IMPACT home â&#x20AC;¢ edition
contributors Anjali Berdia
co-editor in chief; creative director
co-editor in chief
print editor; board member
managing editor; board member
artist; photographer; board member
lead designer, artist
Seo Yun (Stephanie) Hwang
Each time IMPACT compiles a publication, whether that be a magazine or a coffee table book or something in between, we choose a theme relevant and favored by our members. This semester, we chose home. In producing this book, we took the term home loosely, allowing it to retain different meanings in different contexts crafted by issues personally important to our writers, photographers, and artists.
We created collaboration in the form of project teams, each driven by a social impact issue relating to home. Taking off your shoes in a home shows comfort, safety, and respect. The bare bottoms of your feet become vulnerable inside -- exposing a part of your body hidden from the outside. When reading this book, we ask you to do the same.
art by Alex Schoeny
table of contents 90
West Philadelphia Gentrification by Wenjin Lin
Allegros: Changing Paces, Changing Times by Michael Shen Hand in Hand: Whitewashing & Gentrification by Suzam Kim The Weight of Profit by Suzam Kim
Artist Statement by Alice Zhao
A Guided Meditation through your body by Helen Wu
14 18 20 24 22 26 28 30
Body Image Profiles Lauren Traas Amanda Atkinson Emma Davies Theo Nunez Aya Mouakkil Morocco v. China Susan Cindy
Photography Essay on Home taken & written by many
Fossil Free Penn Demands Investment-Free Penn by Maeve Masterson Our Home & Climate Change by Livvy Fielding
Displaced Person by Emma Davies
Finding A New Home by Anjali Berdia
Feeling At Home in More Than One Language by Diane Lin
Hibicus Locks by Suzan Kim
From Penguin Revolution to Penn Student by Michael Shen
When Window-Panes turn to Jail-Cell Bars by Helen Wu & Yasmine Mezoury Dinner Photos by Anjali Berdia
photos by Alice Zhao
My dad is an avid cook, and every weekend he would set out to make a great, big family dinner. He would spend hours in the kitchen crafting a hearty French stew or homemade pasta, while music and cozy scents permeated from the kitchen. When I was just sitting in a Starbucks one rainy day, they began playing Edith Piaf and I was instantly taken home to my familiar and comforting Sunday nights with my family. ~9~
~ Emma Davies
A Guided Meditation Through Your Body by Helen Wu Make yourself comfortable. Take a few moments to feel your breath. The rise of the inhale and drop of your exhale. Your breath is the hearth, replenishing your home with warmth derived from the cold. Starting at the periphery of your body, Imagine the most luxurious gift wrap you can find Enveloping your fingers, your muscles, your being. This wrap makes up the shingles that insulate your home And you are the gift. Pay attention to all the sensations in your body. Investigate their sources, their paths, their motives. Follow their footsteps as they travel through your fingers, arms Connecting in your spinal column The structural foundation of your home that absorbs these external sensations. Try to locate your pulse. You can place a finger over your wrist Or feel it in the slope where your chin dips into the neck This constant movement of people, voices, sentiments These are the people who transform your house into a home. Your mind might wander away from your body It might take a trip far, far away. That is okay. Acknowledge its restlessness, and remind it that Your body is the home it can always return to. ~ 10 ~
~ 11 ~
art by Michael Shen
I think about food every day. I find pleasure and content in controlling my own diet – in helping my body consume the lowest calories possible: pouring low fat milk into my coffee every when I wake up, substituting chicken with tofu in my salad for lunch, picking up veggie chips with the least grams of fat, mixing vodka with zero calorie chasers; yearning, craving, longing for sugar, but at the end of the day conquering my “evil” urge with another shot of espresso, trying my best to squeeze productivity out of my body until it clashes. I would like to think of my body as a machine. One bite of an energy bar, one small tablespoon of ice cream, one munch of a cookie are just the amount of fuels necessary to turn my body back on. I am good at calculating, measuring, and manipulating what I let into my body. It is my daily challenge and opportunity to surpass my yesterday self. I find joy in defeating my hunger with caffeine, nicotine, and spending money, through which my mind overpowers my body and I am rewarded with my humanity. artist statement by Alice Zhao
~ 12 ~
~ 13 ~
BODY IMAGE PROFILE:
“I felt like a baby. My mom managed my entire life, including what I ate. We ate all our meals together.”
auren Traas, a current freshman, describes returning to the state of a baby when she was unable to take care of herself during the worst phase of her binge eating disorder. Like a baby, she became entirely dependent on her mother to feed her and care for her. She felt she had no autonomy over her own body. During the first semester of her freshman year at Penn, Lauren felt like a complete stranger in her own body. An irrational fear of gaining weight consumed her daily life. As a result, she often ran 13 miles on the treadmill, meticulously tracked the calories in her food, and lost control of how to feed herself properly. Unable to trust her instincts, she craved spending time with other people since their presence would prevent her from making poor decisions. She was afraid to be alone because that was usually when her binges occurred. After her first semester, Lauren decided to take a gap year from Penn to spend time with friends and family. Her mom was especially crucial in her recovery process. Having lost trust in her own body, Lauren placed all her trust in her mom’s care and advice. She had always looked up to her mother, a relatively thin women who effortlessly maintained a balance between food and exercise. Gradually, being at home helped her gain a sense of home in her body. She stopped working out, and started eating properly. Seeing the numbers climb on the scale was like turning off a switch, because it was a step in overcoming what used to be her greatest fear. Gaining distance from Penn, the place where her eating disorder was aggravated by other pressures, helped her feel like herself again. ~ 14 ~
“There’s always the looming question of whether negative thoughts about my body or subjective binges will ever end. When that happens, I try to focus on how my body actually feels or what my body can do. This year, I can finally sprint. I was too weak to do that last year.” After her gap year, Lauren has developed many strategies to cope with her eating disorder and feel comfortable in her body. She believes that it is important to have a concrete plan in order to recover—for her, that meant seeing a therapist and spending time with her family away from the stress of college life. She also recommends finding another challenge to overcome, so thoughts about food and eating do not consume all of your headspace. There is no perfect home because one’s vision of a perfect home may fluctuate. However, there are always ways that one can make their home more comfortable. Since returning from her gap year to join the class of 2023 this fall, Lauren has made significant progress in building her body into a trustworthy home. While there is no definitive end to her journey , she now knows how to exercise to make her body feel good and make healthy and filling choices in the dining halls. She also has created some resources to inspire and encourage her during hard times. One of these resources is a precious journal containing uplifting quotes written on colorful slips of origami paper.
~ 15 ~
photos by Alice Zhao
~ 16 ~
~ 17 ~
BODY IMAGE PROFILE:
amanda atkinson “I always avoid the corner right by Wawa. For some reason, the strangers there always make comments about my body and want to give me advice on how to be a mother.”
manda is the dean of Ware College House in the Quadrangle, where she lives with her husband and four sons. Alongside her job, she is currently pursuing her Doctor of Education from Drexel University. In addition to these responsibilities, Amanda has served as a surrogate mother two times. Her comfort and familiarity with pregnancy is clear —she is still working in the college office and accepting interviews a few days from her due date. “I think about body image less when I’m pregnant. It’s sort of a freebie time.” Amanda explains how she doesn’t feel the need to stick to a rigorous regimen of running everyday, eating the proper amounts of vegetables, or worrying about what strangers think about her body. However, she still feels that it is important to model healthy eating behaviors for her children, who base their eating habits off of her. Despite her freedom over her diet during pregnancy, Amanda feels more comfortable in her “regular” body. After giving birth, she feels overjoyed to be able to workout regularly, snuggle with her children without being separated by her belly, and cross the intersection at Wawa by ~ 18 ~
37th and Spruce sans unsolicited comments. However, this comfort also comes with the pressure to lose weight and return to her pre-pregnancy body, which is a common sentiment among mothers. “Nobody wants a mom bod. Like dad bods are okay, but not mom bods.” Amanda acknowledges that there is a judgmental culture that shames mothers and their bodies. Luckily, she was able to avoid most of this after her first pregnancy because she gave birth to twins. “Pregnancy is relatively easy for me. That’s why I do it for others”. As someone who chooses to be a surrogate, Amanda has a lot of thoughts about how to take care of your body and health during pregnancy. She believes that the most important thing for women to do is to trust their own instincts and advocate for themselves within the healthcare system. While doctors are medical professionals, they are not immune from making mistakes and false assumptions, as they are not the ones going through the tremendous feat of giving birth. “We need to give our bodies grace. Our bodies aren’t the same as they were before. And giving birth is amazing! We need to give ourselves some credit for that.”
~ 19 ~
art by Alice Zhao
BODY IMAGE PROFILE:
emma davies “Social media has made it really hard for people that have struggled with body image in the past. When I see Instagram famous people, their bodies just make me feel like shit. Emma’s journey of finding peace in her body comes after a long struggle with her dieting and exercising habits. On the contrary of those of us who stress eat, Emma used to restrict and limit her diet when she was stressed out. “I used to have a really bad relationship with food. I used food as a mechanism to have control in my life. For a while, I had specific mental restrictions on what food I could eat, to have a very restrictive diet as a way of control”. However, this left her feeling tired, weak, and ultimately took a toll on her health. She also felt that it made her short with her friends and family, and prevented her from enjoying herself in the company of others, especially at events that involved food. As an athlete in high school, Emma felt pressure to always look a certain way, believing that it would affect her athletic performance. She states, “In high school, I was very conscious of other people’s bodies, wishing myself to be fitter. I used to run and used to feel pressured to change how my body looked, so it’d make me a better runner.” However, she has gradually become comfortable in her body, treating it as a home. For Emma, this has meant focusing on treating her body positively, through the food she eats, as well as how she thinks about her body. Now Emma interprets healthy as “people just having a positive relationship with food and their bodies and how they treat their bodies.” To her, being healthy is not about a specific size or the specific food you eat, but how you treat yourself and others around you. In essence, if you nourish yourself and take care care of yourself, then you can be strong and present for others. ~ 20 ~
~ 21 ~
art by Alice Zhao
BODY IMAGE PROFILE:
aya mouakkil ur bodies are supposed to be our shelters. When we are stripped of everything, we should be able to find solace within the walls of our bodies, our homes: a sure constant in an everchanging reality. For Aya Mouakkil, this feeling has never existed. This is what happens when you feel like you don’t deserve a home. This is displacement. This is homelessness. Aya, a Philadelphia resident from birth, has struggled with anorexia since her mother died of cancer in the summer of 2014. For her, body image has been constantly on her radar; “I think about body image everyday. It’s like a cycle.” Aya attributes her initial insecurities to social media, commenting, “Social media is one of the boosters for my eating disorder. Society has made skinny the norm and if you’re not skinny, you’re not beautiful. Models usually photoshop their pictures to fit the ‘ideal’ form, brainwashing vulnerable girls and boys into thinking that that’s what they should look like to be loved.” With a constant barrage of image-charged media saturating Western culture, many young people find it impossible to feel at home in a body that they have constantly been told amounts to no more than a prison. Aya, highly influenced by such messages, discusses her inability to define her body; “I’ve never considered my body as a home because I never felt comfortable in my own skin.” She considered her restriction of food as a form of self-punishment. She states, “When my mom died, I felt as if it was my fault, or that my mom died disappointed in me, and the only refuge I found was through eating, but once it started to get worse I started restricting as a punishment for all of the disappointment and wrongdoings I did in my life.” After losing her mother, a quintessential component in her household, Aya’s was left with a feeling of displacement. Without a vital member of her family, it seemed impossible to rebuild her sense of home upon a
new framework. Aya’s anorexia intensified to the point of hospitalization in the Fall of 2018; she is still currently in the process of recovery. After starting treatment, she concedes, “My body has gone through a drastic physical change ever since my hospitalization. With the forced weight gain, my body was fed the nutrients it was lacking. I finally started growing after three years. I feel physically a lot better in terms of medical health, however my mentality hasn’t really changed. When I was hospitalized I was introduced to a new world of self love and I embodied it, but once I got out of the hospital, my mentality went back to how it was before, self hatred.” Aya’s journey of ongoing recovery begs the question: can our internal sense of home ever be rebuilt after such trauma? Despite tremendous hardship, Aya is confident that it is possible. She has recently adopted a kitten, Cosmo, who she stresses is the only reason that she is currently alive. Being able to nurture another person and take on a maternal role unintentionally fosters a sense of home. Slowly, by creating a sense of home for loved ones, this feeling can be rebuilt within one’s self. Our bodies are our homes, and if we cannot find comfort in the physicality of our homes, then we can work to extract that feeling from the people—or animals— around us.
