CHANCELLOR RAMIREZ PASSED ON
DANCING FOR JUSTICE
THE BENEFITS OF BILINGUALISM
Vol. 170, Issue 2 | Aug. 27 – Sep. 9 | City College of San Francisco | Since 1935 | FREE | www.theguardsman.com
New Chancellor Values All Input INTERIM CHANCELLOR DR. RAJEN VURDIEN PRIORITIZES COLLABORATION AMONG STAKEHOLDERS MOVING FORWARD By Sadie Peckens firstname.lastname@example.org
Interim Chancellor Dr. Rajen Vurdien has come out of retirement to lead City College. His one-year term began July 1, 2020, and will end June 30, 2021. In an interview with The Guardsman, Dr. Vurdien emphasized the importance of constituents working together to establish priorities, highlighted work accomplished so far, and discussed areas of importance looking ahead. Vurdien has more than 30 years of experience in education. He has served as a teacher, an administrator, and in leadership roles for Fullerton College, North Orange County Community College District, Saddleback College, South Orange County Community College District, Mission Viejo, and Long Beach City College. In February 2019 he retired as SuperintendentPresident and Chief Executive Officer of Pasadena City College. Asked why he would come out of retirement to take on this challenge Vurdien replied “I thought it would be wonderful to come to this college and help move it forward and help the students get the greatest education they can get.” Within his first month, Vurdien proposed a reorganization of the higher administration which he calls the “right-sizing of the organization.” The plan eliminated some positions while creating others, resulting in $550,000 in savings. It was presented and passed at the July 30 Special Meeting of the Board of Trustees. This is “more or less bringing the institution at par with other schools of this size,” Vurdien said. The areas of human resources, finance and administration, and student affairs will now have oversight from individual vicechancellors. They need individual oversight because “those are major areas of an institution,” Vurdien said. He later added, “we want someone who will speak for those areas passionately at that level.” Questioned about his priorities for City College, Vurdien said that the priorities should be determined in collaboration with students, faculty and administration.“You can’t have somebody come in here and have priorities after two months. That would be leading the institution to disaster,” Vurdien said. Vurdien did identify some areas that are of key importance as he looks forward, including public health. “Given the pandemic right
“My message to the students is that nothing, nothing should prevent them from achieving their dreams. I want them to know that city college is there for them.” -Interim Chancellor Dr. Rajen Vurdien now we are all working very hard to see how soon we can open the campus based on the information we receive from the Department of Public Health,” Vurdien said. “When we open the campus we need to have an institution that will guarantee the safety of our students and the safety of our employees.” Another top area of importance is finding a way to manage the budget over the next five years. The college’s financial crisis has resulted in significant class cuts and faculty eliminations. “Our budget will remain the same but our expenditures will keep going up. We have to find a way to manage that,” Vurdien said. This will require an enrollment management plan that accounts for the population growth pattern in San Francisco and the surrounding Bay Area, he added. Vurdien identified addressing the achievement gap for students of color as a third area of importance. “When you have this gap, that is not acceptable. I want to see a plan on how we are going to address that. I don’t think that we should ever have stopped working on that. Bridging that gap is one of the most important things we can do for our students. We owe them that, ” he said. While Vurdien identified these areas as important he also emphasized that “priorities are usually determined by the various constituency groups on campus working together.” Various constituents have stated some specific areas they hope will be looked at during Vurdien’s time with City College. "We would like the chancellor to focus on preserving our school,
Full of personality, Dr. Vurdien shares a few jokes and laughs in front of Science Hall. City College Ocean Campus, San Francisco, CA. Aug. 31, 2020. Photo by Emily Trinh/The Guardsman.
“Whatever their problem, whatever the issue is….I want them to know they have an advocate in me. I want to hear from them. We are here to help and support them,” -Interim Chancellor Dr. Rajen Vurdien
by adding classes, protecting jobs, protecting working conditions, and improving equity for our students,” said AFT 2121 Union President Malaika Finkelstein. Student Trustee Vick Van Chung said there is an urgent need to protect student jobs, to address the digital divide, and to provide support to students through increased counseling services. “Ultimately the way our institution is structured, the interim chancellor has the most power. It is the chancellor and it is the vice-chancellor who make these decisions,” Chung said. Asked if he has a message for students, Vurdien replied “My
message to the students is that nothing, nothing should prevent them from achieving their dreams. I want them to know that city college is there for them.” “Whatever their problem, whatever the issue is….I want them to know they have an advocate in me. I want to hear from them. We are here to help and support them,” Vurdien said. To that end, Vurdien hosts open forums on Zoom the last week of every month. An archive of past forums is available at https:// www.ccsf.edu/news.
City College Interim Chancellor Dr. Rajen Vurdien listens to a question from The Guardsman reporter Sadie Peckens on August 31, 2020. While the majority of City College's staff and instructors work from home, Dr. Vurdien conducts the college's daily business from the Office of the Chancellor at Conlan Hall on Ocean Campus. San Francisco, CA. Photo by Emily Trinh/The Guardsman.
2 | NEWS
Vol. 170, Issue 2 | Aug. 27 - Sep. 9, 2020
CARES Act Grants CCSF Partners with SFSU to Aid During Pandemic Facilitate Student Transfers By Jay Sea email@example.com
Illustration by Manon Cadenaule/The Guardsman. instagram : @cadenaulem
By Liz Lopez firstname.lastname@example.org
The $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) was passed by Congress and signed into law on March 27th, 2020 to provide direct economic assistance for individuals and businesses affected by the 2020 coronavirus pandemic. A portion of that money, roughly $14 billion, was allocated to the Office of Postsecondary Education, for a fund called the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF). City College was allotted $7,009,874 million from those federal funds, half of which was given directly to students per the CARES Act mandate. How City College will allocate the other half of the funds has yet to be determined, according to City College Spokesperson Rachel Howard of BergDavis Public Affairs. “$3,504,937 in cash grants were distributed to 3,468 students. Per federal law, noncredit, undocumented and DACA students were ineligible for the funding,” Howard said. “After City College distributed cash grants to our students, some of these restrictions were lifted. The College quickly pivoted and disbursed cash grants to these students through the CCSF Foundation.” Qualified City College students were sent an email notifying them of the grant in early May. In order to qualify, City College students had to be at least part-time students, eligible to receive federal financial aid, have completed a FAFSA and have a satisfactory academic record. Once approved there was a quick turn around time to receive CARES Act funds for those that signed up for direct deposit. Full time students that met qualifications were awarded a one-time payment of $1,309. Half-time students were awarded a one-time payment of $325. Some full-time students feel that this payment is
going to make fall semester survivable, especially with the $600 a week pandemic unemployment benefits that ended on July 25, which was a key source of aid to unemployed students. The HEROES Act, a $3 trillion coronavirus stimulus package, would extend the $600 a week unemployment benefits through January 31, 2021. It would include an additional $1,200 payment to individuals, a moratorium on evictions and expanded paid sick leave for all workers. It passed the House of Representatives on May 15, 2020 but has yet to pass the Senate, which leaves students to wonder how the federal government and City College is going to provide student support during the rest of the year.
