Vindicator Cleveland State University’s Arts and Culture Magazine
THE MOLD PAGE 21
TOUCH CLE LLC A WORKING WOMAN IN CLEVELAND
THE WOMAN BEHIND
THE WOMEN’S CENTER
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21 what’s in this issue? 3
Check Us Out Online
Letter from the Editor
Meet Our Contributors
BY RENEE BETTERSON
Art of Sucre: Creative Cotton Candy by MEGAN BARANUK
Little Women in the 21st Century
by SAMRA KARAMUSTAFIC 11
Five Women Artists You Should Know 13
by ODILIA GRAMAJO
Imposter Syndrome and How to Fix It by DOROTHY ZHAO
Women’s Empowerment by TYISHA BLADE
19 Beauty + Wellness 25
Realistic Sex & Netflix by JOSCELYN ERVIN
Refugee to Hijabi Model by MARIA AHMAD
IN SOCIETY BY TYISHA BLADE
Inside the Mind, Body and Soul of the Female Student Athlete by CHELSEA PENFIELD
Still I Rise by MAYA ANGELOU
Helen Keller by LANGSTON HUGHES
Trans Women Abuse in Detention Centers by JESSICA LYNN NICHOLS
How #MeToo Changed Our Lives by CLAUDIA UGBANA
The Woman Behind
THE WOMEN’S CENTER BY AYANNA CASH
THEVINDI.COM | 2
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“During a career spanning over 40 years, Emmy-award winning broadcast journalist, reporter, author, and Cleveland native, Leon Bibb continues to lead the way for today’s African American journalists... his work includes an interview with Martin Luther King’s assassin...” — KYRA WELLS
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Kwanzaa History is Black History. “Kwanzaa is an annual seven-day event created in 1966 by Maulana Karenga to celebrate African American history while bringing together the community to cherish and embrace one another.” — TYISHA BLADE
celebrating 50 years of publishing, I would like to take a walk down memory lane of all the pieces I’ve contributed to this publication.” — KIMBERLY STEELE
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M A R C H 5/5 Trivia Night
The Press Club of Cleveland - Grab a group of your smartest friends from your newsroom, office or neighborhood and join the Press Club’s Trivia Night! Everyone is welcome to participate. Guest professional trivia master: Michelle Sustar.
5/6 MIX: Masquerade
Cleveland Museum of Art - Check out masks from around the world in the galleries and make your own Mardi Gras style mask. This night will feature bright costumes and a swanky New Orleans party vibe with DJ Walk and Da Land Brass Band of GUMBO dance party.
5/6 LIZZO Experience
6–10PM, 11150 EAST BLVD, $10-$15
5:30-8PM, 1849 W 24th ST, $9-$35
5/16 St. Patrick’s Cookie Decorating Class
Twist Social Club - Blame it on the juice all night with all of Lizzo’s video hits, collabs & performance clips along with hits from Cardi B, Beyonce, Doja Cat, Ariana Grande, Charli XCX, Halsey, & more! Cocktail Specials all night. No Cover. 21+ 9PM–2:30AM, 11633 CLIFTON BLVD
5/21 Drawing Rally!!
A Batch Made in Heaven - All levels are welcome to join in the St. Patty’s Day fun! You’ll learn the basics of cookie decorating. Each participant goes home with six (6) flooded/ decorated sugar cookies. Registration and doors open at 5:30. Registration must be purchased in advance. Ages 12+
SPACES - Cleveland’s freshest artists will create new artworks on the spot. When the drawings are completed, they will be hung on the walls for purchase at $75 5-10:15PM, 2900 DETROIT AVE, $0-$10
6-7:30PM, 7901 CLEVELAND AVE NW THEVINDI.COM | 4
The Cleveland State Vindicator was founded as a Black student newspaper in January 1970.
WOMEN'S HISTORY MONTH he contributions women have made to history and
Culture Editor Briana Oldham and Distribution Coordi-
society can be celebrated during Women’s History
nator Katheryn Lewis as they have transitioned well and
Month in March. While these accomplishments
have helped tremendously thus far in the school year. We
should be celebrated year-round, special regard is
also want to thank our new writers and designers who
taken during the third month of the year to acknowledge
are beginning to consecutively contribute to the publi-
strength among women and embrace each other as we
cation. The Vindicator would like to make a special trib-
unite. We are mothers, daughters, aunts and professionals.
ute to MareyJoyce Green, who recently passed away in
We are community leaders, family nurturers and able to
2019. A professor of sociology and advocate for women’s
withstand great pressure. We are elegant, poised, sassy, rights, she made notable contributions to Cleveland rough and bold. We are women. In this issue, you will find
State University. She is also the namesake for Cleveland
great articles about women in arts, working women in
State’s Women’s Center. Her work in the community was
society and women’s history. You can also find stories on
profound. She will be greatly missed. The Vindicator has
a hijabi supermodel, perspective from a student female
dedicated a feature to her, written by one of our newest
athlete and more.
contributing writers, Ayanna Cash.
As we share with you our second issue of the semester, we would like to thank our new staff members Copy Editor Kevin Coleman, Online Content Editor Vincent McIntosh,
TYISHA BLADE EDITOR–IN–CHIEF
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Faculty Advisor Julie Burrell Web Specialist Daniel Lenhart
CONTRIBUTORS STAFF HEADS Tyisha Blade Editor–in–Chief
Imani Stephens Managing Editor
Kevin Coleman Copy Editor
Alexia Carcelli Art Director
Kyra Wells Asst. Art Director
Max Torres Multimedia Manager
Vincent McIntosh Online Content Editor
Joscelyn Ervin Arts Editor
Briana Oldham Culture Editor
Megan Baranuk Beauty Editor
Dorothy Zhao Social Editor
Brenda Castañeda Yupanqui Features Editor
Katheryn Lewis Distrubution Coordinator
WRITERS Megan Baranuk Samra Karamustafic Odilia Gramajo Dorothy Zhao Tyisha Blade Ayanna Cash
JUNIOR DESIGNERS Renee Betterson Joscelyn Ervin Maria Ahmad Chelsea Penfield Jessica Lynn Nichols Claudia Ugbana
Maria Ahmad Stefany Belasic Erin Butkiewicz Asha McClendon
Alexandra Paquin Miranda Lynn Tulcewicz Derek Prince Wilson
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
CREATIVE COTTON CANDY
Megan Baranuk PHOTOS COURTESY OF
Meet Art of Sucre and the woman behind the business, Emily Harpel. The creative cotton candy company was created in Cleveland.
mily Harpel, founder of local cotton candy company Art of Sucre, was inspired to start the business after noticing the lack of gourmet cotton candy services in Cleveland. Art
of Sucre specializes in creative twists on the classic treat. Gourmet cotton candy is not something one hears of often, and Harpel took a leap of faith by starting her business immediately after her honeymoon. Featuring flavors such as champagne, watermelon and sugar cookie, Art of Sucre is anything but basic. The company also features new innovations for cotton candy such as edible glitter and glitter bombs (glitter cotton candy dissolved in champagne). One quirky service they offer is mannequin
heads topped with a beehive hairdo comprised of cotton candy. I first came into contact with Art of Sucre while planning an event for Cleveland State University’s Campus Activities Board. I wanted to have cotton candy catered to Cleveland State for Homecoming Week and I was surprised to find Art of Sucre’s website. I was thrilled to find all of the aesthetically pleasing pictures and delighted at the abundance of options. After contacting Harpel, I received an affordable quote. The entire process was easy and quick, so it was no surprise that Harpel came to the event on time and provided a great time to the students who participated. The cotton candy was not only beautiful in its soft, cloudlike appearance, but delivered on the promise of amazing flavors. Unlike the gritty taste of traditional cotton candy, this cotton candy is light, healthier and definitely delicious. The service and the product exceeded my expectations and Art of Sucre became a regular for my events on campus. Harpel’s warmth and kindness radiated throughout the event. It was obvious that she is someone who chases her passion and builds strong relationships with people she comes in contact with. Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down and talk to Harpel about her business. It was a pleasure, and she was every bit as sweet as her cotton candy! I know you started this company after finding inspiration on Pinterest for cotton candy while planning your wedding, but what inspired you to start your own business? EH: I grew up without a traditional family, in the sense that neither of my parents worked a 9-5. My dad had his own business and when I got to middle school he started another one - and another one - so I always joke that it’s in our blood. Most kids grow up thinking starting a business isn’t a normal thing to do, but it was really all I knew. My degree
Visit artofsucre.com or follow
is in psychology and my plan was to start my own
Emily on Instagram @artosucre
practice, so this wasn’t really that far off. My origi-
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nal degree was going to be graphic design, so I have that creative background, where I knew a creative outlet was something I was good at, and something that would make me happier in the long run. Always having that mindset of seeing things and turning it into a business is something that I have always had growing up . What was it about cotton candy specifically? EH: This is not a fun answer, because I don’t like cotton candy. That’s a really weird thing to say out loud, and when I first started, I was like, “I don’t want to lie to people.” Even to this day it feels so weird to say that. I saw the need through planning my wedding. Cotton candy is so unique, it’s not like cake, cake pops, or brownies because people actually get to see it happening. It’s also interactive, so it’s much more of an experience than your typical wedding or event dessert. I saw an opportunity there and it was creative enough that no one in the area, or even the country, was doing anything like it. There are so many creative outlets you could go with cotton candy that it was enough to be its
It was a
What is your favorite part of the business?
so many people that I never would have been able to meet without this, whether it’s for 30 seconds while spinning a customer’s cone, or people I meet through business in the area. Really getting to fall in love with my hometown city has been incredible. No one has any clue the gem we have in our backyard, and it’s something I am so passionate about now. Through my job, I have gotten first hand experience and have gotten to know the people that make Cleveland what it is. What is prep like? EH: That’s what we mainly do at the studio. I have Wendy, who is my studio help. She helps me clean
tions, its clients that come to us. The cotton candy
mannequin hair that we do was a client’s idea. A lot
also get inspired by things we see, or things people
people love to get involved or share, which I love.
