The Vindicator - Spring 2019

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Vindicator Cleveland State University’s Arts and Culture Magazine



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what’s in this issue? 3

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Letter from the Editor


Meet Our Contributors


Arts 7


The Arts: Communicating a Message & Educating a Generation by MIKAYLA GARY


Magical Realism on Netflix by JOSCELYN ERVIN

Culture 11

Beginning as a Black Cosplayer by KIMBERLY STEELE


Millennials, Astrology & Dating by NICOLE SHRIVER



Flexible Recipes by ANDRIANA AKRAP


The Plight of the ABG by DOROTHY ZHAO

Beauty + Wellness 33

Self-Care or Self-Sabotage by NGUYET VO


Glow in the Sun by JILLIAN VANDYKE


The Emerging Struggles with Plastic Surgery by IMANI STEPHENS

Poetry 43


by DMS 45




Nonconformity by BRIANA OLDHAM

Cleveland’s Food Desert Issue is a Crisis by KEVIN PARVIZI

An Ode to the Boys Who Came After Him


Part of Me by CHAU TANG






“Making sure if these voices aren’t going to be heard anywhere else, they’re going to be heard here... we’ve got to have somewhere we can share our truth and our whole selves, because you know, America ain’t going to allow it everywhere. One space at a time!” — EPHRAIM NEHEMIAH



Suitcase Runaway at Brite Winter Fest. “Cleveland-

Women Making History at Cleveland State University. “This year, McNamara broke the school record winning the 200 IM to lead the Cleveland State University men’s and women’s swimming & diving teams.” — TYISHA BLADE

based rockers, Suitcase Runaway, brought their colorful indie-folk sound to Brite Winter Fest on Saturday, February 23, captivating a room packed full of eager ears.”— ALANA WHELAN

#VindiAsks: What are your plans for the summer?


60% WORK

@vindi_csu stay up-to-date with all things Vindi on Instagram


38% TRAVEL Follow us on social media to participate in our next poll! @VINDI_CSU

w h a t’s h a p p e n i n g i n

S P R I N G 4/22 Concert

Foxing + Now, Nows with Daddy Issues Indie rock trio, Foxing, along with Now, Now and women–powered, Daddy Issues, are coming to the Beachland Ballroom to bring Clevelander’s a night of catchy tunes.

4/27 Out of the Darkness Campus Walk

Sponsored by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, this walk is being held to bring awareness, raise funds and get young people to gather in a walk to help prevent suicide.

5/4 Food/Bar Crawl

10AM–2PM, 1717 EUCLID AVE.

7PM, 15711 WATERLOO RD, $20

4/30 Nonprofit Tuesdays

Celebrate Cinco De Mayo by eating tacos and drinking tequila as you stroll through bars downtown. There will be DJ’s, drink specials, a party shuttle and four complimentary tacos included with each ticket. 12PM–6PM, DOWNTOWN, $20–$40

5/11 Celebration

Platform Beer Co. has a weekly tradition of supporting a different nonprofit organization in Cleveland each Tuesday. This week they are teaming up with nonprofit, Towards Employment, whose goals are to aid people in finding jobs, preparing for jobs and keeping those jobs.

The first event to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the last Cuyahoga River fire and revival, this day is going to be full of techno, electronic music, food trucks, beer tents and various vendors.





ON PARTING mmigrating to the U.S. and moving from state to state

photographers, designers and illustrators, who offer

while growing up, I have long been accustomed to

their own personal touch to each and every article.

goodbyes. When I began writing for the Vindicator

As we close out this academic year, I would like to

three years ago, I did not imagine that the team of

personally congratulate the members of our staff who

contributors and staff would become such a meaningful

are graduating this year—Art Director Andriana Akrap,

part of my time at Cleveland State. I could not have

Multimedia Manager Greg Elek, Online Content Editor

asked for a better team than the one I have had the

Michella Dilworth and Arts Editor Alana Whelan. Also

honor and fortune of leading this past year.

graduating this year is Anna Osprich, from the design

In this Spring issue of the Vindi, we feature a profile

team. All of these talented individuals have grown

on our new University President Harlan Sands, written

with the Vindicator and have contributed so much to

by our Managing Editor Tyisha Blade. We also feature

it. I am so grateful to have been able to work and grow

returning writer Megan Baranuk’s insightful piece on

along with you. Thank you, for all your hard work and

the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. I had the

dedication to this publication!

pleasure of interviewing the current slammasters of

And thank you, readers, for picking up a copy of

Cleveland’s own The People Poetry Slam, whose poetic

the Vindicator. We will continue to strive to achieve

prowess I’ve witnessed firsthand. We also feature a

our mission: amplifying the voices of our students,

critical look at the rise of plastic surgery, written by

especially those who have been marginalized, and

our Beauty and Wellness Editor Imani Stephens. First–

providing a platform for creative expression.

time contributor Kevin Parvizi offers an in–depth view at Cleveland’s food desert crisis. I would also like to invite you all to admire the talent and dedication of our




Faculty Advisor Julie Burrell Web Specialist Daniel Lenhart


CONTRIBUTORS STAFF HEADS Brenda Castañeda Yupanqui Editor–in–Chief

Tyisha Blade Managing Editor

Andriana Akrap Art Director

Alexia Carcelli Asst. Art Director

Greg Elek Multimedia Manager

Michella Dilworth Online Content Editor

Alana Whelan Arts Editor

Renee Betterson Culture Editor

Imani Stephens Beauty/Junior Editor

Dorothy Zhao Social/Junior Editor

Grace Roberson Copy Editor



Mikayla Gary Joscelyn Ervin Kimberly Steele Nicole Shriver Andriana Akrap

Imani Stephens Tyisha Blade Megan Baranuk Brenda Castañeda Yupanqui

Dorothy Zhao Nguyet Vo Jillian VanDyke

Kevin Parvizi Darlene Nichole Moorman


Michella Dilworth Gia Paulovich Anna Oprisch Jillian VanDyke

Kyra Wells Derek Prince Wilson Amanda Chambers Samantha Kuvin

ARTISTS & PHOTOGRAPHERS Max Torres Natalie Dhyanchand

Mikayla Gary

Briana Oldham

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


The importance of the arts in the inner city and how youth use this platform to communicate the struggle of the African heritage.

is one of the most economically depressed and racially segregated urban areas in the United States, and there are little to no opportunities for Black youth within the city. With the lack of resources, students are not fortunate enough to experience a good life due to their living situation. However it is also necessary to acknowledge the good that goes on in the inner city of Cleveland. For the past few years, the arts and culture community have been a significant help to many teens in the city. The usage of art allows youth to express both their dreams and frustrations, while providing the world


Mikayla Gary


with a relatable way to see life through their eyes and he use of the Arts educating a generation has a huge impact on society, whether

which they live. Within Cleveland, Shooting Without

it’s photography, painting, dance or any

Bullets encourages youth to use their art as activism,

other medium. Art is a way of expressing

to uplift their voices in order to call out injustices and

the beauty and pain in society and also

heal their communities.

reliving the moment. Visual artists have a way of

SWOB is an expressive creative arts program that

capturing the moment and capturing the audience’s

allows students to share their knowledge on complex

attention. They are tasked with creating emotion in

social issues affecting their lives and the world. This

the audience that will invoke societal change. Through

initiative was founded by a local Cleveland film artist,

the arts, injustices are brought to life without direct

Amanda King, who has provided a space for Black youth

conversation; no longer ignored, because they are the

within the city to grow and use their art. Students

forefront of the artists’ and audience’s experience. Normally, it is only so often that children and teens

within SWOB have had the opportunity to showcase and perform their work to various art galleries,

within the inner city have a way out of their environment.

museums and other stages in Cleveland. These young

Society has always stigmatized and oppressed Black

people are dedicated to bettering Cleveland through

teens: they are often affected by childhood poverty,

their photography and also educating society on the

mental health issues, teen pregnancy, high crime rates

struggles that Black youth face in inner–city America.

and violence and lack of access to education. Cleveland 7 | VINDICATOR

gain a deeper understanding of the communities in


Shooting Without Bullets is an expressive arts program that provides a space for black and brown youth in Cleveland to develop and utilize their artistic voice to express the complex social issues affecting their lives & community. Armed with cameras, art supplies, and knowledge of the systemic issues facing their communities, these teens fill gallery walls and performance stages with their perspectives. They have created powerful visual and performance art, exhibited their work to thousands, filmed a documentary, and graced the stage at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Shooting Without Bullets is both art and activism, and is dedicated to bettering the Cleveland community, while documenting its beauty and its pain.” –SWOB






Joscelyn Ervin

Netflix announced a handful of Marvel cancellations at the beginning of this year, but their new releases of “Russian Doll” and “The Umbrella Academy” make up for it.


ussian Doll” and “The Umbrella Academy” have been turning heads this season. Released in early February, these two Netflix shows came shortly after the news of more Marvel cancellations from

the streaming giant. It turns out “Jessica Jones” and

“The Punisher” didn’t make the cut, and neither did “Daredevil,” “Luke Cage” or “Iron Fist.” Some Marvel shows will most likely be picked up again by Disney’s new streaming service, Disney+, but with new releases like “The Umbrella Academy” and “Russian Doll,” it

of magical realism.

In this

some of their shows, like “Jessica Jones,” can certainly

gritty tale

mixed with fantastic superpowers they contain. “Jessica

feels like Netflix is trying to compensate for the loss. One thing all of these shows have in common is a sense Marvel isn’t necessarily considered “magical,” but be put into this category because of the dark tones Jones,” specifically, also tackles realistic subjects about

of life and

death, guilt, and mental health while adding a super


voice. “Russian Doll” and “The Umbrella Academy” have the same elements and concept. By releasing


two new hits that rely so heavily on magical realism, Netflix tries to keep the attention of their Marvel fans.


Although “Russian Doll” isn’t a show about superheroes, like the cancelled Marvel features or “The Umbrella

can’t help but come

to mind.

villain that uses mind control with the sound of his

Academy,” it has the atmosphere and tone of one. In this gritty tale of life and death, magical realism can’t help but come to mind. There aren’t any specific magical elements, unless you count hallucinogenic drugs, but the premise speaks of something mysterious and magical. The fiery Natasha Llyone plays Nadia Vulvokov, a 35– year–old New Yorker who gets stuck experiencing multiple deaths and reliving the same day over and over again, which happens to be her birthday. In the first scene, where we’re introduced to Nadia, one of the major shots that the camera focuses on is Nadia opening a bathroom door. Instead of a regular door, this one features a bright, hypnotizing blue crystal in the center, with a gun as the door handle, which the user has to pull the trigger in order to open. My first thought when I saw this blue crystal was, “That can’t


be real.” I mean, it’s practically glowing. If anything,

leaving your house every day. After watching the entirety of “Russian Doll,” I’m now a little scared of taking the stairs. This rough, odd atmosphere fits the style of something like Marvel’s “Jessica Jones” exactly, and the same is true with Netflix’s other new release, “The Umbrella Academy.” My Chemical Romance will probably never go on a reunion tour, but lead singer, Gerard Way, is still managing to wow his audience with his writing of “The Umbrella Academy.” Originally based on Way’s comic book series by the same name, Netflix’s “The Umbrella Academy” features a cast of seven “siblings” that have unique powers and were adopted by an eccentric billionaire when they were born. The siblings, in order of their assigned number—Luther, Diego, Allison, Klaus, Five, Ben and Vanya, attempt to stop the impending apocalypse while dealing with other personal drama. Each of the siblings’ superpowers aren’t especially creative, like Luther’s super strength or Diego’s talent in throwing knives, but it certainly adds to the element of realism—it feels like these skills can actually be real. Five, Allison and Ben, on the other hand, have powers that connect more to the magical element of the story. Ben especially, even though he’s deceased throughout the entire Netflix show, makes the story feel magical when he controls a weird octopus monster that lives inside him. Even though each of the siblings contribute something unique to the show, Five stood out to me the most. He is the embodiment of magical realism in “The Umbrella Academy.” Five’s power focuses on teleportation and time travel, which is fascinating to watch during fight scenes and feels completely unrealistic and magical, but he also feels like one of the most logical, realistic of all the characters. In order to teleport and time travel, Five often refers to equations that he uses in order to do so. Instead of leaving Five with no explanation of how he is able to do what he does, the writers made it feel like science. Either way, “The Umbrella Academy” accomplishes the magical realistic elements that are seen in many Marvel shows. In fact, it’s so similar to previous Marvel Netflix shows that I thought this was a Marvel production when it was released. Although these two shows can’t possibly make up for the handful of Marvel ones that will most certainly be missed, I can’t help but fall in love with both. The sense of magical realism and gritty tone in both are fantastic and I hope that Netflix keeps moving in this direction.

