The Vindicator - October 2016

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Vindicator Cleveland State University’s Arts and Culture Magazine

eddy marflak on blank slate

OCT 2016

punk goes safe space in Elyria

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the history behind the movement

domestic violence awareness month read about the bill for victim’s rights

lakewood learn about one of Cleveland’s most ecclectic suburbs

does this election have you confused? we have the jist!


OCT 2 Letter from the Editor 3 Contributors 4 Online 5 Calendar ARTS 7 Why Foud Footage Died 9 Growing Art 11 Preview CSU Dance & Theater CULTURE 13 Fleeing to Learn 15 Black Lives Matter Movement 17 Heart of Wanderlust 19 Struggles of Immigrants in the US FEATURE 21 A Blank Space 27 Political Break Down 31 Profile from The Land: Lakewood 35 Domestic Violence: House Bill SOCIAL ISSUES 37 Colin Kaepernick 39 Mother Theresa Syndrome 41 Is America a True Democracy? 43 What About their Story? POETRY 45 Days Go By 46 I Have Asperger’s

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A Blank Slate Arbela Capas visits a safe space punk venue located in Elyria.


EDITOR’S LETTER

ORGANIZING THE CHAOS

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found a quote recently that my father had on his desk, “One must organize the chaos in oneself by thinking back to one’s true needs.” It seems with the recent climate in this country and in our society, that there’s a lot of chaos that needs to be organized. Our job as writers, journalists and creators, is to take the chaos and confusion around us and put meaning and explanation to it. It’s our job to listen to the many diverse voices around us and have them expressed through writing, art, photography and film. This is why I’m so excited about welcoming you to the first issue of the 2016 Vindicator. This October’s issue has the work of veterans of the group, as well as many new voices that found stories they needed to tell. Everyone has a story to share, and the Vindicator is the outlet for that, and we’re ready to continue that this semester. This issue is bustling with topics from every end of the

spectrum. Our cover is Eddy Marflak, who helped us give an insight on the punk scene in Cleveland and how the culture of punk is evolving every day, as well as each individual community. We have a commentary on nonprofit culture by Carissa Woytach, as well as a reflective piece on Colin Kaepernick by Dwayne Castleberry. We also have returning writer Alana Whelan writing about her experience with travel, as well as our new Culture Editor, Elisabeth Weems talking about the importance of recognizing the flaws in our democratic system. We also welcome our new Art Director Nicole Zollos, our new Features Editor Holly Bland and all our new writers and contributors. Of course, we welcome back our readership of Cleveland State and the Cleveland community, who we hope will be motivated by our magazine to be inspired, to think critically, and to be able to organize the chaos that we know to be our world.

ARBELA CAPAS

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Faculty Advisor Julie Burrell Media Specialist Rodolfo Pagsanjan

CONTRIBUTORS Editor-in-Chief Arbela Capas

Art Director/Creative Director Nicole Zollos Managing Editor Carissa Woytach Multimedia Manager Evan Prunty Culture Editor Elisabeth Weems Arts Editor Benjamin Heacox Feature Editor Holly Bland Copy Editor Kyrie Anderson Online Editor/Junior Designer Michella Dilworth Middleweight Designer Andriana Akrap Junior Designer Alyssa Miller Junior Designer Jessika Riane Poem Designer Rebecca Petro Contributing Writer Sage Mack Contributing Writer Louis Walee Contributing Writers Anna Oprisch Contributing Writer Gregory Elek Contributing Writer Kevin McGhee Contributing Writer Alana Whelan Contributing Writer Brenda Castaneda Contributing Writer Dwayne Castleberry Contributing Poet Caitlin Cole Contributing Poet Laura Howard Contributing Poet Chau Tang Contributing Poet Anjana Subramanian

Disclaimer Magazine theft/fraud is a crime. Single issues of the vindicator are free, to obtain copies contact the Vindicator or student life. The content of the Vindicator does not necessarily represent the opinions of Cleveland State University, its students, faculty, or staff: nor does it represent the members of the Vindicator staff or our advisors unless otherwise stated. The editor reserves the right to comment on any issue that affects the student body in general as well as the multicultural community at large. Letters to the editors and other submissions are accepted, however they must have the authors name, address, major if applicable, and telephone number. All submissions become property of the Vindicator and the Vindicator reserves the right to edit submissions as deemed necessary. 2121 Euclid Ave, MC 471, Cleveland, OH 44115 216 687 2118 3 VINDICATOR | OCTOBER 2016


ONLINE

THEVINDI.COM Watch our interview with Colin McEwen the co-owner of Mahall’s in Lakewood!

“Hillary Clinton could be the next President of the United States. We are allowed to criticize and be critical of her authority and how she upholds it. If we ultimately remain displeased, we can just strive to do it better — not just dream about doing it in the first place. The door is finally open, and there’s actually a hallway behind it.” CONTINUE READING ONLINE

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@CSU_StudentLife: We love our @Vindi_CSU students!!

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CALENDAR

what’s happening in...

OCTOBER

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Psycho at Cedar Lee Theatre

Part of the Melt Bar and Grilled Late Shift Series, both the 9:30 and 11:55 showings are only $6. The Alfred Hitchcock masterpiece features some of the most iconic scenes and music in horror history. Be a good son and take your mother to see this Oscarwinning thriller. October 1 9:30 & 11:55PM, 2163 LEE RD

Prom for Dogs at Yuzu Relatively new to the Lakewood bar scene, Yuzu is inviting your four-legged friends for a night of fabulous formal wear, punch and dancing on their patio. Limo rides are available for an extra fee, and the bar will feature specialty Titos Vodka cocktails (limit two per guest). Check Yuzu’s facebook page for more information. October 5

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Hauntville Haunted House

Staged as a small town filled with secrets, this immersive Haunted House invites visitors to uncover mysteries at their own risk. The attraction is broken into four themed parts: “CellBlock 13,” “The Butcher Barn,” “Psycho Manor” and “Wicked Clowns in 4D.” One of Ohio’s scariest haunted houses! Tickets are $20 to $35. Visit www. elyriahauntedhouse.com for more information. October 12 ALL DAY, 1579 W RIVER RD

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78th Street Studios Third Friday Art Walk One of Gordon Square’s premier galleries, 78th Street opens for free for an indoor ArtWalk the third Friday of every month! More than 50 studios and galleries will be open to the public, as well as Northcoast Artisans’ Market, which features up to 20 local artists each month selling fine art and handmade crafts. October 21 5 TO 10PM, 1305 W 80TH ST, SUITE 110

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5PM, 13603 MADISON AVE

Twelfth Night at the Hanna Theatre

Follow Viola as she shipwrecks on Illyria, an exotic, lovefilled island full of misplaced affections and mislead hearts. A gender-bending, magical comedy for the family. Admission is $13 to $80, depending on seats. For more information visit www. greatlakestheater.org or call the box office at 216-241-6000. October 6 ALL DAY, 2067 E 14TH ST

Like Pacific / Broadside / RARITY / Boston Manor / Trusting Obscurity / Far From Lonely at Mahall’s 20 Lanes Now that Boston Manor has gotten their passports straightened out, catch these up and coming acts at Mahall’s in Lakewood. Doors are at 5:30 p.m., show at 6 p.m. Come early and bowl a few frames, or hit the bar before the fun starts. October 18 6PM, 13200 MADISON AVE

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It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown Halloween Party at The Side

Don your spookiest costume and grab a pack of your best ghouls and head to Side Quest’s Halloween party! This year’s bash is celebrating 50 years of “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.” There will be old school games from 7 to 9 p.m., followed by cosplay judging at 11 p.m. Prizes include a personalized cocktail, cosplay bar stuff and more! October 29 7PM TO MIDNIGHT, 17900 DETROIT AVE


ARTS

WHY FOUND FOOTAGE DIED A Review of The Blair Witch Project // Gregory Elek

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ormally, around the extra-spooky month of October, we tend to see many more horror movies coming out. If you’ve noticed a huge drop off in the number of found footage movies produced, you wouldn’t be wrong. It’s interesting that the studios are seemingly abandoning the found footage genre since they’re so inexpensive to make, but money talks and the public has clearly been losing interest-but why? The short answer is that almost all found footage movies are “bad.” I think the best way to figure out why found footage doesn’t work is too look at one of the only, if not the only, found footage film that did: The Blair Witch Project.

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It’s no secret that The Blair Witch Project is extremely polarizing. Depending on who you talk to, it’s either a terrifying “found footage” masterpiece, or 80 minutes of annoying kids yelling at each other in the woods. Whether you loved or hated its style, The Blair Witch Project has indisputably impacted the industry. Even though it wasn’t the first found footage movie ever made, it definitely kicked off the genre, and studios definitely noticed that it made $248.6 million on a $60,000 budget. So what did The Blair Witch Project do right that other found footage films that followed it did not? Well, the biggest component that makes The Blair Witch

Project work so well as a found footage piece is that the characters in the film are filmmakers themselves. It actually gives them a reason to constantly film. Chronicle and Cloverfield are two found footage movies that weren’t very good, but had a lot of potential. One major hindrance in both of these movies is the that it makes absolutely no sense for the characters to constantly be filming. We either get ridiculous moments of characters in life threatening situations who still think it’s important to film, or we get characters who feel the need to film everyday activities like eating lunch or going to the store. When your characters are filmmakers making a documentary this problem is instantly fixed.


