dollars to learn something that could be learnt on the job or through YouTube videos. And yet we

It’s about finding ourselves, whether it be through an ordered rationality, or an embrace of the inherent messiness of the universe. “have” to go through this, because we have passion, and the desire to become more than what we are now. We “have” to go through this, because like it or not, we need money to survive in this society, and for most, there is no money without sacrifice.


The Secret History Donna Tartt

If We Were Villains ML Rio


EM Forester


Dead Poets Society Nancy H. Kleinbaum

A Lesson in Vengeance Victoria Lee

Ace of Spades

Summer Sons Lee Mandelo

The Maidens Alex Michaelides


Mona Awad

Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé


Photo By August Linton

Acknowledging Discomfort in Nature for Marginalized Communities Story and Illustrations by Sophia Maghran 35

When people think of Humboldt County, the first thing that comes to mind is our rich forests and misty coastlines. Experiencing the giant redwoods, dipping our feet in the warm rivers, and watching the waves crash onto the shore are some of the many delights of living beyond the redwood curtain. Many people come to Humboldt to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life, but they don’t expect how rural and spread out the county truly is. Students move to Humboldt excited to explore the area but quickly realize they may not have the means to access many hiking and scenic areas. Unfortunately, most of the beautiful spaces in Humboldt county are only accessible by driving, which can be especially difficult for students from urban areas and those without a personal vehicle. For those who are new to Humboldt, transportation can hinder accessing natural spaces. The Redwood Transit System (RTS) is a great way to get around without a car. This bus line runs as far south as Sco-

“I don’t know, like, I just pulled back. I wasn’t feeling as connected because I was like why [am I] still experiencing things that I experience back home?” - Chaughnessy Szillat-White tia and as far north as Trinidad. RTS provides free transit to all HSU students with a student ID. It is essential to address the discomfort in nature for marginalized communities because of a fear of being harmed by others. For those who are often targets of vwiolence in our society, remote areas can be the last place they would want to go. It is vital for students to not only have access to nature but be able to feel comfortable and safe. Sexual violence and hate crimes are a prevalent reality for anyone outside of the white cis male experience. The fear of being harassed or assaulted is an everyday reality for many people of color (POC), cis women, and LGBTQIA+ people. In remote areas, those fears only increase. To build a safer community, we must listen to the voices of those who have first-hand experience.

discrimination to marginalized people. Szillat identifies themself as a non-binary mixed-race POC. Szillat describes experiencing various microaggressions, including blatant staring, people crossing the street when they see them (even before the COVID-19 pandemic), and white women clutching their purses as Szillat passed them. Szillat explains that when their family came to visit, their nextdoor neighbor was peeking out the window trying to figure out who they were, asking why they were there and when they were going home, even though Szillat had just moved to the area. Their grandmother noticed as well, saying “your next-door neighbor keeps on trying to figure out who we are and if we live here and stuff.” Szillat was highly bothered by this, as anyone would be. Even in their own home, Szillat feels uncomfortable. Microaggressions aren’t the only issues Szillat has noticed in the Humboldt area. Some progress has been made, as the city of Arcata has removed the controversial statue of William McKinley from the Arcata Plaza, and President Obama restored the name of Denali National Park. However, McKinleyville and Arcata both have other pressing racial issues. Szillat described living in the city of McKinleyville as troublesome, as the town is well-known for KKK organizations. The Humboldt County Sheriff ’s office denies any KKK activity in Humboldt, but community members still disagree. Szillat also brought up the issue of the Josiah Lawson case, which made many people of color in the community extremely aware and afraid of the prejudices held within the community. Josiah Lawson was an HSU student from LA who was tragically murdered at a local party. Local law enforcement did not take the case seriously, creating major unrest at HSU and within the Black community. Szillat feels that they couldn’t enjoy the community as much as they would have liked, because going out seemed like more of a burden than before, from going to parties to exploring the outdoors. “I don’t know, like, I just pulled back. I wasn’t feeling as connected because I was like, ‘wow, I’m still experiencing things that I experience back home,’” Szillat described. Though they had experienced discrimination in the Bay, being in a new place far from home made them feel more alone and isolated. “I guess I did feel like I shrunk a little bit back from, like, exploring, even the community,” commented Szillat.

Before attending HSU, Chaughnessy Szillat-White had only heard good things about HSU. Szillat is originally from the Bay area but moved to Humboldt for school in 2018. They even came to see the campus on a high school visit. Before coming to Humboldt, Szillat didn’t know much about the culture or the community overall. Once arriving at HSU, Szillat quickly realized the surrounding community didn’t feel as accepting as the University culture. “When I got here, I pretty much experienced what I experienced back home — like micro-aggressive racism,” Szillat said. Micro-aggressions are indirect or subtle actions that display

Photo By Sophia Maghran


They described “shrinking back” from activities and exploration, but Szillat also expressed that they felt this became a catalyst for social justice within their communities. Though Szillat originally came to HSU for a STEM degree, after immersing themself in the HSU culture, they found that the humanities departments were much more interesting to them. They are now majoring in Critical Race and Gender Studies (CRGS), and began to find support within HSU from students and their studies in CRGS. Students come from all over California and the West Coast to attend HSU. Heidi Andino spent nearly her entire life in Los