I thought it was a portal. It isn’t, unfortunately, but it does emphasize the underlying magical element that the writers wanted to produce. Throughout the show, Nadia tries to figure out why she keeps dying and reawakening in the bathroom of her friend’s apartment during her birthday party. It’s similar to “Groundhog Day,” but with a more intense feel and gruesome images that make you reconsider THEVINDI.COM ­­ | 6






Kimberly Steele

Kyra Wells

Examining if I am a Blerd through recounting my exposure to Blerd culture.


efore we begin, I’d like to point out a few things to put you on the same track as I am. The breakdown of the word “Blerd” is Black Nerd. I’ve come up with a new definition of nerd to mean someone who’s

really enthusiastically knowledgeable about parts of pop culture. Instead of thinking of nerds as people who

are really smart in certain school subjects like Math or English, nerds are now seen as people who are into fandoms like comic book series, Japanese anime and television shows of all kinds. Up until recently, I would never have thought of myself as a Blerd. Sure, I loved “Sailor Moon” growing 11 | VINDICATOR


people of color in this community. Within the past few

merchandise that I began acquiring when I got my first

weeks, I came in personal contact with another Black

job at 16 years old. In the mid–2000s, I got into the

cosplayer, “Magical Me Cosplay” on Facebook. She’s

“Twilight” saga, and am still continuously adding to

been encouraging me to make a page on Facebook for

my already humongous collection of “Twilight” saga

my own cosplay. Though it sounds like a wonderful idea,

merchandise. I never thought these things made me

I’m honestly not sure if I qualify as a Black cosplayer.

a Blerd.

I’ve only ever cosplayed in two instances. Ricardo’s

It was only in the last couple of years that I knew Blerd

lifelong dream was to cosplay his favorite fandom,

as an actual word. I ran across this YouTuber, who calls

“The Power Rangers.” One Halloween, he put together

himself “Andre The Black Nerd.” He reviews movies,

the most amazing set of suits for all his friends to wear

cartoons, anime, toys and some television shows. I was

with him. I was the Yellow Ranger in that lineup. Then

drawn to him because he was only the second Black

this past spring, I found a Harley Quinn keychain

person I’ve come across who was into that stuff. The

that I loved. After buying a few more items featuring

first was my best friend, Ricardo. Ricardo has been

the character, I thought, “why not be Harley Quinn

into comic books since we were in high school, and

for Halloween?” So in a short amount of time, I put

he still keeps up to date with the back stories of all

together Harley’s costume, made a bat and was ready

the major figures in the Marvel Universe. Until I came

to go. But I chickened out. As much as I love Harley

across “Andre The Black Nerd,” I thought Ricardo was

Quinn, could I really go out in public dressed as her? I


felt self-conscious of the public opinion of the movie

I came across the word “cosplay” being used in place

and didn’t want to risk the potential backlash. However,

of “dress–up” when I delved into the “Twilight” saga.

it felt great to have achieved

I found these amazing sisters on YouTube, who have a

creating my own costume at

channel called by “The Hillywood Show”. I love them

such short notice.

because they give such a thorough tribute to all the

Recently, I found out about

characters they portray. In one of their many Q&As for

BlerdCon 2019. According to

their followers, they explained that they have been

their website, they are “focused

into cosplay since they were small children. That’s

on Blerd culture and inclusive

when I discovered cosplay was synonymous with dress

of our POC [People of Color],

up—something that had long been a part of my life. I vividly remember being a completely captivated

Disabled, LGBTQ, Women and International geek family.”

14–year–old girl, watching the episode “A Crystal

This convention fills me with

Clear Destiny” of “Sailor Moon” after school. I wanted

both excitement and anxiety.

to wear Sailor Moon’s dress as my wedding dress. I

I’ve only just this year been

drew up the design, and have kept it safely hidden

seriously immersing myself

ever since. However, I couldn’t get over the fact that

in the Black cosplay scene

having dark skin made it so I couldn’t be a “Sailor

and meeting others in it. In

Scout.” There were no Black characters in “Sailor

general, other cosplayers know

Moon.” I’m not Japanese—how could I be a Japanese

extensively about the universes

She proved that it didn’t matter that she didn’t have Sailor Moon’s body type and it didn’t matter that she was Black.

anime character? Plus, I’m not thin—even if I were to

they’re into, some I’ve never

attempt to dress as a “Sailor Scout,” I don’t have the

even heard of. I fear that many may not be into the

body type to even remotely resemble one of them. It

same fandoms, or even dislike my interests. With the

always sounded so ridiculously impossible to me. My

exception of “Sailor Moon,” the rest of the fandoms I

girlfriends always mocked this dream of mine, saying

am a part of are considered pretty mainstream. Some

how they’d seriously dread being a part my wedding

deep into cosplay don’t involve themselves with any

day if I still decided to do this. About a year ago, Ricardo sent me a short video of a

up. I still have a pretty nice collection of “Sailor Moon”

fandoms they deem “surface–level.” What if I don’t fit in? What if the other cosplayers present look at me

beautifully large Black woman dressed as “Neo Queen

ready to pounce with criticism or judgement? It’s one

Serenity” at a local Comic–Con. That 30–second video

thing to say that you are accepting of what someone

brought tears to my eyes. She proved to me that it didn’t

else likes, but it’s another thing to actually embrace

matter that she didn’t have the “Sailor Moon” body

it. My hope is that BlerdCon really will be a place of

type and it didn’t matter that she was Black. She was

acceptance and that I can find others there who share

rocking it as the future queen of “Crystal Tokyo.” I had

my fandoms. After that, who knows where cosplaying

to find out about this woman and discovered she goes

could take me?

by “Diana The Great” on Facebook. Since finding her, I’ve come across others, like “Mimi The Nerdd” on Twitter, who also does “Sailor Moon” cosplay. She’s always spreading empowering and useful messages for any and all cosplayers, but particularly Black and other THEVINDI.COM ­­ | 12



Derek Prince Wilson

Can true love survive your weekly horoscope?


So why do we still believe this so–called pseudo– science? Because there is some truth to it! You likely know somebody, or perhaps yourself, who

ow well–versed are you in the world of

has identified completely with their astrological

astrology? Even if you do not religiously

sign, and/or has had their life perfectly follow their

check your horoscope every morning, or

horoscope. When there is a planet in retrograde,

know all of your different signs, it is likely

there are undeniably weird occurrences that affect

you have encountered the endless memes,

nearly everyone, even the non–believers. We cannot,

or the amateur astrology expert, and found ways to

and probably should not, use astrology as an excuse

fit yourself into that world. In the digital age, and the

for all of our mishaps and misfortunes, but maybe,

millennial’s addiction to smartphone technology and

every once in a while, it could be nice to fall back on

social media, horoscopes are no longer exclusive to the

for ease of mind. It can be nice to have something

Sunday paper; you can find your zodiac characteristics

else to blame than yourself (curse you, Mercury!).

and compatibility in a quick Google search or in a fun,

Astrology has become a source of comfort for

picture–filled book at your local bookstore. With such

many in times of stress, and according to the

ease of accessibility, you can become your own expert

American Psychological Association’s survey data,

and seek validation for your actions—of course, only

beginning in 2014, millennials are the most stressed

if the specific text you stumble upon works for you.

out generation, and this stress has only been

Zodiac descriptions and their horoscope counterparts

increasing. Most horoscopes create a new realm in

are written in such a vague way that you could find

which the reader is not bombarded with news on

yourself fitting into the persona of a number of

politics, climate change and other social injustices.

different signs and their weekly predictions. Newspaper

Instead, horoscopes offer a better hope for what is

horoscopes, or that random Cosmo horoscope you find

to come, encouraging hope for the future with the

on your SnapChat every once in a while, give astrology

pass of all chaos, whether this chaos is on a global

a bad name; these horoscopes are largely written by

level or personal level. The world of memes has even

a random reporter sitting at their desk with no actual

tapped into zodiac signs as a topic of light humor

background in astrology—they just write whatever

to help social media users laugh at themselves

they can pawn off as legitimate. Who knows, maybe

and their personality quirks that were apparently

they are just an angsty Virgo with a dislike for Leos—

determined by their birthdays and the stars in the

no wonder your horoscope predicts trouble this week.

sky. Even in the social media universe, the creation of astrology memes has taken precedence, producing a new way to enjoy self-deprecating humor, make fun of friends or laugh about a past zodiac nemesis.

Enough about individual experience—what happens

To my surprise, I even had quite a few male responders

when we use astrology to dictate our relationships with

who were in favor of using astrology as a determiner

people, especially romantic? In the age of online dating,

when I honestly expected more female supporters. I did,

it can be hard to learn more about the potential suitor

however, come across a few people who insisted they

In the age

you swiped right on. Dating apps such as Bumble have

could never end up with particular zodiac signs, with

begun to reflect this generation’s interest in astrology

one anonymous responder claiming that “sometimes

of online

as they allow users to share their sign on their profiles

it’s just right!” I could not help but wonder if we are

to expand on the same basic characteristics: height,

living in an age in which many people have chosen


religion, what they want from the app, and ego boosting

to start putting themselves first, and they refuse to

nonsense. This fun astrological fact can serve as a

settle for someone they may just not mesh well with.

it can be

breaking point, a cute joke, or as potential evidence.

While we should not entirely write someone off because

By knowing the other users’ signs, you can gain some

their zodiac sign is rumored to not mesh well with our

hard to

insight into what this person may be like outside of

own, it couldn’t hurt to use it to gain more insight into

their overuse of quotes from The Office and pictures

what this potential partner may be like inherently.

learn more

of them holding cheap cans of beer.

If your feelings for another are already developing,

To sketch out a rough compatibility chart for yourself

perhaps you could use your zodiacs’ compatibilities

about the

and a future partner, know that fire signs (Aries, Leo,

to feel validated for your middle–school–esque crush.