~ 22 ~
~ 23 ~
“I think about body image everyday. It’s like a cycle.”
art by Alice Zhao
BODY IMAGE PROFILE:
“I hated my body before I transitioned. I never felt like I had the right body. It was too big. I never wanted to wear dresses or be super feminine.”
rior to his transition, Theo thought that his discomfort with his body resulted from being bigger. However, that was not the case. Starting his junior year of high school, Theo moved away from the girls dormitory and started living in the boys dormitory at his boarding high school. Despite living in a supportive hall, he still felt like he didn’t belong. “I remember the first house meeting of the year and all the boys came down wearing basically just tank tops. I felt so inadequate, I went to my room and cried afterwards. I didn’t feel like I belonged in a boys house. Of course, living with the girls would not have felt good either.” Theo said that the inadequacy that he experienced was likely elicited by the congregation of masculinity in one space. Currently in his sophomore year at Tufts University, he still does not look forward to house meetings because he does not feel comfortable flaunting his body in the same way. “My body has held me back in college from opening up to people. I am physically hunched over to hide my chest when I’m talking to people, versus having my shoulders out.” Before leaving his room to go grocery shopping or even visit the bathroom, Theo always puts on his binder—a compression shirt used to flatten the chest— and considers how others will judge his appearance. Having to wear the chest binder feels like a physical barrier that stops him from feeling like his true self. Physically, it also feels suffocating for him to wear the binder, which hinders him from realizing his potential in sports he loves, such as basketball. This is especially impairing because Theo sees working out and ~ 24 ~
having muscles as an integral part of being perceived as masculine. Due to his trans identity and filipino heritage, Theo knows that he will never conform to Western beauty ideals. He used to notice and yearn for the effortless masculinity projected by tall white athletes who walked around on campus. With help from this therapist and trans role models, Theo has gradually come to accept that he will never embody that. One of Theo’s greatest role models is Schuylar Bailar, the first trans athlete to compete in an NCAA D1 sport through the Harvard University men’s swim team. On Bailar’s instagram, he documents his transition, recovery from his eating disorder, and other social issues he is passionate about. “I decided to get top surgery after I saw Schuylar at his Harvard swim team. I’ve never met a trans guy of color just doing what he wants to do, pursuing his passion and doing it well without being held back by his gender identity.” Theo is scheduled to get his top surgery in December of 2019. He feels that this step will open a lot of doors for him, and he will finally be comfortable with leaving the safe space of his room without putting a binder on. Theo’s advice to anyone who is current transitioning is that everything takes time and everyone’s process is different. Feeling at home in one’s body is a process, and it will take years of hard work. For Theo, simple sensations and activities such as the adrenaline rush after a good workout or taking fashion risks are moments when he feels at home in his body.
“My body has held me back in college from being open to people. I am physically hunched over to hide my chest” ~ 25 ~
“She’s so thin! Have you been feeding her?”
“Your daughter looks so strong”
they would say to my parents, squeezing my wrists and elbows, feeling for the boniest parts of my body and scolding my parents for not feeding me enough. I know they don’t mean to hurt me, but, as they desperately attempt to feed me, I can’t help but feel like my body is something that requires fixing. At times like this, I am faced with my dueling heritages. In Morocco, where food is not always accessible, young girls long to gain weight. For them, I am symbolic of a privilege so strong it interferes with my ability to value food. As the beauty standard between my two home countries varies so drastically, I have found that the only intermediate is finding a home within myself.
they would say to my mother as they uncomfortably reached to put their hand on my shoulders. This felt like an unofficial body fat test— they squeezed the meat on my arms to feel out exactly how much weight I had gained since I left the country to study in the United States. In other settings, the word “strong” or “状” in mandarin might be perceived as a compliment. In China, it’s an overt way of saying that you look chunky and deviate from the beauty standard of being thin with minimal muscle. It feels weird to be moving in between the two countries where there are such different expectations for how you should look. I am working on viewing my body as a safe home that is insulated from the outside world.
~ 26 ~
~ 27 ~
art by Alice Zhao
BODY IMAGE PROFILE: *
“Get to know yourself really well. If you meditate, look inward to yourself, and see your inner beauty, the outside doesn’t really matter. Also, after you get older, it doesn’t really matter anymore.”
s a 75-year-old Latina reminiscing about her teenage years, Susan admits she was lucky to never worry about whether she fit the Western body ideal. Throughout her adolescence as a Tejana, she wanted a small waist, since “that was the big thing in the 60s”. Luckily for her, she was naturally skinny. Susan didn’t exercise purposefully but she and her friends would go out dancing, at least three nights a week. They’d dance to Mexican music and rock n’ roll. She was also lucky to have fair skin, green eyes, and light brown hair, and could pass as a white girl. She notes with dismay that her friends seemed to emulate her, because she looked “anglo” and “they were trying to look whiter”. They would put on white powder to hide their tan skin. And she felt bad, because all the girls were beautiful to her. Her body changed after she had her 3rd and 4th children, two boys. Susan couldn’t seem to shake the pregnancy weight like she did with her first two girls. Being overweight bothered her a bit, but Susan didn’t dwell on her insecurities. “Other things were more important, looking after my children, my attention went away from [my body]”. She was able to lose the weight a few years later. Susan kept off the weight until her 50s, when she became overweight. She continued to struggle with her weight until only a couple years ago. She tried a wide variety of fad diets but couldn’t seem to stay away from bread. Food was definitely an emotional comfort, and she ate when she was stressed. Furthermore, she had always hated exercise. In her 50s, she would go walking alone on a nearby high school track a couple times a week, but nothing more. It soon became hard to exercise when she began to develop pain in her knees.
art by Alice Zhao *name was changed for anonymity
~ 28 ~
Living as an overweight woman before the body positivity movement was difficult. There was no understanding that women were beautiful regardless of their size. Being overweight was seen as a severe limitation. “I didn’t want to show my big fat body. . .I just kept putting myself down for being fat.” She explained with a laugh how depressing the plus-size stores used to be. Regular stores didn’t have sizes beyond 18, and she would feel bad getting an 18, the largest size. “There was not very much [plus-size clothing], and what there was, was ugly. . .they didn’t bother to put any prettiness into it, any style.” She’s noticed a big change in the options provided for plus-size women, but only in the past five years. She is excited for the change, and grateful to the movement that’s helped produce it. A couple of years ago, Susan began having stomach issues. She now has to follow a very strict diet per her doctor’s orders. Despite the limitations, it has freed her from her dependence on food for comfort. She used to love bread, but now doesn’t “care for [it] that much”. On her diet, Susan has lost thirty pounds. Despite the body positivity movement that began several years ago, Susan only became comfortable in her body by losing weight. Despite her discomfort with fatness, these issues never are at the forefront of her mind. She is far more concerned with recovering from her knee replacement surgery and keeping her stomach healthy.
~ 29 ~
BODY IMAGE PROFILE: *
“When I don’t feel 100% myself, it’s hard to feel comfortable in my body.”