“My identity as a woman has a lot to do with it, that combined with me being Latina, people don’t care if I go missing, compared to a white woman.” - Heidi Andino Angeles. Growing up, her mom had a car, but she still primarily used public transportation to get around the city. Once moving to Humboldt, she no longer had access to a car, she now takes public transport or walks everywhere unless a friend offers her a ride. Andino identifies as a Latina woman and is a CRGS major with

Photo By By Sophia Maghran Photo Sophia Maghran


an emphasis in Women’s Studies, minoring in Family Studies and Anthropology at HSU. She came to HSU for the sociology-based departments and wasn’t expecting HSU to be so nature-based. “It’s rural, forest-y, and [there are] a lot of white people, and totally different from where I grew up, where they call it the concrete jungle,” Andino said. In terms of access to outdoor spaces, Andino explained that she feels like she has the same amount of access while living in LA or Humboldt, where she needs to travel far. However, she does have more access to local outdoor spaces than in LA, such as the Arcata Marsh and the Arcata Community Forest. Andino does not think she would feel comfortable exploring much beyond the city limits because of a lack of familiarity and trust with the people in the area. Andino recounts stories she’d heard about students going missing in the forests and expressed that people in Humboldt can be very aggressive towards minorities. Andino defines a reality many marginalized people face every day. “My identity as a woman has a lot to do with it, that combined with me being Latina, people don’t care if I go missing, compared to a white woman,” Andino said. Andino’s interactions with men in the community have been extremely hostile already. Just the idea of being alone while bumping into a group of guys makes her tense and uncomfortable. “The outdoors is a really cool place out here but also take into consideration your skill, experience, where you’re going, and still take precaution even if it does seem accessible,” Andino said. However, giving people resources to be safe at parties or the beach is only a small part. Other, more significant steps through social justice need to be taken before marginalized people feel safe in Humboldt. There are many resources at the school already, but HSU needs to make a greater effort to understand and educate students about prejudices within the community.



Natural Spaces

Humboldt State University

Accessible Without a Car!

1 Arcata Community Forest

By Sophia Maghran

1. Arcata Community Forest


Arcata The community forest is located directly behind the Marsh Humboldt State University campus and accessible on the Northside of campus near the Hill and Cypress dorms. Follow the path to the left of the Cypress dorms until you meet the bridge crossing the creek. From there, you can follow the path to a multitude of different trails. Another way to access the Arcata Community forest is through Redwood Park. It is located on Redwood Park drive, and is easily accessible by walking from the HSU campus by following 14th St. from the South campus until Union street, where there is a large Redwood Park sign. There are even picnic benches that provide a seating area that is great for relaxing and hanging out.


2. The Arcata Marsh

These wetlands are a great local spot with many walking trails, which are excellent to ride your bike or skate. The marsh is accessible in south Arcata, near downtown. It is easily accessible by walking, biking, or skating from the HSU campus. The RTS Southbound bus from campus will take you to the downtown Arcata bus station. From there, you will walk through downtown Arcata, towards Samoa. The Arcata Marsh is a large wetland area with extreme biological diversity, making it the perfect place for bird watching and spotting many different species of animals.

3. Sequoia Park

This urban park in Eureka is a great place to walk in a Redwood forest without going far outside the city. The park is 67 acres, with well-maintained paths suitable for walking and bike riding, two small creeks, and a duck pond. Sadly, the park contains the last of the redwoods within Eureka. The best route is the RTS Green Line Southbound from the HSU campus directly to the park, or transfer from the green line and catch the red or purple line bus at the Bayshore Mall. While you’re there, you could also check out the Sequoia Park Zoo!


4. Humboldt Community Forest - Ryan Creek Community Forest

There is a wide creek running through the Humboldt Community Forest that allows different species of salmon to pass through. If you’re lucky, you might just see one! The trail systems are expansive, winding all over the forest. You could spend many days exploring all different parts. The forest is accessible via bus on the RTS Greenline Fortuna Southbound from downtown Arcata and then transfer to the purple or red route at H & 3.

5. Humboldt Community Forest - McKay Community Forest

Ryan Creek Community forest and McKay Community forest are both a part of the Humboldt Community forest and have the same route via public transport. They are both easy access points within the city of Eureka into the Humboldt Community forest, which is 7550 acres all together. Map by Sam Salek | Sources: Humboldt Planning & Building, USGS

McKay Community Forest

3 Sequoia Park

Ryan Creek Community Forest

5 4

Voices from the Past

Embracing the Legacy of the Negro Leagues and Their Players

By Camille Delany Illustrations by Griffin Mancuso If I asked if you’d ever heard of Babe Ruth, even the least baseball-knowledgeable among us could surely answer “yes”. The iconic Major League slugger is immortalized on everything from USPS stamps to candy bars, was a member of the inaugural “first five” players in the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame and was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2018. Now, have you ever heard of Josh Gibson? Considered one of the greatest power hitters and catchers of all time, Gibson hit close to 800 home runs in his spectacular career playing in the American Negro Leagues, as well as the Dominican and Mexican Leagues. Only in 2020 did Major League Baseball begin recognizing the Negro League records, like Gibson’s. This change finally officially awarded Gibson the second-highest ever single season major league batting average.

