The Vindicator - October 2018

Page 1

Vindicator Cleveland State University’s Arts and Culture Magazine

OCT 2018





READ THE VINDI * ON YOUR IPAD Here’s How: Download the ISSUU app at the App Store and search for The Vindicator. Visit for more information.



what’s in this issue? 3

Want to See More?




Letter from the Editor








Record Releases to Get You Into Fall BY TABITHA TIMMS



Horror Film Remake Syndrome BY GREGORY ELEK


Culture Is Not A Costume BY MEGAN BARANUK


Content You Never Knew You Needed BY RESHAE DAVENPORT



Crazy Rich Love In A New Light BY DOROTHY ZHAO




There’s No Perfect Skin, From the Runway to Home BY IMANI STEPHENS


Crystal Healing BY CHAU TANG







Criminal Justice or Criminal Injustice?


The Fight Against Human Trafficking



Life Passes BY CHAU TANG




Un. Lighter








Are you comfortable with talking about anxiety, depression, or other mental illnesses? 24


20 16 12

“I would encourage exploration for others who are genuinely interested in this kind of spooky


history—especially since the House of Wills is so close. Hopefully you have more luck with


the paranormal than I did.” 0






Follow us on social media to participate in our next poll! @VINDI_CSU


#VINDIHEADTUESDAY IS BACK! We are relauching our series featuring our staff! Keep your eyes on our social media.


w h a t’s h a p p e n i n g i n

OCTOBER 10/9 Concert

Listen to the wide–ranging styles of Columbus–native rock band, Saintseneca, when they come to Mahall’s this October. Their newest album, “Pillar of Na,” is a fusion of folk and punk rock. You’ll want to make sure not to miss this iconic band’s individualistic performance.

10/13 Writers & Readers: Jose Antonio Vargas

As part of Cleveland Public Library and Lit Cleveland’s Writers and Readers series, Jose Antonio Vargas, writer and founder of Define American, will be speaking about his work. He will address his experiences as an undocumented immigrant, as well as the changing demographics of America.

10/20 Witches Ball



10/18 “The Rebound” Film Night

Get in the mood for Halloween by attending the Witches Ball, where food, dancing, vendors, live entertainment and even a psychic will be waiting to draw you in. The event will be 18+ and costumes are preferred. 7PM, 7001 DENISON AVE, CLEVELAND, OHIO

10/27 Design

As part of the Reelabilities film festival, “The Rebound” is a film about wheelchair basketball, and is meant to bring awareness to different disabilities and motivate people to stick together despite difficult odds. This is the second event of the festival in Cleveland and two more events will take place on October 25, and again on November 15.

Come watch the most artistic college students in Cleveland as they battle to create the perfect shoe design for Vans. 1PM, 500 SOUTHPARK CENTER, STRONGSVILLE, OHIO






s a young girl, and even still today, I have

experience at the Infinity Mirror exhibit this summer;

always had a more reserved nature that

returning writer, Chau Tang, writes an introduction

often had me turning to the written word

to the spiritual power of crystals. Another new voice,

to express myself. And while I never really

Ayden Romer, talks about the realities of the criminal

believed that I could be a writer, it was through

justice system in our country following an alarming

the Vindicator that I first allowed myself to take

experience here on campus.

ownership of my voice. It was even more meaningful

We also want to welcome our new staff: Managing

to me knowing the history of this magazine: one of

Editor Tyisha Blade, Copy Editor Grace Roberson,

resistance, justice and artistry.

Culture Editor Renee Betterson, and our Assistant

In this October issue, we reflect on our recent past

Art Director Alexia Carcelli. We also want to welcome

through our cover story on Vindicator alumni who

all the other new writers, photographers, designers,

have gone on to explore and develop their own voices

and creatives that are contributing to the Vindicator.

and talents in different ways. We also have some new

As Editor–in–Chief, I am inspired by our staff,

and returning writers, each with their own interesting

contributors and readers to preserve the powerful

articles. Our returning film writer, Greg Elek, reflects

and necessary tradition of the Vindicator. Thankfully,

on the quality of horror movie remakes; new writer,

there are many voices with us this year, who share in

Megan Baranuk, shares a timely reminder of the

this mission: to encourage our audience to be critical,

harm of cultural appropriation during Halloween.

analytical and open–minded of the world we live in.

Our Arts Editor, Alana Whelan, shares her personal




Faculty Advisor Julie Burrell Web Specialist Daniel Lenhart


CONTRIBUTORS STAFF HEADS Brenda Castañeda Yupanqui Editor–in–Chief

Tyisha Blade Managing Editor

Andriana Akrap Art Director

Alexia Carcelli Asst. Art Director

Michella Dilworth Online Content Editor

Alana Whelan Arts Editor

Renee Betterson Culture Editor

Imani Stephens Beauty/Junior Editor

Dorothy Zhao Social/Junior Editor

Grace Roberson Copy Editor



Jessica Nichols Greg Elek Tabitha Timms Megan Baranuk ReShae Davenport Alana Whelan Grace Roberson

Shannah Byrnes Samra Karamustafic Tyisha Blade Chau Tang Imani Stephens Ayden Romer Thyra Chaney

Liv Wilson

Darlene Moorman

Michella Dilworth Gia Frankovich Jillian VanDyke

Austin DiLorenzo Anna Oprisch

ARTISTS Elizabeth Elliot Zavier McLean

Mikayla Colston


Nick Chmura

Chau Tang

Tyisha Blade

Disclaimer The content of the Vindicator does not necessarily represent the opinions of Cleveland State University, its students, faculty, or staff: nor does it represent the members of the Vindicator staff or our advisors unless otherwise stated. The editor reserves the right to comment on any issue that affects the student body in general as well as the multicultural community at large. Letters to the editors and other submissions are accepted, however they must have the authors name, address, major if applicable, and telephone number. All submissions become property of the Vindicator and the Vindicator reserves the right to edit submissions as deemed necessary. Magazine and newspaper theft is a crime; limit one per person. 2121 Euclid Ave, MC 471, Cleveland, OH 44115 216–687–2118 THEVINDI.COM ­­ | 6



Jessica Lynn Nichols PHOTO BY

Andriana Akrap

POC and LGBTQ+ in Horror, Fantasy, and Sci-Fi. “Labyrinth Lost” by Zoraida Cordova is a witchcraft

ranging from quirky to terrifying. The book’s main and

fantasy novel. The main character, Alex, comes from

supporting cast has great representation of people of

a long line of brujas. “Bruja” is the Spanish word for

color, especially characters of Latin American descent.

witch, and just one of the many ideas from Latin

It also features a bisexual young Latina as the lead

American tradition which Cordova incorporates into

while avoiding common negative portrayals of bi

her book. Alex is almost sixteen by the time her magic

characters. Of particular interest to readers seeking

awakens, but when it does, it’s too powerful—so

spooky tales with roots in folklore and culture might

powerful that on her Deathday, during the traditional

be the Deathday ceremony. Cordova writes that the

coming–of–age celebration for brujas, she decides

ceremony was inspired by elements of El Día de Los

to perform a “canto” (a spell, in bruja terms) to take

Muertos, the Mexican holiday honoring deceased

her powers away. But instead, the canto sends her

loved ones, and Santeria, a religion with African

entire family to Los Lagos, an alternate dimension

influences that is practiced in the Caribbean. This is

which combines elements of Wonderland and the

the first book in the “Brooklyn Brujas” series, with

Underworld. Alex’s quest to find her family leads

forthcoming books focused on each of Alex’s sisters.

her through encounters with creatures and beings


of the novel is full of surprises, so readers can look

“Reign of the Fallen” by Sarah Glenn Marsh is a fantasy

forward to its sequel, “Wayward Son.”

about necromancers, mages who can bring people back from the dead. It’s set in Karthia, where everyone has potential for a different kind of magic based on their eye

“This Monstrous Thing” by Mackenzi Lee is a science

color. People with blue eyes can see to enter the Deadlands

fiction thriller that reimagines “Frankenstein.” A young

and guide spirits back to their bodies. But there are two

mechanic named Alisdair is Victor Frankenstein’s

catches to this power: only the nobility can afford to

parallel and the protagonist. But unlike his classic

raise their loved ones, and the Dead who are brought

counterpart, Alisdair did not create a monster out

back have to wear masks when they return. If a living

of corpses for scientific curiosity; instead, he used

person sees their face, they turn into a Shade—Marsh’s

clockwork parts to bring his brother Oliver back from

identity, and humanity of being alive (and, of course, eats people). Odessa is an orphan who just became a full-fledged necromancer, working with her partner, Evander, to raise royalty. However, raisings begin to go wrong, with the Dead becoming Shades more than ever, and Odessa’s fellow necromancers are dying. As Odessa faces growing chaos in Karthia, she is grappling with her own grief and struggling with addiction, which will be appreciated by readers seeking a well-handled depiction of those battles in addition to this novel’s more literal combat scenes. Odessa, the main character, is a woman of color, and LGBTQ+ relationships are central to the story. Marsh has announced a sequel, “Song of the Dead,” which promises to develop those relationships further.

“Carry On” by Rainbow Rowell is a wizarding fantasy with a variety of twists on the genre. It begins at the start of Simon Snow’s eighth and final year at his magic school, Watford. Since the start of school, he’s been fighting the Insidious Humdrum, a dark force that steals magic—and his roommate, Baz, who probably wants to kill him. Initially, the book has many elements in common with “Harry Potter”, but Rowell has a good reason: fans of the author will recognize the characters of Simon and Baz as the subjects of her protagonist Cath’s fanfiction, featured in Rowell’s best–known novel “Fangirl”. Within the first few chapters, the novel’s tone is established as very different from Rowling’s books, and a totally

the dead. In Lee’s version, Mary Shelley knew these brothers and their lives inspired her to write her iconic novel. Many readers will enjoy the thoughtful incorporation of steampunk elements, while fans of

The book

the original will appreciate the appearance of Shelley


detailed portrayal of 1818 Geneva. The book features

as an important supporting character, as well as the

several other

several other interesting supporting characters,


thankfully, does not die!

supporting characters,

including Clémence, a well–written lesbian who,

“Every Heart a Doorway” by Seanan McGuire is a murder mystery with elements of horror and fantasy. The blending of genres arises from the concept of


the story, in which children are transported to new

Clémence, a

the Pevensies of Narnia. Every world is described

well–written lesbian who, thankfully,

interpretation of a zombie that has lost all the memory,

does not die!

worlds in the same vein as Alice in Wonderland or on continuums from Logic to Nonsense and Virtue to Wicked, and the intersection of these alignments creates all kinds of worlds. Each one is made of different magic and laws which alter a child forever, sometimes by giving them gifts and other times by traumatizing them. Inevitably, the children are returned to their families in the “real world,” and their concerned parents send them to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children to recover from the trauma. The story is told through Nancy, a girl who just returned from the Underworld, but features an ensemble cast of many such children, most of them

independent plot is set in emotion. This interpretation

now teenagers—one of them a murderer. The book

of a wizarding world focuses more on its supernatural

is short at a little less than 200 pages, but packs

aspects—ghosts appear as “Visitings” from Watford

intriguing plot and interesting characters into all

students’ ancestors, and vampire characters are depicted

of them. The characters represent groups not often

as villains and heroes. The 500 pages of complex story

featured positively or at all in the genres: Nancy is

incorporate diverse characters as well. Several chapters

asexual; her roommate, Sumi, is a girl of Asian descent;

are narrated from the perspective of Penny, Simon’s best

and one of their peers, Kade, is a trans boy. Readers

friend who is British–Indian. Penny is smart, funny,

who enjoy portal fantasy and murder mystery classics

independent, and developed well beyond stereotypical

as well as series like Riggs’ “Miss Peregrine’s Home”

representations of women of South Asian descent. Perhaps most notable in “Carry On” is the compelling central romance between two young men. The last half

may want to check out this novella and others in the “Wayward Children” series.



Tabitha Timms


hile summer is winding down sometimes it helps to have some tunes to get you back into your school grind. Here’s a short list of some recently released records to have your creative side entertained while keeping your mind in the books.