The time we live in doesn’t really give found footage much of a chance. The Blair Witch Project had the luxury of making people question whether it really happened, and the marketing team really took advantage of that. When the film was shown at festivals, the filmmak-

ers would hang up missing posters of the actors that were in the movie. There was a huge marketing campaign (for everyone that actually had the internet back then) that suggested the events in the movie actually happened. So maybe The Blair Witch didn’t only kickstart the found footage genre, but also viral marketing.

There’s nothing scarier than your own mind.

A major component to The Blair Witch Project’s success was just good filmmaking in general, which we haven’t been seeing in a lot of found footage movies. The Blair Witch Project had great performances, and the filmmakers really went to extremes to make that happen. The filmmakers wouldn’t tell the actors what was going to happen before each scene in an effort to get real responses out of them. This led to the actors legitimately getting terrified which led to a better final product. In addition, the filmmakers actually showed restraint by not showing us the witch at all. There’s nothing scarier than your own mind. Everyone has had different life experiences that has led them to fear different things. With that in mind, what’s the best way to make an effective movie monster? Easy! Don’t show the audience the monster.

While the internet was instrumental in the launching of the genre, it hurts it today. I can grab my phone and upload anything I want within seconds. This means that some people are getting their fair share of amateur shaky videos

every day. The internet has also made it easy for young filmmakers to get their content out for everyone to see. So something like the popular Marble Hornets (a found footage web series) can be seen within seconds on YouTube. Of course, the argument could be made that this just hurts the film industry in general. Hollywood is all about trends. They will milk dry whatever is making them money until we’re sick of it, and when they’re hurting they have no problem dropping an idea or product as quickly as they picked it up. It’s no surprise that found footage has seemingly been phased out of the mainstream. This is a very interesting time to talk about this with The Blair Witch Project being rebooted under the title of Blair Witch which at the time of writing this it’s not out, but it will be interesting to see how it will affect the genre. Maybe the Blair Witch franchise will skyrocket the popularity of the found footage genre back into the mainstream not once, but twice. •

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GROWING ART Twelve Arts Incubator of Collinwood, Ohio is one of the first of its kind. // Sage Mack

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ike a child, art is something to be raised, nurtured and cared for by a community. Twelve Literary and Performative Arts Incubator does just that, it creates a small community of intergenerational artists to come come together to nurture, raise and care for your art thus the name Incubator. It takes a community to raise art, so what type of community has twelve created, and where? Twelve Arts Incubator is located in an artistic hub The Waterloo Art District in Collinwood. Where they are just a walk away from record stores, coffee shops and a growing hipster scene making Twelve a perfect addition to this blossoming arts community. Shops like Blue Arrow Records and Six Shooter cafe give one not only a perfect place to get some delicious coffee but also pick up that vintage record you listened to

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growing up. The thriving Waterloo Arts District has gained worldwide recognition for its art revitalization efforts beginning in 2003. On 325 E.156 st off Waterloo Road lies Twelve its brick exterior decorated by abstract nature paintings and on the ground a beautiful garden of flowers, vegetables and a 3 piece grassy sculpture. But it’s the inside of Twelve that’s truly intriguing. This funky space holds lamps, comfortable couches and a beautiful abstract mural of legendary writers June Jordan and James Baldwin creating the perfect cozy atmosphere. Twelve’s Mission “Is an intergenerational teaching, learning, workshop, and performance space for poets, playwrights and

performance artists. We support and develop writers and performers who have a deep desire to create imaginative literary works with an emphasis on social transformation and restorative justice. The number “12” symbolically represents the building of transformative institutions. Our organization’s name; therefore, is a reflection of our core commitment to nurture youth and adults in the mission of creating literary works that inspire communities to dream and build more just and equitable communities.” The owner and visionary of Twelve is Daniel Gray­Kontar a noted community activist/builder and world class artist and teacher created this innovative space that hosts art events such as a Monthly Open


Mic, weekly writing collective meetings and featured works of Cleveland Arts Prize winner Mary Weems. Twelve has also hosted an event that was the first of its kind. This featured event showcased the works of artist­-on-­the-­verge Dakarai Aki where internationally acclaimed Djs provided sounds for the evening that concluded at midnight with a reading from responders of Dakari Aki’s work. Twelve not only hosts events but has also created youth education programs. There One Mic Open After School Poetry Slam Fellowship invites youth age 13­19 to hone their writing and performative skills where those enrolled compete in One Mic Open poetry slam competitions through a 19 week intensive program that ends at the annual Brave New Voices 2017 International Poetry Slam Festival in San Francisco. Another Twelve created education program is Room 201: In­School Workshops and Long­Term Residencies. A safe space

at Twelve for young writers to develop as artist and intellectuals through workshops, readings and even the practice of mindfulness. Twelve wouldn’t be what it is with out the community it lives in and with neighbor Northeast Shores Development Corporation they both have made amazing community building strides. Such as the Expungement Clinic hosted by Northeast Shores where those with criminal records can have their records expunged for better job opportunities. Twelve partnered with Northeast Shores for this event and provided writing workshops next door to give those there for expungements outlets for their emotions through art. Twelve being one of the first of its kind in Cleveland has created a welcoming and awesome space for all individuals. Its community, visionary Daniel Gray Kontar and members have innovated a space where art can truly grow and be shaped into magnificent masterpieces. •

TWELVE’S CORE BELIEFS Belief in The Youth Voice­

The youth hold a power that is to be recognized and respected.

Belief in The Power of Safe Spaces ­

Creating safe spaces that a free of outside pressures and filled with community love and the push for positive self growth.

Belief in Transformative Education for Lifelong Learners ­

Education begins with self analysis and the belief that we forever we are in the state of becoming.

Belief in Tradition and Innovation ­

Through studying history, the past and what was before we learn more about our present selves and what to do with the future.

Belief in Love ­

PHOTOS BY EVAN PRUNTY

That everything one does should come from a place of love and we should always show love to everyone around us.

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a preview: ARTS

FALL THEATRE & DANCE O

Events by Cleveland State University’s performing arts program that you won’t want to miss. // Benjamin Heacox

ctober is a busy month for the arts at CSU. Both the Cleveland State University Dance Company and current theatre students will be showcasing student talents in their annual performances. Discount tickets are available for students! If you haven’t seen a CSU production yet, Groundworks Dancetheater and the award winning musical Avenue Q promise to be a rewarding artistic experience. Be there.

GroundWorks DanceTheater is a collective of dancing talent that has been a valuable partner for Cleveland State University since 2012. Each year, this CSU based Dance Company trains students, helping them master original choreography created by acclaimed artists both local and abroad. In exchange for workshops, lessons, and networking for students, CSU sponsors annual concerts for the company in the Allen Theater in Playhouse Square.

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This year, resident dancers from GroundWorks will be showcasing the original work of choreographers Robyn Mineko Williams of Chicago, Beth Corning from Pittsburgh, and David Shimotakahara – founder and director of the company.

Many of these artists have spent a portion of their professional dance careers in Cleveland, Ohio, and are excited to return for this fall event sponsored by Cleveland State University. “Coming back to Groundworks – even with nearly a completely new group of dancers – it’s a bit like coming home,” said Beth Corning in an interview with GroundWorks. She will one of the featured choreographers for the October concert, sharing her piece “At Once There Was a House.” The 2016 DanceTheater is designed to showcase the artistry GroundWorks has fostered, bringing it all back home for a

unique concert experience. Outside performances, GroundWorks provides opportunities for CSU students to experience dance on a professional level and to work with seasoned artists from around the Midwest; even abroad. Students with a dance minor can participate in master classes and annual workshops each summer, gaining mentors and working alongside renowned dancing talents. Each dancer from the Cleveland State University Dance Company who has experienced GroundWorks cites their experiences as one of the most rewarding of the dance minor here. The Theatre and Dance department at CSU is also working towards a dance major in years to come. “Best case scenario for us would be to have the major in place by Fall 2017 or soon thereafter,” says Lynn Deering, director of the CSU Dance Program and artistic director of the CSU Dance Company. With this goal in mind, GroudWorks should


continue to play a crucial role in the development of professional dancers at CSU while also serving as a community conservatory of dance. ABOUT AVENUE Q: At the end of October, Cleveland State’s theatre program will be performing a critically unique musical, Avenue Q. This production takes humor across new mediums of musical theatre, incorporating puppets live on stage. It’s a brand new type of performance for the students, filled with laughs and poly-foam puppet people. This isn’t the first time CSU Theatre has taken on a novelty show. Just last year, students put on the “unprecedented” Ubu Roi, and the weirdness and sexual humor was a deliberate experiment in just how uncomfortable a play can make an audience feel. This year, the theatre and dance department is promising more adult jokes and themes, but this time through a Tony win ning puppet extravaganza set to take stage in the Allen Theatre later this fall. Past productions of Avenue Q have won several awards including Tonys for best musical, best score, and even best book. The play originally debuted on broadway in 2003 and has since been featured in tours around the world for nearly thirteen consecutive years. The original work’s popularity has never died off and the most recent rendition just wrapped up a tour in the UK over the summer. The live show requires some complex puppeteering and skilled acting. CSU students will have to bring these two-handed felt creatures to life while maintaining the sophisticated humor and plot the show is well known for. There are both human and puppet characters in this show, all interacting on a single stage. This class is used to doing technically bizarre work though and will probably do just fine. The script itself may be a bit dated now, but the adult humor within is timeless. For years the musical has been praised

for its novelty and unapologetic exploration of just how sensual a felt faced puppet person can be. This should be another fun, humorous, and altogether great show by CSU. Tickets for both GroundWorks and Avenue Q are available for sale at www. playhousesquare.org. You can also call 216-241-6000 to reserve a seat. •