hen asked if she thinks about her body image often, Cindy, like many young women born and raised in the 21st century, responded very quickly: “Yes I do, a lot.” Thankfully, after significant struggle with body image throughout her teens and early college years, she is finally starting to feel comfortable in herself. But it is an uphill battle. Cindy struggles with anxiety, which affects her relationship with her body. “When I don’t feel 100% myself, it’s hard to feel comfortable in my body.” As a young child, Cindy was never aware of her body. “At home, I was raised to be very comfortable in my body.” All of her insecurities surrounding her body was built by the media she consumed and her social settings. She remembers looking at social media accounts of beautiful women whose bodies were unrealistic yet subconsciously wanting to look like them. Her main insecurities in high school were her stomach and her acne. In college, Cindy continued to struggle with her stomach. She combats her insecurities with positive self-talk, in an effort to not turn to “outside reassurance that I look good”. Nowadays, she doesn’t follow any social media accounts that perpetuate unrealistic female body images. Instead, Cindy chooses to follow accounts that support the body positivity movement. She feels these accounts support her own self-image and improve her confidence. As a runner for the past eight years, Cindy notes that her time running has created a “warped idea of body image”. She has faced worries that her metabolism is not fast enough, yet rationally she knows she is very healthy compared to the average person. Cindy explains with a ~ 30 ~
small laugh, “Runners are just so tiny”. It is very hard not to compare her body to the bodies of her teammates, and it is something she still struggles with. With her dedication to running, Cindy has struggled with being overly harsh with herself about maintaining a healthy diet. However, Cindy is adamant that her relationship is not that bad compared to many other girls, “because being on a running team, I’ve seen a lot of bad issues.” She must fight off feelings of guilt over what she eats. “It’s really hard to eat ice cream and truly enjoy it, because I feel like I have to be guilty.” A few years ago, she went on a diet and lost weight as a result. She was ashamed to admit that being skinnier made her feel more confident. Having returned to her pre-diet size, she reflects on this time. She remains conflicted, but ultimately believes she doesn’t want to return to that size. She wants to learn to love herself as she is. Her relationship with exercise has been equally rocky. She used to feel very guilty when she couldn’t run and would face significant anxiety when she missed workouts. Cindy explained that missing one day could mess up her entire training plan. In high school she focused on every single run, but in college she began to realize the importance of protecting her mental health. “Now I know I can still be fit and not work out as much, and there are so many more important things.” As she prepares to graduate from college and
“It’s really hard to eat ice cream and truly enjoy it, because I feel like I have to be guilty.” ~ 31 ~
start a life without competitive running, Cindy is learning what actually constitutes being healthy. She remarked pensively, “I’ve been forced to work out for 8 years, I don’t know how to do it on my own”. But she’s learning, and her relationship with exercise and running is improving. It makes her happy to exercise, and she now uses it to help her mental health. “When I work out, it changes my whole day, especially if the workout is in the morning.” Cindy had a lot of interesting answers when asked about facing criticism from others. Particularly, she notes that women’s judgements mean a lot more than those of men. She felt she could more easily “blow off a man’s criticism because he doesn’t know what it’s like to be in a woman’s body”. By contrast, women’s comments are more subtle and petty. “They are often projecting criticism, but they do it in a way that hurts because they know how to get to you.” When asked to give advice to other people about their body image, she insists that anyone who feels the need to pass judgement on someone else’s body, are mostly likely insecure themselves. “Don’t let yourself be molded by other people.” Most importantly, she stated, “You’re only going to feel as good as you tell yourself you feel, exercise and running aren’t going to help cover up negative self-talk. The best way to be the best athlete is to focus on yourself, comparing yourself to other people is only going to do damage in the long run.” While geared towards athletes, everyone could clearly benefit from this advice. How we think of ourselves is far more important for having a positive body image than any workout or diet.
art by Michael Shen *name was changed for anonymity
~ 32 ~
~ 33 ~
photo by Sam Rhee
~ 34 ~
I’ve always felt like a bit of a nomad, moving from my birthplace of South Africa to Shanghai, starting anew in the United States at a small New England boarding school and now beginning college life at Penn. I think maybe this is why I feel most like myself when I am running and moving around between spaces. This semester, the first time I realized that Penn is my home for the next four years was during an afternoon run on the Schuylkill. In that moment, running along the banks of the Schuykill towards the direction of Penn’s campus, I felt like I was making my way back home. ~ Helen Wu ~ 35 ~
photo by Alice Zhao
Last year, I had a weekly meeting in the ARCH building. One week, I arrived early to the meeting, and decided to walk around a bit to explore the building in the meantime. In walking down to the basement, I came across the cultural resource centers, and was drawn to La Casa Latina specifically. Inside, there were a number of energetic voices speaking Spanish, with incredibly lively music playing from speakers, and mouth-watering food aromatically drawing me closer. That moment reminded me strikingly of my community and home in South Florida. I could almost taste my aunt’s arroz con pollo as I took in the splendor and inclusiveness of the community. ~ 36 ~ ~ Ryan Bush
~ 37 ~
dis·placed per·son (noun)
a person who is forced to leave their home country because of war, persecution, or natural disaster; a refugee.
~ 38 ~
by Emma Davies
or some, home is a simple notion. It is the place they grew up, and where they can easily go back, if they ever left at all. Home conjures images of childhood memories, traditions, family, community. However, for a growing population, home is a fractured and conflicting idea. Natural disasters, famine, economic turmoil, may force many to leave the place they call home. Migration, temporary sheltering, and resettlement ruptures the concept of home for migrants. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the number of forcibly displaced individuals has grown by over 50% in the last 10 years. This means that one out of every 108 people in the world are displaced. One out of every 108 people have a home for which they cannot return to or which no longer resembles the home they knew. They face existential dilemmas: mourning the loss of a home while facing the apprehension of seeking a new place to develop roots.
~ 39 ~
Displacement takes many forms. Some may be displaced within their home country or in a country entirely foreign to them, whereas others may be in limbo, currently residing in one country as they await placement into another. For individuals awaiting permanent residence, they find themselves forced to make temporary shelter in “asylum” or refugee camps. These makeshift residencies often house violence and create dangerous living conditions. Refugee camps in Moria, Greece faced a number of fatalities, insufficient housing, overcrowding, and more. This prompted Doctors without Borders to describe it as a “medical and psychological emergency”. Many individuals spent months, even years, of stagnation in these conditions. For those fleeing danger, temporary residences at times can perpetuate distress and echo the same danger and violence they sought to leave behind. In the United States and many European countries, migrants often face an uphill battle following resettlement. In many cases, their placement is insecure and dependent on employment. Social frameworks-the education system, health system, culture, and political system--may act as significant barriers to integration, and in the long run, to become a long-term resident and citizen. In certain European countries, such as Austria and Greece, immigrants are “permanently temporary”. They cannot gain citizenship and
may face legal challenges to their resettlement. At anytime, their fragile and developing idea of a new home, can be broken by government orders. Research from The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, economic conditions, such as high poverty rates, make immigrants vulnerable to housing insecurity. Despite the struggles and hardships that many face in resettling, the idea of a new home can begin to develop in these new, physical residencies. A study by historian Carlos Castañeda found that the belief that one is “better off post-migration”, and that they feel “ part of a community” are integral steps to creating a sense of inclusion and home for immigrants. The formation of cultural enclaves allow the reinventing of homes that still draw from the traditions, culture, and history of the origin home country. In the United States, “Chinatowns,’’ Little Havana, Little Italy’s and many other communities demonstrate a longing for home. New arrivals seek out spaces that embrace traditions, history and the comforts of their home community. For millenniums, people have had to flee their homes they know, for the sake of seeking out safety and security in a new home. Migration, though shaped by global, geo-political events, is also incredibly personal. For the millions of people who migrate each year, their is a personal reckoning and re-shaping of what home means.
graphic by Anjali Berdia ~ 40 ~
~ 41 ~
FINDING A NEW HOME a story of immigration, family & education graphic art & writing by Anjali Berdia
~ 42 ~
ijay Berdia, his brother, and his two sons were asleep on the roof when four gunned men used ladders to climb over the concrete wall circumferencing his property in Indore. They broke into his house to find his wife and daughter sleeping silently next to a locked cabinet containing gold coins and jewelry. The men pressed a gun to his wifeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s flesh as she held her daughter tightly, then they smashed the lock on the cabinet. They stole everything. When the robbers left, his wife ran upstairs to the roof, shrieking. The men were never identified. The police presumed employees at the bank were somehow involved, as only they knew Berdia had taken the gold home that night. For Berdia, that night personified the rampant corruption and instability present throughout India and he determined, then and there, to leave. Berdia did not know where he would move his family, but he had adapted to uplifting his roots in pursuance of a better future. He had changed homes throughout his life. Ambition and education defined his existence, bringing him from a dirt-road village in India to a small, conservative town in North Carolina. His journey was driven by dogged determination and a desire for more, riddled with obstacles and consequences, but in the end he made it farther than anyone else in his family.
~ 43 ~
Berdia was born in 1935 in Gotegaon, a small village in the state of Madhya Pradesh, whose first Jain temple was built by his grandfather and great-uncles over 100 years ago. In 24 pages of chicken-scratched, loose leaf printer paper he left behind after his death, he detailed the story of his life as chaotically as it happened.
The village where I grew up was called Gotegeon. It’s railway station name was changed to Shrilham, which is in Narsinghpur district of Madhya Radesh, India. In the village there was no electricity or phone, and roads were not paved. The school was up to 8th grade and if someone wanted to study farther, his parents had to send him to Narsinghpur or Jabalpur or nearby cities. In Gotegaon, Berdia’s family owned farmland and was successful at times, though during much of Berdia’s childhood, they were not.
When I was in first grade, my upbringing was very poor as none of my brothers paid any attention to me and my parents were totally dependent on them and, as a result, I used to go to school barefoot and not enough clothes in winter made my teeth chatter. But, I was a happy child -- I did not feel bad my first woolen sweater was made by my sister, Tarabai, when I was in 6th grade, because by that time I used to get a pair of shoes each year or so. As a child, Berdia owned on average two shirts and two pairs of pants, which he washed in baths he took without soap. He was so deprived of proper nutrients and medical care that he had scurvy and regular malaria fevers (despite, or perhaps because, he was the youngest of seven children, the oldest of which was 20 years his senior.)
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Some people say if you are the last child of your parents you are not only lucky, but somehow also more special. But, as my luck goes, my father died when I was 12 years old, and it was the month of March, and I was in 8th grade and had one examination paper remaining from my final examinations. My teacher and headmaster were so good to me that they allowed me to take the examination three days later.
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His family had no plans for Berdia to pursue further studies. However, two weeks after his father died, his “cousin sister” Laxmibai Sant (known by the nickname Lulubai) visited Gotegaon to console the family.
Lulubai asked my mother what I will do next, and my mother said she didn’t know. Lulubai asked me if I wanted to study further and I said, ‘Yes.’ So, she said, ‘I am going to Jabalpur tomorrow. Come with me, you will stay with me’…I went with her to Jabalpur, and she introduced me to the family, and I became a part of their family. It was around this time that Berdia made up his mind to be a doctor, so he went to the railway line where a man had been buried one year earlier after slipping under a running train.
(I) found the man’s bones and brought them home so (I) could study them in medical school. When I was merely five years old someone asked my father what I would become. And my father replied, ‘He will become a doctor.’ “If his sister did not take him in, then we would still be in Gotegaon,” said his youngest son, Sunjay, about Berdia’s move to Jabalpur with Lulubai. When Berdia told his headmaster he planned to leave Gotegaon to pursue higher education in Jabalpur, the man hugged him with tears in his eyes. And when Berdia was in 10th grade, his headmaster came to Jabalpur and took him to a hotel for dinner.
He ordered two pieces of Rasgulla and with his hands he got me to eat half, and half he ate himself. He told me that he regarded me as his own son. He and his wife had no children. I felt a little uneasy in that moment, but I tried to see him when he retired soon afterwards. The last time I saw him was when I was in medical school ~ 46 ~
and he was living in Jabalpur in a very small rental house. I went back later, but saw no one was living there. Berdia rigorously pursued his education, letting it become the driving and defining force in his life. He graduated high school at the top of his class, attended Robertson college, and then later went to medical school.