Honorable Mention Swimming Mac Miller Only about a month after releasing “Swimming,” rapper Mac Miller passed away. Whether you’ve been around since Miller’s “K.I.D.S” mixtape, his debut album “Blue Slide Park,” or just really enjoyed his hit songs—“Donald Trump” and “Wake Up”— losing him is tragic and all music communities felt it. “Swimming” is made up of singles such as “Small Worlds,” “Self Care,” and “What’s The Use.” The record is mellow throughout, showing the rapper’s vocal talents intertwined with raps. It’s a great recognition of Miller’s talents. Highlighted tracks: “Hurt Feelings” & “Ladders”

The American Dream Trophy Eyes Punk band, Trophy Eyes, pushed boundaries with their release of “The American Dream” in the first week of August. While the band’s music usually consists of continuous screaming vocals and hard music with underlying melodies, “The American Dream” brings something unique to the table. The record shocked fans while showcasing a poppier sound and cleaner vocals in single “Friday Forever,” meanwhile, “ You Can Count On Me” is honest with a trace of their recent sound. “The American Dream” is a groundbreaking album, flirting with the idea of being different and embodying it without caring what another person has to say about it. Highlighted tracks: “Autumn” & “Something Bigger Than This”



Pray For The Wicked Panic! At The Disco Although this album was also released back in June, it’s still an anthem for any time of the year. Pop– rock band Panic! At The Disco never fails to amaze listeners with upbeat melodies while simultaneously sticking to their rock roots. Singles such as “Say Amen (Saturday Night)” and “Hey Look Ma, I Made It,” exude a celebratory atmosphere. Meanwhile, “High Hopes” reminds you to keep going to reach your goals, even when it’s more appealing to stray away from the hard world of your academic path. Highlighted tracks: “Dancing’s Not A Crime” & “Roaring 20s”

Crown Shyness Trash Boat At the end of July, “Crown Shyness” was dropped. Trash Boat produces records with a strong pop– punk presence, and with this new album the band seemed to lean more on their punk influences to create a harder sound. The vocals are distressed throughout the record while the music contains callow melodies. Singles like “Old Soul” carry out as solemn yet abrasively passionate. Trash Boat delivers an inspiring new sound, keeping listeners on their toes. Highlighted tracks: “Don’t Open Your Eyes” & “Love, Hate, React, Relate”

Composure Real Friends Creeping up on the middle of July, pop–punk band Real Friends dropped “Composure.” The record is raw and honest, tackling issues of mental health and self–worth, just to name a few. Singles “From The Outside” and “Smiling On The Surface” have a gritty sense of putting on a fake front to acquaintances while really feeling like a mess on the inside. These tracks are just a hint into the rare

Go to for more record releases to get you into fall!

quality that “Composure” manifests. Highlighted tracks: “Me First” & “Take A Hint”




Austin DiLorenzo

he rebooting and remaking of films is

Project” (1999) is pretty decisive among audiences, so

currently one of the most talked about

one would think that it’s recent sequel, “Blair Witch”

things when it comes to mainstream

(2016)—which felt like a reboot in a lot of ways—could

cinema. Remade films tend to have a

improve on the source material—but no—it was

negative connotation just because they’re

terrible. The most offensive example of this has to

remakes. This isn’t fair—the sheer idea of remakes

be Bulmhouse’s atrociously bad remake of the 2008

isn’t at fault here. When filmmakers remake their

French-Canadian film, “Martyrs.” “Martyrs” (2008)

own films it almost always ends up with notable

is a great example of a film that has room to improve.

improvements like Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Man Who

It’s reviews are incredibly mixed among audiences

Knew Too Much” (1934 & 1956) and Michael Haneke’s

and critics. The complete and utter incompetence

“Funny Games” (1997 & 2008). Both of these films

in this 2015 remake of the same name shows how

were notably improved to the point where I couldn’t

these remakes, reboots, and sequels don’t have any

imagine myself watching either of the original versions

artistic intent to them whatsoever.

at all anymore. Even though directors remaking their

“Martyrs” (2008) isn’t a masterpiece, but it’s a

own films is an extreme rarity, this should show that

competent film—it does the bare minimum (and in

remakes can have significant value.

my opinion does much more than that). One thing that

One issue that’s commonly brought up in the film

the original “Martyrs” is pretty consistently great at

community is how almost all of the films being remade

is subverting expectations. It starts off like a typical

and rebooted are mostly beloved classics. It’s a semi-

horror movie, where we see the “monster” kill some

popular belief that we should be remaking movies

“random characters,” and then we transition to the

that didn’t work the first time, but had potential.

new characters, which the audience presumes we’ll

This is a great idea. A film like Lars von Trier’s

be following for the remainder of the film. Anyone

“Dogville” (2003) had a world of potential, but fell

who’s seen the original “Martyrs” knows that this

flat. Unfortunately, a remake of this film will never

isn’t actually how things play out, but in the 2015

happen because the film only made $16.7 million on

Blumhouse version they completely get this wrong.

its $10 million budget, and there isn’t a huge market

I won’t explain how they get it wrong here because

right now for experimental period pieces. That’s

that would spoil both versions. But they do it in a way

why only universally acclaimed movies are getting

where it seems as if they didn’t realize how smart the

remade—money. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist

first film was when it came to playing with audience

to figure out that it’s easier to market something

expectations. This isn’t saying when stories are being

to people that they already know they like. If we’re

adapted that the adaptation should follow the original

including reboots in this discussion, imagine how

to a T, but if the source material did something well,

much money films have made just because it’s in the

and if instead of expanding upon that it’s just made

“Star Wars” or “Jurassic Park” universe. There is one

What could potentially be the most intriguing

that’s already happening, and it’s not going well—the

about the abundance of horror remakes and reboots

T h i s i s relat ively topica l con sider i ng Luca “Call Me by Your Name”) new film that’s coming out

six percent on Rotten Tomatoes and a 22 on Metacritic.

later this month, “Suspiria” (2018), is a remake of

These numbers aren’t just bad, they’re abysmal. On

the 1977 film of same name. This is a remake that

top of that it made just under $400,000 at the box

I’m actually excited for, not only because I’m a fan

office, which is also horrible. “Martyrs” (2015) might

of Guadagnino’s work, but because the original

be a bit of an extreme example, but when other horror

“Suspiria” wasn’t all that great. Almost all of the

remakes such as “Quarantine” (2008), “Carrie” (2013),

performances were pretty bad, and it was a perfect

“Texas Chainsaw 3D” (2013), or “Halloween” (2007)

example of style over substance. It’s gorgeous, and

are looked at, these films aren’t doing much better

the concept has a world of potential, but overall it fell

financially or critically. It will probably always be a mystery as to why we

perfect candidate for a remake—great concept, but

keep getting reboots and remakes of horror films

not great execution. The fact that “Suspiria” (1977) is

that turn little to no profit, and get slammed by

a horror film gave it a greater chance of being remade

critics. It’s easy to throw small budgets at projects

all along—Hollywood loves rebooting horror films.

and hope they’ll do well, but you’d think at some

If there was one genre that could get not-great films

point the studios would get bored and try to make

remade, it’s horror.

unoriginal projects another way. For now, we’ll just

movies hasn’t been going well at all, regardless of

scientist to figure out that it’s easier to market something to people that they already know they like.

is that on top of them almost always being bad, they example, the remake currently has a four on IMDB, a

Unfortunately, remaking and rebooting horror

take a rocket

rarely do well financially. To bring back the “Martyrs”

Guadagnino’s (“I Am Love,” “A Bigger Splash,” and

flat. All of these things make “Suspiria” (1977) the

It doesn’t

it worse, there’s a bigger problem at hand.

genre that could provide remakes of bad movies, but horror genre.



have to deal with these subpar remakes, or, we could

It 1986 & 2017 FUNNY GAMES 1997 & 2008 SUSPIRIA 1977 & 2018 MARTYRS 2008 & 2015 HALLOWEEN 1978 & 2018 THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH 1934 & 1956

just watch the originals.

the quality of the source material. “The Blair Witch THEVINDI.COM ­­ | 12



Beth Elliott

With Halloween fast–approaching, it is time to address the age old problem of culture appropriation via costumes.


ppropriation of culture has been a

become so carried away that they lose sight of what’s

problem for many decades, and is

fun and expressive versus what can be offensive.

apparent through many outlets, and

Offensive costumes that have been problematic for

one of these are woven into a beloved

ages are just now beginning to be recognized as a

A m e r i c a n h o l i d a y–

has many traditions attached to it.

t o n e s of c u lt u r e a p pr o pi at i o n

Going from door to door, trick or

throughout. This problem is finally

treating, dressing up, and Halloween

being acknowledged as something

parties and get togethers. Though it

that needs to be addressed and

may seem as though most costumes

worked on. What makes a costume

a re pa r t of t he f u n a nd g a mes,

offensive is discussed, as well as

unfortunately culture appropriation

possible ways to prevent this from

has inadvertently become one of

happening in the future.

these traditions. Many costumes are

The air becomes cooler, nights grow longer, and leaves twirl to the ground, crunching underfoot. As fall approaches, thousands of college students prepare for Halloween and the festivities to come. Costumes, candy, and nights out are in the forefront of minds, and there is much to prepare for, but college students


problem. Picture this: Halloween

Halloween. Many costumes have

objectifying and belittling people across all walks of life, and society is finally opening their eyes to the fact that this is indeed a problem that must be brought to light. The attention that this problem really needs is finally being given, and is being addressed through many platforms.

may be forgetting an important

In today’s society, appropriation

detail: W hat does their costume

of women, people of color, those

say? Dressing to express themselves,

with mental illnesses and other

empower themselves, or show their

minorities has become commonplace,

inner creativity, college students

often without second thought. With

use costumes as an important piece of art central

an effort, this particular issue is

to the spirit of Halloween. Intentional or not, every

slowly being brought to the spotlight. Unfortunately,

costume sends out a message. Students can often

society often turns a blind eye to the offensiveness


of appropriating culture through costumes. This is

make,that it isportraying importantyourself to realize alize asthat suchportraycontributes to

problematic because it enables people to continue

ing idea yourself such contributes to the idea the that as minorities are unimportant andthat easy to

using minorities as costume opportunities, while

minorities are unimportant andperspective, easy to categocategorize. To put this idea into every-

facing little to no consequence under the excuse

rize. To put this idea into perspective, everybody body (regardless of minority or majority) is a human

of “just having fun/getting in the halloween spirit”.

