The Vindicator - November 2019

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Vindicator Cleveland State University’s Arts and Culture Magazine

NOV 2019







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what’s in this issue? 3

Check Us Out Online




Letter from the Editor


Meet Our Contributors

Arts 7


Big Names in Comedy (and the shows they’ve created) by JOSCELYN ERVIN


An Unkindness of Ghosts Questioning the Future by Rebuilding the Past




Indigenous Languages: A Year of Awareness and Validation by BRENDEN VANOVER


The Transgender Day of Rememberence by JESSICA LYNN NICHOLS



Breaking Through the Notion of White Feminism by KATHERYN LEWIS


Beauty + Wellness 35


Side Hustle by PAYTON MACK


Olivier Rousteing Documentary: Wonder Boy by IMANI STEPHENS


Poetry Social 39



Coming Out by BRIANA ELISE

Inhumanity at the Cuyahoga County Jail by AMANDA LIGHT


Rewind on Recycling in Cleveland by JILLIAN VANDYKE


Cleveland State’s Society of Automotive Engineers by TYISHA BLADE

Surviving Breast Cancer BY TYISHA BLADE




Cavaliers Powerhouse Dancer. Recently, the Cleveland Cavaliers introduced their new co-ed dance team. The PowerHouse Dance Team specializes in high-energy tricks, tumbling and dynamic choreography. Originally, the Cavalier Girls served as ambassadors of the basketball team on and off the court. Now, the organization has introduced a new, diverse team gearing up for the 2019-2020 season. — TYISHA BLADE THE VINDI.COM


A closer look at interning with Destination Cleveland and the efforts of the Convention and Visitors Bureau. — TYISHA BLADE

A Most Sacred Right. Voting is a fundemental aspect of American democracy. For communities of color it is continually under siege.— RENEE BETTERSON CHECK OUT THE BLOG FOR EXTRA RESOURCES ON THIS ARTICLE IN THE OCTOBER ISSUE

#VindiAsks: Which fall flavor is your favorite?






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


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

w h a t’s h a p p e n i n g i n

NOVEMBER 11/3 Clairo Concert

Headliner Clairo is making her first performance ever in Cleveland at The House of Blues, with openers Beabadoobee and Hello Yello.

11/1 Pure Barre Re-Opening

Pure Barre not only sells athletic clothing, they also put on group work out classes. The Rocky River location is re-opening at the beginning of November.

11/14 Browns


HOUSE OF BLUES, $22.50-$35

11/10 Rock The Rink in Cleveland

The Cleveland Browns will take on rival Pittsburgh Steelers at home this year during a 1:00 Sunday game. With new additions to the team and confidence of Baker MAyfield, maybe Cleveland has a chance. 1:00, FIRST ENERGY STADIUM, $100+

11/21 Turkey Trot

Olympic and world champion ice dancers Tessa Cirtue and Scott Moir are just some of the skaters that are a part of the Rock The Rink tour.

This run requires you to compete in the 1 Mile Fun Run, the 5k Run/Walk, or the 5 Mile Timed Run/ Walk. Register online at





ON SHARING Ine of the key values we are taught as

we have lost to acts of hate and transphobia. Another

children, the importance of sharing is still

first-time writer, Katheryn Lewis, shares her take

recognizable as we have grown older. I

on the feminist anthology, “This Bridge Called my

realize that through the years, this concept

Back,” along with reflections on her own feminism.

has extended in significance; no longer does it simply

We feature Nicole Shriver’s coverage and reflections

mean I can’t have all the crayons to myself, but it

on the International Cleveland Community Day held

describes commonalities between people, confiding

at the Cleveland Museum of Art, and first-time writer

in others, having a hand in something bigger than

Hayley Byrnes’s article on Smart Cookie, another local

yourself. Through our work at the Vindicator, we

student-run publication with an important mission.

attempt to embody this trait: sharing our thoughts

We also include returning writers Amanda Light’s

with you, our readers, sharing our passion for the arts

investigation on the Cuyahoga County Jail’s injustices

and the culture around us, sharing in our work and

and resulting protest, and Payton Mack’s interview of

dedication to this publication. We hope that you will

a Cleveland State student and their side hustle.

see that reflected in this issue, and continued through our work in the future.

We hope to continue sharing these and many more thoughts with you, our readers.

In this November issue, we share first-time contributor Bridgette Lewis’s review of an Afrofuturistic novel that reminds us of the power this genre contains, and returning writer Jessica Lynn Nichols’s reflections on the Transgender Day of Remembrance and all of whom

Note: We are reprinting Bryana Oldham’s poem, “Coming Out,” with a change in layout due to a misunderstanding of the poem’s title placement and its significance to its meaning in our original printing.




Faculty Advisor Julie Burrell Web Specialist Daniel Lenhart


CONTRIBUTORS STAFF HEADS Brenda Castañeda Yupanqui Editor–in–Chief

Tyisha Blade Managing Editor

Nicole Shriver Copy Editor

Alexia Carcelli Art Director

Kyra Wells Asst. Art Director

Max Torres Multimedia Manager

Jillian VanDyke Online Content Editor

Joscelyn Ervin Arts Editor

Renee Betterson Culture Editor

Megan Baranuk Feature Editor

Imani Stephens Beauty Editor


Dorothy Zhao Social Editor


Joscelyn Ervin Bridgette Lewis Brenden Vanover Jessica Lynn Nichols Katheryn Lewis

Tyisha Blade Payton Mack Imani Stephens Jillian VanDyke Amanda Light

Hayley Byrnes Nicole Shriver

Jillian VanDyke

Gia Paulovich Derek Prince Wilson Maria Ahmad Erin Butkiewicz

Abigail Pașca Alexandra Paquin Sophia Pierce


Jillian VanDyke

POETS Briana Elise

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




COMEDY Looking for a good laugh? You’ve come to the right place. Below is a list of writers who have been doing great things for comedy shows in the past year.


Joscelyn Ervin


he 2019 Emmys had some great nominees — specifically in comedy. Although some of the works listed below won big and others didn’t, they’re some of the most hilarious shows out right now. Here are some

of the major writers behind the work that’s made so many people laugh.

Bill Hader “Barry” He might be a familiar face, but he’s still killing it. Hader, known primarily for his work on SNL or popular comedy movies such as “Superbad,” is currently starring in and writing for his new HBO show “Barry.” His roles in previous films like “Superbad,” where he plays a minor role as a dorky cop, don’t compare to the spotlight in his new show. Released in 2018, “Barry” has gained a large following among critics and fans for outstanding writing and acting. So far with only two released seasons, it has won a total of four awards: one for writing and three for acting. This comedy focuses on the story of a hit man, played by Hader, who goes to Los Angeles to take down a mark and instead finds a new community in an acting class. The ratings from IMDb (8.3/10) and Rotten Tomatoes (99 percent) are unusually high. It’s currently available to watch on HBO. 7 | VINDICATOR

Nick Kroll “Big Mouth” If you haven’t heard, “Big Mouth” has taken Netflix by storm over the past two years. It focuses on the uncomfortable hilarities that are middle school and puberty, with a detailed art style and a few songs every once in a while. With a large cast of characters, the show highlights uncomfortable truths about sexuality, masturbation, hormones, etc. As cocreator, writer and main voice actor for the show, where he voices at least 30 different characters, Nick Kroll is in the spotlight. Along with “Big Mouth,” Kroll has been in numerous movies, shows and even a Broadway play — where he shared the stage with fellow comedian and friend, John Mulaney. He is currently doing stand up shows around the country with his Middle Aged Boy Tour, which started at Playhouse Square at the end of September. His comedy style is usually very immature and crude — which works perfectly for the plot of “Big Mouth.” If you’ve already seen “Big Mouth” or some of Kroll’s other work, his interviews and promotions for “Big Mouth” on YouTube are equally entertaining.


Michael Schur

Phoebe Waller-Bridge

“The Good Place”


Unlike the rest of the writers on this list, Schur

Mostly known for her recent work on the hit

doesn’t usually star, or even act, in his creations —

Amazon Prime show, “Fleabag,” Waller-Bridge is

but that doesn’t mean his work is any less worthy of

more than what she seems. In her Emmy-Award-

a number of insanely popular comedy shows of the last two decades. Think “The Office,” “Parks and Recreation,” and most recently “The Good Place” — which was nominated for several Emmy awards this year. While “The Good Place” has not achieved the pop culture status or acclaim of Schur’s previous projects, it has won some generous reviews of its own. “The Good Place,” a lt hough not i n t he same tone as “The Office” or “Parks and Recreation,” is a unique twist on a simple idea. Set in a type of heaven, referred to as the Good Place on the show, the characters encounter some odd situations in the afterlife. The plot focuses on a group of four friends who bond over their experience in the Good Place. It plays with the ideas of God and Satan, good and evil — and it does it well. Although Schur doesn’t star in his creation, he did choose a strong actor, Kristen Bell, who leads the show with her winning portrayal of the main character. Since being released in 2016, there have been four seasons and it has won a total of four awards. The humor in “The Good PHOTO CREDIT GOOGLE IMAGES

Place” is subtle, ridiculous and creative. On a side note, if you haven’t already seen Schur’s work from “The Office” or “Parks and Recreation,” I recommend you get on that right away.

winning role this year, she plays a deadpan main character who has the habit of playfully breaking the fourth wall quite often. Unlike the fourth wall

He might be a familiar face, but he’s still killing it.

recognition. Schur has created, or helped to produce,

breaks from “Deadpool” or “House of Cards,” Waller-Bridge manages to form her own shocking and hilarious relationship with the audience. The main character, unnamed throughout the show, struggles through family issues, mental health and relationships in general. Throughout, she makes sometimes crude, always honest remarks to the camera. Waller-Bridge’s depiction and writing of the “Fleabag” story is by far one of the best of the year. The second season of “Fleabag” was just released within the past year, and Waller-Bridge does not plan on continuing the storyline any longer. Even though Waller-Bridge has gotten the most attention from her recent hit, she has played a part in several other popular shows as well. Along with writing and starring in “Fleabag,” WallerBridge was a writer for “Killing Eve” — which is a drama, not a comedy. “Killing Eve” has been largely successful with awards: Sandra Oh just won a Golden Globe for her role in the show — and with ratings. If you’re interested in looking for more content from the writer, check out her SNL monologue from October, which captures the basis of her true charm and humor.





Bridgette Lewis River Solomon’s Afrofuturist novel reimagines the antebellum South.


ublished in 2017, Rivers Solomon’s debut novel, “A n Un k i nd ness of Ghost s,” i s a n i mp or t a nt pie ce of l iterat u re in the Afrofuturism genre. The term A frofuturism is likely to raise some

eyebrows and prompt questions, mainly: what is it? The term was first coined in 1993 by Mark Dery, and while it’s certainly defined many ways, here we will use his original definition stating it is “speculative fiction that treats African-American themes and addresses African-American concerns in the contexts of twentieth-century technoculture — and, more generally, A frican-A merican sig nification that appropriates images of technology and a prosthetically enhanced future.” To this definition, I will add that Afrofuturism allows both the author and the reader to explore race and gender via alternative histories and futures through a technological lens — a feat typically lacking in white-centric science fiction novels. Essentially, the term seeks to define science fiction created for Black people by Black people; think “Black Panther” (Black director), “Get Out” and just about anything written by famous novelists Nalo Hopkinson and Nnedi Okorafor.



Afrofuturism is likely to raise some eyebrows and prompt some questions, mainly:

what is it?