Sagittarius) pair well with air signs (Gemini, Libra,

If your signs are completely incompatible (according


Aquarius), and earth signs (Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn)

to the experts of course), maybe you can prove them

pair well with water signs (Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces) as

wrong and persevere to claim your soon–to–be true

suitor you

air feeds fire like water feeds the earth. For greatest compatibility, it is best to date within the same

love. Even those compatibility calculators try to remain optimistic and vague, allowing their users


element as they are the most harmonious. Crossing

to remain optimistic in even the worst matches. If

over into other elements does not create a complete

you don’t like what one expert has to say about your

right on.

incompatibility between partners, but it can lead to a

potential as soulmates, seek refuge in another. Even

few bumps in the road.

those compatibility calculators like to give everyone

When I brought up the idea of using astrology as

the benefit of the doubt, as they leave small slivers

a tool to decide on relationships, I received mixed

of hope amongst the crushing numbers screaming

responses, more so in favor of ignoring astrological

otherwise. Later on, if they were not “the one,” you

advice. I did not run into anyone who wholeheartedly

could use the negative compatibility as proof that is

followed its advice, really only a few insisted that they

just wasn’t meant to be! That’s the fun in astrology,

could never date a particular sign, and that astrology

you can totally manipulate it to your own desires, even

was “sometimes just right!”—most people agreed that

though other people may call out your hypocrisies.

it was interesting to read up on, but was not something they could convince themselves to be perfectly accurate.





Andriana Akrap

Simple and adaptable recipes to make quick and nourishing meals while in college.


eeding yourself homemade meals while in


college can be a feat. We’re short on time and money to make ourselves healthy lunches and dinners every day. Meal prepping can be expensive, overwhelming, time–consuming,

and quite frankly, boring. As someone who enjoys to cook, but doesn’t have the time due to classes, work, internships, and organizations—I sometimes fall short on feeding myself proper meals. I’ve begun to keep certain ingredients always handy so I can whip up a meal whenever, and I make sure to cook plenty for leftovers to eat as lunch, dinner, or even dessert. These ingredients can be dried, canned, frozen, or fresh! All that matters is eating good food that’s simple. While




it doesn’t always happen this way, I try to include




a grain, a protein, a veggie (or two) and a sauce for

Breakfast, lunch, dinner & dessert Prep as many as you need for the week!

Lunch, dinner & dessert 1 CUP serves 4-6 45 MINUTES

Lunch & dinner 1 CAN serves ~3 15 MINUTES

lunches and dinner, to ensure I’m eating enough to stay full throughout the day. These recipes are completely customizable to your own taste and diet. Don’t like black beans or chickpeas? Try pinto beans or even tofu! Eat meat? Feel free to add some to these recipes. Don’t eat dairy or gluten? Exclude them or use alternatives! Not a fan of certain veggies? Eat the kind you like. Spice it up with your favorites and top it off with any sauce of your choice. These recipes are merely a guideline to show you how it doesn’t have to be super chaotic to cook a meal or two for yourself when you get the chance and how easy it is to combine the same ingredients in different ways to keep it fresh and exciting throughout the week. Make a few items for dinner one night, and enjoy them a different way for lunch the next day.


Wash ‘em real good. Poke holes all over with a fork. Place on a pan & bake at 425°F for 1 HOUR. Cut down the middle & serve load it up! BREAKFAST OR DESSERT

w/ butter, maple syrup, & cinnamon, or peanut butter & banana. LUNCH OR DINNER

w/ cooked black beans, greens &/ or other veggies, & sauce.


Soak 1 CUP of rice for 20 MINUTES. Rinse rice & add it to a pot w/ 1 CUP of water or stock. Bring to a boil,then reduce heat to low. Cover & cook rice for 20 MINUTES, then let it rest for 5 MINUTES. Fluff w/ a fork & serve. LUNCH OR DINNER

w/ beans, veggies, greens, & sauce. DESSERT

w/ maple syrup & milk. Reheat all together until creamy & sticky. Top with cinnamon &/or fruit.

Rinse canned black beans well. In a small pot, sauté onion until translucent, then add garlic & any spices you like, such as cumin, paprika, chili powder, etc. Add black beans & ~¼ CUP water, broth, or salsa. Cook on medium heat until well incorporated, ~ 15 MINUTES. LUNCH

w/ salad greens, rice, & sauce. DINNER

w/ cooked vegetables, sweet potato, & sauce.











Lunch & dinner 1 CAN serves ~3 20 MINUTES

Lunch & dinner Prep as many as you need for the week! 30 MINUTES

Lunch & dinner ~5 MINUTES

Choose any two veggies you like. I enjoy carrots, zuchini, broccoli, cauliflower, and squash.


Wash & cut the veggie however you enjoy.

Leftover Taco Bell hot sauce packets

Drizzle with oil & add spices like garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, or whatever you have on hand and enjoy.

Sour cream

Open and rinse canned chickpeas well. Add them to a baking sheet and toss with oil and any spice of your choice. Roast in the oven at 350°F for about twenty minutes, tossing a few times. LUNCH OR DINNER

w/ sweet potatoes or rice, cooked veggies or greens, & sauce.

Bake in the oven at 375°F for 15 minutes, mix around, & roast for another 10-15 minutes until tender & crispy/ golden/yum.

Lemon or lime

Salsa Sriracha

Soy sauce

AFFORDABLE GROCERY STORES IN CLEVELAND Aldi Great for canned goods, affordable produce & snacks. Marc’s Affordable, quality produce & dairy foods & house needs. Walmart Literally anything you need. Their produce & foods are pretty good quality & great prices. You can order online and pick up there too! Dave’s Supermarket A Cleveland classic. Dave’s has good produce and anything else you need for cooking.


w/ sweet potato or rice, beans & sauce. THEVINDI.COM ­­ | 16







Gia Paulovich

The expectations of conservative Asian culture versus the young Asian–American women: social pressures that can lead to conflict identities of personal appearance.


e present to you...18 t y pes of Asian girls!” opens a Fung Bros YouTube video. The ver y first type? The ABG, or Asian Baby Girl. The YouTubers remark that

you can find an ABG at a coffee shop, a trendy Asian fusion restaurant, or a vape shop. The Asian Baby

Girl is “basically your female Asian gangster.” The video continues with a physical description of this stereotype—the ABG typically has on fake circle lenses, otherwise known as colored contacts. She is short with fake eyelashes, dark eyeliner, perfectly drawn eyebrows, and highlights or dyed hair. An ABG “looks tough on the outside,” but has her insecurities. In another YouTube skit, titled “How to Tell If You’re an ABG (Asian Baby Girl),” an ABG is described as an attractive girl with certain characteristics and preferences. You can find her at a boba (bubble tea) place. She loves expensive clothes, cars, and other material goods. What she loves even more than money? Snapchat. Several of her guy friends want to date her. She’s always at the club. In a third and final YouTube video detailing the types of Asian girls one meets in college, the first girl featured is, once again, an ABG. In this skit, she’s pictured at a sorority party, going to Coachella, not finishing her assigned group work, and having her classmates do her bidding and homework. As one can see, an ABG is a prevalent character in social media and environments of younger generations of Asian Americans. However, it is worth doing a deep dive into the name “Asian Baby Girl” and analyzing its origins, evolution, and conflicting message. The ABG could be successfully rebelling against her modest and prude culture of oppressive Asian parents, or she could be bending to the pressure of oversexualizing her exotic self in the eyes of her peers. Some view this stereotype as harmful for Asian women as a whole, but I would argue that it is borderline empowering for the individual regarded as an ABG. When the Asian woman herself takes it as a compliment, then she

individual viewed to be some kind of gang member or gangster. Depending on who is asked, this acronym could be condescending and misogynistic. For those more likely to be influenced by Western ideas and Asian–American peers around them, many young women may want to portray the ABG image despite its negative perception. The potential positive context that the ABG is attractive, powerful, and desired is tempting for many. It is a double–edged sword, however, due to the fact that being called an ABG can be an insult as well. Compliment or insult, after interviewing a SoCal (Southern California) Asian friend, she noted that she didn’t mind being called an ABG. She also mentioned how there are differing variations on the ABG stereotype; there is the mainland “fresh off the boat” girls with “the skirts and thigh highs” or the girls with “tattoos and fake lashes, driving sports cars.” Overall, she described an ABG as an Asian girl who is “pretty and fits really well into some kind of aesthetic.” The primary component of being an ABG, in her opinion, is “finessing.” Due to the differing definitions of an ABG, this characterization of an Asian woman may be evolving or disappearing altogether. As a whole, an empowered Asian woman may simply be intentionally non– conforming to society’s expectations of being quiet, obedient, or doll–like. Moving past the family– pleasing and society–conforming views, she is instead able to accept her true self. Her tiger parents and their authoritarian parenting diminish in strength as she grows older and gets the chance to explore and experiment. In addition to the helicopter parenting, the requirements to both eat as a sort of filial duty, but to also remain thin are conflicting and difficult to satisfy. With the body–positivity movement taking off, the ABG can be proud of her curves and show off being a food–obsessed social media influencer like many found on Instagram. There are parallels from her background and her current environment. There is a call to break free, to confront her own beliefs and values instilled by her family and community. Perhaps it is difficult to understand the definition of or the desire to be an Asian Baby Girl if you are not an Asian or a woman, but come away with the awareness it can be both flattering and disparaging.

is, in a way, empowered. To be regarded as beautiful and powerful is not detrimental or detracting from anyone’s character; rather, being called an ABG can be a transformation from more derogatory comments or microaggressions. Perhaps, the “baby” part of the ABG name arises from the feminine and petite perception of young, Asian women in society’s eyes. But when combined with the “girl” component, one being a “baby girl” could imply a romantic relationship with another





The Office of the President



success for all,” President Sands said in an email. “In addition, from my first visit to Cleveland almost 10 years ago, I have always been impressed with the city, its people and its energy. I was very excited to have the opportunity to contribute to this community, and I am honored to now make my home here.” President Sands believes in the transformative power of higher education because it has transformed his life. Growing up outside New York City in Long Island, he worked for his mother after she started her own business, while his father worked two jobs. After going to college on a Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) scholarship, he spent almost 11 years on active duty in the U.S. Navy. Then, working part–time, President Sands earned two degrees: one in law and the other in business. Afterward, he began teaching at Florida International University. “It was a lot like CSU,” he said. “I taught 10 different courses in two years, and I loved it. Then, I got drafted to be an administrator. I was an assistant dean and an associate dean; I also ran a soft–money research center.” After that, President Sands transitioned to the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where he was the vice provost for administration and quality improvement. “My last two tours of duty were as the chief financial officer and the chief administrative officer at two very large institutions: The University of Louisville and The Wharton School,” he said. “Without higher education, I wouldn’t be where I am today—and I wouldn’t want to be anyplace else.” During his CSU’s Marketing Office interview, “Get to Know CSU President Harlan Sands,” he mentions the excitement and energy that revolved around Cleveland State when he accepted the position as president. Charismatic in demeanor, he embodies this vitality and embraces a great future with the city of Cleveland and its people. “I am extremely impressed with the energy, enthusiasm and dedication of our

Cleveland State University President Harlan Sands continues to put the students first.

students, faculty and staff,” he said. “They have made

eginning his term in 2018, the seventh

and I couldn’t be more grateful for their support. I


president of Cleveland State University,

Harlan Sands J.D., M.B.A. has added to the motivation of the Cleveland State

communit y with his passion for the

learning environment and his commitment to student

success. President Sands takes no greater honor than putting students first, encouraging the success of

each person enrolled at the University. President Sands’ devotion to the University is just one of

several attributions that add to this dedicated and tenacious president. “I have been privileged to serve at four other urban

universities. I saw Cleveland State University as a

tremendous opportunity to build on this experience

and lead a first–in–class, community–focused institution that was furthering access and student

me feel right at home from my first day on campus, want to know what is on their minds—and believe me, they are usually happy to tell me!” President Sands always finds new and exciting ways to engage with the student body, and enjoys working with and for Cleveland State’s population. “Nobody works harder in pursuit of their dreams than our students here at CSU,” he said. “Our students are near and dear to me, because I see myself in them. Their success is our very top priority.” Interacting with several student organizations, he continues to make a positive impact and influence encouraging continuous relationships with them. “[We] became close with President Sands during the time of his investiture,” said Samia Shaheen, president of Cleveland State’s Student Government Association (SGA). “During that time, President



Sands had this dynamic energy where he wanted to

also benefit from starting their educational journey

include the entire student body. It was my first time

at the community college. Academic advising from

experiencing a presidential investiture and he was

both Tri–C and Cleveland State will guide students

really hands–on with students.”

from the beginning of their studies at the college

SGA serves as a liaison between students and

through graduation from the University. Degree

university administration. Composed of the Executive

Link also allows students to take advantage of both

Board, Cabinet of Directors and the Senate, SGA

institutions’ special events and campus facilities.

advocates for students on a wide array of issues.