As a new academic year starts with continuous remote learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic, San Francisco State University (SFSU) announced a partnership with City College to address decreasing enrollment. Now, City College students can transfer with as little as two courses, and this decision has been met with concern and criticism. It comes after San Francisco Chronicle recently reported a dramatic decline in SFSU’s enrollment citing the school’s new president Lynn Mahoney, “we have the space to admit more students,” in response to a reported 9% drop in enrollment since last year’s measurements. “COVID made this the moment to make this change,” Mahoney said to the Chronicle, and with racial justice being at the forefront of the COVID-19 crisis, school leadership is focusing on an effort to send a message of equity to new students grappling with the challenges of the pandemic. Students with a B-minus average from high school, C average for math and writing from community college are eligible to transfer to SFSU. These are the new changes made to admission for this semester and they apply to all transferring students. Each campus in the California State University system has the autonomy to edit their admission process as they choose, and this position is unique to SFSU so far. However, the response to the
Illustration by Manon Cadenaule/The Guardsman. instagram : @cadenaulem
new policy is not universally positive and at City College; faculty member, department chair, and long time City College activist Madeline Mueller weighed in on the announcement analyzing the potential risks raised at City College by the new change at State University. “In no place does it acknowledge the huge value added to the lower division education gained at Community Colleges in general and CCSF in particular,” Mueller said to The Guardsman, citing an observed tendency of increasing university enrollment in order to fuel the student loan industry. Students are more likely to face higher financial hardship in the future by going to university sooner rather than completing
general education at community college, Mueller said. This, she said, is due to students taking out financial loans earlier in their career to begin at university as soon as possible. Criticism of the new policy is also shared among other department chairs at City College. Journalism Department Chair Juan Gonzales added, “This new policy will no doubt impact CCSF hard — our degree and certificate programs will be less attractive because students can move onto SFSU quicker and take all their GE at SFSU … I can see this feeding into the plan to reduce the number of courses offered at CCSF that will likely lead to the elimination of departments.”
California Highway Patrol Break Up a Peaceful Protest and a Wheelchair
By JohnTaylor Wildfeuer email@example.com
A coalition of advocacy groups clashed with the San Francisco Police Department on Aug. 21 during a national rally protesting Police violence. Protesters were allegedly injured and had their personal items confiscated without cause, According to a petition to “Hold SFPD Accountable”. Since the death of George Floyd, many including City College students have taken to the streets to protest the use of excessive force by police in America. Bay Area students have a long history of protest, notably the Third World Liberation Strikes of 1968, which fought for more inclusion and diversity on the campuses of San Francisco State University and UC Berkeley. Human Empower ment (through) Radical Optimism, HERO Tent, is a Bay Area nonprofit organization that was present
Staff Co-Editors-in-Chief Jennifer Yin Meyer Gorelick News Editor Matheus Maynard
Culture Editor Alexa Bautista
HERO Tent's members and supporters showed up at "March For The Dead" near Gold Gate Bridge, San Francisco on August 21, 2020. March for The Dead is one of a number of marches across the country this day to memorialize those who have died of COVID-19 and to demand changes in the national leadership that significantly exacerbated the pandemic. The people pictured wish not to be named. Photo by Terry Scussel/Courtesy of Pro Bono Photo.
at the day’s events and documented the events through video and photographs on their Instagram page. In the footage, police officers and protesters can be seen pushing
Opinion Editor Andy Damian-Correa Photo Editor Emily Trinh
Design Director Nazli Ece Kandur
Online Editor Fran Smith Social Media Editor Diana Guzman
against each other. Officers are seen occasionally throwing shields or signs from within the crowd, and shouting can be heard throughout.
Illustrators Manon Cadenaule Burcu Ozdemir Staff Writers Eleni Balakrishnan An Pham Tim Hill
“[A member of HERO Tent] had their wrist sprained. Another was punched in the face by an officer. Another was shoved to the ground by an officer. Unfortunately, these instances were not recorded, and conveniently the police were not wearing their body cameras.”
-President and CEO of HERO Tent, Kiana Simmons
cont. on page 3 Starr Wilson Hannah Patricia Asuncion
Elizabeth Lopez Tobin Jones Sadie Peckens John Taylor Schneider
Kaiyo Funaki Rachael Scarborough Photographers Jennifer Hsu Kevin Kelleher Melvin Wong
NEWS | 3
Vol. 170, Issue 2 | Aug. 27 - Sep. 9, 2020
City College’s First Latino President Supervisors Reject Appeal from Community Members Carlos Ramirez Dies at 75
A growth of wild plants surrounds the Lower Balboa Reservoir parking lot. San Francisco, CA. July 5, 2020. Photo by Jennifer Hsu/The Guardsman.
By An Pham firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Carlos Ramirez (left) posed for a photo with City College's former Dean of Financial Aid Jorge Bell (right) at the Office of the Chancellor in Batmale Hall. San Francisco, CA. March 1984. Photo courtesy of Jorge Bell.
By Tobin Jones
Dr. Carlos Brazil Ramirez, former President of City College, passed away earlier this month at his home in Santa Fe, N.M. at the age of 75. He is survived by his wife Judy, and his two children, Carlos and Elizabeth. A native of New Mexico, Ramirez served as President of City College from 1983 to 1989, an era marked by difficulties around funding and threats to City College's accreditation. These fiscal challenges unfolded against a backdrop of brutal cutbacks to public education by the Republican-dominated California legislature. Dr. Ramirez opposed thenGovernor George Deukmejian's ultimately successful efforts to charge California Community College students tuition. And in the face of budget woes, he resisted pressure from those who wanted to solve the crisis by gutting student services to preserve scarce financial resources for teaching. But his
tenure also saw the implementation of class cuts and fee hikes that he and other administrators said were necessary to cope with the sharp decrease in state funding, prompting protests by student and faculty and staff unions. In his final year in office, the college was threatened with the loss of its accreditation. After stepping down in 1989, he taught Political Science at the University of New Mexico before leaving to spend his final years tending to his Santa Fe ranch, which friends say was a longtime dream. Dr. Ramirez is remembered for spearheading the creation of public art around campus, such as “El Rey,” a replica of one of Mexico's famous Olmec heads. He was also instrumental in the care and preservation of the well-known “Pan-American Unity” mural by Diego Rivera located inside City College's theater. Ramirez was, and remains, the only Latino to ever serve as President of the college. His hiring, which was aided by a pressure campaign waged by students and faculty,
was seen as a “great victory,” for many students of Latin American ancestry, according to former City College faculty and friend of Dr. Ramirez, Michael Ruiz. Former colleagues and friends interviewed by The Guardsman described a sincere, charismatic, and hardworking man who made a point of keeping his office door open for all those with questions or concerns to come and chat with him over a steaming hot cup of coffee. Ruiz, who stayed in touch with Dr. Ramirez after he left the college, and described him as his closest friend, said that Ramirez was a “wise and tough guy.” Professor and Journalism Department Head Juan Gonzalez, who was first hired by Dr. Ramirez in 1983, remembers him as an “always a very joyful person” easily recognizable by the prominent chevron mustache that he sported over a perpetually wide grin “He always seemed like a dreamer ... dreaming for the best.”
