The Vindicator - Spring 2020

Page 1

SPRING 2020

COMMENCEMENT VS. CORONA

A CANDID LOOK AT CANNABIS #TogetherApart

DOWNTOWN CLE DURING COVID-19


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21 what’s in this issue? 3

Check Us Out Online

4

Calendar

5

Letter from the Editor

6

Meet Our Contributors

COMMENCEMENT

VS. CORONA

Arts 7

BY TYISHA BLADE

Graphic Adaptations by JOSCELYN ERVIN

9

Master Artist Edward Everett Parker & The EEP Arts Complex

Culture

by TYISHA BLADE 11

13

“The Dead Key” Unlocking Cleveland’s Hidden History

Breaking Our Own Boundaries by CLAUDIA UGBANA

by AYANNA CASH 15

#IAmEC by TYISHA BLADE

19 Beauty + Wellness 25

How to Revamp Your Life This Spring by SAMRA KARMUSTAFIC

27

HIV/AIDS Awareness by JESSICA LYNN NICHOLS

29

by AMANDA LIGHT

A CANDID LOOK

AT CANNABIS BY BRIANA OLDHAM

The Green Leap

Social 31

17

Graduation - A Culmination of College by DOROTHY ZHAO

33

Poetry

Sober Bartending by MICHELLE FIORTA

35

The Great Escape by AMANDA LIGHT

37

Blue Shimmer Shadow by AYANNA CASH

38

No Requests by BRIANA OLDHAM

#TOGETHERAPART BY MAX TORRES

THEVINDI.COM ­­ | 2


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WORKING WOMAN IN SOCIETY

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“Chardonnay Graham recently celebrated a milestone. Her marketing consultation business, Touch Cleveland LLC, reached its fifth year of operation. Touch Cleveland LLC is an establishment that advocates for small businesses and understands...” — TYISHA BLADE

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Realistic Sex and Netflix. “Even though a lot of

Imposter Syndrome and How to Fix It “Or, at least, how to live with it. You aren’t alone when you feel like a fraud in a sea of successful people. Fake it ‘til you make it. That’s what everyone tells me. Even if I don’t feel confident...” — DOROTHY ZHAO

schools have lackluster examples of sex education, there are a few Netflix shows that can pick up some of the slack.” — JOSCELYN ERVIN

#VindiAsks: How are you spending time indoors?

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w h a t’s h a p p e n i n g i n

S P R I N G 4/17 CLE Cookies

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4/22 DIY Care Package with Oh Pink! Party Shop

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4/29 CLE Nonprofits

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Creative Babes Virtual Market

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4/30 Happy Hour

CreativeBabesMarket.com These are strange times for sure, but Creative Babes wants to continue to build human connection and support our community. With many events and markets being closed, and social distancing becoming more prominent, they are hosting a Virtual Market to help support those who are losing critical business. Visit CreativeBabesMarket.com to support local Cleveland businesses during this uncertain time.

Virtual Happy Hour Join Phunkenship’s head brewer for a virtual happy hour discussion on the sour brewing process and sour beer. Zoom info available upon registration. 4–5PM, SPACE IS LIMITED REGISTER AT ENGAGECLEVELAND.ORG THEVINDI.COM ­­ | 4


EDITOR’S LETTER

The Cleveland State Vindicator was founded as a Black student newspaper in January 1970.

LETTER FROM

THE EDITOR

T

he COVID-19 pandemic gives us fear. Uncertainty

publication to which a coronavirus comeback is designated

strikes us like an icy chill in winter’s heaven.

in Cleveland. To the graduating class of 2020, all is not

Questions on whether or not we can sustain as

lost. To our readers, continue to carry motivational tools

a community commanded ideals that society

throughout your collegiate journey. As a graduating senior,

considers intolerable. As global cries for help breach

I do hope that you all find The Vindicator in your good

economic, social and health standards, we have implemented

spirits along with hope that encourages togetherness

initiatives for the sick and needy that have spread across

through a global pandemic. In this issue, you will find

many countries. As a people, we are challenged by means

stories on post-graduation, book reviews, environmental

of who we stand as individuals that fight to keep what we

safety, alcohol awareness, East Cleveland’s art museum

have intact. We as students are abruptly uprooted from

and more. Please take care and enjoy.

our residence halls, classes, futures and lives. Can we stop? We must not. Therefore, The Vindicator is just one

TYISHA BLADE EDITOR–IN–CHIEF

5 | VINDICATOR


SPRING 2020

Faculty Advisor Julie Burrell Web Specialist Daniel Lenhart

MEET OUR

CONTRIBUTORS STAFF HEADS Tyisha Blade Editor–in–Chief

Imani Stephens Managing Editor

Kevin Coleman Copy Editor

Alexia Carcelli Art Director

Kyra Wells Asst. Art Director

Max Torres Multimedia Manager

Vincent McIntosh Online Content Editor

Joscelyn Ervin Arts Editor

Briana Oldham Culture Editor

Megan Baranuk Beauty Editor

Dorothy Zhao Social Editor

WRITERS Ayanna Cash Joscelyn Ervin Tyisha Blade Claudia Ugbana Briana Oldham

JUNIOR DESIGNERS Jessica Lynn Nichols Samra Karamustafic Amanda Light Michelle Fiorta Dorothy Zhao

POETS Ayanna Cash

Katheryn Lewis Distrubution Coordinator

Maria Ahmad Stefany Belasic Devin Benko Erin Butkiewicz Asha McClendon Hannah Mosley

Megan Mullaly Alexandra Paquin Miranda Lynn Tulcewicz Jillian VanDyke Derek Prince Wilson

ARTISTS & PHOTOGRAPHERS Briana Oldham

Yara Hamo

Max Torres

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


ARTS

C I C I H H P P A A R R G G S S N N O I O I T T A TA PT AP DA A AD A look into recent graphic novel adaptations on the small screen and why some work and others don’t.

WRITTEN BY

ILLU S TRATED BY

Joscelyn Ervin

Asha McClendon

L

ast semester, Fall 2019, I took a class

graphic novels are childish, I tend to disagree. Graphic

called “Popular Culture.” I didn’t really

novels have always been a source of fun, beautiful

know exactly what we would be focusing

stories that are sometimes simple, but often complex

on other than writing about, you guessed

as well. I’ve always been a huge fan of most graphic

it, pop culture. What I first imagined was

novels that I’ve come across. This seems to be true

journalistic papers that discussed current events,

for others as well. Graphic novels have become an

movies, shows, etc., that might fall under this cat-

obviously huge part of pop culture with various show

egory. Instead, this class highlighted something a

and movie adaptations like the Marvel and DC Cin-

little less broad—graphic novels. Similar to a comic

ematic Universes, “V for Vendetta,” “The Walking

book, graphic novels are a series of comics that create

Dead,” and more.

an in-depth and artistic story. Graphic novels tend to

In the past year or so, however, it seems to me that

be longer than comic books, or even a collection of comics from a series. Even though some people think comic books and

7 | VINDICATOR

these have become a little more popular than usual—so of course, I made a list of some of the most recent and notable graphic novel adaptations.


SPRING 2020

Forsman, released as a Netflix show in October 2017.

OTHER NOTABLE ADAPTATIONS:

As was the case with “Locke & Key,” I did not read the graphic novel that this show is based on, so I can’t give a solid comparison between the books and the show—but I can say how much I love this show. The story follows two main characters, James and Alyssa, who are both teens. At the beginning of the show, James confesses that he might be a psychopath. He kills animals for fun, doesn’t really have feelings, and decides he wants to try killing a human. Alyssa is his potential victim, but her rash, violent, and honest personality leads the plot in a different direction. Before taking the Pop Culture course, I had no idea that this show was based on a graphic novel. I’m a little happy about that. When we were discussing various

Kingsman Movie released in 2014 Original story written by Mark Millar

adaptations in class, a couple of my classmates had seen the show as I had, read the book, and basically Locke & Key One of the most recent and prominent graphic novel adaptations that I’ve seen is “Locke & Key” on Netflix. I haven’t really heard much buzz about it overall, but it is one of the most binge-worthy shows I’ve seen in awhile. Released in February of this year, “Locke & Key” is based on a graphic novel series of the same name, written by Stephen King’s son, Joe Hill. Although I have not read the graphic novel series, but have seen the whole show, it looks like the novels have a darker tone. This may not be entirely true, since I have not read the series yet. Even so, I can’t say I was disappointed with the show as a whole. This may change after reading the series, as it usually does when a book is made into a movie or show. The story is nail-biting, the characters are interesting, and it keeps you guessing until the very end. “Locke & Key” takes place after the murder of Rendell Locke, father to three kids—Tyler, Kinsey, and Bode. The three kids and their mom, Nina, move into an old family home of the Locke’s. This house is home to not just the family, but also a handful of magical keys that each have different powers. As the story continues throughout ten episodes, each about an hour-long, the siblings gradually find keys throughout the house and attempt to outsmart a supernatural being trying to obtain all of the keys. Described as a supernatural horror in most of the premises found elsewhere, “Locke & Key” feels like a twisted fantasy that keeps manipulating your perspective throughout each episode. Th e E n d of t h e F * * *i n g Wo rl d This Netflix show is one of my favorites from the past two years. It’s different, alarming, and gritty. “The End of the F***ing World” is a show based on a graphic novel of the same name, written by Charles

said that the original novel was trash. This may or may not be true, but I still plan on reading the book to see for myself. Even if the graphic novel is awful, this show is fantastic. Watc h m e n If you’re already familiar with graphic novels, you might also know about this classic story written by Alan Moore. If you are familiar with the original book, don’t worry, this HBO show is not the same premise. Instead, it’s set after the plot of the original

V for Vendetta Movie released in 2005 Original story written by Alan Moore

story—but I wouldn’t call it a sequel. HBO’s “Watchmen” focuses on the aftermath of the original story’s plot, 30-some years later, but with different characters. The original book singled-out a group of American heroes from the 1940s to “present day” in 1985. Moore’s original story was already made into a movie adaptation in 2009. While including little easter eggs for viewers, HBO’s “Watchmen” follows the story of a Black policewoman named Angela Abar, who works to fight a white supremacist group trying

Kick-Ass

to massacre cops.