(regardless of minority or majority) is a quirks, human and being with unique personality traits and

Halloween should not be a stressful time, but stress

being with unique personality traits and seeing someone trivialize something thatquirks, is a part

is often hard to avoid when someone does not feel

and seeing someone trivialize something that is a of their identity can be very hurtful and offensive.

welcome. This can lead to several issues, all of which

part oflesson their identity The to be learned in the face of this is to be

can be avoided simply if students take a moment to

The lesson to costumes be learned in the face of this is to more aware of the being surrounding parties

evaluate whether their costume is in good taste. Does

be more aware beingcostumes surrounding and events. How of canthe wecostumes avoid offensive this

it offend any group? Is it in any way categorizing a

parties and events. we avoid Halloween? Being awareHow that can something is offensive offensive

group? If the answer to either question is yes, it’s

costumes Halloween? Being aware that to groups of peoplethis is the first step to initiate change.

time to find a new costume.

something is offensive to groups of people is the Opening discussion on the topic of

How Much is Too Much? Cultural appropriation has been problematic throughout history. Over the years, costumes including blackface, Native American attire, hijabs, or any stereotypical traits of any race or minority have been utilized as costumes. What specifically makes a costume offensive? A costume becomes offensive when someone utilizes a part of somebody’s everyday life as a gimmick, or a part of a costume; such as a hijab, traditional headgear, outfits, even stereotypes of a minority or race is offensive, as it puts out an idea that all people of this particular minority fall into

an offensive costume could help. Instead of appropriating culture for selfish purposes, perhaps it would be beneficial to learn about the culture behind the costume. As human beings, it is essential to respect and celebrate one another, and appropriating culture in any way hinders this ability. Taking the time to learn about the culture behind any costume is important and can help pave the way to learning about and embracing minorities that aren’t discussed enough. It helps opening friendly discussion in helping others understand why cultural appropriation through costumes is wrong,and how it can be resolved.

the same category. Using a part of someone else’s everyday life so casually as entertainment is disrespectful to those people belonging in a minority, as well as friends or family to anyone belonging in a minority. These costumes communicate an uncaring front that that makes makesothers othersconnected connectedtotooror minority feel feel ostracized ostracized and and left leftout, belonging to aa minority out, feeling as though do not belong. Using feeling as though theythey do not belong. Using these these traditional or pieces from minorities traditional outfitsoutfits or pieces from minorities for atfor attention and laughs in a casual way is de- to tention and laughs in a casual way is degrading grading to their a whole. Whileasporting their culture as aculture While sporting costume a costume appropriating any sort of culture, the is appropriating any sort of culture, the student student is sending that a message thatnot s/he does not the sending a message s/he does care about care aboutand thesees minority, and sees it asor simply a minority, it as simply a joke, something joke, or something too small care about.the While too small to care about. While to this is rarely point this is rarely point student was trying toto rea student wasthe trying toamake, it is important






ere I introduce to you, for your viewing

small their content is inspiring, engaging, fresh,

Reshae Davenport

pleasure, and in no particular order, eight

and deserving of a larger audience. Also, all of these

lesser–known YouTube channels to add to

channels post videos that are generally between 2–25

your subscription list. From art, culture,

minutes long. So, enjoy one of these hidden gems while

social justice, and college life these channels are sure

on the go, in a waiting room, or during a study break

to pique your interest. Although these channels are

and share them with your friends.

GIRL SHIP TV Describes itself as “content made for queer women by queer women. Run by Amanda Holland.” Amanda Holland is a former BuzzFeed employee who branched out to create her own content. She involves other YouTube personalities and her former coworkers from BuzzFeed in her creative projects. Together, they make video series about queer female characters. They also drink together while they watch and react to movies/ music videos featuring queer female characters. The reactions are always funny and entertaining, regardless of the quality of the film or video they are reacting to. It’s fun to see how their reactions align with your own. Additionally, their original series is quirky and lighthearted with clever comedic dialogue.

CLOTHESNBITS A channel run by a twenty–something university student for anyone interested in fashion. The editing in her videos is top–notch. Also, many of the videos feature lo–fi hip–hop, electronic, and R&B remixes which make for a very relaxed tone. Clothesnbits typically models the clothing herself. She chooses a theme, then features several outfits that match the theme in each video. The fashions are often relaxed fit, androgynous and/or feminine streetwear looks.



JOHN FISH On this channel, you’ll find a series of videos created by a young Harvard student studying computer science. John creates vlogs where he discusses and documents his college experiences and the things that motivate him. He also gives advice on studying for exams, taking notes, mental health, and other topics relevant to university students. This channel is great for any student who’s looking for relatable content and a bit of encouragement.

The reactions are always funny and entertaining regardless of the quality of the film or video. they’re


reacting to.

Funny, bold, outspoken, and cheeky are all words that describe this next YouTube channel. Those characteristics make it unique in the subset of the YouTube community known as BookTube, where content creators analyze and recommend literature to their viewers. Lily’s criticisms are sound, her love of reading is obvious, and the candid style of her videos makes you feel like you’re sharing a reading experience with a friend. This channel is perfect for anyone who loves books, especially young adults. She is currently reading “Harry Potter” for the first time, without spoilers, and vlogging her reactions.

AJ+ This channel describes itself in the following words: “AJ+ is a global news community for the connected generation. We highlight human struggles and achievements, empower impassioned voices, and challenge the status quo.” AJ+ is great for anyone interested in learning more about various cultures and news happening both in the United States and around the world. I especially enjoyed a short documentary series they made which used the history of Americanized Chinese food to tell the history of Chinese Americans.

XXYUNGLORDXX This channel is run by brothers XXYungLordXX and AK Da Cannon who are both underground hip–hop artists. They review hip–hop music and music videos. They stay current and upload regularly as new music comes out. Subscribing to this channel is a great way to discover a lot of mainstream and underground artists across various subgenres of hip–hop. The brothers who run this channel have an obvious passion for music, and their hyped energy is infectious. I’m always excited to see their excitement about a new release.

Go to for a full list of YouTubers to watch! THEVINDI.COM ­­ | 16




Dorothy Zhao

The recent film “Crazy Rich Asians” takes a movie adaption of the original novel by Kevin Kwan to portray Asian Americans in non–stereotypical ways with a diverse cast and lighthearted, relatable romantic plotline.

is yellow on the outside, white on the inside, to when male lead Nick Young (played by Henry Golding) and his family interacted in the tension–filled dumpling making scene, I related to so many scenes and cried my heart out in this romantic comedy. Despite my initial fear that this movie would just be another basic romantic comedy that would bore me, I was


proved wrong. In my eyes, “Crazy Rich Asians” is hen I first heard about “Crazy Rich

a film that will truly inspire Asian–Americans and

Asians,” I didn’t think much of it.

Hollywood to create and support diversity across all

When I learned it was a Hollywood film

forms of entertainment.

with an all–Asian cast, I didn’t even

believe it. But, when I watched “Crazy Rich Asians”

Movie Review

on opening day, August 15, I became an instant

As an American Born Chinese (ABC) like Rachel Chu,

fan. From when Awkwafina, the actress who plays

I found myself relating to what she went through,

sidekick Peik–lin, described how female lead Rachel

from meeting your boyfriend’s family to traveling

Chu (portrayed by Constance Wu) is a banana as she

to a foreign country of people who look like you but


“Searching” is filmed from the perspective of a sole

representation has not been lost on me, a resolute

laptop, which took some getting used to when I

non–admirer of rom coms and fan of adrenaline

watched in theaters. Despite that, I watched with

rushes from jump scares. Growing up, I wished more

captivation and emotion when I saw faces similar to

than anything to be blonde–haired and blue–eyed

mine and my family going through turmoil.

and for my name to be Nicole, not Yiyuan, my “real” Chinese name. Actress Kelly Marie Tran summarized

A recent study by sociologist Nancy Wang Yuen showed that “sixty–four percent of television series

it best when responding to online hate from her

in the 2015–16 season didn’t have a single Asian–

role as Rose Tico in Star Wars—“I started blaming

American regular; another report revealed that...

myself... I had been brainwashed into believing that

nearly two–thirds [of the top one hundred films of

my existence was limited to the boundaries of another

2017] didn’t include a single Asian or Asian–American

person’s approval.” This approval I sought was what

female character.” From actors and actresses of all

I saw in social media and Hollywood movies starring

backgrounds, Constance Wu from “Fresh Off the Boat,”

every single kind of white girl and no other version

legendary Michelle Yeoh, first–time actor Henry

of a female lead. With “Crazy Rich Asians,” I see a

Golding, and rapper–actress Awkwafina, the cast was

slow-growing yet momentous shift in the positive

extraordinary in every part of the movie. Even though

results of Asian representation—just seeing my

some claimed whitewashing and betrayal in casting

mother’s reaction to the movie was proof enough.

male lead Henry Golding, biracial with a Malaysian

When she learned of “Crazy Rich Asians” and the

Iban indigenous group mother and a white British

galvanizing movement for Asian–Americans to make

father, any improvement is better than nothing. We

opening weekend a success, known as #GoldOpen,

have to start somewhere. Kevin Kwan, the author

she practically ran the entire way to the theater, got

of “Crazy Rich Asians,” has two more novels in the

tickets, and made sure we got there early enough

trilogy, and from the success of this first movie,

that we were only the second family in the theater

Netflix offered creative control, guaranteed trilogy,

to watch on opening day.

and an immediate payout to be able to produce the

However, not every member of the audience was

I found myself relating to what she went through, from meeting your boyfriend’s family to traveling to a foreign country of people who look like you but who are

are not like you. Furthermore, the importance of

not like you.

film. Both Kwan and movie director Jon Chu declined

satisfied. Critics argued that despite having an all-

the amazing opportunity, instead, choosing to portray

Asian cast, “Crazy Rich Asians” was not representative

Westernized–Asians in a theatrical film release form

enough by ignoring Singaporean minorities. Noting

and reaching audiences of all kinds.

Chinese privilege, as the Chinese in Singapore are

All in all, as one of many in the audience of “Crazy

the dominant ethnic majority, some Asian viewers

Rich Asians,” I watched in awe of the aesthetics and

disagreed with Asian–American moviegoers. Sensibly,

soaked in all the Asian aspects incorporated into a

Constance Wu acknowledged on Twitter that the

cheesy romantic comedy. With stunning visuals of

movie would not represent every Asian–American.

skyscraper skylines, beautiful displays of couture and

For those of non–East Asian descent, the fact that a

fashion, food so resplendent I could smell it, and family

few cast members were able to represent them was a

discussions tense enough for me to recall my own,

welcome change in Asian cinema. As it is a different

I encourage everyone to watch “Crazy Rich Asians.”

dynamic in Eastern and Western popular culture, varying views and opinions of the successful film both carry weight. Industry leaders, affluent fans, and rich Asians in general aimed to turn “Crazy Rich Asians” into a cultural phenomenon by renting out theaters for special screenings and increasing interest in a unique film (by Hollywood standards). The goal was to top the box office by selling $26 million in tickets for opening weekend. This target was thoroughly exceeded, as $34 million was made over the course of the first five days.

Photos from Google Images

Continued Success For ardent Netflix fans, it is worth adding that “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” is also a popular film that can be found on the streaming service. Looking towards the big screen once more in Asian representation, “Searching” is another recent thriller featuring John Cho as the main character—an Asian father desperate to find his missing teenage daughter. THEVINDI.COM ­­ | 18



Alana Whelan

Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrors exhibit came to Cleveland and it was an experience that defied space and time, demanding our understanding of nature, humans and infinity.


he first time I heard about the Infinity

glowing white lights. We only had 10 seconds in this

Mirrors exhibit put on by artist Yayoi

room, but it felt as though I could have spent a couple

Kusama, I thought the concept of rooms

hours in there.

full of never–ending mirrors sounded

As we moved through the exhibit I noticed that

fascinating, but I had no idea that

it was laid out like most art exhibits with long

I would have the chance to experience it, or what

descriptions on the walls before entering a new

it would feel like if I did. At that time, it was a few

room, and short summaries next to each artwork. I

years before the exhibit was even announced to be

was not sure what there would be in addition to the

coming to Cleveland.

but b et we en eac h,

it wo u ld b e at t he

something dazzling

Cleveland Museum of

was waiting for our

Art this past summer,

e ye s t o l a t c h o n t o.

I k new it was an

Statues and paintings

opportunity I needed

were scattered in

to take advantage of.

different places

After arriving at the

throughout the exhibit.

museum one minute

One set of statues that

before our time slot,

I found particularly

we got in line to enter


infinity mirror rooms,

W hen I fou nd out

intriguing looked like

the exhibit with the other patrons who had been able

a bunch of octopus tentacles springing out of the

to snag tickets for 12:30 p.m. The first room we entered

ground. Others were oddly shaped and placed in front

was tiny on the outside, but once inside, it looked vast

of a patchwork–like backdrop. They reminded me of

and was saturated with what looked like millions of

something from a Dr. Seuss story.


