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Vindicator Cleveland State University’s Arts and Culture Magazine

MAR 2017

inside the women’s marches on the ground in DC & in CLE


why women marched

the hijab, Islam, and peace learn the facts about different cultures

female activists inspired and engaged in CLE

kickass feminist booklist

arm yourself with knowledge

MAR 2 Letter from the Editor 3 Contributors 4 Online 6 Calendar ARTS 7 A History of Books 9 U  nderrated, Female-Lead Films 11 Big Bad Feminist Booklist CULTURE 13 The Rise of Cybersexism 15 G  uiding Direction: The Power of Culture 17 The Life of a Multi-Faceted Female American 19 A House Divided FEATURE 21 Women in the Resistance 23 B  eing a Woman 25 T  he Hijab: More than Just a Cloth 29 Why We Fight SOCIAL 35 Obamacare: Moving Forward 37 Painted Not So Pretty 39 An Illnedd You Can’t See 41 Viking Expeditions POETRY 43 Yae or Eyes, a Sparrow in Ohio 44 Little Boy Blue 45 While it Rains 46 Katie

29 Women’s March

Women across the world marched in unity for equality.




here is power in numbers, especially if a great number of people consistently chose to persist in achieving what is right. Persistence can be enacted in many ways, and that’s what we planned to do that with this issue for women’ history month. This month, we talk about the different ways we’ve fought, and the new ways in which we’re continuing the battle. But to put it simply, this month, we’re talking about marching. Whether it’s through the steps we take or the words we dare to utter just a little louder. Our cover story, by Elisabeth Weems talks about a truly historical event that occurred just a few months ago, when millions came together for the Women’s March in Washington and around the world. Benjamin Heacox writes about the trials and tribulations of political conflict within his family, and how this

can be applied to how we relate to each other as a nation. We also have Alexis Rosen interviewing transgender women about their experience and Joe Schmittgen talking to the Muslim Student Association about Hijab Day and Cleveland State. I’m very proud of the immense amount of work and creativity our staff has put into this issue and this school year. This will be my last Editor’s Letter for the year, but we still have one more issue in April coming up, so make sure you are reading and letting us know what you think! I feel ecstatic to be a part of this publication and to see all forms of creativity coming together, whether it’s through eye opening writing or breathtaking design. The Vindicator is proud to always create content that not only informs, but also challenges. And now, more than ever, we will challenge. And we will persist.



Faculty Advisor Julie Burrell Media Specialist Daniel Lenhart

CONTRIBUTORS Editor-in-Chief Arbela Capas Art Director Nicole Zollos Managing Editor Holly Bland Culture Editor Elisabeth Weems Arts Editor Benjamin Heacox Feature Editor Alana Whelan Online Editor/Junior Designer Michella Dilworth Assistant Art Director Andriana Akrap Junior Designer Alyssa Miller Poem Designer Jessika Williams Poem Designer Mikayla Colston Contributing Writer Greg Elek Contributing Writer KC Longley Contributing Writer Caitlin Berry Contributing Writer Joe Schmittgen Contributing Writer Nicole Zollos Contributing Writer Chau Tang Contributing Writer Arbela Capas Contributing Writer Caitlin Cole Contributing Writer Louis Wallee Contributing Writer Alexis Rosen Contributing Writer Holly Bland Contributing Writer Elisabeth Weems Contributing Writer Dorothy Zhao Contributing Writer Alana Whelan Contributing Writer Benjamin Heacox Contributing Writer Brenda Castaneda Disclaimer Magazine theft/fraud is a crime. Single issues of the vindicator are free, to obtain copies contact the Vindicator or student life. 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.


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THEVINDI.COM Watch our interview with Cleveland State art student Paige K at the DonaldTrump Protest in downtown Cleveland

I didn’t think I would ever experience something as huge and exciting as I did this past Saturday at the Women’s March on Washington. I have never seen so many people in one place at one time who were standing up for the same reason, which in this case was equality.


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what’s happening in...



Pure Color: Pastels from the Cleveland Museum of Art Pure Color: Pastels from the Cleveland Museum of Art celebrates pastels made from the second half of the 19th through the early 20th century, “a remarkably creative period of richness, diversity, and experimentation in the use of the medium.” Visit the exhibit in Gallery 101. Oh yeah, and it’s free! Through March 19th



Mosque Tour and Talk at the Islamic Center of Cleveland Join Imam Musa at the Islamic Center of Cleveland for a tour and introduction to Islam. This is geared towards non-Muslim people but all are welcome, and is a family friendly tour and talk. “Bring an open mind and any questions you might have about Islamic life, culture, and faith.” Times and dates vary. RSVP on the Cuyahoga County Progressive Caucus Facebook event. March 6-28 6055 WEST 130TH STREET


Wizard World Cleveland Comic-Con Tens of thousands of fans will convene to celebrate all that the Wizard World Comic Con & Gaming has to

Panic! At the Disco— Death of a Bachelor tour at Cleveland State’s Wolstein Center Touring with friends Misterwives and Saint Motel, rock band Panic! At the Disco will headline their Death of a Bachelor tour titled in honor of their most recent album. Doors open at the Wolstein Center at 7 p.m. and tickets are still available ranging from $29.50-$59.50 through the Wolstein Center online. March 8th

offer—Movies, Comics, Toys, Video Gaming, Games, TV, Graphic Novels, Horror, Wrestling, MMA, Original Art, Collectibles, Anime, Manga & More. Join the fun at the Huntington Convention Center on this weekend of fun. Times vary by date, tickets starting at $35. March 17-19th





Cleveland Saint Patrick’s Day Parade in Downtown Cleveland Celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day the old fashioned way with thousands of attendees on the 175th anniversary of the Cleveland Saint Patrick’s Day parade hosted by the United Irish Societies of Greater Cleveland. The parade will start promptly at 1:04pm. March 17th


Cleveland International Film Festival The Cleveland International Film Festival is a celebration of culture & creativity through the art form of motion picture. Over 150 films will be shown & judged, awarding over $100,000 in prizes. The 41st annual CIFF will be held at Tower City Cinemas and will run from March 29th to April 9th. Check to see prices & showtimes. March 29th - April 9th


A HISTORY OF BOOKS The history of writing as a craft, an understanding of the varieties of books that exist, and a list of local bookstores to visit. // Caitlin Barry



eople have been writing for

ing keeps your brain young,” says Lauren

entertaining themselves without technolo-

centuries, dating all the way

Gelman, writer for Reader’s Digest. Read-

gy. In order to have a strong mind you must

back to the B.C. era when The

ing strengthens your memory; the brain is

be able to train yourself to enjoy reading

Epic of Gilgamesh and ancient

required to remember very tiny details that

without any technology in your peripher-

religious texts were written.

are not expressed through movies and TV

al view and focus on the little details that

There is so much knowledge and wisdom

shows. Details such as the way a girls hair

make life so unique. While technology truly

written throughout history that we have

moves when she is walking, or how setting

supplements our lives, it’s important to live

been recovering for hundreds of years. So

of a scene can predict the future of the

under the mantra that is is helpful, but it is

much knowledge can be discovered through

story. Paying attention to these details uses

not needed to sustain life.

reading. The writing of philosophers such as

many cognitive brain functions in order to

Plato, Miletus, Socrates, and Aristotle have

help the reader process what is happening

fiction, non-fiction, romance, adventure,

had a massive impact on the Western world.

in the story. Literature captures every nu-

any genre that may come to mind. Going

They have spilled their experiences and

ance of each moment displayed in a novel.

back and reading novels from the people

ideologies in their writing which have been

It is required of novelists to paint a picture

who made romance such as Jane Austen and

preserved for many centuries, now we are

through their words in order to give the

Charlotte Bronte. Or the people who made

given instant access to them today. Several

reader an image of what is happening.

comedy, Shakespeare and Chaucer. Without

hundred years later, Chaucer wrote his hys-

Our brains are constantly focusing

There is an endless array of books from

their incredible writing, John Greene may

terical Canterbury Tales, and Shakespeare

on several things at once. From working

have never gotten the idea to write The

wrote his many tragedies, comedies, and

on a paper, to responding to an email, to

Fault in Our Stars. If it weren’t for Wilkie

sonnets which we’ve come to adore. In the

checking FaceBook, all within the span of

Collins and Mary Shelley, Stephen King

early 1800s, Jane Austen wrote her hilar-

ten minutes. Reading requires undivided at-

may have never had the inspiration write

iously ironic romances such as Pride and

tention, thus strengthening your attention

The Shining and many of his other novels.

Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility. In the

span. However, we are living in a technolo-

The horror genre may have never existed

1900s, F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote The Great

gy-filled world where our brains required to

if these amazing writers didn’t create it.

Gatsby and This Side of Paradise, along with

process many different stimuli at once. This

Writers such as George Orwell were able to

many other known and loved titles.

has completely diminished our attention

express their deep-seated beliefs through

span. I am constantly pushing myself to

their fiction.

Through reading, I have grown abundantly. My composition has become more

remove all technology from my immedi-

eloquent, and I understand the world in

ate perimeter and instead indulging in an

read and so many novels have truly changed

which we live and have grown to appreciate

amazing book. We are so used to reading

the course of time. The possibilities are

it. There are thousands of books to explore.

things summed up. Our lives must always

endless. These classical writers were the

There is a book for every topic you could

be written within 140 characters. Unfortu-

ones that inspired people to make movies

ever find interest in. If you are anything like

nately, this has caused people to turn away

and share their creativity to entertain the

myself, books can become some of your best

from reading the details.

world. Being able to enjoy reading can be

friends and they encourage you to grow. Before technology existed, reading

People are so used to Twitter restrict-

There are so many different things to

life-changing. Your attention span grows

ing us of our creativity. Instead of sitting

and you can obtain endless amounts of

was a common pastime for people. Read-

and reading a novel, we prefer to read the

knowledge. All you have to do is research

ing was considered a luxury only for the

summed up version on sparknotes. How-

the perfect book for your interest. There is

people of high social class. Now we are

ever, spending time with a good book can

something for everyone.

living in a time where books are accessible

leave you feeling extremely full and alive.

to everyone, we all have the opportunity to

We should be training ourselves to desire

and it has changed the way I view the world.

grow through reading. According to Lana

the full story and all the details which are

Reading brings great happiness to my life.

Winter-Herbert writer for Life Hack, read-

extremely important. Imagine if there was

Reading is perfect for any time whether

ing has proven to slow down and possibly

no detail in our lives, everything was plain

you’re trying to calm your mind before bed,

prevent Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia.

and ordinary. A world where everything was

or trying to get through an eight hour flight.

Reading requires constant attention and

one solid color and people have no small

Books can take you anywhere, in any time

keeps your brain engaged. Imagine books

quirks that make them unique. Without de-

period you would like. So please, treat your-

as a gym for your brain, the more you

tail, life would be extremely monotonous.

self with a cup of tea or coffee, and a good

exercise it, the longer it will work. “Read-

Today, people have terrible difficulty

I have learned so much from books,

book. You will not regret it.


Cleveland Bookshops That Aren’t Barnes & Nobles: The Bookshop in Lakewood 15721 Madison Ave, Lakewood

Horizontal Books 1921 W. 25th St, Cleveland

Mac’s Backs: Books on Coventry 1820 Coventry Rd, Cle Heights

A bookshop in the heart of Lakewood. It is extremely quaint and welcoming. It’s a lovely place to explore your love of reading.

Another lovely independently owned bookshop conveniently located in Ohio City for Clevelanders to browse for any book on their reading list. Pictured on left.

This an extremely sweet and cozy bookstore attached to a restaurant. There are three levels of this bookstore and many different little areas to explore. This store puts me in a positive mindset to read. MARCH 2017 | VINDICATOR 8

UNDERRATED FEMALE-DRIVEN MOVIES A look at recent female driven movies you have to see. // Greg Elek


appy March. Hopefully you’ve been spending your time catering to all of the wonderful women in your life. To help celebrate the Month O’ Women

I’ve decided to compile a list of some of the more underrated films with female leads of the 21st century. I tried to make this list as diverse as possible, so there should be something on here for everyone. If you can find time between the NCAA exploiting young athletes for profit, and using St. Patrick’s day as an excuse to get plastered maybe you can squeeze some of these in.

Isabelle Huppert

Directed by Michael Haneke

Check out our blog for an extended list of movie reviews!

it must be easy when you’re working with Michael Haneke, one of the greatest directors alive. Unfortunately, a movie being in any language that’s not English almost

Starring Isabelle Huppert, Benoît Magimel, and Annie Giradot

automatically makes it qualify for an un-

The Piano Teacher is a drama that follows

International was a little more competent

one of the greatest piano instructors in the world who struggles with being a functioning member of society due to her deep-rooted demons. It’s hard to talk about this movie without spoiling it or going on for page after page about how great it is, so let me try to simplify it. This is one of the greatest movies ever made. Period. Isabelle Huppert is the most talented actress alive, maybe even of all time. She understands that in film less is more, and subtlety is key


when creating a great film performance but

derrated list. It also doesn’t help that this movie is really hard to find; maybe if Kino as a distributing company and actually printed movies people want to watch they’d make a little more money. I don’t usually support torrenting, but it’s pretty hard to say you shouldn’t when companies don’t easily offer you the product that you want to pay for. I don’t care how you do it, please just watch this movie.





ie. We’re following characters who are in

Directed by Shane Carruth

this movie at least twice to really grasp

Starring Amy Seimetz, Shane Carruth, and Andrew Sensenig Upstream Color is a science fiction drama that follows a man and a woman who are suffering from the effects of a mysterious drug that seem to make their minds work as one. If you hate movies that don’t spoon-feed you, require multiple viewings, and really make you think, then this isn’t the movie for you. Anyone who’s familiar with Shane Carruth knows that his movies are incredibly challenging in the best way,

Amy Seimetz

You’re probably going to have to watch everything that’s happening, but don’t let that intimidate you. This movie looks great. Most people go into a movie expecting it to look good, but when you take in the fact that this movie was made for only $50,000 (in 2007 the average cost to produce and market a studio movie was around $100 million) that makes it all the more impressive. If you aren’t intimidated by movies with complex plots I’d definitely recommend Upstream Color; especially if you’re a fan of sci-fi.



and while every now and again that can be

Directed by Denis Villeneuve

part it adds a lot of interesting dynam-

a little jarring and confusing, for the most

Starring Mélissa Désormeaux-Poulin, Lubna Azabal, and Maxim Gaudette

ics to the mysterious and helps you solve

Incendies is a mystery-drama that fol-

timeline due to something that’s happen-

her recently deceased mother’s dark and mysterious past. This is another movie that qualifies as underrated simply because of it not being in English. This film is probably a bit better suited for American audiences than the average foreign movie because of its pacing. Things happen pretty fast, and it does a good job at keeping you on the edge of your seat. This movie jumps back and forth between two different time periods,

things in your own ways, as well as giving different perspectives on situations in one ing or happened on another timeline. I would recommend this film to pretty much everyone, especially if you liked movies like Polytechnique, Prisoners, Enemy, Sicario, and Arrival, because the same director of all of those movies (Denis Villeneuve) directed this one, and if you couldn’t tell, he has a pretty impressive track record.