What advice do you have for entrepreneurial stu-
EH: This is the most cliche advice, but just start.
of times, it is my ideas and my team’s ideas, but we ask us. It’s funny, when you own a business, so many
EH: Definitely meeting people. I have gotten to meet
dents? Even if it’s just securing the Instagram handle, or getting the LLC. Take that first step, because I’m telling you it’s the hardest. Reach out to people. It’s my favorite thing when people reach out to me and ask for advice in starting a business. People appreciate
all the dishes, mix all the sugar, make all our bases,
that, and if they are passionate about what they do,
and it’s all custom. We can have a purple sugar
they are going to give you all the advice they have.
cookie flavor someone wants Friday, and then get a pink sugar cookie flavor someone wants Satur-
What are your plans for the future?
day. Its making that, prepping that, cleaning the
carts, equipment, we do all our favors in house,
things in the works. The first thing is franchising.
we have orders, glitter bombs, and a lot of times
I want to branch out to different cities, but still be
people will do those together. We will have an order
corporately owned. The reality is, it’s hard to start
of containers for the event as well as spinning at
in the beginning, but to give someone the freedom
the event. So, it’s making sure everything is made
that I now have I think we would be amazing. I
and preparing the carts and bags so the employees
would love to see our stuff on store shelves. I have
know which set of equipment is for them.
a connection at Dylan’s Candy Bar, but we need to
There’s three different ways that we have
nail down our packaging. Ultimately, getting to that How do you come up with all of the creative enter-
wholesale level is a goal as well.
prises the company does? EH: A lot of times, and this goes with being creative with projects, services, flavors, and customizaTHEVINDI.COM | 8
LITTLE WOMEN IN THE 21ST CENTURY WRITTEN BY
Greta Gerwig’s adaptation strays slightly from the beloved tale, but for the better.
any of us recall the days of reading “Little Women,” a story that follows the lives of the four March sisters – Meg, Amy, Beth and Jo – as they navigate the ups
dards of the 1860s – and molds it into an empowering depiction of what it truly means to be a woman, but without the bodices and draping skirts. For this article, I’ve decided to focus on the reimaginings of Meg, Amy, and Jo’s character arcs, because Gerwig didn’t stray too far from Beth’s storyline in the novel.
and downs of growing up and finding their place in the world. Many agree that Louisa May Alcott’s best-selling novel has become a staple of many of our childhoods, as well as a withstanding emblem for love, family, and what it means to be a woman of any time period. And with Greta Gerwig’s recent remake of the age-old classic, it’s got us reminiscing on the good old days (except now we’re taking Buzzfeed quizzes to see which March sister we are while fangirling over Timothée Chalamet). If you were expecting Gerwig’s “Little Women” to be an identical rehashing of the novel, think again. With a few slight differences, she takes a story – which once conformed to the outdated societal roles and stan-
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MEG Let’s be honest: many of us probably thought Meg was the boring sister when we first read this book. She was the oldest, she was the most mature, she didn’t want to go on to become an actress, and she decided to get married first …. yawn. When are we getting back to Jo’s storyline, again? Well, Greta introduces Meg as the “leader,” but she’s far from boring; we’re given a glimpse into the love she has for dances, spending time with her family and friends and having fun. We also learn of her love and talent for acting while producing plays with her sisters. Unlike Jo, Meg isn’t interested in seeking the lime-
light, instead, she falls in love – and that’s okay, too.
isn’t an economic proposition, because it is.”
In one particular scene, before Meg marries Laurie’s
That scene alone paints an entirely different picture
tutor John Burke, Jo runs to her room and tries to stop
of Amy March than what we’ve been given in past adap-
Meg from marrying, suggesting the two run away and
tations - and one that we can certainly relate to. Like
become famous for their talents. Meg interjects with
Jo, Amy has dealt with her own struggles in making
just one simple but powerful reply: “Just because my
her way in the world. Although women’s rights have
dreams are different from yours doesn’t make them
improved exponentially since this novel was written,
unimportant.” These days, it can be easy to fall into a
women who watch this movie can still find solace in
trap of equating feminism with this belief that what-
Amy and her journey into not just being taken seriously,
ever you do, you shouldn’t want to get married and
but into claiming her independence and self-worth, too.
start a family. Gerwig takes this dynamic between Jo JO
get married and have kids or if you want to focus on
A favored feminist icon for decades, Gerwig’s Jo March
yourself and strive to get that dream job first – either
is still the same tomboyish, carefree spirit we’ve grown
one is okay!”
up reading about – and even more relatable than ever.
The film also made a slight shift into the personal
Near the end of the film, we see Jo, played by
struggles with which Meg dealt. Alcott’s novel mainly
Saoirse Ronan, as she sits with her editor to discuss
attributed Meg’s frustrations to adapting to motherhood.
her completed book. The camera pans back and forth
Meanwhile, Gerwig chose to emphasize her financial
as the two quibble over just what percentage of the
struggles instead, both before and after getting married,
profit Jo will receive. Jo, straight-faced and resilient
while being surrounded by richer friends. Gerwig doesn’t
on receiving the amount she prefers – and her editor,
forget to show how Meg evolves as she weans off any
exasperated and deciding whether to argue or to let
and all societal pressures from her wealthier peers.
the disagreement go entirely. Finally, they reach a
We as the audience can see when she realizes that
middle ground and we later see a gleaming Jo as she
what she has in front of her is more than enough. She
watches her book being printed through the window,
also realizes that she and John will try their hardest
like a mother gazing upon her child in the nursery of
to provide the best life they can for their children, no
the maternity ward.
matter what financial situation they may be in.
It may be a short scene, but it mirrors situations that many women deal with in the workplace today,
especially artists. You can probably recall the famous
One of the most talked about points that followed the
legal feud between Taylor Swift and Scooter Braun
release of “Little Women” this past year was that Amy
this past November, which led to the backlash against
was actually likable. As Slate writer Marissa Martinelli
Braun and the hashtag #IStandWithTaylor trending
points out, “Amy is a much more sympathetic figure in
Gerwig’s adaptation than in others, where the story’s
in a legal dispute to win back the rights to perform the
lack of a villain means she sometimes falls into the
music that she wrote herself. By including this scene
role by default.” But, in this adaptation, Gerwig takes
to illustrate some of Jo’s struggles, Gerwig subtly
the time to not only develop Amy as a character (with
speaks out on the ugly truth of what goes on behind
strengths and weaknesses like any other human) and
the scenes for many women today, whether they be
also by gives us a glimpse into how mature and in-tune
entrepreneurs, athletes or artists. YouTube channel Be
she is with what it meant to be a woman in the late
Kind Rewind made a similar point along the lines of
this ongoing “women in the workplace” discussion in
exactly happened? Taylor was
In one scene, a 20-year-old Amy discusses the idea
their “Little Women” analysis, saying, “through this
of true love and following her dreams with Laurie.
lens, Jo’s story is not just about employment, but also
Laurie questions why she would marry someone solely
taking women seriously, respecting their ambition and
for economical purposes and why she doesn’t become
compensating them correctly.”
a painter. To put it simply: Amy gives
Don’t let the fact that this is the eighth adaptation of
wake-up call regarding what it’s like to be a woman
“Little Women” scare you away from seeing this film.
in their time. She goes on to mention an array of hard
Gerwig’s “Little Women” not only prompts a discus-
truths, like how it would be nearly impossible for her
sion into struggles we as women still deal with today,
to earn a living on her own for herself and her family,
but also serves as the perfect celebration of being a
how limiting it is to her self-worth once she does get
woman and as a love letter to Louisa May Alcott herself
married (everything that’s hers would essentially go
for what she’s done. So, in honor of Women’s History
to her husband) and how he isn’t able to understand
Month: movie night, anyone?
...empowering depiction of what it truly means to be a woman...
and Meg to say, “Hey, it doesn’t matter if you want to
these truths because he’s a man in a man’s world. She ends her speech with a final, heartbreaking but truthful point: “So don’t sit there and tell me that marriage
THEVINDI.COM | 10
YOU SHOULD KNOW
Game changers in the arts community
Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986) Known as the “Mother of American Modernism,” Georgia
ive years ago, the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) started a social media campaign called
#5WomenArtists challenges social media users to share art and information about artists that have left an impact around the world. The campaign’s purpose is to bring attention to the fact that, as artists, women have been underrepresented, undervalued, and neglected throughout history. In honor of Women’s History Month, here are five female artists you should definitely know.
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O’Keeffe was an American artist who created many innovative works of art depicting images of America through dramatic cityscapes and glowing landscapes – as well as flowers. O’Keeffe studied the techniques of many other artists, including Arthur Wesley Dow, who was one of her biggest inspirations. Through her learning experience, O’Keeffe was encouraged to develop her own technique which included a combination of abstract and realism. Georgia O’Keeffe was the first female painter to achieve worldwide acclaim from the general public. She received many awards including a Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Gerald Ford in 1977. Some of her most notable works include “Black Iris III,” “Radiator building – Night, New York,” “Blue and Green Music,” and “Summer Days.”
Gwendolyn B. Bennett (1902-1981)
Yayoi Kusama (1929-Present)
Gwendolyn B. Bennett was an African American
Yayoi Kusama is a Japanese contemporary artist who
artist and writer who was a major creative force on
is best known for her sculptures and installations.
the Harlem Renaissance. Often overlooked as an
Kusama also engages in painting, performance, film,
artist, Bennett was a respected and accomplished
poetry and many other arts. Most of Kusama’s art
poet during her era. Gwendolyn Bennett helped en-
was influenced by hallucinations she had as a child.
ergize the Harlem Renaissance with her literature.