Working directly with President Sands, Kolbus feels

Shaheen, a graduating senior and International

his personal opinion is always valued and welcomed.

Relations and Political Science major, enjoys working

He also feels the individual attention received from

with Cleveland State as student body president. It is

the president is very thoughtful. “He is just generally

enlightening for her when she sees President Sands

a really good guy,” added Kolbus. “I definitely feel that

sitting with the students or even playing sports

he has some skill and talent in his public relations

with them. “He genuinely wants to create a cohesive

and the way he communicates with us. He can also be

he’s not just trying to gain information so that he can do better, but because he wants to from the bottom of his heart,” she added. President Sands interacts with students across many different sectors of the University addressing student concerns and placing value on the voice of the student society. For the president, what is most important and essential is hearing what the students have to say and being mindful of their needs. “He is very professional and always prepared,” said

Nobody works harder in pursuit of their dreams than our students here at CSU.

relationship with the student body on a level where

Stephen Kolbus, Cleveland State Marketing Intern for the Office of Research. “I am very impressed and he is always well put–together with anything that he does.” Starting his internship in January 2019, Kolbus has worked with President Sands on several

humorous.” Kolbus finds it admirable that President

occasions and initiatives such as Degree Link, a

Sands is able to be whimsical about the fact that he

new partnership between Cuyahoga Community

is not perfect, while conveying himself in a positive

College (Tri–C) and Cleveland State that allows

light. According to Kolbus, President Sands’ constant

Tri–C students to simultaneously take courses at

involvement with the student body is a goal that he

the University. According to, the Degree

has mentioned to the marketing department. He

Link program will provide an academic pathway

also wants to be as active as possible on social media

to students seeking a four–year degree who would

encouraging students to follow and interact with him. In his short time as president of the Un iver sit y, P re sident Sands has also been featured i n severa l publications throughout Cleveland such as Cleveland State Magazine, Crains Cleveland Business, Clevela, a nd Cleveland Jewish News. He was also voted one of Cleveland Magazine’s Most Interesting People in January 2019, where he has a feature in the publication. “It was an honor to b e sele c te d, but what made me happiest was that it was


80% of our graduates work a nd l i ve i n t he region—no other four– year university, public or private, comes close to contributing what we do to the future of our community,” he said. Strengthening community partnerships, i nc lud i ng t hose w it h C M S D, t h e r e g i o n’s health–care institutions and Playhouse Square is also a priority, as well as support for scholarship and professional services. Promot i ng schola rly synergies around urban issues ranging from K–12 education to social policy to technological innovation are also goals implemented by President

an opportunity to highlight the wonderful things

Sands’ and his administration. “Becoming a “beacon”

being done across campus by all members of our

institution is also a priority,” he said. “We will

community,” he adds. “There are a lot of interesting

explore opportunities for new students, including

people at CSU!”

working adults, in continuing education and certificate

Relating to the busy school and work schedules

programs in blockchain, health care, information

students face in their collegiate years, he knows all

technology and other fields.”

too well about the struggles and hardships endured

In other initiatives, a recent $5 million donation

advising student to stay motivated. “Let the journey education, I have seen it time and time again: When it comes to student success, motivation is the key differentiator,” he said. “I know that many CSU students are not just students. They also carry the responsibilities that come with full–time jobs and families, which can make it difficult to find time to devote to their studies, let alone take on extracurricular activities. Yet somehow, they get it all done. The best advice I could offer would be: Stay motivated! The work ethic that makes you a successful student will also make you a successful graduate. Continue to work hard, follow your dreams and make CSU proud.” President Sands has a great vision for Cleveland State continues to advance its mission. “First and foremost, [we] focus on student success. We are going to do everything in our power to improve retention, progression and graduation rates” said President Sands. “We will enhance Engaged Learning. Our signature emphasis on experiential learning will be expanded to include an unmatched range of co–op and internship opportunities that sets CSU apart from other institutions,” he added. With Engaged Learning, he also plans to fully integrate across other areas of the University. Strengthening Cleveland State’s role as an

graduates. According to a news release, “Parker

Continue to

Learning Community at CSU,” President Sands

work hard,

communities to the CMSD graduates. These on–

follow your

and graduation rates for Cleveland students in the

Hannifin Foundation to provide two years of free on–campus housing and support services to CMSD Hannifin Announces $5 Million Gift for Living and

dreams and

highlights the value of creating living and learning campus experiences will drive successful retention program. President Sands is also grateful for the long term partnership with Parker Hannifin and

make CSU

their investment at Cleveland State. This donation


to Education” community. According to the release,

drive your path! After nearly 20 years in higher

was received by the University from the Parker

is in alliance with Cleveland being named a “Say Yes providing free, on–campus housing helps remove another economic barrier and students who live on campus graduate at higher rates. President Sands has a prosperous future with Cleveland State and its partners. He continues to exude qualities that encourage student success while exhibiting approachability to all that he encounters. A great addition to the Cleveland State community, his actions inspire and instill drive, perseverance and Viking pride in students.

anchor institution is another priority. “We are already primary developers of talent for Northeast Ohio,





Megan Baranuk

Kyra Wells


Cleveland’s City School District has not been up to the standards, according to the US Department of Education’s Report Card. Here are ways we are trying to help.



leveland is the city that I, like so many

not yet ready for is heartbreaking. They are ready to

others, have grown to love. Looking at

learn, but when classrooms are filled with children

the rise of new opportunities and connec-

who need extra attention, catering to each and every

tions, I can’t help but see a bright future

child’s needs are not always an option. Because of

emanating from a skyline we all know so well. Cleve-

this, coupled with attention deficit disorders, and the

land is on the rise, but as with any blossoming city,

normal array of behavioral issues that most school

Cleveland has its flaws. However, these flaws are not

age children display, the care and attention needed

permanent. With proper determination and effort,

to ensure success just is not possible.

Cleveland can continue its climb to the higher eche-

One of the main issues with CMSD, as with any

lons of Ohio, and soon, the country. The flaws I found

inner–city school district, is funding. Without proper

myself fixated on are those of the Cleveland Metropol-

funding, certain resources and aspects of education

itan School District(CMSD). This district received an

are forced to be cut. Public school funding comes from

F on the Ohio School Report Card by the Department

taxes, a majority coming from local property taxes.

of Education. Naturally, I wanted to investigate the

Because of the low–income areas that most schools

issue and ways that the community is trying to help.

are in, there is not a lot of money to be allocated to the

The inner–city schools struggled this past year

schools, causing a great disparity in quality of schools

with maintaining the criterion areas Achievement,

and education in suburbs versus inner–city school

Progress, Gap Closing, Graduation Rate, Improving

districts, such as CMSD. Naturally, each allocated

At–Risk K–3 Readers, and Prepared for Success. Each

amount to each student is lower the lower the income

area was marked with an F, besides Gap Closing and

tax is. Because of the low funding, these students are

Improving At–Risk K–3 Readers, receiving a D. These

missing out on resources and opportunities that their

scores are very upsetting to me as someone who cares

suburban counterparts are accessible to.

about Cleveland and its future. I take part in the Office

Additionally, CMSD is comprised of a diverse set of

of Civic Engagement tutoring program, and seeing

students, with a majority of students being African–

the children from the CMSD struggling with mate-

American at 64.5 percent, Hispanic at 15.8 percent,

rial that is on par with the national standards made

and white at 15.7 percent. These statistics show that

me want to delve more deeply into the quality of

minorities make up a majority of the district, therefore

the Cleveland Metropolitan School Districts. I began

face additional statistical hindrances to success based

looking into the inner–city schools, and finding the

on racial discrimination and other factors.

Department of Education’s report was upsetting to

The future of Cleveland, and more directly, Cleveland

me, especially as I care a lot about these children. The

State, resides in the youth of Cleveland. I want these

incident that caused me to ponder about this particular

children armed with words and a thorough education

issue was a child who needed help with his grammar and math homework. He approached the tutoring table, showing off the new DVDs he had just checked out. I smiled, basking in the positivity he brought to the table. When he finished explaining the plot of the most recent Ice Age movie, I asked if he had any homework I could help him with. He pulled a thick folder from of his book bag, laying it on the table. Pulling out a packet on grammar, he began to work. Working on the packet, he made random guesses as to which one was right, unable to give me a reason why or why not. As I gently explained the concepts to him, he had a troubled look on his face. As we gave the packet another try, tears began forming in his eyes. The longing to learn and to understand was impressed so deeply in this child’s mind and I was deeply troubled, knowing that his teacher most likely

15.7% White

15.8% Hispanic

64.5% African American

did not know the scope of these problems with grammar. Sadly, for most children in the district, the story is painfully similar. When students do not understand concepts, the children often do not even know how to ask for the help they need, and there are so many children to focus on that those who do not speak up often slip between the cracks. Seeing these children from CMSD trying to grasp concepts that they are

CMSD Students by Race THEVINDI.COM ­­ | 24


to take on college, Cleveland and then the world.