Nelson days with a very similar tone to a

Directed by David Wain

of acting this cast is loaded. There are so

Starring Amy Poehler, Paul Rudd, Bill Hader, and Elle Kemper

many fun little cameos placed through-

They Came Together is a comedy that follows

they happened. They Came Together is a

two very familiar romantic leads in an even more familiar movie. This movie definitely isn’t for everyone. The humor is very out there and it’s very relentless with joke after joke. You aren’t going to be falling on the floor holding your gut after every scene, but most will at least crack a smile. We

Amy Poehler

that we feel lost and confused with them.

and that works perfectly for this mov-

lows a daughter trying to piece together

Lubna Azabal

baffling situations so it only makes sense

rarely see parodies done so well anymore. This movie is a big call back to the Leslie

movie like Airplane. Amy Poehler knows exactly what she needs to do and she overacts her parts to perfection, and speaking

out that I never would have expected, but had a huge impact on the movie when refreshingly good parody and even though it might be a little too self-aware for its own good at times, it’s still a blast. I’d recommend it to anyone who likes romantic comedies or just wants to see a parody movie that isn’t total garbage.


Whipping Girl Julia Serano This book is a collection of essays that recount Serano’s experiences with sexism in the Transsexual world. It debunks many of the myths and misconceptions that people have about trans women, femininity, and reveals the ways in which fear, suspicion, and dismissiveness toward femininity shape our societal attitudes. “In trans women’s eyes, I see a wisdom that can only come from having to fight for your right to be recognized as female, a raw strength that only comes fro unabashedly asserting your right to be feminine in an inhospitable world.”

BIG BAD FEMINIST BOOKLIST This month, make it a priority to learn about women! We’ve compiled some books by leading women that discuss topics such as race, the different forms of misogyny, feminism at its core, stereotypes, politics, and more. // Nicole Zollos


Feminist Fight Club:

You Can’t Touch My Hair

An Office Survival Manual (For a Sexist Workplace)

Phoebe Robinson

Jessica Bennett

Robinson uses her comedic powers to discuss being a black woman in America. This book encompasses race, gender, pop culture, self-love as a black woman, and personal stories of her own struggles on the topics.

A guide to navigating subtle sexism at work, providing real-life career advice, and humorous reinforcement for a new generation of professional women. This book is engagingly illustrated, full of real-world stories, and is sharp with stinging whit.

“I was told this comment was only a “joke.” Hell to the no. I don’t care how chummy we are, you don’t get to be racist in the name of comedy.

“Recognizing sexism is harder than it once was.

There’s nothing funny about reducing me to the

Like the micro-aggressions that people of color

damaging stereotypes that have stuck around

endure daily—racism masked as subtle insults

for centuries.”

or dismissals—today’s sexism is insidious, casual, politically correct, even friendly.”

Women, Race, & Class Angela Y. Davis Written by one of the great civil and gender rights activists, Davis studies the women’s lib movement from abolition to now. As a scholar, Davis’s book is chock full of history, with her narration to break down the classism and racism you may not have noticed back in history class. “Judged by the evolving nineteenth-century ideology of femininity, which emphasized women’s roles as nurturing mothers and gentle companions and housekeepers for their husbands, Black women were practically anomalies.”

Men Explain Things to Me


Rebecca Solnit In this book, Solnit gives a scathing look at the dangers of a society that allows men to overpower women, verbally, physically, and mentally. She dissects the larger implications they have on society as a whole to expose the greater dangers of culturally charged male dominance. “So, Mr. Very Important was going on smugly about this book I should have known when Sallie interrupted him to say, "That's her book." Or tried to interrupt him anyway.” MARCH 2016 | VINDICATOR 19


cybersexism Sexism and misogyny impact nearly every part of a woman’s life, including digital. Does that make it any less real? // Arbela Capas


worry about a lot of things with regards

the internet and what it can do. Now, I’m

to the career I’ve chosen to pursue. I

in my third year of college and we’re still

worry about not being good enough to get

having the same problems that are growing

stories published. I worry about messing

and evolving in different ways. While in

up when quoting sources or with ethi-

middle school, I remember receiving mean

cal procedures. I worry every day that my

messages from people via Myspace, and to-

writing is not original enough and won’t

day I get anonymous messages on apps like

make a mark on the world. But hey, this is

Yik-Yak or Twitter. Nothing has changed,

a worry that every aspiring journalist has

it’s only evolved. Now there are even online

in the beginning. But there’s one thing I’m

chat groups or Twitter accounts specifically

worried about as an aspiring journalist who

made for saying terrible things about peo-

identifies as female, and it is crafting my

ple. The hate has grown and changed, and

career during the growth of social media

as usual, it targets certain groups of people

and cybersexism.


Bailey Poland, author of the book Hat-

student at Cleveland State shares that sexist

when the news isn’t following yet another

hate on the internet is almost too common

extreme example of the price women pay

for her.

for being visible online.” She describes cy-

“One instance that really sticks out to

bersexism as “the expression of prejudice,

me was when I started talking about my

privilege and power in online spaces and

abortion online. I got a lot of hate from

through technology as a medium.”

people that I grew up with and I got a lot of

I think everyone, including the

death threatening messages from women

tech-savvy millennials, are still adjusting

as well. There was this one girl who was

to the power that comes with the advance-

explicitly blowing up my inbox saying that

ments of the internet. Often, we’ve been

I should’ve known what happened when I

hearing stories of people — most of whom

‘opened my legs.” Additionally to this Bland

are in the spotlight — getting harassed for

experienced online abuse during the 2016

voicing their opinions online. There have

Election and got bombarded by hate mes-

always been and always will be conflicting

sages from people to the point where it got

opinions, as well as people who are willing

overwhelming and tiring.

to voice them. But it’s clear that the ac-

There’s always a medium for hate, and

cessibility and connectivity of social media

it feels like people don’t see the serious-

outlets are giving a stronger medium than

ness of it when it’s just through cyberspace.

ever before.

“Just block and ignore them,” some say. A

I remember back in middle school, our


Holly Bland, a Journalism and Pre-Law

ers, writes that “…hardly a month goes by

lot of times it’s not that simple, because a

generation was being warned about cyber

great deal of this online harassment has

bullying during a time in which we were

deep roots in our cultural foundation. Words

just being introduced to the sheer power of

and symbols can matter, and the stronger

the medium, the more it’s able to shape

comments that are made online and can

will never truly be ‘the great equalizer’ if

culture as well as our perception of oth-

be deleted. Women get comments like this

it doesn’t treat all women with all back-

ers--especially those with less privilege.

on the street, at school or in their place of

grounds with full respect and openness.

work constantly. So when we’re also getting

Digital spaces and interactions have become

the threats through cyber bullying be-

bombarded with these message online, it

very real to us in some ways, so that makes

came gender-specific. Celebrities as well as

creates a whole new level of abuse — an

the pain and abuse we experience just as

well-known journalists who are women get

abuse that now includes sexual harassment

valid. The one way to combat this is to call

very specific cyberbullying, including rape

which reinforces the idea that men have

out misogynists online as you would in the

threats or other insults relating to their sex.

the power to harass women all they want.

real world. Just because a sexist comment is

In 2014, the story that really blew up was

It becomes constant and it begins to enter

on Facebook doesn’t make it less harmful.

every part of our lives.

Just because something is tweeted at you,

that of Anita Sarkeesian, a video game critic who brought up female stereotypes usually perpetuated in games. Sarkeesian made an editorial on her YouTube channel talking about this and the video game community attacked her to the point of death threats. A more recent example includes the incident with Leslie Jones, one of the stars of the new Ghostbusters film who was attacked because of outraged misogynists who were upset by the fact that the film contained female actors. The comments Jones received were not only sexist but also racially charged. On January 19th, 2016 she tweeted, “I leave Twitter tonight with tears and a very sad heart . All this ‘cause I did a movie. You can hate the movie but the shit I got today...wrong.” It’s clear that the environment online towards women can get so toxic that it is impossible to ignore.

ing hurt. It is important to realize that with

a woman who is vocal is seen as an enemy.

Online spaces can foster misogyny and sexism in many different ways because it provides a new kind of outlet to express

doesn’t mean you should feel stupid for be-

Cybersexism emerged as a term when

The cybersexism that women ex-

bigoted frustrations. It used to be mostly a

perience is reinforcing an age-old concept:

problem coming from people we know in

a woman who is vocal is seen as an enemy.

our circles, but now it’s a whole different

A woman who has any kind of power, even

ball game with hashtags and anonymous

the power of social media and connectivity

accounts. The highest influx of online hate

is seen as a threat. This is a problem just

that I’ve received and seen other women

evolved in a different medium, with a dif-

receive is through Twitter, or in the depths

ferent type of stifling. People like to think

of the comment sections on Facebook. It’s

that this won’t do that much harm—that

interesting that the most hate women get

these are just words on a screen that have

is when they’re defending anything to do

no impact. I hypothesize that isn’t the case.

with feminism--a movement dedicated to

Cyberbullying and online abuse can often

advancing toward equality of the sexes. It’s

lead to affecting an individual’s mental well

clear that a lot of these internet “trolls”

being, so we shouldn’t’ fool ourselves that

even go to the lengths of simply searching

we’re safe behind the screen.

“feminists” in the tags to find a woman

Social media can embolden discrimina-

to harass. These people might not be the

tory behavior as as much as it can help fix

same ones going to feminist marches and

it, and we shouldn’t be naive. It’s time to

counter-protesting, but the internet gives

understand that social media and the online

them enough courage to speak their true

world have become a normalized thing in

views about how much they hate female

our present and future. The online world

empowerment and how feminism is a threat

is a great source of political and cultur-

to them.

al power--stifling this or taking it away

It’s important to note that, given the age we are living in, these aren’t just

from people with less privilege is another form of oppression. However, the internet

each advancement we make as humans, the hate and bigotry often advances as well.


THE POWER OF CULTURE Culture is a dominating force and must be a way of life for African Americans if we are to survive. // Louis Walee


ne facet of human civilization

hopes of helping light candles for the next

came from the racial discrimination and

that has continued to evolve

generation to follow, to further spread the

exclusion of African Americans by Europe-

and manifest itself in different


an Americans. Also, it was by a tenacious

shapes is culture.

A Way of Life

I’ve been impassioned by culture,

persistence amongst African Americans to

because it’s precious. The purpose of this

create and maintain traditions amongst

article is to accomplish several things:


Culture is many things. According to Texas

To give adequate definitions of culture,

A&M University, it is a collective sum of

to explain African American culture, to

rooted in the western and central African

knowledge, beliefs, experiences, meaning,

show how African Americans have retained

cultures of my enslaved ancestors. As a re-

motives, attitudes, symbols and values

elements of traditional African culture, and

sult of acts of terrorism in the forms of the

of a particular group of people. Culture is

to illustrate the significance of culture to

Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and the system-

expansive, as it embodies notions of time

African Americans.

atic institution of slavery in the Ameri-

(world view), heritage, spirituality, religion,

Black culture is anthropologically

can South, many of the original cultural

African American Culture

roles and relationships (praxis), the nature of being (ontology), and seeks to under-

African American culture, is a distinct cul-

stand the origins of the universe (cosmol-

tural identity that was primarily shaped by


traditions of my ancestors were forcibly removed. The impact of this has left some Afri-

the historic experience of the Middle Pas-

can Americans (and non African Americans

Culture is communication, and com-

sage (the sea voyage in which enslaved Af-

alike) to question if African Americans have

munication is culture. How people within

ricans were transported to the New World).

a culture to call their own. It has left some

a particular group of people exchange

African American culture is intrinsically

African Americans to adopt other cultures

information that is learned from one anoth-

unique and different from (mainstream)

as their own, some to create (individual)

er and transmitted among one another is

American culture, yet it is largely influen-

culturalisms, and/or some to hold so-

culture. Essentially, culture is a way of life.

tial on American culture. The dominance of

cio-political constructs and identity in the

It is tradition that is passed down from one

African American culture is felt not just by

place of culture.

generation to the next and is continuously

American culture, but by world culture as

passed down throughout time.