Non-white players consistently played at the level of their contemporaries in the Major Leagues. They were relegated to the Negro Leagues under Jim Crow, until Jackie Robinson’s legendary 1947 season broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball. Robinson’s incredible athleticism over his first season earned him the title of Rookie of the Year. He eventually led the Dodgers to win the World Series Title, but the backlash against his very presence as a Black man on the field was enormous. Robinson experienced extensive physical and verbal harassment. Metal plates had to be sewn into his cap to protect him from pitches hurled at his head, and a torrent of slurs and pejoratives rained down upon him from both players and stadium-goers each time that he played. Negro League stadiums, on the other hand, comprised a mostly Black audience. The games provided a community gathering place, an industry, and a sense of pride for Black Americans. However, with the integration of the Major Leagues, Black GIs returning from the second World War, and the burgeoning civil rights movement, the Negro Leagues gradually declined in popularity. The last major season occurred in 1951. Today, the Negro Leagues tend to be written off by most as a little-known “fun fact” at best, or a shameful window into America’s segregated recent past at worst. However, there is also a growing movement to recognize the leagues and their players, which made great gains in 2020. This campaign is led by none other than the living family members of Negro League players. Rose Hunter is the stepdaughter of Buck Leonard, a legendary Negro League first baseman who was among the very first Negro League players to be inducted into the MLB Hall of Fame. Hunter

Today, the Negro Leagues tend to be written off by most as a little-known “fun fact” at best, or a shameful window into America’s segregated recent past at worst. is the Executive Director of the Buck Leonard Association, which seeks to assist and help educate inner city youth living in Leonard’s hometown of Rocky Mount, North Carolina. Hunter said that she intends for the Buck Leonard Association to, “help children get excited about their history and their culture, and to also be involved physically in sports, and in STEM.” Hunter collaborates extensively with the families of other Negro League players, as well as with the families of other notable Black historical figures. Jazz legend Thelonious Monk was also born in Rocky Mount, and Hunter has worked with his children on educational outreach programs. She thinks of the descendants of these figures as a sort of “think tank” working together to develop ideas for helping their communities, and emphasizes the importance of listening to those communities.

Signed photo of Buck Leonard on the playing field in mid-swing. Credit: Buck Leonard Association


“We live in the inner city because we have to be where our people are, so we can determine what their needs are,” Hunter said. “We’re a listening ear, not telling them what to do.” She believes that it’s all about community. “I mean, the history’s

The family of Josh Gibson is also working to further the legacy of the Negro Leagues, while giving back to the communities that nurtured them a century ago. Located in Pittsburgh, the Josh Gibson Foundation is led by executive director Sean Gibson, Josh’s grandson. The Foundation seeks to provide underserved youth in the Pittsburgh community with access to STEM tools and educational support. They have also worked on campaigns honoring Josh Gibson’s legacy in the local and national baseball scene. In response to the 2020 announcement that the name of noted racist Kenesaw Mountain Landis would be removed from the MVP awards, the Josh Gibson Foundation launched a campaign to replace Landis’ name with Gibson’s. The campaign included t-shirts emblazoned with “GIBSON MVP”, a hashtag #JG20MVP, and a first-person piece in The Undefeated by Sean Gibson.

Homestead Grays players and spectators.

"We live in the inner city because we have to be where our people are, so we can determine what their needs are. We’re a listening ear, not telling them what to do." great, we can use the history … to bring resources back to our communities that we want to build to become more vibrant, so the children can see a better pathway to self-sustainability,” Hunter said. Tad Richardson is another contributor to the growing movement to reclaim recognition for the Negro Leagues. As the founder of Negro League Baseball Marketplace, he works with the families of famed Negro League players to raise funds for campaigns and projects related to the history of the Negro Leagues, as well as for community outreach programs.

In his article titled “Why the MVP award should be renamed after Negro Leagues great Josh Gibson,” Gibson wrote that, “It was not a question of skill, it was the matter of equal opportunity that had thwarted Black players from competition.” He concluded, “Renaming the MVP award in memory of Josh Gibson would do more than just honor a great baseball player. It would remind people of some of the many victims of racism — the players who were denied their life’s dream of playing ball at the highest level. For all those who came before Robinson, the ‘Josh Gibson MVP Award’ would be an act of redemption. And poetic justice.” Hunter believes that recognition of the Negro Leagues’ significance to baseball history as well as to Black and American history would go a long way towards fighting back against the influence of racism and prejudice. “Each one of [the Negro Leagues players] has a story in Black history and American history,” Hunter said. “And if we can hear all of those voices, it could help us to correct some of the things that need correcting, and to talk about what their experiences were so we never have to revisit that again.”