Ever y thing in the ex hibit made me think of

scene when she moved to New York City in 1958.

something otherworldly, or out of the norm. In

Kusama’s work started getting a lot of attention in the

each infinity mirror room, it felt like I was stepping

late 1960s when she staged a series of events where

into another dimension, which was especially true

naked people were covered with brightly painted polka

in a room where it appeared that millions of golden

dots. Since then her work has consisted primarily

lanterns were illuminating the darkness, floating in

of sculptures and installations, but she has also

space. My favorite part of the entire exhibit was a

worked with painting, fiction, fashion, performance

room called “The Obliteration Room,” which was an

art and poetry. Kusama’s “Infinity Mirrors” exhibit

interactive space where we received stickers at the

incorporates much of her older works, including a

entrance. The room, white at its base, was covered

starkly bright room where sculptures of white tubers

in millions of different–sized, colorful polka–dots,

saturated in red polka dots seem to stretch for miles.

which were placed on the walls and constructed

The sculptures were made separate from the infinity

furniture by patrons who came before us. The name

mirrors at first. Photographs, posters, cards and

evokes the idea that gradually, the room will be

other artifacts from previous exhibitions lined the

covered—or obliterated—as visitors envelope the

walls and sat in glass cases for visitors to admire.

room with their stickers in whatever way they feel

These artifacts helped to show how Kusama’s work

fit. Nearing the end, we stepped into a giant, pink

has progressed and changed throughout her life.

polka–dotted blow–up ball only to find more smaller

Kusama’s art has largely been a reflection of the

ones inside. This room was very appealing to the

experiences and influences she had as a child and

eyes and carried on a consistent theme of polka-dots

then throughout her life. At the age of 10, Kusama

throughout the exhibit.

started to have realistic hallucinations that were

I was fascinated by the idea behind each room,

comprised of bunches of dots and light. She decided

which had names like, “All the Eternal Love I Have for

to turn these hallucinations into art by painting

the Pumpkins”—a room full of yellow, polka–dotted

and constructing them into physical forms. The

pumpkins—and “Where the Lights in My Heart Go”—a

endless fields of polka–dots—seen in so many of the

room with tiny holes in the ceiling and walls that

works in the Infinity Mirrors exhibit—were drawn

allow natural light to penetrate inside, which was

straight from Kusama’s hallucinations. Similarly,

actually the first room we entered, and was placed in

some of her earlier work—such as the painted, naked

the museum’s atrium. Polka dots were a fundamental

people—was outrightly sexual and materialized

theme that was carried throughout the exhibit, and

from her obsessive anxieties surrounding sex and

Yayoi Kusama noted this in a quote that reads, “Our

men. The Infinity Mirrors has, in many ways, been

Earth is only one polka dot among a million stars in

influenced by all the different aspects of Kusama’s

the cosmos. Polka dots are a way to infinity.”

mind and thoughts. Her interest in the mystery of the earth and the human psyche played a huge role

About the Artist

in the development of the Infinity Mirrors exhibit.

Yayoi Kusama is an 89–year–old contemporary artist

Kusama has lived in a psychiatric ward in Tokyo

from Japan who began creating art when she was very

since 1975, and still creates art for eight hours each

young, and went on to be a part of the avant–garde

day, while also receiving medical treatment. She is currently known as one of the most distinguished living artists in the world. So far, her Infinity Mirrors exhibit has been displayed in five cities, including Washington D.C., Seattle, Los Angeles, Toronto and, of course, Cleveland. Observing Kusama’s mysteriously appealing works in person, and learning about her life and influences, makes me infinitely grateful that I was able to attend the exhibit. I know I will continue to reflect on what I experienced for a


long time to come.






Andriana Akrap 21 | VINDICATOR

Social media has paved the way for more inclusive discussion in the mental health community.



hi le some l i ke to t hi n k t hat

resources. While Netflix did start displaying content

the month of October is

advisory messages for season 2 of “13 Reasons Why,”

reserved for spookiness and the

the show’s creative team are still part of the problem

romanticization of autumn, there

regarding the stigma that surrounds mental health

is a day weeks before Halloween

and the general public’s apprehensiveness with

that should be given more attention. Every year,

talking about it.

World Mental Health Day falls on October 10th, and

The World Health Organization reported that half

this year’s focus, according to the World Health

of all mental illnesses begin by the age of 14, and that

Organization, is the “investment by governments and

suicide is the second leading cause of death among

the involvement of the social, health and education

15–to–29–year-olds. Most cases of depression and

sectors in comprehensive, integrated, evidence–based

other mental illnesses go untreated. This is partly

programmes for the mental health of young people.”

because mental illnesses fall under the category of

Recent representation of mental health in the media

chronic, or “invisible” illnesses—conditions whose

has been controversial and even toxic to Millennials

effects aren’t physically manifested, thus making

and Generation Z. The release of “13 Reasons Why”

one’s pain difficult to validate, especially by peers

in 2017 and its graphic portrayal of Hannah Baker’s

and loved ones. There is a problematic line of thinking

suicide sparked a national outcry from educators,

that associates the way we look with the way we

health professionals, religious communities, and

feel—if someone looks put–together or falls under

parents alike, yet it was still renewed for a second

someone else’s idea of healthy, then there is no pain

and third season due to high viewership. There is a

or contrasting emotion to detect. This only adds more

degree of responsibility to consider when dealing with

pressure not to talk about what’s under the surface for

such emotionally heavy and triggering subject matter,

the sake of eliminating another person’s discomfort.

regarding accuracy and providing informational

Sometimes it’s unintentional and other times it’s not, Grace’s story continued on next page

I Know There’s An Answer: The Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson & His Struggle With Mental Illness & Addiction


Liv Wilson


alifornia, 1964. Lyndon B. Johnson is in the

Brian chose to numb that pain was so powerful that

White House, gas is 30 cents a gallon, the

it exacerbated his already intense anxiety.

Beach Boys have eight hit albums out, and

Using alcohol and drugs to subdue the excruciating

a 22–year–old Brian Wilson has just tried

pain of living with mental illness is one of the worst

LSD for the first time.

courses of action that can be taken. Unfortunately,

The intended effect is a creative kickstart, and it

it is also one of the most common courses of action

somewhat works in that sense—he pens the intro

people take. Substance abuse and mental illness have

to one of the most memorable Beach Boys singles,

a positive correlation where they both worsen the

“California Girls.” But the trip comes with some

other condition, making recovery much more diffi-

devastating, long-term side effects. Bodiless voices

cult than it needs to be.

will start speaking in Wilson’s head about a week

Wilson made an attempt to overcome his addic-

later, and they will continue to haunt him for the

tion, depression, and anxiety by attending therapy,

rest of his life.

but encountered yet another obstacle in the conniv-

Substance abuse followed Wilson for the next two

ing and overbearing Dr. Eugene Landy, who charged

decades. He stopped taking acid after the first inci-

Wilson an exorbitant amount and used brutish ther-

dent involving the voices, but three years later, the

apy tactics.

psychedelic siren song called to him again and he gave into it.

This experience is not one commonly shared by those looking to beat mental illness. When seek-

Of the voices that tormented Wilson throughout

ing treatment, therapy is the best first step to take.

his life, the loudest was that of his abusive father. He

Talking to a trained professional about your thoughts

wrote about the voices in his memoirs: “Lots of the

and impulses is a healthier and more direct option

music I’ve made has been my way of trying to get rid

than temporarily numbing your pain with alcohol

of those voices. Other strategies didn’t really work.

or drugs.

Alcohol didn’t work, and never sleeping didn’t work...

With the support of his family and friends, Brian

Those are the voices that people call mental illness...

Wilson eventually overcame life’s greatest battle to

It’s a part of my brain that doesn’t change, so what

find love, rejoin his band, and reclaim his role as one

has to change is the way I deal with it.”

of the most influential and gifted songwriters of his

Mental illness is not always brought about by

generation. Mental illness and addiction do not have

substance abuse, but the deadly combination of

to be the closing chapter on a person’s life; they can

post–traumatic stress disorder brought about by his

instead be the imposing foe whose defeat leads to a

father’s abuse and the subsequent self-medicating

happy ending. THEVINDI.COM ­­ | 22


but in order to move forward, we all must have more willingness to be more empathetic, and realistic. It’s not healthy to ignore what your body is telling you, and it’s unacceptable to invalidate someone’s struggles just because it makes you uncomfortable to hear them talk about it. There are a variety of external factors that contribute to a person’s overall mental state—including (but not limited to) trauma, loss, physical and emotional abuse, past or current toxic relationships, addiction, financial and/or academic stress, and effects from other illnesses. Seeking professional help for mental illnesses is a privilege in the United States—most health insurance providers don’t cover mental health, or have expensive co-pays for therapy sessions. In Mental Health America’s Access to Care rankings for 2017, Vermont was #1, while Ohio fell at #29, and Alabama placed #50. These numbers indicate how much access to mental health resources exist

Ending The Dramatization of Mental Illness... What A Concept!


Shannah Byrnes


n 1979, Robin Williams received a Grammy award

Williams “look–alike” to dramatize and recreate

for Best Comedy Album for his stand–up tour,

those grim and intimate final hours of the come-

“Reality…What A Concept,” featuring memora-

dian’s life.

ble critiques on life through comedy. As Williams

In reference to stigma surrounding mental illness

poked fun at the absurdity of reality, his fans laughed

and suicide, this film choice is reckless with the care

along with him. However, as time has progressed the

in which such a subject should be properly dealt. This

media has taken hold of this laughable reality and

dramatic reenactment not only urges “copy–cat”

skewed it for financial gain. That is, media outlets

replications of this situation to occur, but also shares

have profited off of offering audiences insight to

intimate details of events which only William’s

Williams’ crippling reality and demise, rather than

family needs to know. The onset of media and the

promoting substantial and life–saving commentary

constant flow of celebrity gossip has conditioned

on the subject of mental illness through his life.

fans and onlookers to expect access into personal

In a society becoming more vocal about mental

and undisclosed details of celebrity lives—people

health and the stigma surrounding it, it is offsetting

of whom they are only strangers. This infringement

to hear of media outlets who have not yet caught up

of privacy stems from personal profit, rather than

with the conversation. There are prominent exam-

true empathy.

ples of how to address mental illness in relation to

The documentary on Robin aired in 2015, yet media

celebrities, including Dave Itzkoff’s 2018 biography

outlets are still reaping the benefits of the dramati-

“Robin,” telling the tumultuous and infamous life of

zation of intimate circumstances such as this. We saw

Robin Williams. This biography brings to light the

this recently in the death of Kate Spade, when media

highs and lows of Williams’ career, without roman-

outlets chose to focus heavily on Spade’s daughter

ticizing the pain, addiction, and disease he endured

and her mention in Spade’s suicide note. In that same

which was revealed to the entire world after his

week, we heard of Anthony Bourdain’s suicide, with

suicide in 2014. This shock continues to reverber-

such influential sources as E! News publishing arti-

ate to his fans, colleagues, and most definitely, his

cles titled “Inside Anthony Bourdain’s Final Days

family. Why then, is it that media outlets still attempt

Before His Death.”

to profit off of his heartbreaking situation, by offer-

Such blatant disregard for mourning of family and

ing viewers a glimpse into his “final hours” and thus

friends has led to a skewed view of suicide and an

attempting to desecrate his memory? This tactic was

even more dramatized view of mental illness that

evident in the 2015 UK documentary series, “Autopsy:

may have contributed to it. Instead of peering into

The Last Hours of [Robin Williams].” According to

scenes of personal turmoil, we should promote an

San Francisco’s local CBS News, friends of Williams

open discussion of mental illness and suicide aware-

pleaded with producers not to air this documentary,

ness in order to prevent these calamitous situations

as it attempted to reconstruct the final hours of his

form occurring, and thus celebrate life in all forms.

life. In order to leave a bitter taste in the viewer’s mouth, this documentary enlisted the help of a Robin 23 | VINDICATOR


from state to state. The rankings are based on nine

Do you think that there is a degree of responsibility to

measures, ranging from adults with a mental illness

be taken when talking about mental health?

(AMI) who did not receive treatment to mental health

SN: Yes. It’s important to be mindful of potential

workforce availability.

triggers. For example, I try not to talk viscerally about

Generationally speaking, the rise of social media has

issues I’ve dealt with in the past, like self-harm or

made it possible for those with anxiety, depression, and

eating disorders, without providing an ample trigger

other illnesses to discuss their thoughts, feelings, and

warning. It’s also essential to never cross the line

struggles more openly. Someone who has been using

from mental health advocate to mental health expert/

their platform to combat the stigmatization of mental

therapist/doctor unless you have actual medical

illnesses is Sammy Nickalls (@sammynickalls), a writer

experience/training. Armchair diagnosing is harmful

and editor who created the hashtag #talkingaboutit,

and can ruin lives.

which has been gaining momentum on Twitter and other social media outlets.