SAVE THE DATE: Groundworks October 14th - 15th. Regular: $20-$25 *free for students* Avenue Q October 27th - November 6th General admission $5-$10

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CULTURE

FLEEING TO LEARN The Thomas Jefferson International Newcomers Academy needs attention, and we’re all ears. // Anna Oprisch young learners with the language barrier that comes with not being proficient in English.” He is the driving force behind getting the word out about this school, and is making the effort to ensure a partnership be established with TJINA. “[The students] are here to learn. They are fleeing for a reason. Let’s help them. Let’s just do it instead of talking about it,” All said.

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turned the corner onto West 46th Street in Cleveland and began to see one house after another abandoned or dilapidated. The air was filled with a sense of broken dreams and misfortune, but there was something up ahead that appeared out of place. It was a beautiful, gleaming school that was seeping an inexplicable sense of hope from its walls. This school building seemed to have been plopped down from the heavens, in the middle of a ghost town, where the only thing that appeared to be alive were the dirty cats that slept on the front stoops of many paint chipped and decaying houses. The school is Thomas Jefferson International Newcomers Academy (TJINA) and is truly one of a kind. Non-English students who are refugees or immigrants find this place to be their safe haven for about two years, or until they feel comfortable enough with their English skills to be transferred to another school in a district with multilingual support programs. Thomas Jefferson International Newcomers Academy has 715 students enrolled in the 2016 school year, which is a considerable difference from the 100 students they started with when the school opened its doors six years ago. The

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school is made up of students from 45 countries, with 25 languages and counting. The “big five” languages at the school right now are Spanish, Arabic, Nepali, Swahili, and Somali. What is even more impressive is that TJINA happens to be the only school in the U.S. that has a pre-Kthrough-12th grade program for students who are completely new to the country, hence why the term “newcomers” is appropriate.

A Call for Support Senior Cleveland State student Paul All came to the Vindicator with the idea to raise awareness for the school, and gain support for CSU to establish a partnership with TJINA. He is advocating the college partner with this institution with the help of nonprofit organization Global Cleveland, whose vision is “to create a welcoming region that is a place of opportunity and prosperity for people of all racial, ethnic and international backgrounds.” All feels strongly that, “With our school being heavy with diverse students, especially international students, [CSU] has the resources to help

It is a well known fact that CSU is proud to be a diverse campus with a wide range of opportunities for everyone. The amount of diversity at CSU could increase even more by creating a direct connection making the transition from TJINA to CSU easy — similar to the way that students can transfer from Cuyahoga Community College. All has observed the students on a few occasions, and remarked how passionate they were about learning, as well as how motivated they were to succeed. Getting a chance to have a tour of the school and observing this for myself was an incredibly rewarding experience. Imagining the lives these students came from, and witnessing how hard they are working to improve their futures was truly inspiring. Maria Bozak, the guidance counselor at TJINA, spoke in detail about the kind of things she sees in the students. “Everyone that comes here has had some type of separation, and that’s traumatic,” she said. “They move from their country and leave all their friends, or there is war in the country and a lot of violence, and then they come somewhere brand new, and it’s hard to communicate…so it’s amazing [to witness] the growth that they have. As a counselor, it’s amazing to see some of the students who have grown personally, with their social and emotional [capacities].”

My Visit Ms. Bozak completely welcomed me into the school, and introduced me to nearly every passing teacher in the hallway. She gave me a small


It’s hard to believe that she could have described herself in a nutshell any better. She strives to make relationships with the students so they feel comfortable enough to come to her with anything, like opening a locker — which paused our interview for a short time. She described how the school works closely with other agencies such as Catholic Charities, Us Together, Refugee Service Collaborative of Greater Cleveland, and International Services, that not only place refugees when they come to Cleveland, but offer support to the families as needed. The school is in the process of developing a Student Advisory Committee that works closely with Cleveland Metropolitan School District, and will have representatives from all of the different grades and ethnicities at the high school. The purpose of the committee is for the students’ voices to be heard, and work with the principal to make changes that students would like to see. Their job is to also make things better and help with communication between students, teachers and administrators. I walked into a classroom where a student named Haidar was the last one packing his things for the next class. “I want to stay here all day — I love social studies,” he said. Mr. Barry, the high school history teacher, asked Haidar if he wanted to answer some questions for me, but Haidar politely turned the offer down while adding, “Sorry, I have to get to class.” I wasn’t discouraged because Haidar said exactly what I wanted to hear — a genuine opinion about his experience at the school. Mr. Barry informed us that Haidar, this 11th grade student from Iraq, “loves watching the History Channel, or anything about the U.S. His goal is to join the army and get back to his country because he’s thankful to be here.” Mr. Barry said that the biggest challenge for him and the rest of the teachers is the constant enrollment of students throughout the year.

This makes it difficult to integrate the students, who have little to no background knowledge in U.S. history, into the lesson plans. For history especially, there are so many abstract ideas to teach the students, on top of trying to achieve the goal of having the students grasp the English language. “You have to think on your feet everyday, and you never know what kind of questions you will get,” Mr. Barry said, laughing. He hesitantly disclosed that he gets many questions about Donald Trump, where he manages to elude that discussion, and expertly changes the subject.

They move from their country and leave all their friends..

tour and made the already warm halls feel even more comfortable. It is fortunate that Ms. Bozak has such a welcoming personality, because there is a lot of welcoming to be done at the school. The school constantly enrolls new students, and has enrolled almost 30 new students just from the beginning of this year until now. I had the opportunity to watch two new Somali students enroll in the main office while I patiently waited for Ms. Bozak to take me on a multicultural journey around the school. The Somali students and bilingual secretary (Spanish and English) were having a conversation chock full of hand gestures and slowly spoken English like, “fir-st naa-me?” While in her office, Ms. Bozak remarked, “The door is open almost always, because that’s the type of person I am.”

Joe Cimperman, President of Global Cleveland, was the chief proposer of this plan to design a beautiful area to house newcomers. He believes, ”They will bring new life to neighborhoods. And the neighborhoods will bring new life to them."

How You Can Help Some may not see why we need to help out refugees that come to America, and view newcomers as competitors for jobs. Ana Swanson from The Washington Post explains this common misconception rather well, noting how refugees or immigrants usually lack the English skills that are necessary for high paying jobs. Another point that was made was that this population actually creates jobs due to the entrepreneurship experiences they already have from their home countries. A place like Cleveland definitely needs to welcome this population to add to its ever-growing economic success. TJINA is not just a school. It is a place where students learn about life in America. The culture shocks are something that these international students have to face, whether that be witnessing their first snowfall, wearing a uniform to school, or having a classmate from the country at war with their own. Mr. Barry believes that students learning about other cultures is important, and he wants his students to learn about what challenges each other faces.

He also talked about the tendency to forget some of the everyday things he is used to, that his students are not familiar with. While the Blue Angels were constantly practicing their tricks over Labor day weekend, he looked up to see one of his student trembling at her desk. The girl told him that it sounded like the planes that had bombs when she was at a refugee camp as a young girl. He had to explain to everyone that these planes were for entertainment purposes, and were not going to harm anyone.

Volunteering is an amazing way to help the students, and it is easier than you may think. “Just to come in and be an example, or sit one on one and have a student read to them, or read to the student, or just have a conversation in English, that’s huge,” Ms. Bozak explained. She continued to say that students at Cleveland State with strong talents in English or Math or Science can help the students by serving as a mentor and letting them know how many possibilities that are out there for them.

Cleveland’s Refugee Influx

The school can also never get enough school supplies or uniform donations to help large families supply for every child. Ms. Bozak admitted that the teachers at TJINA usually end up paying out of their own pockets, to help the students whose families can’t afford all of these added expenses when they come to America.