Portrait of Buck Leonard

Richardson, a lifelong baseball fan, said of his childhood memories of Negro Leaguers, “They were very mythical, the way they described them.” With missing or incomplete statistics and game summaries, Negro Leaguers’ batting averages and home run counts tend to be imprecise. This resulted in what felt like, to young baseball fans like Richardson, an almost physical aura of mystery surrounding the players. The erasure of Black history is no small factor of the Negro Leagues’ relative obscurity. “There’s a ton of history that we haven’t been taught, that’s been really left out. Our history in America has been completely whitewashed,” Richardson said. “The fact of the matter is, if Josh Gibson and Buck Leonard were playing right alongside Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth, they would be in the same conversation as the greatest players ever. That’s a fact.” This sentiment was also voiced by Negro League legend Judy Johnson, who once said that, “If Josh Gibson had been in the Big Leagues in his prime, Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron would still be chasing him for the home run record.” 40

The Mental Health of our Military By Payton Belle Always a pervasive issue in the military, suicide rates of service members have increased by “as much as 20 percent this year compared to the same period in 2019” according to the Military Times. There are many reasons someone might choose to end their life, but as a current service member who has experienced first-hand the new difficulties of serving in the Navy, I believe that the COVID-19 pandemic and the response to it might be a major factor for some. Is the COVID-19 pandemic one of the main factors for why the suicide rates in the military have significantly increased over time? COVID adds additional stress to what is already a difficult career, as well as restricts where we can go; servicemembers now have to quarantine if we need to travel or if we test positive for COVID. Overall, COVID has made the military experience much harder and considerably more stressful in every aspect than how it should be. I — along with many others who enlisted into the military after the pandemic began — ­ experienced how difficult training was with COVID as a new factor to consider. I had a conversation about this subject with one of my close shipmates, CTTSA Beason (Cryptologic Technician Technical Seaman Apprentice). We went through many similar experiences; we went into bootcamp at the same time and were in the same “A” school class (job-specific military training), so we share similar memories of what it was like to train during the pandemic. Beason, an active duty member, tells me that his job at sea is already stressful, but to make matters worse, he is not able to stop at ports and get out to explore. This is tradition for us sailors, and one of the reasons why people decide to join the Navy: so they can travel and see the world. He told me that while he was out at sea, his ship passed many interesting countries and ports that they typically stop at. He says that not being able to relieve stress and having to stay onboard the ship the whole time is mentally tiring and it tends to get depressing after a while. Now, dry docked in Washington, he still experiences a lot of COVID-related restrictions. He mentioned to me that he isn’t able to go to Canada or make any other trips. His command, among oth41

ers, restricts certain areas that military personnel can access, based on their command’s current status regarding COVID. Every command is different and some may have more restrictions depending on the area. It also depends on where the command is because some areas may have higher or lower rates of COVID cases, so if the area has more than there will be more restrictions within that command. When Beason and I were at boot camp together, we had to go through two quarantines. The first wasn’t too bad because it was before we got on base, but the second quarantine was a different beast. The Recruit Training Command turned the drill hall into a huge quarantine center for recruits, with rows of cubicles. Each contained one rack and two folding chairs. They made us live there for two weeks with hundreds of other recruits. We were not allowed to have our phones, so there was no way to communicate with the outside world. We couldn’t walk around; we were only allowed to read a book in our chairs the whole day. We ate three meals a day and were allowed only 30 minutes to go outside to exercise. We also had to follow shower times, wake-up and sleeping times, and we even had to stand watch. I personally remember being extremely depressed and counting down the days until I got out. I had never been so depressed before. It was the hardest time for me in the military, but those were the precautions that they felt they had to take to keep us safe from the virus and to reduce the spread of the virus. “While the data is incomplete and causes of suicide are complex, Army and Air Force officials say they believe the pandemic is adding stress to an already strained force,” said Lolita C. Baldor and Robert Burns in the Military Times. It has not yet been proven that COVID is a direct reason for higher suicide rates, but it definitely has added a significant amount of stress on service members, which may in turn cause suicidal thoughts or actions. Lieutenant Larry Jones told the Navy Press Office that, “We recognized that the many stressors and prolonged periods of isolation brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic can lead someone to experience thoughts of suicide.” The military’s

methods of keeping service members safe during the pandemic resulted in a substantial negative impact on our mental health. Being unable to visit or sometimes even communicate with our families, as was enforced during quarantine, is emotionally taxing. Beason told me that there are restrictions on traveling long distances that require service members to submit documents informing the chain of command. This process can take time, and can ultimately get disapproved. Additionally, returning service members have to quarantine upon their return, which, as discussed above, is very emotionally taxing. I asked Beason if the thought COVID-19 and its accompa-

nying restrictions were a reason for the military suicide rate increasing. He said he was uncertain, but that, “it has an effect because we aren’t able to go do everything we would like.” He added that his command lets their sailors know that they have access to mental health resources such as hotlines and access to chaplains, who provide confidential counseling. It’s apparent that the COVID-19 pandemic has intensified nearly everyone’s daily struggles, civilians and service members alike. However, though hope for the future may seem distant at times like this, there are resources available for everyone. A listening ear with a similar perspective and experience to yours can always be reached at various nationwide hotlines and many localized ones. You are important, and you are loved.

Lieutenant Larry Jones told the Navy Press Office that, "We recognized that the many stressors and prolonged periods of isolation brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic can lead someone to experience thoughts of suicide." National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and Military Crisis Line: (800) 273- 8255 Psychological Health Resource Center: (866 )966 -1020 Humboldt 24-hour Mental Health Crisis Line: (707) 445-7715 42

Blood on Our Hands

The Disregard for Menstrual Health of Those in Need By Bethany Brooding

Photo By A.B. Navarro

“Anywhere a low-income individual exists, so does the struggle to access menstrual resources”

Humboldt County’s streets are home to hundreds of women. For many, there’s no telling when they’ve eaten their last meal, taken their last shower, had a change of clothes, seen a doctor - at every corner they turn, there’s a need going unmet. Still, there’s more; a number of these women menstruate. When faced with their period, what is the next step? The Eureka Target, for example, has shelf after shelf of boxes of tampons--for nearly eight dollars, pre-tax. That won’t do. A local shelter may have the resources they need, but that’s assuming they’re aware of a stocked, funded, and operational organization that they can acquire transportation to. If they don’t, these women must turn to whatever supplies they manage to come across; that may be their only used sock, or a piece of scrap fabric they can snag from the gutter. The bacterial infection that’s bound to ensue (and likely go untreated) is the cost of their desperation.