HERO Tent continued from page 2 people. I was tear-gassed, pushed with batons, chased down in the The California Highway street, not for breaking any laws Patrol, CHP, was the lead agency but for exercising my constitutionfacilitating the demonstration, ally protected right of free speech,” according to the San Francisco Simmons added. “Another board Police Department. CHP has member of H.E.R.O, who is not responded to two requests for physically disabled and was in a comment as of Sep. 1. wheelchair for much of the summer HERO Tent’s president and had her wheelchair broken by CEO Kiana Simmons founded police at multiple protests. One of the organization in late May after these high-intensity protests being participating in protests after the the San Francisco Golden Gate death of George Floyd, “I started Bridge Protest.” this out of passion for the moveOn Aug. 30, several City College ment around racial inequality students attended a counter-protest in the United States and it has as supporters of President Donald turned into a grassroots commuTrump marched across the Golden nity non-profit.” Gate Bridge into the city to “save San “On the very first day of Francisco” as a part of Brandon Straka’s protests in San Jose I watched “Walk Away” campaign. SJPD fire into a crowd of unarmed Brandon Straka, a New York Faculty Advisor Juan Gonzales
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hairstylist, gained a following on social media when, during the 2018 midterm elections, he started the WalkAway campaign to encourage others to leave the Democratic Party for the Republican Party, as he did himself. Simmons says “A week after this protest there was a MAGA counterprotest that walked across the Golden Gate Bridge. They were not met with any resistance from the police.” Students who protest may face many obstacles, from the COVID-19 pandemic to complications with city and state authorities A protestor and City College student Skylar Viss, said this about her experience, “It's a different world out there, but the same struggle. Between issues of policing and racial inequality, the biggest changes, I would say, are the masks.”
An appeal of the final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) certification of the Balboa Reservoir Project was proposed to the Board of Supervisors on Aug. 11, and all 11 members of the board rejected the appeal. The Balboa Reservoir project is a public-private partnership with the city of San Francisco to develop a 17-acre parcel located adjacent to City College and is currently owned by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. The appellant’s, including City College faculty, community members and public education advocates, indicate that the project’s EIR had failed to address some existing problems and key issues. Stuart Flashman filed the appeal on behalf of Music Department Chair Madeline Mueller, Alvin Jah and Engineering Instructor Wynd Kaufmyn. The appeal said that the EIR failed to: give an accurate and complete description of the project area and existing conditions; give stable, accurate, and finite descriptions of the affordable units it promises; fully identify and mitigate significant noise impacts, air quality, transit delay, pedestrian and bicyclist safety; include feasible alternatives, including 100% truly affordable housing; and it ignored the changed circumstances presented by the COVID-19 Pandemic. Many listeners were in support of the appeal. And their support for the appeal, aided the effort to buy more time to raise awareness about the project. Student Trustees Vick Chung said, “I think since it’s potentially going to be sold this year, and since the Diego Rivera Theater and STEAM building may be built nearly simultaneously, we would lose a majority of the 980 parking spot at the ocean campus.” There are a lot of issues stated in the appeal, but people who commented in favor of the appeal at the Board of Supervisors meeting were mostly focusing on the project’s affordable housing plan. “One of the glaring problems
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is the affordability aspect, which should be one hundred percent affordable, and that option was not even considered,” said Kaufman at the meeting. Jeanie Poling, who represented the Balboa Reservoir Project Planning Department in the meeting, supported the EIR and said that the team responded thoroughly to the appellant’s concerns. “None of the issues raised by the appellant in writing or heard today are new with the exception of one related to our current public health emergency,” Poling said. “We thoroughly respond to the prior issues and the new issue during the EIR’s public review and in our appeal responses.” After the hearing of the appeal and the rejection of the appeal, students who were in support of the appeal were livid. But the Balboa Reservoir Project has other promising offers that could help benefit students. Sam Moss, the executive director of Mission Housing Development Corporation, said “I know that there are a lot of negative connotations around the project when it comes to City College’s students. I felt really unfortunate that that was the case.” Moss said that Mission Housing will be pursuing the test runs of an internship program. The program would include paid internship positions in every position that work for the project, from law to architecture firms. Avalon Bay Director of Development Nora Collins presented a new project overview to show how beneficial it could be to the community. The overview said that the project has a family friendly approach; an “Academic Village”; 1100 family-sized housing units 50% (550) of which would be permanently affordable. “As we think about San Francisco as a whole, there’s no doubt that we’re in a housing crisis,” Collins said. “We’re all students of San Francisco, and residents here. We go to school here, we live here. I think we feel like we’re jointly responsible for helping to solve that crisis right?”
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4 | CULTURE
Vol. 170, Issue 2 | Aug. 27 - Sep. 9, 2020
Computer Science Student Fights for Social Justice Through Dance
Currently residing in Oakland, Emmy Uwimana couples his usual BART commute with his bicycle to get around town. Potrero Del Sol, San Francisco, CA. Aug. 21, 2020. Photo by Melvin Wong/The Guardsman.
By Eleni Balakrishnan firstname.lastname@example.org
At age 21, City College student Emmy Uwimana has been through and accomplished a lot, but this isn’t quite what sets him apart. Uwimana brings with him an infectious aura of peaceful optimism, even as he describes some of his life’s most trying experiences. Uwimana is a computer science major at City College who loves freestyle and hip-hop dance, using these skills to advocate for social justice. “Art has always been a social movement game-changer,” said Uwimana, and artists are “the voice of the majority, they can
speak to a larger audience and spread the message quickly.” In 2018, Uwimana was in his East African home country of Rwanda, the only high school student competing against university students in a Facebook hackathon. He won a flight from Rwanda to Silicon Valley for another hackathon, and has been here ever since. For a time, things were tough in San Francisco for Uwimana, who left home before finishing his last year of high school. Having grown up in a primarily French school system, once in the Bay Area, he spent his spare time studying an English dictionary in the library. “I didn't know anybody in
the Bay Area, so I experienced homelessness and other financial hardship issues,” Uwimana said. But after a chance encounter at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), Uwimana got connected with Larkin Street Youth Services, a nonprofit which helped him find housing, pass his General Educational Development (GED) test, and eventually enroll at City College. Uwimana exudes the humble confidence of a self-learner, explaining that he taught himself to code in the computer lab during high school, but implying humbly that anyone could win the hackathon. Often he simply said, “I tried my best,” when speaking about his
various accomplishments. Uwimana explained he mostly took science classes at his boarding school in Rwanda, and he discovered dancing as therapeutic. “When you take those science subjects, sometimes you get bummed out and feel like, ‘I need to go somewhere to relax,’” he said. His story as a dancer began similarly to his field of study. The school dance team was playing loud music one day, piquing Uwimana’s curiosity. “I joined them in the gym and sat down a little bit, watched all the moves.” Before he knew it, a member of the dance team called him down, and Uwimana tried to mimic a move he’d seen. “And then they were like, ‘Oh, yeah, we can teach you a little bit, we can see that you got the moves.’ And then I joined them, like that,” Uwimana said. But it wasn’t always easy. “There is a social stigma around [Western dance], people be like, oh he's gonna be doing drugs, he's not gonna be performing well in class,” Uwimana said. In spite of the attitudes in Rwanda toward American hiphop dance and Western culture, Uwimana said dancing has helped him grow and taught him humility. “When you join other dancers, you can check, humble yourself … When you join a dancing team, they really help you to get out of or delete those insecurities, and go out there and show people what you can do and express yourself,” Uwimana said.