Movie released in 2010

Unlike the other two adaptations, I have read

Original story written by

“Watchmen” but have not finished watching the

Mark Millar

entire HBO show. Even so, I can tell that it’s something I will rave about at the end. HBO’s adaptation takes the original story and elaborates on subjects that Moore decided weren’t necessary - specifically, racism. When we discussed this novel in class last semester, one of the major issues that was brought up was the lack of discussion about the racism of the 1940s and 50s - when a lot of the story is set. HBO does a fantastic job of tackling this subject in a way that gives more depth to the overall universe of the story and providing viewers with a diverse set of characters. I can’t wait to see where it goes from the first season. I highly recommend reading “Watchmen” if you haven’t already.

The Walking Dead Show released in 2010 Original story written by Robert Kirkman

THEVINDI.COM ­­ | 8


ARTS

Master Artist Edward Everett Parker and the EEP Arts Complex WRITTEN BY

PHOTOGRAPHED BY

Tyisha Blade

Max Torres

A museum of art in East Cleveland showcases work done by master artist and students

T

ake a ride up Euclid headed through Uptown and you will soon find East Cleveland. Go a little further, just beyond the border and you will find The Edward E. Parker (EEP)

Arts Complex. Nestled on the corner of Rosalind and Euclid Ave., East Cleveland’s museum of art was established by Master Artist Edward E. Parker founder and retired professor of art. After years of rehabilitation, the complex now has an event center, art gallery, hair salon, classroom space, meeting rooms and apartments ideal for college students. A Pennsylvania native born in 1941, Parker relocated to Toledo with his family where he studied at the Toledo Museum of Art. Parker recalls starting his love of art in elementary school where he attended Lincoln Elementary School. He graduated from Scott High School then earned his bachelor’s degree in art from Central State University in Art Education Administration. Continuing his education, he studied for his master’s degree in Art Education at Kent State University. A skilled and cultured artist, Parker has also studied across the world in countries such as Africa, Mexico and Ecuador. Since then, the master artist has sustained a life of work in arts and art education. As an educator, Parker taught and worked in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District as the head of the art department at Audubon Jr. High for several years. He later taught at Cuyahoga Community College’s western campus for 20 years as a professor of art and the arts department coordinator.

9 | VINDICATOR


SPRING 2020

At the age of 42, wanting to expand from his

at the complex. Two of Parker’s students, grandmother

first gallery in the Buckeye area, Parker found an

Vanetta Neal and granddaughter Alicia Neal, frequent

abandoned building that had been vacant for nearly

the classes and enjoy the learning as much as they do

t wo decades. Parker bought the East Cleveland

sculpting. “[My grandmother] invited me and I was

building, formally a Cleveland Clinic nursing facility,

like ‘Yea, I’ll go,’”Alicia said. “I like how expressive

in 1984. “I walked in [the building] and there were

[art] is. There’s no limits or rules, you just do what you

feces, racoons, skunks and possums everywhere,” he

want and have fun with it.” Vanetta goes to the class

said. “So, I started working.” He and a friend began

every week said she enjoys everything about it. “It’s

the process of fixing the building and cleaning it out.

really relaxing, and this is my outlet,” Vanetta said.

Since then, he has developed several displays of art

“[Parker] is an excellent teacher and he brings out

in his gallery that not only include exhibits of his

the best in us. He fusses at you, but teaches and tells

what is

creativity, but also show the relationship between art

you exactly what you need to know.” Akhi Knightan,

and society. For example, the sculpture Reflections

another student in Parker’s class, studies Art at Tri-C

happening

of the First Year of Two Lovers is a vertical series of

Eastern campus. After some encouragement from

sculptures that show different dynamics in the first

in their

her mentor, Lady Palmer, to pursue Art, she began

year of a relationship. “At the top they copulate,”

attending the class. “I wanted to learn, and I have

neighborhood.

he said. Another piece Parker created is Pharaohs of

been here ever since,” said Knightan. “I am really

the Ghetto featuring African, European, Asian and

enjoying the classes and learning and [the classes

Indian pharaohs. “All people have a pharoah,” Parker

here] help me with my classes at Tri-C.” Art classes

said. “No matter what culture it is, there’s always

are every Tuesday and Thursday from 6 p.m. to 8

a pharaoh.” Other works featured in the gallery are

p.m. and senior citizens attend for free. Parker offers

Daughter of the Sun, Daniel and the Lion’s Den,

a discount for groups of 10 or more. He also has an

Get This Monkey Off My Back and The Full-figured

African Bookshelf & Gift Shop which is filled with

Woman Series.

Black Children’s Books and African Masks. Located

People

need to get over here and see

Parker has several art projects throughout the

directly next door to the complex is Parker’s Guest

East Cleveland city including a billboard on Superior

House, a bed and breakfast—fully furnished with

and Terrace and a mural at East Cleveland’s Martin

three bedrooms, a jacuzzi, a laundry facility and a

Luther King Jr. Civic Center. If you’ve ever driven

sauna. Parker also hosts the Annual Collard Greens

up the East Cleveland side street, Rosalind, you will

Cook-Off and festival in September in the venue’s

notice two mansion-sized columns on each side of

spacious backyard.

the street--both designed by Parker. Much of his

His list of accomplishments doesn’t end with his

inspiration comes from people that he meets and sees. A “theme artist,” some of his works include sculptures of Chicken George, Malcom X, Micheal Jackson, Paul Worfield and more. He continues to work and has recently been commissioned to begin another project with the Civic Center.

work in art and education. Parker has been recognized and honored across multiple prestigious platforms. For instance, he has received awards of appreciation from the East Cleveland Public Library for his service on the board of trustees. He has been featured in The History Makers. He has also been honored with an

Parker also offers art classes at the complex where

award of appreciation by the East Cleveland Board of

students use sculpting techniques to build busts,

Education as well as a Power Networker of the Year

two-part molds and other pieces that Parker displays

award. Parker is featured in publications such as the Plain Dealer and The Collective Arts Network. He sold his work all over the world, but currently hopes to keep his remaining work in the museum. He wants to leave his legacy to a university or other museum of art. “I might give it to them for free if they can keep my museum alive,” he said. Parker encourages locals to visit the complex. “People need to get over here and see what is happening in their neighborhood,” he added. For more information on The Edward E. Parker Art Complex, visit www.eepmoa.com.

THEVINDI.COM ­­ | 10


ARTS

“THE DEAD KEY” UNLOCKING CLEVELAND’S HIDDEN HISTORY

WRITTEN BY

Ayanna Cash ILLUSTRATED BY

Megan Mullaly D. M. Pulley’s fiction novel gives readers a new perspective on a historical building on Euclid Ave.

D

M. Pulley is a Northeast Ohio native who started her career as an engineer. She would survey and rehab historical buildings in the Cleveland area but, after having two children,

Pulley decided to put her engineering career on hold to be a stay-at-home mom, but she quickly grew restless and decided to try her hand at writing. Inspired by a survey she did years prior of a vacant

through the experiences of Baker in 1978 and Latch

bank, Pulley was entranced by a rumor that the bank

in 1998. Together, the two women uncover the same

was full of unclaimed safe deposit boxes. This specific

scandal involving missing safe deposit boxes, work-

surveying job followed her for years and eventually

place love affairs, a city caving under debts and

served as the basis for her first novel, “The Dead Key.”

key No. 547.

“The Dead Key” unravels the mystery of a bank

After a troubled relationship with her mother,

right on Euclid Ave—1010 Euclid Ave. to be exact.

Baker moves in with her no-nonsense aunt Dorris.

This is the present location of apartments, office

Despite being only 16, Dorris forages Baker a birth

spaces, the Downtown Heinen’s grocery store and

certificate and she’s hired at the bank. This is where

the Vault which is an underground bar that occupies

Baker meets her colleag ue and friend, Ma x ine

the original restored vaults of the bank.

McDonnell, a.k.a Max. McDonnell shows Baker the

The novel begins in 1978 with 16-year-old Beatrice

ropes and the pair quickly grow close.

Baker. Once hired at the First Bank of Cleveland, the

Baker’s first glance at the bank’s dark side is when

crime and drama within the bank slowly begins to

she learns of the undocumented repossession of safe

reveal itself to Baker. As the scandal comes to a head,

deposit boxes. One woman came into the bank to

the doors to the First Bank of Cleveland are chained

make a payment on her box, only to learn that it had

shut in the middle of the night—sealing in and pre-

been repossessed. The woman was outraged because

serving the bank’s history and its scandal behind

she never received any notices from the bank and

the doors.

threatened legal action. As a result, McDonnell’s boss

Twenty years later, in 1998, Iris Latch, a 23-year-

assigns her the secret project of requesting audits

old Case Western Reserve University engineering

on the boxes, finding ones that haven’t been paid

graduate, struggled to balance adult life and begin

on, and checking that against the bank’s records.

her engineering career. She’s assigned to do a reno-

When Baker’s aunt Dorris falls into an unexplained

vation feasibility study of the First Bank of Cleveland.

coma, she further lear ns just how shady—and

While surveying, Latch unlocks the mystery of the

dangerous—the First Bank of Cleveland is. Baker

bank that has been perfectly frozen in time.

finds hidden love letters, First Bank of Cleveland

As the story jumps between time periods, the

repossession documents, and a mystery key No. 547

mysteries behind the bank are slowly pieced together

in her aunt’s belongings and learns that her aunt

11 | VINDICATOR


SPRING 2020

...an extraordinary story that excellently joins mystery, suspense and danger...set in our very city.

had previously worked at the bank herself.

expanded beyond their connection to the bank. They

Baker then finds out that she doesn’t truly know

lived realistic lives and endured genuine problems

McDonnell either when she realizes that she stole

that made them more interesting and relatable. You

her aunt’s mystery deposit box key No. 547 and then

witness Baker grows from a timid teenager to an

goes missing. Once McDonnell goes missing, tensions

independent, quick-witted young lady. And Latch

at the bank rise. Baker follows the shorthand clues

matures from being lost and negligent to being mature

left by McDonnell and learns that hundreds of safe

and resilient. I found myself fully invested in Iris

deposit boxes hadn’t been repossessed but their

and Beatrice and their real-ness.

valuable contents had been stolen.