Policymakers turn a blind eye to the true need for menstrual care. With government assistance largely inadequate, where does one turn to next? Some in-need transgender men face a similar predicament. The vast majority of men’s shelters don’t stock their inventory with menstrual products whatsoever. Do these men attempt to receive assistance at a women’s shelter? Can they spare the limited money to purchase pads or tampons at the store? Regardless of their chosen path to accessing care, none of the options are without risk of outing themselves as transgender men. Not only do they face the fear of an undealt-with period, but potential exposure to public scorn, if not violence. 43

Humboldt County is home to a population that experiences period poverty to a large extent. It’s no wonder, considering the county charts an alarming 20.1 percent of its population below the poverty line (compared to the national average of 12.3 percent). Shelterless individuals and poor households alike suffer under period poverty. Commonly understood as a lack of access to menstrual hygiene products as well as adequate places to use them, period poverty prevails in communities far beyond Humboldt. Anywhere a low-income individual exists, so does the struggle to access menstrual resources. Government assistance dealing with this severe problem virtually does not exist. CalFresh, a program specifically designed to aid low-income people in affording necessities, does not cover any sort of menstrual care cost. The human need for sustenance is recognized by politicians and lawmakers; they’ve deemed it a worthy cause for financial assistance. When it comes to the biological human experience of menstruation, however, politicians and lawmakers send a clear message: the public is on their own. Additionally, 30 of 50 states currently consider menstrual products to be taxable items, furthering the economic strain of acquiring them. In the same shopping trip, an individual can use government funds to purchase, say, a candy bar tax-free, yet pay full price plus tax for a box of tampons. Granted, a 2020 California Senate Bill declared menstrual products non-taxable through the end of this calendar year, but this temporary law only addresses a fraction of the financial burden at hand. Low-income individuals and families in need, as determined by the government itself, are at a loss when it comes to government assistance. Policymakers turn a blind eye to the true need for menstrual care. With government assistance largely inadequate, where does one turn to next? If someone experiencing period poverty is a student or a Humboldt local, maybe they’ll look for help from Humboldt State. After all, the public university does have a health center, with various departments across campus to assist in student wellness. Despite this, access to menstrual care on campus remains lacking. A representative of Humboldt State Health Education confirmed that the university “does not offer period products in the restrooms”.

of the county; they’ll be there. The Project’s willingness to go the extra mile with delivery services allows for a much wider range of people to be serviced, without the financial and logistical burden of transportation. Additionally, the personalized acquisition of menstrual products in a private setting better addresses gender-based safety concerns. Humboldt Period Project emphasizes the importance of servicing the transgender community in a secure and comfortable manner. Avila has spent personal time contacting numerous male shelters within the county, inquiring about their current stocking status and willingness to provide menstrual supplies. “Most of these places aren’t even thinking about these things,” she reports back. To compensate for settings that don’t have necessary provisions.

Alternatively, HSU’s campus food program OhSNAP! provides them at tabling events. While a much-needed service is being provided, OhSNAP! existing as the sole distributor of menstrual supplies poses a few barriers. Firstly, the services are only offered to registered HSU students; secondly, the tabling events occur in public spaces on campus, requiring personal interaction to acquire products. This means that in-need nonbinary and transgender individuals still risk their confidentiality in exchange for essential care. Even in outreach settings, fear accompanies accessibility. The stocking of campus bathrooms would mean private, personal, and safe access for all kinds of community members. But, as the representative of HSU Health Education regretfully states, Humboldt State “[does not] have the funding to stock all bathrooms”. It’s important to note that at the time of writing of this article, the California legislature has passed the Menstrual Equity for All Act of 2021. In doing so, Humboldt State (and all other California State University campuses) will be required to stock “no fewer than one designated and accessible central location” with menstrual products. The bill will take effect during the 2022-23 school year. Assembly Bill No. 367’s passage is no small feat, and it does demonstrate an effort to address these very real concerns. However, the vague requirement of a central location, and a minimum of only one at that, does not address the anonymity needed for transgender/ nonbinary individuals, nor the quantitative concerns of a large student body. Multiple restrooms (male, female, and gender-neutral) would require stocking in order to ensure safety related to gender identity, as well as sufficient accessibility. Both state and federal governments demonstrate a lack of priority toward affordable menstrual product accessibility. University-funded outreach programs like OhSNAP! work harder to eliminate the financial barriers, but still do not adequately address privacy/safety concerns. Is it possible for someone in need to access free and private menstrual products? Cue the hero of the day: Humboldt Period Project. A local outreach group dedicated to servicing those in need, Humboldt Period Project was founded in March 2021 by Brandy Lara and Rocio Avila. Their mission? Provide menstrual care to all people who need it - no questions asked. While they’re only a two-woman team, both Lara and Avila strive to achieve an efficient, accessible system. Humboldt Period Project understands that transportation is a luxury for many, and they aim to alleviate the issue altogether. “We deliver everywhere,” Lara said. Home deliveries are a common practice for the two, and it doesn’t matter if the request for aid is coming from Eureka, Hoopa, or any corner