In “An Unkindness of Ghosts,” Earth has been

contain triggers for victims of sexual violence and

deemed inhabitable for over three-hundred years, and

hate crimes. Solomon handles these scenes in a way

what remains of humanity now calls the spaceship,

I consider effective, but tasteful. She does not rely on

HSS Matilda, home. The society on the space vessel

heavy detail to be heard, but she will not ignore the

mirrors that of the antebellum South; “upperdeckers”

fact that the problematic past will eventually make

are rich, white residents while the “lowdeckers” are

its way into the future if we don’t begin tackling these

comprised of poor, and often undereducated Blacks.

issues and starting the right dialogue(s).

Unlike most lowdeckers, main character Aster is a

The other fascinating aspect of Solomon’s novel

highly educated doctor. Orphaned at infancy after her

is the treatment of gender identity. Aster, though

mother’s death, she has only her best friend, Giselle,

primarily described as female, is gender-fluid — as

and motherly-figure Ainy Melusine to guide her along

is the Surgeon. There are entire wings of the ship

with her medical mentor, the Surgeon. Standard in the

whose social norms deviate from the standard rules

Afrofuturism genre, Solomon explores the complicated

of pronoun usage. This is one of the many reasons

history between Blacks and technology, but perhaps

I strongly recommend this novel. To the lovers of

one of the two most distinguishing features about this

science fiction, this story truly has something for

novel is its placement in time. The story’s setting is

everyone regardless of race, gender, social class, sex-

300 years after humanity has abandoned Earth, but

uality or gender identity. At its core, “An Unkindness

through its travels, is one thousand years removed

of Ghosts” shows that, through the complexities of

from that time. The spaceship has been routed to a

world-building, there are still plenty of ways for an

questionable destination based off religious beliefs,

author to address a problematic future. As it stands,

similar to Catholicism, but appears to be failing in its

standard science fiction does little to include diversity.

efforts to reach salvation.

As readers, we must ask ourselves if that’s the kind of

Often times throughout the novel, it’s the technol-

future we want for ourselves and for those who will

ogy reminding the reader that they are situated in the

come after.

future; otherwise, it would be quite easy to believe

Aster’s growth is reliant upon her ability to defy

this story takes place hundreds of years in the past.

social norms and fight for a better future, but not just

Historically, Blacks were erased from this country’s

for her, for everyone. She learns from her friends, her

literature except to add a Black servant symbolic of

mother’s journal and stories and myths of her ancestral

white wealth. Back in 1939, Black literary critic and

past to find the path to a progressive, tolerant future.

educator, Sterling A. Brown, addressed this issue in his

What sets this novel apart from other, more recent,

article titled “The American Race Problem as Reflected

ones is my experience. At times, it felt so futuristic I

in American Literature” asserting his belief that “the

wondered how one ship could feel like no place I’ve

problems attendant upon the presence of the Negro

gone before, and others like I was experiencing the

in America have engaged the attention of writers

makings and feelings behind the Civil War. “An Un-

from the earliest years of our national literature.”

kindness of Ghosts” is not for the faint of heart, but

His belief that white America experiences difficulties

it is for the open-minded and resistant; people still

in terms of handling Black people in its literature is

willing to fight for change and equality for all.

not uncommon. This same argument can be made for

In one novel, Solomon tackles an array of inter-

present-day science fiction for its tendency to omit

sectional concerns in a futuristic setting almost in

Black faces from its innovative worlds and ignore

response to traditional white novelists of the genre.

what might happen to race and gender relations in

I should make clear that this is my interpretation of

the future. Solomon’s novel acts as a commentary

the novel. The only way to know for sure how a novel

on intersectional issues typically ignored or omitted

speaks to you is to read it. Solomon’s next novel, The

from past and futuristic American texts.

Deep, will be released early next month. I’m looking

At 25, Aster challenges the socioeconomic setup of

forward to reading more of her work as well as con-

her world. She develops by questioning the practices

tinuing to explore the genre that is Afrofuturism. I’ll

of her society and finding her own voice through re-

conclude with my favorite line of the novel, something

sistance and activism. She is the rebel of many causes.

told to Aster by her best friend, which is: “If you’re

The novel is told in a total of four parts all building

going to do something, you do it big. Burn the house

up to a climax and an ending you won’t see coming!


Because it mirrors the antebellum South, please be aware that this novel contains hate speech, swearing and scenes depicting physical violence. It also may






Brenden Vanover

Maria Ahmad

inspired by Mayan glyphs

2019 was chosen by the UN as a year for promoting awareness of the worlds endangered indigenous languages.


ne of the most important aspects, or as some may say the most important aspect of being human is our ability to communicate and speak. We take sounds and put

them together to form syllabic words and then, sometimes, we take those syllabic words and add them together with other sounds and we create more and more complex words. Those words and sounds are paired with a mental image and voila! We have communication and we have language. Now that is a very simplistic

way of looking at it but we can say that it is basically how it happened. Through having the ability to communicate, through meeting other people, we learned and synthesized the modern basis of humanity which is culture. However, even though language creation is one of our best achievements and seemingly simple to produce, maintaining a language is a delicate process and in 2019 it has become quite difficult for many indigenous language speakers. Every year the United Nations chooses a topic in which they focus their efforts. For this year the UN chose to shed light on the topic of indigenous languages, or more specifically, the endangerment of indigenous languages around the world. By now, you may be wondering what constitutes an indigenous language? That’s a very good question. An indigenous language, also known as an auto-



chthonous language, is a language that originated

to reason that one strand of language study should

in a particular place and is spoken by the indigenous

concentrate on the role of language in society.”

or native people that live there. Those that speak the

The dance that language and culture play in the

language generally are part of a tight-knit commu-

lives of, not only indigenous people, but everyone

nity meaning that typically these languages are not

that speak s is quite intricate. That is why when

national or official languages in any capacity.

a language enters its moribund stage of life, it is

According to the UN, “At present, 96 percent of the

particularly saddening for that culture. It is true

world’s approximately 6,700 languages are spoken by

that a culture can exist without a language, and

only 3 percent of the world’s population. Although

many do, however, the culture that is left is a shell

indigenous people make up less than 6% of the global

of what it used to be. Imagine the original (OEM)

population, they speak more than 4,000 of the world’s

engine of your ‘57 Chevrolet Bel Aire dies and it’s

languages.” They also suggest that “more than half

beyond repair. You are left with the original frame

of the world’s languages will become extinct by 2100.

and all that it originally came w ith except that

Other calculations predict that up to 95 percent of the

engine. How far are you going to get without that

world’s languages may become extinct or seriously

engine? The same is true for culture and language.

endangered by the end of this century. The majority of the languages that are under threat are indigenous languages. It is estimated that one indigenous language dies every two weeks.” This means that many indigenous languages also fall under the category of endangered languages or moribund, meaning at the point of death. An endangered language is “a language that is at risk of falling out of use as its speakers die out or shift to speaking other languages.” According to British linguist David Crystal, from his book “Language Death,” “Language loss occurs when the language has no more native speakers and becomes a ‘dead language.’ If no one can speak the language at all, it becomes an ‘extinct language.’ A dead language may still be studied through recordings or writings, but it is still dead or extinct unless there are fluent speakers.” According to linguists Peter Austin and Julia Sallabank in their book “Cambridge Handbook of Endangered Languages,” “languages have always become extinct throughout human history, they are currently dying at an accelerated rate because of

Language can be the engine behind much of what builds culture and keeps it moving forward.

Language can be the engine behind much of what builds culture and keeps it moving forward. Now, you may suggest to just get a new engine and replace it. Here’s the problem with that: Your ‘57 Chevy was built with that specific engine in mind. The way it sits in the car, the various tubing and parts, all of these can change the car in some way. They may not change it that much physically, but the emotional and economical values of the car have definitely decreased. If you don’t have a driving force behind the car, you sell the parts and then what’s left? But there is hope. Due to the work of many diligent and astute linguists and the current recognition of endangered indigenous languages by the UN, many indigenous groups have been working on the revitalization of their ancestral tongue. According to the UN Department of Public Information, “some indigenous peoples are successfully revitalizing and developing their languages through their own initiatives.” The Native Hawaiian community, whose language was close to extinction, promoted their native tongue through education in the 1970s: public

globalization, imperialism, neocolonialism.” Isreali

school curricula designed entirely in Hawaiian.

linguist Ghil’ad Zuckermann adds “linguicide” or

In 1978, the language was re-established as the

purposeful language killing, as a cause of language

state’s official language. Another such case can be


seen in the Russian Federation, where the Itelmen

This is a topic that sociolinguistics and linguistic

language was maintained through the cooperation

anthropology take particular interest in. Walt Wolfram,

of t he gover n ment a nd t he nat ive com mun it y.

an American sociolinguist from North Carolina State

The reg iona l Ka mchat k a n gover n ment, where

University, writes that “language is one of the most

t he la ng uage is spoken, i n it iated prog ra ms to

powerful emblems of social behavior. In the normal

revitalize the language: mass media broadcasts,

transfer of information through language, we use

indigenous language classes in schools, cultural

language to send vital social messages about who

competitions. Along with community initiatives,

we are, where we come from, and who we associate

like music channels and the creation of apps in

with. It is often shocking to realize how extensively

Itelmen, maintaining this native language was

we may judge a person’s background, character, and

made possible.

intentions based simply upon the person’s language,

Bringing it back to our side of the globe, one can

dialect, or, in some instances, even the choice of a

find Indigenous languages spoken all the way from

single word. Given the social role of language, it stands

Alaska, Nunavut, and Greenland (yes Greenland is THEVINDI.COM ­­ | 12


is part of North America) to the southern cone of South America. These indigenous languages consist of dozens of distinct language families, as well as many language isolates (languages without familial roots) and unclassified languages (languages that are yet to be established as either part of a family or as isolated). According to UNESCO, most of the indigenous American languages are critically endangered, and many are already extinct. The most widely spoken indigenous language is Southern Quechua, with about 6 to 7 million speakers, primarily in South America. It is believed by most that study the indigenous languages of North America that “there are approximately 296 spoken (or formerly spoken) indigenous languages north of Mexico, 269 of which are grouped into 29 families (the remaining 27 languages are either isolates or unclassified). The Na-Dené, Algic, and Uto-Aztecan families are the largest in terms of number of languages.” The Na-Dené and Algic language families are specific to the United States and Canada. In recent years Russian linguist Sergei Nikolaev suggests that some of the languages belonging to the Algic family are related to indigenous languages found in some northern areas of Asia. The Uto-Aztecan languages family is situated primarily in the southern United States and Mexico. “Uto-Aztecan has the most speakers (1.95 million) if the languages in Mexico are considered (mostly due to 1.5 million speakers of Nahuatl); Na-Dené comes in second with approximately 200,000 speakers (nearly 180,000 of these are speakers of Navajo), and Algic in third with about 180,000 speakers (mainly Cree and Ojibwe). Several families consist of only 2 or 3 languages.” North America is notable for its linguistic diversity, especially in California. This area has 18 language families comprising 74 languages (compared to just four families in Europe: Indo-European, Uralic, Turkic, and Afroasiatic and one isolate, Basque). Due to the diversity of languages in North America, it is difficult to make generalizations for the region. Most North American languages have a relatively small number of vowels (i.e. three to five vowels). Languages of the western half of North America often have relatively large consonant inventories. Ejective consonants are also common in western North America, although they are rare elsewhere (except for the Caucasus region,



parts of Africa, and the Mayan family). This rich diversity makes language preservation efforts something necessary and vital in our own part of the world. In the United States, our history with the Indigenous people of our nation is undeniably horrific. However, despite what they had to endure, many indigenous languages have survived and hopefully will continue to survive. These languages have also given part of themselves to English and American culture. Did you know the word ‘bayou’ meaning “a marshy part of a river, lake, or stream in low-lying areas” originates from the Choctaw word ‘bayuk’ meaning “creek”? The English word ‘raccoon’ comes from a now-extinct Algonquin family language called Powhatan. Not much has been recorded on the language, but linguists believe the Powhatan word was ‘arahkun’. The word ‘kayak’ comes to us from an indigenous language and people. The Inuit people that speak Inuktitut, gave us the word from their word ‘qajaq’. Now, these words may be grouped into physical, outdoorsy things but we’ve even borrowed words for policial things. The word ‘caucus’ meaning “a meeting of party leaders meant to select leaders or strategize for elections” is a possible borrowed word. Most likely it comes from the Algonquin word ‘caucauasu’ meaning ‘counselor’ or ‘advisor.’ The first written use of the word was in the Boston Gazette in 1760. According to, in Ohio, “most Native Americans were forced to leave Ohio during the Indian Removals of the 1800s. These tribes are not extinct, but except for the descendants of Ohio Indians who escaped from Removal, they do not live in Ohio anymore. They were moved to Indian reservations in

All languages are valid and deserve the right to survive and persevere.