Unfortunately, the complex plot became extremely

This discovery puts Baker and McDonnell’s lives

tangled towards the end. It felt like plot twist after

in danger as they unravel the illegal activity that is

plot twist was being introduced extremely quickly

benefitting the most prestigious—and dangerous—

which strayed the plot from the central storyline while

families in Cleveland.

leaving many key questions unanswered. The final

Twenty years later, while surveying the abandoned

fate of the main characters wasn’t very clear as well.

bank, Latch finds the vault with hundreds of locked

My only wish for this story is that it had a more

safe deposit boxes containing the most valuable pos-

satisfying and intelligible ending.

sessions of citizens who are now, either, very old or

Nonetheless, Pulley’s “The Dead Key” is an ex-

have since passed away. Latch’s curiosity is piqued.

traordinary story that excellently joins mystery,

What is inside these boxes? Who do they belong to?

suspense and danger that is set in our very city.

Why were they left unclaimed and unopened?

Pulley’s use of Cleveland landmarks makes the book

As she gathers measurements of the bank, Latch

particularly enjoyable to natives who can accurately

finds more than she intended. Forgotten files, locked

visualize— or even visit—the setting of the story.

rooms, and mystery bank keys only make her more

Pulley was supposed to visit Cleveland State Uni-

invested in the bank’s past. She learns of Baker and

versity’s library on April 22nd, but, sadly, that visit

McDonnell through their abandoned files and finds

has since been canceled due to COVID-19.

the same deposit box key No. 547 that put the duo in so much danger twenty years prior. Unaware of the key’s past, Latch is determined to return the key to its rightful owner with the innocent hope that they can reclaim their valuables. But as Latch digs deeper to uncover the past, she stumbles into the same danger that Baker and McDonnell faced. She hears voices, sees shadows and feels an ominous presence as she wanders through the bank. Sleepless nights, intense hangovers, a complicated love life and her taxing job only add to Latch’s stress and increases her paranoia. Eventually, Latch’s snooping leads her to a discovery so horrifying it forces the police to investigate the bank’s dark past after decades of neglect. The bank’s malicious operations continued well beyond the bank’s closure. As the chapters alternate between the two time periods, it’s fascinating to see the same mystery being solved, piece-by-piece, through two different viewpoints. The story gradually unravels the bank’s sinister workings in a way that builds and held my attention. Despite being twenty years apart, Baker and Latch share a lot of similarities beyond the First Bank of Cleveland. The women form relationships and cross paths with the same people. The women share similar experiences that allow each of their discoveries to build off of one another as they’re presented. Pulley does a beautiful job of intricately tying the two women’s lives together. Although some of the supporting characters fell short, the two main characters had a deep depth that

Pick up a copy of D.M. Pulley’s “The Dead Key” and unravel the Cleveland-based mystery for yourself!

THEVINDI.COM ­­ | 12


CULTURE

Breaking Our Own B oundaries WRITTEN BY

ILLUSTRATED BY

Claudia Ugbana

Kyra Wells

History and Culture Do Not Have To Be One-Dimensional

I

n 2018, my mother moved from her home, Lagos, Nigeria, to Houston, Texas. She said she wanted to be closer to her children, to see the lives we built for ourselves and make a new one of her

own. There was something about her decision that seemed so strange at the time; it was incredibly unheard of for 50-something Nigerian women to leave behind their home, job and husband to pursue an unknown future in another country. Angela Ugbana has been extremely well traveled due to her marriage to my father, who, 30-something years ago, was once extremely wealthy. She toured most of Europe, had her children in foreign countries, and most importantly, her children were, by all accounts, as American as they came. To her, the move seemed effortless and easy. She termed it a “natural life move I felt I should have made years prior.” To the women around her, it seemed like she made a decision women her age simply didn’t make. My mother was married at 24. Soon after, there was talk that she was barren, unable to have children because of a miscarry she endured a year into her marriage. Rumors started by my father’s sisters. “I remember feeling like God was punishing me for some crime I had committed. Something I couldn’t remember,” she told me. But I know deep down, she remembers it often, clutching on to the idea that she would have been a mother of five, and not of four children. So she and my father kept trying. They had my sister just three years later, another baby girl came


SPRING 2020

less than two years later, and my brother was born

with marriage still being the end goal.” This premise

a little under a year afterwards. She was 30 years

is the reality of my mother’s last 30 years.

old, with three children under the age of four. Being

“Do you regret it all?” I ask her. She shakes her head

a woman in what seems now like a different world,

in response and I have to wonder, is she being truth-

although just a different culture, meant being a wife,

ful? Are her responses out of the duty she holds as a

then a mother, strangely in that order.

mother to me and my siblings because of the duties

Growing up in a Nigerian household was like walking

our heritage deems she is supposed to uphold?

around naked, with everything laid out bare. You were

I believe at age of 55, she’s come a long way from

never really alone, because it wasn’t in our culture

where she started. Parts of her life are still attached

to be your own person. Not really, anyway. At the

to the places that molded her into the woman she

You have

same time, my upbringing was also knowing halves

is today. She makes routine visits to Nigeria for the

of whole stories, while the rest remained whispers

sake of her new found long distance relationship to

to become

behind closed doors of my parents bedroom that

my father.

my mother said was, “Only for grown ups to know.”

“He’s still my husband,” she tells me. I tell her

I remember routine Sunday visits to my aunt’s

that I understand. She does not have to be just

house. The children were sent off to play outside or

one thing, or have a single identity. She can be the

person

watch a movie in the children’s playroom. In the living

middle-aged entrepreneur who embarked on a new

room, the adults drank and laughed together. On the

career path and enjoys the value of the American

before you

outside, it seemed like my mother got along just fine

dollar she works hard for each day. She can also be

with her sister-in-laws. The room was always filled

the wonderful mother of four children, obsessing over

find yourself

with laughter and animosity would have been a brief,

our well-being even as we continue to age and form

fleeting thought. But the car ride home revealed my

various identities of our own. She can also still be a

belonging

mother’s disdain for them. In actuality, she deeply

wife, wanting to uphold the vows she took years ago

detested my father’s sisters. It was something I, too,

to love and honor my father. I tell her that abiding by

to someone

started to feel after witnessing through my childhood

the culture we came from does not mean we have to

the relationship dynamic between my mother and her

limit ourselves to being one dimensional; I tell my

sister-in laws. They would laugh together in public, but

mother as women especially, we can be a million

there were clear signs of distrust and unease. I began

different things all at once.

your own

else.

to feel something I never really understood, because it was one of those things I wasn’t allowed to know, but I abided by my mother anyway. Blossoming into my adult years, I am well versed on the story now. I laugh and tell my mother that I couldn’t see myself living that same life she did. From one home to another, never making a life of your own before you belonged to someone else. My mother spent the first 24 years of her life belonging to her parents, serving them and obeying their culture and commands. Then

N igeria,

into adulthood, she belonged to my father’s home and to her children. Everything she was being just a mother and a wife. “You have to become your own person before you find yourself belonging to someone else.” Hunched over the kitchen stove-- her favorite place to be-my mother preaches quite often. Over the years, she developed a mantra. She became almost obsessed with instilling into my sisters and I that we needed to know the women we were before we got lost in the world of a man. Her voice is pregnant with regret and pity for her 24-year-old self. An article for the University of Birmingham’s official website describes the ideas of marriage, in African cultures for women married or unmarried, as “stigmatic, an interim economic and social solution,

Texas THEVINDI.COM ­­ | 14


CULTURE

OF HOME OFHOME THE CARD

#IAMEC WRITTEN BY

Tyisha Blade

State Takeover and The Road to Academic Recovery and Revitalization

A

fter a state takeover, The East Cleveland City School District is taking measures to

ILLUSTRATED BY

Erin Butkiewicz

Pettiegrew learned at an early age what it meant to

restructure education methods to better

“turn around” a school district from his father who

prepare for state assessments. According

was an administrator for decades. His father was

to education.ohio.gov, these state as-

commissioned to help schools improve education

sessments measure how students develop knowledge

standards and when he finished aiding in deficient

and skills described in Ohio’s Learning Standards. Re-

areas, he was commissioned to go to another school.

sults help rate each school’s performance reflected on

“He would come home and talk about how he interacted

its annual Ohio School Report Card. East Cleveland,

with the staff, parents, community and children...and

Youngstown and Lorain are the three local school dis-

how a sense of school spirit and culture is important,”

tricts in a state takeover controlled by the Academic

Pettiegrew said. Pettiegrew also wants children to

Distress Commission. According to publicschoolreview.

know that, even though they walk past buildings

com, in a takeover, the state department of education

and houses that are boarded up, there’s still hope

forms a committee responsible for overseeing changes

through education. Road to Academic Recovery and

the school needs to make for academic sufficiency. In

Revitalization | An East Cleveland Story

response, the East Cleveland City School District created the Road to Academic Recovery and Revitalization initiative. City leaders embrace the need for change

Dr. Pettiegrew’s First 30 Days Pettiegrew immediately introduces new methods

and work diligently to make changes. Goals include an

of teaching. He also addresses the need to find out

increase in The District Performance Index (PI) to 66.0

what the students are passionate about. Meetings

by June 2020, trauma sensitivity and engaged learn-

with community members in locations such as Mc-

ing. To reach these goals, the school district’s new-

Gregor Homes, The Salvation Army City Hall, and

est Chief Executive Officer, Henry Pettigrew II Ph.D.,

Case Western Reserve University, engage the entire

implements strategies that manufacture educational

community. “The most important measure for me in

techniques to improve state testing scores. Pettiegrew,

this entire district is instructional hours,” Pettiegrew

a Cleveland State University alumnus, has also worked

said. “It is precious. How many instructional hours

with faculty members to create better lesson plans. The

can I get into this child in this subject area. That will

Road to Academic Recovery and Revitalization also has

determine how successful that child will be.” Road

a documentary which follows the district’s progress.

to Academic Recovery and Revitalization | Dr. Henry

The documentary shows, not only strong leadership,

Pettiegrew’s first 30 days

but also a united community effort to encourage and support the students of East Cleveland. 15 | VINDICATOR

An East Cleveland Story


SPRING 2020

THE CARDINALS

Mindfulness and Trauma

to awe her. Director of Special Education, Courtney

The district takes a closer look at mindfulness and

Bean Jones, expresses her thoughts about the state

impacts traumatic experiences have on students’

takeover. “Initially, with the takeover coming in to

ability to learn. Director of Learning, Teaching and

play, I was very concerned,” Jones said. “I was very

Engagement, Andratesha Fritzgerald, addresses

nervous, and afraid of the unknown. The takeover

“mindful teaching.” She explores topics such as the

has not been what I expected. It has brought about a

conditions of the student’s nervous system while in

positive change not only for the East Cleveland City

the classroom. “Are they in-tune? Are they present?