Medical college was fun and challenging. It was a pleasure to be in medical school and all subjects in medical school I enjoyed. I was also comparatively good in Medicine though I also played a lot of chess. I used to go with my friends on weekends to see sometimes movies and occasionally to restaurants. Years passed by so swiftly. When Berdia was in his fourth year of medical school, he met Asha. The marriage had been pre-arranged, so the two just spoke briefly about school, and the next day they “got engaged” although they were not in the same room. Berdia “couldn’t stop thinking about her,” so when he went back to school he sent her a letter. Asha still has all of the letters that they wrote to each other.
Asha replied to my letter and then we were in touch with each other for the next few months. She sent me a sweater and a handkerchief with flowers knit on it. We were in love ever since. We got married on March first in 1959. She was hardly sixteen and I was twenty-three. ~ 47 ~
Once Berdia graduated medical school, he worked in a village with a population of 400 that had never had a doctor before. The hospital was poorly equipped and lacked a steady flow of work, so when a commissioner suggested Berdia study in the United Kingdom to further his career, he agreed.
Why the commissioner came to my house to help me I this way I have a little clue except this was the act of my father looking after me all throughout my life…As I did not know the address of the college in London I just wrote down ‘Royal College of Surgeons of England. London UK’ and to my surprise I got their reply that I got admitted and classes started January 1961. On Nov 18th I had a dream that Asha delivered a son and on Nov 19th Ajay was born. Everyone was very happy. December 1960, I was in Bombay and had my interview at the British consulate for a visa…my mother, sister, and brothers came to see me leave for England on Jan 7th 1961…It was an exciting day for me as I never boarded a plane before. After Berdia passed his exams in England, Asha joined him there
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and left Ajay with her parents in India. This move allowed Berdia to better his career and consequently the lives of his children, but it came at a cost. According to Ajay, once Berdia and Asha went to London, Ajay would not live with his biological parents again for a period longer than two to three months until they moved to America. From then on, Ajay felt occasionally like an “outcast,” and in many ways left him with a “wound” he would carry for the rest of his life. As Ajay stayed in India, Berdia and Asha moved from town to town in the United Kingdom, allowing Berdia to practice his surgery techniques and perfect his skills. In 1966, his daughter, Abha, was born in Wingam, England and a few months later the family decided to move back to India where Berdia opened his own 22-bed hospital. He finally made it to the upper class. Berdia’s third child, Sunjay, was born shortly after the family’s return to India. Sunjay remembers standing on a chair in the corner of the operating room when he was shorter than the table, watching his father perform an appendectomy. He remembers going on home visits with his father, and how his patients treated Berdia like family. He remembers the night the robbers came, his father’s consequential decision to move to the United States, and the moment Berdia got a job in
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Kingston, North Carolina, working at a mental health hospital. Berdia and his family were the first Indians many people in Kingston had ever met. Asha would drive all the way to Raleigh to go to a Japanese market in search for ingredients to make Indian food. “We didn’t have cilantro for seven years! Seven years, and you know that I put cilantro in everything. Those were hard times,” Asha says. Berdia worked at several different jobs over the years, but he could not perform surgeries in America. When he took over a small family practice in an even smaller North Carolina town, neighboors threatend to burn it down in a fire ablaze with racial discrimination. But, he persevered in the way he always had. He taught his children assimilation and education, preaching the importance of studying to become a doctor as he only allowed English to be spoken in the house. In the end, Berdia settled squarely into the middle class, repeating the notions of his past country as his children grew up in a new one. He spent his whole income on his children’s education, saving nothing for his own retirement. Both of his sons became doctors and as they grew up and got married, many of their children did the same. When he retired in 1995, Berdia and his wife moved first to Long Island and later to D.C. to be with their grandchildren. As an old man, Berdia was frail in stature but not in conviction, and taught his grandchildren the importance of a good education as he cut them pieces of melon before dinner. He loved dates and dosas and as a doctor he knew when he had cancer, but at first refused to do anything about it. He drank Ensures when the chemo made him skinny and accentuated the fatty, tissue tumors that coated his body like moguls on a ski slope. And, in 2015, he died in his sleep, quietly, as his father did.
photograph of Vjay Berdia ~ 50 ~
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Art and Writing by Diane Lin
Feeling At Home in More Than One Language
She wasn’t just scared of losing her first language, but the consequence it would have on her sense of self. Without her native tongue, Bhatt would in many ways be severed from her community. She would be stuck, one foot in two worlds. Though she sounds like the people from her new home, she would still be seen as an outsider, and while she looks like the people of her birthplace, the words tumbling out of her mouth would be alien to them. She would feel disjointed, untethered.
—Aamna Mohdin, on the poem Search for My Tongue by Sujata Bhatt ~ 52 ~
hinese, English, and French are essential to my sense of self. English is how I feel most comfortable expressing my thoughts in social and academic settings in the United States. French connects me to my sister – representing our bond over going to a French school while growing up in a family where no one speaks the language. Chinese ties me to my family and heritage, a fact I’m reminded of every time I return home. Being trilingual is part of who I am. ~ 53 ~
Before coming to the US, I spoke Chinese at home and French at school, and the little English I knew was limited to biweekly English classes. Now, English has come to dominate my life. It has become the language in which I think, speak and write. It has taken over at the expense of my Chinese and French. For seven months out of the year, this change is barely noticeable. At college, I am immersed in an English-speaking environment, finding myself often too busy to engage in any lengthy conversations with my family. However, when I travel to China to see my family for the first time in months, I find that English invades all of my interactions. I find myself using English words to supplement my Chinese when I speak to my mom, stumbling over how to talk about my feelings to my grandmother, and switching between English and French with my sister. When this happens, I feel like my attempts to fit in and succeed in the US by speaking English has come at the expense of my family relationships and my own cultural identity. It is hard to explain how the erosion of my Chinese and French proficiencies has disrupted my relationship with my family. Let’s just say that my sister has begun to see me as an American that she cannot relate to. I feel ashamed when I think about losing French, because that would mean erasing the nine years of my life I spent learning the language. I feel ashamed for having trouble expressing myself in Chinese when, just a few years ago, I could do so with perfect ease. I feel ashamed of these things because I feel like I have betrayed my family, heritage, and past by becoming a foreigner, ‘an American.’ Now, not only do I live on the other side of the planet for the majority of the year, missing birthdays and lunar new year celebrations, there is an added linguistic barrier when return home. Several people have told me that it would be a shame to lose an “asset” like trilingualism, lecturing that I should speak more Chinese and French. But it’s not just about the practical benefits of being able to speak more than one language. It’s about how the languages, and the role they have played in my past, have come to define my present. ~ 54 ~
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The easiest way to prevent language loss would be to speak it more. Yet I have tried and failed in the past six years. I tried to speak French with foreign exchange students and to speak Chinese with my best friend from high school, but everytime I eventually revert back to English. I’ve found that the reality is that speaking a language that is not English (outside of foreign language classes) is frowned upon in the US. In high school, any time I began to speak Chinese or French with someone, there was inevitably an American who announced that they felt left out, in a joking-but-not-really tone. Speaking a language besides English is always seen as not speaking English, and thus leaving out English-speakers. It’s not seen as a way to connect with others over a shared identity, background, and culture. On many occasions, speaking a language besides English in public will result in people saying (or at the very least thinking): “We are in America, speak English,” “Be grateful to this country,” or “Go back to where you came from.” Just this year, a college official at Duke University sent an email instructing Chinese students to “commit to using English 100 percent of the time.” She warned that speaking a foreign language was the same as “being so impolite as to have a conversation that not everyone on the floor could understand,” and would even affect their employment and research opportunities. States like California used to mandate English-only instruction until a few years ago. More broadly, the English-Only Movement seeks to make English the only official language of the United States (which it is not, in case you didn’t know). This movement echoes a darker chapter of American history. At the turn of the twentieth century, the US government used boarding schools to forcefully assimilate Native American children by forbidding them from speaking their native language and from practicing their religion and culture. As a result, a generation of Native American children struggled to relate to or even communicate with their families after returning home, because they had forgotten their native languages, or because they were taught to think that speaking in them was wrong. In the United States, fluency in English is critical to success. This fact has historically been used to justify the argument that peo~ 56 ~
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ple should speak English-only. However, there are many benefits to speaking more than one language. In particular, speaking one’s mother tongue can strengthen family ties, providing a strong support system that helps one cope with stress. This leads to better self-esteem, sense of identity, as well as overall well-being. Backlash against using a mother language hurts immigrant communities that rely on a language other than English to communicate and/or pass on their values and culture. The majority of immigrants are willing to speak English and integrate into American society. This is not a disputed fact. However, willingness should not be confused with the ability to do so. Afterall, how can you say something in English if you do not have the words? Your proficiency in English reflects your socio-economic background, national origin, and culture. For example, immigrants from countries like the UK and Canada speak English fluently, but also grew up in among the world’s wealthiest countries. Access to advanced English-language education is also correlated with both individual and national income levels. Additionally, even if you speak English-only with a perfect accent and respect the US, you can still be told to go back to where you came from because of your accent, clothing, skin color and ethnicity. In the 1922 case of Yamashita v. Hinkle, Washington’s attorney general maintained that Japanese people, like “the Negro, the Indian and the Chinaman,” were unassimilable because of their “marked physical differences.” Even the president of this country espouses this view—Trump promoted the conspiracy theory that Obama was not a US citizen and told four American Congresswomen, all of whom are women of color, to go back to the “totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” Even though some people claim that speaking English-only is important to integrating into American society and becoming ‘American,’ the truth is that for many people of color, not speaking your mother tongue does not actually mean that you will be considered American, and it may very well harm your relationship with your family and your sense of identity. So what is the real purpose behind enforcing English-only, when it does not actually mean assimilation? I think that the real issue is the ~ 58 ~
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culture and ethnicity that a language is closely tied to. Policing nonwhite people for not speaking English is not an attempt to make them respect the US or help them integrate into this country. Instead, it intends to make immigrants of color and their children invisible by not allowing them to express their cultures, thus maintaining the hegemony of white-American culture and English. Just like the US government forced Native Americans to only speak English at boarding schools, preventing non-white groups from speaking their mother languages through violence, institutional means, or social norms is a way of forcefully assimilating them into an ideal homogenous culture that is characterized by being white-American and speaking English-only. While I cannot say for sure whether today’s disruptions of these people’s connections with their families, culture and ethnic origin and thus their well-being is an intended consequence or not, it is nevertheless a very real result of such views on the use of languages besides English and the legacy of practices that specifically target familial and cultural ties. The best way for me to feel comfortable speaking Chinese and French is not just to speak it more, but also to confront my own views on languages. Because in the process of trying to fit in here, I have internalized attitudes about not speaking English without questioning them, and as a result I began to police my own language use. // As I begin to see both the US and China as my homes and reflect on my struggles to stay trilingual, I’m realizing that you are not required to succeed and fit in in order to call a place home. A home should embrace all aspects of your identity, including your unique background, culture, family. The erosion of my home languages is not just something that I experience alone, but as a part of larger societal process. I now see that speaking Chinese and French is not about shame from fear of loss or not speaking English. It’s about my sense of self, my family, and resistance.
house, I will feel truly at home once I speak Chinese to my family and French to my sister. The Chinese intonations will feel foreign at first, forcing the back of my throat to quickly move up and down with each word. I will try in vain to piece together the meaning of the French slang my sister has picked up since the last time I saw her. I will lower my voice considerably in a way that feels unnatural and pull at the depths of my memories for French expressions and speech structures to avoid translating word for word from English. The familiar itching feeling will threaten to creep up my throat and fill me with shame, telling me I shouldn’t even try, I should just speak English. But I will lean into that feeling in my threat, pushing against it, working at my throat until the words come to me naturally, sharp and distinct or low and flat. I will also forgive myself for using English to supplement words I’ve forgotten. Eventually, I will reach a balance between the three languages, and I will feel at home.