Humboldt Period Project puts together boxes of pads and tampons themselves. They distribute them to local shelters, businesses, and tabling events, asking organizers and owners to leave them in their restrooms for the free use of the community. To further the privacy and safety of menstruators in need, Humboldt Period Project plans to acquire a physical space for individuals to come in, grab what they need, and go. There would be no ID check, no detail-arranging conversations, no risk of one’s birth gender being outed. Lara says this is their desired system, which the two hope it will eventually be financially feasible to achieve. “We wouldn’t have to rely on somebody accessing the Internet or Instagram in order to reach us, outside of tabling,” Lara explains. Humboldt Period Project has a massive responsibility balanced between just a few people, so help is always needed. Whether that’s financial/product donation or volunteering to table or deliver, Humboldt County residents who feel compelled to contribute can do so in many forms. A quick Google search for “Humboldt Period Project” will provide their website URL, as does the same search on Instagram. Either platform offers contact information as well as donation details. For those feeling inspired but not living in Humboldt, it’s likely there’s some form of mutual aid in your area. Donations of both money and time add fuel to the flame of compassionate community support. A simple tampon can be an item of luxury among a variety of populations, and this affects the lives of our very own Humboldt County neighbors. Vulnerable people are forced to repeatedly risk their own comfort, dignity, and physical well-being in exchange for basic function and hygiene. This is a crisis. Government intervention and an unlearning of shameful stigmas are a must for the destruction of period poverty, but as politicians so often fall gravely short, mutual aid remains one of our greatest powers. Genuine devotion to those in need paves the path of change, striving for a future in which menstruation is not seen as dirty, nor disparaging, nor shameful. Bleeding is biological. Compassion is vital.


It’s a Dog’s World Story and Illustrations by Griffin Mancuso

Figueroa’s side or lounging under tables. In layman’s terms, a very good boy. Carty Figueroa is an appreciator of all animals and is very attuned to their needs and wants. She explained the process that she went through to train Tito. “I’m owner-trained. I got him as a puppy from a breeder, and then I trained him from there,” Carty Figueroa said. Owner-training is one of the routes handlers can take when training their service dogs. It’s pretty self-explanatory: obtain the dog at a young age and train it yourself. While owner-training can be less expensive, provide more flexibility with training methods, and prevent trauma that could impact the puppy later in life, it is a large responsibility. The closest thing I could compare it to is raising a very hairy five-year-old without diapers. Still, the outcome of owner-training can be rewarding, as it was with Tito. I’m holding a black labradoodle puppy the size of a toddler with my hands on both sides of his ribs, trying to balance him on his back in the grass. He squirms to try and get comfortable, but isn’t showing any obvious signs of distress. I look up to my friend Ash, the puppy’s owner, and ask if I am testing his tolerance to laying on his back correctly. They reassure me that I’m doing great. Less than ten minutes later, I am face down on the concrete after attempting to retrieve the puppy, who is now making his way across a semi-busy street at a speed only an Olympian could match. Nevertheless, Finn, the labradoodle, passed his temperament test with flying colors. It was the closest thing to professional service dog training I will ever be a part of, and I was doing the easy work. I was lucky enough to get a glimpse into the world of service dogs: a diverse community of unique people and their unbelievably smart furry companions.

Finn is a calm, curious and reserved puppy who loves to be held and play with his brother, Bosco. He is confident in himself, and maybe even a bit stubborn, but has the potential to become a great service dog. His handler, Ash McElroy, enjoys talking about dogs, making Pinterest boards, talking about dogs, eating mozzarella sticks, and talking about dogs. McElroy’s process of acquiring a service dog took multiple attempts and a lot of time and energy. “I first decided to owner-train, in which I adopted a rescue and trained her myself,” said McElroy. “Unfortunately, she had to wash, because she had some behavioral issues. Therefore I decided to go

The Americans with Disabilities Act describes a service dog as “a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability.” While this broad definition could lead some to assume that any dog could do service work, a service dog must be extremely well-behaved in all areas in order to perform their tasks when needed. These tasks can include object retrieval, seizure detection, soothing their handler during panic attacks, and much more. A service dog must be able to perform these tasks at any time, no matter what external factors may pose a distraction; their handler’s life is at stake. Service dogs do share close bonds with their handlers, but they also act as an essential piece of medical equipment. Tatiana Carty Figueroa is a service dog handler that lives on Humboldt State University with her service dog in training, Tito. Tito is a labradoodle with straight white hair who appears calm and eager to please. When out-and-about, he is either walking at Carty 45

with a program, and that dog had to wash because he had some behavioral issues. Now I sourced a dog [Finn] from a breeder, bought the dog myself … and sent the dog to a program to be trained for me.” “Washing” is a term used within the service dog community that means a dog must be retired from service work due to behavioral issues, health problems, or other concerns. Finn has shown himself to be resilient and cool-headed thus far, and will hopefully thrive with further training. Third time’s the charm, after all.

service dog is a huge investment. That cost normally includes their food and boarding, training, and the quality of their genetics. The primary reason most dogs would not be suited for service work is because their inherent temperament doesn’t allow them to stay calm and perform their necessary tasks at any given moment. Service dogs must be able to ignore strangers trying to get their attention, loud sudden noises like thunder or gunshots, other dogs and animals, and dropped food. Even when dogs are carefully selected or bred, a large percentage of them will not make it into service work. The dogs who are successful obtain a unique set of skills along with their inherited qualities that make them perfect for service work.