School but for the East Cleveland community as a

Are they empathetic?” she asked. “Mindfulness is

whole.” Jones has been with the district for 20 years.

paying attention on purpose and without judgement.”

She mentions change and Dr. Pettiegrew’s determi-

Students should be able to assess how they feel and

nation. “He has a vision of what he knows we can

remain comfortable with letting teachers know when

be.” Road to Academic Recovery and Revitalization

they aren’t well. Pettiegrew expounds upon trauma

| I See What I See

and building a curriculum that teaches students how to self-regulate at an early age. Road to Academic

Back to School Rally and Opening Convocation

Recovery and Revitalization | Mindfulness and Trauma

The back to school rally included a DJ, food, bounce

Summer School

houses, information tents and family-friendly entertainment. Shaw High School’s principal, Lori

Curriculum Specialist at Caledonia Elementary, Fe-

Crum-Whittenburg mentions the action-packed

lecia Curtain, talks about Dr. Pettiegrew’s 20-day

curriculum the school has planned. “We will be a

cycle. Piloted in summer school 2019, students took a

trauma sensitive school,” she said. “We are creating

pre-assessment. Based on results, lesson plans were

design labs for the students and we have been lucky

created to help the students master standards. Weekly

enough to have Illuminate, a data housing software.”

checkpoints were then made to ensure that students

During the convocation, President of the Academic

were mastering material. At the end of summer school,

Distress Commission, Rev. Stanley Miller mentions

students took post-assessments. Staff members came

how East Cleveland Schools are further in progress

together to discuss successes and areas of struggle.

when compared to Youngstown and Lorain. Several

...even

Summer school programs also expose students to

guest speakers included President of the East Cleveland

diverse extra curricular activities. These activities

School Board, Judge Una Keenon; Academic Distress

though they

include soccer, drama, yoga, dance, and entrepre-

Commission Member, Karen Winston-Carpenter; and

neurial classes to name a few. Denise Watkins, in her

more. There were also several performances including

walk past

fifth year with the program, teaches in the areas of

a song from emcee, Mario Riley, and a dance per-

visual arts and photography. “I think I have made

formance from staff and students. Road to Academic

buildings

a difference in some of the students,” Watkins said.

Recovery and Revitalization | Back to School Rally

and houses

them how to see the world [through] the lens of the

The Students Voice

camera.” Summer Enrichment Program Coordinator,

The season finale takes a look at the student’s typ-

that are

Eugine White, rewards students that complete their

ical day at school and how they are adapting to new

assignments and are well-behaved. In this episode,

leadership. The students express how their mornings

boarded

White passes out pop-sicles walking from class to

begin and the enthusiasm they feel when teachers greet

class. End goals included better assessment scores,

them. Students also reflect on the donut, a model that

up, there’s

student sporting events and more. Road to Academic

assesses how proficient they are in certain skills and

Recovery and Revitalization | Summer School

where they need improvement. They notice differ-

“Particularly in the area of photography, [teaching]

still hope

I See What I See

ences in the curriculum as well as social and cultural differences. Better interaction between students and

through

Lawrence Perry, Intervention Specialist and East

teachers are also notable features. Road to Academic

Cleveland native, has worked for the district for 13

Recovery and Revitalization | The Students Voice

education...

years. “There’s something extra special when you’ve lived here. You’ve seen the ups and downs,” said Perry.

Major improvements have been made with the intro-

“Unfortunately, you do see the negative, but when you

duction of the Road to Academic Recovery and Revital-

are actually from here, you can see the positive, too.”

ization. The resilience of the East Cleveland community

Andratesha Fritzgerald, Director of Learning, Teaching

is phenomenal and the want to help the students is

and Engagement mentions that great things happen

commendable. Season two will be coming up soon!

in East Cleveland everyday. “Seeing the teachers get excited about lesson planning and participating in

Editing: Arthur Hill

the design lab has been life-giving for me,” Fritz-

Executive Producer: Donshon Wilson

gerald said. She mentions the community, pride,

Videography: Arthur Hill, Donshon Wilson

unity and togetherness of East Cleveland continues

Production Manager: Chavone Taylor-Nash THEVINDI.COM ­­ | 16


#TOGETHER SECTION

PHOTOGRAPHED BY

Max Torres

5 | VINDICATOR

Photos of downtown Cleveland during the COVID-19 pandemic


NOVEMBER 2019

APART

THEVINDI.COM ­­ | 6


FEATURE

A CANDID LOOK

AT CANNABIS

glass ceiling was broken on decriminalization to keep going to the legalization of medical cannabis. The next phase in the full legalization process is considered somewhat sorted history because every state had their own ideas about how to proceed. There would be, much like last time, about 15 years before we saw the next development with cannabis. Starting with Colorado and Washington state in 2012, over the next seven years, an additional nine states by way of an amendment, a ballot, or state legislature would have made legal the usage and possession* of cannabis by way of an amendment, ballot initiative

Briana Oldham ILLUSTRATED BY

Alexia Carcelli

Forget me not! How much do we really recall about states legalizing cannabis?

I

legalize recreational cannabis came last in a series of measures, each state went at their own pace when deciding if the time was right to pass their own laws.

t’s more than just if it’s legal or not, whether the effects are good or bad, and what forms it comes in. April is National Cannabis Awareness Month and there is so much more to learn—it starts with what the regulations

are nationally and how they trickle down to Ohio and the various states.

Cannabis can be referred to by many names: ganja, hash, hemp, marijuana, and weed, to name a few. The journey to where we are now began with the decriminalization of cannabis in the ‘70s. According to esquire.com, beginning with Oregon and followed shortly after by Alaska, Maine, Colorado, California and Ohio, these states set the tone. Offenders receiving lesser charges for possession of controlled substances was the biggest takeaway during this era. Roughly two decades would pass before the issue would be revisited and amended to look at the uses and benefits of medical cannabis. I don’t recall there being conversations regarding cannabis for medicinal purposes beginning in 1996, but then again, I wouldn’t since I was only seven. Leading the pack and among the first to legalize medical cannabis were California, Oregon, Alaska, Washington state, Maine, and Hawaii. Four out of six of these states pioneered this ini-

tiative on both occasions. I’m no expert but I’d say this was because it was probably easier once the 19 | VINDICATOR

recreational use of cannabis. Though the move to

For example, while there were many years between steps for most states, Illinois legalized medicinal cannabis in 2013 and legalized recreational use just last year. This is the most recent state to crossover to the recreational side and the only state to do so in such a short length of time after legalizing medical cannabis. Another very important aspect to look at when discussing cannabis is why it is viewed as taboo. The fact that it has a negative connotation and those who use cannabis are looked at as doing something bad or wrong. This is a reason why Americans have been conflicted about whether legalizing cannabis is a good move. See also, the War on Drugs. Most people if not totally familiar have at least heard of the War on Drugs. Seeing that it is a huge part of how and why there is a stigma around the advancements made within the cannabis industry, I wanted to explore the initiative further. To stop illegal drug use, distribution and trade by drastically increasing prison sentences for both drug dealers and users. It started in the 1970s (how odd that it came around the same time as the first phase of decriminalization) and has continued to evolve. The myriad of reactions to this movement ranged from full support to feelings that certain races were targeted and that it was fueled by politics. From the beginning, according to history.com,

* Chart applicable to adults 21+ only.

WRITTEN BY

Information obtained from businessinsider.com. See more in-depth infographic at thevindi.com

or state legislature. The District of Columbia has also made legal


SPRING 2020

President Nixon wanted to ensure certain drugs

Ehrlichman felt so strongly he went on record

could be regulated. As a result, he signed the Con-

saying, “We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be

CSA outlined five “schedules” or classifications of drugs based on how dangerous they were thought to be and how addictive they were. Cannabis, as you may or may not have guessed, was at the top of the list; it was categorized as Schedule 1 along with LSD, heroin, and MDMA (ecstasy). It’s clear, one of the drugs in the above-mentioned is not like the rest. But Nixon proceeded and created the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in 1973. This was his way of policing the drugs that people used and that entered the United States. Regardless what side you stood on during this time, a valid question most people were asking concerned Nixon’s motivation behind the extreme measures on which he sought to create laws. It was his own domestic policy chief, John Ehrlichman, who alluded then came out and directly said that Nixon may have had ulterior motives. “The antiwar left and Black people,” are the two enemies Ehrlichman explained the Nixon administration had.

STATE

POSSESSION

ALASKA

1 oz.

CALIFORNIA

1 oz.

COLORADO

1 oz.

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

2 oz.

ILLINOIS

.5 – 1.06 oz.

MAINE

2.5 oz.

MASSACHUSETTS

1 – 10 oz.

MICHIGAN

2.5 – 10 oz.

NEVADA

1 oz.

OREGON

1 – 8 oz.

VERMONT

1 oz.

WASHINGTON

1 oz.

either against the war or Black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and Blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both

...the laws in place are very similar across the board but have slight

trolled Substances Act (CSA) into law in 1970. The

variations.

heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course, we did.” The above statement would send few shockwaves across America. Most people felt that—whatever the reason behind it—Nixon was doing everyone a favor getting the drugs and their users off the streets. Though there was a lull in the War on Drugs in the mid 70s, the effects of the snowball Nixon set in motion still linger today. In Ohio, only medical marijuana is legal. This is a result of legislation passed in 2016. Over the years, there have been many advancements within the cannabis industry. More specifically, the first thing that was implemented was the Ohio Marijuana Card... Read the extended feature at thevindi.com.