Cleveland has a project in the making known as the Dream Neighborhood. Michelle Jarboe McFee from The Plain Dealer explains it as, “a plan to reinvigorate a slice of the city's West Side by appealing to refugees while improving living conditions for existing residents.” As of now, there are 140 vacant properties that falls within the lines of this desired neighborhood, and with the implementation of this plan, this area could specifically house immigrant and refugee families, especially the ones whose children attend TJINA. The goal of the Dream Neighborhood is to revitalize the West Side area to be a truly diverse community where children walk to school, businesses thrive, and a community of different cultures coexist in peace.

Moreover, by simply remembering to be culturally sensitive, you can create an environment where these students will grow up and not feel out of place because of the kind of clothes they wear, or self conscious about the type of food they eat. TJINA students have every right to their education in America, and it is up to us to help out the Cleveland community and offer what we can to make our home a truly connected and diverse city. •

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AN ANALYSIS OF THE BLACK LIVES MATTER MOVEMENT A deeper look into the so-called new Civil Rights Movement. // Louis Walee

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lack Lives Matter, (BLM) is the championed hashtag and slogan, tweeted and screamed by many in the Black community. They call out in anger, sorrow, defiance and discontent against a system of white supremacy and institutionalized racism that continues to lynch Blacks even in the 21st century. This proclamation started out as a reaction to police brutality videos that circulated throughout social media with the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter after the death of Trayvon Martin, and has reverberated throughout America these past few years. The movement itself was co-founded by three black female community organizers and activists: Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi. The movement took off when members of BLM engaged in a national protest known as the “Black Lives Matter Freedom Ride” in Ferguson, Missouri. They errupted in response to the murder of Michael Brown. The movement continued to gain momentum following the subsequent police killings of African Ameri-

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cans. and they have continued to stage protests. Some say Black Lives Matter is the continuation of the Civil Rights Movement, but I disagree. The Civil Rights Movement came at a time in which America was overtly segregated by law due, in part, to Jim Crow. In “post-racial” America, there isn’t legalized segregation. The Civil Rights Movement involved numerous charismatic leaders such as el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz (Malcolm X), Dr. Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., Angela Davis and Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture). Black Lives Matter’s leadership and structure are looser and there is no one involved who is considered particularly charismatic. The Civil Rights Movement also led to the passing of the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1968, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The Civil Rights Movement was much larger and stronger than Black Lives Matter is and it left a lasting impact. It is too soon to see if BLM will have similar results. Black Lives Matter is an activist organization that campaigns against systemic racism and

police brutality toward African Americans, the killings of African Americans by law enforcement and racial inequality. While the movement has given attention to the plight of African Americans and came into the spotlight in recent years, I am extremely critical of BLM. I believe the movement is more reactive than proactive because the movement primarily responds to killings, beatings, injustices, etc. While it’s gained national attention, African Americans aren’t galvanized by it the same way many were in the days of the Civil Rights Movement. As a result there is a lack of commitment and physical manpower. On their website, Black Lives Matter lists their guiding principles as diversity, restorative justice, queer affirming and those that address Black females, Black LGBTQ individuals and Black families. They neglect to include any mention of Black males as well as the significance of the heterosexual Black family and unions, all of which mustn’t be dismissed. The significance of Black nationalism and Pan-Af-


This past August, The Movement for Black Lives, a coalition of over 60 groups affiliated with BLM and united under the banner of “Black Lives Matter,” had released 40 policy demands after the second anniversary of the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson. These demands included to “end the war on Black people,” “reparations for past and continuing harms,” and “divestment from the institutions that criminalize, cage and harm black people; and investment in the education, health and safety of black people.”

PHOTOS BY ELISABETH WEEMS

Of the demands, I agree with several to an extent including reparations, ending the war on Black people and political power. My criticism comes from other policy demands such as “invest-divest” that do not mention Black men or boys at all, and “economic justice” that relies on an opposing faction to agree to. The demand and/or objective may never actually be achieved because of its dependent variable, reliant on opposition to accomplish. Black business and entrepreneurship are things that can be explored and acted upon within the Black community by Blacks. The movement needs to openly promote such initiatives. Self-sufficiency is essential and is of utmost significance to the Black community. There should never be any doubt of the tenacity and resolve of committed Black peoples. Consider movements and organizations such as the Nation of Islam. Under the leadership of the honorable Elijah Muhammad, it reformed and improved the lives of many African Americans and enhanced them spiritually, mentally, socially and economically. The Black Panther Party taught self-defense, advocated for and practiced community policing, and hosted communal health clinics and breakfast clubs for members of the Black community. The honorable Marcus Mosiah Garvey who created the Negro World Newspaper, The Black Star Line, — the international shipping company, the Negro Factories Corporation and the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA). The UNIA was the largest secular organization in African-American history and at its height, had a membership of over two million people. Many of the Black communities’ greatest accomplishments and lasting impacts came out of the ingenuity and desire for something greater that stemmed from the Black community itself. Today, this should be no different. There is controversy about who funds Black Lives Matter. The Washington Times points to Hungarian Billionaire George Soros, and Open Society Foundation points to Fortune

News. Essence points to the Movement for Black Lives. The mystery surrounding a Black movement’s financial suppliers is a cause for concern. How can a movement be true to a people if it is not financed by that people? Even though the founders of the movement are Black, I don’t believe it to be a true movement if it is not funded and financed by Blacks, the people the movement supposedly advocates for. To this extent, are the efforts of Black Lives Matter sufficient enough to leave a lasting impact decades from now? Since it’s only existed for a few years, it’s hard to tell yet. I’d reason that they aren’t. Presumably, the conditions of African American communities will likely worsen in the coming years seeing how there haven’t been any steps taken on a national level to specifically tend to the Black community, improve the Blacks’ relationship and interaction with law enforcement, and that neither of the two presidential candidates represent the interests of the Black community. With all that has occurred, there is discussion that BLM is the “new civil rights movement,” yet I argue that first and foremost a civil rights movement will not improve the conditions of Black Americans. The African American Civil Rights Movement (1954-1968) and subsequent Civil Rights Act of 1964, which was possible due to the sacrifice of African Americans, ultimately benefitted about every other demographic in the country, but the African Americans who made it entirely possible. A lack of education, unemployment, race-based poverty and other racial inequities, were largely left unresolved after the Civil Rights movement. As a result of Black issues unattended to, race riots (Harlem, Watts, Kings), bombings (Philadelphia), and very violent eras (80’s and 90’s) ensued. Meanwhile, many other demographics (whites, immigrants, etc.) enjoyed a relative peace compared to the burning Black communities. With the inclusion of the women’s rights and feminist movements, the LGBT rights movement and others, the African American civil rights and Black Power movements were undermined. Following the assassination of charismatic leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, there was a significant power vacuum that was filled by younger Black militant leaders and Black panthers such as Fred Hampton and George Jackson, who would ultimately be disposed of (Hampton was murdered and Jackson was incarcerated). By the beginning of the 1970’s, there was a void in leadership after the Civil Rights movement ended and many young Black militants and were killed or imprisoned, due largely to the efforts of FBI Director J.Edgar Hoover and COINTELPRO (Counterintelligence Program). I argue that the White power structure had seen no real Black political opposition,

There is a serious need for intercultural communication within the Black community

ricanism must be addressed and espoused especially in relation to continental Africans and people of African descent throughout the diaspora who share common roots and experiences.

and as a result I believe they choose to subvert the Black agenda and avoid giving into any demands by Black angry youth and have shifted the focus from a racial to a socio-political agenda.

Black Liberation and self-determination, what our predecessors and ancestors fought so long and hard for, is uncompromising, tenacious and bold. Black men, women and children alike, many have lost their lives to give us the knowledge, the models, the concepts that we in the Black community today know of, their sacrifices can’t be squandered. I aspire for myself, my brothers and sisters to be Kunta Kinte, Frederick Douglas, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Nat Turner, Marcus Garvey, Malcolm X, Assata Shakur, Martin Luther King, Fred Hampton, and George Jackson. Our liberation can’t wait, I am critical of Black Lives Matter because criticism is what is needed in the Black community today, and especially amongst movements that would presumingly shoulder the Black agenda. If Black Lives Matter isn’t fighting for the Black agenda then I don’t know what they’re fighting for, and essentially history will repeat itself. I pray this piece triggers critical thought process, reflection, and creates a desire to continue to learn, educate, and see past the shallow surfaces that often lack the deeper substance that is desperately needed, in American society and in the Black community. Continue to ask questions and fight, my people. Peace and Black Power. •

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CULTURE

HEART OF WANDERLUST Reflections on my curiosities and wants towards traveling // Alana Whelan