Oklahoma instead.” They continue to list two nonrecognized Indian tribes and communities in Ohio which include the Munsee Delaware Indian Nation of Ohio and the Shawnee Nation United Remnant Band. However, even though there aren’t the booming number of Native people that there once were, they left a huge amount of language in this state. For example, the name “Ohio” is an Iroquoian Indian originating from the Seneca name for the Ohio River, ‘Ohiyo.’ which means “it is beautiful.” goes on to explain that “The Indian tribes of the Ohio Valley were decimated by smallpox and other European diseases before the Europeans had even met them, and Algonquian and Iroquoian tribes from neighboring regions moved into Ohio as European colonization forced them from their original home.” If there is one thing that you may draw from all of this, it should be that all languages are valid and deserve the right to survive and persevere. All languages are important but especially to those that are native speakers. As Nelson Mandela once said, “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.” THEVINDI.COM ­­ | 14



September, Bailey Reeves became the youngest known

Jessica Lynn Nichols Derek Prince Wilson

trans victim of gun violence this year. She was 17.

Honoring those we lost to transphobic violence in 2019.

community is an even more disturbing trend: Legato




Behind the murders of so many members of the trans and Reeves were both Black trans women. In fact, 19 of the 21 known victims this year were Black trans

n November 20, human rights activists

women. Trans women of color have been trailblazers

will pause to acknowledge the Trans-

throughout the history of the LGBTQ+ community,

gender Day of Remembrance. This day of

but they have also been those most vulnerable to

awareness, commonly known as TDoR,

violence and hate crimes. Not only are trans women

has been recognized every year since

of color the direct targets of hate crimes on the basis

1999, according to media monitoring organization,

of transphobia, misogyny and racism, but the inter-

GLAAD. TDoR was first organized by Gwendolyn Ann

section of these experiences can lead to dangerous

Smith in response to the 1998 murder of Rita Hester, a

circumstances in other areas of life. As the Human

transgender woman who dedicated her life to activism

Rights Campaign notes in their most recent report,

for her community. In the more than two decades

titled “A National Epidemic: Fatal Anti-Transgender

since, activists have continued to call for action to be

Violence in America in 2018,” trans people are more

taken against hate crimes in America and elsewhere,

likely to experience poverty, job discrimination and

but despite their efforts, transphobia has persisted.

homelessness. This leaves many with few means of

From November of 2018 to the time of this writing, the

supporting themselves besides sex work, which of-

Human Rights Campaign has documented the murders

fers them few legal protections from discrimination,

of at least 21 transgender and gender non-conforming

especially violence. Furthermore, trans people are

people in the United States.

more likely to experience intimate partner violence,

When reporting on violence against trans people,

struggle with mental illness and live with HIV/AIDS.

we can never be certain that every victim has been

This is because trans people are too often denied access

treated with the dignity of their correct name, gender

to counseling, prescriptions and other resources. The

and pronouns. Too many trans people never have the

American healthcare system has not done enough

opportunity to live authentically as themselves, and

to help those at risk. Nor has the American criminal

too many are silenced before that opportunity arises.

justice system done enough to punish murders, or

Even victims who were out at the time of their death

to prevent more deaths motivated by transphobia.

are too often misgendered by family members, law

In all but eight states, it is legal to invoke what has

enforcement and journalists. This happened to Jordan

been called the LGBTQ+ panic defense. When LGBTQ+

Cofer, a victim of the recent mass shooting in Dayton,

people — often trans women and gay men — are

Ohio on August 4. Cofer was a transgender man, but in

murdered in a hate crime — often by cisgender, het-

national reporting on the shooting, he was frequently

erosexual men — the defendant may claim that they

deadnamed and described as the shooter’s sister. He

only committed murder because of the victim’s gender

was 22 years old.

identity or sexual orientation. In any other circum-

Cofer was not the only trans person killed in the state

stance, that would be a confession of a hate crime,

of Ohio this year. Claire Legato was shot and killed

not a legal defense. The LGBT Bar, a legal advocacy

in Cleveland this spring, at the age of 21. Most of the

organization, describes the methodology and impact

victims in 2019 were in their twenties, or younger. In

of this defense. The argument often made is that the



The transphobia of the Trump administration is not

a fit of fear or rage in which the killer only acted in

just a theoretical or philosophical matter. It is tangible,

self-defense. Bafflingly enough, this defense has been

and it is current. The National Center for Transgender

employed to success even in cases where the victim

Equality has kept a record of actions by the president

and the killer had or planned to have consensual sex:

and his staff which have clearly transphobic motiva-

cisgender men have claimed that they only committed

tions and impact. In the past year alone, the Trump

murder after discovering that a partner or potential

administration has established policies which allow

partner was a transgender woman. The defense may

medical professionals to discriminate against trans

not allow the killer to go free, but the LGBTQ+ panic

people on religious grounds, by refusing to provide

defense has still convinced judges and juries that a

care. Similarly, the Department of Housing and Ur-

death was manslaughter or homicide, rather than the

ban Development has rolled back nondiscrimination

highest charge of first-degree murder. The logic here

policies regarding federal housing and shelters. While

is inherently flawed; no murder is justified by bigotry.

evaluating these actions, it is essential to remember

There is no logical or moral validity in this defense,

that when trans people do not have access to medi-

and it should be given no legal legitimacy. However,

cal care or housing, they are harmed not just in the

it definitely impacts the trans community, and hits

absence of those resources, but also placed at higher

close to home: Ohio is one of the states in which the

risk of violence as a result. We must realize that this

panic defense is still legal. As the LGBT Bar has doc-

lack of advocacy for and even active campaigning

umented, there is no legislation in the state of Ohio

against human rights is killing people.

attempting to ban the defense, either.

The Trans Day of Remembrance is a time to recog-

Fortunately, there have been efforts to ban the

nize all those we have lost, in the U.S. and around the

defense on the national level. In July 2018, the Gay

world. But the best way to honor the dead is to spend

and Trans Panic Defense Prohibition Act of 2018

every day fighting for the ones who remain. Set time

was introduced in the Senate by Senator Edward J.

aside to mourn, but don’t stop there: educate yourself.

Markey. But this bill has not been passed — perhaps

Be conscious of what is happening around you. Raise

not surprisingly, knowing the transphobic agenda

awareness at every level from your household to your

of the current Senate majority and presidential ad-

national representatives. That is the least we can do

ministration. Vice President Mike Pence is known

in remembrance of them.

for homophobic and transphobic actions, including governor of Indiana. Unfortunately, he is far from In 2018, the New York Times reported on a memo within the Department of Health and Human Services which proposed a unilateral definition of sex, as it appears in Title IX, as being, “either male or female,

The Trans Day of remembrance is a time to recognize all those we have lost, in the U.S and around the world.

his support of conversion therapy while serving as being the only transphobic force in our government.

On campus, The LGBTQ+ Student Services Center

victim made unwanted sexual advances, prompting

is hosting an all-day event in recognition of TDoR on Wednesday, November 20th, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in BH 211.

unchangeable, and determined by the genitals that a person is born with.” This would have an immediate impact on trans students in the public education system, but the implications would also extend to criminal justice, healthcare and housing. THEVINDI.COM THEVINDI.COM­­ |­­ |16 6





Katheryn Lewis

Understanding white feminist privilege in utilizing exerpts from “This Bridge Called My Back.”


n “This Bridge Called My Back”, an anthology edited by Cherrie Moraga and Gloria Anzaldua, addresses an ongoing argument regarding the concern or frustration of white middle-class women pushing aside women of color from diverse social

classes. Moraga and Anzaldua argue that light-skinned women wanting to support the peace between all who consider themselves feminists are being pushed aside as well. Nonetheless, as a community, feminists are aware white middle-class women have more of an amplified voice than colored women, raising an important question in the feminist community: should middle-class white women stand aside to let women of color along with women of different classes speak for themselves, or should they use their advantage to bring unity and speak up for women of color? Excerpts from “This Bridge Called My Back”explore this underlying feminist dilemma. In one excerpt titled, “The Pathology of Racism,” Doris Davenport explains that most white women prevent women of color from speaking up. She argues that the reason for this is that white women are oppressed by “belonging to white men,” a status that keeps them from having a true identity of their own. Davenport says, “Lately, having worked free of nominal and/or personal control of white boys, white wimmin are desperately reactionary”; she goes on,“ a reactionary oppressed group, they exhibit a strange kind of political bonding or elitism, where white wimmin are the only safe or valid people to be with; all others are threatening” (84). Between these two quotes, Davenport argues that white women coming out of the white man’s grasp still have conservative thoughts while building up an odd defensive mechanism to others may interpret as a threat to their system. Davenport proposes white women have a lack of self-identity which causes them to disregard any others that differ. Since there is a lack of self-identity that has been caused by white men oppression, white women have built up a sense of fear leading to this naive approach to feminism. However,


this does not give them an excuse to push aside women of color, and women from other classes in this fight for equality. But, this also doesn’t mean there isn’t racism as well within colored fighting colored women. Colored women are also subjective to putting up fences and declaring groups as colored women only. Despite that, fortunately, women of color have been making strides to “burst” into the feminist movement to speak out and give themselves a voice. These new voices gaining momentum can either build up the unity or make it even worse between this divide that is still occurring. On the other hand, there is also a class issue within the movement that gives voice specifically to white middle-class women. White women, in general, have race privilege, but white middle-class women have a class and race privilege that allows them to have the ultimate voice. In “I Paid Very Hard for My Immigrant Ignorance”, Mirthat Quintanales shares her experience as a middle class, Puerto Rican, queer woman. She explains that despite her color and her sexual identity, she has been more accepted in the feminist movement and society because of her social standing. However, Quintanales was never accepted by women of color in the feminist movement since her skin was much lighter than what her heritage “typically” looked like. Quintanales argues that because of her class privilege, she had more opportunities than even her “very-white” partner who came from a working-class family with little to no money. In the conclusion of the book, Davenport writes, “So sister’s, we might as well as give up on them, except in rare and individual cases where the person or group is deliberately and obviously more evolved mentally and spiritually” (85). Should women of color really push white women away completely; isolating them from the feminist movement entirely? Or should they embrace white women allies and push them to educate others so there can be less nativity or more unity? Another point of controversy is whether or not white women should use their privilege and speak out against the oppression of women of color. Davenport explains that white women, in general, are less educated on women of color’s struggles and often feel threatened by their differences. On the contrary, she also professes that there

be the reason why white women feel threatened by women

are a few that are the exception. Those women that are the exception can be a force of change within the feminist community. In the passage “We’re All in the Same Boat,” Rosario


of color. This feeling of being threatened brought up by Doris Davenport previously is due to the misinformation or lack of information of colored women’s oppression so

Morales makes a bold statement by expressing that

it creates a deficiency in understanding and separation

“Racism is an ideology. Everyone is capable of being racist

within the feminist community.

whatever their color and condition” (87). Morales goes on with the same thought that everyone is racist when she announces: “O we are all racist, we are all sexist, some of us only some of us are the targets of racism, of sexism, of

This Bridge Called My Back by Cherrie Moraga & Gloria Anzaldua

Contrastively, this is not applicable to all-white middle-class women. Some of the white middle class are aware of the oppression of colored women, and this is where the divide between white middle-class women and

homophobia, of class denigration, but we all, all breathe

colored women can end. I admit I have had my own naivety

in racism with the dust in the streets with the words we

before I came across this ongoing dispute, but it was this

read…” (88). By making the claim that everyone is racist, she is now finding a way women all connect. Women all connect in this way but suffer different oppression

Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay

should speak out and educate other white women of the oppression that women of color, different sexualities and different classes go through and experience. Then with this

This reason, amongst others, is why I wanted to address this issue, to call out other white women and use my voice to encourage their own. I believe white middle-class feminists should use their advantages and privileges to speak out for colored women, as well as teach other white

it and embrace their own prejudices so they can then speak equality. By women embracing their prejudices, Morales

across articles and books such as “This Bridge Called My happening within a group that was already oppressed.