GROWING CAPABILITY (plants allowed per household)

THEVINDI.COM ­­ | 20


FEATURE

COMMENCEMENT

VS. CORONA COVID-19 AND ITS IMPACTS ON CSU SOCIETY



FEATURE

WRITTEN BY

Tyisha Blade ILLUSTRATED BY

Alexia Carcelli

23 | VINDICATOR

A

nnually, graduating classes of stu-

to slow down and ultimately halt the spread of the

dents celebrate their academic ac-

virus. Measures such as banning in-person dining at

complishments

ceremony

restaurants and bars (establishments have been limited

that embraces the senior student

to take out and online orders only), delaying in-per-

body. Commencement, a ceremo-

son voting for the primary elections and suspending

ny in which diplomas or degrees are conferred on

in-person academic classes are just a few attempts

graduates include family members, friends, advi-

made by the Ohio governor to combat the virus. Mass

sors, teachers, professors and distinguished guests

gatherings, according to governor.ohio.gov, are defined

with one common goal: to honor the years of work

as “any event or convening that brings together 100 or

students have dedicated to academia. For the 2020

more persons in a single room or single space at the

graduates this ritual came to an abrupt halt with the

same time such as an auditorium, stadium, arena, large

introduction of COVID-19, the novel Coronavirus.

conference room, meeting hall, theater, or any other

This and other events and establishments have been

confined indoor or outdoor space.” This includes — yes,

with

a

affected by the spread of the virus.

you guessed it—commencement ceremonies.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that

President Sands and the staff at Cleveland State Uni-

COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by a new virus.

versity took immediate action when acknowledging the

It spreads through droplets of saliva or discharge from

importance of the health of the students, faculty and

the nose when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

staff of the Cleveland State and surrounding population.

The most common symptoms are fever, tiredness, and

Initially, in-person classes were replaced with online

dry cough. Some individuals may have aches and pains,

instruction until April 10, with classes resuming April

nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea.

13. After further investigation of the Coronavirus and

Though most people are able to recover from the virus,

a positive testing of women’s basketball coach Chris

WHO reports that older people, and those with under-

Kielsmeier, online instruction was extended to May 8

lying medical problems such as high blood pressure,

and commencement ceremonies were postponed. Will

heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop

Dube, Cleveland State’s director of communications and

serious illness. As of March 2020, no known vaccines

media relations was diligent in keeping the Cleveland

or treatments have been discovered and the virus is a

State and local media informed with 24-hour updates

detriment to the global society. Ongoing clinical trials

via email. “We are working very closely with state,

evaluating potential treatments have been announced

local, and community health officials to identify and

and WHO reports that the best practices are proper

notify those that have been in close contact with Coach

hand washing, use of alcohol-based disinfectants and

Kielsmeier. Per established protocol, these individuals

avoiding touching your face. Masks should be worn if

are being asked to self-isolate according to [Centers

you have become ill due to the virus or are caring for

for Disease Control and Prevention] CDC protocols for

someone that is ill. To date, the virus has infected over

COVID-19. We have also notified Horizon League officials

600,000 people globally, 1,406 of those cases have been

and others where potential for close contact may have

reported in Ohio.

been possible,” Dube said in a recent news release.

With the worldwide spread of the virus, authority

Other measures such as providing laptops and

figures such as Gov. Mike Dewine have taken measures

hotspots for internet access were offered to ensure


SPRING 2020

during the first virtual town hall meeting. “These

These are the times where we find out who we really are and what drives us.”

are the times where we count our blessings and think about those most in need. These are the times where we find out who we really are and what drives us.” The video can be seen here. President Sands initiated refunds for parking, dining and dorms. He encourages students to ask advisors for help during this time. Understanding completely the importance of controlling the spread, I, along with the rest of the graduating class, had no choice but to comply with the needs of the community. With the safety and health of the Cleveland State community being top priority during the Coronavirus crisis, it is notable that the university acts responsibly and is conscientious of the need to still honor its graduating class. As a current graduating senior, I was, however, devastated to find

that students are able to successfully interact and

out the commencement event would not be taking

complete online instruction. Cleveland Federal Reserve

place on May 9. These ceremonies embody the sum-

donated 300 gently used laptops to the university, and,

mary of events that each graduate emcompasses over

in addition to Cleveland State’s laptops, students in

the span of their collegiate career. The university will

need were able to receive laptops to continue course

acknowledge the graduating class on May 9, with plans

work. Cleveland State’s Counseling Center offered free

of a later commencement date.

mental health services to students available online

My journey at Cleveland State began Spring 2017 as a

or by phone and a new virtual drop-in group called,

transfer student from Lakeland Community College. I

Mindful Coping - Supporting each other during the

transitioned and grew to love my time at the university.

COVID-19 Pandemic. The withdrawal date for the spring

With all the many lessons and hardships I endured, I

semester was pushed back to Friday, April 24 and the

recall periodic feelings of doubt and uncertainty. One

community was urged to practice social distancing.

motivational component was the vision walking across

President Sands began holding virtual Town Hall

the stage. Even with new practices of social distancing,

meetings via Zoom (a web-based video conferencing

one thing the Coronavirus can not stop is completion.

tool that allows users to meet online, with or without

As of May 8, the students of the 2020 graduating class

video) on Friday, March 20 where he discusses issues

will have completed their degree requirements, a

impacting students, faculty and staff including the

major accomplishment. Nothing and no one can take

transition to remote learning, and the university’s

that away from us, not even a global pandemic. While

response to COVID-19 to ensure the health and safety

commencement may be on hold, we will still become

of the community. “These are the times where we pull

graduates of Cleveland State University.

together in our community and our CSU family shows its true colors as this pandemic unfolds,” Sands said

Congratulations class of 2020. THEVINDI.COM ­­ | 24


BEAUTY + WELLNESS

How to

Revamp

Your Life this Spring

Celebrate the refreshing and transformative energy of this season with a few simple habits that you can throw into your day-to-day routine. WRITTEN BY

ILLUSTRATED BY

Samra Karamustafic

Miranda Tulcewicz

M

arch 19th officially marked the beginning of the spring season (cue the collective sighs of relief) - a time that symbolically brings about growth, change, transfor-

mation, and rebirth. And while we may associate spring with deep cleaning, longer days, and an end to the dirty-snow-slush-lined roads, spring also brings an opportunity to refresh some of the more mindful aspects of your life. With just a few simple habits that you can throw into your daily routine, you can embrace this inspiring new energy that this season has brought to us - and, since we’re in Cleveland, we might as well celebrate the fact that it won’t be pitch-black dark at 5 p.m. anymore! SPRING CLEAN What better way to feel refreshed after the winter’s cold than with some deep cleaning? It may be a cliche, but spring cleaning is certainly a tried-and-true method of clearing out the old to make way for the new in your life. Take a day, a few days, a week, or a month to do some serious cleaning around the house - whether it’s those overflowing drawers that you’ve been too scared to look into the past few months or whatever has been piling up under your bed, there are certainly things hanging around that you can let go of. Like the great Marie Kondo says: “discard everything that does not spark joy” - so, we’re sorry, but that 2014 One Direction wall calendar has got to go. Now is the perfect time to strap on the gloves, grab those Clorox wipes, and get to disinfecting and organizing.

25 | VINDICATOR


SPRING 2020

BEGIN A MINDFULNESS PRACTICE

With spring comes a boost of energy in many of us,

that has been on your mind for quite some time and

and while that can be a great thing for accomplishing

you want to begin working on it. Whatever it may be,

our goals and staying productive, it can also make

just make sure to jot it down, because according to

us susceptible to burnout. Plus, in today’s incredibly

psychology professor Dr. Gail Matthews, you become

fast-paced world, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed

42% more likely to achieve your goals and intentions

by the constant phone notifications, news updates, and

just by writing them down! Just like the world around

responsibilities of life. To avoid this energy exhaustion

you begins to grow and transform, you can tap into

and to be better equipped to handle stress, invest in

that inspiring energy and do the same!

continuously

apps like Calm or Headspace and give them a try, or

FIND A NEW HOBBY

visit that one yoga studio in your neighborhood and

look after

Setting a few intentions and finding a new hobby go

see if you could attend a class. By taking the time to

hand-in-hand. If you find yourself with a little more

look after yourself and your mental health, you’re

free time than usual, especially nowadays, avoid

giving yourself the chance to rest and use your energy

reaching for that phone or TV remote and opt for

mindfully in order to continue not just accomplishing

something more fun instead. This could be writing or

your goals, but being there for others, too.

journaling, painting, yoga, or embroidery, just to name a few. It doesn’t have to be the most intricate hobby

GO OUTSIDE There’s nothing quite like rolling down your car windows on that first 60-degree day of the season; you have no giant winter coat weighing you down, you’re not shivering and you didn’t have to wait for the car to heat up. Besides just enjoying the nice weather from your car, take it a step further and actually spend some time in the great outdoors! It could be something as simple as taking a walk or going for a run at the nearest park, or switching out a coffee date with a friend and opting for a picnic instead. And, if certain circumstances (like a global pandemic) are keeping you from enjoying the outdoors, don’t let that stop you - bring the outdoors indoors! Spruce your coffee table or bedroom with some bright and colorful flowers, or make it a habit to open the windows at least once a day — if the weather permits you to do so. Welcome the warmth and rebirth of nature all around you and relish it! SET INTENTIONS Remember those New Year’s resolutions that you set back in January? How are you coming along with those? Yeah… let’s not talk about that. Spring is known as the season of new beginnings and, in fact, many countries around the world (like Iran) celebrate the new year around the spring equinox. Now is the perfect time to join in on the fun and revise a few of those resolutions that you made a few months ago! Take a few moments to yourself and grab a journal or a piece of paper, sit down, and think about what it is that you would like to accomplish not just during this season, but for the rest of the year as well. Do you really need to do some

in the world nor do you have to master it in a week. Avoid placing any unnecessary pressure on yourself and most importantly: just have some fun with it! CREATE A SPRING PLAYLIST

goal is to

your physical and mental health.