Kusama was born in Japan where she learned tra-
Some of her short stories include “Poets evenings,”
ditional Japanese painting style and later moved to
which helped many African Americans come to
New York City where she was inspired by American
terms with identifying and accepting themselves,
abstract impressionism and the pop-art movement.
and “Wedding Day,” which highlighted the effects
Yayoi Kusama became an art pioneer as she included
of different racial groups not getting along. Bennett
minimalism, performance, and action art into her
was also a teacher who helped nurture and foster
work. Some of her most notable artworks include
the talents of young African American artists. Al-
“Dots Obsession,” “Fireflies on the Water,” “Pump-
though she was more known for her writing, Bennet
kin” and “Infinity Mirrored Room.”
painted amazing artworks of landscapes. Some of her works include “Winter Landscape” and “Untitled
The artists mentioned above were each important
in several ways. O’Keeffe was important because she was the first woman to really receive worldwide
Frida Kahlo (1907-1954)
recognition, showing other creators that worldwide
Frida Kahlo was a Mexican painter who achieved
acclaim was achievable for women. Bennett was
international success. Best known for her self-por-
important because she used art as a way to push an
traits, Kahlo was influenced by traditional Mexican
important movement that helped African Americans
folk art as well as European movements such as
gain recognition in the arts community. Kahlo was
realism and symbolism. Kahlo did not intend to
important not only because she taught young females
become a professional painter until after she was
to use art as a medium for self-expression, but
severely injured in a bus accident at the age of 18.
also because she is a feminist icon to many. Catlett
In order to cope with recovery, Kahlo used her time
was also important because, through her art, she
to paint and continued to do so throughout her
became an activist for the African American expe-
life to express her pain and suffering. Kahlo also
rience. Lastly, Kusama is important because she is
became interested in politics which led her to join
a trailblazer in contemporary art.
the Mexican Communist Party in 1927 where she
These five women came from different races,
met her husband Diego Rivera who inspired some of
backgrounds and education - and use different art
her works. Some of her most notable works include
mediums - but they have all impacted the arts in
“Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Humming-
one way or another. For centuries, female artists
bird,” “Memory, the Heart,” “Henry Ford Hospital”
were underrepresented, undervalued and neglected
and “Frieda and Diego Rivera.”
but these women were able to garnish attention for female artistry all around the world. These are five
Elizabeth Catlett (1915-2012)
artists you should know.
Elizabeth Catlett once said, “I have always wanted my art to serve my people—to reflect us, to relate to us, to stimulate us, to make us aware of our potential.” Catlett was an African American Mexican sculptor and graphic artist best known for her depictions of the African American female experience. As the granddaughter of former slaves, Elizabeth Catlett was very interested in the Civil Rights movement which influenced many of her works. She was a graduate of Howard University after being rejected by the Carnegie Institute of Technology due to her race. After receiving a grant from the Rosenwald
I feel there is something unexplored about woman that only a woman can explore.
Foundation in 1946, Catlett moved to Mexico with her husband where she continued to work. Some of her works include “Mother and Child,” “Head of a Woman,” “Singing Their Songs,” and “I Have Worked Hard in America.”
–Georgia O'Keefe THEVINDI.COM | 12
SYNDROME AND HOW TO FIX IT WRITTEN BY
Dorothy Zhao ILLUSTRATED BY
Or, at least, how to live with it. You aren’t alone when you feel like a fraud in a sea of successful people.
ake it ‘til you make it. That’s what everyone tells me. Even if I don’t feel confident or know enough to fulfill every qualification, that’s okay! And, besides, I’m qualified anyway, right? My resume
is two pages, I have a full-time job offer after grad-
uation and I’ve been selected as a valedictorian candidate of the Washkewicz College of Engineering. Every morning, I wake up and feel like I’m choking. Or drowning. Or losing. I feel this overwhelming urge to give up entirely on school, my career and my future. Imposter syndrome affects everyone, but especially high achievers and minorities. Anyone who has the pressure of accomplishing tasks for the first time in their family or generation can relate. As an Asian American woman in engineering, I especially felt isolated and like an imposter. I desperately wanted to belong and to be accepted by my peers and professors since the first day of class freshman year.
As a last semester senior, I worry about heading into the workplace this summer after graduation. I know I’ll feel hesitant and unsure of myself and my skills. I know I’ll probably think “I’m only here because I’m a diversity hire” or “I’m in this position of a software developer solely due to the fact that my abilities have been vastly overestimated.” In work environments, women have a tendency of judging their own performance as worse than they actually are or attributing their success to just luck. In the 1978 paper titled “The Imposter Phenomenon in High Achieving Women: Dynamics and Therapeutic Inter vention” and w ritten by psychologists Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes, they define this phenomenon as an internal experience of “intellectual phonies.” They surveyed women who had “outstanding academic and professional accomplishments” but believed they are not actually intelligent. These women affected by the imposter syndrome reported having symptoms like generalized anxiety, lack of self confidence and depression. The women inter viewed think they’ve fooled those around them, despite their achievements. Clance and Imes enumerated four behaviors that maintains the imposter syndrome I thought were intriguing and enlightening. First, because the fear that one’s lack of ability will be discovered is always present, one studies and works diligently to prevent that discover y. There is a reinforcing cycle of worrying about one’s intelligence, working hard to cover up insecurities and receiving adequate grades or performance. I know I’ve gone through several of these cycles and the feelings of success are addicting, described the belief of thinking one could actually but fleeting. Clance and Imes succeed, then one would instead fail as that of a “magical ritual,” to which I agree. I can’t believe I can succeed, but I’m surprised when I do. It feels
13 | VINDICATOR
plied to but didn’t get accepted into, the classes
Second, women choose to not reveal their real
I’ve gotten less-than-satisfactory grades in, and
opinions or ideas when asked to do so. Intellec-
t he e x per iences I’ve m issed as a result of my
tual inauthenticity, as mentioned in the research
introversion have all been mistakes and learning
paper, can manifest in intellectual flatter y. On
opportunities. Repeat after me: failure does not
some level, I could understand supporting someone
make me a fraud.
else’s ideas instead of my own—simply because I
Mike Cannon-Brookes is the CEO of Atlassian,
thought mine weren’t impressive enough.
a soft ware company he started with his friend
Third, charm and perceptiveness are employed
straight out of universit y. He is now a billion-
by women to gain the approval of superiors and
a i re, but he suf fers from i mposter sy ndrome,
peers. A woman makes it her goal to be liked and
too. He even gave a TED Talk about his imposter
to be recognized as competent. This behavior was
syndrome and how he used it for his own benefit.
something I strongly related to because despite
Cannon-Brookes starts off by stating he had no
what I’ve been told by those around me, I don’t
grand plan, and he’s felt for the past fifteen years
in any way. I have a hard time believing people who say so because they might have based their opinions on my other attributes. That begs the question, do I need outside approval? Shouldn’t I have confidence in my own abilities? The women of the study oftentimes believed true geniuses and innovators did not need validation. As a result, they themselves lacked integrity by engaging in the phony behavior of being charming. Fourth and finally, as long as one maintains the notion that one is not bright, one can avoid societal rejection. Clance and Imes cited previous studies t hat poi nted out how successful, i ndependent women can be viewed as unfeminine and suffer other negative consequences. This last factor of imposter phenomenon didn’t stick out to me as much as the others because I don’t necessarily fear being regarded as aggressive or masculine. If, or once, I become successful in my career, I would feel empowered enough to ignore certain parts of society that might judge me. Jessica Bennett, a journalist at The New York Times, points out imposter sy ndrome as more than just feeling like a fraud. Those experiencing the syndrome devalue their worth and undermine their expertise. I know I carried this dread for two
that he doesn’t really know what he’s doing most days. The co-founder of a multinational company describes being petrified someone would call him out and just guessing his way out of situations. He addresses his audience, saying you have to figure
a way out of the situation you’re entrenched in.
experiencing the syndrome
enough, qualified enough to justify being there, yet, you a re t here,” he emphasi zed. Imposter syndrome isn’t a fear of failure or being unable getting away with something and a fear of being discovered. Cannon-Brookes, however, believes that
isn’t all bad. The feelings can have some benefit. He
worth and undermine
mentions multiple times in his TED Talk that as he introspectively looked into his own experiences of imposter syndrome, he tried to harness them for a force for good. He knows he isn’t alone because the assumption that successful people don’t feel
“You know you’re not skilled enough, experienced
to do it, necessarily. It’s more of a sensation of
like frauds just isn’t true. He encourages everyone
think I’m intellectually superior, creative or special
to keep trying and learning. Instead of freezing up, try to keep the conversation going. Successful people don’t question themselves—they question their ideas and knowledge. They aren’t afraid to ask for advice to hone their ideas. Cannon-Brookes concludes that it is okay to be out of your depth. Be aware of your imposter syndrome. So long as you
consecutive internships, thinking I was going to
don’t freeze but do harness the situation, you can
get fired at a moment’s notice by my manager. I
turn your imposter syndrome into a force for good.
tutored a family friend and didn’t even want to accept the check. I even believed on some level that I didn’t do anything meaningful enough in my internships and classes. However, we can f ight the imposter feeling. Know you’re not alone. Visualize success. Write down three things you’ve done well today. In fact, it helps me a great amount to remind myself what I’m good at. I won’t explain away or diminish my successes. It wasn’t just luck, hard work or other people’s help—my triumphs can come from just my innate ability or intelligence. At the risk of sounding like a braggart, I also must remember my failures. The internships and colleges I ap-
THEVINDI.COM | 14
Empowerment WRITTEN BY
Women, Let’s Love One Another. omen’s
connect with each other. Doing
this, women can realize their greatest economic potential.
Canada and the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, also known as UN Women, co-hosted an international conference in Oct. 2011 where industry leaders expressed
to come up with solutions on how to increase women’s economic empowerment. The team then started an online platform designed to expand and display their findings. Since then, the initiative has become a global movement in more than 198 countries improving practices of community work both on and offline. Their mission has become “dedicated to empowering women to achieve their full economic potential by inspiring both women and men to become advocates, change makers and leaders in their community.” The movement “equips [followers] with resources, opportunities and a global platform that facilitates networking learning and sharing experiences.” Women’s Empowerment has created numerous projects including initiatives on women’s land rights, women’s
migrant workers, African women in technology
15 | VINDICATOR
that’s how we do this.”