For fear of being arrested as an immigrant, Uwimana has not attended any of the ongoing protests against racial injustice this year, but supports the cause. “When you look around and see what the Black community has contributed to the development of this state … I need to show them solidarity, and show them that I'm with them.” He played his part in the movement by filming an advocacy video with CCSF Collective, which pushed for Black student recognition and spoke out against the May 29 closure of City College’s Fort Mason Center, where most art classes were historically held. Students, faculty, and community members have been pushing for the Board of Trustees to reconsider the closure before the lease is up this month. Uwimana said the school’s administration should listen and “be willing to understand [the students’] demands and what they're really fighting for.” He believes it’s a matter of miscommunication: “When the students protest, it really doesn't make any sense to [the administration], because they don't really put themselves in [the students’] shoes.” Uwimana said he’s managed through the pandemic in spite of losing his job because of the nonprofit’s support, but recognizes this is not the case for everyone. “Some students don't even have access to the internet in their homes. So a lot of things need to be done to support students during this transition.”
The Unique History of The Armory By Tyler Breisacher email@example.com
On the north end of San Francisco’s Mission District, among the familiar apartment buildings, coffee shops, and Mexican restaurants, visitors might notice one structure that seems out of place. The San Francisco Armory, built to resemble a castle, looms over the surrounding neighborhood. Its history goes back over a century and includes sports, Star Wars, and a pornography studio, but as the name suggests, its first use was as an armory for the National Guard, which had the structure built in 1912, and used it until the mid-1970s. When State Historic Preservation Officer Dr. Knox Mellon nominated the building for the National Register of Historic Places, he described the architectural features that made it so intimidating. “The exterior of the building is designed to give the harsh impression of a fortress, with four octagonal corner towers, a rough clinker brick exterior surface, and long narrow slit windows. The ground storey is very austere; the heavy walls curve outward slightly toward the ground, simulating the enormously thick masonry walls of a Medieval fortress.” While the National Guard occupied the building, it also hosted frequent sporting events.
In particular, boxing matches were held in the building’s large high-ceilinged Drill Court. A boxing match was held in 2017, as a way to let modern boxing fans relive that historical experience. An Armory spokesperson told Mission Local at the time, “It’s a way for us to pay tribute to the Armory’s history, and to bring in crowds that have probably never been in the Armory.” San Francisco native Karim Mayfield won the fight. Some shots in “Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back” were filmed at the Armory. Accounts differ on whether these were spaceship interior shots, or explosions created by the special effects team. In either case, San Franciscans can be proud that their city was an early part of the historic multi-billion-dollar movie franchise that continued for decades. However, the Star Wars filming session was one of the last major events to happen at the Armory for decades. The National Guard had stopped using it by then, so it generally remained empty for many years. It was accepted onto the National Register of Historic Places around the time the National Guard vacated, as if it were placed into a museum. In 2007, the Armory began to be used as a movie studio again, but for a very different genre of movie. Kink.com, a BDSM porn studio and network of websites, bought
the building for $14.5 million in late 2006. “It's already formidable looking,” porn director James Mogul told the SF Gate, as he surveyed what would soon become a porn studio. “You don't have to build a fake dungeon; this building is already a dungeon." In addition to using the building for shooting porn, the new occupants hosted events such as kink classes, a Halloween haunted house, and tours of the studio, highlighting both the current use of the space, and its militaristic history. Kink.com didn’t shy away from making its presence known, putting a rainbow flag atop one of the Armory’s formidable corner towers, and a leather flag — a well known symbol in the leather and BDSM community — on another. That visibility drew protests from the surrounding community. Some protesters were explicitly anti-pornography, while others had hoped the Armory would be used for other purposes, such as a recreation center or affordable housing. As a New York Times report put it, “It seemed as if some in the beleaguered community had come to view the armory as a 200,000-square-foot storehouse of infinite promise,” but that promise disappeared when Kink.com was allowed to buy it out without community input. A decade later, the protesters got at least part of what they wanted,
San Francisco National Guard Armory and Arsenal stands at the intersection of 14th and Mission Street. San Francisco, CA. March 23, 2008. (Photo courtesy of Mike Hofmann.)
when Kink.com announced it would stop filming in the Armory, with many of its directors moving to other areas, such as Southern California or Las Vegas. The future of the Armory itself is uncertain. It was sold in January 2018 to AJ Capital Partners, a Chicago-based investment company, which has long developed resorts and high-end social clubs, including the SoHo House in Chicago and boutique hotels in Miami, New Orleans, Napa and elsewhere. It sold for a reported $65 million — over four times what Kink.com paid about a decade earlier. But, according to Supervisor Hillary Ronen, who has met with the group, the new owner of the historic Armory in the Mission District plans to lease the building to manufacturing companies, with the exception of the top two floors, which the investment group hopes to convert to office space. In the meantime, it still remains empty possibly for the right buyer
at a substantial profit. But guided historical tours of the Armory are still available. The San Francisco Chronicle once referred to the Armory as “long discussed, long fought over.” Those words were written not during the controversial Kink. com presence, but in 1914, when construction on the Armory was finished after years of planning and building. They could not have known those words would continue to ring true over 100 years later, just as we don’t know what the next 100 years will bring for San Francisco, or for its historic Armory.
“You don't have to build a fake dungeon; this building is already a dungeon." -Porn Director, James Mogul
CULTURE | 5
Vol. 170, Issue 2 | Aug. 27 - Sep. 9, 2020
Into The World of Dr. Seuss:
PULITZER PRIZE WINNERS, THEODOR GEISEL AND JONATHAN FREEDMAN CONNECT OVER LITERATURE AND THE WHO’S OF THIS WORLD By Liz Lopez firstname.lastname@example.org
At the very top of Mount Soledad in San Diego, overlooking the Pacific Ocean, lived the famous writer of children’s books, Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss. In spring 1984, Jonathan Freedman, who currently volunteers as a writing mentor with the City College English department, was a relatively unknown young journalist, and a runner-up for the Pulitzer Prize for his editorials in The San Diego Tribune. His editor, Neil Morgan, was friends with “Dr. Seuss” and asked Freedman to write a piece about the famous author, who was turning 80 and dying of throat cancer. Freedman, editorials usually dealt with serious issues surrounding immigration that included the viewpoints of immigrants, border patrol agents, and U.S. business owners. This was a much different subject for him, Freedman said. When asked to do this story, Freedman was reminded of how much he hated reading as a child, but he really loved Dr. Seuss’ books. So, before heading up Mt. Soledad, Freedman stopped by a La Jolla bookstore and bought every Dr. Seuss book he could find. He was both nervous and excited to meet the man who wrote these books.
was surprised to learn that Dr. Seuss had no children. “You raise them – I’ll entertain them,” Geisel was fond of saying.