a mindfulness practice. Download some meditation

...the main

If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to celebrate, if music is your thing, and if you’re prone to making playlists instead of getting any work done, then you’ll definitely like this one. Fall and winter are prime seasons for listening to those mellower, more acoustic, “coffeeshop” types of songs; but as the snow melts, the days get longer, and the world seems to wake up again, it’s time to bring back the more upbeat and happy songs! Head to Spotify or Apple Music, create a playlist with your favorite energetic tunes, and in just a few minutes you can have a brand new playlist to blast on those sunny days or whenever you need to feel uplifted and motivated (bonus: if you have Spotify, make this a little more fun and create a collaborative playlist that your friends can contribute to as well!) Whether it’s by showing thanks for our accomplishments in the fall or by slowing down in the winter, each season lends an opportunity for us to care for ourselves in different ways. Embrace the excitement that this season brings (no matter what may be happening around you) and make sure to invest some time to tend to your needs and self-care. And at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter if you formally celebrate the beginning of a new season or not; the main goal is to continuously look after your physical and mental health in ways that you find beneficial and fun.

serious work on that sleep schedule, workout routine, or coffee addiction? Maybe there’s a certain project

THEVINDI.COM ­­ | 26


BEAUTY + WELLNESS

HIV/AIDS AWARENESS AIDS WRITTEN BY

Jessica Lynn Nichols ILLUSTRATED BY

Alexia Carcelli

27 | VINDICATOR

April is an important month for raising HIV/AIDS awareness, highlighted by two national days of recognition. Learn more about the communities affected by this disease, and ways for Ohioans to stay healthy.

T

he month of April includes two days of HIV/

Latino. Furthermore, 44 percent of Black trans women

AIDS awareness, recognized by the Centers

and 26 percent of trans Latinas are HIV positive. The

for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

CDC has found that young people, transgender people

National Youth HIV/AIDS Awareness Day was

and people of color are all less likely to receive medical

April 10, followed shortly by National Trans-

care for prevention, testing and treatment. This dis-

gender HIV Testing Day on April 18. It is essential to

parity could be caused by a combination of sociological

recognize the impact of HIV/AIDS on communities

factors, including discrimination and lack of financial

who are disproportionately affected when compared

means.

to other demographics. According to the CDC, 21 per-

It is also worth noting one of several notable gaps

cent of people diagnosed with HIV in 2017 were young

in the available statistics. The CDC acknowledges that

people ages 13 to 24. The CDC also estimates that 14

their data regarding HIV risk, diagnosis and treatment

percent of transgender women have HIV. Within these

among transgender men is limited. Trans men have

subgroups of age and gender, communities of color

not been the subject of extensive HIV/AIDS study and

are more vulnerable to HIV/AIDS. Of all gay and bi-

issues of sexual health among trans men have often

sexual men under the age of 24 who were diagnosed

been overlooked. The available data demonstrates that

in 2017, 51 percent were Black and 25 percent were

trans men of color are vulnerable to HIV infection at


SPRING 2020

rates comparable to trans women of color. Based on

Cleveland where people can get tested for free. The AIDS

what is known about the means of HIV transmission,

Taskforce of Greater Cleveland offers free testing every

it is likely that many trans men are at high risk of

Wednesday at the LGBT Community Center of Greater

infection, especially trans men who have sex with

Cleveland, from 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Free HIV testing is

cisgender men. Also, underrepresented in the existing

also available at most Planned Parenthood locations.

data are trans people who are nonbinary, genderqueer

People who test positive for HIV may struggle with fear

or otherwise do not identify as women or men. One can

and shame, not only related to the health concerns of

be hope that data collection with regard to transgender

their diagnosis, but also the social stigma. Discrimination

people will improve with time. For now, it is essential

in housing, employment and other areas of everyday

to remember the urgent need to raise awareness of

life are real concerns for people living with HIV. Much

HIV/AIDS in marginalized communities.

of the discrimination HIV positive people experience

To prevent HIV infection through sex, the CDC and

is based in misconceptions about the transmission of

the World Health Organization (WHO) both recommend

the virus. Medical professionals and the CDC make the

using barriers such as condoms and dental dams. The

facts clear. HIV cannot be transmitted through food,

organizations clarify that condoms are most effective

drink, saliva or sweat. Kissing and skin-to-skin contact

for HIV prevention when used along with lubricant to

with a person who is HIV positive will not transmit

minimize risks that the condom will break or tear.

HIV. Oral sex is extremely unlikely to transmit HIV,

They further warn that sex is not the only behavior

and that low risk can be reduced further through the

that risks HIV infection. The CDC found that 10 percent

use of barriers.

of people diagnosed with HIV in the United States are

Not only can the risk of transmission be minimized,

people who inject drugs. Because HIV is transmitted

but HIV itself is a manageable condition. An HIV positive

through specific bodily fluids, blood among them, it

person who regularly takes prescribed antiretroviral

is possible to become infected by sharing needles with

medications will reduce the level of the virus in their

someone who has HIV. People who inject drugs can avoid

body until, WHO notes, the virus becomes undetect-

HIV infection by using sterile needles. Many state and

able by most tests. This makes it possible to preserve

local governments make sterile needles accessible to

their immune systems and quality of health. When the

the public for free through Syringe Services Programs

amount of virus in the body (also known as the viral

(SSPs). Circle Health Services offers a needle exchange

load) is low, the chances of transmission to an HIV

SSP at their offices in Cleveland at 12201 Euclid Avenue

negative partner are also low. As the CDC states, once a

Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Similar

person reaches an undetectable viral load, transmission

programs are maintained in other Ohio cities.

through sex becomes nearly impossible.

Another method of preventing HIV infection through

While there have been significant medical advance-

sex or needle use is pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).

ments, it remains that at this time, there is no cure for

PrEP is a prescription medication, taken daily as a pill.

HIV/AIDS. Research continues to find newer, increasingly

WHO lists some of the people who can most benefit from

effective methods of prevention and treatment. These

a PrEP prescription, including men who have sex with

efforts include clinical trials of an HIV vaccine. Some

men, transgender women, people with HIV-positive

of these trials are held in Cleveland, through the Case

partners and people who inject drugs. The prescription

Western Reserve/University Hospitals AIDS Clinical

Truvada is proven to reduce risk of HIV infection for all

Trials Unit. Ongoing discoveries foster hope that a

of these groups. Another prescription approved for PrEP,

future without HIV is in sight. The best contribution

Descovy, has been studied in cases of people assigned

we can make is to keep conscious of how we and our

male at birth who are at risk of HIV infection through

communities can stay healthy, whatever our HIV status.

sex, as explained on the CDC website. The Cleveland Aids Clinical Trial Unit maintains a list of healthcare providers who can prescribe medication for PrEP. Even when using all available prevention methods,

HIV/AIDS RESOURCES

it is essential for everyone to stay informed about their

• SSPs: bit.ly/SSPsMap

personal health. Cleveland MetroHealth recommends

• PrEP: bit.ly/PrEPcle

for every sexually active person to be tested for HIV. MetroHealth further advises that people with multiple partners, people with HIV positive partners, those who share needles, participants of sex work and people diagnosed with sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

• Testing: bit.ly/MetroTesting • Treatment: bit.ly/HIVTreatment • Local studies: bit.ly/CLEStudies • Other CLE resources: clevelandtaskforce.org

should test regularly. This testing should be at least once every year. There are many locations in and around

THEVINDI.COM ­­ | 28


BEAUTY + WELLNESS

The

WRITTEN BY

ILLUSTRATED BY

Amanda Light

Derek Prince Wilson

“I have always gone in a direction hard, and then something gets me going in another direction and I go really hard. I liken it to some sort of sailing, how you sway back and forth” – Felice Pierce, owner of Revolve Fashion

F

elice Pierce opened Revolve Fashion, an upscale resale boutique, in 2012. While other businesses were folding during the great recession, her Plato’s Closet franchise was thriving and she wanted to break off

and adapt that model to serve young, professional women. The archeologist turned schoolteacher, turned Plato’s Closet franchise owner took the leap and opened a green business dedicated to sustainable women’s fashion. Pierce originally went to school for archeology, but found it hard to work in the field after starting a family, so she transitioned to teaching grade school. After a decade, Pierce found that she felt burnt out and asked to go part-time the following year. A self-described workaholic, Pierce realized, “I don’t work part-time... I’d be getting paid part-time but working full-time still.” So, Pierce quit her job teaching. There wasn’t a backup plan, but there was an annual conference for the Sante Fe nonprofit Bioneers that summer. Bioneers’ mission is rooted in pairing social and scientific innovators to implement ecological solutions to heal the planet. Pierce went to a live stream of the week-long event at Case Western Reserve University. The lecture Felice

29 | VINDICATOR


SPRING 2020

attended was given by David Cooperrider, a professor at the Case Western Reserve MBA program. Cooperrider asked the attendees what they thought the biggest agent of change was. “We were all going like, ‘Peace Corps or nonprofits’ and things like that,” he said, “‘No,

“I’ve always

it’s Walmart, we were horrified.” Cooperrider told the

been focused on

audience business is the most powerful agent of change we have, even more powerful than the government in terms of the rapid change it can affect.

environmentalism,

This was the eureka moment for Pierce. “It broke my preconceived notions about business,” she said. “ I’ve

so I decided right then and there I was

always been focused on environmentalism, so I decided right then and there I was gonna do a green business.” The idea to go into women’s fashion was inspired in part by her daughter. Pierce mentions that when her sister visited from Mexico, they were preparing to go

gonna do a green

business.”

on this massive thrift shopping spree. That morning her daughter, who was in seventh grade at the time, said she had nothing to wear. Pierce wasn’t buying it, as she just bought her clothes last week. She made her daughter put on one of the new outfits. “Sure enough, she didn’t fit into them and I couldn’t believe it,” she said. “She’d grown right out of them before she ever wore them.” When Pierce mentioned this interaction to people at the thrift store, she began to ask why they didn’t have second hand clothes stores for kids. Someone suggested she check out Plato’s Closet, but Pierce had never heard of it before. The closest one was in North Olmsted, so she made the trek to the west side the next day. “I walked in and, in about five minutes, I [thought], ‘This is such a great idea, this is gonna be my green business,” Pierce said. She bought her first Plato’s Closet franchise in 2008 and the storefront served as a pivotal step towards opening Revolve Fashion. “I had never worked in retail,” Pierce said. “ I thought it was normal to hang small things low for small people and big things high up.” The Woodmere shop was in an affluent neighborhood and the women started bringing Pierce high ticket items she wasn’t supposed to buy, according to the franchise. She was only supposed to buy and sell clothes for teenagers, but she couldn’t resist. After two years of accepting these higher end clothing brands she realized she had to open a women’s resale shop. When she brought up the idea to her landlord, he refused. Pierce soon got her chance when her lease was broken and she moved her Plato’s Closet store to the Greens of Lyndhurst. Next door was a vacant storefront where she intended to put a Clothes Mentor franchise. Clothes Mentor was the spin-off project by two executives originally from Winmark Corporation, the franchiser of Plato’s Closet and Once Upon A Child. Winmark rejected the idea to get into women’s upscale resale so they did it themselves., “A lot of Plato’s Closet owners were buying that franchise because they saw the same opportunity I saw,” she said.