What do you think are the best ways to go about fighting the stigma that surrounds discussing mental health?

What inspired you to start #talkingaboutit?

SN: Keep on talking about it. Surround yourself with

SN: I had a really hard time when I was living in

people who are accepting of you talking about it.

Lancaster, PA in a one–bedroom by myself. I was

Maintain your own support system so that you can

so anxious I could barely leave my bed. After days

keep feeling comfortable and loved enough to share

of this, with the laundry piling up and my workload

your experiences. The only way we can fight it is to

growing higher, I was scrolling through Twitter from

constantly keep mental health at the forefront of

my bed and saw a half-joking tweet from someone

the conversation.

about how she’s been lying on her couch all day with a cold. I thought, why can’t I talk about my mental health as openly as I’d talk about my physical health? And what would happen if I tried?

We often react to things that we don’t understand with fear. If something is going on inside of you that isn’t making you feel like yourself, vocalize it. Your

What is the goal of #talkingaboutit?

mind matters, and it’s important to take the necessary

SN: To make everyone feel as comfortable talking

steps to take care of it. But that doesn’t necessarily

about their mental health as they do talking about

mean going straight to a medical professional and

their physical health (disclaimer: not referencing

seeking a diagnosis, especially if proper healthcare

chronic pain/invisible illness here, but headaches,

isn’t a feasible option. It’s okay to start small, because

common colds, etc). In an ideal world, this would

even a few acts of self–awareness produce significant

destigmatize mental health issues and make it easier

results. In this day and age, solutions can be found

for people to reach out to get help (and also make it

at your fingertips—if you’re having a bad day, use

easier to share resources and feel a little less alone).

#talkingaboutit and you may find a community of

Did you/did you not grow up in an environment that

you and can provide you with resources that aren’t

people who are going through the same thing as allowed you to discuss mental health (depression, anxiety, etc) with ease? SN: My family has always been fairly open—I’ve been an anxious person ever since I can remember, and my parents always did their best to be understanding and kind about it. However, the area I grew up (rural Pennsylvania) was very conservative and tended to consider any mental illness to be “crazy” or “loony.” GR: Have you noticed a significant change in mental health awareness / representation of mental health in the media? SN: Absolutely. We’re in a mental health revolution. Social media has been a big part of this, but also, celebrities, television, films, other pop culture staples have started to discuss mental health more openly. Of course, this is in part because the public demands it and they follow the money, but it’s still a much more positive representation than I’ve ever seen before.

unattainable. Most importantly, keep the conversation going—by fighting the stigma, you’re shining a light on those who think they’re being left in the dark.


Samra Karamustafic

Savvy Psychologist: Quick & Dirty Tips for Better Mental Health With a title as specific as that, it’s no surprise that this podcast is the first on the list! Host Dr. Ellen Hendriksen tackles both day­–to–day problems as well as more deeply– rooted issues, using her caring nature and lighthearted humor to make this podcast a favorite for learning more about how to take care of your mind and yourself in general. Kalyn’s Coffee Talk A podcast produced by lifestyle Youtuber Kalyn Nicholson, KCT is here to address all kinds of obstacles we all may run into from time to time. She is here to assure you that everything will be okay and to help you get through it all! Plus, there’s a reason it’s named “Coffee Talk”, Kalyn makes it feel as if she is right there with you on a coffee date, sippin’ on whatever she has that day. Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations Oprah takes a different approach to talking about mental health; she interviews some of the most prominent figures in the fields of spirituality, lifestyle, and mindfulness today. She doesn’t just interview your typical “spiritual–gurus,” but she wants to get a take from all kinds of people. Listening to her podcasts will help you get into the right mindset, shifting your perspective on a variety of issues and topics.




Brenda Castañeda Yupanqui Tyisha Blade

We caught up with some of our past staff members, who reflected on the Vindicator and its impact on their lives.


Andriana Akrap


he Vindicator has incredibly deep roots at Cleveland State. With almost 50 years as a publication, this magazine’s history is as rich as it is complex. Starting out as the university’s Black newspaper, the reac-

tionary and necessary counterpart to other student media on campus, it has since grown into the arts and culture magazine that it is today. While it has not remained solely a place for Black voices, the Vindicator’s mission is one of multiculturalism and social justice, one that it’s staff—past, present and future— strive to preserve and amplify through their work. Like all forms of media, this magazine affects not only its audience, but its staff and contributing creatives, as well. We decided to check up on a few of our past staff members, who shared their experience with the Vindi and how it made an impact on their lives and careers.



What was your role in the Vindicator? I was brought in as the Art Director. I changed it to Director of Art and Communication, because our communication was lacking at that point; there wasn’t a lot of structure. I was the art director and comm guy for two years. My Editor–in–Chief, CJ [Phifer], we both came in as the previous administration was on the rocks. She brought me in; neither of us knew what our role would be. She was a really strong leader, so she took the Editor–in–Chief role and I was in design so that worked for me. I did that for a full year. We came in, I wouldn’t say on a whim, but we weren’t planning on doing this. How did the Vindi influence your experience at CSU? Pretty dramatically. I was an adult adult when I started school; I was 25 and I wasn’t interested in being a part of the whole undergraduate experience. I ended up being able to meet tons of people; I got an internship at the marketing department because of my experience there [at the magazine]. It made me a more public person, which was a road I didn’t know I was going to be on, but I need to be. Learning how to work with a significant variety of people. That was a big goal of CJ’s and mine, to let it represent the history of the Vindi, but also acknowledging the changes and the new people that CSU touched. Working with tons of people, hitting deadlines, working with bad vendors, learning how to react to people who disagree with you. We tried to have a lot fire–starter features and we started a couple fires, which was great. What do you do now? I run Full Spectrum: Gamer Haven, it’s a creative coworking space… we center games, culture and technology. You can make video games here, and since you can make games, you can make everything. We’ve got audio–visual production,

photography, programming, graphic design, apparel, now. Creating this network of stuff and people so that everyone can do their creative thing in my neighborhood, because I’m from Collinwood. Apart from that, I’m a graphic designer. It’s a lot; everyday is legitimately different. Do you have any advice for student journalists, reporters, photographers, and creatives? I would suggest, as hard as it is to hear, actually listening to your professors. Specifically in the design area… Listen to them, then trust your own gut when it disagrees and do what you want anyways. They know what they’re talking about in terms of how things work now. If you’re trying to change stuff, recognize that that’s not the world they live in; you’re making it. What is your most vivid memory of working with the Vindi? I have many vivid memories. Our first meeting was fun because CJ’s personality is dramatically different from mine; she loves process. It was a room full of “no one knows what’s happening” people. We had an argument about a feature, if I’m not mistaken, on marriage equality. That was an amazing conversation at the Vindi office, I remember that. And the talent shows we did—wild. Running the SC with art, a big band person and live poetry. Smashing my toe with the DJ equipment, I remember that. It was fun. Do you have a favorite issue? I could be cheap and lazy and say the first one because it was the first one. But, probably when TEDx came to CSU. Watching them, it was a really professional operation for that issue. Photographers and writers going out to different things, reviewing them. That whole process was probably my favorite.

Go visit Robert at his creative co–working space, Full Spectrum: GamerHaven! Located at 818 E. 185th Street, Cleveland, Ohio Instagram @officialgamerhaven




anymore. I liked working with different writers and going to protests. Covering events video–wise and talking to people around campus definitely made me more well rounded. It was definitely a very valuable experience. What was your favorite issue? It’s hard to choose, but one of my favorites was about my roommate, Dallas. She is trans and we did a photoshoot with her because she was on the cover. It was kind of scary to put that issue out there. Singling her out as trans, I am very proud of her for doing that. It was beautiful to do that. That was pretty cool. There was some nervousness about it, but everything went according to plan as far as I know. There were many great issues, but that one, to me, was particularly impressive. It was good to know that people aren’t totally horrible. The sexual assault issue was also interesting. I helped compile people’s stories anonymously. It was interesting. There were many people reaching out to me saying thank you. Do you have any advice for student journalists, reporters, photographers, and creatives? Don’t be afraid to come out of your comfort zone. Don’t be afraid to ruffle some feathers. If you feel like it’s important and will have an impact, I think it’s worth giving it a shot. I think that the Vindicator is a place where you can do that and be creative. I think that it is very powerful to put something in print. So use that power to help people out and spread the right messages. What is your most vivid memory of working with the Vindicator? I was walking downtown and there was a group of Native Americans protesting about Standing Rock and Clean Water. I pulled my camera out. Just to know that I would have a place to put that was great. It wasn’t planned or anything. I have my camera, I can interview and have a place to share things with people. Another vivid moment was when someone put up that poster [featuring hate speech targeting LGBTQ+ students] last semester. I was able to take photos of the conversation at the meeting in Dr. Berkman’s office. I was working with Cleveland Magazine, but I also used some of the photos for the Vindicator. It feels great to be able to stand up to the people in power not take every word they say as the truth. Being there to hold them accountable and show different perspectives is important.

What was your involvement with the Vindi? I was the Multi–Media Manager. My freshman year was 2014. CJ [Phifer] was the EIC and she was looking for a person to do photo and video for the magazine. So, the Vindicator had a party in the common area. They also had music and artists from CSU. I filmed that and did a good job. So, that’s how I started working, I’m so thankful for CJ. What do you do now? I have my own business with my cousin. It’s a video production business where we do photos and record music. We have a studio on E. 36th street. That’s pretty fun in Tyler Village. I do freelance stuff. We work with people locally and people that come into town. We’ve done things with HBO, Fox Sports, and ESPN, and Great Lakes Publishing. The business is called Black Valve Media. How did the Vindi influence your experience at CSU? The Vindicator helped me meet different people. It helped understand different people’s perspectives. I am a more well–rounded person. It also gave me an opportunity to show Cleveland Magazine my work, and I got an internship with them. I still do work with them to this day. So, that was important. It’s always cool to see your work and art in print form because we don’t get to see much of that 27 | VINDICATOR

Follow Evan’s media production company, Black Valve, on social media to see all the cool things he gets to work on! Website

ELISABETH WEEMS What was your role in the Vindicator? As Culture Editor, I worked alongside our writers to craft and edit articles, providing guidance and feedback to help curate well–written, meaningful pieces. I also produced and hosted our short–lived, though poignant and powerful radio talk show, The Vindicator Hour.

Instagram @blackvalve

How did the Vindi influence your experience at CSU? While I was with The Vindicator I felt more connected to the university as a torchbearer of truth and an advocate for the student body. Writing with this influential magazine helped me to understand how impactful and powerful student voices are, and reaffirmed the need for a platform like The


The Vindicator gave me an outlet to write, let things out and really be passionate about something…


Vindicator to elevate their perspectives. It also granted me the space to observe and criticize both bureaucracy and power dynamics embedded in educational institutions. My experiences as a writer and editor helped me to expand my horizons, to look deep within myself and to reject limitations. It became a springboard for exploration, critical thinking and a healthy dose of skepticism. What do you do now? Presently I live in the city of Leipzig, Germany and am completing two master's degrees in Journalism and Global Mass Communication as part of a foreign exchange program at Leipzig University. I study critical theory, conduct social– psychological research and engage in conscious discussions about social, cultural and epistemological issues. Do you have a favorite issue? The March 2017 issue was my favorite—we focused on Women's rights and liberation, and as a mostly female staff, it felt empowering during such a politically charged time in our nation. Myself and another writer traveled to D.C. for the Women's March on Washington in late January for the issue, and we were in the midst of a palpable social move-

ment. It nearly engulfed us, and it was our task to relay to our readers just what people are raising their voices for. My time with the Vindicator taught me that even and especially when your perspective is that of a minority, it is utterly important to stand up and speak up. What is your most vivid memory of working with the Vindi? Perhaps my most vivid memories were vibrant debates held during editorial staff meetings, in which we would discuss what worked well, what didn't, and how we could grow and learn from our mistakes. So much happens behinds the scenes to bring this magazine to life, and there's a locomotive energy generated through the passion of the staff itself. Do you have any advice for student journalists, reporters, photographers, and creatives? Embrace the full spectrum of your creative self and reject any imposed labels and limitations. You need not succumb to pressures to know right now exactly what you're going to do with your life—just be who you are and love every aspect of your marvelous, colorful self.