It’s about how speaking in these languages has defined periods of my life and my relationships with the people around me. And, it’s about the countless other immigrants who have lost their voice, their native tongue, by submitting to the pressures of assimilation.
This upcoming break, the switch to speaking Chinese will signify my return home. The taxi ride from the airport will be my first Chinese conversation in months, and I will dread the day that a driver tells me I do not sound like I am from China. When I will get to my mom’s ~ 60 ~
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Hibiscus Locks a short story about having two homes by Suzan Kim
Dear Cassidy, Happy First Birthday! Unless you turn out to be one of those oncein-a-blue-moon prodigies that can read before you’ve learned to walk, this letter will mean nothing to you. Perhaps you’ll rediscover these pages when you’re older and they will still mean nothing to you. Or maybe it will. Regardless, let’s make a metaphorical toast to this first of many letters to come. I’m a bit young to be a godmother, but your mom is quite young to be a mother, so I guess you’re both lucky and unlucky. Lucky because you might be better understood than I was growing up. Unlucky because I don’t really know what I’m doing or what the responsibilities of a godmother even are. Unlucky because you might notice your older relatives and family friends will grimace at your mom, the same way they sometimes grimace at me. Lucky because, despite everything, I’ll ~ 62 ~
art by Alice Zhao
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be around often to watch you grow up. Get ready – I’m going to save up all my gas bills for you to pay off when you’re older. By the time I give you this letter, you’ll be seated in a high chair wearing a traditional Korean dress and family members will crowd around you in celebration. I’ll have arrived in New Jersey by then. By the time you can read this letter hopefully you’ll be kicking ass in kindergarten at Washington Elementary, the same place your mom and I attended. We both stopped going to the alumni reunions when we entered high school. I’ve made the 45-minute commute from Battery Park City so many times that there’s really no need for the GPS, but I use it anyways, to soothe the nerves. Earlier this morning, I visited a hair salon in Chinatown. The walls were covered in faded posters of Korean celebrities and dog-eared magazines lay strewn next to half-eaten bowls of ramen. You’ve probably never smelled day-old ramen, but just wait till college honey. It stinks sweet more than spicy and clings to crevices, especially the folds of the body, like the inner elbows, armpits, and the backs of knees. You’ll find the stench unbearable, but also subtly comforting. There was also an array of thin, waterproof jackets hanging by the door. Colorful sun visors dotted the wooden pegs above them. Have you ever noticed that the upper bodies of some middle-aged Korean women curve unevenly forward? Their cantilever chins protrude outward from their faces and their reedy appendages seem disjointed from the rest of their bodies. It’s unbelievable that your mom and I will grow old someday. The shop lady that gestured for me to sit down resembled your grandmother. I had to have my hair cut before your doljanchi, the special first year birthday celebration. What’s even the point of having a big celebration when you’re too young to remember any of it? I suppose it makes sense: death rates in pre-industrial Korea were high enough that 1st birthdays became a milestone. Still, bar mitzvahs and quinceañeras and sweet sixteens are nice in that they celebrate a coming of age. In middle school,
my best friend had a circus-themed bat mitzvah, where Brad Colby kissed me under the broken lamppost at the end of Concord Street. In high school, the same girl—still my best friend—had a sweet sixteen, except this time Brad Colby kissed her under the lamppost. The only other big birthday for Koreans is hwangap, which happens when you’re 70 and nearly dead. The hairdresser inspected the purple ends of my hair. They were a bit uneven because I did them myself at your mom’s house, but they turned out just the right color: a rich shade of pinkish purple, the kind you find in sorbet ice cream or in hibiscus flowers. I didn’t get my hair cut because of your birthday celebration. I got it cut for your birthday party. There’s going to be someone there, someone who it is imperative I impress. My dad got me a job interview with a friend of his boss and the interviewer will be at the doljanchi. My mother told me that first impressions matter and that purple hair was unacceptable. I don’t remember my own doljanchi, but the pictures are hilarious. I refused to sit properly in the high chair and screamed my head off until your mom was allowed to squish into the seat next to me. Even then, my mother must have wondered what was wrong with me. I do remember my sweet sixteen though, like it was yesterday. It wasn’t fancy or anything—my friends and I spent 5 hours dancing at an outdoor basketball court. Your mom brought a boombox, a huge old silver thing that looked like it came straight out of a dance film. We even propped it under an umbrella, just like in the movies. I think dancing is the only time my body feels entirely connected. It’s like currents of energy are swimming through the marrow in my bones, extending to capillaries in the tips of my fingers until every bit of me hums. My sixteenth birthday was the best day of my life and, the next day, I dyed the bottom half of my hair for the first time. The sound of the scissors made me cringe. I saw a little purple wisp
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fall slowly—so slowly that for a second it seemed to hover in the air, before landing silently on the grimy tiles. At some point it seemed like there was too much hair on the floor but I didn’t say anything. I thought I might go bald. At the doljanchi, you will be placed in front of a table of objects. If you choose a book, you’ll be expected to be studious. Your parents might sign you up for after-school prep classes that you may or may not dread. If you pick the money you’ll be expected to be rich, and your future career will be highly anticipated. I don’t remember what I chose, but it wasn’t a pair of Jordans or a boombox cassette. I watched as sad clumps of beautiful hibiscus locks multiplied by the minute. When I turned my head to look at the clock, I felt the blunt ends of my new hair swishing over the skin of my shoulders. Strangely enough, my head felt heavier than before the cut. And then I had this crazy thought: What if I brought a lock of my hair for the doljanchi table? I thought the color might attract your attention. After paying for the haircut, I ran back and picked up the most vibrantly colored pieces off the floor as the salon-owner looked at me in bewilderment. I found a clean sandwich bag in my purse and sealed my purple ends in it. Imagine how the guests will react. Will I be kicked out? No, they wouldn’t kick out the birthday girl’s godmother; strange looks and snippy comments are all I’ll have to deal with. My mother will be frustrated with me, possibly furious. My extended family will do nothing, but I’ll feel their judgement in the way their eyes search around my body for a place to land. Dear God, I’m probably going to have to take breaks and sit in my car ever so often. I’ll listen to the GPS lady give directions back to the city. Bringing hair to a birthday party in a plastic bag? The idea sounds a bit silly now—I’m not sure what I was thinking. I must have wanted you to have just one more option on your doljanchi table, packaged in a zip lock bag and largely unidentifiable. I know I would have picked it. I have two homes now: one in New York where I can enjoy a latte
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every morning without being lectured about money, and one in New Jersey, where you and your mom live. I think you’ll love New York someday. As my goddaughter, you’re obligated to do at least one New Years with me in Times Square. We can camp out in the cold and eat cup ramen and talk about our resolutions. In New Jersey, I have to duck out of the way of my mother’s wooden ladle that swings my way whenever I say or do anything remotely interesting. Sometimes it occurs to me that if your mom hadn’t stayed, I wouldn’t have stayed in touch with my parents. It just occurred to me that if she hadn’t stayed you might not have such a large group of people to love you. I should go change into proper clothing—I don’t want this haircut to go to waste. You’ll look so sweet in your hanbok outfit. May all your birthday wishes— heck, may all your wishes—come true. Your loving godmother, Mia Lee
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FROM PENGUIN REVOLUTION TO PENN STUDENT article & art by Michael Shen
t Penn, the circles we run with can be strikingly homogenous. Penn’s undergraduate population shares many characteristics but maybe most prevalent, is how many Penn students strive to career, wealth, and recognition- so pre-professional. Camilo Navarro is a 23 year old senior from Chile. He started at Penn studying Engineering and Economics in 2016 as a 21 year old and today, he offers an outsider’s perspective. We ask Milo how his sense of home was affected by coming to Penn and how he was able to find a space for himself coming from a background that turns down such “consumerism”. In fact, as a highschooler, Milo left school to join the Penguin Revolution- a call for a new education framework and cutting off the influence of corporations trying to profitize evolution. ~ 68 ~
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Most freshmen are 18, so why did you start at 21? That’s kind of a long story. First, when I was a sophomore in high school in Chile, the students started this movement called the Penguin Revolution. There’s a lot of literature on it because all the students just took the streets and took over some schools. I left the highschool we took over ah… I left my highschool for three months and we were demanding better education conditions, so very specific changes of policy in education. The main one was for companies to stop profiting from education.
So you took a couple of years away to protest? So I had that one year off… well I didn’t take the year off. It was that schools were paralyzed, everything was paralyzed After that, I had to do sophomore year again, and then when I graduated I did one year of college at the University of Chile.Then I got accepted here. I got accepted in December of 2015 so I had to wait until September 2016 to come here. So that’s the difference in age.
Tell me more about the Penguin Revolution. It was fucking crazy. I was 15 or 16 and you could see in the news most of the things we were doing. We held protests and marches. Secondary students were called to talk to the government and they kept getting called in. There were 5 or 6 people leading the entire country. They were like the superheroes of the movement. There was also a movement at colleges and the leaders got called in to give speeches. What’s interesting is that a lot of the students later became senators in the chambers. This one girl was called to meet the minister of education who was
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this old lady. And they were talking and everything the old lady was saying was bullshit. And the girl, one of the leaders, grabbed a nearby jar of water and threw it over the minister. And the minister was completely wet.