MEETING DR. SEUSS
A tall, polite man with rectangular glasses greeted Freedman at the door. It was Theodor Geisel himself who invited him in. Freedman recalled he had high eyebrows that waggled when he spoke; his eyes – magnified by thick eyeglass lenses – evoked kindness and made the young reporter feel immediately at ease. “We sort of hit it off. He told me his life story and it didn’t last a half-hour; it lasted all day,” Freedman said.
Geisel’s father had emigrated from Germany and became Superintendent of Parks that included running the local zoo, in Springfield, Massachusetts. When he was a child, he liked to go to the zoo with his dad to visit and sketch the animals. Geisel attended Oxford University in the 1920s. He studied Shakespeare and he learned about iambic pentameter. According to Freedman, Geisel would sit in class, totally bored out of his mind, taking notes and doodling animals from his father’s zoo. The elephant became “Horton,” and other storybook characters also started out as doodles. He showed Freedman some of those doodles, laughing as he did. Freedman warmly recalled the 80-year-old man reflecting back on his life and his work. In Dr. Seuss’ book “Horton Hears a Who!” Horton the elephant was bullied and tortured for trying to protect the small people of Whoville. He appeals to the people of Whoville: “Don’t give up! I believe in you all: A person’s a person, no matter how small.” Horton called on these small people (called Who’s) who are not being seen or heard, to rise up and make noise so loud that even the powerful could not deny hearing them. In our present political climate, this sentiment rings true today more than ever. The conversation between Geisel and Freedman was not a superficial one. They connected on another level, like only two great writers could, both destined to change the world.
“We sort of hit it off. He told me his life story and it didn’t last a half-hour; it lasted all day,” -Jonathan Freedman Geisel's home looked like it was straight out of a fairy tale, complete with a castle-like tower. Freedman recalled feeling like he was in a large eagle’s nest, perched high upon a cliff. From the window, Freedman said he could see seagulls flying below him and the surf rolling in. The rooms were spacious with floors made of natural wood tiles. Hanging on the walls were one to two foot tall taxidermy-like sculptures that appeared to be peculiar Dr. Seuss creatures. They were not necessarily characters from his books, though they were all hand made by Geisel himself. Freedman, being a new father,
Jonathan Freedman proudly shows off some of his favorite books from his Dr. Seuss collection. Burlingame, CA. July 8, 2020. Photo by Elizabeth Lopez/The Guardsman.
Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, Jonathan Freedman, volunteers his time to mentor City College students. He will be offering free workshops where people can write stories to help change the world. His website address is
Although Geisel and Freedman were 50 years apart, they shared many similarities beyond writing; both deeply cared about people, politics and the environment.
Freedman, who left Brazil in 1976. Seems Dr. Seuss was not the only one intent on personifying animals. Not having been to Brazil, Geisel asked if Freedman knew his Brazilian cousin. Freedman thought for a moment and quickly recalled that during his time in Brazil, the military dictator was President Ernesto Beckmann Geisel. Dr. Seuss’ cousin was the president of Brazil. “Was my cousin a very bad man?” Geisel asked. Freedman explained that the former president was responsible for torturing people who opposed the government, but was also the first leader, after multiple dictators, to say that he was going to open Brazil up to democracy. FIGHTING FASCISM Prior to writing children’s
who didn’t think the atrocities taking place in other parts of the world were any of their concern. The group was disbanded after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Freedman’s writing included editorials about the nuclear arms race. Geisel of course was well informed and wanted to show him a draft of his latest book, “The Butter Battle Book”. At almost 80 years old, Geisel wrote a serious book, an analogy for the nuclear arms race, as this was the time when the U.S. feared a nuclear war. Geisel made a copy of this book on his home Xerox machine and signed it for Freedman, along with all the other Dr. Seuss books that he’d brought. PULITZER PRIZE As their conversation came to an end, Geisel seemed a bit sad and lamented over not having won any
JONATHAN FREEDMAN The two were also well traveled and they spent time talking about their adventures. In 1973 when Freedman was in his early 20s, he assembled a group of friends and traveled throughout Latin America. On the day they were supposed to cross from Bolivia to Chile, General Pinochet had just overthrown the government of Salvador Allende and the border into Chile was closed, so he re-routed to Rio de Janeiro. A chance encounter on the beach of Rio led Freedman to secure a job as a foreign correspondent at a news service called Associated Press (AP) and he wrote stories that were transmitted around the world. That was the beginning of his journalism career. “I did write fake news once,” Freedman confessed. “I was on the night shift, sitting in a lonely, hot office . . . when a telex came in from a newspaper in Rio and it said, “Today a shipload of animals for the Rio Zoo is coming from Africa.” So, I wasn’t just content to write the AP story. I don’t know what got into me, but I started pretending to interview all the animals and get quotes from the giraffe, the zebra, the tiger, and the lion . . . and it was sent out to AP headquarters in NY.” The next day, when Freedman turned up for work, the Bureau Chief called him into his office. He had gotten an urgent message from the head of AP that said, “Interviewing the giraffe? Indeed! Who is Freedman and why is he working at AP?” . . . ,” chuckled
A handwritten note of gratitude from Ted Geisel (Dr. Seuss) to Jonathan Freedman for the article written about him in The San Diego Tribune. Burlingame, CA. July 8, 2020. Photo by Elizabeth Lopez/The Guardsman.
books, Dr. Seuss was a political cartoonist and, due in part to his German heritage, he understood very early on who Hitler was and he did his best to warn Americans by exposing this threat through his illustrations. Geisel's opinions faced opposition from the “America First Committee” group, lead by profascist and anti-Semitic members,
major literary awards during his long life as a writer, which shocked Freedman. This thought continued to swirl in Freedman’s mind as he drove down Mt. Soledad and back to his office. The next day, unbeknownst to Geisel, Freedman called Columbia University and asked to speak to someone regarding the Pulitzer cont. on page 8
6 | OPINION
Vol. 170, Issue 2 | Aug. 27 - Sep. 9, 2020
A Look at The Candidates as The Board of Trustees Election Approaches
City College Board candidate, Alan Wong, stands in front of City College's Ocean Campus after speaking at a AFT 2121 press conference on Aug. 13, 2020. San Francisco, CA. Photo by Emily Trinh/The Guardsman.