ARBELA CAPAS Check out Arbela’s blog and follow her on Instagram to stay updated on her new and upcoming podcast! Blog Instagram @thebattleofarbela

What was your involvement with the Vindi? I started my sophomore year… I just went to the first meeting. It was so scary. So, I pitched a story about this girl who went to my high school… It was about how the dress codes treat girls and boys differently. It was the cover story for that October issue. After that, I wrote one piece per issue because I liked it so much… I was Editor–in–Chief my junior and senior year. What do you do now? Currently, I am doing freelance and contract work wherever I can. The only consistent place I am doing work at is Cleveland Magazine. I do a bit at Ohio Magazine whenever they need me. I had a couple stories that I wrote freelance for [Cleveland Magazine’s] Doctors issue. I also have some stories for the Lakes issue as well. I have my blog, The Battle of Arbela, where I write about lifestyle and fashion. I post there once a week. I’m doing work wherever I can and I’m

happy with it. I like working from home. Unless, they call me into the office. I need the structure sometime. How did the Vindi influence your experience at CSU? The Vindicator was an avenue for me to explore writing, reporting and journalism… It was only after I wrote my first story did I declare myself a Journalism major… I thought to myself, even if it is bad, which it isn’t, I will still have the Vindicator… So, the Vindicator influenced me a lot. It changed the course of my life. I was also struggling with the death of my dad at the time. The Vindicator gave me an outlet to write, let things out and really be passionate about something… It helped me get my internship. I was able to have magazine clips to show for my experience. The Vindicator also helped me get a job that I had briefly after graduation. So, not only did it help me personally with building my confidence, but it also helped me directly professionally.



What was your favorite issue? The Black Girl Magic issue for sure… All the different aspects of our magazine that make the Vindicator such a great magazine came together. It was an awesome story that was half creative writing and half journalistic… I think it was a really important issue. We did an awesome photo shoot for it. We worked with an illustrator… I think we were at one of those times when the Vindicator started getting noticed again. We have had our ups and downs where people didn’t even know we existed. When that issue came out, maybe we distributed better, but people just really loved it.

How did the Vindi influence your experience at CSU? Being a part of the Vindi was one of the best decisions I made while in school. It introduced me to amazing humans who inspired me every day (and still do!) It made me self– critical in a positive way. It forced me to prioritize. It taught me to deal with conflict. Overall, it built a foundation that I’ve used in every job, internship, and fellowship I've ever had.

What is your most vivid memory of working with the Vindicator? I remember different moments with different people sharing and being so genuine with me about how they love the work that we are doing… A really vivid memory was when I talked to this guy that runs an arts incubator… [it] really opened my eyes on how much the Vindicator has changed over time and what the Vindicator meant to him… Times were different. It served a different purpose. It was a community building space. It was almost specifically for Black students, and it was their safe space… I had this really weird moment where I realized that this affected so many people. It gave me that confidence to really push us forward. To push us to talk about the people that are misrepresented or underrepresented.

Do you have any advice for student journalists, reporters, photographers, and creatives? Don’t take things personally and always do your best. I stole those from The Four Agreements (an awesome book), but for a creative, it’s true. This industry isn’t as tough as it seems—absorb everything, self–motivate, stay inspired, and you’ll get somewhere. Oh, and surround yourself with other creatives! Collaboration has fueled a lot of my success. People are the best when you’re in a rut (or when you’re not).

The one thing about the unknown is that you have to convince yourself more than anyone that you’re worthy of succeeding. — REESE SHEBEL

REESE SHEBEL What was your role in the Vindicator? I started off as a Managing Editor and contributor, then became Editor–in–Chief. How has the Vindi helped you progress after graduation? Being EIC of the Vindicator was one of the first big risks I took in school. I had no idea what I was doing, which in a sense, has transcended far beyond my collegiate career. When I signed up, I had no intention of becoming the Editor–in– Chief, and when it happened, it made me believe in myself almost out of necessity. The one thing about the unknown is that you have to convince yourself more than anyone that you’re worthy of succeeding. I’ve learned that a vital part of my own personal progression is taking healthy, constructive risks, whether it be traveling through foreign countries or competing in sprint triathlons (or taking a job even when you don’t exactly know what you’re doing at first). You learn to trust and challenge yourself in ways you otherwise wouldn't. 29 | VINDICATOR

Do you have any advice for student journalists, reporters, photographers and creatives? My best advice would be just to take care of yourself. That’s something that I lost sight of many times. This is a very fastpaced business when you’re on deadline. Whether you’re an editor, writer or photographer, it’s very fast paced. I am glad that the Vindicator prepared me for that… I really learned the power of being vulnerable with people that you work with. You make each other stronger. If you have an idea just do it. I was really able to do that with the Vindicator… I know that I’m thrown into the real world I have to take my advice and have that same confidence.

What do you do now? Graphic design at Function of Beauty (a beauty startup) in NYC.

What is your most vivid memory of working with the Vindi? I loved when we’d get the new issues in. Seeing all of the ideas and stories together in their beautiful layouts after such a long period of development was always a great feeling. Like phew, we did it. Something about print will always be special. Do you have a favorite issue? I’ll always love our first issue. I remember shooting it in the art building and it’s still one of my favorite covers.

CARISSA WOYTACH What was your role in the Vindicator? I was a staff writer to begin with and then Managing Editor for 2 years, a year and a half or something. I think that my parents and I saw them at one of the freshman things and I liked their social justice stuff. At the time, I was looking to do non–profit work and thought that would align pretty well. I went to one meeting and I met Robert [Gatewood] and all of them. I just immediately fell in love with all of them because they were lovely; CJ was a bit intimidating, but she knew that. How did the Vindi influence your experience at CSU? It was nice because I got leadership experience with the Managing Editor position and in a different way—I was also Editor–in–Chief of The Cleveland Stater, which is the capstone for journalism majors. But managing the Vindicator is a little different because it’s contributor–based and there’s a lot of people to keep track of. There’s a lot more moving parts. It gave me access to people that I wouldn’t normally talk to, people that were outside of my graduating class. Since I work at a daily newspaper, you miss the aspects of working on a magazine. I think it was maybe a creative way to look at things. It’s a different way to look at things, which I try to do at my daily work, like “this is a different angle” or “how can I look at this differently.”


What do you do now? I am a reporter for The Chronicle Telegram out of Lorain County, so we cover the county. It’s a daily newspaper, I’ve been there about six months. Before that, I was a paginator up in St. Joseph, Michigan. That kind of brought in a little bit of the graphic design. Before that, I was a staff writer for the United Way of Greater Cleveland, which actually tied in more with what I did at the Vindicator. Do you have any advice for student journalists, reporters, photographers and creatives? Ask a lot of questions, even if they sound asinine it’s better to understand something fully than try and make it up as you go along. This is especially true for interviews, even when you know what someone is going to say, or how they will explain something, give them the chance to put it in their own words. What is your most vivid memory of working with the Vindi? When I interviewed the folks from INDECLINE. They were the art collective that put the naked Trump statues up, including the one in Coventry—part of their “The Emperor Has No Balls” installations. I loved that story and I remember it because I forgot the huge time difference between here and California because I thought I was talking to a representative from Ohio. So I called them at the completely wrong time, and they still went with it. (And I still follow their collective because of how cool they were to work with, even though we were just a student publication and they were getting calls from national outlets). Do you have a favorite issue? Not really, I think they all had their moments.




Imani Stephens

How the beauty industry is reshaping their old standards of beauty.

S “

It is important to be able to look in the mirror and feel confident with oneself.


ubconsciously, the media, with its perfectly

Vitiligo is a disease that causes the loss of skin color

bronzed skinned models on the runway and

in blotches. If your skin tone is one solid color, with this

in television, tends to set the standard of

skin condition,you lose the color in certain areas of the

what people think normal skin should look

body—certain areas can be bigger than others, and it is

like. Even

not location specific,

in adolescence we try

affecting the skin, hair

hundreds of facial

or mouth. Treatments

creams and sk in

for this condition

products to zap away

include ultraviolet light

the imperfections of

therapy, surgery, or

acne, a common skin

steroid drugs. However,

condition. This normal

these can be expensive

chem ica l behav ior

when added up, costing

t hat a l mo st e ver y

way more than the acne

teen goes t hroug h

creams people spend so

h a s b e e n pl a g u e d

much on during their

by society as being

adolescence. The prices

wrong, simultaneous-

can start at $200 and

ly creating some of

continue to rise into

the worst years for

the thousands. In the

teenagers based on

fashion industry, one

bullying and embarr-

model in particular by

assment alone. There

the name of Winnie

is no guidebook to

Harlow went viral

good skin and there

for having vitiligo

is no straight defini-

after she appeared on

t ion of what go o d

“America’s Next Top

skin really is anyway.

Model” in 2014. On

Societal norms should

this popular reality

not label someone

television show hosted

as acceptable or un-

by former model Tyra

acceptable based off

Banks, who is known

of their appearance or

for breaking barriers

skin differences. Other

when it comes to

skin dissimilarities,

diversity in the fashion

such as vitiligo or albinism, have previously been looked

world, Harlow instantly became a highlight of attention.

at as taboo. Now they have emerged into the world of

Before Harlow, no one had seen a woman proudly owning

fashion at a rapid pace, erasing the limiting idea of the

her truth and having vitiligo in the spotlight. From that

perfect skin.

season of the show onwards, Harlow has made quite a


name for herself. The importance of her emergence on the fashion and modeling scene was more than money or glamour. It led to the confidence of many people who share her similar skin condition, and it became a new norm in today’s society. Now strange stares can begin to decrease since more people actually are used to and more informed about what vitiligo is. It is important to be able to look in the mirror and be comfortable with oneself. It is even more important

and eye color. There are many different forms of albinism, however, most of them are caused by the mutation of one gene. Ross is a model who has now worked with many popular brands and magazines including Vogue and GQ. He started modeling when he was 16 years old after being discovered through YouTube fame. Now he advocates for his skin condition and makes an effort to spread his story with the world. One thing that Harlow and Ross have in common is their ability to overcome

that companies

the mean jokes,

are putting way

nicknames and

more than just

con-stant ridicule.

look–a–likes into

The bravery on

their campaigns

behalf of these

to help eliminate

two has not only

the impossible

remov-ed limits

standards of

w hen i t comes

beauty they create

to the beauty

by using all of

industry but also

the same looking

positively changed

models and put all

how people view

over the media, so


more people can

Harlow and Ross

be informed that

both identify as

not everyone looks

black and continue

like their idea of

to set the tone for

perfect. Recently, in

people of color

an interview with

as well. They

Vogue, Beyoncé

have forged a gap

spoke briefly about

between what

the importance of

is common and

hiring and working

what we need to

with people who

see in the industry.

do not fall under

Fashion and beauty

the category of

should be about

traditional beauty

making everyone

standards, saying

feel beautiful and

“They will hire

such a thing would

the same models,

be impossible to

curate the same

do if there was

art, cast the same

not representation

actors over and

of every kind

over again, and

of human being.

we will all lose.”

Everyone should

The progression

have someone to

of the fashion

look up to, who

industry and the

looks similar to

creative aspect of

them. Continuing

the world needs to be powered by


change and bringing together people from all walks of life, regardless of what they look like or come from. Another model who is breaking barriers inside of the fashion/model world with their skin condition is model

to open our minds and removing the filters that have already been placed over our eyes when it comes to the general standard of beauty is how the industry will have more impact, and continue to grow.

Shaun Ross. Ross has albinism, which is when your body lacks the ability to create melanin for the skin. Melanin is a darker brown pigment that produces your skin, hair THEVINDI.COM ­­ | 32



Gia Paulovich

An open mind and heart leads to new experiences and knowledge.


any people might be hesitant when it comes to buying crystals. They are only objects that look pretty on display, right? Crystals can’t actually have healing power, can they?