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anderlust is defined as “a strong, innate desire to travel or rove about.� While wanderlust is having a strong desire to travel, I do not feel this definition expresses the true meaning of the word. Wanderlust, to me, is a sensation of wanting to be free from the tethers of my home, my family, and/or my job. It is curiosity. Whenever I think of the word, vast landscapes and beautiful scenery pop into my head. Wanderlust, truly, is the constant, aching desire to go explore the incredible places that are unknown to us. It is not so much the places themselves, but the different aspects of these places that make them unique and full of adventure to nonnative visitors. A certain feeling brings itself to the surface when smells, sounds, and accents combine. These various senses give character to the cities, towns, and mountainscapes that are incomparable to any combination of things anywhere else. This is why traveling appeals to me so much. I like experiencing feelings that I am not used

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The world holds so many different perspectives in each individual person, which shows that we are able to look at the world in a multitude of ways.Traveling in order to experience places to their full extent is all about taking ourselves out of our own situation and replacing it with unfamiliarities. There is a freeing feeling that comes with letting go of what we are used to, to embrace something else. By doing this we are almost capable of escaping from our own culture, or scattered minds. My Personal Experiences Traveling

PHOTOS BY ALANA WHELAN

At the age of 19, I haven’t had much of a chance to travel on my own, so my ability to escape and experience a place fully has been limited. Most of my traveling has been done along with my family, who I am surrounded by almost everyday at home. Therefore, when I travel with them I do not allow myself to step out of my comfort zone to embrace other people, and to truly learn about the place’s culture or history. Despite this, I am extremely grateful for having had the chance to travel to all the places I have with them. I feel my experiences traveling across the U.S. and to other countries have given me a stepping-stone to discover the possibility for travel in the future. For numerous reasons, my absolute favorite place I have traveled to is England. England is a place of culture, and being there allowed me to see things from a much different point of view. Though it is similar to the U.S. in some ways, England feels more proper because of the way the people speak in their British accents and the care they take to always ask whether someone wants a cup of tea. After visiting all the well-known, touristy spots, like Big Ben and the Harry Potter Studios, the true colors of the city began to appear to me. Taking the Underground around the city was intriguing, with warnings like, “mind the gap,” between the platform and the train.

However, the best parts of England are not in London, but in the town of Mansfield where my grandmother grew up. The best thing about the trip was speaking to my English family members and learning about the differences in their culture as compared to mine, and of course, their British accents. My trip to England was overall an eye-opening experience that led me to look at the way I live from a bit of a different perspective, which is exactly what I love about traveling. Portland, Oregon is another one of my favorite places to travel to. Though still in the U.S., Portland has a vibe that can’t

Whenever I think of the word, vast landscapes and beautiful scenery pop into my head.

New York is the people. And the pizza. I never realized so many types of people could be in one place at once. The city is constantly on the move, which gives me a feeling between excitement and anxiety. It makes me want to create things, to be a part of something bigger than myself. The city of New York can be compared to my overall feelings when it comes to traveling in general: excitement and anxiety; wanting to be a part of something bigger. Wanderlust in itself is the desire to escape to something fresh and exciting. The idea of going to places that hold feelings, views and people that I’m not used to has always been appealing to me. I cannot wait to find out where I go next, and all the new, exciting experiences my future travels bring me. •

to. I like walking down streets and hearing people speak in different languages and smelling food I would never have otherwise known existed. I enjoy going out of my comfort zone to allow myself to see the world from a different perspective.

be compared to any other city. From my experience, that vibe comes mostly from the residents. The city draws the energy of the painters, musicians, photographers, businessmen, gardeners, combining them all to form a vibrant place full of character. This ocean-side, mountainous city is everything I love wrapped into one. I cannot wait to go back to Portland and take in all it truly has to offer. New York City. The City That Never Sleeps. The Big Apple. A city that I have been to twice and still feel as though I have not gotten what I want out of it. New York is as extravagant as it sounds, with the sparkly lights and fancy restaurants. However, the best parts of the city are not in Times Square, or even at the Statue of Liberty. In my opinion, the best part of OCTOBER 2016 | VINDICATOR 18


THE STRUGGLES OF IMMIGRANTS IN THE U.S. Marginalized. Oppressed. Invisable. An inside look into what it’s like to leave your home country for a different life. // Brenda Castaneda

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or the majority of my life, I have been an immigrant. This has shaped everything about me. My family and I uprooted ourselves from Peru in 2001 when I was 5 years old and began our new life in San Antonio, Texas. For my parents who grew up working-poor as a preschool teacher and a TV editor/producer, this decision, unlike many, did not arise from extreme necessity. At the time in Peru, there were few jobs, but both my parents managed to secure their own, despite the inflation and the overall instability that arose in the aftermath of a defeated dictatorship. My parents, like all Latinx (a gender-neutral, non-binary term in place of Latino/a) parents thought of their children’s education first. And when a job offer from the US presented itself to my father, it was impossible to refuse. This decision was not an easy one to make. It meant leaving our large and extremely close-knit, extended family behind while my parents sought a better, brighter future for me and my sisters. But my mother

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and father took this painful task with pride. They did everything in their power to make our lives that much better. What most people do not realize about being an immigrant who voluntarily leaves their country, people and culture behind, is that it is a huge sacrifice. It does not matter if there is anything that would make it justifiable. For many in Latin America, that means a lack of advancement, extreme poverty and persecution, most of which they continue to face after their exit. It is a case of failed patriotism, a loss of faith in your country and a sense of defeat and hopelessness because you simply cannot move ahead. You feel as though you are cheating, being unfaithful and disloyal. In our case, and I can only speak from my own experience, it was heart-wrenching and still is. I do not believe that most natural citizens of this country realize how resistant they are to encounters with anything, or anyone, that represents a realm of experience different from their own. In

experiencing this, I often ask myself, where is the empathy? Where is the acknowledgment for the hard work and the sacrifice, the tears, the sweat and the resolve that immigrants so often possess in their bones and blood? It did not matter that my parents were well-educated and hopeful and, most of all, documented when they started their “American Dream.” Out of necessity, my mother started working at a school cafeteria, and later cleaned houses, despite having a hard-earned and prestigious teaching degree from our country. It was then that she experienced the belittlement that most immigrants do, especially those who work these “menial” jobs. This diminishment was nothing verbalized, but rather a sentiment and treatment as if she was not an actual person, but lesser than. And this inferior treatment was felt in a different manner in my father’s experience. Although he was qualified and talented enough to obtain a job from out of the country, it was astonishing to his close-minded coworkers.


Incredulous, they observed him like a fish in a tank to see if he really proved his worth, if he actually knew what he was doing. Growing up, there were always questions like: “Is it, you know, hard for you to speak English?” and “Peru—where in Mexico is that?” or “But are you illegal?” When I would lead organizations or clubs and take higher level courses, there was that disbelief that a Latina would actually be as successful as her American counterparts. When I started working, there were customers who treated me differently in comparison to my white coworkers. They spoke slower to me and doubted me. Even now, after paying over $600 to become a citizen (not including the cost of the visa and the permanent residency status), I feel resistance and judgement and prejudice just because of the way I look and where I come from and which language I speak.

If the candidates are not using this kind of vitriolic language, they are using the immigrant narrative as a political prop. Democratic Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton has often times pandered to and trivialized Latinx people and immigrants. She never depicts them as a fully realized people with different identities that intersect with being immigrants. At many points throughout her campaign, she has tried to paint herself as the anti-Trump, so she has resorted to reducing the diverse immigrant population to a stereotype in her efforts to do so.

These are all unfounded and extremely ignorant claims, that cannot be supported by any data and are disproved by manyorganizations and experts. That includes Bianca Bersani, a professor at the University of Massachusetts. She studies immigration and crime extensively. In a research article published in 2014, she wrote, “Foreign-born individuals exhibit remarkably low levels of involvement in crime across their life course.” Trump launched his campaign on a platform of anti-immigration and white nationalism and has continued to do so. The “alt-right” and the Ku Klux Klan have all publicly rallied behind Trump, primarily because of the way he has spoken about minority groups, including immigrants. The Republican candidate has embraced them instead of pushing these hate groups away, even going so far as to hiring a prominent “alt-right” spokesperson in his campaign. Trump goes out of his way to enforce the generalization that all

No Latino immigration story is universal. Each journey, each life is unique.

It would be different if it were only civilians who spoke negatively against immigrants. This country has done a tremendous job of normalizing and accepting degrading and dehumanizing language and practices that demean and abuse them. How many of you reading this have ever used the word “illegal” to describe a person? How about “alien?” The classification as something other than human has done irreparable harm to the way that the American population views immigrants. No person should ever be so devalued as to be considered criminal just for being, for existing. It has given fuel to the hateful, racist machine that is Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump’s campaign, which represents the once silent majority. Trump has given a voice to those hidden white supremacists in our midst, those who believe, like he does, that all immigrants belong to one nationality, that they are all “killers and rapists,” that they are stealing jobs and that they are the perpetrators of most violent crimes in our country.

undocumented immigrants are dangerous. He claims that a trip to the border wall put him in “great danger,” and portrayed undocumented immigrants as murderers, violators, and criminals (which are rare) during his speeches. He even said that “total chaos and lawlessness” would follow if undocumented immigrants were allowed to stay in the country.