Culture is extremely significant. It is

Cultural traditions have blossomed in

Still many beliefs, practices and values were retained and are practiced by African Americans. These include the following

invaluable. There is not a people who walk

distinctive forms of art (poetry, quilting,

this earth who are without a culture to call

painting), dance (Tap Dancing, Electric

their own. It is a beacon of familiarity and

Slide, Break-Dancing), cuisine (Soul Food)

recognition that advances and empowers a

language (Ebonics, Gullah), literature

Many African cultures transmit their

people. It is a guiding direction that allows

(Langston Hughes, Toni Morrison, Olaudah

cultures down orally from generation to

for cohesive purpose amongst a people. It

Equiano), music (Hip-Hop, Rap) and reli-

generation as a means to preserve the

nurtures, shelters, and produces flames

gion (Christians, Muslims, Jews and tradi-

culture and pass it down to the next. African

symbolized by the youth who’ll undoubt-

tional practitioners). Much of the distinctive

Americans have retained this characteris-

edly toil hard in the face of adversity in

development of African American culture

tic through the art of rap and storytelling.




During the period of African enslavement,

Ghana and Dahomey in Benin. It has been

oral tradition helped the enslaved retain

observed in the diaspora by Haitian Voodoo

As a vehicle for directive purpose, culture is

their cultural traditions, which was im-

practitioners in Haiti and Brazilian Can-

a powerful apparatus and one that must be

perative considering they weren’t allowed

domble’ practitioners in Brazil.

upheld by African Americans as a collective

to read or write. It is history that is spoken rather than written, and is extremely

Fictive Kin

Culture for African Americans

group of people. We inherited our culture from our forebears, we have an obligation

significant as it conveys emotion, thoughts,

Often times there are individuals considered

to uphold and maintain it. It is our heritage.

and knowledge pertinent to the survival

apart of the family even if their not related

For African Americans consciously prac-

of the culture. It helps give clarity to the

by blood ties (consanguineal), hence fictive

ticing cultural conservatism, the preserva-

meaning of life on earth, and the mysteries

kin. The importance of fictive kin is that it

tion our culture and heritage is extremely

of the universe.

can be a powerful agent in bringing people


together by shared affection, commitment,

Time Orientation

Where there is culture there is identi-

duty, obligation and responsibility. The

ty. We must take pride in our identity, we

African Americans often display a different

nature of fictive kin is apart of the greater

must acknowledge who we are, and just as

time orientation than European Ameri-

extended family model that is very different

importantly be proud of it as well. We must

cans. We often follow “CPT” or “Colored

than the Western-European nuclear family

take ownership of it and hold it as some-

people’s time,” which offers a more elastic

model (Father, Mother and Children). In

thing sacred, treasure it and understand the

and flexible use of time where the needs

the extended family model aunts, uncles,

limitless potential that it holds. If we don’t

of people can be meet. This different time

cousins, nieces, nephews and grandparents

value culture, we won’t value each other.

orientation is often regarded as “lateness”

are apart of the primary household as is ob-

We must respect one another within the

or “tardiness” by mainstream European

served in many African societies. The nature

culture for the ties of mutual respect are

American society who follows a more linear

of the extended family and fictive kin can


time orientation (i.e. By the Clock). The time

strengthen the family structure immensely

orientation of African Americans is more

and helps solidify the culture.

commonly seen on the African continent, as well in Middle Eastern and Latin American


Culture will always carry relevancy. It is important we as African Americans know our culture, to understand the historical circumstances around it and work to build

Many African Americans can speak and

a better future for our people. We must

understand “Ebonics”, literally meaning

understand ourselves first if we are to

“Black (Ebony) Sounds (Phonics)”. Ebon-

understand others. As a people we have to

Blacks are a deeply spiritual people. Our

ics is an Africanized English that can be

foster a cultural atmosphere of self-aware-

ancestors survived because of their strong

traced to the formation of various English

ness and collective consciousness. Knowing

spiritual essence when all hope was lost. As

pidgins (grammatically simplified languag-

where we come from and where we’re going

a result African Americans have been able

es) and creoles (a mixture of two or more

is Indispensable, it is vital if we are to sur-

to survive centuries of cruelty, oppression

languages). Ebonics is a monolithic term as

vive as a people. With a direction, goal and

and sufferings due to our strong spiritu-

it carries connotations outside of African

purpose in mind, we can achieve anything

al orientation. The spirituality of African

American and encoupases the descendents

in this life, we have to know that culture is

Americans comes directly from our Ances-

of enslaved Africans in the diaspora (Ja-

a way of life.

tors, African spirituality is the spirituality

maicans, Haitians, Trinidadians, etc). Often

of people of African descent. It can be found

times the phase “African American Vernac-

within the Abrahamic faiths, as well as in

ular English” (AAVE) is used to describe the

traditional African religions and across the

particular dialect, sociolect and ethnolect

African diaspora. In many African societies

that many African Americans speak. The

the spiritual essence is inseparable from

way that African Americans speak is often

culture, ethnicity and religion.

ridiculed by some European Americans and



some African Americans alike (believing


AAVE is incorrect or improper), but AAVE

The act of pouring liquid or “libation” is

carries all the necessary linguistic compo-

a ritual commonly performed by African

nents to make it a acceptable, structured

Americans as a tribute to our departed kin,

and legitimate form of communication.

giving respects to our ancestors. In popular


culture it is commonly seen as pouring li-

Giving Dap

quor to “tha dead homies”, but the practice

Within African American culture simple to

is legitimate and rooted in cultural tradi-

sometimes elaborate hand gestures are ex-

tions of our African ancestors. The prac-

changed by members within the culture as

tice of libation has been observed in many

a greeting, sign respect of recognition, and

Africans cultures, religions and spiritual

solidarity. Many African cultures have their

systems alike such as the Ga-Adangbe in

own variations of “dap.”

Louis Wale e in Afric a, 2015

THE LIFE OF A MULTI-FACETED FEMALE AMERICAN Explaining how it feels to grow up in America as a female with multiple perspectives and characteristics. // KC Longley


rowing up in America involves

online, in magazines or on television we

LGBT Community

facing a lot of judgement when

see daily that scream wealth. We are sur-

Being a female in this community is differ-

you fall under certain categories.

rounded by the idea that we need the life of

ent depending on how you identify. For the

While explaining the hardship

glitz and glam to truly make something of

longest time, like many other people, I did

that comes with being a woman is currently

ourselves. I remember wanting to go shop-

not know I was even part of this communi-

somewhat of a hot topic, there are some is-

ping as a pre-teen purely to find anything

ty. Eventually, after many years of ques-

sues we become accustomed to as girls that

brand name that was on sale because how

tions and ignoring my feelings, I felt certain

can make us gain some pretty tough skin.

else would I afford it? My family never had

that I identified as bisexual.

Over the years, I have gained multiple lenses through which I look at life. While they were all in the United States, my

much money growing up and still struggles to pay the bills.

However, there are stereotypes that come with that identity. As a bisexual

Growing up, I never wanted anyone to

female, you get judged a lot of the time

different homes have led me to new people

know that. As a female, I felt I was expect-

by other people within the community,

and experiences. I am aware that other peo-

ed to present myself in the best clothing

surprisingly enough. Because I have a girl-

ple in this vast world have felt some, and in

possible, especially living in a town in San

friend, it is easy for people to assume I’m

some cases more, of the experiences I will

Diego where it seemed like everyone had

just gay. While I totally get that my bisex-

discuss. These hit close to home for me and

money. When all my friends started wearing

uality isn’t visible, it would be considerate

I am sure other women will relate to at least

makeup, I tried to hop on that bandwagon

to at least have a chance to explain before

one of them in their own unique way. Even

as quickly as possible. However, now that I

someone assumes that part of my identity

though we are all different, have lived sep-

am grown and on my own, I’ve never really

doesn’t exist.

arate lives and have our own stories, there

been keen on other people thinking I’m fi-

is one thing that we all have in common:

nancially stable. I don’t share that we aren’t

cheaters or manipulators who just want

We know what it is like to grow up in this

blessed financially, but I’m not ashamed

to get with someone for their own agen-

country as a female.

of it either. Now, when a situation occurs

da, only to move on just as quickly as they

where someone is led to believe I have

came. It is not fair to think of someone like

money, I feel uncomfortable.

this, because who enjoys being thought of

There will definitely be those who are not female that identify with these situations as well. However, I do believe that

I don’t want people to think I have

Bisexual individuals are thought of as

as a cheater? I know I don’t. Do I ever see

situations impact every gender differently.

money because then I worry they’ll have

other people, male and female, who I find

A setting or situation someone is a part of is

preconceived notions about what kind of

attractive? Yes. But does that mean that

set in stone and cannot be changed. Howev-

person I am, what my family is like and

I am going to jump into bed with them

er, the impact it has on someone is, more or

what kind of standards I hold myself to. I

regardless of my relationship? No. Being

less, plastic. The impact molds differently

don’t want them to believe I look down on

queer and bisexual does not mean that my

around someone depending on their gender,

those who aren’t wealthy or to be under

opinions and morals are thrown out of the

their unique stories and their personal lives.

the impression that I can afford whatever


We all have our stories. These are mine. Money Recently, I came upon a personal discovery: While I do aspire to be someone who makes

I want or need in life, because in reality I

In addition, many people in and outside

can’t. I have to work hard for my goals and I

of this community seem to believe being

want people to acknowledge that what I get

queer means there isn’t any room for God

isn’t just handed to me.

— or whatever you believe in — in your life.

There is nothing wrong with having a

That is one thing that I have and always

a decent life for themselves financially, I

lot of money, having no money, or being

will disagree with. My relationship has only

no longer felt comfortable being thought

anywhere in between. It shouldn’t define us

made my faith stronger, due to the fact that

of as someone who is wealthy. When we’re

at all, because money doesn’t reflect who

we both believe that God has an important

young, we tend to look up to those kids with

we are on the inside. Except as a society,

role in our lives and our relationship. Just

designer brands, due to the constant ads

sometimes we let it.

because you have one doesn’t mean you


God in all sorts of relationships, even queer ones. Mental Health It is never easy to admit when something feels wrong. It takes a lot of courage to even tell someone close to you that you’re anxious, depressed and/or suicidal. It is so easy to ignore the feelings that we have because if we do, we’re not labeled as “crazy.” For centuries, it has been frowned upon to have any type of mental illness. Add on identifying as a woman and it is even harder. As females, we’re expected to have emotions. We’re expected to go into a tailspin of emotion once a month like it is our job. I used to want to hide my feelings because I didn’t want to be perceived of as weak. I now realize that my anger and tears are valid and that I have every right to express them. But growing up as a female and adding some kind of mental illness into the

was just yet. I got used to going, got used to telling people I was on anxiety medication. I different homes have led me to new people and new experiences.

wasn’t ashamed of getting help. I was proud of myself. Except in some circumstances where the people in my life who were supposed to make me feel better made me feel worse. I found myself getting frustrated when I would go to the counseling office, because all of the nurses or receptionists who had access to my file would walk on eggshells around me. Whispering, talking lightly about my issues, asking if I was still sad or if I ever wanted to harm myself. I know these are questions that, medically speaking, they need to ask and I absolutely respect that. However, I do think that treading lightly around a patient only makes them feel worse. I went into that office to get help and that should be taken into consideration when talking to me. Not

put up over the years so carefully, the ones

everyone can, it takes a lot of courage and

that had been holding on and staying up

sometimes getting to that point takes a

issues once I realized a good cry wouldn’t

no matter what life threw at them. Finally,

while, which is perfectly okay. However, I

be enough to fix things anymore. It was

they started to crack. And once that initial

should get points for asking for help. Walk-

never because I was scared of telling the

crack ran its course, I kept breaking down,

ing on eggshells around me only makes

truth to others, but more like I was afraid to

over and over. I would get irritated at the

me feel more uneasy and much less sure of

tell the truth to myself. Once I admitted that

slightest thing and would take it out on the

myself, and that is not what I need when

I needed help, I wouldn’t be able to deny it

people around me. The smallest and most

trying to get help.

anymore. And that terrified me. Because it

trivial things can make you feel like nothing

is hard to admit out loud that you have to

will ever get better again. That you have hit

ferent. We have our own lives and stories

get therapy once a week just to try and keep

the dead end and have nowhere else to go,

that make us who we are. It is important

your emotions in check. It is so much easier

so you might as well just give up.

for others to remember that just one part of

picture isn’t always an easy mix. I was terrified to get help for my own


even though I had no idea exactly what that

can’t have the other — there is room for

to put up that mask, laugh at everything and pretend like you’re not dying inside. A little over a year ago, I started to feel my walls caving in. The ones that I had

Eventually, I made myself get up

As women, we are all unique and dif-

our identity doesn’t make us up as a whole.

again and see a counselor. It was one of the

As human beings, we have many different

scariest things I had ever done, but I did

facets of ourselves that make us who we are

it. I needed to try and fix what was wrong,

and this should be recognized. MARCH 2017 | VINDICATOR 18

A HOUSE DIVIDED How my family finds peace across the political aisle. // Benjamin Heacox


remember my dismay following Novem-

was afraid too, vaguely horrified, and alto-

one of those stupid “Make America Great

ber 8. Everyone I knew from work and

gether depressed about the future. She even

Again” hats, my insides instinctively coil

school was devastated, horrified and

emailed her pastor that night for guidance.

tight and I want to tear apart the enemy.

fearful. I thought, How could Donald

Though I believe the fear around Trump’s

Trump have won? Who voted for him?

presidency today makes more sense, the

when I need to look at myself hard and

Don’t people know what this will mean for

same feeling – the fear – she felt it once

reassess my values. My guiding principle is

us? Why don’t they care what this will do


this: all people from all walks of life deserve

to me?

My family and I have butted heads for

My boyfriend received a call from his

When I get that tribal feeling, that’s

dignity and love. It is already difficult to be-

years over political issues and moral values,

stow dignity and love on those with whom

brother Scott that night. He lives in D.C.

but in that phone call, we took a moment to

I see eye to eye – the tumult of daily life

with his partner. As a gay man, Scott was

understand one another. She didn’t call me

is enough to make that hard. I must then

concerned about what Republicans and a

weak or cowardly. I didn’t call her bigot-

make an extra effort to love and respect the

Vice President like Mike Pence would do to

ed or racist. Phrases like “I know how you

people with whom I disagree and even those

the LGBT community. As a self-described

feel,” or “no, I don’t get it, but that’s all

who may do me harm.

libertarian, he criticized Trump’s authori-

right,” steered our conversation.

tarian tone.