By Hannah Asuncion email@example.com
Due to COVID-19, virtual campaigns are the new normal, but it isn’t the only factor we have to face this coming November. Four City College Board of Trustees seats are up for grabs, and there are various newcomers as candidates with different paths they want to take. Now the question is, which candidate will you vote for; more specifically whose future plans will most likely improve the well-being of City College? In order to make an impact at City College, we need to consider the most important factor: the students. Not only do the Board of Trustees have to listen to the student’s requests; they need to take action to make them happen. Alex Randolph, who is currently on the Board of Trustees won’t be running for re-election, but he will fulfill his term, ending on December 31, 2020. According to his statement in the online publication Medium, he has taken a lot of time to think about this huge change in his life. “Although this chapter is closing, it won’t be the end of my public service.” “I still have so much to give back for the opportunities given to me and for the adventurous life I’ve been allowed to have so far. I can’t wait to see where my journey will take me next,” Randolph said. It’s great to know that although Randolph’s term ends soon, he will continue serving his community. I believe that we need more people who advocate for students, just like what Randolph did. VICTOR OLIVIERI Victor Olivieri first ran for Board of Trustees in 2018. Olivieri decided to run in this election “to try and stave off the disaster we are in now.” “Two years later, and without much change from the Board of Trustees, I’m back at it again and hoping that this time I will be able to help steer City College in the right direction and stop the cycle of deficit spending and class cuts.” With over 15 years of experience that included building university buildings, directing comprehensive curriculum reviews, and overseeing hundred million dollar budgets, Olivieri
believes his expertise will be vital to the school. Olivieri was once a community college student, so he understands students and he’ll “make sure our budget and decisions reflect that.” He also has a 10-point plan which revolves around putting the students first. For example, student-centered restructuring of all the academic, workforce development, and community programs. Having someone on the Board of Trustees who empathizes with students will certainly improve the college’s interest in the long run. Ivy Lee, also a current Board of Trustees member, is not running to serve another term. Lee, appointed Mayor London Breed in July 2018, was required to run in November 2019 due to election laws. Lee realized although she wanted to continue serving the public interest, being a board member was out of the question due other responsibilities including working as Mayor Breed’s policy advisor and her family commitments. Lee also realized that there isn’t enough time in the world to “work 60 hours or more a week, try to be the parent you want to be and the partner you want to be, and then also try to devote the time and energy needed to be a responsive, accessible, and fullyinformed trustee.” GERAMYE TEETER Geramye Teeter is a first time candidate for public office. His main reason behind running is to become a part of the solution to City College’s problems, which he believes has become more essential than ever. “The COVID-19 Pandemic, the Budget Crisis, and the issues of Racial Injustice (just to name a few) will require unique, creative solutions from accountable and transparent leaders.” Teeter is a Queer Cisgender Black man, but he does believe that “a person’s identity and their background are only as good as their substance.” Teeter advocates towards fighting the Climate Crisis and feels that no one in his field displays his urgency, which is why he built his candidacy around his Call to Action. He has led various teams in developing a climate policy initiative and building practices at the sustainability department
at UCSF. His goal is to have City College reach carbon neutrality for all campus buildings by 2030, which would reduce or even end the college’s budget deficit. This will allow the Board to invest in both the academic and technical programs like the Workforce Development. “It is a program that would provide students better workplace opportunities during and after college, especially those who are the most economically vulnerable,” Teeter said. “The tools they will be able to utilize in order to become successful industrial and business leaders will be more invaluable as our city climbs out of the pandemic.” Teeter would be such a great addition as a board member because he’s the type of person who “kills two birds with one stone.” ALAN WONG Alan Wong, a first time candidate, is running to guarantee that both working and immigrant families can utilize City College’s resources. Wong is currently an Education Policy Advisor for Supervisor Gordon Mar, where he helped draft and advance the Free City College legislation allowing a decade of Free City College. “The passage of the legislation resulted in at least $15 million in funding for ‘Free City College’ each year for the next ten years and an improved program design that provides increased financial benefits for low-income and equity students.”
“The passage of the legislation resulted in at least $15 million in funding for ‘Free City College’ each year for the next ten years and an improved program design that provides increased financial benefits for low-income and equity students.” - Candidate Alan Wong Wong believes that “we must not overlook marginalized communities and start meeting unaddressed needs to break the cycle of social and economic inequity.” If elected, Wong pledges to improve City College through workforce development, student equity, and fiscal oversight and transparency. Wong is the candidate that represents working and immigrant
Illustration by Manon Cadenaule/The Guardsman. instagram : @cadenaulem
students and families who get to attend City College which opens doors like it did for him and his family. JEANETTE QUICK Jeanette Quick is a first time candidate who believes “that we need a fresh and independent voice to stabilize the College's funding, ensure that it stays accredited, and expands to serve quality education to a diverse student body and faculty.” Quick stands out from her fellow candidates because she is the only one who is currently a student at City College. For the past three years, she experienced firsthand how class and service cuts impacted her fellow classmates. She is also the only candidate who has 15 years of experience in financial management. She also worked for many years on student loan reform in Congress as the Senate Banking Committee’s lead advisor on consumer protection. She understands how difficult finding financial support can be, especially since she herself had almost $200,000 in student loan debt. “Stabilizing the financing will then allow me to focus on what I really want for City College: to be able to expand the Resource Centers for Latinx, Black, API, and LGBTA+ students; expand Free City to include books, supplies, transportation, and housing vouchers,” Since Quick has current experience on what it is like to be a student at City College, she understands the misrepresentation students face when it comes to the Board of Trustees. MARIE HURABIELL As a first time candidate, Marie Hurabiell decided to run when she heard that City College has been running a deficit for three years and is in danger of closing. She has served on the Board of Regents of Georgetown University for many years. “It seems in the past the people elected are politicians and insiders. While it is good to have some insider perspective, this approach is clearly not working.” “Good board governance 101 requires that a majority of board members are independent. Right
now it seems no board members are independent — that is not bad in and of itself, but you NEED balance. I am completely independent and will call upon my deep experience to make City College the absolute best it can be,” Hurabiell added. Hurabiell declined all offers of endorsements in order to focus on doing what is right to save City College, which would be to set a strong foundation for finance and also to focus on what is best for the students, while holding on to great faculty. One of the responsibilities that Hurabiell will take if elected as a Board Member would be “hiring a Chancellor who will lead CCSF with vision, financial responsibility and creativity to create a healthy learning environment to propel students to their best outcomes — whether they are to get a degree, learn a new skill, make a career change or continue learning later in life.” ANITA MARTINEZ This is Anita Martinez’s first time running, she is running at this specific time because it has come to her attention along with faculty, students, retired faculty and administrators how concerned they all are regarding the current state of City College. “My campaign is not about me. It is about using what I know in service to make the college better for students and faculty. It is about revitalizing City College, not continuing to downsize it,” Martinez said. “It is about keeping City College a community college, a college of and for the community. This is the only office I will ever seek, and my commitment is 100% to City College; I will vote only for what is best for City College.” Her commitment to conversations about systemic racism and Ethnic Studies eventually developed into a 40-year career with the goal of improving “student access and success in higher education, especially for Black and Brown students.” Martinez was invited to speak at the City College Ethnic Studies Teach-In celebrating Black History month in 2019. With 28 years worth of experience at City College, which included 15 years of teaching cont. on page 7
COMMUNITY | 7
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BoT continued from page 6 in both credit and noncredit classes, and roles including Interim Vice Chancellor of Instruction and the Dean of Students, Martinez brings on a set of experiences, knowledge, and wisdom which could immediately help the Board of Trustees. She believes critical issues like budget oversight, selection of a permanent chancellor, improving outcomes for Black and Brown students, how to diversify the college, coping with the pandemic, and planning for accreditation, can all be addressed with the right expertise. Martinez is the representation students need on the Board of Trustees in order to support the battle for social justice. I believe that Martinez can be the one to push for the educational needs for Black and Brown students. She can help lead City College’s fight against systemic racism. TOM TEMPRANO Vice President of the Board of Trustees Tom Temprano is up for reelection since he was elected back in 2016. He feels as though many challenges had to be overcome these last four years, but he was able to fulfill various achievements like securing full funding for the Free City Program for the next 10 years. Temprano believes that it’s important to have people on the Board who have been fighting for City College the last four years. He worked closely with stakeholders at City Hall and has real experience in addressing the biggest issues on campus. The biggest priorities according to Temprano would be creating new workforce programs while supporting the current workforce programs and also supporting people and their families who are unemployed because of COVID-19. He wants to be “finding new ways to support marginalized students. Creating the city dream center, we still need to do more for students who have base and systemic barriers, prioritizing that.” Jess Nguyen, a student organizer for City College Collective, City College Student Says, and the Harvey Milk Club believes
that the current board isn’t doing what they need to be doing especially since City College students have open demands. “Bring accountability, they want to be politicians just to get their name out and use a political stepping stone. We don't have people who don't have experience. Trustees aren’t listening. Students aren’t being taken seriously,” Nguyen said. Nguyen believes that we should connect more people together since it isn’t too late to join or be active. We can educate ourselves about these issues because they won’t get any better unless we start to participate. “Spreading joy and resources, speaking up for marganilzed voices, we can change our school for the better. We are the voice, if we don’t speak up. If we make one or two changes, ccsf will be better off now. Build a better community and society.” Students have to start realizing that we are the “stakeholders that mean the most” when it comes to the well-being of the college. We should be the ones being prioritized because without the students there wouldn’t be a City College to begin with. We must use our voices and speak up about all these issues around us. We can still learn how to spread awareness about our misrepresentation to the Board of Trustees.