“Hispandering” to the extreme--her failed campaign strategy of painting herself as a Latina “abuela” comes to mind. Using celebrities such as Marc Anthony, using Cinco de Mayo and mariachis to attract voters, using mock Spanish as a way to relate (“basta”, “la/tu Hillary”) also standout. This is just as damaging to the perception of immigrants. Our culture does not exist for the consumption and exploitation of politicians. No Latinx immigration story is universal. Each journey, each life is unique. Every person who has emigrated from their native country is affected by the pressures of the North American society in different ways. This, however, does not mean that there should be a lack of solidarity that can be found when hearing immigrants’ stories. I find it alarming to encounter those who cannot seem to find it in their hearts to feel for an immigrant. I feel for my friend who lost their best friends while crossing the border. For

people who I love who were separated during familial tragedies and triumphs, deaths and births, graduations and deportations. For those immigrant children, the dreamers among them who did not ask to be brought to this country, but feel the intense weight of their parents’ sacrifice on their brown backs and who strive for the unattainable white vision of perfect assimilation. For those who are belittled and insulted for having an accent and those English as a Second Language students trapped within the confines of a double standard (if only their native language was English, so that they could be considered gifted for speaking more than one). For those who have all the legal right to be here but suffer from the effects of racial profiling and colorism, so they are unjustly denied opportunities and treated with disrespect. Based on name alone, all my Latinx siblings with the last name Rodriguez, Hernandez, Lopez and countless others are neglected and overlooked for positions. Based on skin color alone, my white-passing younger sister did not encounter the same bigotry and ignorance my brown skin did. These are not fictional stories. These are not meant to cause tears or to inspire rage or to be seen as sensationalist in any way. These are real lives, real, painful and traumatic. They are lives of people whom I have encountered. But more than anything, we are strong. I mean, we have to be right? It isn’t like I, personally, found it shocking that Trump feels the way he does about Latinx immigrants. I, and many others, have felt that same anti-immigrant, anti-brown, anti-black, anti-LGBT, anti-Muslim, anti-refugee sentiment every day in this country, simply embedded and woven into American society. The Pew Research Center found in a poll this year that more than 50% of Latinxs in the US have experienced discrimination. What I find appalling more than anything else is that a presidential candidate is permitted to speak loudly for those who feel such malice and contempt toward these marginalized identities. The knowledge that such thoughts already existed is far from comforting and does nothing to take away the desolation and backlash that the Latinx, specifically the Mexican, population has faced. We must all fight against the current American image of immigrants by recognizing that it is nothing more than stereotypes and generalizations that people like Trump and Clinton have effortlessly perpetuated and crucified from their positions of power. I am privileged, documented and able to afford an education, but above all I am a Latina and I am an immigrant. I stand in solidarity beside my brown and black brothers and sisters who are not afforded these same opportunities and are instead treated as lesser. So hermanxs: pa’lante--y así seguiremos unidos y al final venceremos. Hermanxs: keep moving forward, and stay united and at last we will overcome. •

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A BLANK SLATE

reforming the


Eddy Marflak provides the safe space punk scene that’s been missing from your lives. // By Arbela Capas

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lank Slate is tucked between a set of train tracks and a series of luminous street lights in the center of Elyria, Ohio. Inside, the walls are lined with chalkboards leading down a narrow room toward a stage. It’s close to 7 p.m. and the owner, Eddy Marflak, is already running around preparing for the show. A small but personable concert venue, Blank Slate has been around for a little more than a year and is gaining traction among the punk music community in Cleveland. The first time I was there, I noticed the environment was like nothing I’ve ever experienced before in such a venue. A calmness exuded from it, as well as a welcoming affirmation. I’d heard of Blank Slate before and knew they identified themselves as a “Safer Space,” which distinguishes it from other places. When you go to each specific Facebook event, you get a bit more detail. At the bottom of each line up, a statement reads, “And as always, no drugs, no booze, no BS.” Eddy radiated a constant energy throughout the show. Never missing a beat, he made sure everyone was taken care of. Everyone around town pretty much knows Eddy and the hard work he puts into the venue and his community. He, and the rest of his staff, have worked tirelessly to make this space a reality. It is apparent to anyone who sees him during a show that he puts his guests first: the staff, the bands and the crowd. I returned to Blank Slate about a month after my first visit to talk to Eddy and learn about him, how he got into this business and about his path leading up to Blank Slate. Marflak began by telling me about how he has been playing in bands and has been part of the scene for a while now between different cities. He shared that in the past he had been involved with other venues that promote an audience of all ages, as well as dry shows and all around safer atmospheres. When he moved to Elyria, he and his bandmates tried to get involved with the concert community there by finding a popular venue to go to. “It was cool, but it was kind of a party place, you know?

punk scene

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SECTION

Check out the last page for all the October shows at Blank Slate!

Marflak’s definition of D.I.Y. culture is that it’s a “leveraging tool” for the creators and artists that want to express themselves beyond the boundaries of bureaucratic and institutional roadblocks. “D.I.Y.” stands for “Do it Yourself ” and is a name that defines any kind of selfmade art, music and entertainment that people are able to create without having 23 VINDICATOR | OCTOBER 2016

to go through an institution. This is what the D.I.Y. music community strives for in Cleveland, and everywhere. “If someone tells you no, then do it somewhere else, do it yourself,” Marflak says. However, he explains that there have been growing problems with this model. He says, “It far too often becomes a closed circle. It’s a tight knit community, but there’s no challenging opinions.” Marflak says it’s important for these

The involvement of the early scene was people of color and queer folks..

A lot of drinking, a lot of just smashing bottles against the side of the building...I heard a few bands were saying there were some racist, sexist comments being made by concert goers,” Marflak says. This is not something unusual in many punk venues. There has been a lot of criticism and cultural commentary expressing how the punk scene today tends to fuel a lot of negative energy, which often takes the form of physical and sexual harassment and discrimination. He added, “It was kind of a community where they thought they wouldn’t be ostracized for saying that kind of stuff.”

people running these D.I.Y. spaces to be asking themselves what they’re exactly doing to make sure the space is inclusive and safe for everyone. Marflak told me that after a while he returned to Elyria and he and his friends decided to start their own venue. One of Marflak’s friends expressed this idea via a Facebook status, and that’s how it all began. Along with co-founders Shaun Sterk, Kevin Gilfether, Jackie Noga, Natasha Morrow, and Abbey Clark, the idea for Blank Slate was born. “We were meeting in secret for about a year just trying to discuss what sucks about D.I.Y., what sucks about the legitimate concert venue circuit, along with what’s great about D.I.Y. and how can we bridge the gap, while still staying true to ourselves,” he says. Creating a space like this takes a lot of time, and although Marflak and his friends never owned businesses before, they hit the ground running.


“We went super legit with it because we knew that one of the things that really sucks about D.I.Y. is that while the expression is there and in theory, the inclusiveness is there, you know, there’s no insurance,” Marflak says. The planning that goes into ensuring that a space is “safe” needs to be precise and thorough. For example, the stairways have to be in tact, there needs to be handicap accessibility and the overall physical structure needs to be trusted. Finally, Marflak and his friends were able to find an abandoned tattoo shop in Elyria that fit their standards. After a harrowing battle jumping through bureaucratic hoops, putting on fundraising shows, finishing business plans and preparing the physical space, Marflak and his colleagues were able to make Blank Slate an official venue. They were also able to give the space a 501c status, which means it’s a tax-exempt nonprofit organization in Ohio. April 10th of this year is the day when everything opened up, almost exactly a year after Marflak’s friend posted that Facebook status. Since then they’ve had about 50 shows and many more to come.

The Punk Reformation

PHOTOS BY EVAN PRUNTY

In an article posted in DIY Conspiracy in 2015, Matthew Holmes claims that “The nature of punk is alternative. It’s not being content with problematic and oppressive language and action. It’s taking direct action to change what we want to change. Creating a safe space is the progress.”

cases, the punk scene has evolved from a culture that goes against the status quo, to a culture where violence, discrimination and toxic masculinity is justified. It is an environment that has always been known for being the place where you can be wild, different and rebel against society’s standards. Some people believe it’s fine the way it is, but Marflak argues that punk in a way has gotten “too safe”, because it’s not challenging itself to grow into something better. Over the years there has been an evolution of punk, and a lot of it has to do with people starting spaces that don’t breed a toxic environment.

More Than a Venue Marflak told me that areas like Blank Slate are about more than creating a safe space. They’re about building a com-

munity for people who need it. He has future plans to go beyond house shows and concerts by also turning the space into a community center. “Right now, it’s just a punk thing because that’s what we know what to do, but we want to eventually offer educational workshops and activist outreach stuff, art shows, film screenings, we kinda want to do it all,” Marflak says. He ultimately is trying to introduce something fresh and new to a community and culture that has been set in its ways. The space’s purpose is not only to inspire craft and creativity, but also as a place where ideas can be challenged and discussions expanded. In it’s essence, this venue is affirming that punk is not in its final form and neither is the Cleveland punk community, it just needs some blank slates to begin with.