Women, Culture and Politics by Angela Y. Davis

newfound knowledge, other white women could embrace out for the battles other women are battling for their own

speaking out for each other. Then when I started to come Back,” I became heartbroken that there was oppression

that other women should become aware of to become one; the white women who are deemed as an exception

innocence that women — no matter what color — were

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

feminists who are ill-informed about colored women as well as women from different class oppression, so the

says “Let us, instead, identify, understand and feel with

community can create an understanding of each other and

the oppressed as a way out of the morass of racism and

a unity amongst all women. Feminists can agree that we

guilt” (87). Since both sides to the ongoing issue of white feminism have the forefront in society, I wanted to interject my

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

fight for different types of equality, but this doesn’t mean we cannot support each other and fight for what is right. In conclusion white, middle-class women should step

own opinion on the matter. I identify myself as a white,

up and use their privilege to speak up for colored wom-

working-class feminist which was the reason why I de-

en. White women need to educate each other on other

cided to cover this topic. This a topic that makes others uncomfortable, finding that, possibly, the way that they are fighting for what is right is being challenged. However,

Excluded by Julia Serano

of fingers to who is wrong and who is right. Personally, I have been close to white middle-class

class, etc. The more white women deny the conscious of their racial privilege within the feminist community, the further away they are from achieving the goal of gender

I want others after reading this to change their outlook on feminism in a positive way, and not so much as a pointing

women’s oppressions such as sexuality, race, religion,

equality. Women need to create unity to gain equality for

Kindred by Octavia E Butler

all, even if women are fighting for different aspects of equality. Once more, Giddings states, “Black women have

feminists and witnessed both ignorance and under-

always made up their women’s rights agenda, distinct that

standing of colored women feminists and their fight for

of Whites. There is no reason for the concept of feminism

equality. The main issue of this ignorance is the lack of

to be usurped by others.”

knowledge from white middle-class women which may THEVINDI.COM THEVINDI.COM­­ | ­­ 20 |6





Smart Cookie Magazine



looking for a magazine to gift my niece Asia for her

Cleveland High School for Digital Arts’ own student-run multimedia project helps uplift and amplify young girls’ voices.


sweet sixteen birthday party. My plan was to pay for a subscription to a magazine, one that would speak to her intelligence, creativity and love of fashion.

oday’s digital era has provided many with

But I came up empty- handed. Perusing the rows of

opportunities to expand their knowledge

glossy covers were publications for women or affluent

and connections all over the world, but many

teens such as Essence, Marie Claire, Seventeen, Teen

schools have realized that this limitless

Vogue, Cosmo Girl and the likes. Needless to say, I was

accessibility can become a distraction in

frustrated. I could not find a publication to speak to the

the classroom. Schools across the globe are trying to

uniqueness of Asia or the girl students I encountered

navigate the path between allowing students to use

everyday in my classes. These are brilliant teenage girls,

their digital literacy to expand their knowledge and

similar to my niece, who do not fit the profile of the

handing students a gateway for distraction. Some

aforementioned titles, but are no less fierce, stylish,

students laptops to use in class with restrictions on the devices so that only educational sites can be accessed. However, when it comes to technology, today’s students know far more than their teachers, and can easily veer around this speed bump by finding new ways to get to blocked sites, or find something else to distract themselves — like turning their cursor into a picture of Patrick Star and much more. One new school in Cleveland is breaking the mold by not only allowing digital creativity in the classroom but encouraging it! Cleveland High School for Digital Arts (CHSDA) is Cleveland States’ new neighbor. According to the CHSDA website, the school opened their doors in 2014 with a vision to “embrace technology and provides students with a safe environment in which project-based learning can and does occur.” CHSDA allows students to study the arts alongside their core classes; these arts include Game Design, Graphic Design, Film Production and Recording Arts. Students are required to explore all of these classes and then choose one to specialize in. At CHSDA, there is seemingly something for everyone, right? Well, 9th grade English teacher Josette Compton believed that more could be done to enrich the students’ learning. She wanted to find an engaging way to combine her students’ artistic talents with the school’s core subjects while encouraging them to create the

intelligent and vocal. These girls thrive academically and personally, developing their own insights about the world and how they move within it; because of

Smart Cookie

this, I had to do something”.

is the

urban students, for urban students that allows them

Thus, Smart Cookie was born. A publication by to be “creative, intelligent and wild.” Smart Cookie


is the innovative solution for combining students’ desire for technological outlets and their need for

solution for

challenging subject matter. It also provides students with real-world situations to apply their digital and


core classroom knowledge. This is a perfect fit for the


digital components of a real publication. Their roles in

tech-savvy students of CHSDA, as it requires all the the group are fluid and alternate depending on interests

desire for

and artistic talents. Students research topics to write

technological outlets and

about, hold focus groups among peers, analyze data, compose articles based on their findings, photograph and edit their own photos, format the magazine and

their need for

market their growing business. Smart Cookie was intended to be a magazine first and foremost, but after their first couple issues,


Compton realized they would need more money to get

subject matter.

schools have embarked on this journey by giving

the magazine to the potential that it is destined for. For many companies, this means halting production until a solution can be found. Yet, these motivated students were taught well by their teacher to fight against adversity in their lives so they knew this was not the end. The students continued to work hard,

change they want to see in the world. To execute this

researching, writing and creating while their teacher

successfully, Compton turned to her past experience as a

led by example and attempted everything she could

magazine journalist, writing for Entertainment Weekly,

to keep her dream for her students alive. That was

XXL and Blender before she became a teacher. This

when she remembered the digital influence across

experience provided her with a wealth of knowledge

the country that is pulling students’ minds in every

on how a magazine functions from the inside out. So,

direction. She decided that the best way to captivate

she decided to create a magazine where “Girls of all

her audience of disengaged high schoolers was to

ages, ethnicities and sexual orientations are free to

utilize the distraction to her advantage. That leads us

be intelligent, creative and wild.” A place that can

to the present, where Compton and her students are

combine their literacy and art skills while promoting

in the early production phases of turning their stories

leadership and a discourse on the lack of representation

into podcasts and a YouTube channel.

in media on the teenage urban experience. Compton

The source that many teachers feel will be their

recalls everything even down to the day, that she

ultimate demise ended up being the cost- effective

formulated this idea.

solution to saving Smart Cookie.

“Back in September, I stood in Barnes & Noble

Now her students are developing opinions, critical



thinking skills and improving their writing techniques

One way that the students project their voices is

all while getting experience for their future careers.

by monopolizing on the digital era through engaging

And now, with one click of a button, their voices are

readers with subjects like, “Does social media make

public. When I asked the students who Smart Cookie’s

you hate yourself?” And, “Is he really that into you if

ideal audience was there was a disagreement among

he does not know your grades?” One student confessed

the members, eight girls and three boys. The girls

that “media is the most influential thing (today)

responded with “everyone,” but one boy added, “except

because it consumes our day-to-day lives.” Together,

men.” This led to a debate where the boys expressed

they decided that if it is going to consume all of their

that although they are happy to support their female

time, then they might as well produce something that

classmates and offer their creative insight, they believed

is beneficial instead of wasteful.

teenage boys are not interested in magazines, and the

When I asked the students if their peers were also

articles contain “primarily female issues in them.”

interested in political and social issues around the

The girls informed their classmates that these issues

world, I was met with an immediate and resounding

were not inherently female and that “men should

“no.” In fact, they said that their classmates “turn any

read them to educate themselves on the topics”. One

important issues into a joke.” So why are they creating

female student declared that girls need to be free to

political and social commentary in their writing? Simply

express their thoughts without worrying if it pertains

put by one student, “The more research that we do,

to men because “I feel like when women speak it goes

the more knowledge they will have.” They are proving

unnoticed… like it’s not strong enough.” Her female

that their voice will be used to create awareness and

classmates assisted her in translating her thoughts

change, by educating and motivating their peers to

into words by adding, “Oh no it’s strong enough, it’s

think deeper and become the change that they want to

just not loud enough” — which is every feminist

see. They are doing this by recognizing the interests

educator’s dream to hear from her students.

of the readers and the climate that their writing is

I loved seeing this unplanned debate take place

taking place and adding a twist that correlates the

because it showed the progression of their voice

topic to pertinent real world issues. So, they looked at

and how they can transition it from their writing to

social media, a topic important to teens and centered

real-world implications. It is evident that they are

it around its effect on mental health and bullying.

realizing that despite their age, location or lack of

And, they tackled high school relationships in a way

representation, they have an opinion that is worth

that goes beyond the superficial to send a message

being expressed. And if the world refuses to hear

to girls and boys that a healthy relationship requires

what they have to say, they just have to say it louder.

intellectual encouragement. This becomes writing

Smart Cookie allows them to project their voices and

that is purposeful and inspiring.

opinions, no matter the issue. 23 | VINDICATOR

Now that they have their readers’ attention, they


have begun to write even deeper about issues that are prevalent in their daily lives as urban students of all colors. In their latest edition these determined scholars have begun to disassemble societal ideologies such as colorism. The students organized multiple focus groups of ninth to 12 th grade boys of differing ethnicities to find out if they had a preference among skin tones when it came to romantic relationships, whether they held any stereotypes based solely off of pigmentation and whether they thought it was right or wrong to vocalize a preference. The students at CHSDA are not just acknowledging political and social world issues, they are finding their voices to spark a conversation that will create a new generation of change agents. Although much of the attention in this article is none of this would be possible if it were not for their teacher. Compton’s vision and hard work can be found in the voices of her students. In fact, the students were even in on a surprise for their teacher to show their appreciation. In December of 2018, Channel 3 WKYC heard about Compton’s project and wanted to offer some publicity and acknowledge the great work she was doing for Cleveland students. So, the news station decided to surprise Compton at school and bring her a batch of cookies for all of her smart cookies — but that was not all that they brought. Compton also received a $1,000 check to go towards the production of Smart Cookie. Compton was overjoyed with the public support and recognition of her talented scholars. And today, she is still searching for ways to support their talents and dreams. With that being said, Compton wishes to leave you with this: “I am proud to bring you Smart Cookie, a publication for non-dominant teenage girls that showcases their intelligence, creativity, style and grit. So I’d like to welcome you to our world, where

Compton’s vision and hard work can be found in the voices of her students.

given to the students and their search for their voice,

we control the narrative. It is a new era in which girls and women roar in solidarity for equal rights, visibility and respect.” To keep up with Smart Cookie, or to help these young advocates amplify their voices, visit their GoFundMe.