Roland V. Anglin, Dean of Urban Affairs

When I tutor, I see motivated, ambitious individuals. Through no fault of their own, the school districts that they are placed in cannot keep up with the demands of education for every student. However, with hard work and determination, the district can become another part of Cleveland to love and take pride in. Recently, I sat down and talked with the Roland V. Anglin, the Dean of Urban Affairs here at Cleveland State. He offered insights empowering and encouraging students from CMSD, describing a leadership specific program that Cleveland State offers. Every year, 30 juniors from CMSD are brought to campus, and given ways to participate in the community. This program is elemental in shaping leaders from Cleveland’s own community, “This program presents opportunities for CSU to build a pipeline of success,” said Anglin. This program is geared to inspire future leaders, who, in turn, will inspire the next generation of leaders, and so on. In terms of recruiting students

from CMSD, CSU works directly with CMSD to recruit

building a future for young people that may not have

those with an interest in government and public

happened without this program.” Anglin has a true

policy, in regards to the College of Urban Affairs.

passion and excitement for including and encouraging students from the CMSD to become involved in the College of Urban Affairs. In the realm of empowering the students of CMSD, it is very important for young people to have positive

However, with hardwork and determination, the district can become another part of Cleveland to take pride in.


role models to look up to and try to imitate. As young people, the ones we look up to and admire are often the ones who have the most of an impact on our lives, and we strive to be like the people we idolize. For this reason, the importance of positive role models are very important to inspire the students of CMSD to aspire to do great things, and to have a clear vision and ways to attain their goals. Mentorship programs are a great way for the city’s youth to become inspired and stay on track in having meaningful goals for the future. Mentoring students in school districts with low grades on the Department of Education report card, especially in the inner city, is extremely valuable and helps students identify strong role models

Anglin makes it clear that anyone with a passion and

whether it be personal, emotional, or career based.

interest is welcome, not just the “high fliers.” Anglin’s

This kind of program makes all the difference for at

hope for the future is to expand mentorship oppor-

risk students, and increases the chances of gradu-

tunities with the students of the CMSD. Currently,

ation and active perusal of a secondary education

there are opportunities to tutor through the Office of

following high school.

Civic Engagement, and enrichment programs such

There are many ways to help CMSD, with many

as MathCore. This program takes inner–city kids for

outlets to cause a positive impact. The CMSD website

eight weeks in summer and provides math training,

includes ways to make a difference with time or

which has proved very successful. This program made

money. People are able to volunteer in the classroom,

a huge difference in the preparedness of the students

office, or as a hall aid. Becoming involved by tutor-

who participate. Anglin believes that the best way to

ing, becoming involved in a mentorship program,

empower and encourage students from an inner–city

or providing after school extended programs can

background is to “help them understand that they

also be a great way to make a difference with time.

can succeed, as well as to let them know they are

Making a contribution or collecting school items to

valued and needed for their future role in Cleveland’s

donate can make a huge difference for the school

success.” Furthermore, Anglin adds, “As America

district. Any of these gifts can go a long way, and

goes forward, we can’t leave anyone behind. We are

make a difference in many people’s lives, causing a


ripple effect. The students that are affected by these

of the community are given the resources to better

small gifts will go on to directly impact the future of

themselves, and bring to Cleveland all that they can

Cleveland, and therefore the youth of Cleveland, in a

offer. Spreading awareness of Cleveland’s inner–city

cycle that you helped put in motion.

school issues can only help, leading to more efforts

The Say Yes! To Education program is a nonprofit with its own chapter in Cleveland. The programs aims

to improve the city’s public schools, enhancing the future of Cleveland directly through the students.

to encourage and bolster students with the resources and opportunities not only graduating high school, but also earning a postsecondary credential. Cleveland’s chapter provides scholarships for children up to the value of full tuition to public universities, community colleges, and Pell–eligible certificate program in Ohio. This is specifically for the children who graduate from a Cleveland Metropolitan School District or partnering charter school. The company states that its goals in Cleveland are to boost and retain the Cleveland population, improve college access for middle and low–income families, as well as spurring economic growth and expansion. The population of Cleveland is dependent on the youth. This being said, it is important to retain the current population, providing the best opportunities to expand their education being in the heart of Cleveland. and thrive in Cleveland, they will be exponentially more likely to contribute to Cleveland’s community as they grow and learn throughout college. For middle and low income families, this initiative is an opportunity to lift the children out of financial hardship by ensuring that payments for college are not necessary. Eliminating the financial stress and uncertainty means that students have a much higher chance of graduation. The last point, economic growth and expansion, is another important cornerstone in helping to improve Cleveland as a city. Though we have already come so far, the possibilities are endless, and can only be aided by future generations. On Wednesday, March 6, an exciting announcement was made regarding Parker Hannifin and Cleveland State University. The students who are a part of Say Yes! To Education will be receiving free housing for two years. Parker Hannifin has paid for the housing at $5 million. This will help foster inner–city students to be in a learning conducive environment, and give more opportunities for these students to become involved on campus, and thus have a higher chance of graduating from Cleveland State. Passion and involvement are both very important cornerstones to

As America moves forward, we can’t leave anyone behind.

So long as these students have the means to succeed

have when it comes to a secondary education. Being financially able to support career goals is a huge step in inspiring students to graduate and put forth their best effort, always. This is a huge step in the right direction for students to succeed and to have the opportunity and means to further their education, and inspire future generations to graduate and succeed. The school district still has a long way to go, but with help from our strong community, is making progress toward bettering itself and the community. It is so important that the youth THEVINDI.COM ­­ | 26



Brenda Castañeda Yupanqui

Max Torres Andriana Akrap

A creative space for the people, by the people.



POETRY SLAM n Cleveland Heights, the B–Side Lounge finds itself right underneath the well–known Grog Shop. On a second or fourth Thursday evening of any month,

after taking a staircase down to the bar–arcade, you will find a community of artists, poets and performers: The People Poetry Slam. It will not matter if you have never been to the B–Side, it will not matter if you have never been to an open mic or a slam before, it will not matter if you are taking the stage that night—based on experience, I can definitively say that you will feel a part of it all. On any given night, you may hear from all sorts of people of different races, ethnicities, abilities and identities, which makes the experience one of the most rewarding since I moved to Cleveland. Many have seen and heard spoken word before, in an English class’ poetry unit or a shared video on social media. And while these poems carry weight and power through any screen or speaker, attending a performance is completely different. As Ephraim Nehemiah, 25, and Damien McClendon, 27, current slammasters of The People, have felt for themselves, slams hold immense transformative power. This interest in performance within poetry was revitalized in 1990s by young poets who saw slams as a more “democratizing force,” according to In direct opposition to more academic circles, spoken word poetry and slam poetry offered creatives of all backgrounds an accessible platform for their expression. Before The People became what it is now, Lake Effect Poetry used to be the premier Poetry Slam Incorporated team in northeast Ohio. In late 2016, Cleveland–born and nationallyrecognized poet, AKeemjamal Rollins, created The People in an effort to have a more Cleveland–based poetry community. Nehemiah and McClendon were right there with him. “He came back [to Cleveland] and he was like a poetry professor in my and Ephraim’s eyes,” says McClendon. At first, they were just avid performers and promoters of the slam; now they run the bimonthly slam and manage the team. “I was at all the events and doing poems and representing the team at national events again. When Akeem stepped down, me and Damien took over,” said Nehemiah. These poets sat down and spoke about their experiences as poets, competitors and leaders in their artistic community.

DAMIEN I started writing poetry when I heard my mom’s poetry. She wrote a lot of poetry about addiction and when she was in nursing school, she would turn a lot of her material into poems and raps so she could remember them. I was really fascinated by that. So I would start rhyming when I was really young. And then in middle school and stuff I would write like, love poems to crushes that I would never give them. When did you start performing poetry? EPHRAIM So, 2014 was also when I started performing poetry. I’ve always been a performer because when I was real little in church, my parents would throw me up in the center and make me do something. So I’ve always been used




How did you start writing poetry? EPHRAIM I started when I was in my senior year of high school. In my English class, my teacher would have us write a little poem before the class started. So that was the first time I really started doing it. Then, I got me a little poetry book in 2010. But then, I started doing it with some regularity towards the end of 2014.

to that. And there would be little open mics that happened at my university, so I was like, “Alright, well I got a little poem too. Let me say it out loud!” DAMIEN I started performing poetry at Kent State. There was this organization that Ephraim and I were in called THEVINDI.COM ­­ | 28



Epic. It was an organization for different creatives and they were having an open mic. And for whatever reason I felt like I wanted to write a poem and do it on stage. And this was super big for me because I was super shy. So I did it and I kind of stumbled through it, but the reaction I got from my peers was super super encouraging. That encouraged me to keep on; keep on writing and keep on performing. And there was another thing, there was a duo called “Duality” that was on Kent State’s campus and they were super inspiring too. So I feel like they were also a big influence. Do you have a preference over written or performed poetry? EPHRAIM I love the writing and I love the reading and all that as well. But there is a little difference when you are kind of bringing it to life and performing it out loud. Yeah, I do feel I’ve been a performer before I was a writer, so that’s something that I always enjoy. But I’m still very much so in love with the writing. DAMIEN I don’t have a preference right now. I feel like I love writing and performing and I can’t separate them right now. How do you feel when you perform your poetry? EPHRAIM Aw, man! It’s one of the most spiritual experiences I absolutely have. There’s something so liberating and freeing about being on stage. Being able to just share your truth, even if it’s strangers, you know? And have people give their’s so transformative. It’s a beautifully overwhelming experience. And I love when I feel nervous, because the more nervous I feel, the more I tend to care about the performance, or the more energy I have to put into it. So sometimes if I’m just like, “Oh, I don’t really care, I’m just doing this.” Those are going to be my least good performances. But when it’s almost overwhelming emotion—that’s a beautiful, wonderful, liberating, spiritual experience. DAMIEN Before, I’m like super nervous—shaking, don’t know if I’m going to stumble. But when I get up there and right before I start to speak, it’s like a stillness. And then, I feel like it depends. If it’s a good performance, I feel like I have the audience with me—like I’m breathing and they breathe. I feel like it’s kind of a symbiotic relationship. But when it’s a bad performance, it’s just kind of like I had to put all this energy out there and I feel exhausted. It depends on the energy. How would you describe a slam? EPHRAIM Church! I feel like every poet that comes up is like a preacher, they’re doing their sermon. We do our testimony and we all just feel gathered up in that spiritual experience. We’re brought together to hear something that could carry us through the rest of our day. It’s like church to me. I don’t go to church—I do go to church, actually, every second and fourth Thursday at The People! DAMIEN It’s a celebration of words and poems and people’s experiences. No matter where [the poets] come from, you’re going to hear so many different stories, so many different backgrounds, and [in] so many different creative ways at a 29 | VINDICATOR


able to move this particular group of people [the judges]. Then I’ll know, based on those scores and the audience’s reaction—if they’re feeling those low scores or if they’re like, “Boo! He should have gotten a higher score.” So there’s a lot of information that I get from a slam that I get excited about, besides the competitive aspect. How important is the audience at a slam? EPHRAIM It’s everything! You can’t have a slam without it. It’s like having church with no congregation. You’ve got to have somebody there. That’s who the slam is for. I feel like the open mic is more for the artist, you know, you get something off your chest and you have a stage on which to do it. But a slam really centers the importance of the audience having an interactive and good time. Slam is not just, “I’m the artist and if you don’t appreciate this, it’s your fault!” It’s more like, “How do I bring you in and make you feel wholly a part of this artistic experience?” So the audience is absolutely everything. DAMIEN The audience is the main thing. If you’re up there spitting to nobody, then you may as well stay home and talk to yourself in the mirror. So I feel like the audience is of utmost importance.

slam. And I feel like you don’t get that [anywhere] else in the community. It’s like this special community gathering—it’s like church. But growing up, I always fell asleep at church, and I’ve never fallen asleep at a slam! There’s a difference. It’s exciting, a fiery energy. Is it different at a slam, because of the competitive aspect? EPHRAIM It can make it easier for me to charge up that energy. I love competition as well. It makes me want to put my best foot forward. Then, I just love the strategy of it. DAMIEN Definitely. And the fact that I’ll know that I’ll get to see my scores directly after, so I’ll know how much I was