Crystals can be similar to religion and other

spiritual beliefs, in the sense that it is personal.

There are so many crystals that bring different meaning and each can be used for a variety of reasons. Crystals are not for the non–believers. With crystals, you have to have an open heart to take in information about them. Their use can vary depending on what a person needs and they have various methods of use: during meditation, gardening, and holistic healing. You can even turn it into a necklace, put it in your pocket and take it everywhere you go. Or you can put it on your nightstand, take it into your hands, breathe in and out slowly as you close your eyes. Anyone can meditate with this, but it doesn’t automatically work with one try. People often use it daily or every once in a while. Crystals operate on the belief that those with an open heart can accept the love from within themselves. The ancient Egyptians used it for protection and health. “They believe the crystal lapis lazuli could lead a soul into the afterlife and recognize it’s immortality,” as explains. As Earthbound store manager, Tony Hill, spoke about crystals, he wore an apache gold crystal that he wired into a necklace. The crystal is a mixture of quartz, black tourmaline and pyrite. When he was in Elyria, Ohio, opening a store for a company he worked for, he was an atheist but found himself in deep conversation with one of the maintenance workers there. The worker said he had, “the perfect crystal for [him].” The next day, when he held this crystal above Hill’s hand, he felt the middle of his palm pulsing. Coincidentally, Hill’s mother was going through thyroid issues and she had been in pain. He gave

MORE INFORMATION Tony Hill–Girard @orphicjewelrydesign Cleveland base Wire– Artist + Reiki Master Around Cleveland, people can check out Daystar Boutique in Lakewood, Goddess Elite in North Olmsted and Earthbound.

his mother the crystal he was gifted and then she started crying; a few minutes later, she told him she didn’t believe in crystals but this was the first time in two and a half months where her stomach didn’t feel too painful. From then on, he was curious about crystals and the different effects they can have. Now, he has over one hundred crystals and stores them in different parts of his house. He found all of them while traveling and in the nearest metaphysical shops. Hill would ask crystal non–believers to touch them: “When you can get someone to be still, and feel what their body is telling them, there’s a difference when that person touches the crystal.” He also shared that

on how he is feeling. If he’s asleep and would like to find the cause of his actions, he will use a quartz crystal and have it heal him during the night. One of his favorite crystals to work with is aquamarine because it is a soothing water stone, which can help calm the fire within your body. He advises people who need a little pick–me–up to use a topaz to help motivate and bring passion into whatever they are doing. They can also use smoky quartz to help transmute negative thoughts and energies into positive ones. As a wire artist, he even wires the crystals into necklaces from his home. One of the books he recommends for those who are interested in learning more about crystals are “The Crystal Bible: A Definitive Guide to Crystals” by Judy Hall. Since crystals are made from the earth, they can give off energy. They can be used as a medical technique where crystals and other stones can be used to “cure ailments and protect against disease,” as stated in Some crystals like smoky quartz, amethyst, eye agate and black obsidian, can allow positive energy into the body to drive out the negative, disease–causing energy. Like magic, there needs to be a belief that their powers are real in order for their mind and body to trust in them as well. Kunzite can be pink, violet or even colorless. It can open and connect the heart to the mind that stimulates a healing communication between the two. Rose quartz is a lovely pink crystal and is said to help emotional well–being because it opens and realigns the heart chakra. Others include lapis lazuli, which stimulates a higher mind and consciousness, and citrine, which is a yellow crystal that exudes sunshine and happiness, and is said to be the most powerful for manifestation. It can inspire someone to achieve their goals and can bring joy and energy. There are so many more crystals that are beautifully magical and unique in their own way. It’s fascinating to explore different crystals and all their attached meanings. I’ve recently bought a rose quartz, clear quartz and amethyst. I mediate with one crystal per day or every other day. It helps to remind myself of the emotions I would like to leave my body while gaining some positive energy. When I first held each of the crystals in Earthbound, I instantly felt a positive vibe. I thought to myself, “Would I feel this way with every other crystal?” I held up another crystal from the same family but I didn’t feel as I did with the one I originally picked up. I am still researching more about crystals and their meanings and I am looking forward to purchasing more in the future. There are so many that can fit anybody’s needs. It’s important to remember that they aren’t meant to heal you instantly—you need to work at it and take care of yourself. More than anything, crystals are a reminder of how you would like to feel.

he uses a specific crystal to meditate with, depending






Andriana Akrap


A deeper look into the history and the statistics of the criminal justice system in the United States of America.


that prove just how common they are, and have been for centuries. In the United States of America, the penal system is a prime example of how discriminatory the criminal justice system is today and has been for centuries. Although African Americans make

n Thursday August 30, 2018, 3 young,

up only 13.4 percent of the population of the United

seemingly unarmed African American

States, they make up 34 percent of the country’s

men were arrested at gunpoint outside

prison population. While examining the history

of Euclid Commons. This occurred in an

of discrimination in the criminal justice system in

excruciatingly public manner where other students

the United States, the reason why these issues exist

in the area would have witnessed it just by looking

today becomes apparent. The issue is not that African

out their windows after hearing the commotion.

Americans commit crimes at higher rates, the issue

Unfortunately, incidents of this nature are not

is that the system was built to disadvantage them,

uncommon. In fact there are many staggering statistics

which it continues to do every day.


Not much has changed since the establishment of

According to the Huffing ton Post, “A frican

this inexhaustible institution. In 1865, the Thirteenth

Americans, who are 13 percent of the population

Amendment to the Constitution had just been ratified,

and 14 percent of drug users, are not only 37 percent

outlawing slavery in every case… except one. This

of the people arrested for drugs but 56 percent of

amendment clearly states that no slavery, except as

the people in state prisons for drug offenses.” The

a punishment for a crime, should exist in the United

Huffpost also mentions that the chance of a black male

States. Immediately after this amendment was

born in 2001 of going to jail is 32 percent (or one in

ratified, systems were put in place to continue the

three) and that the African American juvenile youth

oppression of African Americans, including Jim Crow

is 16 percent of the population, but they account for

laws, sharecropping, and prisons like Parchman Farm

28% of juvenile arrests, 37 percent of the youth in

in Mississippi, where there was a lot more going on

juvenile jails, and 58 percent of youth sent to adult

than the Delta blues. The prisoners were commonly

prisons. Some may confuse the reality of what is

to pay fines and therefore owed labor, and in other cases prisoners were simply unfairly leased and subleased to wealthy owners who were in search of cheap labor. The system was essentially an extension of slavery, but in a form that also happened to be legal under the amended Constitution of the United States. Flash forward to 1971. The Civil Rights movement made prolific strides in regards to African American rights. Segregation was deemed unconstitutional, voting rights had been protected, progress seemed to be en route. It appeared that the shadow of slavery had finally begun to lift, until President Nixon declared a “war on drugs.” He claims that drugs are the United States’ “public enemy number 1.” There are conflicting arguments about whether this war on drugs was entirely based on racial oppression, but according to the Drug Policy Alliance, “the drug war has produced profoundly unequal outcomes across racial groups, manifested through racial discrimination by law enforcement and disproportionate drug war misery suffered by communities of color.” They emphasized that the high number of arrests and high incarceration rates were a result of law enforcement disproportionately targeting urban areas, low income areas, and communities of color. According to the Drug Policy Alliance, over 60 percent of people in prison for drug offenses are people of color. Flash forward again to 2013. Once again it seems that momentum has been shifted in the right direction, with the election of the first black president, Barack Obama. That came to a crashing halt after the murder

happening today with the misguided argument that African Americans simply commit more crimes, when in fact white people are equally or more likely to use

The issue

drugs and sell drugs, there’s a smaller likelihood

is not that

they’ll have better representation.


a reflection of the history and the statistics of the

that they’ll be punished, and a higher likelihood that In 2018, we live in a world that’s in pain, undoubtedly

Americans commit crimes

systematic racism plaguing our penal system. A world where, even on our safe college campus, unarmed African American men are arrested at gunpoint. A world where, by the age of 14, somewhere around 25 percent of African American children have experienced

at higher

the imprisonment of a parent. A world where those

rates, it is the reality that the system was built to disadvantage

25 percent are more likely to drop out of school, misbehave, develop learning disabilities, suffer from migraines, mental health disorders, post–traumatic stress disorder, and experience homelessness. Some of us are those 25 percent and have been living with this issue our whole lives and some of use may only be becoming aware of it now, but as long as we recognize it and stand together, we can make a change. The question now is how can we, as the next

them, which it

generation, respond to these statistics? How can we

continues to

and how to combat it? For starters, it’s as easy as

do today.

picked up for minor charges and were required to do grueling labor. In some cases, prisoners were unable

create an understanding of why this problem exists turning on Netflix to get educated about the history of the racial discrimination of law and order by watching “13th,” a documentary about “intersection of race, justice, and mass incarceration in the United States.” We won’t be able to change anything if we don’t understand why it’s happening and why the history of the discrimination is linked to the

of unarmed 17–year–old Trayvon Martin by George

present. As far as changing these statistics, we are

Zimmerman with no retribution, sparking the Black

responsible for voting in representation who will

Lives Matter movement. Since then, the public has

make this issue a priority and hold our government

witnessed this happen over and over and over again,

accountable, and it’s our job to never let them forget

to Tony Robinson, Sandra Bland, Jordan Edwards,

how much this affects people everyday. Dr. Martin

Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams right here

Luther King Jr. once said that, “Human progress is

in Cleveland, and many more. As a response to this,

neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward

players in the NFL have turned to nonviolent protests

the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and

to bring national attention to this issue by taking a

struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern

knee during the national anthem. We hear about this,

of dedicated individuals.” Change is possible and it

see this, and even participate in this form of protest

is up to the next generation to make it happen, one

frequently, but it is still important to understand and

step at a time.

recognize the invisible statistics beneath the surface THEVINDI.COM ­­ | 36




Thrya Chaney

The Renee Jones Empowerment Center combats the ever present issue of human trafficking in the Northeast Ohio area in a unique way, offering countless resources for those affected by human trafficking


t a first glance, the flowerbedded facade

boxes of Dunkin Donuts. The building is without air

of t he Renee Jones Empower ment

conditioning, so strategically placed box fans blew

Center, at 1340 West 65th Street in

on high all summer long. The heat was no large

Cleveland, does not give much away as

sacrifice when one considers the work being done

to what goes on behind it. Within the

in this space everyday.

building’s four colorfully painted walls, decorated

Renee Jones founded the RJEC in 2002, inspired

with uplifting and empowering artwork, is a place

by the success of The Mastermind Alliance, her first

where people who have undergone unspeakable

endeavor in 1998 which succeeded in empowering

cruelty, abuse, and manipulation are able to feel

78 people to transition from homelessness to self

safe, respected, and understood—which is no small

sufficiency. She has devoted her time, energy, and

feat. The artwork is from art therapy sessions, one

tireless focus into becoming a leader in the fight

of the many forms of holistic rehabilitation that the

against human trafficking in Northeast Ohio. What

Renee Jones Empowerment Center offers victims of

makes the RJEC a place that victims and survivors

human trafficking and sexual abuse. I have been

of human trafficking can trust enough to come back

lucky enough to have had the opportunity to work

to is the personal aspect of everything that goes on

with this organization as a youth advocate and to

there. To everyone who walks in that door, Renee

see, firsthand, how the hard work and dedication

Jones is a friend. Renee understands how important

of the people in this space have been a strong and

trust is to people affected by trafficking situations,

positive force in the fight against human trafficking

and utilizes every method she can think of to reach

in Northeast Ohio.

anyone who is in need of the services that the center

Renee Jones tirelessly oversees the entire operation


is able to provide.

from a small office in the back of the building. Traci

Renee Jones is a strong believer in the idea that

Grasso, the only employee of the RJEC, works out of a

not everything works for everyone, but everyone has

small makeshift cubicle just a couple feet away from

something that works for them. The RJEC provides

the conference table. The conference table has been

a wide range of holistic treatments for victims of

host to countless support groups, therapy sessions,

trafficking or assault such as art therapy, dance

meetings with organizations and delegations, and

therapy, journaling, and horse therapy. Those in


treatment get to experience activities ranging from

During one Youth Ambassador meeting this past

nature retreats to spa days. Survivors are given the

summer, a suburban dad type came to the door of

opportunity to become certified peer counselors, which

the RJEC, asking if he could drop off a few boxes of

gives them the opportunity to be a part of someone

towels he was looking to donate. Renee Jones gave

else’s empowerment journey and to be a part of the

him directions to the Salvation Army Harbor Light

greater struggle to end the cycle of human trafficking.