A deeper look into the Cleveland Museum of Art’s annual International Cleveland Community Day.


Nicole Shriver PHOTOS BY


Alexia Carcelli



n October 6th this year, the Cleve-

day that celebrates all cultures, in a world-renowned

land Museum of Art hosted their

center of arts and culture, amongst those they love,

8th annual International Cleveland

has to evoke a moving and unforgettable atmosphere.

Community Day — an event which

During and following the naturalization ceremony,

celebrates and brings together the

participants were welcome to walk about the museum,

plethora of various cultures in Cleveland for all to

check out the museum’s art collection, as well as other

welcome and enjoy. This extraordinary event in-

activities specific to the event. Coming into the atri-

cluded a naturalization ceremony, informational

um, event-goers were immediately immersed in the

seminars in the galleries, music and dance perfor-

event’s “Global Village,” which featured information

mances and more.

tables from different cultural groups and agencies to

To kick off the event, the museum held a natu-

educate and embrace the union of any and all cultures

ralization ceremony in the Gartner Auditorium for

to American culture. Each cultural group attending the

dozens of immigrants to take their oath to complete

event brought artifacts representative to their heritage,

the process of becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen.

such as clothing and textiles, figurines, art pieces and

This remarkable milestone was welcome for all to

photos. The CMA also arranged for a voter registration

gather and witness, and was surely a special moment

table for the newly naturalized citizens to register, a

for the new citizens and their families. According to

census bureau table and other government-funded

Global Cleveland, one of the community partners of

institutions such as the Cleveland Cultural Gardens

the event, “more than 2000 immigrants make the

and more!

important decision [every year] to be sworn in as new

Hanging above the atrium was a batik banner display.

United States citizens here in Cleveland.” Once they

These colorful banners were created by Cleveland’s

have received their naturalization certificate, they will

different community cultural groups following tra-

now be eligible to apply for a U.S. passport and take part

ditional methods utilizing wax and dye, originally

in any and all local, state and federal elections. These

practiced in Ancient Asia, featuring symbols and

ceremonies often take place in a courtroom or office

images representative of their home countries, and

in a government building, or in larger spaces such as

were designed in workshops led by the CMA.

a convention center. Having this ceremony held on a

L & R: Indian dancers from CMA’s International Cleveland Community Day

experience FEATURE



very year for the event, the CMA invites var-

ious cultural dance and musical performance groups to perform, ranging from countries

AUDREY GODOY, manager and team instructor of PPE, spoke to me about the importance of this event and cultural expression.

and cultures all over the world who have formed their own smaller communities in the

greater Cleveland region. This year, event-goers were lucky to experience Pacific

What does culture mean to you?

AG: To me, culture is respecting the customs, traditions and art of a group of people.

Paradise Entertainment (PPE), a Polynesian performance group from Northeast Ohio with more than 20 years of experience shared between over a dozen performers. PPE wowed the audience at their first International Cleveland

What is your definition of community?

AG: A community is a group of people who share the same interests, attitudes and goals.

Community Event, as they displayed their mastery of traditional Hawaiian and Tahitian dance form with effortless “hula expressions and high-energy hip movements.”

What inspired or motivated you to become a part of Pacific Paradise Entertainment?

AG: My inspiration came from the storytelling and movement of the dances of the Polynesian Culture.

a polynesian dance song

TE TAMA MAOHI Te ‘oto' oto nei

The birds are singing

Te manu o te ra'i

In the sky

Pehe pehe no ‘oe

A chant to you

E te tama o te fenua

The child of the land

Ua riro ho'i ‘oe

You are

Maite ho'e feti'a

Like a star in the sky

No te ra'i e turamarama

Lights up

To' u orara'a.

My life.

How does dance and musical performance production help you to express your cultural identity?

AG: Dance and music [serve as] a way to portray emotions and feelings of a story.

How do you decide which dances you would like to perform each year?

AG: We decided to choose the dances based on our ability

to use the toere drum for our drumming music and the fluidity of the dances. What significance do they have to your culture?

AG: The toere drum is a traditional log drum used in many of the dances for its unique sound and it makes for a more exciting dance routine. What story did you want the dances to tell, if any?

AG: One of our dances is named “Te Tama Maohi.” It is a story about the children of Tahiti, the beautiful land and

sky; [it is dedicated to] the children of the land; it also is

‘O ‘oe ta'u mihira'a

I miss you

Ta'u ferurira'a

In my thoughts

I te mau mahana ato'a

Every day

‘O ‘oe te niu o te orara'a

You’re the foundation of life

tance to you and also the city of Cleveland?

Te papa e vai nei

That remains

cultures found in Cleveland; it is important for Cleveland

I roto i to'u nei mafatu

In my heart

‘Aue te ‘oa'oa

All the happiness

Ia ‘oe e te tama

To you child

E tama ma'ohi.

Polynesian child.

about the birds singing in the sky [to them]. What are your thoughts on this event’s cultural imporAG: This event is a wonderful way to showcase the many to display all the talents of various cultures. What do you think that others could or should do to expe-

rience and learn about other cultures besides their own? AG: Attending many of these events will help trigger curiosity of other cultures besides their own.




Indian dancers from CMA’s International Cleveland Community Day


chose to reflect not only on what culture

means to me, but what culture means to those in my life who have immigrated to

the United States, and have chosen to un-

dergo the naturalization process. Immediately, I thought of my professor, DR. LYDIA

GREBENYOVA, who originates from Russia, but came to the United States to study and teach linguistics. Together we sat and discussed the importance of culture and community to everyday life and relationships. What does culture mean to you?

LG: Culture is ambiguous, right? So culture can be just going to concerts and the arts, or culture is how the society works. It means a lot because it is all around us, and it helps us function better as a society. If we know how culture works, and the longer you’re living in a society, the more familiar you are with the culture. I feel like I am pretty familiar with the American culture by now. Certain things are still very foreign, like the Simpsons. What does community mean to you?

LG: Community means a lot. We recently moved to Shaker

Heights, and they are all about community there, so it is really nice. Just very friendly and cozy; living in a good community means a lot. Having different ages living in a community contributes a lot, from different perspectives. [Community] is supporting. If you need even practical things, like a recommendation for a plumber, it’s nice to know who to ask, and who will support you. It’s nice to have friendly smiling faces. Good for the psyche, good for the soul.


fter attending this culturally-rich event, I

What drew you to come to the United States as op-

posed to staying in Russia or moving somewhere else like Europe?

LG: [For me,] there were graduate programs in the United

States; I needed a very specific program for what i wanted to study, so it was only available here from what I could tell, with funding too, so it just came together to come here as opposed to somewhere else. It was not a very


determined choice, it was more like just circumstances.

for the

What motivated you to stay here after you were done with your graduate program?

LG: After you’re done with your graduate program,

you k ind of want to get a job, so I got one and it


happened to be here again! I looked outside of [the


found was in the United States. Again, not a very

w ith the best compensation and benefits that I determined choice. [Because] I stayed, I got to meet my husband and met you guys as my students so it

for the soul.

U.S.] in Europe and in Asia and the best position

all worked out. What do you remember from your naturalization ceremony?

LG: It was great! It was at the courthouse, and there

was a judge and about 40 of us being naturalized

that day. It was very celebratory and the judge gave a great speech about how much immigrants contribute to this country, and it was very inspiring. My extended family came. I wasn’t yet married at the time, so my fiancé’s family came.



How do you stay in touch with your culture when

Dr. Grebenyova’s interview provided me a lot of insight

LG: Nowadays it is much easier. When I first came

American culture. Later, I reached out to my dear friend

here and there, but now it is FaceTime and Skype.

publication, and native Peruvian, who teaches me daily about

you are not in your home country?

to not only her Russian culture, but her embracement of

here in 1999, it was paper letters and a few emails

BRENDA CASTAÑEDA YUPANQUI, editor in chief of this very

My mother can see my baby through the monitor on

the significance behind accepting and supporting cultures

her phone; she can see his crib whenever she wants.

besides my own.

It’s so sweet and so easy so I am in contact with [my family] everyday.

traditions from your culture?

LG: For food, I have a sweet tooth, so it has to be desserts and candies and cakes, all those Russian things that

are so elaborate and full of layers and everything is made from scratch and very very decadent. So I like that, and miss that. For customs, how everybody just kind of hangs out and stops by, neighbors and friends, without any announcement. I think the community is a little bit different back there — more informal. The lives are a little bit slower and people aren’t so busy so they just spend time one on one more. I miss that: the personal day to day closeness. How do you plan to pass on your culture to your son?

LG: Well he is studying Russian now — just learning it by living in our household where I speak Russian.

We are planning on going to Russia this summer, so he is going to meet all of his Russian relatives. We plan to go every year, if not every other year, and keep in touch. He is going to be getting his [American] passport as well as his Russian visa, since he is not a Russian citizen. Do you think that Cleveland has a diverse representation of cultures? Why or why not?

LG: I think so! I’ve lived in so many other parts of

America, and Cleveland is by far the most diverse that I’ve witnessed. I’ve lived in Maryland (College Park), Baylor [University] in Waco, Texas, Connecticut and [Cleveland] is by far the most diverse [with] Slavic cultures, Middle Eastern cultures, [etc]. A little bit of everything [is represented] with the cultural gardens we have; [culture] is celebrated, not just “we have it because [it is] what it is”. [Culture] is celebrated, it is cherished, and it is very, very special.

BC: Culture to me means a set of traditions — a way of

What are some of your favorite customs, foods or

What does culture mean to you?

thinking, a way of celebrating, a way of grieving. Something

that can be shared and that we can learn from, especially if they are cultures different from our own. What drew your family to come to the United States as opposed to staying in Peru or moving somewhere else like Canada?

BC: I think that the idea of the American Dream has permeated so much globally that it was one of the most defining


factors for my parents to decide to come here. Peru was going through a lot after really long periods of corruption,

always try to

terrorism, political and economic instability. My parents were privileged enough to have some English schooling, and we were lucky to be able to immigrate documented. How do you stay in touch with your culture when you are

find your people,

not in your home country?

BC: This was a real struggle for my parents with me and my

sisters growing up in the U.S. I remember they always spoke to us in Spanish and expected us to speak it at home. Music and food are big cultural markers, and my parents definitely made sure to keep those very Peruvian in our household.


When we lived in Charlotte, North Carolina, there was a bigger

you go.

most was being in a group with other young immigrants or

Peruvian community, and we were part of a folkloric dance group. It was really interesting because what I appreciated children of immigrants. Even if they weren’t strictly Peruvian, [it was nice] knowing that we were all going through the same thing: fighting to keep what we most valued and found most beautiful and worth saving from our cultures. What are some of your favorite customs, foods, or traditions from your culture?

BC: To me, thinking about Peru’s culture is almost over-

whelming. I can only speak from my experience, as a limeña (someone from Lima) but that would overlook the other cultures, like the different Andean and Amazonian cultures.