In an article on WTKR.com titled “Queen Latifah
Students enrolled into a course at Cleveland State
Helps Support Women’s Empowerment Through
University lectured by Adrienne Gosselin Ph.D.,
Richmond Summit,” the famed musician, actor
ENG 208 Womanism/Feminism, share a common
and entrepreneur used a speaking engagement
thought about women empowering each other
in Virginia to discuss the importance of women’s
despite the many adversities they face in society.
support for other women. At the Women’s Achieve
According to Natalie West, she noticed how women
Summit held at the Greater Richmond Convention
can be competitive toward one another while she
Center, she spoke to 14,000 audience members. She
was in high school. She also noticed how much
shared words of inspiration aiming to encourage
stronger the competition has become since she
other female leaders in their respective industries
entered her collegiate years. Tully Worron feels
to help their fellow women as well. “This will con-
that women have been seen as objects not to be
tinue to change people,” she said. “Hopefully in
taken seriously. She grew up watching realit y
a positive way and make women and young girls
TV shows such as The Bachelor. She saw that life
and even more seasoned women feel their power.”
was often a competition between women of who
During her speech she also encouraged her listeners
is the prettiest or the best. The class shared their
to cut off the TV, sit in their own power and realize
t houghts on how t hey t hi n k t his compet it ion
there are plenty of things they can do to inspire.
is unfair and how they would prefer healthier
Latifah, and other community leaders have taken
steps to unite women in ways that strive to create
As women in today’s society, we are hard-
bonds and coach women to appreciate and help
working, determined and driven to success and
cultivate each others gifts.
accomplishing our goals. With the many obstacles
During the Women’s Empowerment Expo held in
t hat we face, we must cont i nue to b e st rong
Detroit in 2017, Taraji P. Henson, a famed American
individuals using our power to procure foundations
actress and author stresses the importance of
that lead to futures rooted in diligence. We must
wome n ne e d i ng ea c h ot her a nd m a i nt a i n i ng
also use this power to uplift each other. Personal
healt hy relationships. “It’s about us uniting,”
struggles and societal pressures attempt to deter
she said. “Men do it all the time. When it comes
women from obtaining our goals. In this instance,
to women, why are we always competing against
we ca n be a nchors of st reng t h for each ot her
each other?” Henson also mentions how it pains
unifying as an indestructible entity that inspires
her to see young women glorifying each other’s
others to do the same. We can respect, honor and
weak nesses instead of being a source to aid in
recognize the accomplishments of all women no
alleviating problems. “That’s not cute,” she said.
matter our differences. Too often does society
“You can’t do it without your sisters, and I never
create unhealthy competition among women. We
hate on another woman. Men break our hearts…
must break the cycle of negatively pitting women
the world is mean to us. Why should I give her that
against each other and use that competition in a
kind of pain when I am suffering from the same
way that empowers.
We must break the cycle of negatively pitting women against
there for each other,” she added. “Togetherness,
women to help uplift each other.
and more. These initiatives have inspired many
kind of pain that she is suffering from.” Henson also mentions how she loves to hype women up when she sees their successes. She notices how women can be so unhappy and incapable of giving or receiving love. “Empower and love yourself,” she added. “If you can hate on someone else, that means that you hate yourself.” Doing this, women also show others how they liked to be loved. Henson admits to having a special place in her heart for women, and likes to keep the women in her circle close. Henson’s loyalty to women doesn’t allow her to want someone else’s boyfriend or husband. She’s been a hurt woman before and refuses to wish pain on any other woman. “We have to be
THEVINDI.COM | 16
The Woman Behind
THE WOMEN’S CENTER WRITTEN BY
Ayanna Cash PHOTOS COURTESY OF
Mareyjoyce Green Women’s Center
Showcasing the life that Mareyjoyce Green’s dedicated to others.
xtraordinary women are not uncommon throughout history. But women who have devoted their lives to researching, advancing and aiding other women are more of a rarity. Mareyjoyce Green is one example of those unique
women who were committed to uplifting and supporting others. As Black History Month ends and Women’s History Month begins, Green was an exceptional Black woman who pioneered for women’s advocacy and social justice and remnants of her hard work can still be seen today. Green graduated from high school at 15 and went on to attend Wiley College in Marshall, Texas where she became a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. She graduated with an undergraduate degree in Education and Sociology at age 19. In 1947, Green began working as a high school teacher but was quickly removed because teachers we required to be at least 21 and she was only 19 at the time. In response, Green began wearing her hair up to make herself
17 | VINDICATOR
appear older. This set the tone of Green’s life — when she
before returning to school. She earned a Ph.D. from Case
was faced with a problem she was not deterred. Instead,
Western Reserve University (CWRU) that focused on the
she responded with a solution.
sociology of poverty.
Born on May 31, 1928, Green was the third of eight children
Green went on to teach and create curriculum at Cuyahoga
born to Matthew and Preatha Bowie. Her obituary describes
Community College (Tri-C) and the Ashtabula branch of
details of her personal life including her upbringing. Her
Kent State University. In 1962, Green began heading the
childhood town didn’t even have a zip code so Green’s
Lakewood branch of the Ohio State University’s (OSU)
official place of birth was recorded as Yellowpine, Texas
Sociology Department. By 1966, she was overseeing the
— a nearby location to her actual birthplace. Green’s sister
Sociology Department at Cleveland State University (CSU)
Cora says while growing up, the siblings worked on the
— the first woman to ever do so. She also decided to teach
family’s farm “from sunup to sundown.” The family lived
modern dance when she discovered there were no dance
without running water or electricity.
classes offered at CSU. This ensured that a dance studio
Green graduated from high school at 15 and went on to
was built into the gym that was being constructed at the
attend Wiley College in Marshall, Texas where she became
time. Her obituary says that when Green saw a need, she
a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. She graduated
would fill it and move on. This mentality was consistent
with an undergraduate degree in Education and Sociology
throughout her life.
at age 19. In 1947, Green began working as a high school
Green proceeded to establish multiple influential pro-
teacher but was quickly removed because teachers we
grams in Women’s Studies which echoed her devotion to
required to be at least 21 and she was only 19 at the time. In
women’s rights and social issues. One such program was
response, Green began wearing her hair up to make herself
Push to Achievement, which offered citizens who were
appear older. This set the tone of Green’s life — when she
receiving public assistance the opportunity to earn college
was faced with a problem she was not deterred. Instead,
degrees in order to become self-sufficient. This program
she responded with a solution.
helped over 130 students earn bachelor’s degrees.
Green married Charles Green and the couple relocated to
On top of that, Green served as a chair on Cleveland’s
Cleveland, Ohio. Once here, Green joined Epworth-Euclid
Women’s Equity Planning Project. This project included
United Methodist Church, became parents to Janet and
multiple organizations that aimed to assess the challenges
Wallace, and began her career as a dancer. She danced
women faced in the region and create policy reforms to
with the Karamu Dance Ensemble and gave dance lessons
tackle these issues. Green’s research provided ground-
breaking information about women’s status in society
experiences such as swimming lessons and theatre rather
and she worked hard to improve it. She earned the key to
than material items. Her children grew to appreciate her
the city for her hard work on this project.
strict parenting style, so much so that they have tried to
Furthermore, Green established the Women’s Com-
implement it with their own children.
prehensive Program and directed it for 20 years. This
Sadly, Green passed away on September 13, 2019, at the
program offered women in Corporate America a course
age of 91. Despite her passing, her legacy continues to live
that granted students the opportunity to shadow women
on through the MareyJoyce Green Women’s Center. Now
in management or community leadership positions. The
under the direction of Keller and located on the first floor
program also brought about the Women’s Studies major
of Berkman Hall in room 142, the Women’s Center offers
which was the first program in Northeast Ohio to offer Women’s Studies as a major. The Women’s Comprehensive Program also sponsored and directed two esteemed oral history projects which are detailed on ClevelandMemory.org. One project was The Oral History of Ethnic Women, which consisted of a series of interviews with 29 eastern European women, many of whom remembered World War II or the Great Depression. Another was the Women of Fenn Project, which focused on women’s contributions to the foundation of Cleveland’s Fenn College and provided an understanding of what it was like to attend a private co-ed urban college during the 40s, 50s and 60s. Green’s other accomplishments include serving as Interim Vice President for Minority Affairs and Community Relations, working as a member of the board of the Ohio Education Collaborative on women and children, taking part in the Ohio Women’s Policy and Research Commission, and being involved in Womensspace which eventually opened a shelter for homeless women and children.
uplifting support, services and resources to women who attend CSU. The center has continued to grow and evolve while remaining true to Green’s mission. Keller said the current logo of the center is “surprisingly similar” to
the original logo created in the 1970s. Both logos feature
to get an
statements are also “incredibly similar.” Keller feels
of Green. The path to success is unique for every woman.
to cater to each individual woman and their circumstances
be for each particular woman.
career: “Be sure to get an education while you’re getting
of all the opportunities offered to students beyond the
and valuable information and experiences are offered to
leaves and symbolize growth. Green and Keller’s mission
Keller shared a phrase Green used often throughout her your degree.” Green urged women to take advantage classroom. Green understood that education was priceless students outside of the classroom. Keller stands by this phrase and also encourages students to “get engaged,
tributions. She was even invited to the People’s Republic of China, West Germany and England where she took part in an Oxford University Roundtable. Upon her retirement in 2008, the Women’s Center on campus was rechristened
sentatives for her many civic accomplishments and con-
Green and Keller understood that and tailored the center with the ultimate goal of success — whatever success may
All this hard work did not go unnoticed. On March 9, 2009, Green was recognized in the U.S. House of Repre-
affirmation that her philosophies are in line with those
— MAREYJOYCE GREEN
learn more and ask questions.” Mareyjoyce Green was as selfless and hardworking as they come. From a childhood town without a zip code to heading multiple sociology departments, creating life changing and uplifting programs for women, founding a Women’s Center, and raising a beautiful family — Green
as the MareyJoyce Green Women’s Center in her honor.
has achieved plenty to be proud of. She achieved multiple
Green was dedicated to helping others on and off the
lifetimes worth of accomplishments within her 91 years.
clock. Her obituary recounts the time her sisters found
She was extraordinary, to say the least. May the story of
“dozens of handwritten thank you notes attached to
Green’s life act as an inspiration to other women and con-
checks.” These checks were students making payments
tinue to ignite a passion for learning, growth, and success
on loans that Green had given “from her own pocket.”