Complex on Prospect Avenue which as of July, in

With the recently formed Northeast Ohio Human

collaboration with the Hue Jackson Foundation, is

Trafficking Law Clinic, directed by Maureen Guirguis,

equipped to house up to twelve victims of human

the RJEC is able to connect victims and survivors

trafficking; a number which seems small, but in

of human trafficking with legal services. Outreach

consideration of the fact that there are only 1,000

events at strips clubs, truck stops, and notorious

beds in the US designated for survivors of human

street corners, where Renee enlists volunteers to

trafficking, it is a significant one. “They probably

come and present women with gifts such as roses

need them more than we do,” Renee tells the man.

and empowering messages, serve as a reminder to

She is right. The RJEC building has piles and piles of

the community of the RJEC’s powerful presence, and

boxes of donated goods, which we give away at the

the endless support, care, and resources available to

Red Cord Night Out street outreach event.

victims of human trafficking.

The RJEC is a force for good in a community that

I am a member of

needs it, fighting an issue which few people talk

the Youth Ambassador

about, but many are affected by. I look forward to the

Training Academy, a pilot

future of the RJEC, as they are planning on moving

program recently put into

into a larger space and are constantly updating and

The RJEC is

effect with support from

expanding their reach to effectively serve as many

UPS. The purpose of the

victims of human trafficking as possible. I have been

a force for

prog r a m i s to enable

incredibly lucky to have had Renee Jones as a role

yout h aged si x teen

model, and to see the many ways in which positive

good in a community

to t went y–four to be

social change can be enacted by anyone with the

effective advocates, able

determination, the creativity, and the motivation

to spread information and

to make a difference for a cause about which they

awareness about the issue

are passionate.

that needs

of human trafficking at

it, fighting an

and community events.

s cho ol s, con ferences,

topics ra ng i ng from

few people

e n f o r c e m e n t , Yo u t h

are currently the victims of human trafficking


With trainings in specific

issue which

40.3 M. PEOPLE

public speaking to law Ambassadors are given

talk about,

countless opportunities

but many are

any informed and aware

affected by.

enact significant social

to develop the skills that young person needs to c h a n g e . R e n e e Jo n e s ensures that our skills are utilized at every possible opportunity. I have, since joining the program, met

with the Hue Jackson foundation and a UN delegation from Liberia, spoken at the NEO Human Trafficking Symposium at Notre Dame College, and participated in events such as the Collinwood Community Resource

The Renee Jones Empowerment Center is looking for more youth ambassadors! Please contact them if you are interested in helping.


and Empowerment Fair and Red Cord Night Out, the monthly street outreach event. Over the course of all of these undertakings, I have had the uniquely satisfying experience of gaining and training new skills, learning more about the cause, and being able to make a difference.

1340 W. 65th Street (Front), Cleveland, OH 44102 Call them at: 216–651–9601



AFTER THE VOWS Lesbians in a relationship, compared to gay individuals, are more likely to marry; at the same time, those newlyweds will confront certain challenges that they would not face as a straight or gay couple.


Darlene Nichole Moorman




t is October; that means looking for the perfect Halloween

some interesting terms such as “U–Haul Lesbian.” The concept

costume and, now apparently, wedding dress. According to

originates from the stereotype of lesbians, or at least a particular

studies done by websites such as The Knot or Zola, October has

type of lesbian, being extremely open to commitment even early

recently become the most popular month for weddings. When

in a relationship (the “U–Haul” showing a willingness and

one thinks about a wedding, usually joyous celebration and the

preparation to move in together). If there is accuracy to this

thought of unconditional, everlasting companionship comes to

stereotype, it would make sense why more lesbians marry than

mind. However, almost half of marriages in the United States (as

gay ones—they were eager to commit. Women are more likely to

well as in similarly developed nations) end in divorce. Real bummer,

marry younger then men, again suggesting they might be more

right? “Until death do us part” ends up being about 8 years. Even

impulsive while entering a marriage (marriages made in early

so, it is critical to consider how divorce has impacted different

twenties are less likely to last).

groups of people in different ways. The unions of minorities and economically–disadvantaged individuals are more likely to fall through. One group that seems to be the exception is LGBTQ+ couples, with homosexual U.S. divorce rates even being slightly lower than heterosexual ones. However, it is not that simple—as shown by the discrepancy between gay and lesbian marriages. Since the summer of 2013, homosexual couples nationwide were finally ensured the same right as their hetero–counterparts: the right to marry. Since then, as reported by a study by M. V. Lee Badgett and Christy

The Upsides Although lesbian marriages may end in divorce and face certain struggles other couples don’t, there are significant benefits associated with such a marriage. First of all, there are generally no accidental pregnancies for lesbian spouses; couples may be more confident/prepared in entering parenthood than certain straight couples. In the topic of parenthood, lesbian (and other LGBTQ+) couples may also raise children with a better understanding of tolerance considering sexuality/gender. Furthermore, lesbians are less likely to be limited by cultural norms and gender roles in a marriage. In such a marriage, there is less pressure to be a housewife or

Mallory from the Williams Institute, the “Windsor

to face unequal workloads. According to

Effect” has led to more LGBTQ+ individuals getting

the research of UCLA sociologist Suzanne

hitched (even in states where they could already

Bianchi, even when both spouses of a

marry, a spike in same–sex weddings occured).

heterosexual marriage worked full-time,

Among these newly wedded couples emerges an

women spent over 10 more hours on

interesting trend; there is a similar amount of

unpaid labor (family–oriented work).

lesbian and gay couples, but almost two thirds

In families where the husband worked

of those who marry are women. Additionally,

more than the wife, he still had much

most divorces are generally induced initially by

more free time (around 6 more hours).

women; this is also true in same–sex marriages. Which means, lesbian marriages are more likely to end in divorce papers. What kind of factors lead to more lesbians marrying, and divorce? And, what kind of pressures or struggles do married lesbians face than other couples may not or not in the same extent? The Dough in “I Do” It is in the vows—“for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health” —money and status are supposed to be trivial to

The research of both Pepper Schwartz and Philip Blumstein supported that homosexual and cohabitating relationships tended to be much more egalitarian and fair, especially lesbian ones. Additionally, lesbian relationships are least likely to divide power/influence by income. Finally, they are more likely to communicate with each other and to approach conflict amiably, according to a 2003 study from the University of Washington and the University of California at Berkeley. The higher divorce rate may also mean that lesbians are more aware of and find value in being given fair workloads and treatment; maybe an increasing divorce

love birds tying the knot. Well, a couple years later the bills are

rate does not mean more people are unsatisfied with

coming in and the honeymoon period has been long over. A

their marriages but they are more empowered to leave

Ramsey Solutions survey attributes finances as the number two

harmful/unfair marriages (especially among lesbians). So

major contributor (after cheating) to divorces. Money is a burden to

even if that wedding you have later in the month does last “for

pretty much every marriage, but it weighs especially on marriages

so long as you both shall live,” hopefully you can still appreciate

between two women. Women in the American workforce often face

that bond, even temporary, between a man and a women, two

a plethora of obstacles. They are less likely to be promoted, given

men, or two women.

raises, and paid the same as a male employee. Unlike other couples, both lesbian spouses will face these challenges. If lesbians are more likely to be paid less and have financial troubles, it might contribute to the stress of a marriage and increase the chance of divorce. Early Commitment and Impulsiveness You do not need to dig far into LGBTQ+ pop culture before hearing THEVINDI.COM ­­ | 40

Un. Lighter WRITTEN BY



Mikayla Colston I wish you all the best that life is willing to give.

I was told if you want to kill someone kiss them once and never again and so I did, yet I’m the one who died from the inside it’s when the moon came close to the sun So close, that the galaxy itself collapsed

that’s how I picture it your affection yet when I see my reflection I gaze at you perfection, if it even exists.

you look right back at me, with your beautiful eyes starving eyes they scare me your hug chokes me love, your kiss tastes like death yet you are the most alive person I have ever met.

I talk about your starving eyes yet I’m the one feeding on your lies for my loneliness on Friday nights for the sake of my writings so love, don’t love me

Don’t pull me in because my legs won’t be able to lift me for the love of Saturday mornings.. love please don’t love me I tend to break myself and others and I love you way too much to do that. “there is no such thing” I told you as I looked into your pearly brown eyes You gazed into my soul and realized that you are taking way too long to fathom the idea of me not loving you back The idea of me not being able to love you back.

you ran, as I collected what was left of me. it was never me falling, me loving It was never me loving

You see, one of my fears is to be that piece of poetry that you just can’t manage to finish that piece that a poet never gets to preform that remains in a notebook of notebooks.

One of my fears, is to be that canvas that is way too hard to understand. too complicated too fragile that canvas that never gets to be hanged on a wall of a museum

One of my fears, is to be that cup of tea that cup of tea that was forgotten on the kitchen counter

I never thought I would feel fear towards myself But yet again, I never thought I would understand why Vincent Van Gogh cut his ear off and shot himself in a field But I get it now, my ultimate fear is everything I made you feel.




Nick Chmura

Zavier McLean

I told you I thought the world was ending.The poor can barely eat yet spend all their money on cell phone payments.Every government is sick and corrupt and people are fucked.There’s lead in the water, hurricanes in the south and a madman in office.There’s poison in the air we breathe. And you— your eye was on a leaf falling and a butterfly, you were watching life happening. You told me, you said, “Eleanor, there’s a man around the corner with beehives, he’s had them for a year now. He told me that his buckeye tree had never made buckeyes until this year and that this was the first year his Dogwood bloomed. The bees are coming back Eleanor and we can too.”





Mikayla Colston You hurt me Were the last words written Before you died I was mortified because I didn’t even say goodbye I was angry at the way you treated me My soul wanted to kill you myself but I couldn’t Because I had some self control You told me you’d marry him I remember I was lying in bed while I was looking up at the sky The stars shined brightly back but your news turned my eyes to dust I wanted to leave you behind I prayed, hoping you’d leave me alone I don’t need you in my life My heart couldn’t block you because I wanted to see your name I needed to… But plans change So did I I’d rather stand in the middle of the ocean Then spend another night with you I picked up a call It was a Tuesday night It was your parents They said you were in an accident Then…. My phone screen shattered into a million pieces So did my heart I didn’t realize I dropped it until I was sobbing on the floor in the middle of the mall I looked like a crying lunatic But I couldn’t help it I guess life has a funny way of showing how people come and ho You literally left this earth Your soul slept one night Didn’t realize you’d lose your life the next day A minute passed and I bet your shadow looked at you Kissed your lifeless body and soared into the sky




Tyisha Blade

I carry the courage of a lion. Bravery is my middle name. I possess the poise of a princess. Royalty runs through my veins. My statue is a stallion. My hooves grace the ground. My title is Queen. My shield is my crown. I have seen things you will never see. To fly upon clouds is to walk with me. I been ripped and torn. Up my head will stay. Understand me you may not, But feel me yes, you may.



Preterm provides outstanding, nonjudgmental abortion care and sexual health services such as birth control options, STD testing and treatment, and wellness care. We train the health care providers of tomorrow. We are vocal advocate for reproductive health, rights, and justice. We support your choices. We respect your privacy. We’re committed to your safety. We trust our patients. Our patients trust Preterm.

THEVINDI.COM ­­ | 28 12000 Shaker Blvd | Cleveland, Ohio 44120 | | 216.991.4000




Art Pieces

Graphic Design














3D Design



Opposing Views Poetry Fiction/Creative Events

ADVERTISERS Details on our website:






Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.