If you stop by the weekly farmer’s market in downtown Arcata on Saturdays, you might get a glimpse of a large van filled with curlyhaired dogs parked just outside the ring of booths selling produce. Even though the trunk is left open, this pack of standard poodles will stay inside the car no matter what distractions pass by. This van belongs to one of our local service dog trainers, Frank Mallat, who runs a program called Critters 4 Service.

Just because service dogs have the focus and training to ignore distractions in their environment does not mean that you should become one of those distractions. When asked what they would like non-handlers to know, both McElroy and Carty Figueroa said some variation of, “Do not interact with service dogs.” Just like any firefighter or EMT, they have no time to talk — they’re busy saving lives.

What started as a passion project officially became a non-profit organization in September of this year. Critters 4 Service is dedicated to training psychiatric service dogs for children with autism, and the dogs are provided to families at little-to-no cost. The program is entirely funded through donations and is still expanding throughout Humboldt County. Finding a service dog locally in Humboldt is a daunting task, which makes Critters 4 Service all the more valuable to the residents of our county.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed in 1990 by President


1 in 4 American adults have a disability.* That is 61 million people!

The poodle service dogs at Critters 4 Service are trained by Frank Mallatt to help autistic children socialize with their allistic (non-autistic) peers and move through the world independently.

Anyone can become disabled at any time, so disability and ableism can affect any of us. Ableism is discrimination against people with disabilities.

To be placed with a service dog, contact Critters4Service on Facebook or go to their website at critters4service.com and fill out the contact form.

For both Carty Figueroa and McElroy, getting a service dog was a last resort. According to community service organization Integrity Inc, service dogs can cost up to $40,000 if you choose to pay upfront. Some organizations give potential handlers the opportunity to fundraise or make monthly payments, but generally a

George H. W. Bush.

ADA is a form of civil rights legislation that creates equal opportunities for disabled Americans and prevents discrimination on the basis of disability.

Service dogs help a lot of Americans with disabilities every day. If you see a service dog, don’t interact with them. They are hard at work taking care of their handler. Although overlooked, people with disabilities are a valuable population in our world. Service dogs allow them to have high quality of life. *Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ‘Disability impacts All of Us’


Joy and Love in Transition by August Linton When Vivian Dawn Spear went through puberty the first time, she regularly thought about gender transition. She says that she didn’t have anyone in her life that could help her work through those feelings and give her useful information about transgender life and identity. She internalized the often sensational and reductive way that the mainstream media portrays transness. “All the information that I had was, you get this major surgery, and that’s what it means to be trans,” Vivian says. “It was something that didn’t feel comfortable, something that I couldn’t feel like I could pursue.” Transness and gender transition are sensational topics in popular media, especially when it comes to stories about medical transition. Trans bodies and desires have often been characterized as strange, deviant, and even freakish. A high-profile example of this is the simultaneously acclaimed and infamous movie “The Silence of The Lambs”. The film characterizes its villain almost exclusively with transphobic tropes. Even before he’s shown wearing the tanned skin of a murdered woman, Buffalo Bill prances around in women’s clothes and makeup, almost daring the audience to despise him. Vivian says that the portrayal of trans people on TV and movies is a large part of her struggle with internalized transphobia, especially surrounding medical transition. “All I would see on TV or in movies was people being called ‘tranny’ or ‘men playing women,’ so that was my only idea of what it meant to be trans,” Vivian says. Part of her personal journey with transition is unlearning the idea that trans— especially trans-feminine— bodies are to be feared and hated. An increasingly popular idea among transgender people is that a radical embrace of joy and community is the only antidote for the self-loathing that many like Vivian are taught. Trans joy rejects the idea that anguish and suffering are inherent to the transgender experience, as they are so often portrayed to be in sensational media narratives. Since she started taking estrogen about a year ago and socially transitioned around the same time, Vivian says she’s experienced a monumentally positive change in her life. She feels more extroverted and excited, more inspired in her art. Empowerment through her trans identity has become a central theme in the work she produces as a studio art major at HSU. 47

A tender moment, as Vivian enters her fingertips into an immersive aspect of her painting 'Whole New World/ Pretend World'

“The last painting that I did before I came out made me feel like I wanted to quit making art, because it just felt so detached from what was important to me,” Vivian says. “Now, every painting feels like it’s getting closer to what’s worth sharing with the world.” Transitioning has made her life better, but Vivian emphasizes that her life, pre-transition, wasn’t like the narrative of suffering and self-hatred that had been fed to her by the media. She cites Trans Girl Suicide Museum by Hannah Baer as a book that inspired her to think differently about her transition. “Just because I’ve been dysphoric for as long as I can remember doesn’t mean that I’ve hated my body,” she says. The most popular method for conceptualizing gender takes the form of a spectrum, from men on one end to women on the other, and space for non-binary genders in between. This is a concept which many trans people feel more at home in than in the stricter binary of only male and female. It has been mathematically proven that there are infinite possible points between any two numbers or positions. With options ad infinitum, how could anyone not find a point which represents them? However, non-binary HSU student Riley Coyote finds thems-

selves frustrated with the way in which many cisgender people have internalized the idea of a gender spectrum. “People have taken that to mean there’s three genders now,” Riley said. If asked about how they identify, Riley might tell you they’re transfeminine or that they’re non-binary, but truth be told they don’t think about it too much. Visualizing every person’s personal experience of gender be-