Green never cashed any of the checks. Even with all of Green’s achievements, she was an extremely humble and private person, to the point that her colleagues did not know much about her personal life and her family was in the dark about what she did while at work. She was constantly focused on helping others rather than showcasing herself. Information about Green and her life is scarce online but, upon her passing, the current director of the Mareyjoyce Green Women’s Center, Jillian Keller and Green’s children Wallace and Janet were able to come together and piece the two halves of Green’s life together. Despite this separation, Keller says that Green was fully devoted to both. Along with being a hard-working professor and director, Green was an amazing mother. She emphasized the importance of education to her children and invested in THEVINDI.COM | 18
SOCIETY WRITTEN BY
Tyisha Blade PHOTOGRAPHED BY
Emmanuel Wallace, Cleveland Scene Magazine Chardonnay Graham shares her struggles and success with Touch Cleveland LLC
hardonnay Graham recently celebrated a milestone. Her marketing consultation business, Touch Cleveland LLC, reached its fifth year of operation. Touch Cleveland LLC is an establishment that advocates for small businesses and understands that these types of businesses have
many needs. Graham decided to take an approach to helping startups that focuses on servicing small businesses, non-profits and public figures that have focus in community, business and overall economic development. According to touchcle.com, the organization is modeled as a collaborative specifically geared to support small businesses. Touch Cleveland LLC guides startups, and only services businesses that are centered on building the economy around them.
Currently residing in Euclid, the East Cleveland native mentioned that the reason behind starting her business was simple. “Life made me start this business,” she said in an email interview. “I graduated [from Notre Dame College] in 2011, the job market was still a mess—especially in the marketing industry. I searched for jobs for eight months and could not land a position in my field.” After venting to both of her mentors, she was advised to shorten her name to ‘Char.’ “It worked,” she said. “I landed my dream job which turned out to be a complete nightmare and when I found myself back out on the market again, I changed my name back to Chardonnay and made a decision then to always be myself and nothing less.”
Once again, she found herself struggling to find employment. Months had passed and she had no job leads, so she began to occupy her time with freelancing. After she landed a few clients, she decided to officially file her limited liability company (LLC).
19 | VINDICATOR
zine photographer, Emanuel Wallace. Toward the
tries—entertainment, fitness and technology, to
end of her event, a video prepared by Graham’s
name a few. Once she developed her niche, she began
marketing coordinator, Kofi Amponash, brought her
attracting clients more fit to the mission of Touch
to tears as she reminisced on some of the struggles
Cleveland. “I’ve worked with The Cleveland Rowing
she encountered and the success that came out of it.
Foundation, Greater Cleveland Urban Film Festival,
“I’d just like to say, although starting a business
Vineyards and Winery at Chateau Hough, Ingenuity
wasn’t my plan, it’s the best thing that ever hap-
Festival, and now currently, Fund for Our Economic
pened to me,” Graham said. “I’m very grateful to
Future and Destination Cleveland,” she added.
have reached this milestone. This [fifth year] event
Touch Cleveland has blossomed into a successful
is more than a celebration, it’s a manifestation of
business in which Graham takes great pride. “I wake
dreams and plans written on paper five years ago.”
up and check my calendar, emails and social noti-
Graham also mentions that her business is proof of
fications immediately…which is actually a horrible
what hard work looks like and it’s the greatest form
habit,” Graham said. “On a good day, I manage to
of motivation that she could ever receive to continue
make it out to the gym and eat breakfast. I travel to
moving forward. She and her clients share great work-
my clients and work in their offices or wherever else
ing relationships as reflected in the results of their
I like inbetween.” She also mentions that her travels
labor. “Touch Cleveland is thoughtful, collaborative
keep her engaged in the field and more integrated
and passionate. They bring such a positive energy to
with her clients. “In the evenings, I’m either attending
each project and deliver results,” said Chief Strategy
an event or home continuing to work on some part
Officer of Destination Cleveland, Hannah Belsito on
of my business,” she said.
touchcle.com. “Touch Cleveland seamlessly integrated
Touch Cleveland uses the power of marketing to
with our internal team making the project incredibly
influence and push initiatives that aid in communi-
collaborative and fun,” Belsito added. Masfield Fra-
ty and business development. “Respectively, as we
zier, General Manager at at Chateau Hough Winery,
build and connect with the entities in these sectors,
believes that, “Touch Cleveland does exactly what its
we educate and guide entrepreneurs with not only
name implies. They show you how to collaborate with
marketing expertise, but also with the information
parts of Cleveland you wouldn’t otherwise touch.”
and resources we already promote for our clients,” she
(Also on Touch Cleveland’s website.)
said. Graham hopes to be the center of a connection
Graham would also like to help college students gain
between smaller enterprises and larger corporations.
experience in marketing and public relations. She
As a bonus, Graham’s business now has the freedom
is accepting applications for students to intern
to consult and guide startups without the eagerness
at Touch Cleveland. Interested students
to sell them services. She also recently filmed her
can apply by emailing their resumes
first episode of a web series, “Unspoken.” The web
to firstname.lastname@example.org. The po-
series features discussions on issues that are affecting
sitions require that students
business and the community.
be a junior or senior in
For Touch Cleveland’s fifth anniversary, Graham
marketing, public re-
hosted an event on Jan. 29 at Social A Loft located in
lations or com-
the Hotcards building. Her closest friends, family and
colleagues joined her to celebrate her accomplishments and embrace Graham and Touch Cleveland LLC. On the menu, spinach dip with veggies, cucumber shrimp bites and mini caprese cups, all catered by Chef Vell. Glasses of wine from a local Cleveland winery, Chateau Hough, were offered with Flame as the red wine and Sassy as the white. Customized cupcake desserts were provided by Brittany Moguel, owner of The Sweetest Treat. Photos were taken by Cleveland Scene Maga-
—I made a decision then to always be myself and nothing less.
Her first few clients were startups in various indus-
THE MOLD WRITTEN BY
How one woman’s vision is helping to shape a generation of Black Lawyers through access to elite legal education.
he 15th annual National Black Pre Law Con-
College of Law, came to set up tables and recruit
ference and Law Fair took place at Columbia
new students. When the conference ended, hun-
University in New York City on Nov. 8-9, 2019.
dreds of young, aspiring Black lawyers left Columbia
Hundreds of students gathered from across the nation
University with the knowledge and connections that
to hear from world renowned speakers and judges and
can help them to break through the glass ceiling that
to benefit from workshops on subjects ranging from
prevents many people of color from entering the elite
legal education financing to law school applications.
world of legal studies and practice. The mastermind
Since the conference began in 2015, over 7,000 stu-
behind this revolutionary conference is Evangaline
dents have registered to attend and participate in a
Mitchell, Esquire. She was kind enough to share a few
variety of workshop opportunities and networking
words with The Vindicator about her journey toward
events, all of which are designed to bring students
making law school more accessible.
together and connect them with the resources they
21 | VINDICATOR
need to successfully navigate law school admissions
Who is your role model and why?
and legal careers. Attendees also had the opportunity
I don’t have any one role model, honestly. Any per-
to hear from legal professionals, law school deans,
son I see or hear about, particularly Black people,
attorneys, and judges in a series of panel discussions
famous or not, who is walking in their purpose,
such as, “Inside the Careers of Black Lawyers,” “The
working towards or in their calling to benefit others,
Black Law Students Survival Guide,” and more. After
who is doing so with excellence, integrity, grace and
the talks, students were invited to participate in a
humility and who has a passion for leaving a legacy
law school fair where hundreds of schools, including
and making a difference however they can — that is
many top universities like Harvard and Yale as well
a role model to me. People like that force me to push
as Cleveland State’s very own, Cleveland-Marshall
to do and be better.
MARCH 2020 2019
When did you know that you wanted a legal career? I made the decision that I wanted to go to law school and become a lawyer when I was a high school student at 16
years old. I watched a PBS documentary series called “Eyes on the Prize.” After learning so much about the struggles of African Americans and the American Civil Rights Movement, that I didn’t learn in school, I felt that it was a call to action in a sense. That, coupled with watching some eye-opening Black movies at the time, compelled me to feel that I personally needed to “do something” to fight for our community. I had always had that tug and pull to make a difference in the African American community. I remember saying that I would be a lawyer and a filmmaker. I felt that by becoming those things, that would provide powerful tools to be able to make an impact in some way. What was the biggest challenge you faced in your professional development? As a first-generation college graduate and law school graduate, my biggest challenge in trying to figure out my career path was not having any direct mentors. I had to fight an internal battle of what I thought I wanted to do, what other people expected me to do and what I really felt in my gut I should be doing I had to be willing to listen to myself — my spirit and heart, and be able to go out and do the research and make things happen — even when I was unsure if it would all work out. We call it trial and error or learning things the hard way. I purposely didn’t choose the traditional path, and that made things even harder. I think young people these days should know that we are thing if you are willing to do the research, plan and execute — and most importantly — do whatever it takes to get things done and simply stick to it, even when it gets really, really hard. Also, I had to have confidence in my vision. The things I wanted to do were not traditional and not something you saw other people doing at the time, but I kept moving forward and stayed focused on my vision — not worrying about what other people were doing and what other people thought. Back when I was in law school, I made a decision to earn a Ph.D. I knew I wanted to write a book and create a film. I ended up becoming a licensed attorney, social entrepreneur, book writer and self-publisher, conference organizer, non-profit founder, executive director and now filmmaker. All based on my passion for demystifying law school for African Americans. That wasn’t something that people aspired to do at that time. All of this came out of my following my gut. Where do you find inspiration to push the boundaries of societal expectations in education and professionalism?
I’ve set for myself. When I look at our ancestors, I know that they had to endure a lot of pain and humiliation, and yet they fought for us, for me and I am indebted to them.
I had always had that tug and pull to make a difference in the African American community.
now in the Information Age. You can do just about any-
I have a responsibility to the next generation and I wholly welcome and appreciate that — even with the tears and bruises that come along with my calling to do more for aspiring Black lawyers. All of those who had to come before me, who had to live through times where our nation’s laws had created and enforced a system that oppressed us and treated us as property and not as whole human beings. Even my parents grew up in poverty and segregation and my mother has shared stories about having to go wait in the back of restaurants and going to poorly-resourced schools, etc. She was told that college was not an option because she was poor and Black. I’m now able to tell my children that the sky’s the limit. Opportunities abound and they can even create their own businesses. All of those people before me — they are my inspiration. Knowing that I can play some small part in leaving a legacy to help others inspires me to keep going every single day.
Faith in God and a courageous and risk-taking spirit be-
What advice would you give to young, Black lawyers who
cause of that faith. I know God has my back. I know that
are just getting started?