Check out thevindi.com for the full video interview with Eddy Marflak!

There’s been conflicting opinions about this — some people believe that the scene is just in it’s “final form” and that it’s the way it’s supposed to be. Marflak is one of the people who disagrees with this — there’s always room for improvement “I feel like people sometimes forget that in punk and in hardcore, the involvement of the early scene was people of color and queer folks...it’s just weird now that it’s become so white washed.” Marflak makes the point of saying, In a lot of

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The History of Punk According to an article published in In Music We Trust, there isn’t a year where punk was exactly born. However bands like Iggy Pop were emerging with their unique sound as early as 1968, while the movement continued throughout the 70’s with bands like Ramones in the U.S. and Sex Pistols in England. The whole purpose of punk music began as a rebellion against the status quo, i.e. the institution. It served as a way for people to express themselves through music, art, literature and even politics. Punk emerged as a subculture that

encompasses much more that may be seen today through the media and even your local punk shows. It was something that was fueled by rebellion towards the powerful and elite. Even this past summer during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, there were a series of local punk shows that were being played as a form of protest to some of the ideologies of conservatives. Punk has always been a form of rebellion, but has the modern punk scene changed what we’re rebelling against? •

Calendar of Upcoming Events at Blank Slate: 10/1 The Black Black / Space Funeral / Julia Julian / Elie Small 10/8 DubCulture Vol. 1 Release Show 10/14 Au Revoir / Backtalk / Shell /Vanitas 10/16 Eric Funn/Jacob Norman Chainsaw-Arm/Brian Salata 10/17 Birds In Row / Mercy Ties / Harvey Pekar / Wolf Teeth / The Language 10/20 A Film In Color/Vacation Forever/Homecoming Queen 10/24 Atsuko Chiba / Backtalk / 2 TBA 10/28 Halloween Spoop Fest Cover Show 11/5 Five Minute Fest (20 bands, 5 minute sets) 11/9 Fuck It I Quit / 2 TBA 11/14 Danvers / Pupppy / Paera

BAD BRAINS 1977, Washington D.C.

Famous African American punk band of the time, helped define punk music.

PHOTOS FROM FLICKR

Iggy Pop 1970’s, Queer punk band that combine pop and punk in their music. Helped redefine punk as well as pop music. One of the most famous bands in history. (Photo on Right)

Massacre 68 Mexican hardcore band from the 1980’s.

Lunachicks Famous girl punk band, 1997. (Photo Above)

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cleveland media production

photo � audio � video blackvalvemedia.com

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POLITICAL

BREAKDOW

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A quick and painless (sort of) synopsis of your four presidential candidates! // Kevin McGhee

ABORTION

ON S N H O GARY J AN I R A T R E LIB

JOHNSON IN NOV. 2012 "I hope that people will see that we don’t have to sit by the sidelines and watch as the two major parties limit their choices to slightly different flavors of the status quo." EDUCATION - Campaign has not released a platform on college affordability. - Wants to abolish the Department of Education. - Has supported student loan refinancing in the past. - “I am sorry that college graduates today have been sold a bill of goods. Graduating with college with a home mortgage without the home. I think college students have been sold a bill of goods.” - Johnson in June 2016

27 VINDICATOR | OCTOBER 2016

RUNNING MATE WILLIAM WELD OCCUPATION BUSINESS MAN POLITICAL OFFICE EXPERIENCE SINCE 1994 IMMIGRATION

- Supports DACA and DAPA - both of which delay deportation for children and parents of those children if they meet certain criteria. - Is opposed to a border wall and the concept of mass deportation. - Wants to make it as easy as possible for individuals without criminal records to obtain work visas. - “If you use the term illegal immigrants, that is very incendiary to our Hispanic population here in this country.” - Johnson in Sept. 2016

- Pro-choice. - Opposes public funding for abortions. - Supports a ban on late-term abortions. - “Republicans alienated a lot of people when they talk about de-funding Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood does a lot of good, and that starts with women’s health.” - Johnson in June 2016

ENVIRONMENT

- Believes that man contributes to climate change. - Doesn’t believe in increased environmental regulations to prevent climate chang. - Supports the use of hydraulic fracking and believes that the U.S. should expand offshore oil drilling. - “I do think that climate change is occurring, that it is man-caused.” - Johnson in Aug. 2016

LGBTQ RIGHTS

- Supported the legalization of same-sex marriage. - Advocated for the end of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” military policy. - Believes churches have the right to refuse same-sex marriage ceremonies. - “As I have examined this issue, consulted with folks on all sides, and viewed it through the lens of individual freedom and equal rights, it has become clear to me that denying those rights and benefits to gay couples is discrimination, plain and simple.” - Johnson Dec. 2011


RUNNING MATE TIM KAINE

ABORTION - Pro-choice - Supports legal abortion - Supports some restrictions on lateterm abortions. - “I have met thousands and thousands of pro-choice men and women. I have never met anyone who is pro-abortion.Being pro-choice is not being pro-abortion.” - Clinton in Jan. 1999

OCCUPATION SECRETARY OF STATE POLITICAL OFFICE EXPERIENCE SINCE 1979

HILLARY CLINTON DEMOCRAT

CLINTON IN OCT. 2015 "I want to be president because I want to build on the progress that we've been making and make it possible more people in our country, particularly young people live up to their own God-given potential"

ILLUSTRAYIONS BY NICOLE ZOLLOS

EDUCATION - “Every student should have the option to graduate from a public college or university in their state without taking on any student debt.” - All community colleges should offer free tuition. - Supports cutting interest rates. - “We need to make a quality education affordable and available to anyone who is willing to work for it -without saddling them with decades of debt.” - Clinton in Aug. 2016

ENVIRONMENT - Believes in climate change. - Supports a ban on offshore drilling. - Does not support an outright ban on fracking, but supports regulations on existing fracking sites and opposes future drilling. - “We do not have to choose between a healthy environment and a healthy economy.” - Clinton in Dec. 2014

LGBTQ RIGHTS - Supports same-sex marriage as of 2013. - Believes transgender individuals should be able to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity. - Her platform says she intends to fight for an “AIDS-free generation.” - “Like being a woman, like being a racial, religious, tribal, or ethnic minority, being LGBT does not make you less human. And that is why gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights.” - Clinton in Dec. 2011

IMMIGRATION

- Immigration reform plan that with a “pathway to full and equal citizenship.” - Wants to protect immigrants that fall under the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act. - Wants to end family detention and closed private immigration detention centers. - If Congress won’t act, I’ll defend President Obama’s executive actions — and I’ll go even further to keep families together. I’ll end family detention, close private immigrant detention centers, and help more eligible people become naturalized.” - Clinton in Jan. 2016

OCTOBER 2016 | VINDICATOR 28


FEATURE

RUNNING MATE AJAMU BARAKA OCCUPATION PHYSICIAN & POLITICIAN POLITICAL OFFICE EXPERIENCE SINCE 2002

JILL STEIN

GREEN PARTY

STEIN IN AUG. 2016 "I'm the one candidate that can really stand up for what it is that the American people are really clamoring for ... We call for the creation of 20 million jobs, to solve the emergency of climate change, and we call for 100 percent clean, renewable energy by 2030." IMMIGRATION

- Supports the DREAM Act, which helps undocumented immigrants in the United States enlist in the military or go to college and have a path towards permanent citizenship. - Supports DACA and DAPA - both of which delay deportation for children and parents of those children if they meet certain criteria. - Opposes mass deportation. - “We are all immigrants in this country--with the exception of native Americans. The diversity of multicultural immigrant America has always been the core strength of our nation. Our 12 million undocumented immigrants are hardworking, tax-paying community residents who take the hardest and worst paid jobs. They should be celebrated, not intimidated with the threat of deportation.” - Stein in Jan. 2016

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EDUCATION

- Wants to make public college education free. - Supports cancellation of college debt via a “bailout” accomplished through quantitative easing. - Believes in “bailing out the students instead of the banks.” - “There are 43 million young and not-so-young people burdened with predatory student loan debt. That turns out to be a winning plurality of a presidential vote, especially if all those students bring out a family member or two!” Stein in May 2016

LGBTQ RIGHTS - Supports same-sex marriage. - Has called for greater protections against discrimination of the LGBT community. - Believes that “sexual orientation should not be a basis for discrimination whether it’s LGB or T.” - “All people are entitled to full civil and human rights in America. My administration will defend those rights for everyone, regardless of race, religion, culture, gender, or sexual preference.” - Stein in Nov. 2012

ABORTION

- Pro-choice. - Wants to provide birth control, sex education, and more social services to reduce the number of abortions. - Believes birth control should not be denied because of any religious reasons. - “Abortion is a necessary health care option, but will decline as women’s choices expand upstream of unwanted pregnancy.” - Stein in Nov. 2012

ENVIRONMENT

- Believes in climate change. - Calls for a “green New Deal” to combat climate change - which she claims will create 20 million new jobs in the clean energy sector and would aim to produce 100 percent renewable energy by 2030. - Wants to end fracking and offshore oil drilling. - “At a time where we are facing really critical issues, in an election where we are deciding not just what kind of a world we will have but whether we will have a world or not going forward, we think it’s really critical now more than ever that we have an open debate.” Stein in Aug.