“My campaign is not about me. It is about using what I know in service to make the college better for students and faculty.” -Candidate Anita Martinez
Reimagining the Waste Crisis
Illustration by Burcu Ozdemir /The Guardsman.
By Elena Toups firstname.lastname@example.org
Current recycling habits in America differ by the community. I experience this personally every time I leave San Francisco to visit my folks in New Orleans. Every trip home there’s a distinguishable instance I glimpse their garbage, gawk, and then consciously pick apart what they aren’t separating adequately. To be fair to them, San Francisco has been the major trailblazer for waste regulations and laws. Most other places, and evidently including cities, haven’t come as far with
adopting efficient recycling into their common culture. For instance, the 2009 San Francisco ordinance that made separating your waste into recycling, compost, or landfill the law was the first of its kind. Since then, San Franciscans have made the minor adaptations necessary to live more wasteconsciously, even if it’s merely to avoid the fines for not. But it’s easy to feel that all this progress in municipal recycling doesn’t actually matter when we consider how China stopped accepting the totality of America’s recyclable waste exports in 2018. What was
Immigrants Should Teach Their Children Their Native Language
A mix of non-English and English children books provides children of immigrant parents with a balanced introduction to their native language and English alike. San Francisco, CA. September 3, 2020. Photo by Kevin Kelleher/Special to The Guardsman.
By Eleni Balakrishnan email@example.com
If you are an immigrant from a nonEnglish-speaking country and you do not make the effort to pass along your native language to your children, you are doing everyone—from your child to the entire global economy—a terrible disservice. Make the small effort to speak to your children in your native tongue from the day they are born; everyone will thank you later. To the parents who worry their kids won’t know English or will do poorly in school: science has shown time and time again that young children are able to pick up new languages easily. You may have had some trouble learning English when you first moved to the U.S., and you may still struggle with grammar and certain pronunciations. But your child (especially if they are here from a young age) will eventually go to school and speak fluent and “accent-free” English. Have you ever met a person who spent their entire childhood somewhere without speaking the language? No, I didn't think so. The fact that your child will be smarter if they speak more than one language is practically a given fact at this point. Research has been done showing that multilinguals have increased brain matter in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), a part of the brain that helps monitor actions and is part of the attentional and executive control system. In other words, speaking more than one language helps your brain controls and strengthens your attention capabilities. Teaching your kid your native language is one of the easiest ways to guarantee these benefits for your child. Furthermore, you can allow your child the option to connect with another society, which will add value to their life later on. Making your mother's recipe and visiting your hometown every few years won't cut it if your child can't talk with the people! Even if you came here to escape horrible conditions in your homeland and don’t plan to go back, things can always change. By teaching your previously the major processor of all of our recycling is simply not accepting our masses of waste any longer. Most of my peers will agree it’s hard to even determine how much of the recycling that we scrupulously separate each day doesn’t just wind up in landfills. This seems pretty frustrating, at best, but there is some potential here for good. Americans now have reason to push to adopt more of the recycling processing domestically, which could have positive economic effects as well. Additionally, while we figure out this waste crisis, we can divert some of our attention
child your native tongue, you are keeping your culture, the rest of your family, and even the possibility of returning to the motherland within reach for your child. Maybe you brought your child to the land of hope and opportunity and the American dream, and you don't want them to go back to your home country. But keep in mind: your motherland might end up rising in the world, or becoming a center for U.S. business development. Your child can participate in your country’s growing economy, or they can work for a big American drilling company and take advantage of them! While I prefer the former, both options will be far more effective if your kid speaks the language well. More realistically, in an increasingly multilingual world — the majority of the world currently speaks more than one language — where the great United States of America and its “Speak English!” tendencies may not lead the world forever, it’s a good idea to maximize possible connections with other countries. Especially if you speak a major world language like Mandarin or Spanish, your child’s bilingualism will make them functional in areas outside of the United States. Finally, if you love your native land and wish you could have stayed, share this love with your child. While the obvious language giants are huge competitors to English on the international scene, other languages are slowly dying out. Your homeland and its shrinking population will thank you for speaking to your child in your native language, even if the only outcome is increased awareness. Do what you can to keep your beloved culture alive. Raising a child is difficult. And while there are many difficult decisions that must be made in the process, whether or not to pass along your lingual heritage shouldn’t be one of them. Fight homogenization and help keep this country diverse and colorful and interesting. In the process, help your child get a leg up in life: socially, intellectually, financially. They will not learn the language later—it's up to you, now. to the roots of the issue: our personal and collective mentality that leads us to create so much waste. When I find myself thinking a bit too idealistically, I imagine some utopian world where our waste management ceases to be an issue because we simply don’t produce waste in the same sizable magnitudes. Kind of the same idealism as the tale that North Koreans think their Supreme Leader mustn’t stink because he simply doesn’t have bowel movements. cont. on page 8
8 | SPORTS
Waste Crisis continued from page 7 Highly idealistic, but bear with me. I have actually found that we can greatly reduce our personal waste when we force ourselves to reexamine how we value the items in our daily lives. This comes in the form of rejecting single-use plastic bags at the store in place for a beloved tote bag. Or choosing to keep food in glass containers that can be beautiful and that we admire, instead of purchasing it in disposable plastics. Or a plethora of other small, imaginative changes. These lifestyle shifts can seem fad-like, with online challenges to live free of waste for merely a week or a month. However, they don’t have to be. Only since the emergence of modern capitalism have items been so depersonalized in place of commoditization. We have been urged through this economic process to start treating materials as disposable and limited in use, so we
Dr. Seuss continued from page 5
can continue to produce and use. Thus, it's totally possible to regress back to viewing items as invaluable and endlessly reusable instead. When I think back to New Orleans and its gradual shift from glass Mardi Gras beads that were more scarcely thrown to plastic beads that litter the streets, I’m reminded again that our view on plastic use and waste has become cultural. Glass beads were once (and even still) cherished, whereas the plastics ones are hardly worth picking up once they hit the street. I know every New Orleanian and parade-goer would revel in a less polluted city at the end of the festivities. Then does this not denote it’s time to reimagine our community habits? I think it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by our waste crisis, but it is also energizing when we focus on how we can begin to fix it.