I don’t want to be old talking about what I should have or
Go out and seek mentors and get a peer support system
would have done. I don’t want to live a life of regret. I want
so you can connect with others with similar goals who can
to at least try and fail — knowing that our people had so
serve as accountability partners. Join your bar associa-
many more difficult things to overcome than the goals
tions, the major local, state and national bar associations, THEVINDI.COM THEVINDI.COM| |22 6
ed to help Black, first-generation pre-law students with dreams of becoming lawyers. The conference came out of my own frustrations and the many mistakes I made in
You are wanted. Your presence and your voice counts. Your success is our success.
as well as the Black bar associations — and get involved. Let people know what you want to do and find those who are willing to help you. Know that success will not come overnight. It is a process, but with everything you do and learn, you are transforming into a better, more skilled person and you have so much to offer this world. Keep getting out and meeting people. You have to connect with others who are also trying to be successful and those who have “made it.” Stay connected with those people, as opposed to trying to do everything all alone. Never ever give up on your goals and dreams. Be relentless. It’s okay to fall down, but just get back up and keep moving forward. You are needed. You are wanted. Your presence and your voice counts. Your success is our success. You, your achievements, all the things that you are doing and will do, matter and are significant. For African Americans, as a group, it is all about our community. Remember and take pride in that and know that, even if no one tells you to your face, we as a community embrace you, are proud of you, love you, see you, and want to see you succeed. Lastly, your law degree not only empowers you to work for others, but most importantly, it enables you to work for yourself. You have been trained in how to prepare and do research on your own. Those skills are invaluable for you to create and build anything you set your mind to. Create and build. Can you talk about the origins of the conference and the challenges you faced in making it a reality? I just simply had the desire to reach more of our people in a more tangible way. I was realistic in knowing that a lot of people probably wouldn’t read my thick books and there were so many people outside of me who had expertise, perspectives and experiences that Black pre-law students could learn from. When I created the conference, I had never really organized a big event before. I just made the decision to do it and then followed through. I had no idea whether or not the event would be successful. I didn’t know if people would show up or if I would get financial support, or whether it would have longevity. I just decided to do it, and I did. It has been going strong for 15 straight years without missing a single year — even [through] life-altering events such as marriage, two children, medical issues, etc. My only goal was to reach out and help students who had come from backgrounds like [mine], who didn’t have anyone as they were going through the process. I just want23 | VINDICATOR
the application process, during law school, etc. I [took] so many missteps. I didn’t do well on the LSAT, I almost didn’t get into any law school despite my straight A’s. There were so many things I didn’t know because I went through the process alone without any mentorship, advising or insider insight as to what I was doing. My primary goal was to bring aspiring Black law students together with those who were knowledgeable [and] who could give them access to the information, resources and connections needed so they could be more excellent, strategic and competitive law school applicants, students and graduates. I knew that people thought that many Black students were not competitive. I remember trying to explain to people that a lot of that had nothing to do with ability but simply not knowing what we didn’t know. I thought this event could play a role in letting us know what we were up against so we could have a strategy and a better understanding of what was expected so we could create a plan going forward. I think my goals have been achieved. In many ways, we’ve done well, but I think there is so much more potential there. I want us to do so much more. Since beginning this journey, you’ve organized 15 different conferences that have hosted thousands of students. Is there any particular moment or memory that stands out for you? However, the one thing that stands out the most is not necessarily one moment or incident. Whenever I receive an e-mail or a LinkedIn message from a former attendee who is now a law student or a lawyer and they share how the conference meant so much to them and is a reason why they went ahead and pursued their law degrees and succeeded, it lets me know that I need to make sure to keep things going — no matter what. Those “moments” stand out every time. It has been over 15 years. Truthfully, it hasn’t necessarily gotten any easier. Conferences always take an extraordinary amount of planning and effort. However, as long as there is this great need and you know that there is something that happens, particularly in our community, when we get good, credible information, and when we see those who look like us who are sharing because they want us to succeed, then I know that lives are being changed. That is the motivating factor to continue moving forward. Every single person we can help matters. I can’t speak for other communities. But the Black community needs it. If you can share, when and where will the next conference be held? Our next conference will take place Nov. 13 and Nov. 14 in Cambridge and Boston, Massachusetts.
National Black Pre Law Conference and Law Fair 2019
Looking ahead, what are your hopes/goals for the con-
know. Choose to make an impact and not just a living.
ference in the next decade?
Understand that you will reap what you sow. Make the
This year, we are incorporating a workshop on how to
decision to give and pour into others. Trust me. It will ab-
start your own law firm, ways you can make a difference in
solutely come back to you, even if you don’t see it right
Morton Mandel honors
your communities right now and we will expand our work
away. I sometimes look back and think about that “one
college for supporting my trip
on ways that Black people can utilize their legal training
person” who did make a difference in my life and that
to the conference last Fall.
to benefit and uplift the Black community. I also want to
“one person” who could have. Be that one person who
add some hands-on components — perhaps enabling
does. And always look at ways you can be a contributor
students to do a mini mock trial, moot court, client coun-
and not just a taker. Being this type of human being will
seling session, etc.
enable you to stand out and will open doors you may not
Additionally, we will be launching a mentoring program
even think to knock on.
I want to give a special thanks to the English Department and the Jack, Joseph and
because I want to make sure that every attendee has an assigned mentoring circle made up of a law student, lawyer and peer supporters who are also aspiring lawyers. I would like to have someone in place who is responsible for trying to check in and stay connected with our attendees to make sure they have information and support from us for as long as they are on this path towards earning their law degree. Despite the hectic nature of my own life, I am committed to doing more to try to make time to mentor more personally, and to have lunch and dinner with more aspiring lawyers. Every little thing helps. Further, I want us to do a far better job of keeping track with past attendees. We care and want to keep up with them and find out where they are now. With thousands of past registrants and attendees, that’s a big job. However, I want to be sure that we connect with our alumni, and have many more come back and give back by pouring into the new attendees for future events. Is there anything else you would like to share with readers? I think it’s important that we all strive for greatness. In anything you do, be it law school or anything else, make it about more than you. Have a spirit of service. Help other people in whatever way you can and with whatever you
THEVINDI.COM | 24
BEAUTY + WELLNESS
25 | VINDICATOR
MARCH 2020 WRITTEN BY
focuses on health and beauty products. If you search
“The Goop Lab” on Google, however, you’ll soon find out that basically everything the show highlights is pretty sketchy. So why bring it up? Well, there is one
Even though a lot of schools have lackluster examples of sex education, there are a few Netflix shows that can pick up some of the slack.
episode in particular that talks about the wonders of female masturbation that I wanted to bring to light. In fact, there are some reviews that trash the show overall but also highlight this episode in an attempt to discuss how female masturbation is addressed in the media. Similar to the one sexual harassment
emale sexuality and masturbation aren’t
scene in “Sex Education,” but with a more positive
usually popular topics. In fact, and I’m
angle, I was glad that a newly released show took
sure you know this if you’re a woman,
the time to focus on sex from the female perspective.
they’re viewed as being pretty shameful.
“Big Mouth,” a cartoon based around the lives of
Ohio, for example, is one of the 27 states
a group of middle schoolers, also explores female
that stresses the importance of abstinence until
masturbation with its characters Jesse and Missy.
marriage. That means that a little more than 50
“Sex Explained” is one of the shows on Netflix
percent of the United States refuses to acknowledge
that always looked fascinating to me, but I never
the benefits of a full, comprehensive sex education
really took the time to watch it until now. This is
curriculum. Even though a lot of schools have
a spin-off of the main show, “Explained,” which
lackluster examples of sex education, there are a
currently has two seasons and was released in 2018.
few Netflix shows that can pick up some of the slack.
“Sex Explained” released in the first week of 2020
Over the course of the last year or so, there have
and focuses solely on, you guessed it, sex. It only
been quite a few shows released that focus on sex.
has six episodes, all highlighting topics like birth
Sex has become less taboo in pop culture, but it’s
control, fantasies, attraction, etc. Unlike the other
still uncommon to find shows or movies that depict
two shows on our list, it is a documentary-style
realistic and healthy sex. Here are some recent shows
show that is more scientific than the others. While
that do a - mostly - good job at depicting realistic
“Sex Education” is completely fiction and “The Goop
sex and masturbation - especially with women.
Lab” is pseudoscience disguised as a documentary,
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
“Sex Education” is the first show on our list.
“Sex Explained” cites specific source material and
Even though I don’t believe it was initially created
interviews experts on each topic. It’s a nice change
to serve as actual sex education, I’m sure that it’s
and a better source of information on the topics
Where to Get Tested:
helping teens feel more open about the topic overall.
The main character, Miles, and his 16 to 17-year-
Although these shows are breaking ground on
old friends have a lot of questions about sex and
mostly unexplored and generally taboo topics, they
Free Condoms for Ohio
relationships. Since their school is failing them,
should not be used to answer any serious sex and
Miles and his crush Maeve decide to open a “Sex
relationship questions. I’ve always had the unfor-
Clinic” - where they give their classmates sex and
tunate habit, like many others, to use Google as a
relationship advice for a small fee. Miles’ parents
source for health advice and expertise as well. It
are very successful sex and relationship therapists,
isn’t a good idea to do that either. If you are looking
CSU Counseling Info:
so he knows quite a bit more than he should about
for some professional opinions about sexual health,
(Union Building 220,
both topics. “Sex Education” is forward thinking in
you can turn to Planned Parenthood, or find infor-
terms of realistically addressing how teens figure
mation at your doctor’s office. We’ve also taken the
out their sex lives. What really stood out to me the
liberty to add a few helplines and other sources of
CSU LGBTQ+ services:
most was a short scene in the second season where
information that might be useful.