Pierce filed the paperwork to be the franchisee for Clothes Mentor and leased the storefront next door. “A week before I was gonna fly to Minneapolis, Minnesota where the franchiser is, I got a call from them saying that I can’t have it anymore,” she said. “I was like, ‘You gotta be kidding me, I already booked my hotel, I booked my flight, I’ve leased a space and you’re telling me that you’re just pulling this rug from under me?’ Their reply: “Yeah, sorry somebody else that owns Clothes Mentor is in your area, we’re giving it to him.” Pierce stopped her car and started yelling to herself, racking her brain to find the silver lining. In a moment of clarity Pierce realized “I’m doing this myself!” After a brief phone call with her husband to talk about the fall out with the Clothes Mentor franchise they decided to open their own independent boutique. “We did not want them moving next door to our Plato’s Closet and taking that part of the market that I had in Woodmere.” Pierce said. Pierce said that Revolve Fashion took off like crazy and everyone was asking her to open a resale store for grade school kids. Pierce was adamant about the idea. “Just forget it, there’s too much little stuff and the screaming children, there’s no way I’ll ever do a kids’ store,” Pierce said. Her customers finally broke her down and she opened Revolve Kids in 2015. Her three storefronts stood lined in a row and her loyal customers could graduate from one store to the next. Pierce is a determined person who doesn’t shy away from her ambition. “I have always gone in a direction hard, and then something gets me going in another direction and I go really hard,” she said. I liken it to some sort of sailing, how you sway back and forth. Sometimes the sails luff a bit and you don’t know what you’re doing but boy some wind will just come up and, boom, I go. I’m in a transition now, I’m trying to sell all the stores.” “Our daughter lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and she’s pregnant so I think grandparent is my next move,” Pierce added. Pierce’s next great adventure involves sustainable farming. She intends on filming the process of converting a large suburban lot into a farm and creating content about regenerative solutions to climate change and clean energy. Pierce also notes that she would like to do a series on building a DIY energy efficient house with her family to help others interested in learning the build. She described building techniques, like those used in earthships and passive solar earth shelters, she finds inspiration in. “There was this way of building your house against the backside of a hill so that the house was bermed, and then having solar on the southern side capturing the sun,” Pierce said. “When we lived out West before, we were going to have an organic farm with a house like that, with no electricity except what we generated and water capture. It’s always been my fantasy.”

THEVINDI.COM ­­ | 30


SOCIAL

GRADUATION A CULMINATION OF COLLEGE

WRITTEN BY

Dorothy Zhao But what’s after graduation?

G

raduation is a time for celebration. So

and my introverted self was just ready to go home.

why didn’t anyone tell me how scary

Yet, it was bittersweet. I was going to my last choice

graduating college was going to be?

university, and I knew that, in four short years, I’d

As a senior in her final semester, I’m

be graduating from the same place—The Wolstein

it. In the academic sense, perhaps I didn’t learn enough in depth to feel truly prepared. In the social sense, I’m worried that once I graduate, I’ll lose contact with people I’d very much like to keep in touch with. The inner conflict of wanting to be done with school but also wanting to stay in this sense of stability and familiarity is something I think through every so often. I’m going to be honest, high school graduation didn’t feel like much. My high school principal mentioned “7 Years” by Luke Graham in her commencement speech. I was in the top five percent of my graduating class, so I was one of the first people to walk across the stage—my cap slowly sliding off my new pixie cut, my feet wobbling in my white heels, and my

Center. What I didn’t know then was that those four years would truly go by in a blink of an eye! I met so many amazing people, had so many new experiences,

It’s scary.

and enjoyed so many moments of my college career

Becoming a

often think about what I will learn from 2020 on? The

full-fledged

corporate culture isn’t my worst nightmare, but it’s not

adult is

and Gen Z individuals, including myself, are looking

I’ve learned plenty about myself from 2016 to 2020. I thought of working a nine-to-five job and existing in exactly something I’m looking forward to. Millennials for something else beyond the traditional nine-to-five

really going through it. I didn’t ex-

pect to love school this much to not want to leave

intimidating.

route as well. Commuting is a time-wasting hassle, and working from home has become more and more possible with evolving technology. Remote jobs or flexible work hours are far more attractive to me and my peers. It’s genuinely stressful, thinking of being an out-

hands shaking as I reached for my diploma. I didn’t

of-college adult and knowing I’ll have to handle my

stay too long after commencement ended for pictures

responsibilities on a scale like never before. Of course,

or thanking my favorite teachers. It went by quickly,

I’ll admit I’ve been sheltered for my first twenty-two

31 | VINDICATOR


SPRING 2020

years of life so far. My first job was being a math

receiving a diploma and graduating into the world of

tutor for a high school sophomore, which is hardly a

lay-offs and the coronavirus, it’s beyond discouraging.

challenging job position. I hadn’t started paying bills

At the same time, however, it’s made my future rather

until my senior year of college. The thought that there

open-ended. If the pandemic really will last 18 months,

are women out there who are my age yet already are

I wonder if everything will ever go back to normal. Cur-

mothers is mind boggling. But, I’m thinking too far

rently, these changes are not great for anyone—online

ahead. Just graduating was an insurmountable obstacle;

classes are dysfunctional, people are losing their jobs,

life after graduation is unimaginable, almost impos-

and the world seems to be ending. In a year and a half,

sible.

perhaps there will be some positive changes that come

It’s scary. Becoming a full-fledged adult is in-

from the COVID-19 disruption.

timidating. A song that comes to mind as relatable

Nevermind the fact that I’m crawling to the finish

to the plight of growing up is from AJR’s newest

line, barely making it there. I tried to live life in the

album—“Next Up Forever.” The lyrics that stand out

present moment, but I need to focus on the future now,

to me focus on, well, being next up forever.

making it past graduation. The happy moments of this last semester didn’t last, tragically getting cut short, but I’ll treasure its memories.

I’M KINDA SCARED OF GRADUATION ‘CAUSE WHO AM I WHEN THIS IS DONE? I WANNA BE NEXT UP FOREVER ... I KNOW I GOTTA GROW UP SOME TIME BUT I DON’T THINK I’M READY YET

With the coronavirus cancelling classes on campus for the remainder of the semester, I’m left wondering if my commencement ceremony will be live-streamed and I’ll click a button that says “Click Here to Graduate.” Sure, the university sent us an email saying it will be postponed, but the pessimist in me believes that this pandemic won’t be going away so soon. It’s been deeply frustrating fully realizing how hard I’ve worked towards this moment—and how prepared I was to value and treasure the moment of walking across the stage—all to be taken away by such an unprecedented event and reason. I wasn’t crying tears of happiness at my high school graduation, but I was ready to do so at my college graduation. Now, it seems my expectations have been dashed. I’m happy and grateful to have made it this far, so it’s a sobering moment to not attend a commencement celebrating my graduation. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and a recession, I knew what to expect, but I simultaneously didn’t know if I could achieve all of what’s expected and required of me as an adult in the real world. Many people in my community expect me to go into the workforce, create a family, and follow in their footsteps in terms of lifestyle. PHOTO CREDIT UNSPLASH

The American dream of a white-picket fence, perfect lawn, suburban house, and a nuclear family of exactly 2.5 children isn’t exactly my dream. I’m left wondering if I peaked in my undergraduate years—will the Outstanding Senior Award I got from my department this year be the last achievement I’m proud of? Or will I be able to travel the world, learn more about other cultures, and continue to grow as a person? Now that I will be

THEVINDI.COM ­­ | 29


SOCIAL

S BER

BARTENDING WRITTEN BY

ILLUSTRATED BY

Michelle Fiorta

Devin Benko

My journey with addiction in the service industry.

B

eing sober in the industry that once fueled my addiction is pretty ironic when you really think about it. The service industry is a charismatic, energetic, influential, potent and aggressive world. It is

a world full of craft cocktails, hospitality, life and of course—booze. It is also a world full of anxiety, depression and addiction. My story with addiction has been a long road, one that has thankfully led me to the sober life I have today. What started as a job, turned into a passion and a career. At the age of 16, I got my first taste of the hospitality industry by working part time in the back of the house at a pizza shop. By the age of 19, I was the assistant manager of another pizza shop and had just moved out on my own. It was during this time that I started showing signs of addiction, but I chalked them up to just being young. There was rampant drinking, cocaine and pill use all around me. From the front of the house to the back of the house, everyone I worked with participated in some form of alcohol or drug use. Living on my own opened a whole new world. I was able to drink and use the way I wanted, not thinking how my actions would affect anyone around me. From the ages 19 to 21, I lived a very party-forward life that had consequences. I was evicted from my apartment, living out of my car, fired from my job for stealing and on the outs with

33 | VINDICATOR


SPRING 2020

my family. I was completely miserable, something

thought a new job and a new management company

needed to give. I put myself into a 90-day treatment

would be the best thing for me. Things were great

program at a half-way house. I started attending AA

for a while, but the bartending world can be a world

meetings and I found recovery. I was 21 the first time

full of repetition. Once again, the same old patterns

I got sober. I am turning 34 this month and, as you’ll

crept back up.

read, my story wasn’t all peaches and cream.