So what does the idea of home mean to you personally and how do you honor that home in your experiences? We came from a culture of being sober materialistically. I wouldn’t say we were poor; we didn’t have a lot but we didn’t need a lot. You don’t need a big house, you don’t need a lot of big things. I try to live my life like that;I don’t have a lot of big materialistic ambitions or money ambitions or work ambitions for that matter. I just try to live in the present and remember what I was taught by my mom. Just try to live simple and yea thats it.
How do you think that sense of home has been challenged or enhanced by your coming to Penn? Coming here to the United States was overwhelming because, you see, the US is the epitome of capitalism. Everything is more: consume more, buy more, bigger, larger... everything is drunk in consumerism. It was just shocking and overwhelming. I could have taken two paths which is just forget my roots and just follow with this or do what I did which is just embrace even more the simple life that I had back home and just try to make my decisions out of that. It was kinda hard though because everything is just configured so you engage more in consuming stuff.
Do you see that Idea ever shifting or do you think it’s stabilized. I feel like now being a senior, everyone is just so worried about jobs and what they’re going to do with their lives. And what they expect from their lives. And it seems like everything here returns to the subject of having more. Like having a better job, with better conditions,
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more money, better salary. I feel like it’s hard to navigate through all of those ideas and experiences because I’m not like that. When I tell people I’m going back home and I have a job there, but I’m not going to be making a lot of money, they’re like oh cool but they look at me kinda weird, like this guy is an engineer at penn and is not trying to make some money?
So you’re going back to Chile after college. Yes I am, I have a job in a company that I’ve been involved with since I left home. They develop digital solutions for education problems in Latin America. One of their main projects is like a kind of Khan Academy but for students in South America. So like offering free, massive test prep for students in South America.
What do you think has been one of the most challenging moments for you to keep that mindset in such a capitalist place? Because of the age when I first came here, it was kind of hard to make friends. Because everyone was just 18 or even 17 or 19, and I was about to be 21,I had a totally different perspective on life. So it was kind of hard to connect with people. I guess my freshman year was kind of just hard to navigate and find people to connect with becauseI found there was such a profound disconnection between me and them. But then you reach you kind of find your niche. For example, rugby. I’ve played rugby since I was 10 years old, so I guess that was a good net to fall into. I guess I’ve always been able to find a second home in rugby. I wouldn’t say there is one experience that is very hard, but in general it’s hard. But once you gain experience it’s easier because, yeah, you have to be understanding more and not understand why people are the way they are. You can’t come in and be like all of you are wrong. Just try to find the balance between your views and theirs.
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Tell me about your room? I don’t carry a lot of stuff. Most of these things are not mine. At least the furniture. But most of this stuff has meaning. Like everything that i have in the room has meaning and I got it from somewhere. The flags, the poster, all just put a little sentimental value into the things I have. But because they remind me of someone or of a good memory.
You mentioned taking a year off to protest companies profiting. How do you reconcile that with penn’s fee. I don’t think I do. When I decided to apply to schools in the US i was in a totally different mindset than I am in now. I feel like… I almost didn’t stay at penn my freshman year. I was like this is not for me, this is not the place I want to be… this is not the system I want to be part of. But then at that point I had already lost a lot of things,like personal things, so I was like I might as well just finish, pay my dues to the system, and then I can live my own life under my own rules. But it’s just, Penn is just Penn, and just the education system in general in the
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US is very punishing. It punishes everybody for everything. And more if your a minority- in any sense of the word- gender wise, racewise, income wise. It punishes you and an education system shouldn’t do that. It’s just overwhelming that by the end of my college career, the money spent on my education is almost 300-350 thousand dollars. It’s kind of crazy because with that money you can do so much in other places and you just ask if it’s worth it or not. I don’t think it’s worth it. But I am on a scholarship here, so I think i just have to be grateful for the opportunity I’ve had and try to use those tools to benefit other people back home. But also, it’s very overrated. Those tools you think you learn it’s not like you can’t learn them in other places. It’s all about the status and masturbating each others egos here.
Is there anything else you’d like people to know about your perspective of home? I was watching a movie the other day with a friend about soccer. This guy moves to England and just wakes up in England. My friend, he’s an American said, “just imagine waking up and you’re in England, so far away from home”. I’m like, yea I know how that feels, right. It’s just hard to be so far away from home, speaking another language, where you are the guest and the one who needs to fit in. I would say for people who are not away from home, because everyone is away from home unless you’re a block away from penn, you’re always in your culture, and you can always go back home. People from America at least, I would just make an invitation for Americans to take a moment to think about how international students feel and try to understand the international students background. Because we’re not all the same you know.
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I’ve lived in a busy area of Beijing for the majority of my life, and the feeling of being anonymous in an urban area makes me feel at home. I like to go to Center City on my own and walk around, being in a sea of unfamiliar I’ve faces.
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~~ Diane Lin Diane Lin
Every night at home, my brother practices the piano before bed and my father gives him pointers. When I was sitting at DKE (Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity) doing some homework and someone started playing an old keyboard in the corner, it reminded me of home. ~ 76 ~~ Michael Shen
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When Window-Panes Turn to Jail Cell Bars by Helen Wu & Yasmine Mezoury
Photography essay of Eastern State Penitentiary by Riley Merkel
ccording to the U.S. Department of Justice, the average prison sentence in 2016 was 2.6 years. Many spend much longer periods of time in prisonâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;time during which an inmateâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s home life is abruptly disrupted and they must reconstruct their sense of home in often inhumane conditions. But incarcerationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s profound impact extends beyond the average number of years behind bars. For the people able to return home after jail time, reintegrating into their previous homes and communities frequently presents an even greater challenge. This reintegration is punctured by debt, absence, prejudice, and post-traumatic affective disorders. A study conducted by The Urban Institute in Baltimore, Maryland sheds light on this phenomenon. 54% of participants predicted that they would rely on their own jobs as a source of income after release. But out of these participants, 51% were unable to realize their goal, reporting that they relied on their families. After release, 62% of participants in the study accrued some form of debt. This financial burden that inmates experience post-release is accompanied by emotional stress with almost 20% of prisoners experiencing symptoms of PTSD in the 30 to 90 day period after release. Moreover, 50% of the participants expressed desire for counseling after prison, and 30% wanted mental health treatment. The most important factor to smooth reintegration after prison is family relations. In the Urban Institute study, participants reported finding employment through family connections, and receiving finan~ 78 ~
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“ cial and emotional support from family members. Former inmates who had strong family relationships were more likely to find jobs and stay off drugs and alcohol. IMPACT explores one individual’s experiences during and after incarceration--we focus on how incarceration distorts and prevents the establishment of a “home” behind bars, and how in-prison experiences affect efforts to develop a sense of home upon release. Quan, a 25-year-old former inmate from North Philadelphia, tells us about creating a home-space in the American prison system. He describes three major obstacles to finding a sense of home: the distrust towards prisoners on the part of administration, the disruption of norms previously established during civilian life, and the rarity of physical and emotional comfort in jail. Quan notes that, “most of the time you’re just in the cell, the same people, you got people watching you when you go to the bathroom, anything, a time limit on showers.” In prison, Quan’s every action was monitored. The hyper-regulated environment made it impossible for him to call the space his own. Moreover, society’s prejudice towards prisoners perpetuates the very mistrust that deprived prisoners like Quan of home within prison walls. And as such, the deprivation of home continues. Quan describes the hygiene in prisons as “different, like some of the soaps and all, it’s just like corny soap. On the outside it’s just way bet-
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Make a home for myself? Personally, me? No, I could never be comfortable with it.
ter, like you don’t have nobody telling you when to go to bed anything like that.” Quan stresses that the controlled routines and poor living conditions are most dehumanizing. He emphasizes the unpalatable food and the inferior living conditions, repeating that, “The hygiene is different…The changes they can make… food, blankets, anything, stuff like that, the shower, they can clean it more, it’s a lot.” Quan’s suggestions are only a few of the many ways prisons can improve to better meet basic needs. Quan also notes that “prison” and “home” are incompatible notions. “Make a home for myself? Personally, me? No, I could never be comfortable with it.” More specifically, celebrations that typically encapsulate traditional notions of family warmth are laughably not familial. Quan comments on the lack of holiday cheer in prison: “Their version of celebrating is not really the same. Like Christmas, I think that they just give you…little bags of soup”. Posed against the warmth and camaraderie of holidays at home, holidays behind bars only serve to remind prisoners of what’s just out of reach. The disorienting impacts of incarceration affect both the incarcerated and their families. Inmates are torn from their communities where ~ 81 ~
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they are mothers, uncles, and sisters, leaving an empty space in their wake and inadvertently disrupting the structures of their communities. Placed into spaces where their only identities are those of criminals and thugs, inmates are forced to internalize roles of isolation. This sudden displacement and long term deprivation from one’s community and home has lasting negative effects. In the Urban Institute study, 50% of former inmates did not return to their previous neighborhoods. Further, more than 25% of inmates were only given a week’s notice or less of their release date, complicating post-release arrangements and reintegration. ~ 84 ~
Ultimately, entering prison is a paradigm-shifting experience that drastically alters an individual and completely disturbs their sense of home and community. The striking recidivism rates, cases of PTSD, and post-incarceration housing situations may be attributed to the long-term deprivation of home. After so long, Quan had lost the tools with which to build a stable sense of belonging. “It just makes it harder with a lot of things. It changed the way I look at life, the people I hang around, everything. Just don’t take it for granted.” Even after completing his sentence, Quan found himself at a loss for home once again. ~ 85 ~
“I think that one of the most important things about being home is about being comfortable, and I’ve found in my life it’s hard to be comfortable around everyone and be myself. And I think the times when I’ve felt truly at home are times when I feel comfortable being myself around the people I’m with and they don’t hold prejudices towards me.” Penn Student
“It’s a little harder, because once it’s on your record, they do look at you a little different. Because automatically you just think soon you’re a criminal and everything. Even if you just went to jail for something you really ain’t do the whole time they just look at it like you went to jail, so it makes it a little bit harder.” Quan
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â&#x20AC;&#x153;The only time I really care about being at home is Christmas. My mom and I dig boxes out of the attic, light our scented candles and decorate the entire house with pillows, Santas, and various red and green junk. We bake, we sing the same songs on repeat, and we are generally happy and care about nothing other than Christmas. The other day I ordered a scented candle, and as soon as I lit it I realized it was the same candle my mom lights at our house every Christmas that makes everything smell happy.â&#x20AC;? ~ Livvy Fielding ~ 88 ~
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by Wenjin Lin
University of Pennsylvania decided to move from University City to West Philadelphia.
1918 After World War 1 African American communities in Greenville drastically expanded and the neighborhood was referred to as The Black Bottom.