Prize. After explaining the situation, the Pulitzer representative said, “I’m really sorry Mr. Freedman, but they don’t have an award for children’s books.”
“But it’s Dr. Seuss!” Freedman exclaimed Just before the representative hung up the phone, she mentioned that there was a special award that was given once in a long while to artists who have made extraordinary contributions, but the recommendation needed to be made by a publisher and he was already late. Freedman said he promptly contacted his editor, submitted his story on Geisel’s 80th birthday and included a note that said, “I think we should get the newspaper publisher to nominate Dr. Seuss for a Pulitzer
Prize.” The publisher complied. On the day of the Pulitzer Prize announcement, Geisel called Freedman to tell him that he had just won the Pulitzer Prize and that he heard he had something to do with it. Freedman said, “Tears were in my eyes because more than one generation had grown up with this. I was able to do something, totally by chance, that meant a lot to this man and, of course, it meant a lot to all Americans. Suddenly it wasn’t Dr. Seuss that was famous, it was [Theodor] Ted Geisel that was famous.” SIDE BAR Geisel passed away on September 24, 1991 after dedicating much of his life to the education and entertainment of children and leaving behind a legacy of literature that includes
Vol. 170, Issue 2 | Aug. 27 - Sep. 9, 2020
“The Grinch”, “The Lorax”, and “The Cat In The Hat”. Freedman went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1987 for his editorials that influenced Congress to pass major immigration reform. Today, Freedman hosts a weekly online writing workshop for students who want to become better writers. He urges students to get involved, to think about the larger issues we are dealing with in the world, and, most importantly, to get out and vote this November. Freedman also recently authored a book entitled “Solito, Solita: Crossing Borders with Youth Refugees from Central America”. It is a collection of oral histories that recounts the dangerous journeys of young people fleeing their countries, away from violence and into the unknown. As for his purpose as a storyteller, Freedman is quite clear; “My life as a journalist and author is about hearing the Who’s.”
RIVAL BAY AREA FOOTBALL PROGRAMS STRUGGLE WITH GENTRIFICATION By Kaiyo Funaki firstname.lastname@example.org
At first glance, football and gentrification appear to have no correlation. The former is a physical and violent game, a sport that can take just as easily as it can give. The latter is an omnipresent threat to underfunded neighborhoods, evicting the less fortunate from their childhood homes, and replacing cultural landmarks with shiny new condos and overpriced coffee shops. However, in the Bay Area, they are two pieces of the same puzzle that do not fit. The critically-acclaimed Netflix documentary “Last Chance U” examined this peculiar dynamic in their latest season, featuring Oakland’s own Laney College.. Unlike the previous community college teams the crew followed, Laney College is a commuter school that does not provide any on-campus housing. As a result, many of the players find themselves struggling to balance life on and off the field in a city rapidly becoming more and more expensive. Laney’s athletic director and head coach of the football team John Beam reflected in the show on the rapid development of the city he so proudly represents. “The black community is being forced out moving further out into the suburbs…now it's so gentrified you’re lucky to get a house for $800,000.”
“The black community is being forced out moving further out into the suburbs…now it's so gentrified you’re lucky to get a house for $800,000.” -Laney Football Head Coach, Frank Beam
IDENTITY CRISIS Oakland provides a complex crossroad for race, socioeconomic inequalities and sports to collide. Black people accounted for nearly 47% of the city’s population in the 1980s but only made up an estimated 23.7% as of 2019, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. This mass exodus of the Black community and other people of color can be largely attributed to the tech boom in the Bay Area driving up the prices of the real estate market. A new study released in June 2020 by the National Community Reinvestment Coalition showed that San Francisco and Oakland had a combined 31% of their economically disadvantaged neighborhoods undergo gentrification between 2013 and 2017, by far the highest rate in the country. Furthermore, Black studentathletes made up nearly 40% of the 73,000 total football players participating under the NCAA in 2019. Though demographic data for the CCCAA is not available, a similar proportion can be assumed. With all these factors taken into consideration, a majority of football players at Laney persevere through difficult circumstances that are burdensome to their academics and athletics. For those with dreams of playing at a major college program and eventually in the NFL, gentrification has only compounded the improbable path they have already begun. Some of the student-athletes in the documentary described their experiences with homelessness and couch surfing, while others commuted hours to get to school. In one episode, President of Laney College Tammeil Gilkerson emphasized the enduring question that Laney student-athletes and all Oakland natives have encountered as a result of this ongoing crisis. We’ve seen the migration of folks who can not afford to live here anymore, moving out deeper into suburbs. And so the community
Illustration by Manon Cadenaule/The Guardsman. instagram : @cadenaulem
has really struggled with ‘How do we keep our place here?’” DIFFERENT TEAMS, SAME OPPONENT City College made a brief cameo in the documentary, as the two colleges faced off against each other in a crucial regular-season matchup. Prior to the game, both players and coaches for Laney relayed their distaste for San Francisco and the college, citing the city’s pretentious and picturesque aurora. Despite the animosity these football programs have for each other, there is still a common denominator that plagues both of these colleges and their respective cities. Just like their rivals from across the bay, City College student-athletes have also dealt with the repercussions of gentrification. Katie Marquez, athletic counselor as well as a San Francisco native and City College alum, underscored how deep the impact of this issue runs. “When a student can't afford to eat properly, when a student can't afford that extra dollar or two every day to get across the bridge to play
for us, these are things that inhibit our program. Because of gentrification, we have less athletes to choose from our own city,” Marquez said. “Their schedules are incredibly dense; when they’re not in school, they're at practice, and when they’re not at practice, they’re working or helping their families. They have all these other things they need to do too because they can't afford to live here.”
“They have all these other things they need to do too because they can't afford to live here.” -City College Athletic Counselor, Katie Marquez
“Their schedules are incredibly dense; when they’re not in school, they're at practice, and when they’re not at practice, they’re working or helping their families.” -City College Athletic Counselor, Katie Marquez