I eventually started falling down a dark hole ridden

After getting sober, I went back into the service

with depression and anxiety. I wasn’t eating, going

industry—first a small diner, then moving on to

days without showering, waking up in the morning

TGI Fridays. It was during my time at Friday’s I first

throwing up, not able to hold food or my booze down. I

experienced being a sober bartender. I started off

was constantly late to work, a whirlwind of emotions,

serving, moved up to server trainer and eventually

isolating from the people that loved me the most. I

landed a bartending position. Honestly, at the time

felt like killing myself was the only way I was going

I wasn’t even thinking about becoming a bartender.

to get out of this terrible, dark place. My depression

Sober bartending? I laughed at the idea back then.

had engulfed me, and I was sleeping all day, drinking

Eventually, I felt like I found my calling. I fell in

all day, trying to hide it from those closest to me.

love with the industry. Everything from the noise

Always living a double life. Pretending like I had my

the ice makes as you shake the tin, the science in

life together.

crafting a cocktail, to creating relationships with

Alcohol was keeping me from being able to live the

guests beyond the bar – the whole experience. I was

life I truly wanted and deserved. It was getting in the

learning a lot about the industry and had wanted to expand my job experience, so I started applying at

I have chosen

bars in Downtown Cleveland. I landed my first job at a sports bar and I stayed sober for my first few months on the job, being almost 5 years sober at this point. But something was always holding me back. I never truly identified with being an alcoholic. I was never afforded the opportunity to drink in the bars legally, since I had gotten sober only about a month after my 21st birthday. Working in the bar industry

for so long that maybe I wasn’t really an alcoholic. I decided at the age of 26, I was going to try drinking alcohol again. The moment I took my first drink again, until my

kept me from being the person I was meant to be, it kept me from having the life I was meant to have. I

bartending to be an occupational

downtown, sober, just wasn’t doing it for me anymore. I thought I had been removed from alcohol

way of my dreams, of my goals, of my happiness. It

was no longer willing to settle for that life. I finally had enough. Enough of the hangovers, enough of the blackouts, enough of trying to piece together my night or where all my money went. I was done, I gave up. It’s shocking sometimes when I think about my tumultuous relationship with alcohol. The very substance that has given me a life, friendships and a career is the same substance that almost killed me.

choice, not a lifestyle.

The thing I get asked the most is “well, what do you do for fun?” when I tell people I don’t drink. My answer is always the same, everything you do but without booze. People have this perceived notion that us folks in

last sip of booze, I drank alcoholically almost every

the service industry live a debaucherous, drunk-

day. I can’t recall a time from 2012 to 2018 where I

en existence, but I am here to break that notion.

went a day without drinking. I wasn’t your average

Bartending sober has been the absolute best thing

drinker and being in the bar scene did not help my

I could have ever done for my career. I am clear

cause. Shots during the shift, late-night after-hours

minded, attentive to my guests needs, a faster and

hangouts, sleeping all day. This pattern became a reg-

more efficient bartender than I have ever been in the

ular routine of mine. It’s easy in the service industry

past. I recently won Downtown Cleveland Alliance

to adapt to this unhealthily lifestyle. At the time,

2020 Service Superstar award. This award to me is

almost everyone I worked with partied and drank

just another reminder of the growth and progress I

the same way I did. It was not uncommon to have a

have made not only personally, but professionally.

“team meeting” during any shift, and by that, I mean

Trying to live a sober life in a world full of alcohol

group shots. It was a form of comradery, almost like

can be challenging and it is not easy. I am surrounded

a rite of passage in the bartending world.

by booze, people consuming booze from guests to

I had moved on to a new restaurant and it was here

coworkers, but I have chosen bartending to be an

where my drinking really progressed. There wasn’t

occupational choice, not a lifestyle.

a real manager around to watch over us, we pretty much managed ourselves, which really meant we could drink all shift long. I can’t tell you how many times I blacked out while bartending, I honestly don’t have the slightest clue. I stayed at this job for a little over a year and decided maybe it wasn’t the best fit for me. I found a new job at a restaurant called Butcher & the Brewer. At the time it was just opening, and I THEVINDI.COM ­­| 34


The Great Escape W RIT TEN BY

Amanda Light

I figure if ‘‘The Price

Sabbaticals: The perk gig workers use to see the world

T

variety of different airlines while undertaking international travel. Once he books the flights, he notices the trip becomes more real and six months before

he saying goes: invest in experiences, not

his departure he picks the hotel for his first destina-

things. In the United States, there is no

tion and sequentially picks the hotel for his second

federal mandate for employers to provide

destination five months out and so on. To get the full

leave, but more and more workers of the

experience of a place Jeff stays in a variety of differ-

growing gig economy are negotiating for time off

ent accommodations, switching between hostels to

instead of money.

nicer hotels. He also recommends breaking up lodg-

Jeff, a dishwasher in the Cleveland area, never

ing accommodations mid-trip to widen the amount

is Right’’

left the state of Ohio until he turned 50. For the past

of ground you can see from your starting place in

will take

decade, he has been able to negotiate time off for the

the morning.

entire month of Feb. from his three jobs to travel across

To streamline his travel, Jeff likes to book his hotels

the world. Flying from country to country enables Jeff

close to the airport. He recommends Booking.com

to spend about $2,000 or less on plane tickets to visit

because there is the option to make the reservation

pretty safe

at least three different countries. He travels light,

without having to pay until arrival. He values that

to go.

bringing only two suitcases and two carry-ons. His

flexibility. “I wing everything practically” he said.

daily budget, excluding airfare, is $100 a day.

Jeff went on to say that he doesn’t really look at a

you there it's

At this point, Jeff has his travel routine down to

map until after he books his hotel. He likes to use his

a science. He wants to see as much of the world as

lodging as home base, and for the most part restricts

possible, so he typically chooses three distinct places

his sightseeing to a certain radius of the hotel. He

on the globe and spends a week in each place. The

appreciates that Booking.com provides flexibility

final week in February is reserved to visit family in

to change hotels up to three days before his arrival

Los Angeles before he comes back to Cleveland.

once he’s had more time to learn more about the

On Jeff’s most recent travels, his journey began

area in the months leading up to his trip. Even with

in Egypt, before departing to Thailand, and then

a month to travel, to make it to three or four major

Alaska before his final stop in California. Although

cities, he roughly has a week to travel between and

some destinations are chosen by Jeff to see famous

see each place.

historical landmarks, like the Sphinx in Egypt, his

Jeff touts the council of the concierge wherever

other destinations are chosen based on the prizes in

decisions are made to stay and of the local travel

“The Price is Right.” “I figure if ‘The Price is Right’

agencies. “If you have an opportunity, spend that

will take you there it’s pretty safe to go,” Jeff said.

money and don’t worry about it,” Jeff said. “Pay

For Jeff, the planning process begins with selecting

‘em and just keep moving on you know? Because you

his flights nine months in advance using CheapOair.

might look at it as a loss, but at the same time you’re

Jeff said that to get the best prices you have to take a

getting what you want.” He emphasizes that a good


SPRING 2020

tour guide is the one place you can’t afford to be cheap. He’d sooner relax in his hotel room for the day to save money than skimp on a guide because when you are a guest someplace these people are the ones who will keep you safe and make sure you have a good time. They can also give you the best advice on things like places to eat and shop. They are your support staff and that is vital for a solo traveler. Through the use of the concierge desk at his hotel Jeff was able to take a river boat cruise along the Nile his first night in Cairo to enjoy music, food and the belly dancers performing. Highlights from his week-long stay in Egypt also include an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) riding in the desert, a guided tour through Luxor and the Valley of the Kings and seeing the pyramids and camel riding. In Thailand, Jeff went on a late river boat cruise, a train ride over the river Kwai,which he followed by an excursion to The Temple of Dawn. He also made time to see The Temple of the Reclining Buddha in Wat Pho and experience riding an elephant. Jeff enjoyed a river market where his tour guide steered him down a river where the vendors sat on the banks to sell their wares as he passed. In Alaska, he traveled with The Great Lakes touring company and rode dog sleds through the tundra past Matanuska Glacier Park. While also making some time to see the new Harrison Ford movie The Call of The Wild which takes place in the Alaskan Yukon. The touring company provided all of the gear and snow attire Jeff needed, enabling him to live out of two suitcases for an entire month. To end his trip, Jeff went to California to visit his family. Following tradition for the past three years, he secured tickets to the morning and afternoon filming of The Price is Right. He’s yet to be selected but holds out hope for his chance next year.

THEVINDI.COM | 36


POETRY

Blue Shimmer Shadow I used to think applying my glitter eyeshadow was the closest I’d ever come to dancing with the stars.

But the way my friends’ smiles twinkle in the strobe lights. And the way their lip gloss and blue shimmer shadows reflect the LED lights. Their holographic nail polish sparkles against their cups, And their rhinestone belts and hoop earrings reflect the flickering lights.

We laugh and intertwine our bodies on the dance floor. Our fiery hearts feed of off one another, And ignite the bravery we’ve locked within ourselves. Our light and love for one another is everlasting and unwavering.

I’m starting to believe we are the stars, And I couldn’t get any closer if I tried.

WRITTEN BY

Ayanna Cash ILLUSTRATED BY

Yara Hamo

37 | VINDICATOR


SPRING 2020

No Requests

The feeling of sleeping alone Changes when you meet a new love Sleeping next to them becomes a new reality

Someone with warmth you can embrace To fill that empty space Creating memories you couldn’t foresee

Potential to be so much more And the hope of what could be Only foreshadow your fate

Though most dread starting over And the process can be long Sometimes the heart needs a clean slate

Since we don’t get to choose Who we fall madly for There’s uncertainty in what the future holds

Just go with the flow Stay present in the moment Love fiercely, be unafraid, and BOLD

WRITTEN BY

Briana Oldham ILLUSTRATED BY

Hannah Mosley

THEVINDI.COM | 38


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