There are probably plenty of hateful

He was weeping, inconsolable, angry,

When that little mantra fails, I pretend that I’m speaking with my family over

and violent people who supported Trump,

dinner. These are the same people who

and frightened by what had happened.

but I know there are also voters like my

don’t think I have the right to marry or to

Nobody could reach him for three days after

mother. I cannot call myself intellectually

have kids. They’re the same people who are

that phone call.

honest if I claim inclusion and diversity are

completely opposed to abortion and would

my guiding values while I choose to label

love for kids to pray more in school. Yet, I

While Scott was missing from our lives, be for real? I’m seeing conservative names being considered for high level government positions? Ooooo, it’s OUR TURN to pick!” It’s strange to think how the election of this man had such a drastically different

impact on their emotions and mental states. Did Scott’s horrified reaction make him just another weak, liberal snowflake? Does my mom’s celebration mean she’s a brainwashed xenophobe? To stamp these labels over their identity would be an insult to who they are, yet it happens a lot in this dialogue. Scott, a respected professor at The George

those different than me as a monolith of

love them, because they are my family, and


I give them grace. That stranger in that dumb red hat could very well be a moronic republican,

She had an uneasy optimism in her heart.

my mom posted on Facebook, “Can this

Washington University in DC, is not a weak minded person for feeling grief. My mother spends her time volunteering at animal

but they’re also someone else’s family. I can conduct myself around them the way I would with my own family. Finally, if nothing else, they’re human like I am and feel many of the same basic hopes and anxieties I do.

Moving Forward Scott did eventually come back. We plan to march on Washington D.C. in June to protest the actions of president Donald Trump and the Republican congress. Trump’s presidency is testing all of us – both our commitment to our values and

shelters and organizing preschool programs

I decided that evening that I wouldn’t let

our commitment to each other. The best

- her elation over Trump’s victory does

opposing views divide me from my family.

thing I can do in these next four years is

not discredit her compassionate heart. The

It’s difficult when I can see their Face-

cling tightly to compassion and empathy as

truth of who they are goes a lot deeper than

book posts, listen to their commentary on

I fear they are under attack on all sides.

their support or disdain for Trump.

us “liberal snowflakes,” and watch them devalue my morals.

E pluribus unum

I will also continue to fight for my rights as a member of the LGBT commu-

But, for my mom, here’s what I do:

nity, and I will still stand up and protest

The night we found out that Trump was

argue one idea at a time, state the facts as I

for the rights of women and minorities. I

elected, I called my mom to discuss. She

know them, make a solid case, and I leave it

will do this with determination, grace, and

had an uneasy optimism in her heart. She

there. No name calling, no hate.

intellectual honesty.

had the same disgust towards Trump’s personal character that many people in the

Having empathy for the other side

Love is the Answer

does not mean we must give up who we are.

United States still feel. She didn’t trust him,

Despite these kumbaya moments with my

However, if we lose empathy in the pursuit

but she trusted her values and still believes

mother, I am still very much a liberal and

of what we believe to be right, we have

that conservative politicians have her best

still very much human. I have urges to lash

already lost.

interests at heart.

out and beat down the people who voted

I can also remember her reaction the night Obama won against Romney – she

for Donald Trump. Anytime I see someone

E pluribus Unum – out of many, we are one.

citing a Breitbart News article or sporting



RESISTANCE Three women from Cleveland State speak up about the importance of activism and how they identify as an activist. // Brenda Castañeda Interviews by Arbela Capas


oung women and femme stu-

should be seen, not heard” and “women

dent activists have strength

shouldn’t worry their pretty little heads.”

and courage by the boatloads—

However, the odds seem to continue to

especially those that have

be stacked against them when they try to

other intersecting identities.

speak or act against the systems of power

How do you engage in activism? TYISHA: Presentation and education, they kind of goes hand in hand. Also, I really like to do an interpersonal kind of communication. But I

Many of these render them oppressed or

in place. Not only tackling racism, sexism,

marginalized, not the least of which are

classism, but being illegitimized solely for

like to twist that on the other side of activism,

their statuses as young people and stu-

their age and perceived lack of experience

because when you sit and talk to someone

dents. In advocacy and social justice, much

makes their advocacy and activist efforts

and just know their background or their story,

of today’s youth do not see themselves

doubly as valiant.

you go places in their mind with them.

represented. No matter their enthusiasm

Tyisha Blade is a Communications major

CARISSA: I started my blog back in 2014 and

and willingness to be involved and active

and is involved with HYPE (Helping You

in change-making, they find themselves

through Peer Education), a group that

unable to find a point of entry into these

creates resources and events for issues like

communities. Just by being young, young

sexual assault and well-being on campus.

people find themselves in a lower position

Carissa Newsome, a freshman studying

than their adult counterparts in society’s

political science got involved in activism

skewed hierarchy. Those who manage to

through her writing when she was in high

carve out a space for themselves—through

school, and later got involved with groups

hard work, sacrifice, and struggle, have

at Cleveland State as well as different

been able to accomplish so much.

protests around Cleveland. She also runs

experience for me.

raising awareness for domestic violence and sexual assault was what made me want to start it and then in high school I started writing articles for the school newspaper, and I covered topics like women’s rights and then in college I got involved with the Student Feminist Coalition. I guess my first big activism thing was being a part of Choice Fest, which was an

Working against systems that seek to

her own feminist blog called itsstillnotok.

BRIANNA: I would say leadership training.

discourage or silence them, young wom- Brianna Emerson, a Sociol-

Working with people to become leaders so

en and femmes take on so much at once.

ogy major, is the current president of the

they can take on their own battles but also

These young people of today have come

Student Feminist Coalition.

taking on the battles that are really personal to

far from the persistent idioms, “children

me. So that’s a lot of times involves reproductive rights and taking pieces from the reproductive justice movement and trying to make it more holistic and inclusionary. I think a lot of it comes back to education to me.

How would you define activism in your own words? T: For me I define it as creating a positive change for whatever community you’re being an activist for. Specifically, as far as feminism, I really want to create a unity among women to let us all know we all have each other as a support system, no matter what background, race, ethnicity or religion.



C: I would say activism is, in your own way

in the community trying to make a difference,

fighting back and fighting for a cause and/or

because that’s where it starts too. And also,

giving a voice for those that are oppressed or

the younger girls--they need someone to look

aren’t listened to normally.

up to.

B: To me, it’s really stepping up and doing

C: Lately, I guess this past election cycle and

something when you see something that’s un-

topics talked about in the media have sparked

just. And that can take a lot of different forms.

a lot of my activism. When I came to college I

That can be protests. But it also can be calling

became more involved and educated in issues

your senators or making sure people in your

such as reproductive justice and becoming

community have clean drinking water. Activism

more acquainted with more issues that other

is taking the path of more resistance than least

women face, not just myself.

resistance and refusing to perpetuate that system of oppression.

B: Looking at the news anywhere is one of the biggest things that inspires me. And not just looking at the news but just living in a city like Cleveland that’s so segregated based on race,

...much of today’s youth do not see themselves represented.

based on ethnicity, based on poverty levels even. Seeing people from all different walks of life and social standings and seeing the struggles, that’s a constant inspiration.

How do you address privilege within activism? T: As a black woman, I feel like we are underprivileged but still expected to be able to do the same things races or nationalities do.

CARISSA saying. Because so many times you run into the issue like white feminism, which is true, where you’re just silencing the people.

America than black women. And that bothers

How would you describe the role of women and femmes in activism?

me, because we’re all doing the same thing--

T: It’s extremely important. Because for one, if

so why is there that difference?

you don’t you’ll get a male dominated opinion.

C: I guess it’s about realizing your privilege

We have to as a unity with women, we have

if you have it. Like yeah I’m a woman and I’m

to speak out. And our presence there is very

oppressed in that way but I’m also white, so I

important, whether we’re just there for support

have privilege in that way.

or be activists. Just to be there and be present.

T: Honestly, I looked at a lot of my ancestors

B: I would say, weaponize it. If you have the

C: I guess in the past women haven’t been on

as far as black heritage, to see what kind of

resources and you have more of a voice, make

the forefront on major movements, except the

trials that they went through and how they

sure you’re using your platform to let other

original suffrage movement. But for example

overcame them, because that’s what I most

people step up and use their voice. It’s so

the Women’s March, there were obvious-

identifiably relate to. Also, my peers that are

important to listen to what other people are

ly more women than men there but from

Who or what do you look to for inspiration in terms of activism?

And just to put it out there, I’m just speaking in general, white women are more privileged in

different religions, races and ethnicities and just now more than ever it’s becoming more intersectional.

B: We make up over half of the U.S. population, and the laws that are being leveled against us, we have almost no input in. It’s impossible to resist women. We have always been viewed PHOTOS TAKEN BY ARBELA CAPAS

as the default category--viewed as weak. And we need to challenge that. I think the roles of women in any type of group doing activism is vital because you need that sort of energy and perspective.



BEING A WOMAN Y This is the story of two CSU students experience of being female and transgender. // Alexis Rosen ou’re fired.”

Immediately, your heart sunk



What do you love most about being a woman?

“For being a woman.”

The community. When I was a guy, guys don’t

and confusion arose. “For

Seems crazy, right? It’s 2017...that would

never happen. But it did.

care about each other. Before I transitioned I kept all of my emotions bottled in because I

Jessica is a student here at CSU. She ex-

had no one to talk to. And now I always do. I

perienced this after dedicatedly working at

have been so much happier. I have so many

her job without any prior problems. When

closer knit friends. And even just women in

asked for the reason, she was told that girls

general - I feel safer talking to them.

must have long hair and boys must have

now I’m friends with everyone there. I also like

short hair. Hurt and infuriated, she called

Who is your female role model?

corporate only to be told “we don’t hire

My role model was actually a lady that worked

your people” — transgender people.

at the Women’s Center. She just passed away

how they are brutally honest with me.

two weeks ago. She always pushed me to do

What do you mean when you say brutally honest?

Union of Ohio, there are approximate-

what I needed to do - and she was flat out

You’re a woman, you don’t get special treat-

ly 1.4 million transgender adults in the


ment. Just because you are going through

According to the American Civil Liberties

these transition things or you have these

United States. For over twenty years, the

There was a time last year when I was

Ohio General Assembly has failed to pass

feeling really down on myself. I was feeling

issues, we understand these are hard on you,

non-discrimination laws - meaning there

hideous. I felt like I wasn’t doing any real good

but everyone has issues. You’ve just got to deal

was nothing Jess could legally do to defend

work as an activist. It was around the time of

with it. They always pushed me to be the best

herself. There are no laws protecting her.

the ‘Her Name Is Jessica’ Campaign. I was

person I can. I don’t think I would be able to

explaining it to students walking through the

transition so smoothly if they weren’t there.

Since that experience, Jess has gone on to

I am president of the Queer Student Alliance

fight for her rights alongside the transgen-

innerlink. Then, it was a simple act, but a kid

der community, working as an activist on

spit on me straight in the face. After that I felt

on campus - but when I first came to campus,

a local, state and federal level. As presi-

worthless.But she always brutally honestly told

there were two people. There was me and one

dent of CSU’s Queer Student Alliance, she

me that some of the greatest people of the

other person. So that was not really a support

has dedicated herself wholly to bringing

world have been hit down thousands of times


awareness and support to those around her.

and you’ve just gotta push through it. So, I’m

In honor of women’s month, this is the

I started here in 2014. In the counselling

trying to listen to that now. I’m also trying to

center there is the LGBT support and the trans

story and celebration of Jessica and her

take care of myself a little bit more because I

support. That wasn’t at the time. They built that

dear friend and fellow Viking, Melissa. Jes-

know she’s not here to yell at me anymore.


tional, loves to play video games, travel,

How did you connect with her and the Women’s Center?

What was your experience like starting that?

and studies computer engineering. They

When I first got to CSU, I did not look like this.

Before I did this, I was not very vocal. But I real-

both are transgender women.

I came here as a scraggly bearded scraggly

ized a few things. One was yes I am LGBT, yes

hair dude. I was on my transition of hormones

I am trans. Surprisingly, early on I was passing

and a friend at the time took me. We met there

- meaning I could walk through life and no

and slowly they became a big support network

one would think that I am not a female. Even

during the early stages of my transition. And

though I was trans, I still had a lot of privileges.

sica is a chef, sailor, activist, and business administration major. Melissa is interna-


I still had my passing privilege, I live with my parents - they didn’t disown me, I have been sexually assaulted and raped and all that lovely stuff, but listening to other people’s stories I realized that I’ve been through hell and back, but it was a light version of hell compared to a lot of people. I realized that if I just went through life as a trans woman and didn’t speak up for my community, then I wasn’t really doing anything.

What has been a stand out experience for you here at CSU? At the beginning of and throughout the semester, I have been amazed at how many people come to our meetings [for LGBTQ]; how many new faces - that either I don’t know if you’ve been trans or if you are LGBT at all or that you just support it. So that’s one cool thing. I’ve met a lot of trans people and a lot of in-transition people. I’ve also met a lot of people that have helped me along the way, which is great. I was talking to someone the other day and they asked “what’s the best thing about CSU?” and I said even if I learned absolutely nothing, like straight F’s on everything, still put in the $10,000 every single year, it would be worth it - for the amount of people I’ve met and the connections.

What piece of advice do you have for other women? Don’t be scared of speaking up or being who you are. I feel like a lot of people are nervous to do things, be who they are, or try new experiences. And it’s terrifying - but once you do it, it is really cool. I did something last week that I was terrified of doing for the last three years of college. I went to the gym. It was not as terrifying as I thought. I was like, I’ve got to go there and make sure I wear the same clothes as the other girls because I don’t want to stand out, and then I’ve got to go into a women’s locker room and I’ve never been in a women’s locker room so I was freaking out. Luckily, my girlfriend came with me the first time so she helped a lot. Then, I went by myself on Monday and everything went well.