(BH 211, 216.687.2324)
the main group of girls are stuck in the library to-
Even though sex seems like an abused topic some-
gether. They’re given an assignment to figure out
times, these shows are opening up the conversation
Ohio Sexual Violence
what they all have in common and the only thing
about sex and female pleasure from different angles.
that they can come up with is that they have all been
“Sex Education” not only addresses female mas-
sexually harassed in some way. It was impactful,
turbation, but also how common it is to be sexually
thoughtful and got right to the point of the issue.
assaulted, in whatever form - from groping, catcalling
This is one of the first major times that a show has
and rape. “The Goop Lab,” however incorrect most
addressed this topic so openly and directly. It made
of their science seems to be, is also exploring the
a good impression.
realm of female sexual pleasure. “Sex Explained,”
Before I talk about anything related to this next
on the other hand, pushes forward with all types
show, you should know that “The Goop Lab” is not
of information about sex, like kinks, birth control
something I recommend watching. It’s a docuseries
and more. It may be more of a forbidden topic than
about the company created by Gwyneth Paltrow, that
most, but sex is taking Netflix by storm. THEVINDI.COM | 26
BEAUTY & WELLNESS
5 | VINDICATOR
PHOTO CREDIT GOOGLE IMAGES
MARCH 2020 WRITTEN BY
Celebrating the journey of Halima Aden from refugee to supermodel.
alima Aden has been adding diversity to the modeling industry and giving underrepresented Muslim women visibility by refusing to follow the typical beauty standards in today’s society.
Aden was born in a refugee camp in Kenya after she and her mother fled the Somali Civil War. Her passion for beauty and modeling began as early as her time spent in the refugee camps where she learned to braid hair. After staying in Kenya for some time, Aden and her mother moved to St. Cloud, Minnesota. In her
Minnesota apartment, Halima would charge $10 to braid hair as a young child. In her youth, Halima succeeded both academically and socially, becoming the first hijab-wearing homecoming queen at St. Cloud Apollo High School. Hijab is
a term usually used to describe the head-covering and modest clothing worn by Muslim women. In addition to
the outer covering of the body, hijab also has an inner meaning—the longing to be devoted to God and the
way one carries out their actions. Aden continues to devote herself to wearing her hijab as it is a part of her
identity. While Aden attended university, she became the first Somali member of the student government.
Aden also became the first Somali American and hijabi to compete in the 2016 Miss Minnesota USA pageant,
making it to the semifinals. In addition to wearing the
hijab, she became the first contestant to wear a burkini (full-body swimsuit) during the pageant swimsuit walk. Aden garnered national attention and was signed
to IMG modelling agency, becoming the first hijabi
remember to give back to humanity.
model to sign with a major agency. Since then, Aden’s career has exploded into modeling for several large brands and magazines such as Fenty Beauty, Essence Magazine and Sports Illustrated Magazine. Aden continues to prove that modest Muslim women have a place on the runway and fashion industry. In 2017, she was on the cover of Allure US Magazine before appearing on the cover of British Vogue in 2018. Aden made another mark in history when she was featured on Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue as the first model to wear a hijab and burkini full-body swimsuit. Sports Illustrated Swimsuit strives to show that your beauty
is defined by you, whether you choose to wear a twopiece or a burkini. In an article from the Daily Swim website, “Halima Aden Makes History by Becoming PHOTO CREDIT GOOGLE IMAGES
the First Model to Wear a Hijab and Burkini in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit,” editor MJ Day explains why she admires Halima and her understanding of beauty. “I admire Halima, and I consider her an inspirational human for what she has decided to use her platform for and her work with UNICEF (The United Nations Chil-
by her intelligence, enthusiasm and authenticity,”Day said. This year, Aden was also on the cover of Essence Magazine for its January/February issue celebrating her accomplishments as she is breaking down barriers and her achievement for being the first Black female on the cover of Essence to wear a hijab. Aden shows that fashion and beauty is not solely based on looks and trends, but from the beauty within. Beauty should not be attached only to makeup and clothes, but something that radiates from within to the outside world. It comes from the way you behave and carry yourself. Women are still beautiful even when covered head to toe. Aden encourages people to never conform to someone else’s standards, but rather to be your true self. Aden not only inspires modest Muslim women every day through fashion, but also has become an inspiration to help others. Since August 2017, she has been involved with UNICEF. She became a UNICEF ambassador in July 2018 after returning to her refugee camp in Kenya and sharing her story on TedX. Aden recalls the days when she was in the Kenyan refugee camp and how UNICEF workers used to make her feel more stable and secure. Aden is also executive producer of a film called “I Am You.” She felt compelled to be involved in the production of this film because when people think of refugees, they tend to think of people that want to cause trouble and incite violence. In reality, refugees are running away from violence they faced back home. The film tells a compelling story about a young refugee and recognizes that refugees are people, just like the rest of Americans. It also shows how many refugees are not choosing to leave for better lives, but are being forced to leave their homes. Aden also works with brands to promote sustainability and the promotion of equal access and opportunity to children around the world. She is currently collaborating with Bottletop’s #TOGETHERBAND campaign to help meet the United Nation’s 17 Global Goals. These goals will help make way for the ultimate objective of creating a healthier planet. The #TOGETHERBANDs are made from ethically sourced materials of varying colors to represent the Global Goals. Aden was featured on The Observer Magazine wearing her Goal 8 #TOGETHERBAND, which represents Decent Work and Economic Growth. She looks back on how she was featured in magazines all around the world and how she was able to walk on runways wearing the hijab. Aden believes “every child should have the opportunity to flourish.” Only four years in the industry, Aden has already accomplished so much. She aims to inspire everyone to never be afraid of being yourself and to always remember to give back to humanity. Just imagine how much more history she will be making in the near future.
dren’s Fund) as an ambassador. She is, in my opinion, one of the great beauties of our time, not only outside but inside. When we met, I was instantaneously taken THEVINDI.COM | 28
MIND, BODY & SOUL OF THE FEMALE STUDENT ATHLETE WRITTEN BY
Confronting the high’s and low’s of what female athletes face on a daily basis.
t’s hard to describe the collegiate female athlete in simple terms, however, she is an enigma nonetheless. Whatever the sport may be, an athlete making it to the collegiate level is an accomplishment which is generally inspired
by something that comes from within. That fire and grit is something she takes with her throughout her journey of life. With all the empowerment that sports bring to female athletes, it can also bring insecurities such as the changing of the body, the affected body image and trying to keep up with the expectations of what a woman is “supposed to” exemplify during competition. From a very young developmental age, sports can empower and inspire young women. They bring confidence in the craft, and allows her to transcend what she learns from sports to everyday activities. At a young age, playing a sport could be described simply as just fun and games, but as she grows older, it moves into something of fierce competition. That competitiveness isn’t something that stops when she leaves the gym. Sports aren’t necessarily something you can pick up and drop off whenever is convenient for you. No - they are all encompassing. At the collegiate level, these feelings are only heightened. From practice to game play, not putting forth the best effort isn’t an option, and not getting the results you strive for leaves you restless for your next opportunity. Ultimately, these emotions can take a toll. With the constant thoughts of sports and academics on the mind, breakdowns are almost inevitable; at times it’s tough, but the reward is so much greater. Most collegiate sports require their girls to lift two to three times a week on top of a tiring practice schedule. As women, our bodies are ever-changing; that’s a fact. However, with the influence of a strenuous routine, the body’s muscles begin to grow in
29 | VINDICATOR
Inherently, that’s what sports do: they push each other from one limit to
different ways. Parts of the upper and lower body
It is the job of the athlete to turn that pressure into
begin to bulge, and in the blink of an eye, you look
positive motivation that propels you to compete at
and feel like a different person. Part of it is empow-
the highest possible level.
ering; you can look in the mirror and feel confident
Women often find themselves bringing out a
that your hard work is paying off. However, it doesn’t
different persona while playing sports. An image is
always feel that way. Sometimes, the eyes only see
typically affiliated with women to be feminine, nur-
what needs to be improved. In the weight room, it’s
turing and soft. However, sports bring out different
not about getting in and getting out. No, it’s about
characteristics. We don’t care what we look like, we
working out your muscles so they can get stronger
care about the task at hand. We don’t focus on how we
and perform better in competition. Some girls are
behave, it’s our natural inclination to be aggressive,
dominant in the weight room, naturally out squatting
and we certainly don’t focus on what people think of
their teammates with pure organic strength. That girl
us. Our priorities are on our team and accomplishing
with the natural ability to lift heavier weights only
our goals. It’s simply who we are. We don’t apologize
pushes her teammates to work harder themselves.
for it. How could we? A woman’s identity shouldn’t
Inherently, that’s what sports do: they push each
be defined in simple terms. We are whatever it is we
other from one limit to another.
set out to be. In competition, we often look dishev-
Mentally, playing a collegiate sport has its ups and
eled with our hair falling out of its ponytail and our
downs. The overall experience is an extremely unique
sweat being absorbed into our jerseys. However, in a
opportunity that most people don’t get to have in
way, our sports are our sanctuary. The stereotypes of
their lifetime. For that, we are incredibly thankful
what we are “supposed to look like and the box that
for what sports bring. Staying mentally tough in
we “should” fit in can be demeaning, and refuses
all aspects of college life from academics, sports,
us the opportunity to unapologetically be who we
and social interactions can be difficult. Becoming
are meant to be.
overwhelmed academically can be easy. Traveling
Personally, being a female athlete at the collegiate
for matches is a part of playing a sport collegiately,
level is simply a dream come true. I know I can speak
and more often than not, we are expected to miss
for a lot of young athletes when I say playing a Divi-
classes but keep up with the work on our own time.
sion I sport is something many young people strive to
Getting mentally prepared for matches while still
achieve, but very few succeed. The female collegiate
actively working to stay caught up on class material
athlete is someone who wakes up each morning with
is a struggle in and of itself. At the collegiate level,
the attitude of prioritization and grit in all things
we have to learn to balance both. Athletically, our
she faces. Sports are empowering. They allow us to
sports can act as a relief as well as a stresser. The
drift away and for a few hours be someone we can’t
intensity, and most of all, the profound pressure we
be outside of our sport. It’s an escape from reality
put on ourselves to perform at the highest possible
and although at times it pulls on your feelings of
level is something that comes with time, and some
doubt, anxiety, and anger, it is fulfilling nonetheless.
learn to handle it better than others. Typically, the
Through all the hard work, and at times, pain, our
pressure we put on ourselves turns into anxiety before
sports uplift us in unimaginable ways.
games which can produce below average outcomes.
“ THEVINDI.COM | 30
ABUSE & INJUSTICE
AT THE SOUTHERN BORDER
The U.S. government enables transphobic violence. ICE is no exception.