What do you think that others could or should do to

Personally, when I think of Peru, I think of dancing and music

their own?

dances was incredibly valuable because I felt connected to

experience and learn about other cultures besides

and food. Growing up learning and performing Peruvian

LG: I think education should be used. If it is on a per-

my country in a different way. Music goes hand in hand,

sonal basis, a person should travel; they should get

but I think also having a bit of distance helps me appreciate

out of their home, neighborhood or town and just

some of the aspects of these things that even my own family

see other cultures. As a country, there needs to be an

overlooks. Indigenous music and Afro-Peruvian rhythms

investment in education where there are study abroad

are art forms that typically are not valued by the public of

programs and anthropology programs and linguistics

Peru, unless the country is getting foreign recognition for

programs where they can sponsor [those experiences].

its cultural diversity. So it’s more tokenism and superficial appreciation of what we capitalize on for tourism.



Do you think that Cleveland has a diverse representation

What do you think that others could or should do to

BC: Yes, just as any big city, it has its share of immigrants

their own?

of cultures? Why or why not?

and communities that have made the city their own. As

a Latina, I tend to look for more of my own, and here, I’ve

experience and learn about other cultures besides BC: I think that the Internet is one of the greatest

tools for this search and discovery. Look up what you

found a lot more Puerto Ricans. Which is different for me,

could be interested in and see if there’s anything lo-

because in North Carolina there was a dominant Mexican

cal — restaurants, events, art — that you could have

presence and some more South and Central American

access to. Appreciate and take part in whatever it is to

communities. I can tell there are big numbers of other

the extent that they allow you to. It’s all about being

immigrant communities, which is always heartening for

respectful of others’ culture, because it’s theirs at the

me because I can see that the immigrant experience is

end of the day. I think, too, for immigrants who maybe

very unique and universal at once. You always try to find

spent a lot of their childhood outside of their cultures

your people, wherever you go.

or who feel disconnected, this is a great tool as well.

Visit for more photos of different cultures from the Cleveland Museum of Art’s International Cleveland Community Day.


ecause Brenda and I bond over our love of cooking, and willingness to try other cultural foods, I could think of no better way to leave you all than with a new recipe to try with Thanksgiving around the corner — even with

the holiday’s questionable roots.

Yields: 4 servings Prep Time 10 minutes Total Time 45 minutes


indian chicken TIKKA MASALA

• 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

• 2 teaspoons garam masala

• 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1” cubes

• 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

• 1 onion, chopped

• 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes

• 5 cloves garlic, minced

• 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoon heavy cream

• 1 tablespoon freshly minced ginger

• Kosher salt to taste

• 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

• Freshly chopped cilantro for garnish

• 1 teaspoons ground cumin

• Rice and/or naan for serving

• 2 teaspoons paprika


In a large skillet over medium heat, add oil.


Add chicken and cook all the way through and golden, no longer pink, 8 minutes per side.


Transfer cooked chicken to bowl or plate and add onion to skillet, cooking until soft.


Add garlic and spices until fragrant, about one minute.


Add entire can of tomatoes and its liquid and simmer until thickened, about 15 minutes.


Add heavy cream and chicken and simmer until warmed through.


Garnish with cilantro and serve along rice and/or naan.


Surviving Breast Cancer


Denise West shares her story her struggle and her strength.


Tyisha Blade


Can you tell us how you felt when you found out? How did you process this? DW. I remember the hardest thing being [the call to]

ccording to nationalbreastcancer.

my husband. On his side of the family, he lost several

org, one in eight women develop

members to breast cancer. So, it was very shocking

breast cancer in their lifetime.

and emotional. I remember it being in the afternoon

Annually, this number equates

so I didn’t have that much longer to work that day. I

to roughly 250,000 women diagnosed per year. With

took off the next day because, then, it hit me. I was

extensive therapy and medication intake, the cancer

just ready to fight. It’s funny that I look back now.

treatable. This, however, depends on the stage and

I don’t want to have cancer again, but I think about

spread of the cancerous tumor. For, Denise West, a

if I had to do it again, how I would do it differently.

current breast cancer survivor, the journey has been

When you are in a moment of something, that’s all

rough, yet triumphant. As an educator, pillar in her

you think about. It’s like how they say females fight

community and of two, West was determined not to

with their heads down swinging, I just felt like I was

let her diagnosis get her down. West has been teaching

swinging. I had to beat it. I had to beat it for my kids.

for the cosmetology program at Shaw High School

I had to beat it for my husband. I had to beat it for

for 25 years. She took time out to interview with The

my students. It was the fight of my life.

Vindicator to share her thoughts on battling and

For, Denise

surviving cancer.

How did you tell your sons? DW. It was hard. I have two sons and two stepdaughters.

West, a current breast cancer survivor, the journey has been rough, yet triumphant.

When were you diagnosed with breast cancer?

It took me a while and I knew this would be hard for

DW. I was diagnosed in 2013. No one in my family

them. My oldest son was working on a promotion.

had ever had breast cancer. I like to be the pioneer of

He was really close to receiving his BMW, which was

things, but definitely not that. I had never missed a

the car of his company. So, I didn’t [immediately tell

mammogram so, for my age [of 57], it was time for

him] because I knew that he would stop [working].

me to have annual mammograms. Every year, I [got]

So, I waited [until after he qualified] to tell him that.

a cold that turned into bronchitis. This particular

Both of my sons reacted differently. They were scared.

year, the antibiotics just didn’t work. I went back to

When you hear the word cancer, you think of death.

my doctor a couple [of] times. She thought it may

You think the time is ticking, and that’s how my family

have been pneumonia. So, we checked for that. I had

is. I felt I hit the pause button, and everything was

a cough that was extremely persistent for about three

in a still moment.

months. I did not know what was going on, but I did feel like my immune system was being compromised.

How did it affect you mentally?

I remember it vividly. It was a Thursday morning and

DW. Based on the type of person that I am, I am always

I was showering for work. It appeared that I blacked

the optimistic one. This was the first time something

out. I reached for the soap, and when I opened my

like this happened [to me]. You don’t get a rehearsal.

eyes, my hand was on my right breast. Then, I felt a

So, I was very obedient with what the doctors said. I

lump. So, I instantly got out of the shower and went

also felt it was a way for God to tell me to slow down.

to my husband…then, I called my primary doctor, Dr.

God was telling me that He couldn’t get my attention

Gwen Haas, who had me come right into her office in

any other way. I never said, “Why me?” but I felt that

Willowick. She went right to the spot and pretty much

my cancer wasn’t for me. [I felt] that it was for other

knew. She left out to call a very good friend of hers,

people around me. It made me know who was really

who happened to be my surgeon. I had another exam

for me. It helped me to weed out some people. It was

and a biopsy. Then, things just spiraled from there. It

definitely a wakeup call for everybody. Mentally, there

seemed like a lifetime, but it was about a week that I

was still that numbness. That’s the best way that I

had to wait for the results. My surgeon told me to call

could describe it. I was just numb. This happened in

on a particular day. He didn’t want me to be at work

March of 2013, so school was almost over. I wanted

or driving. So, of course, I called [off] from work. I

to wait until June to have my surgery. My husband

just felt it. I knew it. I called and they told me it was

thought I was crazy, so I actually had a surgery in

malignant. I remember putting my head down at my

March and another in April. Then, I went out for the

desk. I didn’t cry, but I remember saying, “Wow, this

rest of the year. I didn’t start chemo until June.

is real.” It was stage one at the time and had spread to my lymph nodes. Once it spreads to the lymph nodes, it’s diagnosed as stage two.



Can you share with us what the [chemotherapy]

When did you find out that you beat cancer?

process was like for you?

DW. It’s kind of crazy because I often hesitate when

DW. Chemo is straight poison. A lot of people don’t

people ask me that. I feel like there is a cure on the

realize that. I decided to share my story via Facebook. I

shelf. There is too much money being made so it won’t

used that as a platform to educate people. That’s what

come off the shelf. That is just my opinion. Nobody

I am still doing now. The chemo was infused through

ever said, “Okay, you’re cured.” You just wait for that

an IV. It is designed to kill the cancer cells, but it kills

first mammogram to be normal. I feel like I am cured,

the good cells too. I was on the strongest dosage of

for whatever cured means. Last year was the first year

chemo without knowing why. I later found out that my age put me in this high-risk category for this type of cancer. My hair came out immediately. I thought that being a hairstylist, that this was not going to bother

that I could embrace breast cancer awareness. I had an event at my salon [Signature Style Lounge]. This year we have our second annual event. I still don’t do the awareness walks. I feel that God had me go through

me. But, it did. I bought about four wigs. When I picked them out, I didn’t feel like I had cancer. When I put them on, that’s when I felt like I had cancer. That’s

this to educate people. I feel like I have saved some

If someone

when I broke down. This was in July. My eyebrows were completely gone. My eyelashes were gone. All hair on my body was gone. I started wearing [head] scarves. The great thing that came out of that was when I went on Facebook and asked my friends for any

[received] scarves from California, Florida, Texas, you name it. I color-coded the scarves with my clothes. When I first started chemo, I was angry. I didn’t care

just would

caught at an early stage. Now, I want to share [my

have told me

Are you doing any other breast cancer awareness

story] with everybody.


what cancer looked like, I

how I looked. Then, I realized that [dressing up] would dressing up to try to get through it. The procedure itself doesn’t hurt. Afterward is when the pain starts. The chemo builds in your body. Each week you feel worse. After chemo, I did radiation [therapy]. I had 31 weeks of radiation. The last week [of radiation therapy], my body looked like I had walked through a fire. The radiation [burned] through to the cancer cells. Then [the] skin on my breast up to my neck was

DW. October 19th was my second annual breast cancer awareness event at my salon. And the mission there is just to educate. I am also releasing a new line of chemo blouses. When I was going through chemo, I had a port. The port was placed in my upper chest

would have felt better.

make a big difference in me feeling better. I started

call me, especially from males who are scared to go to the doctor. I am always encouraging for this to be

scarves laying around they could donate. I was doing a cancer scarf drive because I couldn’t wear the wigs. I

lives. I have had people DM [direct messages] me or

area so that my IV could go through it. This blouse will look like a regular dressy blouse but will have easy access to the port. Also, one of my former students makes wigs very well. Her wig collection is going to be umbrellaed under our salon. We will do a children’s line and an adult line. This is all to make women feel better when they are going through chemo. Some people must come from work and then go back [and the blouse helps out]. That really helped pull me through.

like an open sore. At what point Were you done with chemo and radiation? DW. I battled for 22 months starting in June 2013. Then, I joined a study called Herceptin through Seidman Cancer Center in Mentor. Herceptin is a drug given to cancer patients in stage three and four cancer. I did the study because they wanted to prove that giving the medication to patients with stage one of two, it would still work. It was administered like chemo, but it didn’t destroy anything. The study as a year long. I currently still go for check-ups once a year.


DW. I also want to mention the effect that it had on my students. It affected two classes. Half of one year, half of the other. They experienced that. You know how close I am to my students. It was tough for them as well. What they didn’t realize was that they kept me going. I talked to them daily. They came to my home. That really helped pull me through.


What type of advice would you give another person fighting breast cancer? DW. Someone called me about a month ago and told me she was diagnosed with breast cancer. I am a little harder because I have been through it. I had to have tough skin knowing that they don’t. I don’t sugar coat anything about it at all. There’s no time for that. I am very empathetic and have tremendous feelings for them, but I let them know that time is of the essence and we have no time. I am here for them and with them. If someone just would have told me what cancer looked like, I would have felt better. I wouldn’t have felt like I wasn’t going into everything blind. That’s it. It’s has become a part of my calling. If I was supposed to go through it to be sick and die, I probably would have died. I think I went through it for somebody else. It’s all to empower somebody else. I wasn’t always like this, though. On any given day, it took all the energy that I had to get out of the bed, shower, put clothes on and come downstairs to sit on the couch. That’s all I could do. If I tried to walk to the mailbox, that was extra. I would be worn out. West advocates and educates about breast cancer awareness. She and many others diagnosed continue to fight, not only for themselves but for others going through similar struggles.