I know a lot of people that are scared of just the reaction of their peers and other people so they won’t do things. The first times I made the step to go out the first time as I woman I was terrified. Luckily my hair stylist at the time forced me. He said he wouldn’t cut my hair if I didn’t show up as Jessica. I was like “I really need my hair cut”. So, I showed up as Jessica.

Melissa What do you love most about being a woman?

like or toilets. And I am referred to as a women

Having the freedom to express my feeling with

I dont hate being trans, but I want my rights.

people - I can cry, I can dance, I can hug my

I don’t want to be defined as a trans. I am a


transwoman. I am still a woman. I am still proud

instead of a trans person which I really love.

that I am trans.

Who is your female role model? I always wanted to be like those rock-n-roll

What has it been like coming into the community at CSU?

chicks with black make-up. Like Lzzy Hale.

Oh, that was so easy! So there are freshman

She’s a rock singer. I like women in power in

meetings that I have been to and a QSA table

general. There is a Youtuber, her name is Jilly,

for the Queer Student Alliance and they are

she has videos talking about transitioning that

still one of my best friends.

I never thought about female role models, but

have really helped me. I also love Taylor Swift. She is awesome - I love her.

What piece of advice do you have for other women?

How has your experience been being an international woman in America?

You are who you are. You are not racing with anyone. You are racing with yourself. I would say that for anyone. I feel like everyone is

I didn’t feel any problems with being interna-

special in someway. Even if I am good at

tional. Sometimes they make fun of my accent

something, I am also bad at something and

but not in a bad way, in a good way - in a cute

I can learn something from someone else.

way. There is also stuff that Americans do that

So I always try to have my good connections

was hard getting used to. Like shotgunning a

and you are never alone, you should never be

beer. I was like what is that. That was the first


thing I remember. Its scary. Oh my god, I feel so relaxed being in America and international. In my country, we have so much pressure on us. People look at you weirdly because it’s against their religion and they are very religious. And the public is against the whole transitioning thing. Even the government. We don’t have the rights that we have here. We can’t use the restrooms that we like. There aren’t any laws that protect us.

When people think of trans people, if they are homophobic, before we go to the women’s bathroom or use changing rooms, we are more scared than you are. For the first time when I was getting my bra size I was like a little kid and scared in a whole new world. We are really nice people when you talk to us but we look really scared, we are really shy too because we are in a whole new world for us and it takes awhile to get used to it.

What is your experience like being transgender in America? We have rights like I can use dressing rooms I


MORE THAN JUST A CLOTH How a little piece of clothing can unite women from many different backgrounds. CSU’s Muslim Student Association hosts a day to raise education and acceptance of the Hijab in times of hostility. // Joe Schmittgen


n the name of Allah, the entirely merciful,

pired, many Muslims have been placed into

xenophobic of those from the Middle East,

the especially merciful. All praise is due

inflexible boxes. Unfortunately, the crisis

and the outcome was something very cher-

to Allah, Lord of the worlds - the entirely

of terrorism in the Middle East has moved

ishable: A friendship. A friendship between

merciful, the especially merciful, sovereign of

people’s perceptions of muslims to a very

two guys, whose countries recently banned

the day of recompense. It is You we worship

prejudicial place. This stigma has become

one another from visiting each other’s

and You we ask for help. Guide us to the straight

the catalyst for which the hijab or any sign


path - the path of those upon whom You have

of Islam has caught unwarranted discrimi-

bestowed favor, not of those who have evoked

nation and slander. In a world where we are

from all over the world and from this expe-

anger or of those who are astray.

currently fighting a battle against prejudice,

rience I came away with a realization. I met

we are confronted with the obstacle: “How

people from Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya,

do we break down prejudices?”

Somalia and the Sudan, and ya wanna know

This is the Al-Fatihah, the first words that come out of the mouths of millions of women when they wake up for Fajr prayer early in the morning. Some people experience taking part in acts of courage here and there, or maybe very seldom in their lives, but these women do it every single day when they put on their hijab and walk out the door in our American society.

What is the Hijab? A hijab is a head covering worn by Muslim women. It is something to project modesty when women interact with men, and is used so that men approach them to appreciate their minds, and who they are. Hijabs aren’t just a simple piece of cloth—these women also know how to dress them up. I remember when I met two friends who were from Indonesia where they had all different kinds of Hijabs, some with elaborate colors and designs. I remember working with a woman who wore her hijab with rhinestones and shiny sparkles. Today, we’re constantly bombardedby information from everywhere and it has become more and more difficult to digest this information in a constructive manner. Sadly, many news outlets today pray upon dramatic topics to the point where people are afraid to leave their own homes. They influence the viewer to have certain perceptions that may foster stereotypes, and as conflicts in the Middle East have trans25 VINDICATOR | MARCH 2017

I had the opportunity to meet people

what they do all day? Wake up, go to work, In the Al-Mumtahana, verse 7 reads: It may be that Allah will grant love and friendship between you and those whom ye (now) hold as enemies. For Allah has power (over all things); And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

Perspectives I can remember one of the biggest moments in my young adult life was when I attended

school, go home, eat, watch TV and go to sleep just like everyone else. So to answer the question, “How do we break down prejudices?” sometimes it just takes friendly face-to-face interaction. To me, this was one of the biggest takeaways that makes something like Hijab Day so special. In the book of Yusuf, verse 6 reads: Thus will thy Lord choose thee and teach thee

an international language school. I remem-

the interpretation of stories (and events) and

ber in November of last year when I moved

perfect His favour to thee and to the posterity

into the institute and was paired with a

of Jacob - even as He perfected it to thy fathers

roommate from Shiraz, Iran named Milad. I

Abraham and Isaac aforetime for Allah is full of

was nervous to meet him. I didn’t have any

knowledge and wisdom.

preconceived notions or any judgements of who he was before I’d met him, but rather

Hijab Day

I was more anxious for what he would have

Hijab Day is an event put on by Cleveland

thought of me. I understood the power of

State University’s Muslim Student Associa-

U.S./Western media and acknowledged how

tion (MSA) on the first floor of the universi-

much of what the media say people pay

ty’s student center. MSA hosts many events,

attention to. I can recall going to majority

lectures, bake sales and weekly Friday

Arab barber shops and telling them that I

prayers throughout the year, but Hijab Day

was from America. Most of the time, the

is one of the biggest events of the year.

barbers were fascinated and were quite fond

Coming at a time where so many people are

of American culture, but some had their

being misunderstood, Hijab Day serves as a

own prejudices against Americans, thinking

vehicle to spark conversation and cultural

that we “Amis” (Americans) thought ill

exchange. During Hijab Day, many Muslim

of Arabs – especially Muslims. So when I

sisters come together to donate hijabs to

met Milad, I felt the need to try to be more

the event, and women come by and pick one

outgoing to prove that we “Amis” aren’t all

of their choice. The sisters then help assist

it has been a beautiful experience and an

the new hijab owner about what it means to

unforgettable one.”

them. When I went to Hijab Day, I had a few goals in mind. I figured that since there are

engineering major Yousra Karakra. “[the

many popular misconceptions of what hijab

hijab] gives me a sense of empowerment

means, I asked participants what the Hijab

and confidence. It shows me that I don’t

meant to them and what their opinion is

need to necessarily fit into the ideal wom-

on the state of Islam, considering what’s

en’s category in today’s society in order to

happening in the U.S. right now.

prove myself to the world.”

“Hijab day is my favorite event of the

I brought a colleague of mine, fresh-

whole year because it gives me the oppor-

man art education major Cassidy Laurence.

tunity to make a connection with every girl

As a non-Muslim, I wanted to see what her

that I put the hijab on,” said MSA President

take was on the hijab.

Sarah Mohammad. “It gives me the ability

“If it makes them feel good about

to explain our love for Subhana Watallah

themselves, and it doesn’t hurt anyone,

(God). It brings people together and creates

why should there be anything wrong with

a comfortable atmosphere for people to ask

it?” Laurence said.

questions and to understand the beauty of

We discussed more in-depth about

the hijab and the commitment that muslim

“hijab pulling,” A recent phenomena where

women have to the Hijab. When we first

individuals have been harassing muslim

started off it was something small. Seeing it

women by pulling their Hijab. “It’s like the

grow and seeing the people [who] want to

golden rule: Treat others how you would

volunteer, and seeing the people who don’t

like to be treated.” Laurance said. “I know

just want to wear the hijab but learn about

how much Christian women value the cross

How to Hijab


“[The hijab] is more than just a cloth around my head,” said sophomore chemical

The Hijab, is more than just a cloth around my head, it gives me a sense of empowerment, and confidence.

in putting it on and while doing so, inform








Mo r

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Syria n

ti Emira Sa

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Many people who witness muslim women wearing the Hijab from the outside often depict these women as being oppressed, yet many would think quite differently. tian


ni Oma


bi g Azer an

o Eth i

l ed Bang



es hi

h Turkis


di au

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Su d a







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i al m o S

I n do


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Islamic Headcovers Around the World


an pi

chains around their necks. They wouldn’t

people and Christians. They who are causing

perience, so by engaging you’re giving the

like someone pulling them, so why would

these rifts between us as humans are the

personal brochure of Iman. I’m not saying

you pull the hijab?”

ones who are trying to amplify the differ-

to convert anyone. I’m merely asking of you

ences between us in order to separate us.

to clarify the true name of Islam, not this

cite cases of hijab pulling and bullying in

It’s important to remind ourselves of our

misrepresented disgusting parody. Come to

school. Whereas some Muslim men can

similarities, and those are things that bind

your local MSA events. MSA is an inclusive

sometimes blend in with the crowd, the

us back together. New York City wouldn’t be

student association open to anybody, even

women cannot. It is a very troubling time in

New York City without Manhattan, Brooklyn

non-Muslims, and by being involved, they

our history for Muslim women because they

or Queens. There may be different types of

will reflect the love and accepting nature

are often impacted by xenophobia, which

people who live there, the area may influ-

that the Muslim community actually takes

to me is what makes Hijab Day that much

ence their characteristics and personality

pride in. Let the positivity become conta-

more important. Instead of cowering in

differently. Some may even move around

gious. Lead by the example of inclusivity

defeat and refusing to wear hijabs anymore, by choosing to educate and to be inclusive, they flip the script in others’ perceptions. It seems to be quite illogical and almost contradictory to do such a thing. The hijab may be a term coined by the Muslims, but the idea of wearing a cloth to cover the hair in a stance of modesty is not something exclusive to Muslims. Orthodox Jewish women and more conservative Christian women wear head covers from time to time as well. One of the main goals of MSA’s events is to preach the true message of Islam, and to create a more sound awareness. Coming back to my discussion with Mohammad explained more about her role in MSA and what ultimately she wants the world know about Islam. “I’m so blessed to be apart of it alhamdulilah (praise be to god),” Mohammad said. “It taught me how to reach out to my community, and my biggest responsibility as an officer is to create an open, accepting and inviting atmosphere for people of all

and tolerance. In Al-An’aam, verse 17 reads:

One of the best ways to support muslims during this time, is to learn about us.

Recently there have been stories that

ethnic and religious backgrounds. The role I’ve taken on is a big one – a lot of responsibility but one I never regretted taking. My primary goal as a Muslim is to contribute to

from borough to borough. Some people

society in a beneficial manner, to take care

have to go work in Manhattan. Ultimately

of this earth, and everything and everyone

they live together in New York City, they

on it. To worship our one and true creator.

are all New Yorkers, and they would never burn the bridges between each borough. By

My Advice to You I have two pieces of advice for those who

go out and clarify other’s misconceptions,

aren’t Muslim and are compelled by this

build bridges that don’t simply support but

topic: One of the best ways to support Mus-

will be cemented and solidified for years

lims during this time is to learn about us.

and years to come.

The word, “Islam” in Arabic means peace. ILLUSTRATIONS BY NICOLE ZOLLOS

understanding who we are will help you to

My second set of advice after learning,

Understand the Islamic religion, understand

is to say something, do something. Engage

our values in our culture, our gender roles

in conversation. You have an understand-

and family life. Understand that we believe

ing that many others don’t have. The only

in Jesus Christ (may peace be upon him),

information that others have to build on are

like Christians. We believe in Abraham (may

short videos of terrorists attacks, sad chil-

peace be upon him) like Jewish people, and

dren crying, and threat videos. These things

we believe in God (Allah) just like Jewish

keep them from wanting to actually ex-

If Allah touch thee with affliction none can remove it but He; if He touch thee with happiness, He hath power over all things. Many people who witness Muslim women wearing the hijab from the outside often depict these women as being oppressed, yet many would think quite differently. When speaking with Mohammad, she had a lot of points articulating the strength and importance of women in Muslim society, and as it is Women’s History Month, I felt that these comments of hers were most fitting in closing: “We’ve had rights in Islam before most women in most societies,” Mohammad said. “Having the right to divorce, gain custody for children, gaining the right to own a business, to own property. These are all rights women had before women in the United States. Our prophet (may peace be upon him) also preached inclusiveness and including women within our community, within our society. All Islam does is provide women with this high status of respect, love, kindness, and humility, and allows a woman to be judged off of her principals and her ideals, rather than what her body has to offer.” Experiencing Hijab Day has been one of the most rewarding experiences in my first year at CSU. As I’ve converted to Islam, I have learned about the emphasis that the religion puts on collective brotherhood and sisterhood. As a male attending Hijab Day, that was something I saw. Just tight sisterhood, women teaching women, women helping women and women empowering women.