How do you personally connect with your audience? EPHRAIM I’ve been a performer before I was a writer, so it’s all about us being able to have a collective experience. So I love doing poems that involve some type of audience interaction, having them clap, or chant something, or talk to each other. Or even having those moments where there’s a reaction, and it kind of fuels my performance. It makes me feel more energized to keep going. Eye contact, or a gesture; just letting them know that “Hey, I’m talking to you right now!” Just something to bring the audience in and make me not feel alone on the stage. DAMIEN I feel like honesty is first and foremost. I have to feel it within myself before I’d be confident enough someone would feel it as well. So I feel like honesty first and foremost, and then relatability—are you talking about something that they can see themselves, that they can feel? Even if they can’t feel it, are they believing it [coming] out of your mouth? There’s different aspects of it. How big or prominent would you say the slam community is in Cleveland? EPHRAIM Growing, yes. I mean, it’s definitely not a city that centers slam within its performance poetry community, like some other scenes. I would definitely say that it’s something that is growing and catching on and still moving forward. It used to be more popular before and I think it dropped off when people started to get away from it. But, the Brave New Voices team, the youth team [in Cleveland], is still going to competitions, so I think it’s something that people are starting to take more notice to again. DAMIEN I feel like the spoken word community is pretty fast, but the slam community is way smaller than that and shrinking. There’s this perception in Cleveland that slam takes away from the art of poetry and performance poetry, because you have that competitive aspect, because people are giving you numerical scores. I feel like, since I’ve been in Cleveland, THEVINDI.COM ­­ | 30


I hear more and more people talk about slam that way. But I think The People is changing that you can still do your art. The scores matter, but they don’t matter at the same time. It’s a competition, but it’s not a competition at the same time. We are all just here to strive towards the same goal, which is to grow in our art.



energy of the majority of the people that are there. So definitely intentional, very important. Because we’ve got to have somewhere we can share our truth and our whole selves, because you know, America ain’t going to allow it everywhere. One space at a time!

How important is it for you to make the slam and open mic a safe space? DAMIEN Keeping the slam a safe space is very important EPHRAIM Yeah, it’s super important. So the first big competition to us. The poetry community we came out of is one tries to I ever went to was in 2015 and that was the College Unions make safety a top priority. It’s more than just an effort to keep Poetry Slam Invitational. That’s definitely a space that tries away physical violence, it includes respecting the different to make people aware of different things that are going on in backgrounds and identities of anyone that comes to our society, make people feel safe, make people feel welcome. It show. We will hold accountable anyone that is disrupting definitely championed voices that are otherwise silenced in the safety of our space. the larger community. And I definitely felt welcomed there, my eyes were opened to a lot of things that I wasn’t really What are some tips for poets who may be unsure of how aware of. The way I was able to interact with other people to enter the slam community? was very important because of the space that was created DAMIEN Ain’t nothing to it but to do it! It can definitely be there. So that’s what you’ll see in a lot of different slam spaces nerve–wracking. But I think, like I said, it really is liberating because—even when it was started, it wasn’t necessarily when you just finally get it off your chest and you’re able to started by marginalized people—but it was still from that say it. It’s a really powerful experience and I think it really idea, coming out of rebellion, coming out of, “Oh, y’all are connects you to other people. I know there’s certain poems trying to be in your ivory tower, saying what is good art and I’ll be afraid to do. But once I’ve said them out loud, I’ll realize what is bad art. And we’re going to be the people that opens how much I wasn’t alone. And having other people say, yeah it up for everybody.” That same energy carries on, as far as I’m going through the same thing—it really connects you to making sure if these voices aren’t going to be heard anywhere other people. I feel like sometimes people are like “Oh, I’ve else, they’re going to be heard here. You get that one person, got to be this certain level of ‘good’ before I do it!” It’s like, every once in a while, that goes against the ideologies you “You don’t! As long as you share your truth, you’re cool.” I try to center in the space, but I think you can still feel the promise there’s people better and worse than you doing it, so just get up there and do it. Or they feel like it needs to be memorized; you don’t [have to memorize your poem]. Or there’s a certain way you’ve got to perform; there’s not. You can just do whatever as long as you just are getting it off your chest and saying what you’ve got to say—just do it!





DAMIEN For anyone thinking about entering the slam I would say remember why you wrote it. Go back to that feeling you had that was so great that it had to be expressed. Hold on to that and it will help you overcome the fear of speaking in front of people. Because the audience is so important, what is your number one tip for a first time slam goer? EPHRAIM Be present. Really be present. Just let yourself be involved in the experience. I’ve definitely been in some spaces where I feel like people are trying to be more reserved and, “I don’t know if I want to participate, I’m going to wait to peep the scene.” But the more everybody is involved—really at any event, the more you really throw yourself into the event, the more enjoyable it is. If you want to have the best time possible, give yourself to the space and you’re going to have a great time. DAMIEN First time slam goers should have fun! Pay attention to the scores but don’t dwell on them. If you’re just someone who likes to spectate, remember slam is a participatory event. Don’t be afraid to clap, to make noise, to shout out a, “Go in poet” if you feel it.

What is the worst thing an audience member can do? EPHRAIM Not be present, like not be there. To be there, but not be there. Just like, distant or not involved at all. Not allowing themselves to be taken up by the experience. I know it can be difficult, there could be different things going on in your day that could distract you. You could be in a bad mood. But I feel like the best healing is to allow the medicine to do its thing. If you’re spitting it out, you’re not going to get the healing properties. That’s the worst thing, when they’re not there. It’s a big distraction. DAMIEN Worst thing an audience member could do is be a bigot. What do you have in mind for the future of The People, in terms of poetry and bringing people together to support the arts? EPHRAIM To continue to grow in audience and to help people to improve the quality of their work, so they can still share their truth but in a way that can connect to as many people as possible. To win some titles at different national, regional slams would be super dope. Really just holding space for poets to be able to know that there’s somewhere

they can go to share their work, to grow as an artist and to connect with other poets who do this casually as well as seriously. I think it’s really important for artists to connect to other people who really honor and cherish and appreciate this work. So that’s what we want to hold space for, open mic that’s poetry–centered. And really focusing on how do we get better at this if we want to get better, or how do we connect to not only this local network but a national network. Just to continue to do that and to do it on a larger scale. DAMIEN What I have in mind for the future is more growth, more community involvement. Cultivating the literary and spoken word talent in our region and reflecting the greatness that comes out of northeast Ohio. Getting more people comfortable with speaking their truth, especially the marginalized, especially the people society willingly forgets about and is violent towards. Let’s rewrite our own stories and tell them for ourselves!






Nguyet Vo



Self–care culture has been on the rise in the last few years, but there is a difference between self–care trends and actual self–care.


hat do you think of when you hear the

faces, along with buying all these things that would

phrase “self–care?” Maybe you’re

for sure make us better. Sometimes that’s not possible,

thinking of nice, relaxing baths with

and that’s okay. Self–care doesn’t always have to be

bath bombs and sheet masks. Perhaps

that way. It doesn’t have to be active or aesthetically

drinking turmeric lattes? This is a very narrow view of

pleasing. Sometimes it can be as simple as getting

self–care, a view that is pushed forward by companies

just one more hour of sleep than usual, or cooking

and influencers for profit. There’s nothing wrong with

a five–minute dinner once a week instead of buying

any of those things—they’re all great ways to unwind

fast food all the time. Self–care can even look a lot like

and relax. I myself love sheet masks and turmeric

laziness, and that’s also okay. Taking care of yourself

lattes. However, that’s not really what self–care is

can mean just spending a day in bed because you don’t

all about. Self–care has become a trendy hashtag

have the energy to face the day ahead of you. It can

on Instagram that only shows off routines that are

mean making that doctor’s appointment you never

beautiful and impressive, but not necessarily effective

got around to scheduling. It can mean washing those

in the long run. For a lot of people, self–care isn’t as

dishes you’ve been putting off for two weeks. It can

glamorous. Self–care is a part of life, and like many

mean opening the mail that has been sitting on your

aspects of life, it can be boring. That doesn’t make it

kitchen counter for days. These are all perfectly valid

any less important. What actually is self–care? It has

forms of self-care. Sometimes drawing a bath can

long been characterized as activities to enhance your

deplete your energy, and that isn’t self–care, not for

well–being and overall health. In recent years, it has

some people. It is important to distinguish between

changed into a band-aid for problems.

self–care and self–soothing. Self–care should not be

Taking care of

I often deal with anxiety and bad thoughts (to put

used to escape from your problems and stress. A lot

it lightly), and I used to have bad coping methods.

of people I’ve met practice self–care in all the wrong

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association

ways. They eat, drink and do what they want with the

of America (ADDA), anxiety disorders affect roughly

justification that they “deserve it” and call that self–

40 million adults in the United States, or 18.1 percent

care. That is self–soothing. These are distractions and

day in bed because

of the population every year. Only 36.9 percent of

roadblocks built to push back actual relaxation and

those suffering seek out or receive treatment. Anxiety

confrontation. Doing whatever you want in the name

you don’t have the

disorders also affect 25.1 percent of children between

of “self–care” can drain you. Real self–care is facing

13 and 18 years old. I heard about different self–care

the problem causing you stress head on and finding

trends from friends in high school and did some

ways to cope with it, while developing methods to

research (on social media, as one does). It was a great

prevent it from causing you anxiety again. Mental health obviously plays a major role in the

to cope are becoming more accepted within social

face of self–care trends, but self–soothing does the

media. When I found them, there were a multitude

opposite of what self–care should do for mental health

of self–care routine videos, and I couldn’t help but

issues. Self–care should not be something you feel

watch them in envy because the influencers’ routines

like you have to adhere to. It’s not an obligation. It

are so aesthetically pleasing and beautiful. They take

should not be compared others’ methods, either. Each

candle–lit baths with Lush bath bombs while reading

person is different, with their own sets of problems and

a book and drinking a glass of red wine. They pamper

anxieties. Anyone can benefit from talking about their

themselves with expensive moisturizing products and

problems and anxieties, whether it be to a therapist

meditate for half an hour. I used to look at the posts

or a friend or anyone who would lend you their ear.

under the “selfcare” tag on Instagram and tried to

It extends to self–care methods as well. I used to

mimic my life after them. The things I saw under the

compare my seemingly mediocre self–care methods

hashtag were immediate gratifications that I clung

to these influencers and felt horrible because I did

to. There’s a platitude of items being catered, or

not and could not match up. However, your self–care

rather capitalized, toward people with mental health

doesn’t have to look like anybody else’s. It’s personal,

problems. Social media influencers push these things

and up to the individual. It doesn’t have to be public

toward their audience. They push standards forward

and Instagrammable. Your self–care is your business.

just spending a

energy to face the

thing to research, because mental health care and ways

yourself can mean

day ahead of you.

and made self–care into something that had to be Instagrammable—otherwise, it was not self-care. The idea that all we had to do was think happy thoughts and be more positive is always shoved in our THEVINDI.COM ­­ | 34



Products to use in the rising temperatures to

Jillian VanDyke

keep yourself glowy and hydrated.


aving a good sk incare and body care

protecting the hair and skin from sun rays using the

routine is important to pay attention to

correct products before and after exposure is ideal for

year–round. These routines may have to

keeping your health in tact. Specifically, products with

change slightly depending on the seasons,

sun protection factor (SPF) help to safeguard the skin

though. In the winter, it is more important

from harsh sun rays. Skin protection doesn’t have to

to avoid the skin getting chapped from being too cold

be expensive—affordable brands can go a long way in

without moisture. However, in the warmer months,

helping keep you protected during spring and summer.