Further Information About Breast Cancer According to, breast cancer is



cancer that forms in the cells of the breasts. Breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in women in the United States. Breast cancer can occur in both men and women, but is more common in women. Breast cancer most often begins with cells in the milk-producing ducts. Breast cancer may also begin in the glandular tissue called lobules (invasive lobular carcinoma) or in other cells or tissue within the breast.

Breast Lump

Family History

Change in: Size Shape Apperance

Early Menstruation

Dimples on Skin

Late Menstruation Late Child Birth





Vashti Yisrael

Hair is an integral part of a person’s identity and it’s hard to find a trustworthy and affordable person to do your hair. But there is a person in the Cleveland state Area you should know.


s I drove up to Cleveland State University, I had only two things on my mind: Who’s gonna do my hair, and how much would it cost me? Jokes and giggles aside this was a real

topic of conversation for me. Everybody has that person at home that they go to for their hair, eyelashes, eyebrows and nails. However, when you go to a college that is far away from your home, you have to make the sacrifice of no longer being a regular in your hairdresser or nail-tech’s chair. You are back to pulling at straws, doing your research and hoping that you can get something good with the low salary of the college-student income. I am happy to announce that there is one Cleveland State resident that might be the solution to your problems: Vashti Yisrael. “The door’s open”, “How are you?”, “Would you like a bottled water?” — these were the things said to me at the entrance as I walked through the door. Hair products were lined on the counter, in perfect sight as the hairdresser smiled brightly. Now the first


visit, I understand, can be quite nerve-wracking. Who is this person? What am I going to look like in two hours? What if my hair catches on fire? Ignoring the last question I can answer the first two. As Yisrael started on my 4B/4C hair, we began to take a walk down memory lane. It was in the sixth grade that her father gave Vashti her $60 hair doll that she’d practiced with up until her graduation of high school — not only the doll’s hair did Vashti practice on though, also her mom and sister. “I started with locs, rollers and braids,” Vashti explains, “My mom knew how to do hair really well too so she’d teach me and then I’d teach her as well.” It wasn’t until the age of 14, however, that Yisrael decided to go into the side business of hairdressing. The first gig: doing the hair of her pastor’s daughters. “I was nervous at first, of course, but then I started doing it and got the hang of it pretty fast;” Those words couldn’t be more true as Yisrael got straight to work on washing my hair. Not only doing hair, but also k nowing how to care for it is a sk ill the second-year student inhibits. Which products to use, how much to use, what temperature to wash your hair in — all information was self-taught. “Trial and error, experience and the internet,” she laughs. Sa id e x p er ie nce i s se e n i n Yi sr ae l’s h i stor y throughout the years, going from braids, locs and

L to R: Vashti Israel & two clients

rollers to box braids, ponytails, crochet, feed-in

make to the world. The beauty of hair is that you can

braids, tribal braids, eyelashes, eyebrows and soon


change it, from long to short to curly to straight. Hair

wigs. “I mostly learned how to do these hairstyles


is an expression of one’s emotions and thoughts,

because people kept asking… I wouldn’t even mind teaching people; wigs are easier than you think.” As my visit was coming to a close, and I looked

and it sets the mood of your day. Having a good

Box Braids $50+

at my newly-fall-equinox look, I asked Vashti if she’d like to do hair for the rest of her life. Not to be dramatic or any t hing but my hair looked

answer I got was sweet: “This is just a hobby for me, something I like to do. Not to downplay any hairdresser out there but I feel like I can be doing a whole lot more in my life. Doing hair helps me destress, gives me the opportunity to make someone else happy and funds my weekend.” I asked how it improved her college experience. “Meeting new people, definitely meeting new people.” I’m glad I met Vashti, not just for being my new hook up for haircare, but meeting another hardwork ing and amazing student here on campus. Vashti goes by the words “hair’s not done, life’s not done.” According to Huffington Post, hair has been a staple t hroughout histor y to sy mboli ze

brings people together — you wouldn’t believe the amount of people I meet a day just from the simple

Crochet $35

good and I actually went to her again and I plan on going to her again in the future. However, the

hair day makes the rest of the day good. Hair also

question: “where you get your hair done at?” Sitting in a chair, having conversations and getting your hair done is another level of intimacy, a trust in

Ponytails $35 Lashes $15

which someone is going to make you look like how you pictured in just a few short hours. That is the beauty of people, that we can use our sk ills and talents and make others feel beautiful.

Feed-In Braids $35+ Tribal Braids $60+ Flat Iron $30

femininity, identity, liberation and freedom. Hair is more than just something on top of your head,


but it’s a statement that women and men want to THEVINDI.COM ­­ | 36






Imani Stephens

Olivier Rousteing’s journey of self discovery & what it means to the fashion industry today.


here are many new and old complexities in the fashion industry. It seems that the industry is becoming more common nowadays for people to embrace who they are. This factor is more apparent

in the way companies are marketing themselves

and coming to be more inclusive. In parallel with the embrace of different cultures, body types, etc. people are trying to find who they are in the midst

of all the madness. It is important that we reflect on the fact that no matter how much money or fame a person has, they are still human. They have feelings, traumas and more likely, a luggage full of emotional baggage. Keeping this in mind we can bring light to creators such as the director of Balmain, Olivier Rousteing. Being one of the biggest names in fashion, Rousteing started his career with Balmain when he was 25 years old. With all of the success and fame, he still had questions revolving around his identity and knowing who he truly was. Being adopted at the age of one, he never truly knew who his birth parents were. In his later years at the age 31, he wanted to be apart of a documentary about his life. Rousteing then tried to find his birth mother, and he discovered that she was Black. This tells us it’s never too late for self-discovery no matter the level of success or age. Before his great stardom, Rousteing was a French student. He studied at Ecole Supérieure des Arts et Techniques de la Mode (EMOD) in Paris and graduated in 2003. After graduation, he started working for Robert Cavalli. Earning the position of creative director in 2011, at 25 years old, Rousteing became one of the youngest creative directors in the fashion industry. Rousteing has put Balmain on the map PHOTO CREDIT PASCAL DANGIN / COURTESY OF BALMAIN

as an iconic brand with stars such as Kylie Jenner endorsing his work. In 2018, for Beyonce’s Coachella performance, Balmain was the powerhouse behind the majority of outfits that today are copied and even put in current museums. Behind all of the success and dressing stars, there are still people out there trying to discover themselves. The documentary is titled “Wonder Boy.” “With Olivier, we wanted to tell the story of someone looking for their origins because we believe it’s very important to know who you are to know where you’re going,” said film director, Anissa Bonnefont at the premiere. “He had an insane amount of courage to accept being filmed during his search. I believe it will help others. It’s a topic that goes beyond us.” Emotionally, it takes a lot for a person to search for their birth parents-- to do so in front of the world

opposite of what he’s been telling himself for years. Mentally that is very tough to handle. Your thoughts about yourself have been not necessarily a lie but not true either. “It’s a strange moment in my life. Usually, a documentary happens when you’re 80 or 90, or when you’re actually dead,” Rousteing told the audience. “But it’s more than a biopic, it’s a story to which we didn’t know the end.” The documentary explores the journey of one person with an issue that speaks to many. For the fashion industry, this means that there is another African American in the lead roles, behind the scenes and putting clothing on your favorite models. The lack of diversity in fashion has been extremely rare up until recent years. Rousteing was under the impression that he was mixed with a variety of races due to his lack of knowledge of his parents, and his light skin tone. However, being fully Black in this industry is another hurdle and can come off as a completely different variety of situations and stigmas than the other different issues people deal with being of mixed races. This changes the conversations that people have regarding the creative diversity in fashion. For example, in 2018 when Virgil became the creative director for Louis Vuitton, the news spread like a wildfire. Instagram and Twitter were flooded with posts that ranged from “History has been made. One of the first black leaders of a high-end brand” to “This is inspiring, now any young Black boy can make history just like this.” Now I am left to ponder whether or not this changed people’s sentiments when it comes to those higher-paid roles in fashion. Of course, it may not change the history of what happened with Louis Vuitton, though, in essence, it does change the narrative of who is inside of the powerhouses. There has been this dynamic change in fashion in such a short period of time from all aspects. The glitter and glamour are still present, yet there is a transparency that has never been seen before but is starting to surface now. In this documentary, you see behind the scenes of the fashion industry. Even better in the personal life of those creative leaders you know and admire. You can log onto Instagram and see Olivier walking down the catwalk; but when sitting looking at this screen, you see a man that’s alone. Not quite lonely, but sitting at a bare table, no longer surrounded by stars — there’s no glamour. It is still the same industry you know and love, but the much more relatable side. The other side, the life that we can all say we’ve experienced before. The searching for our identity, a night alone after we’ve had the time of our lives out, the unknown; these are all things we’ve seen in ourselves and others.

can even be harder. One might not know how to handle what they discover, and, in this case, Balmain personally discovered his true race which was the THEVINDI.COM ­­ | 28



AT THE CUYAHOGA COUNTY JAIL Amanda Light Reform in the wake of the US Marshall’s report.


he Coalition to Stop the Inhumanity at the Cuyahoga County Jail held a rally Tuesday, Oct. 8 on the steps of the Justice Center. The coa l it ion of over 14 g rassroots

organizations met at Public Square at 8 a.m. before ma rch i ng to t he Just ice Center to g ive publ ic comments at the quarterly criminal justice council meeting. The rally was led by Rachael Collyer, Ohio Student Association. “The nine people who died there shouldn’t have lost their lives,” Collyer said, “We’re nearly a year out from the US Marshals report that called the Cuyahoga County Jail the worst in the countr y, and the jail is still over capacity and the conditions remain utterly unacceptable.”


The 2018 US Marshals Service Quality Assurance Review found that the Cuyahoga County Correctional

In addition to the nine

report, included but not limited to housing, food service, safety and sanitation as well as services and programs. inmate deaths and 55 attempted suicides spurred a criminal invest igat ion by t he Ohio Attor ney

within the

General’s Office into civil rights violations. In an effort to meet state standards, Ohio Governor

jail, 55

Mike DeWine has ramped up the annual inspections of the Cuyahoga County jail to monthly ones. In


the most recent inspection, the jail was still out of

attempted suicide.