“ The road leading to equality is intersectional and generational. During this pivotal moment in U.S. history, we all have a role in the ongoing fight for social justice. // Elisabeth Weems


The argument that the Civil Rights Movement solved racism, that women’s suffrage solved sexism, and that land treaties solved the exploitation of indigenous people is completely fallacious.


he day after President

continue to write against it, march against

ican history that people continue to believe

Donald Trump was

it, riot against it. Just because great evil will

today. It has been through tremendous

sworn into office,

always exist does not mean that we should

struggle, through organizing, through boy-

more than one million

simply accept oppression because some are

cotting and marching, through armed slave

protesters took to the

convinced that we cannot change the sys-

rebellions and through pressuring govern-

streets of Washing-

tem. We should not accept sexism, racism,

mental representatives that oppressed peo-

ton D.C. to show their

class discrimination, or the suppression of

ples have been able to retain the modicum

opposition. Around

the LGBT community, of immigrants, or of

of freedom that we have to continue to fight

the world, more than

anyone who challenges the status quo. We

for today.

five million people collectively convened

must unite and continue fighting. Here’s

in solidarity to reject the rhetoric, polit-


“History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be

ical platforms and inevitable harm of the

unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be

Trump’s election. The marches specifically

History Matters

focused on women’s rights issues, but were

We can no longer ignore the lasting impact

intersectional in nature; they represented

that our history exerts on present circum-

groups who will continue to be negatively impacted by this presidency. Every single day since his inauguration, from cabinet picks to enacted pieces of legislation, we as a nation are experiencing a grotesque shift away from justice and equality, which generations have fought for. However, equality is not a satisfiable end goal. This notion is supported by Angela Davis, champion of political activism and advocate for the downtrodden, in her

book, “Freedom is a Constant Struggle.” She explains that intersectionality involves “efforts to think, analyze, organize as we recognize the interconnections of race, class, gender, sexuality.” Essentially, it is the unification of oppressed peoples. That doesn’t mean undermining the visceral, legitimate, unique struggles that women or blacks or the impoverished specifically face. Rather, it means recognizing that we all face oppression and that fighting for justice means standing alongside those

stances. We cannot pretend that the foun-

The argument that the Civil Rights Movement solved racism, that women’s suffrage solved sexism, and that land treaties solved

Injustice serves as a reminder of what is at stake if we do not raise our voices...

the struggles and issues of many repressed

lived again.” -Maya Angelou, Author and Poet

the exploitation of indigenous peoples is completely fallacious. When our history has been so deeply entrenched in discrimination, which has prevented entire generations of people from progressing, we cannot pretend that it has no impact on how our society is currently structured. People who argue that marching and protesting has no impact on social equality fail to understand how multifaceted the fight for justice is. Yes, we need to vote and to elect officials who represent us, and to run for office. Yes, militancy and intimidating power with power is a viable option. The point is not to argue which form of civil disobedience is legitimate, but to recognize that all of these methods of fighting are justified, even smashing windows of corporate entities to show frustration with state-sanctioned violence and oppression. For as long as this country has existed,

who are also suffering. Intersectionality is

dation of this country is based on equality

there have been groups of people fighting

essential for the continuation of the social

because it wasn’t. This country was founded

against injustice. These problems have not

justice movement, which at times seems

upon the decimation of indigenous people,

yet been solved. Slavery may have sup-

ceaseless. We must unite with others who

upon staunch sexism, and upon slavery. We

posedly ended, but mass incarceration and

are oppressed to face our oppressor with a

cannot continue to glorify tales of Christo-

police brutality have taken its place. Women

stronger front than possible when divided.

pher Columbus, Abraham Lincoln and the

may be able to enter the workforce and to

so-called Founding Fathers. Since the dawn

pursue a career instead of a family, but are

of this nation, the people in power have

still subject to live within a patriarchal sys-

exerted tremendous oppression upon mar-

tem that is inherently oppressive of them.

ginalized groups. That shouldn’t serve to

Indigenous peoples may have been granted

normalize oppression, but rather to encour-

land treaties, but multinational corpora-

Injustice is omnipresent, and every gener-

age contemplation about where we would

tions continue to infringe upon their rights.

ation has the responsibility to contribute in

be today had women, slaves, the poor and

The struggle continues.

whatever capacity possible to fight against

indigenous people not fought against their

it. We don’t fight to win, because a utopian

oppressors. It is imperative to learn the real

society rid of injustice is impossible. Injus-

historical narrative of this country.

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” -Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

tice serves as a reminder of what is at stake if we do not raise our voices, if we do not


This article simply cannot delve into the countless misconceptions about Amer-

You are Suppressed Too Yes you, privileged, white woman, and you, wealthy black man, and you, educated son of an immigrant. You may deny your


own oppression and proclaim that wom-

successes that they do today. Just because

more people around the world being forced

en, blacks and immigrants have no reason

oppression doesn’t directly affect you, or

to have unsafe abortions or rear children

to fight for equality, and that they are not

so you perceive it not to affect you, doesn’t

that they can neither financial nor physical-

oppressed. Frankly, you are disillusioned.

mean that you shouldn’t fight for your sis-

ly support. Limiting access to abortion does

Either you’ve never read a history book,

ters and brothers who are impacted.

not decrease abortion rates, it just forces

or you’re far too entitled by your privilege to see that women, blacks and immigrants

women to have unsafe abortions, which

Reproductive Justice

result in 68,000 deaths annually.

today continue to face marginalization and

According to the National Library of Med-

The men signing anti-abortion leg-

oppression. By undermining that asser-

icine, “42 million women with unintended

islation will never know what it’s like to

tion, and pretending not to see sexism and

pregnancies choose abortion, and nearly

become pregnant and to be forced to rear

racism because it doesn’t affect you, that

half of these procedures, 20 million, are

an unplanned child, potentially interrupting

does nothing but hurt all women, blacks

unsafe.” In addition, 97 percent of these

one’s entire life’s trajectory. Also, without

and immigrants, including yourself. It was

unsafe abortions take place in developing

access to affordable health care, pregnant

through the efforts of people who marched,

nations. Trump’s recent move to cut fund-

women who choose to keep their pregnancy

who staged protests and walkouts, who

ing to health care providers in these nations

cannot provide basic needs for their grow-

refused to accept gender roles and racism,

if doctors even discuss abortion, let alone

ing fetus. Nor can they prevent becoming

that people can enjoy any of the marginal

provide the service, will arguably lead to

pregnant in the first place. Our reproductive MARCH 2017 | VINDICATOR 32

organs are not up for legislation.

to choose certain jobs and women to choose

former CEO of ExxonMobil, as Secretary of

People often cite the Bible and other

others. This, and established institutional

State, the Trump administration will likely

religious texts as the moral basis for the

sexism, contributes to a segregated labour

be even more favorable toward gas and oil

so-called pro-life argument. They purport

market. In addition, throughout history

companies, and even more disrespectful

that abortion is murdering another life, and

women have been expected to bear the ma-

toward indigenous peoples.

that it is a sin to do so. They argue that a

jority of the responsibility of taking care of

woman should “keep her legs closed” or

children and other domestic issues. The ar-

“Is there not something worthy of perpetuation

remain abstinent as a means of preventing

gument is not a matter of whether a woman

in our Indian spirit of democracy, where Earth,

pregnancy. However, abstinence-based

is physically able to perform the same tasks

our mother, was free to all, and no one sought

sexual education does not lead to lower lev-

as a man, but that women are simply not

els of unwanted pregnancies. It only leads

adequately paid for the worth of their work.

to impoverish or enslave his neighbor?” -Ohiyesa, Santee Souix Author and Physician

to sexual shaming, a lack of pleasure-based education, and entire generations of young, sexually active people not understanding

“The freer that women become, the freer men will be. Because when you enslave someone,

how birth control works. It’s not enough to

you are enslaved.”

grading this quote is, people still voted for

avoid having sex, and it’s not solely the re-

-Louise Nevelson, Sculptor

Trump. Is this really the way that a pres-

sponsibility of the woman to have safe sex. A fetus is not a sentient human being,

ident should speak? How do these caustic Transgender people are human beings, de-

words not suggest a chauvinistic character?

it is a cluster of cells. Pro-life protests

serving of respect and compassion. With the

This was not the only time that Trump said

do not make sense, because those people

direct threats to the current healthcare sys-

something of this nature on record. He has

protesting on the basis of their religious

tem, by which some people who are transi-

a long history of saying sexist comments

morals engage in triggering rhetoric that

tioning acquire their hormones, trans folks

and of treating women as sexual objects,

can be traumatic to women who have had

face the risk of death. If trans people lose

less than deserving of respect. If we have a

abortions. Religion does not have a place

their health care, it means losing access to

president who says things like this, how can

in politics. Women seek out abortions for

hormones necessary for their transition. It

we expect him to be a champion of wom-

a number of reasons, including when a

means that they face the risk of becoming

en’s rights? We can’t, and we shouldn’t,

pregnancy is life-threatening. Reproduc-

suicidal by being forced to prescribe to the

because he won’t be.

tive health is not an issue of morality. It’s

role of their assigned gender and rejecting

an issue of the basic human right to bodily

who they are. That risk, coupled with the

“When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can

autonomy, and we demand it.

peddling of exclusive language, creates a

do anything...Grab them by the pussy.”

dangerous reality for them. In 2009, “50

-Donald Trump

“The emphasis must not be on the right to abortion, but on the right to privacy and repro-

percent of people who died in violent hate crimes against lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans-

Looking Forward

gender, and queer (LGBTQ) people were

This list of issues and motivations for fight-

-Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice of the

transgender women,” according to the Na-

ing against injustice is not comprehensive

U.S. Supreme Court

tional Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs’

and cannot possibly, exhaustively explain

2009 report on hate violence. The strides

all of the forms of suppression that people

that we as a society have made toward

face. It only serves as a reminder to people

According to the American Association of

including trans folk in our culture, though

who call Social Justice Warriors “snow-

University Women, in 2015, women in the

nominal, are being directly undermined.

flakes” that our concerns should be your

ductive control.”

Equal Work, Equal Pay

U.S. were paid just 80 percent of their equal


Trump Doesn’t Respect Women Regardless of how overtly sexist and de-

concerns too. The welfare of our collective

male counterpart’s wages. Glassdoor Eco-

Environmental Degradation

nomic Research reported that the number

Too often do we forget that when this

is 75.9 cents on the dollar. This disparity in

country was founded, the existing nations

that people protesting are wasting their

compensation for equal work is even worse

of Indigenous peoples were slaughtered,

time, to understand that our past directly

for mothers, older women, and women of

dislocated and enslaved, all to feed the in-

affects our present and future. With a sit-

color; Black women make on average 63

satiable appetite of early settlers (whom we

ting president who is so dangerous to mar-

percent compared to men performing the

glorify) for their lands. Today, we see a par-

ginalized societies, we need to fight without

same job with the same qualifications. The

allel of this narrative with the construction

relent. We must not forget the generations,

pay gap is not a myth, and it is not only

of the Dakota Access Pipeline and the Key-

the millions of people, who have forged the

attributed to career choice or the reluctance

stone Pipeline. Trump’s executive orders to

path for us today.

to ask for higher wages.

continue the construction of these harmful

The gap can be primarily attributed to

humanity should be everyone’s concern. I urge everyone, before proclaiming

Everyone has a role in this movement.

and massive pieces of oil infrastructure are

When future generations read about this

the perpetual oppression of women that

a direct infringement upon the rights of the

moment in history, will you have been on

exists within a patriarchal system. From a

people who occupy and depend upon these

the right side, or will you have been a com-

young age, flawed ideologies of gender roles

lands for their livelihoods. Coupled with

placent bystander?

are ingrained in children, encouraging men

the recent appointment of Rex Tillerson,


OBAMACARE MOVING FORWARD How dismantling the Affordable Care Act could be devastating to college students. // Holly Bland


he last thing we thought would

pose unlimited amendments.” The process

has granted millions of Americans access

go bump-in-the-night is health

of fully repealing the Affordable Care Act

to affordable healthcare coverage, and the

care as Republicans actively ini-

has since been stalled, but the anxiety

uninsured rate is at a long-time low under

tiated a process to dismantle the

anticipating the large change in coverage

the ACA. Healthcare spending grew at

Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)

and insurance for millions of Americans

the lowest rate on record since 1960, and

at 1:30am on Thursday, January 12th. Al-

remains--targeting young people and folks

health care inflation is at its lowest rate in

though the sprint to change the healthcare

with pre-existing conditions significantly,

50 years ( Obamacare

program which has insured millions across

especially if there is no solid replacement

does have its flaws and certainly deserves

the U.S. since it was initiated nearly seven

set in stone quite yet.

criticism as much as praise from those who

years ago was predictable from Republi-

it has helped.

cans, the final vote of 51-48 in Senate to


A majority of the benefits and rights of

change the ACA through budget reconcil-

The Affordable Care Act--often referred

Obamacare that benefit most college-aged

iation was, without a doubt, kickstarting

to as “Obamacare”--is a comprehensive

students are as follows (more listed on

what’s to come with the new White House

health care reform law that extends the Medicaid eligibility is


Medicaid program to cover all adults with

expanded in 26 states to 138% of the federal

income below 138% of the federal poverty

poverty level giving millions of Americans

the New York Times, “the vote took place

level, and makes affordable health insur-

access to healthcare, all major medical

during a session known as ‘vote-a-rama.’”

ance available to more people (HealthCare.

insurance is guaranteed issue, meaning you

Further explaining that “these all-night


can’t be denied coverage for any reason,

vote-fests happen surrounding budget

resolutions, which allow senators to pro-

Although the Affordable Care Act has been heavily criticized by Republicans, it

The Affordable Care Act allows me to stay on my parents health insurance and prevents me from needing to seek it privately at high costs...


you can’t be charged more based on health status or gender, Insurance companies can’t drop you when you are sick or for

According to Thomas Kaplan from

making a mistake on your application, You can’t be denied coverage for pre-existing conditions, Young Adults can stay on their parent’s plan until 26, A large improvement to women’s health services, including many new free preventive treatments and screenings, New preventative services at no-outof pocket costs. Obamacare is mostly self-funded since it’s new federal spending is offset by taxes

and cost curbing (how Obamacare controls costs.) With its criticisms, every other

Quick Facts:

what they didn’t receive funding for with tuition, books, housing, etc. Health insur-

proposed plan to replace Obamacare costs

ance adding to all of these miscellaneous

significantly more, and will likely increase

bills costs could make it likely that they

the national debt according to the Congres-

would opt to go insurance-less, which isn’t

sional Budget Office (

good either. The Good and The Bad


From personal experience as someone that

A lot of the anxiety surrounding initial deci-

faces multiple health conditions at 22 years

sions to revise and repeal Obamacare has

old, without insurance I wouldn’t be able

been with young people being cut off from their parents health insurance way earlier than the now 26 year old cut off, but overall 20 million people are at risk for losing their insurance coverage from various aspects of

to afford glasses, medications for Bipolar

The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) has expanded to cover 9 million children.

disorder or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, birth control, or trips to the doctor’s office I had for an unexpected broken ankle last year. Luckily the Affordable Care Act allows

the repeal. Pre-Obamacare the cutoff age

me to stay on my parents health insurance

for staying on parents health insurance was

and prevents me from needing to seek it

19 years old, and has since been raised to 26

privately at high costs.

under ACA.