(ABOVE) Vivian glancing back at her reflection through a small plastic handheld mirror after exclaiming “we must get a picture with this!”

in and conceptualizes their gender — or lack thereof — encompasses a large number of factors. These include but are not limited to: internal experience of gender, sexuality, cultural identity, and preferred gender presentation. Gender identity is certainly correlated with gender presentation, but many people — trans ones especially, being familiar with the nebulous nature of gender — routinely exist outside of this.

"It’s Okay To Cry" Acrylic, Oil Stick, and Mixed Media on Panel. 16” x 24.5” tween two points on a line seems clean and practical. It’s also easy enough for people with limited experience in conceptualizing gender to digest. Many cisgender people have found themselves in that camp as conversations about the complexity of gender are allowed to surface in mainstream discourse. The simplicity of the popular gender spectrum model is an asset useful for gaining support and understanding, but it is also the concept’s greatest flaw. The identities and lived experiences of transgender people are, of course, human in nature. They are, therefore, far more multidimensional than a simple two-point spectrum could hope to illustrate. This exploration of various ways of visualizing the gender spectrum has shown how ill-suited such tools are for this task. A working model of the diversity of gender experiences would be much too complicated to be of any use. The way a transgender or gender-nonconforming person lives

There is infinite variation held within the term ‘transition.’ Not every person who transitions identifies as transgender, and not every trans person is interested in traditional methods of transition. It is difficult, even, to define what constitutes a “traditional method of transition”. Riley’s starting dose of estrogen was smaller than what would typically be prescribed for transfeminine hormone replacement therapy. Many non-binary people choose this route, in search 0f a middle ground which adequately communicates a disconnect from either binary gender. There are also a multitude of experiences outside the gender binary which do not align with androgyny as a transition goal. Simply put, there is no one way to look non-binary. Riley says that while transitioning brings happiness and fulfillment to many people, there is absolutely no requirement for any trans person to medically transition. According to the 2015 National Transgender Discrimination Survey, 62% of respondents have in some way medically transitioned, 22% want to transition someday, 13% are not sure about transitioning, and 3% do not want to transition. Some may not be able to pursue medical transition due to pre-existing medical conditions, and some may choose not to if they are comfortable in their bodies already. Additionally, access to gender-affirming healthcare is far from universal; many people who desire or need to transition are 48

denied this by transphobic healthcare providers or legislation. A medical transition is not essential to any trans identity. Likewise, pursuing transition to any degree does not in itself make anyone transgender. There is a rich history of gender-nonconformity within the butch lesbian community; relevant examples of this include changing personal pronouns, attempting to ‘pass’ as men, or even taking testosterone. Some may define these as acts of transition, and others may not. Identifying as transgender is a personal choice, one which no one can make but the person in question. Leslie Feinberg, author of the seminal queer novel Stone Butch Blues, is an iconic example of this relationship between lesbian and transgender identities. Similar experiences also occur within the gay community, manifesting for some as a desire to perform in drag, or to use she/her pronouns. Same-gender attraction, gender-nonconformity, and transgender identity intersect in mushy, confusing, and wonderful ways. Another facet of the trans community which has gained popularity over the past few years is the T4T (trans for trans) lifestyle. This is a conscious choice by a trans person to only have romantic or sexual involvements with other trans people. In a friendship, and especially in romantic or sexual situations, having to explain intimate, integral things about oneself to every new person can be exhausting. Riley Coyote relies on their community of trans and gender-nonconforming friends to help them feel comfortable.

“love is…” Acrylic, Oil Pastel, and Mixed Media on Panel. 16” x 24.5”

“There’s mutual understanding that I don’t get from people who are not queer,” Riley said. The majority of their coworkers are cisgender and heterosexual men, something which they say prevents them from expressing their identity at all during work. Riley says that finding queer community and companionship is “the most important, the most significant thing I do” to feel comfortable in their gender. In this way, surrounding oneself with support and understanding can almost become a method of transition. There’s transformative power in consciously choosing an environment which affirms one’s gender identity. In his book “Something That May Shock and Discredit You,” transgender author David Mallory Ortberg quotes his friend Julian: “God blessed me by making me transsexual for the same reason God made wheat but not bread and fruit but not wine, so that humanity might share in the act of creation.” As a transgender person, I revel in the choice to create for myself a body that feels like me, which allows me to exist comfortably. I am in love with the process of transitioning, self-creation in search of a more joyful existence. This is inherent to who I am: even given the choice to be born in this body, I’d do it all again. 49

Vivian gazes into the eyes of the viewer, taking ownership of her presence. Above her head reads a sign "Trans-feminist, Anti-capitalist.”

finding queer community and companionship is "the most important, the most significant thing I do"


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