The Federal Urban Renewal Program was initiated to clean and purchase blighted areas. Additionally, the Housing Act of 1949 allows local authorities to be compensated by the government for purchasing and cleaning blighted areas. This allowed Penn to rebuild West Philly under the Slum Clearance and Community Development and Redevelopment program.
Penn, Drexel, U-Sciences and Presbyterian Hospital form the West Philadelphia Corporation with the aim of buying properties from landlords and demolishing or boarding them up. In this way, they were able to manufacture the â&#x20AC;&#x153;blightâ&#x20AC;?, such that the city could declare eminent domain and permit Penn to demolish large sections of housing in Black Bottom.
1948 Penn began its master expansion plan.
1976 The Black Bottom Association was founded.
The Ivy League was established with Penn as a founding member.
University City High School was established as a feeder school for the universities in West Philly.
1945 The Redevelopment Authority of Philadelphia was established to eliminate blighted areas and expropriate private property for public use.
1970 By this time, the neighborhood was largely cleared of residents, making room for the university to build on the cleared land.
The Council of the City of Philadelphia designated the last Sunday of August as Black Bottom Day in Philadelphia to celebrate the history and legacy of the community.
ALLEGRO’S: changing paces, changing times
A look at gentrification through the eyes of University City businesses by Michael Shen
espite significant changes to the area surrounding Penn, Allegro’s pizza has remained a steadfast local eatery. As part of our Home issue, IMPACT explores the effects of gentrification on not only homes, but also on businesses as part of the larger West Philadelphia neighborhood. Elias, whose family owns the business, has been Allegro’s general manager since 2006. Elias shares with us his perspective on the changes that have occurred in University City since 2004 and even earlier in the 80’s. Elias has witnessed both the area’s landscape and his own customers transform over the past 15 years and offers insight into Penntrification’s impacts on small business.
slower in the summer than in the winter, but not as much as it used to be. There are a lot more residents, summer camps, Drexel dragons, etc. There are more restaurants. There’s more construction and a lot of construction workers come in a eat their lunches here.
How did you come to live in Philadelphia and work at Allegro’s?
How have your customers changed with the years?
I first started working at Allegro’s in 2006 when my family purchased the business. I was at Greek Lady before that in 2004 but, my family, we’ve been in this area since the 80’s. My father had a food truck on Spruce and 36th in 82’, 83’.
Customers have changed in the way they order- online orders are common now, with third parties playing a bigger role. But I also have customers that have known my family for 40 years. People graduate and come back and come back and come back. Its nice.
Have you seen a noticeable change to the area since you first got here?
Do you think you will stay in the area and raise a family here in the future?
The University City area has changed dramatically in the last 15 years or so. I would say it’s cleaned up quite a bit--there are a lot more buildings and houses.
How has the change in the area affected your business? 15-20 years ago, it was slower in the summertime. Now it’s still
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Are these effects all positive for your business? It’s definitely been mostly positive for the business. There’s a lot more competition, a lot more places to eat. There are also now more high-tech sort of delivery businesses—this is probably the test market for that stuff. The university doesn’t just build houses, there has definitely been a rise in the number of food places.
I just had a daughter. You know I’m always thinking to relocate, always thinking about the future. I lived in Greece for a good portion of my life. Most likely I’ll stay here. It wouldn’t be a bad place to raise my family.
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HAND IN HAND:
Whitewashing & Gentrification text by Suzan Kim While gentrification can revitalize a neighborhood, it also bulldozes the histories of minorities and their communities. Faith Mamaradlo, a Filipino female who grew up in a predominantly black Philadelphia neighborhood, stands against gentrification because it displaces
minorities and overthrows their legacies. IMPACT asks her to describe the changes she’s witnessed in her surroundings and to share her views on the ethics of economic growth at the expense of vulnerable populations.
What was it like growing up in Philadelphia? Can you describe your home? art by M ich ael
Growing up in Philadelphia was an interesting experience. If you were from the city, everyone was very connected and knows each other. It all conjoins at school, which is the main place everyone sees each other. I’m glad I was able to get to know Philadelphia - I grew up around the north and south, and now I’m get to explore the west as a college student.
Are there significant differences between the areas in Philly? The south is more rooted in history - the Italian Market is a good example. There’s definitely a sense of pride that goes way back. Here in the west there is a divide between neighborhoods: the ones closer to penn and the ones near 69th street. The old Penn president invested a lot of money on buildings and organizations just outside of Penn’s campus at the time. In order to suit the residential needs of students, HUP workers, and other Penn affiliates, Penn pushed out the individuals that built the culture behind West Philly neighborhoods. ~ 94 ~
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Which areas have changed because of gentrification? I was living in an area that never got affected, a north-south zone but the closer you get to the city, the more gentrified it gets. Fishtown, Gerard, Spring Garden, and Perth in Kensington are all more gentrified than anywhere below Franklin: like Frankford and Church. Generally the gentrification is where the minorities are.
What kind of changes have you noticed? I see more white people coming off the bus stop, which was really rare back in the day. A lot of those neighborhoods were bad places to be, and my mom would tell me to be careful. But now I have friends moving into those areas and there are all these shops that weren’t there when I was younger. I remember a few years back, Temple [University] wanted to build a football stadium and destroy many houses in the process. The pace of gentrification with these big universities is so rapid, it’s crazy.
In what specific ways has gentrification impacted your communities? I wasn’t personally impacted because I was always out of the scope of gentrification. I went to a really diverse high school and I think the population is still predominantly black. White people are the minority in communities. My neighborhood is pretty far from the city and I doubt gentrification would go that far but a lot of my friends complain about the effects gentrification has had on their communities. I was at a Friendsgiving and heard a lot about how white populations have overtaken areas that minorities once occupied. My friend, Logan, had a grandmother that lived in the Rostro area. When he was younger, it was a dangerous place. Now, there are white people everywhere walking their dogs. The dog walking, that’s how you know if an area is gentrified.
How does this negatively affect communities? As wealthier people come into neighborhoods, housing prices skyrocket. When demand for housing increases in these areas- like with Clarke Park and Fishtown- it pushes minorities out of the places they grew up in. I’ve also seen changes in businesses, and many that used to cater to minority groups have turned into expensive coffee shops and ~ 96 ~
other trendy stores. Minorities that were once involved in their cities’ spaces, that once created their own history and legacies, are being bought out and overtaken. Many of the restaurants that are gone now were owned by the individuals that shared a cultural connection with their customers. For example, many Ethiopian restaurants have had to shut down; it’s so rare that things work out for original business owners when the chains move in.
Advocates of gentrification often argue that the increase in economic activity can help better neighborhoods. Does this stand up to its harms? I feel like it’s unfair to force an economic boost onto groups that aren’t ready to match the financial aspects of it. I feel like, on a microscale, gentrification operates like colonization, because it takes over a groups of minorities. There’s a forceful entry and then individuals are made to match the standards of the newly changed neighborhood.
Does your stance on gentrification negatively color your perspective of Penn? Gentrification tarnishes my perspective on Penn. Penn exploits the city’s population by making “research projects” that involve helping lesser, minority groups, but in actuality give Penn a “savior complex,” as well as isolate West Philly as test subjects rather than actual humans. Penn Police’s constant patrolling (creating the Penn bubble) also divides University City and the rest of Philly, and promotes the notion that the rest of West Philly is unsafe. The same thing happens on Temple’s campus. At the same time, I believe that Penn, being such a huge institution, does offer jobs that may benefit minority groups.
What are ways businesses and individuals can address gentrification? Many white businesses are coming to minority neighborhoods, and then white individuals get the new jobs. I think wealthier business owners should be more willing to give these jobs to minorities instead of trying to keep the status quo. I wish there was more equality in the job market and I also think having a slower transition would ease the effects of gentrification, but the influx is so large… I don’t know if that’s possible. ~ 97 ~
The Weight of Profit in Gentrification by Suzan Kim
Evan Wu, a real estate major at Temple University, shares how homeownership colors his perspective on West Philadelphia gentrification. Though it’s rare to find an undergraduate landowner, Evan has recently bought a house with the financial support of his family and lives in it. An optimist at heart, Evan speaks to the potential positives of gentrification.
How did you first become interested in real estate? I took several prerequisite courses on real estate freshman and sophomore year. I remember while others watched ESPN and Disney, I’d watch HGTV. I loved home renovation/ buying channels, and I always enjoyed entering new spaces like retail spaces, restaurants, homes, etc.
Did you notice impacts of gentrification on the area’s housing market? Temple University’s expansion has definitely impacted housing prices. In the 90s and 80s, or even the early 2000s, Temple wasn’t what it is today. Naturally with the increase in recognition, there’s also been an increase in student housing—when students come in and rent goes up, residents who’ve lived here for years are forced to move.
Do you believe the school and/or students have a responsibility to address gentrification? The problem is, I want gentrification to happen. All the landlords and housing companies want prices to go up. Also, gentrification sometimes betters neighborhoods in the long term. Temple has lowered crime and increased economic activity.
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That being said, I know it’s important for students to see what’s happening to individuals in the area. For up to 2 or 3 blocks North, it’s possible to see only students and no residents. Whether it be improving access to healthy food or supporting local small-businesses, I want to circle back and make the community overall a better place.
Do you plan on investing in additional properties in Philadelphia in the future? Which areas do you think would be best to invest in and why? If I did end up investing again I’d want to diversify my portfolio. You don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket. West Philadelphia and Point Breeze are good places to start, and Kensington and Port Richmond used to be, although prices have climbed to the point where they’re no longer the best options. It’d be important to look for places where the prices are not high but will get high in the future--it’d be important to look for places that will gentrify.