Something worth noting about the

Although a solid replacement plan

Affordable Care Act is that insurance can’t

of the ACA still ceases to exist (though

deny a beneficiary for any reason, which is

rumored,) it is quite possible that under

another concern many young people have

President Trump young folks will go back to

if it were to be repealed--also including

searching for private health insurance, go-

being charged more based on health status

ing uninsured, or potentially qualifying for low-income government-funded programs. For many traditional students, this is concerning. Graduating high school and heading to college is a life transition in

or gender. This leads to greater coverage

Before the Affordable Health Care Act, insurers could reject people with pre-existing conditions

without instances of prejudice people have faced in earlier years when seeking health care coverage. Obamacare also made birth control

itself, especially if you’re relying on student

free, including access to all forms of birth

loans and grants to fund your way through

control ranging from the pill to the IUD.

until recess when you have time for work

Additionally, Obamacare expanded access

(not many students having the ability to

to many lifesaving reproductive health

both work and succeed in school in a timely

measures that could be to many individuals,

manner now.)

female-identifying especially, unreachable.

It seems that the more I spend time at

One of the most prevalent criticisms

CSU’s campus, known for being a “com-

of the ACA is mandating all to have health

muter university,” many students aren’t

insurance, otherwise paying fees if one goes

fulfilling full-time statuses so they can

without coverage. This is something that

instead work to fund a majority of their education. Although CSU could be seen as a “reasonably priced institution,” that doesn’t go to say students have extra funds

6.4 million previously uninsured Americans now have insurance.

currently affects many young people that may have circumstances or living situations without the opportunity to be on a parents health insurance. Adding $300 to

for health insurance among many other

my monthly expenses as I live on the bare


minimum is something I would not be able

Obviously entities like health insur-

to afford, and I certainly wouldn’t be able

ance vary from person to person based on a

to factor in fees if I opted to go without

variety of things, but on average individuals

insurance either.

could expect to potentially pay upwards

Although Obamacare has done wonders

of $300--I got to this number by going

for many across the U.S., it still leaves a

through to estimate how

number of folks behind. The Affordable Care

much it would cost to have health insur-

Act has its fair share of pros and cons, but

ance on my own as a 22 year old living in Cuyahoga County. Even if a student has the ability to work and go to school, it is more than likely that they are working to fill in the gaps of paying

There are various plans now available through the healthcare Marketplace to Americans

moving forward college-aged students are fair to have concerns with their health and coverage--especially if the state of their coverage in the upcoming few years are cloudy.


PAINTED NOT SO PRETTY The ugly truth behind our reasons for wearing makeup. // Caitlin Cole


et the New Year off to a flaw-

that makeup was unacceptable and was

less start,” “color correcting

only proper for an actor to use. This did not

cream… I am perfected” and

stop the cosmetic market from growing and

“look great from the moment

becoming what it is today.

you wake up until the moment

I began wearing makeup in highschool

you go to sleep” are just a few examples of

and had worn it ever since, until four

the advertisements we are exposed to daily.

months ago. I honestly don’t know what

We are constantly bombarded with mes-

encouraged me to stop wearing makeup but

sages that say our natural appearance is not

I remember waking up one day and deciding

good enough and we will not be accepted

I just didn’t want to bother. I didn’t think

with all the “flaws” we have. Makeup is

much of it until I got comments throughout

seen as a way to cover who we are, rather

the day, asking if I was sick or if something

than a way to express ourselves, but this is

was wrong. It made me want to rush to the

not always the main emphasis and use for

bathroom and “fix” my face. I looked at


myself in the mirror later and realized that

Cosmetics date back to the ancient

I hardly saw my own face without makeup.

world of Egypt when the creation of cos-

I felt disappointed in myself that I relied on

metics was due to a need for protection

something so much, just to look a certain

against the sun and wind and also for use

way to someone else. From then on, I hav-

in religious rituals. Ancient Chinese culture,

en’t worn makeup.

put color on fingernails to express a per-

This process of becoming barefaced has

son’s social class. Makeup to alter appear-

been enlightening and also disheartening. I

ance was not always accepted. In Elizabe-

realized that I thought I had so many flaws

than England, some thought cosmetics were

I needed to cover up, blemishes, blonde

the cause of poor health due to a lack of

eyelashes, paleness and the list goes on. I

circulation. Queen Victoria told her subjects

decided I wanted a new mindset. I want-

ed to wear makeup only if I wanted it for

makeup meant to her, she said, “It means

person’s life. She first became interested in

myself. Once I took the people around me

I’m spending a lot of money on my inse-

makeup by watching tutorials on Instagram

out of the equation, I realized that I actually

curities. I’m insecure with my whole face.

and YouTube. “For me makeup is artistic

didn’t like wearing makeup. I realized that

I don’t feel normal without makeup.” Her

expression. I don’t wear it to cover impu-

I was wearing it because I worried about

story has many similarities to the other CSU

rities, I wear makeup for the same reason a

what others thought.

students that I talked to.

person wears a certain hat or shirt because

I chose to use the extra ten to fifteen

Though makeup is something I choose

minutes in the morning, which I had used

not to wear, it doesn’t’ mean I’m saying it’s

to put on makeup, to fit in an extra cup

a negative thing. Makeup is a way to express

a little bit longer. Those may not be the most beneficial uses of my time but to me, they’re both something I want to do more than putting on makeup. I have discovered a whole new type of confidence. I don’t have confidence from other’s approval of my appearance, I have confidence from the approval I have given myself. After making these realizations, I wanted to talk to others about it and see who shared my new thought process. I was frustrated with how my peers reacted. I received nothing but support and applause for my “bravery” but I heard them give so many negative comments towards their own appearance. “Good for you but I couldn’t do that” or “I couldn’t imagine letting so many people see me without my

yourself, based off of what you like and who

talked to stood out to me from the others. She chose to stay anonymous but it was hard for me to hear her story with makeup.

People worry about what others will think if they do not wear makeup but hiding her journey with makeup from her

I hardly saw my own face without makeup.

makeup” are just a few. One person that I

oneself,” said Üninemclite.

Üninemclite’s hardest challenge has been

of coffee or lay in bed and stare at my cat

like clothes, makeup can be used to express

family. She did receive immense support from her sisters and she hopes to tell her mom and dad one day. Luckily, she receives great support from Cleveland’s drag community and her friend’s at CSU. Üninemclite also finds encouragement from the Hollywood stars who choose to be barefaced. “These people are setting an amazing example for women and girls everywhere: that they don’t need makeup to be beautiful but rather are beautiful the way they are,” she said. One huge advocate for this is Alicia Keys, who announced her makeup free decision in a Lenny letter this May. “I find that women may often feel naked or insecure without makeup because society tells them they have to look a specific way, and if they don’t, they become

you want to be. I learned throughout these

criticized,” said Üninemclite. “If we got rid

four months that I love lipstick. I love the

of this standard of beauty that causes so

she had begun to wear makeup everyday.

colors and pairing it with outfits and I feel

much pain, people wouldn’t feel naked or

“I won’t leave the house without makeup.

confident in lipstick simply because I like it.

insecure without makeup, and feel more

Since sophomore year of high school,

I don’t even like looking at myself in the

Carly Üninemclite is a prominent

mirror without makeup,” she said. From

figure in Cleveland’s drag community and

a young age, she remembers comparing

her story with makeup is a prime example

herself to Barbie dolls. When asked what

of how it can be a positive force within a

free to experiment with different makeup looks.”

CSU’S THOUGHTS ON MAKEUP Do you wear makeup?


NO 15%


Do you feel like you have to wear makeup?

ALWAYS 16% NO 44%



If you do wear makeup ever, do you like wearing it?

YES 75% NO 25%

*90 people polled online from CSU about their makeup habits and beliefs


Thousands of people die because of suicide every year. It is caused by mental illness and is completely preventable, so it is extremely important to be aware of when it might become a risk. // Alana Whelan & Chau Tang


uicide is a very sensitive subject

Suicide is a serious problem that affects

and feelings that their only solution is to

with many people, but until you,

a great amount of people continually. It is

yourself have been affected by it,

definitely a personal matter, but very often

you don’t truly know what impact

has detrimental affects to the people around

people in the United States attempt suicide.

it can have. I believe almost everyone has

them. Suicidal people usually feel they have

Of that 800,000 people, around 400,000 are

thoughts of or relating to suicide at some

no other way to escape whatever it is that is

treated and 40,000 complete it. Statistics

point in their life. Considering that it is

troubling them. Often -- especially in cases

surrounding suicide are fairly subjective,

the tenth leading cause of death in Amer-

where they do not seek help -- they cannot

and can change based on circumstance,

ica according to the American Foundation

find other ways to cope, and believe that

but there are a few things that tend to stay

for Suicide Prevention, it is not something

suicide is the only solution. However-- no

consistent (See sidebar). No matter how

that can be brushed aside, and it hurts

matter how low of a mental state the person

much study is done to figure out the effects

more people than just the person who died

is in, there are always ways to get help and

and causes of suicide, it will continue to

because of it.

overcome feelings of hopelessness. It is

be a problem in every area of the U.S. and

caused by a mental problem that cannot be

around the world, and will always affect

suicide, and though we weren’t that close

cured with medicine, and it happens when

both men and women of all different ages.

when it happened, I felt the effects im-

people become so engulfed in dark thoughts

(Personal Experience by Alana Whelan).

A few years ago, I lost my cousin to

commit suicide. Every year, an estimated 800,000

mensely. He was one of my best friends when I was a kid. We were in the same

Dispelling the Stigma

grade in school. We were both shy and insecure. Though I knew he was having problems at the time -- when we had both recently graduated high school and were

The stigma surrounding suicide in our

Suicides rates are higher in the Midwest and Western States

culture can often be aggravating. People regularly joke about it as if it is not an issue at all, saying things like, “kms,” joking-

trying to figure out our next step in life -- I

ly complaining about something that is

never thought it could happen -- until it

making them feel stressed or overwhelmed.

did. It left me wondering whether there was

Many people joke about it without realizing

something I could have done to prevent it,

that they could be causing harm to the peo-

and I’m sure that’s how my whole family

ple around them. However, it is important

felt. It was difficult to know how to talk to my other family members because I couldn’t really understand how they per-

*2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health

to be able to tell when someone is ignorantly making a joke, versus when someone is actually suicidal and their comments mean

sonally felt, especially those who were clos-

something more than that they are just sad

est to my cousin. Now, almost a year and a

or overwhelmed. It is also commonly as-

half has passed and my relationship with

sumed that committing suicide is a selfish

my family hasn’t changed much. However,

choice to make, when in reality, most stud-

I think the experience of losing someone

ies point out that being suicidal is a mental

who had such a big impact in my life has

illness -- not an act of selfishness. Though

changed my outlook in many ways. I feel

studies point this out, suicidal people often

much more grateful for the people I have

do not seek help simply because of the way

around me now. I feel appreciative when they try to help me and I know there will always be people who love me to listen and try to understand what I’m going through if I ever have dark thoughts myself. 39 VINDICATOR | MARCH 2017

they feel others will react. Therefore, it is

Men die by suicide 3½ times more than women each year. *American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

so vital to be aware of the people around us and to make sure that they are getting the help they need so that they do not become suicidal.

Charlotte Weiss, 21, an English major and arts and entertainment editor for the Cauldron, speaks about her personal bat-

know how someone is doing internally.