Center rated unsatisfactory in 40 percent of their

The US Marshall report, in addition to the nine


compliance with 66 of the 135 state requirements. On the steps of the justice center, Collyer named county prosecutor Michael O’Malley specifically


as the person with the greatest ability to drive immediate change, saying that 80 percent of the people in the Cuyahoga County jail fall under his oversight.


incarceration of those who cannot afford bail, the movement of juveniles to adult facilities and the incarceration of persons with mental illness and addiction. She added that the testimonies of police officers with a documented history of lying are still used during prosecution. Collyer attested that the criminal justice council had failed to meaning fully address t he issues facing the Cuyahoga County Justice System and that the council hasn’t implemented any of the recommendations from the bail reform taskforce. Public comments were moved to the beginning of the council meeting and all 12 of the slots allotted were filled by members of the community decrying the jail. Gilder Malone, the mother of a current inmate, reported to the council that the bedsheets had been taken from the inmates the week before when she last visited her son. The council did not comment to this point. Public comments also included grievances with CO’s ability to grant and deny inmates access to medical care, understaffing within the jail, severe cell overcrowding and wait times of 36 to 48 hours after a judge has ordered an inmate’s release. After public comments, Municipal Court Judge Michelle Early did respond to some of the concerns brought up. Early pointed to the establishment of the pretrial services department in September of 2018, stating it has led to an almost 50 percent

decrease in the jail population. These ser vices include public safety assessments, court-supervised release, GPS monitoring and substance abuse testing and referrals. Early added these services have led to a decrease


in the failure to appear rate dropping from 52


were monitored via GPS, and 306 people received

percent to 19 percent. He noted that 838 people case monitoring. Since the last criminal justice council meeting

of the

in July, a new texting service has been piloted with

Cuyahoga County Jail

a group of 50 people and the program is expected to be implemented fully by the end of October. The texting project sends reminders to people of their upcoming court dates. Court Administrator

has nearly

Greg Popovich said there will be a maximum of three

halved since

week before, and the last sent a day before.

the US

has nearly halved since the US Marshals report, the

While the population of the Cuyahoga County Jail

Brandy Carney, Chief Public Safety and Justice

Marshalls report.

reminders sent, one when the date is set, another a

jail is still beyond its maximum capacity. Officer, added that beginning in June 2019, staff from the Bail Project, a national nonprofit organization

C ol lyer fo c u se d on a fe w k e y i s sue s — t he

that pays bail for people in need are now located in Cleveland. “They provide the entire bail for low-level nonviolent offenders who cannot afford bail,” Carney said. “To date, they have provided bail for almost 100 individuals since July of this year when they started.” Carney also addressed concerns about the county budget, noting that the current budget for 20202021 has $1 million assigned for bail reform and $2.5 million for diversion services. Adding that they are seeking to add a fourth drug court to assist with diversion programming. Mark Stanton, chief public defender closed the meeting by saying many of the points brought up during the public comment portion of the meeting could be addressed by the Cuyahoga County Bail Task Force Report and Recommendations commissioned by Judge Russo in March 2018. “It implements, if implemented, very practical far-reaching results which would have an immediate effect on the number of people that are in jail,” Stanton said. “A nd more impor tant ly from an evolutionar y process look ing for ward with the visionary aspect of it, it would be a gatekeeper to make sure that we didn’t retreat back into pre-bail reform types of practices, which unfortunately are still being used, although not as consistently.”






Sophia Pierce

The impact of Cleveland combining recyclables with trash and how Clevelanders can help get our recycling methods back on track.


ver the summer, nearly all of Cleveland’s recyclable items were being combined with trash, making the traditionally recyclable items added to landfills instead of the purpose they were

meant for — being reused in some form. This is highly disappointing as it takes away from the long span of time and effort people in the city were trying to contribute to benefiting the environment. The city’s combining of trash and recyclables was being done in

secret, leaving Clevelanders unaware that they were not having a positive impact due to the wrong-doing of others, and unknowingly, themselves. According to Fox 8, the Cleveland I-Team were the ones who discovered that nearly 90 percent of the recyclables meant for a good purpose, were being put

A good

with the trash. This, however, is not completely the city’s fault. Residents are a major factor in the issue, likely without even realizing they’re doing wrong.

deed is

Intentionally or unintentionally making the smallest

only good if it’s done

additions of trash in your recyclables contaminates it and leaves it unusable, unsortable, and therefore, unrecyclable, hence why trash should only be added to the trash pile. The city had made no progressions or announcements to the public that this was happening. Without proper — or in this case no — commu-


nication about the situation, it can not be improved. November 20th is “America Recycles Day” and we are not doing a great job celebrating it on that day or any day year round. The United States is not holding themselves to the standards of what they preach to be right, and in conclusion are holding back any and all progress. According to the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, “a recent survey says that 94 percent of Americans support recycling and 74 percent say it should be a priority, [however] the national average recycling rate is only 34.7 percent.” There are many ways to contribute to recycling and the little bits and pieces that are crucial to the process in order to avoid this issue going further. Making sure products are properly cleaned out, such as food or liquids, is vital. Items left dirty will not be accepted. Imagine working for a recycling center and having to go through the process of cleaning every single item that was meant to be processed. This is not ideal nor will it be done. Going through the extra steps yourself

the trash chute unable to be used. Contribute your time to the cleanliness and maintenance of your recyclable items so that these items aren’t contributed to the trash. A good deed is only good if it’s done properly. Simple steps of recycling have a great impact on the overall effect, whether it was intended or not. Whenever paper products are re-used, it limits the amount of trees needed to be cut down. This will preserve forest and improve air quality. If natural resources like paper are preserved, then the current and future generations will have reliable resources. Not only is it a positive for the environment, it creates jobs, wages and economic growth. In 2018, China stopped buying refused waste from the United States, creating a large economic and environmental decline. Landfills began to increase since we didn’t have enough storage for the sudden among of inventory that wasn’t being sent overseas. Recycling is overall incredibly flawed by the fact that it is such a large and complex system with so many limitations. Many just know the basics of what is able to be recycled, this being glass, plastic and paper. There is a large realm of plastics that can and cannot be recycled, and it’s not always made clear which is which, so people either end up putting those that can’t be recycled in load — therefore contaminating it — or just don’t chance it and put it in the trash. Along with this, mass combining of different recycling materials make it for a more time consuming and expensive process the government does not want to pay for. I think that going back to the general public dividing their goods with help the system be cleaner, more productive, environmentally-friendly and money-making. Recycling has so many intricate pieces and parts, but affects so many large areas of our country and earth, economically and environmentally. Clevelanders need to be educated on what was being done in the city and how it changes the scheme of everyday life. Learning how simple steps of being clean, and knowing what exactly belongs in the recycling bins is a great place to start. Recycling isn’t just a blue bin sitting next to your trash can — if this is even you. It is something that is a vital part of the future of this country. Buying sustainable products like reusable food containers, biodegradable toothbrushes, etc. as opposed to buying one use-products will help with not even having to recycle. There is a plethora of ways to avoid the confusion recycling in the first place, starting with reusing what you have. Consider reusing as a form of not mistaking recycling, because although it’s better than waste, it is never the best resolution.

will allow these items to actually be recycled. If you do not do these steps, what you think is a good gesture actually makes the entire recycling that you put down







Tyisha Blade

Student organization offering real-world experience while embracing student comradery





leveland State University’s Society of

Curtis Flack, senior and president of SAE works for

Automotive Engineers (SAE) is a stu-

NASA as a student trainer. Flack is also majoring in

dent-run organization that competes for

mechanical engineering. Matt Maguire, vice presi-

recognition in real-world engineering

dent of SAE, is in his fourth year in college seeking a

design projects and their related chal-

degree in mechanical engineering. Maguire works at

lenges. Students in the organization build an off-road

a nonprofit organization called Magnet as a designer.

vehicle that survives severe punishment in rough ter-

He mentioned this work aiding very well to his efforts

rain. Competitions provide SAE students with a chal-

at the university. Zach Bryant, sophomore and SAE’s

lenging project that involves the design, planning and

treasurer, recently had a co-op for Kowolski Heat

manufacturing tasks found when introducing a new

Treating. This interview explores the organization

product to the consumer industrial market. In a con-

and what its progress at the university means as a

secutive year, SAE won Cleveland State’s ‘most cre-

part of the collegiate society.

ative’ category in the homecoming parade.



Can you tell me about the organization and how it got started?

How long does it take you to design one project?

SAE: SAE has been around since the early 80s. We

such as breaks, suspension and steering [to name a

build a Baja car. It’s an off-road dune buggy. It’s a

few]. The organization doesn’t simply focus on one

year-long process sponsored by SAE International.

specific thing. So we divide the group up into differ-

They sponsor a couple collegiate design teams. Every

ent sections. There are different timelines for each

other year we do a full redesign of the car.

subteam. One section might require more time than

SAE: There’s some layers to that. We have subteams

another. So it varies. To give an idea for the entire

...the organization includes around 30 members

What are your competitions like?

car, we start at the end of June and work through the

SAE: The competition is a pretty rigorous testing of

summer. We meet twice per week during the summer

the cars that we build. They start off making sure

and we wrap up design in October. We start cutting

that none of the engines have been tampered with. We

metal in November. Manufacturing could take a

have the same engine and horsepower that we can’t

couple months up until mid February. Then, we work

adjust anything with. The engines are governed so

up until May when we have competition.

that they run at the same rotations per minute (RPM). They also check for the breaks, which is a safety

How did you all feel about winning at homecoming?

aspect. They make sure the car can reach full speed

SAE: We were a little more in doubt this year because

and stop completely. There is also a static break test

we went all in last year. We actually built a float. It

where they push the brakes forward and backward

was a Viking ship and one of our cars towed it. This

to make sure they don’t move. Those are the safety

year, we were told that we couldn’t bring the trailer,

standards. We also do a design presentation where

but we were still allowed to bring our card. But, yeah,

we show judges the work that we have done. Another

we still won.

aspect of our competition is the suspension test in

of different


have our main driver and two back up drivers. The

What are some of you most memorable times since you have been with SAE?

final competition is the endurance race. This typi-

SAE: Probably staying up until three in the morning

cally lasts four hours. We drive a car through a series

to finish the vehicle before competition. Also, we do

of obstacles for up to four hours to test the overall

machining operations to make the frame. That is very

durability of the vehicle. We endure rocks, locks etc.

unique because we get to see what we design come

which we have won several trophies in. We always

to life. I don’t think that is really present throughout Can you also describe some of the competitions that you have gone to?

the engineering curriculum. So it’s nice to see what

SAE: We just went to one in Kentucky. That was Mid-

day, no matter what we do, we are just a group of

night Mayhem. In May and June we have two more

friends hanging out. One thing we would also like to

competitions, one of which is in the same location as

add to anyone wanting to attend our design meeting

the one in Kentucky. The other is at the Caterpillar’s

is that you don’t have to have any design experience

Testing Facility Illinois. Our regular competitions

or knowledge when you come to the meetings. I

usually last four days. It’s a long process and some-

learned everything that I needed to know from the

times you need all that time.

other members of the group. We just make sure that

we have made and designed. Even at the end of the

we teach the other members of the group how to Are you all engineering majors?

use the equipment and the design software. Much of

SAE: We are open to all majors. We are trying to expand

what we have learned is applicable to the jobs that

and let all students participate and see our car. We

we have. Companies like Honda, Volvo and Ford have

have been doing some testing in the courtyard and

sponsored the events that we attend. In the past, we

attend more school-wide events to let more people

have had SAE alum go on to work for these companies

know what we are doing.

as full-time engineers.

Currently the organization includes around 30 members of different backgrounds, and is steadily growing. SAE takes pride in their commitment to student success while creating foundations for students to flourish in professional settings. The organization currently meets every Tuesday and Thursday nights a 6 p.m. in Fenn Hall. These meetings are open to the entire student body.





Ever had a secret You desperately wish to tell About a thought or feeling You knew so well Kept behind your lips because of the haunting fear That someone or something evil lurking would hear Then everyone would know what you tried so hard to keep You put the thought in the back of your mind So it’ll be out of reach And won’t defeat Everything you worked so hard to hide And keep inside Then pointlessly you decide To confide

Ever had a secret

In a friend or two

Cuz if not you don’t know

Yet the people you want to tell You can’t imagine how they’ll look at you

but couldn’t tell a soul How it feels to not show The real you But some do Do you know how it feels When you have something to say And must keep it to yourself Oh the games you must play So what you know will remain hidden In the deep depths of your soul Ever had a secret you wanted to tell But even you wished you didn’t know?

Coming Out Briana Elise





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