Mersea Energize Sea Salt & Lip Scrub

eos Lemon Twist with SPF 15

Using an exfoliant on your lips will help to get rid of

Lips are so important to keep healthy, so when purchasing

dead, damaged skin and show the healthy skin below

lip products, be sure to grab one with SPF. The skin on your

it. The thin layer on top of your lips is likely to not stay

lips is thinner than the rest of your face, which causes the

moisturized if this step is skipped. When utilizing this

chance of dry damaged skin to increase. When choosing

exfoliant, it is important for your lips to be cleaned

products that are glossy, know that they attract more

beforehand and moisturized after (possibly with the

sunlight like a magnifying glass.

eos Lemon Twist with SPF 15).

Eos Lemon Twist with SPF 15 is a great product because

I purchased this product from Anthropologie while in

not only is it protecting lips, it also gives the lips a hydrated

Colorado. The dry heat created a need for getting rid of

and healthy appearance. Even if you’re being responsible

dry lips. I’ve tried other lip scrubs, such as ones created

by applying sunscreen every few hours, your lips are still

by the brand Lush, and this is my favorite by far. $12

at risk. This product has always been a go–to of mine because I know I’m being protected while looking glowy at the same time. $3.29



The Body Shop Drops of Youth

Mario Badescu After Sun Cooling Gel

This cucumber exfoliator works similar to a peel mask,

A f ter da mag i ng sk i n, wh ich we a ren’t a lw ays

however when massaging your face, it removes dead

guaranteed to avoid, you need to have a product

skin. This product is 100 percent vegan. It purifies

that will help to heal and soothe the skin that is now

the skin and leaves it cleaner while removing dead

sensitive to the touch. The aloe in this product will

skin cells lying on top, while the gel base keeps the

help all skin types. The gel makes for easy application

skin youthful. This plant–based product has instant

to post–sun sk in. The combination of aloe vera,

results after one use.

menthol, rose hips extract and rosemary oil assure

One of the greatest perks of this product is its anti–

more benefits than typical aloe use.

aging purpose, however I use it because I want a natural

I believe this product would be very soothing to use

product that will leave my skin feeling genuinely cleaner

after a long work day or fun in the sun. Storing the gel

and different after using it. $25

in the fridge will also help keep it cool before applying to skin. $14

Glossier Invisible Shield Daily Sunscreen SPF 35 It is common sense to wear sunscreen when you’re out by the pool or at the beach. However, people don’t always consider it to be a part of their makeup routine. This product is sheer, making it easy to use when going for a summer makeup look. Applying after moisturizing your skin is the most effective. This product is clear so it won’t leave a white residue on the skin. This product is something that I’ve sampled and can’t wait to use more often with the changing seasons. After applying this product, my skin is left with a dewy finish and feels great. Knowing I can look and feel good while wearing a product that is protecting my skin is wonderful. $25

Macadamia Healing Oil Spray This spray not only smells like summer, but will add an extra layer of oil and moisture to damaged or dry hair. This can be used as a daily “conditioner” for dry hair to help protect from heat and avoid dead ends, or even to just add some shine to any hair type.

I use this oil spray year–round. I do so by

applying to the bottom of my hair (to help with split ends) and gradually adding more towards the roots. This can also be used as a heat protectant when ironing or blow drying hair, but I use it as something that keeps the natural oils in my hair and increases them before being exposed to everyday sunlight. $15 Although the sun is beautiful and we love to soak it in, we

should do so with precaution. Starting with the lips, and then moving on to the skin and hair is how I do it, although it may work differently for others. This is a guide for those

Skin protection doesn’t

have to be expensive...

who may need help with products to use in the summer sun (and year–round as well). Maintaining healthiness in our beauty routine is possible, for any and all! This is not at all an exhaustive list—explore and experiment to find what works best for your skin and health.

28 THEVINDI.COM ­­ | 36






billionaire Kylie Jenner, a role model for many today. Her lip fillers caused a surge in the popularity of full lips, especially amongst makeup gurus who use her WRITTEN BY


Imani Stephens

Kyra Wells

products. Their large platforms sparked consumers to also purchase injections and become another patient on the operating table. Many people cannot see that these popular influencers are constantly going to the

Discussing the harm of the accessibility of plastic surgery.

see tight faces, small waists and perfectly sculpted body shapes. What’s the harm in all this? Often times, these bodies are fresh off the operating table. Sitting behind a

screen, we never truly see what the cost was and what it took to reach the “perfect level of beauty.” Snatched jawlines and sculpted bone structures are shared throughout our feeds on social media. However, what we must take into consideration as consumers, is that it is rare for most people to be born this way. There is importance in training our mind to realize that what we see is not perfection, but a construct made to get us to invest our money into expensive treatments such as plastic surgery. There is a broad range of procedures that plastic surgery encompasses, including some such as lip fillers, liposuction, forehead lifts—the list goes on. More often than not, we see women getting Brazilian butt lifts to make their bottoms appear larger and tummy tucks to get the fat removed from their stomach. Just as popular are fat transfers, where the fat is taken from the stomach to the lower half of a person’s body. As a result, this type of body figure—the small waists and big butts—is becoming the standard of beauty for women. Thus, women are taking their hard–earned money and turning to the plastic surgeon in order to look like their favorite Instagram models. The popularity of these surgeries has led to a decrease in price per procedure, with an increase in accessibility for people who are living off of middle– class wages, or even less than that. This segues into our most important problem: most people cannot pay for these procedures more than once. However, to keep up with these body altering procedures, you need to have multiple surgeries to maintain health and the desired physical appearance. In the time taken for a person who isn’t wealthy or famous to save money to get another surgery, the damage has already been done. The overall damage that one can do to their body to

formed lips. Most middle–class workers do not have

“ It is

important for those in the public eye to be honest about what they do in order to maintain the perfect body image rather than pretend for social media.


crolling on your Instagram timeline, you

doctor to keep up the appearances of their newly– $300 to go get their lips injected every three months. It is important for those in the public eye to be honest about what they do in order to maintain the perfect body image, rather than pretend to have achieved perfection for social media. Instead, they feel ashamed or feel they will be discredited if they show they were not born this way. What is going to happen when plastic surgery stops being a trend? Perhaps many will be sprinting to their doctor’s office to get all of these injections removed. However, even this procedure is only easy for those with access to resources. Nonetheless, those who do not will be stuck with a body they will soon be unhappy with when it is no longer the standard. This includes the harm it will cost them to keep up with the foreign objects injected and taken out of their skin. There is a bright side, a silver lining. As of late, there have been more people who are open and honest about their surgeries. Aaliyah Jay, a makeup guru with over one million followers on Instagram and someone who has partnered with international brand e.l.f., has been forthcoming about her surgeries. Initially, she hid her procedures in fear of being shamed. After hundreds of comments surfaced on the internet, she stopped hiding her truth. Another guru, Jackie Aina, who has a makeup deal with global brand Urban–Decay, recently got breast surgery. By sending out a tweet stating that she had just undergone this procedure, followers and others decided to unite behind her instead of being bullies. There is a drastic difference in simply trying to appear perfect and being open about what goes on when the cameras are off. Jhene Aiko, world–famous singer opened up on her Instagram account about how she pays large amounts of money for her skin to look so perfect. This helps viewers to not feel so saddened when their lips aren’t plump, or breasts do not naturally sit high, among so many other things. Going under the knife can be dangerous. However, there are many people willing to take that risk for the sake of beauty and fame. Everyone has the right to do what they feel is best for themselves and what makes

gain instant gratification is not worth the long–term

them feel beautiful. However, certain solutions, such

effects. Health should come before beauty, or in this

as plastic surgery, should be taken more seriously than

case, before what the internet perceives as beautiful.

we often times do.

Yet, it is far and few between that we see people choosing their health over their looks. A big reason behind this is society’s dwelling on the short term instead of the long term when it comes to ideals. We’ve seen the rapid increase of plastic surgery with makeup THEVINDI.COM ­­ | 38






While it is noble of them to offer this service on their

Kevin Parvizi

Jillian VanDyke

own dime, there is only so much this shuttle service can do for the community. Just one shuttle will be

As Midtown Cleveland residents either lament the closing of Dave Market’s Payne Avenue location or head to the large, fully– serviced new location on Chester Avenue and East 61st Street, the impact of Dave’s lesser–known location’s closing on Central Neighborhood looms large.


ocated on Quincy Avenue and East 40th Street in the cramped Arbor Park Place, Dave’s Market in Central neighborhood’s closing caught many in the area by surprise, as some members of the Outhwaite Community

Center were unaware of the location change until days before the move on Feb 24. Though the new location’s features—such as a teaching kitchen and more ready– to–go food items that can be provided by a larger venue—will likely help many people in midtown, the residents of this particular, underserved area in the Central neighborhood may not reap these benefits. The majority of Dave’s customers at the Quincy Avenue location do not own cars, as they reside in the nearby housing projects. Dave’s will say that they have adequately provided for these individuals, pointing out their free shuttle transportation service.


available for previous patrons of the Quincy Avenue location, whereas two separate drop–off areas, will be provided on Payne Avenue, and shoppers can only use this shuttle on Saturdays at 2:20 p.m. and 4:20 p.m. or on Wednesdays at 9:20 a.m. and 11:20 a.m. This small shuttle, which can contain roughly 10 to 15 people and their groceries, services all locations simultaneously in a loop. While the shuttle service offers members of the community access to the new Dave’s Market with a convenient pick–up and drop–off point, it limits them from frequent trips to weekly trips to the grocery store. For shoppers on a budget and with limited room to carry items, this is not an ideal solution. Still, the shuttle service is better than the alternative. The Central–Kinsman area is a food desert, defined as an area where fresh food options are sparse or non– existent. On Cleveland’s East side, without Dave’s, the word “desert” is too muted. Unless a person is willing to change buses from the No. 11 and ride for more than 30 minutes in one direction, public transportation to the closest grocery stores, such as the Save–A–Lot on East 55th street, is not a valid option—and that does not consider the hassle of carrying items on a city bus. There is no transportation available to the Aldi’s on Euclid Avenue, which would be a 17–minute walk. If residents without access to an automobile wanted to

1929 E. 61ST STREET, CLEVELAND, OH 44103


diabetes and heart disease to cancer. Food deserts cost lives, and with the majority of people living in food deserts being non–white, it’s abundantly clear which communities are bearing the brunt of this deadly cost. Central neighborhood, for example, is roughly 95 percent non–white with a median income of $8,657. Dave’s Market’s departure from Quincy and East 40th is a blow to a community where people already rely on fast food and gas stations for cheaper nourishment (these are called “fringe foods”). It is a profoundly

60% of people living in

food deserts define themselves as non–white

disappointing example of how the people who need access to healthy, fresh food often lose what should be a fundamental right—if they even received it in they would be looking at either a 30–minute walk or a bus ride. A tall task for any shopper, this would be nearly impossible for an older individual. The goods Dave’s Market provides are essential. Yet, the chain is still a business that needs to be profitable in order to survive. This new location on Chester Avenue gives Dave’s more opportunities to reach a wider, likely wealthier, customer base and decreases its operating costs under one roof. Furthermore, in 2017, the Cleveland City Council approved a financial package to make it easier for Dave’s Market to open this location near University Hospitals (UH)—specifically its Rainbow Center for Women and Children, which promotes nutritionist–led classes in the teaching kitchen. According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Dave’s received a Health and Human Services grant for the Chester Avenue location, showing that there has been political support for this move. Yet, in a county where as many as 450,000 people live in a food desert according to the Cuyahoga County Board of Health (CCBH), two grocery stores were merged into one under the assumption of providing more access in a centralized location. Organizations such as the CCBH and Burten, Bell, Carr Development, Inc (BBC) have recognized this problem and taken steps to resolve the issue. This includes informing the public with statistics illustrating the magnitude of the issue and creating cafes and nutrition education centers,

the first place. Yes, another grocery store—residents mentioned Aldi’s and Save–A–Lot as rumored suitors— will inevitably fill up the small, but vital, space Dave’s left behind at Arbor Park Place. However, that change will not come until after renovations and politics—and it’s fair to wonder how long the next grocery store will last. Until then, the people in the project houses of Outhwaite and other low–income areas around Quincy and East 40th will have to rely on a bi–weekly shuttle for groceries, with little information available or media coverage. Those who find themselves in food deserts must suffer in silence, even as they become more prevalent in this country.