Suicide Victims

Hurst states,”Life is a valuable thing and something not to throw away and there are

tles and about the topic in general. Weiss

people that love you, care about you, and

believes that suicide is a large problem in

support you.” Checking up on someone

today’s society that many people might not

and having a discussion on what is on their

give enough credit to, despite messages that recognize it, like suicide awareness month. Suicide can be related to the health of someone’s mentality, which is especially common in young people and on college campuses. When people have suicidal

40% over the age of 60

*Mental Health America

thoughts, they might not want to turn to

mind is helpful. Having people be supportive and being comfortable enough to speak their mind is another way to help those who have suicidal thoughts. Since many people are insecure, it would be beneficial if there was a class or a lecture to help people gain self confidence.

anyone for help because if they do then they

Iris Jones speaks about her experi-

are afraid that they will be labeled as crazy

ence with having suicidal thoughts. Those

or brush them off and send them to a men-

thoughts happened when her ex-boyfriend,

tal hospital without trying to understand. If

Eric Sylvester, broke up with her without

there is someone who wants to be helped,

warning. She never had anyone treat her

then confiding in a friend or someone

with such disrespect, not only because he

you trust can help. The reasons for people

broke up with her but because he ignored

having suicidal thoughts vary depending on

her and didn’t try to fix their problems.

the individual. It could have been because of bullying, depression, anxiety, or the loss of a loved one, and the list goes on. Vanessa Boutros, a Computer Engineering major with a double minor in Arabic and Mathematics, shares that she

Suicide rates are higher during the late spring and early summer *Encyclopedia of CrossCultural School Psychology

It caused her such pain that she couldn’t control her thoughts. She stopped eating for a while because the thought of it would make her sick, she didn’t sleep as well, she cried often and it replaced her sleeping patterns. She would take a sharp object to dig

has friends that thought about suicide or

into her legs deep enough to leave bruises.

have attempted. She explained how one of

Now, those thoughts have decreased but

her friends has bipolar disorder and Boutros

she wonders if anyone will miss her on

and her friends’ boyfriend try to make

days when she is feeling lonely. Before,

sure she doesn’t harm herself and take her

her thoughts were filled with being lonely,

medicine. It’s important for people to be

hopelessness, despair, and wanting to harm

more aware of the topic because suicide

herself but not wanting to harm anyone

is never the answer for when things go

else. Telling someone that it’ll be alright

wrong. There are many people who have

wouldn’t help but knowing that someone

suicidal thoughts that may not tell a soul but noticing the signs and symptoms can be a red flag. When someone is under 18, a person could be forced to get help such as speaking to someone like a counselor but

1 in 10 college students in the U.S. has made a plan for suicide *Emory University

has the option to have someone to talk about their feelings might. Not many people would understand how having suicidal thoughts can strongly affect someone’s behavior if they have not

when someone is older, it’s their choice to

experienced it themselves. She did feel like

either receive help or deny those thoughts.

she’s screaming internally a bit when no

It is crucial to persuade a person to get help for their health because they are important as well and be there for them. Some signs to look for along with depression are self harm scars, talking about death more often, questioning the afterlife, saying goodbye to people and telling someone they mean a lot to a person. It’s hard to know who has those thoughts because no one “looks” suicidal. There are people who hide their pain better than others so they can get away with it. The misperception people have on suicidal people are that they look depressed.

Boutros’ friend seems like she’s the happiest person but no one really knew the depth of her thoughts. People don’t have to look sad or depressed at all times. Most people may think that suicidal people are attention seekers but they should take it seriously. Nevada Hurst, a Nursing major at Cleveland State, speaks about her experience of someone she knows taking their

one could see past her mask.”I can’t believe I had those thoughts,” Jones said. Some of the potential signs to spot would be detachment, not smiling as much and acting different than usual. Most days, she feels lonely but never alone. Don’t hesitate to call this number if you or a friend are having suicidal thoughts 1-800-273-8255.

life. She was shocked to hear others about taking their life. Her friend’s younger brother, Braden, had hanged himself in his room. Hurst’s initial reaction to hearing the devastating news is that you never MARCH 2017 | VINDICATOR 40

VIKING EXPEDITIONS: THE IMPORTANCE OF SERVICE Fresh point of view on an alternative break trip to Sacramento, California. // Dorothy Zhao


he mental image of myself drilling

to a caterwauling baby, the two flights to

rebuilding. “Seeing her reaction to us just

or sawing pieces of wood was

the West Coast and Golden State foreshad-

being there,” remarks Pacanovsky, “even

laughable and quite a bit terrify-

owed the challenges we would face — and

though we didn’t finish the entire fence...

ing. However, despite my initial

overcome — on our journey of service.

she came out and gave me a hug. This is

reluctance, I realized during trip orientation

Rain stalled our progress for much of the

when you know you’re making a differ-

that I could certainly learn something new

week, but by the end of the week, we still

ence.” By having us, a younger generation,

-- and I truly did. From January 8 to 14,

managed to build a modest section of a

around her nearly every day for a week, this

fifteen Viking Expeditions members served

new fence. Not to mention, the rainy day

sweet nonagenarian created memories to

in Rancho Cordova, a city in Sacramento,

project that took place on the second day

treasure just like we did. I felt so gratified

myself, I didn’t know what to expect on my first alternative break trip, other than the description from the trip application: “home repair work...including chain link fence removal, wood fence construction, yard work, painting, and other exterior home beautification projects.” Sacramento certainly was not my first choice, because I had no experience with any kind of construction beforehand. For those unfamiliar with Viking Expeditions, VE is a student-led service organization that was formed in 2007. In addition to offering alternative break trips nationally and internationally, VE also goes around Cleveland doing local acts of service. President of VE, Amanda Pacanovsky, notes “service builds the community itself” and “the people and the effort to built [the community]...make it something you’re really proud of. ” The non-profit organizations and affiliates she mentions, like “the gem of the [Ohio City] Bike Co-op,” truly make the city of Cleveland work as a whole. As VE celebrates its ten-year anniversary, Pacanovsky explains that a “pay it forward” type event celebrating service and exhibiting non-profit organizations around Cleveland will take place in April. From rollercoaster-esque turbulence 41 VINDICATOR | MARCH 2017

by acting altruistically and seeing almost the immediate positive effect on Nina and

I loved every minute of my first VE trip.

California. As a new member and freshman

in Sacramento consisted of volunteering at two food banks and interacting with Rancho Cordova’s homeless, opening my eyes to several startling differences in their lives in comparison to my own. As we were tearing down the old fence, staining two-by-fours, drilling screws, sawing fence boards, and working together in nearly perfect harmony, I realized that this Viking Expeditions trip left a lasting impression on not just us members, but also on 94-year-old Nina — the lovable, warm-hearted homeowner whose fence we were taking down and

the other members as we stood back and admired our handiwork. Constructing a brand new fence, though not a small feat, felt like just the first step. I could go back home in Ohio to continue a thoroughly more hands-on kind of volunteer work, no matter how difficult the task. My previous fears of construction in general dissipated. I must add that both site leaders, Kara Kovach and Laura Anderer-Armstrong, directed the group of fifteen effortlessly. For this trip, Viking Expeditions also collaborated with Sierra Service Project, a Christian non-profit organization that provided challenging community service work through repairing homes in rural and urban communities. Working alongside them and two incredibly able site leaders made every obstacle surmountable and no undertaking too challenging. It’s safe to say that I have never laughed more on a trip than on this one. Every second of Sacramento consisted of hope, joy, determination, and optimism. The most memorable moments outside of the fence included having a close call with a barking guard dog aptly called “Cookie,” meeting with the mayor of Rancho Cordova, getting the quintessential Californian

fast food In-n-Out, going on a tour of a

for almost two years at one of the hospitals,

and gaining new perspectives all in addition

beautiful urban farm called Soil Born Farms

the routine greeting patients, moving their

to just being a Good Samaritan. Ultimately,

and of the California State Capitol building,

luggage to their rooms the night before

life is short — and we cannot continuous-

and exploring downtown Sacramento, Lake

their big surgery, and doing whatever else

ly take from society without giving back.

Tahoe, and San Francisco.

a nurse needed me to do grew to become a

Service, the act of helping or doing work for

little dull. What Viking Expeditions and Sac-

someone, is giving back to society to make a

ramento did for me was revive my eager-

positive impact and leave the world a better

ness to contribute to my community.

place than before.

Why Service? Why do we volunteer, and why is service


so important? Before serving on this trip, I

Service is so essential to our world

All in all, I loved every minute of my

knew that I personally volunteered sole-

today because it helps the communities

first VE trip. I went back home incredibly

ly for my own benefit — I needed hours

around us and ourselves to grow, mature,

grateful for all the experiences and lessons

for my school’s National Honor Society

and flourish. I now know that I volunteer

I learned in Sacramento. The opportuni-

chapter, and that was it. With such little

and do community service because it allows

ty to stay in California for a week for less

motivation, I eventually grew disillusioned

me to connect with more people, become

than five hundred dollars may sound like

with serving as a whole. What was I getting

aware of certain social issues, learn new

a “too good to be true” advertisement,

out of volunteering, besides getting to keep

things that may require some of my cour-

but I assure you it is not. Rather, I would

my NHS member status? While it was true

age or problem-solving. Beyond personal

strongly recommend anyone reading to go

that working alongside nurses and listen-

development, my community can beautify

on an affordable alternative break trip that

ing to intriguing stories of patients were

itself, conserve its resources, and make

may just change one’s perspective of what a

unforgettable experiences, I was usually not

individuals within the community happier.

meaningful life can be.

given too much hard work as a volunteer at

Volunteering today means making a dif-

two different hospitals. Since I volunteered

ference, obtaining a real world experience, MARCH 2017 | VINDICATOR 42

Yae or Eyes,

A Sparrow in Ohio

Yae was called Eyes in Cleveland because it was an easier name for many birds to remember there. She decided to use the name, Eyes on many occasions because of this. Eyes is called Yae by her partner, Sea, another sparrow because he still remembers her as Yae. Eyes has experienced a lot of interesting things and she shares them with Sea. They are married and happy now, but Eyes cannot forget about one other bird with whom she shared a lot of encouraging moments when she was having a hard time. He is a pigeon, and they sang songs together. When they sang together, they encouraged each other a lot, so the singing time became very memorable. She wonders whether the pigeon is still in Tokyo and doing fine. One day, the wind keeps blowing towards Eyes as if to tell her that it will carry her message to someone if she wants it to. Eyes wonders whether the language she uses will work for the pigeon, but she decides to speak something in English. As soon as she is done talking, the wind immediately starts to blow in a different 43 VINDICATOR | MARCH 2017

direction. She is hoping her message will work. Several days later, the pigeon, who has had the same business owner in the past, feels the same wind as Eyes felt. The pigeon wonders why it keeps blowing to him, but then he realizes that the wind has brought something. The pigeon faces toward the wind, and the wind releases its message. The pigeon understands the message and responds to it. The wind changes its direction again as soon as the pigeon has finished talking. One week later, Eyes releases her message, the same wind comes back with a message. Eyes faces towards the wind hoping everything is okay. The response says, “I am a male pigeon originally from a small village in England. I understand English because I am from England. I had a job in Zurich, Switzerland where Swiss German is spoken, whereas you grew up in Geneva which is a French speaking area in Switzerland. By the way, This is Place. I am still in Tokyo. I miss you as well since singing with you was encouraging for me too. You recommend me to come to Ohio so

that I can find a happy location for myself, but I need another owner who can give me freedom to talk to many birds. Without that, it is hard to make a decision.� Eyes is happy to hear from Place and to know that her message got through. Eyes replies that she is willing to find an owner who can give him more freedom, and Sea is also ready to consider her idea and to help someone she cares for. Eyes and Sea try to find a suitable owner for Place and finally find some options. They give the options to Place and wait until he decides. Place finally decides which owner to take, and asks the wind to carry him to the person in Ohio who wants a smart pigeon as a business partner. Place has a long journey to Ohio, but finally reaches to his new owner. Eyes and Sea meet him and all of them look happy. Place spends a lot of fun moments with many birds besides his working time. At last, he finds a happy location to live. Place does not know how much he owes or how to show his appreciation to Eyes and Sea, but they do not worry about this as long as he is happy.

Art by Mikayla Colston

By Joy Yayoie McKinney


Art by Jessika Riane

Little boy blue walking down the room with a knife in his hand. His father abused his mother and the little boy was tied up to a chair while watching his mother suffer. Four years it’s been that way, He’s asked for help from family members, counselors, even his teachers but none of them could help. Cause just when one of the teacher took initiative of the situation, his father pulled him out of school and moved to New York City. New city, new house, but the violence didn’t change Little boy blue cried every night in the dark, On his bed with a small white pillow in his hand He whispered out to a light that shone through the window pane. Spoke about his troubles and prays that one day it will stop. Well one day it did stop because his father burned his mother while little boy blue accidently walked in on them while trying to find his baseball bat. His eyes filled with horror and rage then he went into the kitchen stand. Took a long sharp knife out, cut scars on his arms while he watched the oozing blood streaming down and he bled to death. That was the end of little boy blue whose soul was the kindest, smiled the widest even though his heart was full of pain.

While It Rains By Sage Mack

It was choosing to accept your father After he chooses another family. Your mother being hurt by this. Your brother proud. It is biting into fresh mango at Sunday morning’s meal Molasses days Like this are sweet and slow. The breeze doesn’t hurt so much anymore After you decide it carries you. Your thighs stick to the plastic of the chair The light brown of your skin glistens as you think of Casey from your class. She is pretty and smells like rain. She gives you butterflies. One day you will kiss her under the trees while it rains Her scent all over you. Nobody questions why there is a burning behind your cheeks. Why the rain makes you blush.

It rained during erotica, an orchestra storm Of fury shot down by God herself. Lightning strikes during your climax There is nothing more electrifying than her tongue You decide this.

Art by Mikayla Colston

It was your first lover’s legs wrapped around your waist The ripe of her mouth Taste like fresh mango On sunday morning. Making love like molasses Sweet and slow.

By Sage Mack

My grandmother would clasp her Hands while speaking faith over our heads. Us bent at the waist for God’s open arms Scared of our own sacredness. As if we weren’t made messiahs At birth, baptized in placenta. Divine intervention was us choosing Self preservation over the bible. This we grasped from her womanhood. To mighty for any man’s false patriarchal prophecy As if God can actually be a man. Something so powerful can only be held By that which holds life, woman. She had told this me once. She had learned How to pray from the birds.

Art by Mikayla Colston

Art by Mikayla Colston

Katie Them religiously yelling to the sky. She would scream To the Lord before every mornings break In chorus with them. Us watered down in her blessings. She’d grip our hands so tight during Prayer we felt heavenly peace through her palms. Grandma had never missed a day of church Every Wednesday and Sunday Be the first to knock on God’s door. Him always in a hurry to open In fear of her might. Her able to burn down every force In search of him. He must be exhausted being overshadowed by such a spirit.



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The Vindicator - March 2017  
The Vindicator - March 2017