31 | VINDICATOR
n March 31st, the last day of Women’s
killed a trans woman in self-defense from a sexual
History Month, we will recognize the
threat. Nor are our federal agencies held account-
Transgender Day of Visibility. The inter-
able. While Immigration and Customs Enforcement
section of these occasions should serve
abuses the undocumented people in their custody,
as a reminder of the intersectionality
the Trump-Pence administration continues to claim
of our activism. Feminism must be inclusive of all
that ICE is acting in the best interests of American
women. That means educating ourselves about the
safety and security. But there is no justification for
struggles within diverse communities. Year after
ICE’s actions, which have contributed to illnesses
year, human rights activists have recorded that trans
and deaths of those detained, including children.
women of color are the group most impacted by trans-
Any violation of human rights on this scale should
phobic violence. They experience the intersection of
be cause for outcry throughout the year. As we re-
transphobia, misogyny and racism, which not only
flect this month on the history of women’s rights
makes them the target of hate crimes, but also of
and our continuing strides towards equality, we
institutionalized discrimination. The Human Rights
must continue to call attention to the scope of the
Campaign has reported that trans people experience
abuse by ICE, which has resulted in the deaths of at
homelessness and poverty at far higher rates than
least two transgender women.
their cisgender peers. Both of these are contributing
Johana Medina Leon came to the United States in
factors to other dangerous circumstances. Trans
spring 2019, with hopes of being a registered nurse.
people are more likely to need medical care as the
She could not achieve her goal in her home country
result of hate crimes, as well as chronic conditions
of El Salvador because of the transphobia she faced
such as HIV/AIDS, but they are less likely to receive
there. When she arrived at the U.S.-Mexico border, she
this care because of inability to pay for it, or even
was detained by ICE. She was held for some months,
outright discrimination from medical professionals.
CNN reports, before testing positive for HIV at the
All of these issues are exacerbated for trans women
end of May. Shortly after ICE released her, she died
of color, including Black women and Latinas.
in the hospital. She was 25 years old.
As in many cases throughout history, the legal
Medina Leon died one year following another death
system is not yet an accurate reflection of justice.
reported by the Human Rights Campaign. Roxana
In countless cases, murderers have received light
Hernández was an asylum seeker from Honduras. She
sentences, mitigated by the argument that they only
was the target of discrimination in her home country,
date, the National Center for Transgender Equality
died in ICE custody. NBC News later reported on the
makes a note of former Attorney General Jeff Sessions’
official autopsy, which cited untreated HIV/AIDS as
decision in 2018 that gang violence and domestic
the cause of her death. The autopsy also identified
violence would no longer be considered as reasons
bruising on Hernández’s chest and fractures to her
for asylum. The impact of this policy is certainly
ribs. The New Mexico Office of the Medical Investi-
not exclusive to trans women like Medina Leon and
gator has concluded that her injuries likely resulted
Hernández—anyone, regardless of background, can
from attempts to save her life through CPR. After
be a target of gangs or a survivor of abuse—but it is
a second, independent autopsy by pathologist Dr.
understandable that the NCTE included it on their
Kris Sperry, activists at the Transgender Law Cen-
list. UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, found in 2016
ter have argued that the injuries are signs of abuse.
that nearly 90 percent of Central American asylum
ICE has denied these claims.
seekers who are LGBTQ+ reported that they experi-
Months later, there is still no full explanation for
enced discriminatory violence while living in their
the deaths of either of these women. With so little
home countries. That asylum seekers choose to leave
public access to evidence, it cannot be known for
their homes in hopes of escaping oppression, only to
certain whether they were physically abused by ICE
experience further discrimination and violence from
officials. However, there is substantial evidence that
a U.S. agency, is appalling.
neither Medina Leon nor Hernández received the care
We cannot tolerate this cruelty from any entity, and
necessary for people with HIV, and that this neglect
we must refuse to reelect any politician who continues
was a contributing factor in both of their deaths.
to defend it. No person, group or government should
This is far from the full extent of transphobia in the
have the power to inflict violence as an instrument of
immigration policy of the Trump-Pence administra-
oppression without facing consequences. ICE has to
tion. Like Medina Leon and Hernández, many LGBTQ+
be held accountable, as does every official involved
immigrants are asylum seekers. Donald Trump has
in this policy of detainment, separation and abuse.
publicly questioned the validity of asylum claims in
Women’s History Month honors the legacy of the
general, and his administration has significantly
struggle for freedom and equality. If we do nothing
narrowed the nature of claim that can be recognized
to fight unjust policy, we will fall short of that legacy.
Months later, there is still no full explanation for the deaths of either of these women.
so she came to the U.S. for safety. In May 2018, she
as a reason to be granted asylum. In a report on all of the transphobic actions by this administration to THEVINDI.COM | 32
HOW #METOO CHANGED OUR LIVES WRITTEN BY
It’s been three years since, and the movement shows no signs of slowing.
Derek Prince Wilson
arana Burke’s expectations of her activist group and slogan, #MeToo, were exceeded beyond a belief she could ever imagine in 2017. Hollywood actor Alyssa Milano, took to Twitter declaring #MeToo, in a tweet
that urged women to unite by using the slogan on their social media platforms. The widely recognized hashtag—previously created in 2006—gravitated through social media turning Burke’s more private activist group into one of the biggest movements to ever impact our world today. The #MeToo movement would overtake social media and every other media outlet as a result of one stor y, published in The New York Times by reporters Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, on the
Numerous celebrities took the Time’s Up initiative
decades of sexual assault committed by hollywood
under their wing, joining several activists groups
producer, Harvey Weinstein.
and organizations directed toward sexual assault
Milano, Burke, Kantor and Twohey, although playing a huge part in its crusade, are not single
depletions. The movement also strives to battle
handedly responsible for the explosion of #MeToo.
hiring discriminations—not only in entert ment, but
It was the strength and honesty of the victims, the
in all hiring organizations across the world. Time’s
solidarity of mothers and daughters, teachers, and
Up calls for equal pay amongst men and women,
the media, who have made #MeToo what it is today.
diversity and inclusivity.
Entering its third year, #MeToo is still one of the
The variance of #MeToo is its accessibility to all
most trending hashtags used on social media to this
individuals of all languages and cultures. Although its
day. It is responsible for overall increases of sexual
origination began in the U.S., #MeToo has expanded
assault articles being published, and has contributed
to Europe, Asia, Africa and many more places across
to massive shifts in all industries worldwide. It is a force that has made our world “messy, imperfect, and urgent,” said sexual assault survivor and hollywood actor Ashley Judd in regards to the movement. #MeToo wasn’t strictly meant for just social media purposes, its intent is about empowerment and confidence building. Prior to its explosion, sexual assault had been a no-go topic of conversation in public spaces. Attached to sexual assault is the idea that women should be ashamed and afraid of their experiences. However, #MeToo has created a massive platform for further discourse that welcomes survivors. Its greatest impact has been its rejection
the globe. Sexual assault isn’t seemingly American, it exists in all places. Pew Research Center reported 29 percent of #MeToo tweets used within its reigning time periods were in multiple languages that weren’t English.
Where do we go from here? According to Burke, we have all been awakened into “a whole new world,” but the predictions of what’s next
for #MeToo is beyond the scope of our imaginations. One thing that seems to be certain is that it’s not
going anywhere. We have seen and can expect to see more court
cases and even more convictions, as over 100 men
specific to #MeToo since 2017-- in and out of the
in wake of the movement, we can also expect to see
#MeToo in the Media
society for decades. The idea that men can overpower, abuse, and silence women is being ridiculed by the
The “Year of the Woman” has been a three-yearrunning crusade most impactful in politics and media publications. Every major publication across the nation declared this sentiment in 2018, following through with 63 percent of all bylines published in the U.S. belonging to women, according to The Atlantic. This spanned into countless recounts of highquality investigative journalism that led to even more exposure of sexual assault crimes committed
have been charged with allegations of sexual assault Hollywood industry. With current laws being placed huge changes in workplaces and meeting rooms. The movement has also transitioned into communal
settings, educating and administering aid to those in need. Burke tells media outlets she’s been working
of the toxic behavior we have watched reign over our
hard to increase revenue for resources needed for her activist group of the same name. Besides working directly with survivors, the group also helps train counselors across the country to help survivors within their own communities. Ultimately, we can expect to see more stories with
behind closed doors. Due to the media’s
user accounts that mention #MeToo and the horrific
influence, Weinstein is not the only culprit being
accounts of sexual abuse accompanying it. The
apprehended for decades of abuse. We are all
movement unveiled staggering numbers of women
familiar with household names such as R. Kelly, Bill
who have been sexually abused worldwide; women
O’Reilly and Bill Cobsy, who all appear to
who no longer wish to remain quiet.
be going down as well. The media was not only able to keep #MeToo afloat,
The famous saying “sometimes something bad has to happen before something good can,” has never
but inspired a series of other activist groups
been more precise as in the terms of #MeToo. The
and movements. One notably popularized movement
world has been immersed into a new space unafraid
is Time’s Up, an organization built within Hollywood
to say “time’s up.”
with the intent of putting an end to sexual abuse in the industry. This new movement was so positively accepted because it gave the so called “regular” individuals a chance to share their voices with big names in the industry by accompanying these celebrities as their dates to award shows and red carpet events. THEVINDI.COM | 34
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
Still I Rise by Maya Angelou
But still, like air, I’ll rise. Does my sexiness upset you? Does it come as a surprise That I dance like I’ve got diamonds At the meeting of my thighs? Out of the huts of history’s shame I rise
You may write me down in history
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Does my sassiness upset you?
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
Why are you beset with gloom?
’Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
Pumping in my living room.
Just like moons and like suns,
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
With the certainty of tides,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.
Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes? Shoulders falling down like teardrops, Weakened by my soulful cries? Does my haughtiness offend you? Don’t you take it awful hard ’Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines Diggin’ in my own backyard. You may shoot me with your words, You may cut me with your eyes,
35 | VINDICATOR
THEVINDI.COM | 36
Helen Keller by Langston Hughes
She, In the dark, Found light Brighter than many ever see. She, Within herself, Found loveliness, Through the soulâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s own mastery. And now the world receives From her dower: The message of the strength Of inner power.
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We specialize in high quality videography, photography and editing and we all have a passion for documenting special moments in peopleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s lives. Starting out by taking photos for our friends and loved ones, we now want to bring the same feeling for other couples in Cleveland and Ohio.
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