. .. two grocery stores were merged into one under the assumption of providing more access in a centralized location.

shop at the new Dave’s location at non–shuttle times,

such as CornUcopia Place next to BBC. Despite these efforts, half of Cleveland’s residents, per the CCBH, live in a food desert, with 60 percent of people living in food deserts defining themselves as “non–white.” What makes food deserts especially insidious is who they disproportionately affect and how little established systems attempt to prevent their creation. There are organizations that understand the issue of food access and take steps to resolve it, yet local political institutions fail to incentivize grocery stores or take other measures to prevent low–income communities from becoming food deserts. A lack of access to fresh produce, meat and other basic items forces people to

30 minute walk or a bus ride

consume processed foods devoid of nutrients. These have serious health consequences, ranging from THEVINDI.COM ­­ | 40



hances are you threw something away today.

Also, it’s likely you will have used and disposed of something plastic before the day ends. When it is tossed into the trash can, or the recycling

bin if you are environmentally conscious (which can

still end up in a landfill), it’s gone—out of sight and out of mind. More accurately, gone for now and eliminated from the oblivious bubble of the ‘first world.’ According to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) most recently published Advancing Sustainable Materials Management: Facts and Figures Report for 2015, around 262 million tons of municipal solid waste were produced in the United States. The U.S. and Organization for Economic Co–operation and Development (OECD) countries make up 44 percent of massive global waste production, as reported by Derek Thompson in The Atlantic’s article, “2.6 Trillion Pounds of Garbage: Where Does the World’s Trash Go?” This is no back–burner concern. According to the National Geographic article “China’s Ban on Trash Imports Shifts Waste Crisis to Southeast Asia” by Laura Parker, “the planet’s growing heap of trash in general is forecast by the World Bank to grow by 70 percent in 30 years.” Also addressed in this article is the unequal burden of trash–bearing despite production of said garbage, quoting Malaysian Minister for Energy, Technology, Science, Climate Change and Environment, Yeo Bee Yin calling out the Global North, particularly the U.S., for treating her country as the “dumpsite for the developed world.” Trash management is also associated with inequality, as some populations find themselves more affected than others on both the international and domestic level. In 2010, the National Center for Environmental Economics and the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) working paper, “Environmental Justice: Do Poor and Minority Populations Face More Hazards?” tested whether minority and low–income neighborhoods face less regulatory activity on waste plants. In the resulting data, both counties with higher voter turnout and lower–income communities tended to have more regulatory activity. Nonetheless, this paper also points out that “plants located in minority neighborhoods, WRITTEN BY

as expected, are inspected less often and face fewer

Darlene Nichole Moorman

enforcement actions.” Additionally, in research conducted


the presence of higher minority populations means

Anna Oprisch The pursuit of environmental justices includes tackling questions on the role of corporations, capitalism, global inequality and more. 41 | VINDICATOR

by J. Tom Boer and others, it is stated that “hazardous waste sites are positively correlated with race but that the relationship is more complicated with regard to income.” Next, Gray and Shadbegian have revealed that that the neighborhood is less likely to emit as much pollution, “though poorer neighborhoods face greater levels of pollution.” Thirdly, Jenkins, Maguire and Morgan suggest that minority population is correlated with being compensated less for being a location for a landfill site.


Cont i nui ng on, low i ncome and/or m i norit y

Hunter Lovins and Paul Hawken. It refers to a need

neighborhoods are disproportionately more likely

to redefine capital (to include “human” and “natural”

to get stuck with hazardous waste and other forms

capital), rather than acknowledging capitalism as an

of environmental contamination. This pattern can

inherently accumulative, unequal and unhealthy system.

be visualized using the EPA’s Environmental Justice

The report is saturated with terminology such as “the

Screening and Mapping Tool, also known as EJSCREEN

circular economy,” the notion that companies could

( Here, one can compare

effectively limit waste and resource consumption simply

mapped indicators such as hazardous waste proximity,

through “redesign and innovation” and “economically

National Air Toxics Assessment (NATA) cancer risk,

attractive” incentives.

low–income or minority population, et cetera to national percentiles. A study done at Tufts University’s Global Development and Environment Institute by Rachel Massey, “Environmental Justice: Race, Poverty, and Environmental Health,” defines environmental justice as “the recognition that minority and low–income communities often bear a disproportionate share of

91 % of plastic



environmental costs—and the perception that this

The foundation’s plan involves channeling produced plastic in different ways: for reuse as packaging (20 percent), to be recycled (50 percent), and redesigned to limit material use (30 percent). There are serious problems with this methodology. Sure, smarter packaging can limit trash. However, in essence, the paper rejects intrinsic problems with a capitalist system and the roles of corporations within (that cause unsustainable

is unjust.” The report looks at how increasing rates

resource use and excessive consumption in the first place)

in cancer, learning disabilities and asthma may have

and tries to frame plastic use in an environmentally

environmental roots, or at least influences. In one

friendly lens. “Plastic packaging can also benefit the

example, Massey discusses Inuit in the Arctic whose

environment: its low weight reduces fuel consumption

diets of fish and seal have led to ingestion of toxic

in transportation, and its barrier properties keep food

chemicals. Although they themselves were not the

fresh longer, reducing food waste,” they write.

perpetrators that caused the contamination of that

In contrast to the Ellen Macarthur Foundation, the

marine life, they bear the consequences through health

non–profit organization, Greenpeace, addresses and

risks. Furthermore, asthma is more common among minority and low–income populations in the U.S. Although trash and environmental degradation can be particularly harmful to minorities or poorer communities, the garbage crisis threatens the general populace as well. As pointed out in National Geographic’s article by Laura Parker, “A Whopping 91% of Plastic Isn’t Recycled,” 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic have been produced over a period of around 60 years. Under 20 percent of plastic in the world and 10 percent in the


2050 plastic will


fish by weight in the ocean

confronts the role of corporations in trash–making and plastic production. “Single–use plastic costs little to companies, but the real price is paid by our planet and communities,” affirms the organization. In one “Take Action” campaign, “Demand Big Corporations Do Their Part to End Plastic Pollution!,” Greenpeace targets companies including Coca–Cola, PepsiCo, Nestlé, Unilever, Starbucks, Procter & Gamble and McDonald’s. These and other companies have a clear, inseparable role in what has escalated to such a significant problem.

United States ends up recycled. “We made plastic. We

Greenpeace points out Starbucks, producing 4 billion

depend on it, now we’re drowning in it,” Parker adds

coffee cups annually. Because of these industries, “our

in another one of her articles.

oceans are slowly turning into a plastic soup,” Greenpeace

One approach to this conundrum can be seen through the New Plastics Economy Initiative of the Ellen Macarthur Foundation’s paper “The New Plastics Economy: Rethinking the future of Plastics & Catalysing Action,” published in 2017. It predicts that in 2050, plastic will outweigh the fish in the ocean and will contribute 15 percent of a carbon budget, highlighting the unhealthy and unsustainable usage of such material. However, the initiative is partnering with big–name brands such as Google, H&M and Nike. Openly mentioned as an influence is the book “Natural Capitalism,” by Amory Lovins,

For every sea turtles


1 has

ingested plastic

warns. For every three sea turtles, statistically one has ingested plastic. Additionally, 87 percent of birds in the Canadian Arctic have eaten plastic. The numbers are rightfully concerning, especially when that plastic ends up in our own meals.





Natalie Dhyanchand

This is an ode to all the boys who I tried to love, but couldn’t because they came after him. This is an ode to the boy with the long curly hair and long eyelashes who carried beautiful conversation and was friends with all the girls at his university; who stood 5’5” with perfect teeth, a smile that took up his entire face. He wore headbands, backwards hats, and had a promiscuous sense of humour. This is an ode to the boy in law school out of state who visited on weekends, was broken, similar to the way I was, by people we had loved for years. The boy with a jaw bone capable of cutting glass; a rare intellectual whose beard didn’t connect, and loved meaningful entertainment cared about the state of society, social issues, and the world as a whole.

This is an ode to the boy with the fresh haircut and the contemporary glasses who was in nursing school and had such charismatic character that he attracted all the girls in his program. The boy who keeps making guest appearances in my dreams, giving false hope at the chance that we could ever be in love. This is an ode to the boy with the bowtie lips, that disappear into themselves whenever he presents his perfectly symmetrical smile. The boy who keeps appearing everywhere I go on campus. The one who, the first time I saw him, I had to stop and stare starstruck by the extent of his beauty; who was a Leo, and far too smooth for me to be the only girl he talks to.



To the boy who keeps a conversation

This is an ode

that does not want

to all the boys

to keep on going.

who couldn’t hold a conversation

With a full beard

meaningful enough

and eyes like oceans,

to catch my attention.

due to their depths, comparable to the skies we get lost in every night.






Briana Oldham Jeans oversized Look into her eyes See where the real her lies See how her fears outweigh her desires But the fire That burns within her soul Is more precious than you know Cuz she chooses to not show Herself to us So we don’t yell and cuss We don’t even fuss We just move with the hustle Of everyday life Without providing her strife We don’t rush baby girl For we know she will soon show The real her to world



Chau Tang

What did I do to make you leave? You never wanted any part of me. I questioned myself every day for six years, Not knowing what the hell was wrong with me. I cried for days, you never knew. You never picked up the phone, for that I was hurt. We were family but you never cared about me. It was plain to see. You never wanted any part of me. I wasted my time trying to talk to you. I’ve asked you questions just to see what you’d say. One word reply are the kind you’d say to me. I gave up and I’m glad I did. I picked myself up, reinvented myself. No longer am I the insecure little girl you thought you knew. I’m much better, older, and talented but you’ll never see. That part of me.




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