With gentrification, a common concern is that minorities are being pushed out of their homes. How do you reconcile this with your desire to improve your own financial wellbeing? First, anyone can invest in property, it’s not just rich old developers. My family didn’t put much money into this house. And at the end of the day, if you invest in anything, you want to profit. With gentrification, my goal isn’t to make people move away. In fact, between Cecil B. Moore and Montgomery, there are residents who have been there for many years. Most people have moved away but these residents on that one block are still here to this day. To be frank, nothing is going to stop these larger corporations from gentrifying, but that’s not always a bad thing. In areas like Kensington Avenue, only a decade ago prostitution, drugs, and shootings were rampant and now it’s a place where children can live. I think gentrification can happen without displacing people from their homes but people have different views on what’s possible. ~ 99 ~
“When I was a kid, we would always watch cartoons on Saturday mornings. Teen titans, Scooby Doo, SpongeBob. Last year, once my roommates and I got a futon, we spent a whole Saturday watching animated kids movies. I felt just like I was on my couch with my siblings again.” ~ Anjali Berdia
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My close friends and I have started to say “bye, love you” after every interaction we have. I do this with my family, and it forces ~ 101 presence ~ me to stop and appreciate their in my life. ~ Maddie Thompson
â&#x20AC;&#x153;One of my fondest memories at Penn is when faculty members were giving out hot chocolate, pumpkin cookies, and Penn headwarmers, to students outside the Quad. As I sipped hot chocolate on my way to class, the warmth of the cup against my cold hands and the nostalgic aroma took me back to winter evenings with my mom at home, the scent of cocoa, vanilla, and soft peppermint notes floating around our kitchen. I remembered those snowy nights right around the holiday season, eagerly anticipating the calls from school announcing that there was going to be a snow day. These small moments are the moments that make Penn feel like home more than ever.â&#x20AC;? -Seo Yun (Stephanie) Hwang
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FOSSIL FREE PENN DEMANDS DIVESTMENT FREE PENN writing by Maeve Masterson & Emma Glasser photography essay by DP photographer Kylie Cooper
The response of Penn trustees at Fossil Free Penn’s demonstration in November at the Board of Trustees meeting is largely symbolic of the school’s continued failure in protecting, caring, and acting for their students.
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When faced with 75 students singing “WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON?” and chanting statements including “LAWS WITHOUT MORALS ARE USELESS,” trustees responded by covering their ears, increasing the volume on their microphones, and forcing the meeting to proceed. They tried their best to drown out our voices and ignore our presence. In doing so, Penn trustees disregarded their power, purpose, and status as leaders. With vast capacity, wisdom, and prestige, Penn’s leaders have an obligation to utilize their power for change. Yet, in light of the current climate crisis, Penn has chosen silence. ~ 106 ~
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YET, IN LIGHT OF THE CURRENT CLIMATE CRISIS, PENN HAS CHOSEN SILENCE. The livelihoods of students and the surrounding campus community are heavily dictated by the decisions made by the Penn administration, particularly decisions relating to climate action. In fact, as a leading global research institution, the trustees’ decisions impact communities living hundreds of thousands of miles out from the campus borders. The trustees that comprise this administration have publicly dismissed and rejected students’ concerns surrounding divestment, one of the most effective ways that higher education can suppress the social license of the fossil fuel industry and leverage its wealth and prestige
for climate action. Students living on Penn’s campus will be hurt by Penn’s inaction and therefore, have a responsibility to hold Penn accountable. We expect climate action, deserve climate action, and will fight for climate action until the trustees treat the climate crisis to the extent that science and justice demand. For this is our university. It is our home. And yet, it is broken. Our voices are ignored, and our presence shunned. And when we leave Penn and we go back to our homes, some will be
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FOR THIS IS OUR UNIVERSITY. IT IS OUR HOME. AND YET, IT IS BROKEN. OUR VOICES ARE IGNORED, AND OUR PRESENCE SHUNNED. greeted by floods, others by droughts and fires, or hurricanes and disease. Some will be fortunate to move or repair the damage, but others will be forced to stay and struggle. And overall, fewer and fewer homes will exist. And more and more people will suffer. Historical movements of civil unrest have proven over years of protest that mass noncooperation can make societal changes. When students are silenced â&#x20AC;&#x201D; all those that currently suffer the deadly impacts of fossil fuel extraction are ignored â&#x20AC;&#x201D; members of Fossil Free Penn and the student community have no choice but to mobilize and embark on a series of nonviolent, disruptive actions to challenge the decisions made by the leaders of our campus. Our home.
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Our Home & Climate Change by Livvy Fielding
t Penn, people hail from all corners of the earth. Homes range from enormous mansions to humble apartments, in huge cities or small towns, and everything else in between. Regardless of which category yours might fit into, your home probably has a special place in your heart. It probably also has a sizable carbon footprint (especially if your home is more toward the mansion end of the spectrum). It is virtually impossible to live in a way that does not impact the environment. Living here at UPenn emits tons of carbon each day, mostly through energy use and this carbon footprint is going to reshape the way we think of home. 50 years from now, your “home” might look nothing like it does today. This planet will look drastically different, both physically and demographically. Many people, across cultures and generations, claim to be extremely worried about climate change, yet they still do not seem to understand the full magnitude of the future we will face. There are countless ways climate change will change our lives and our planet, but I don’t have enough time or authority to go into every complicated details. So instead, I will explain a climate change domino effect -- one that is precipitated by an anthropological increase of greenhouse gases. And, one that will affect all of our homes. So -- what is climate change? We hear a lot about it, and some public figures today continue to deny that it is human caused. President Donald Trump has been known to tweet things such as “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive,” in addition to appointing known climate-skeptics as the heads of U.S. environmental agencies.
art by Raina Mittal
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Well, what you need to know is that greenhouse gas emissions are having a warming effect on our planet, which will have a cascade of other effects on all the Earth’s inhabitants. This is true regardless of your political beliefs, and regardless of whether you believe this warming is human caused. It is scientifically proven that temperatures are rising and will continue to rise, which will make many places uninhabitable by the year 2050. Further, climate change will lead to unprecedented weather-related events all over the world: drier desserts, stronger winds, more rain, warmer winters, damaging landslides, and many more. Politicians will talk about the goal of keeping global temperature warming to 2 degrees celsius above pre-industrial levels, but we are much more likely going to face increases by 3 or 4 degrees. According to a recent study in PLOS ONE, a peer-reviewed scientific journal, “Cities in the Northern Hemisphere will have the climates cities more than 620 miles to their south have today.” London’s climate will be more like that of Barcelona, Minneapolis will feel like Kansas City, and so on. There are also cities, like my home of Washington D.C., which will simply have “unprecedented weather” -- meaning those places will experience completely novel climates. Most of these cities are in the tropics, but 16 are in the United States. Regions, such as the Middle East, will continue to become hotter and drier, resulting in food shortages and droughts. Inevitably they will become uninhabitable to humans. The only good news is that hopefully knowing this will allow people to plan for their future, provided that global governments actually start to take action on mitigating climate change. One of the first dominos to fall as a result of climate change, metaphorically that is, is a rising sea level which has already begun to happen. Most people associate sea level rise with melting glaciers and starving polar bears, but it will also manifest in ways that hit much closer to home. Major cities all over the world will all but disappear. A new study by Climate Central, a New Jersey-based climate organiza~ 114 ~
The Earth has been humanity’s home for thousands of years, and if we want to survive on it, we are going to have to take drastic action — not just shorter showers. tion, shows that cities such as Ho Chi Minh City, Bangkok, Mumbai, and Shanghai are all projected to nearly disappear. Those are just cities for which we have reliable data; many parts of Africa and South America have yet to be mapped coastally, so the loss of cities there is not yet known. According to the U.N., 55% of the world’s population lives in cities today, a percentage that is only growing. This sea-level rise will cause massive destruction to human homes, not to mention the loss of life and history. Warming and sea-level rise, combined with other effects of climate change, will lead to mass migrations across the globe, exacerbating wars over scarce resources. Immigration is already a huge political and humanitarian issue, and will only increase dramatically in the coming decades. A 2018 World Bank Group report estimated that “the impacts of climate change in three of the world’s most densely populated developing regions—sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Latin America— could result in the displacement and internal migration of more than 140 million people before 2050.” Immigration, as has been seen time and time again, has the potential to ignite immense global and domestic unrest. Think of the problems mass migration has already caused in the Middle East and Eastern Europe -- climate change will only increase and exacerbate the scale of these issues, creating a world with a refugee crisis unlike one humans have ever faced. This domino has the potential to knock down another bigger one: war. According to a 2019 study published in the journal Nature, wars over scarce resources, immigration, and other climate-related things are expected to increase ~ 115 ~
up to 26% in the coming years. Climate change issues have been shown to have impacted armed conflicts up to 20% in the last century. If this all sounds like a dooms-day monologue, that’s because it kind of is. These predictions I’ve described are not worst-case scenarios; they are in extremely likely, even overly-optimistic scenarios. There are also so many other impacts of climate change that I have delved into. The IPCC’s Special Report on Global Warming lists a variety of monumental biological consequences following a rise 1.5 degrees celsius. With a temperature increase of this magnitude, especially in such a short amount of time, we can expect the Earth to have more extreme weather events, such as extreme precipitation, droughts, forest fires and hurricanes. We will see an enormous loss of biodiversity, both on land and in the sea, leading to possibly half of all species on Earth going extinct by 2050. This will have huge implications on food security, and world economies, many of which are dependent on ecosystem resources that will be lost in the coming years. And, the truth is, we are already approaching this foreboding reality as the increase in temperature has already surpassed one degree celsius. The Earth has been humanity’s home for thousands of years, and if we want to survive on it, we are going to have to take drastic action -- not just shorter showers. We will have to come together as a human race to save ourselves from our actions and those of our ancestors. Many of us at Penn will not have to deal firsthand with these issues, because our economic privilege will protect us. But, the Earth is home to all of us, no matter our socioeconomic status, race, religion, or nationality. And frankly, most of us have no idea the extent to which every single choice we make contributes to climate change. Even things as simple as the clothing we buy has an immense impact on our planet. If 50 years down the line, we want to have a home anything like our current one, we cannot keep pretending that we are somehow immune from driving our own species to extinction. We can’t keep assuming we will always have a home on Earth. ~ 116 ~
My friends and I used to go to this garden on Princeton’s campus back in high school and hang out and watch the fountain and the trees. I feel at home when I walk around the Woodlands Cemetery and the trees start to block out the city. We used to say that in the garden, you could forget you were in Princeton. In the cemetery, I forget I’m in Philly. ~ Michael Shen
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Every month, my mother clears out our entire basement and replaces our usual clutter with bins of salted cabbage. She uses a giant food processor to smash together a fabulous paste of garlic, red pepper powder, fish sauce, and other Asian whatnots. The tangy vegetable-fish smell fills our house for days. When I saw that my roommate had bought us a pair of pink rubber gloves to leave at the edge of our dormitory sink, I could almost smell my motherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s kimchi. ~ Suzan Kim
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â&#x20AC;&#x153;I threw a dinner at my house for IMPACT. After a semester discussing home, I decided it was time to bring everyone to mine. I made everyone my favorite pasta, and they all came in their PJs. It was amazing and wholesome and everything that I wanted.â&#x20AC;? - Anjali Berdia
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“I had had such a crappy day, it was so nice to sit down to a homemade dinner with friends and just to relax.” - Emma Davies “The cat, Jasper, couldn’t stop reaching for the cream cheese next to the basket of bread and we had to keep pulling him away” ~ 122 ~
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- Alice Zhao
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