DONALD TRUMP REPUBLICAN

TRUMP IN JUNE 2015 "Sadly, the American dream is dead. But if I get elected president I will bring it back bigger and better and stronger than ever before, and we will make America great again." LGBTQ RIGHTS EDUCATION

- Has not yet released a comprehensive higher education plan and does not speak often about issues of higher education. - Believes that student loans is “probably one of the only things the government shouldn’t make money off.” - Has supported student loan refinancing in the past. - “We’re going to work with all of our students who are drowning in debt to take the pressure off these young people just starting out their adult lives.” - Trump in his nomination acceptance speech, July 2016

ENVIRONMENT

- Doesn’t believe in climate change. - Wants the U.S. to get out of the Paris climate accord. - Wants fracking to continue and wants to expand offshore drilling. - “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” - Trump in a tweet, Nov. 2012

- Does not support same-sex marriage. - Opposes the Supreme Court’s 2015 decision on same-sex marriage. - Believes that transgender people should be allowed to use the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity. - Believes that same-sex marriage should be left up to the states to decide. - “I live in New York. I know many, many gay people. Tremendous people.” - Trump in April 2011

ABORTION - Unclear if he is anti-choice. - Has publicly taken an anti-choice position since 2011, and his website states that he opposes Roe v. Wade but his position has been inconsistent. - Supports abortions in the case of rape, incest, or if a woman’s life is at risk. Wants to end public funding of abortions. - “Planned Parenthood should absolutely be defunded. I mean, if you look at what’s going on with that, it’s terrible. And many of the things should be defunded and many things should be cut.” - Trump in Oct. 2015

RUNNING MATE MIKE PENCE OCCUPATION BUSINESS MAN & TV PERSONALITY POLITICAL OFFICE EXPERIENCE NONE IMMIGRATION

- Wants to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border - and his platform claims that Mexico will pay for it. - Wants to defund “sanctuary cities.” - His platform states that he wants to create a “deportation task force” that would focus on removing immigrants with a criminal record, as well as anyone who has overstayed their visa or are using government resources and benefits. - “We’re going to do a wall. We’re going to have a big, fat, beautiful door on the wall. We’re going to have people come in, but they’re going to come in legally.” - Trump in Oct. 2015 OCTOBER 2016 | VINDICATOR 30


SECTION

PROFILE FROM THE LAND: LAKEWOOD

The Vindi takes on exploring a beloved suburb of Cleveland, Lakewood! An ecclectic, historical, youth-driven area that has lots to offer by way of art, food, coffee, and novelty bars! // Elisabeth Weems, Ben Heacox, Alana Whelan

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soon after natural gas was discovered in the late 1800s, the suburb became one of the top natural gas producers in the midwest. Over time, wells were drilled to the extent that residents complained about the environmental degradation and noise pollution. In 1915, the Lakewood City Council passed an ordinance that restricted drilling times, decreased the acceptable proximity to houses and required drilling permits. Eventually, the wells diminished and Lakewood refocused its attention on building up its residential community. Since then, Lakewood has developed its suburbs and cityscape, but there continues to be an emphasis on historical and environmental preservation. The city currently has one of the highest recycling rates in Ohio. •

The diversity of the businesses, along with the sense of community that surrounds Lakewood makes it a welcoming, and appealing place to live..

W

ith rich historical roots, Lakewood is one of the most progressive neighborhoods in Northeast Ohio. It’s the third largest city in Cuyahoga County and encompasses more than six-and-a-half square miles from the shores of Lake Erie to its border with Cleveland. Lakewood has drastically evolved over the past 200 years from the time it was settled in the early 1800s when it was part of Rockport Township. Long before Ohio was granted statehood in 1803, and years before European settlers arrived, the area was home to Native Americans, including the Chippewa, Ottawa and Iroquois tribes. With lush forests, access to one of the Great Lakes and rich biodiversity, the land was ideal for settlement and farming. However,


Mahall’s One feature that defines Mahall’s is its expressive diversity. Not only does Mahall’s have three concert spaces, but it also has two bowling alleys, one upstairs, one down, a bar, great food and a vintage clothing shop. Its involvement in Lakewood’s community is reflected by its openness to all who enter through its doors. Mahall’s is always alive with energy, sometimes holding three shows in one night. One interesting quality of Mahall’s is that it doesn’t use digital scoring, making it a place to connect with others, rather than being attached to technology. My personal favorite part of Mahall’s is the locker room because the subtle lighting and small space make it an intimate place to watch a band play. Mahall’s is definitely one of the most inclusive and active places in the community of Lakewood. 13200 Madison Ave . 216-521-3280

Freddy Hill

Freddy Hill is a designer from Lakewood Ohio. From his studio at the Screw Factory, he creates original pieces including custom tables, leather handbags, two legged chairs, and even a mustache bookshelf. He has a solid skill for composing raw materials into physical art. His work has been called “retro” or “mid century modern,” but the actual style behind each piece is all his own. Freddy infuses his work with clean lines, often using tapered legs for tables and chairs, and he likes to keep things simple – but not deliberately minimalist. “Every part of the piece of furniture serves a purpose,” Hill says, “and form follows function.” Form follows function – a quote originally coined by the renowned American architect Louis Sullivan – is a guiding principal in each piece Mr. Hill creates. Utility is always front and center when it comes to his work, but he also maintains a pleasing and inspiring aesthetic – a noteworthy balancing act for any designer.

PHOTOS BY ALANA WHELAN, RACHELLE MILLER & EVAN PRUNTY

Just a year ago, Freddy was featured on Spike TV’s series Framework – a furniture design competition original to the network. There, he ultimately took second place to a designer from California, but not before making some crazy abstract woodwork designs.

Beck Center for the Arts

Lakewood’s most well-known performing arts center, the Beck Center for the Arts, is a place dedicated to spreading enjoyment and education through a multitude of art forms across Northwest Ohio. The Beck Center was started in 1933, and has since grown into a multifaceted facility that puts on musicals and plays in its two auditoriums. The Center also serves the community by offering arts education with a variety of fine-arts and theater classes - historically one of the very first youth theatre programs in the United States. Nearly 70,000 patrons will attend the variety of performances each year, making the Detroit Avenue location the most popular theatre west of downtown. A few upcoming performances include Body Awareness (October 7th - November 6th) and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, (November 4th - November 6th). Tickets are available at www.beckcenter.org. 17801 Detroit Ave . 216-521-2540

Today, most of his work is commission based, customized for buyers in Greater Cleveland, Toronto, Philadelphia, and even New York. He aspires to someday sell art out of his own gallery.

ARTS OCTOBER 2016 | VINDICATOR 32


O

nce a small, agricultural community, Lakewood, nicknamed “The City of Beautiful Homes,” has since become a modern suburb and is the most densely populated city in Ohio. Travel + Leisure Magazine rated Lakewood as one of the top 10 suburbs in the US, and in 2010, Business Week rated it as one of the best places to raise children. Home to about 52,000 people, according to the 2010 U.S. Census, some residents describe the community’s atmosphere as vibrant and welcoming — especially for young people, artists, families and musicians. About 1/5 of the population falls between the ages of 25 and 34. Lakewood seems to have become a sort-of rite of passage for young people who move away from their suburban homes. Their motivations include Lakewood’s close proximity to Cleveland, job opportunities, the social life, its accepting reputation and reasonable living costs. There is even a community meals program for underprivileged or elderly residents to gain access to fresh food.

to the Solstice Steps, where one can watch the sunset, backdropped by Lake Erie. Other parks and greenspaces include Madison Park, Kauffman Park, the Lakewood Dog Park and the Clifton Lagoons.

The primary hubs of daytime and nightlife activity are along the strips of Madison Ave. and Detroit Ave. Lakewood is incredibly walkable, and within just a few minutes on foot, one will pass a variety of restaurants, bars, shopping centers and greenspace. During a Friday night out, one feels the safety of a cozy neighborhood combined with a city-like feel. It is also an ideal location for bicycle- and bus-riders to live, ever since the city build bike paths along the roads and installed a series of RTA busses and trains, like the 26 and Redline, which lead right into the heart of Downtown, Cleveland. Drivers can also take the Detroit Shoreway into the city. Near Lakewood Park, located on Lake Ave., along the coast of Lake Erie, one can see numerous historic homes like the Oldest Stone House. Lakewood Park is also home

In June, the Lakewood City Council passed an ordinance which broadened the city’s nondiscrimination protections to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents. The ordinance, advocated for by Equality Ohio, covers housing, bathroom and work protections. Lakewood is the 15th city in Ohio to pass such a mandate, but there isn’t a statewide law that guarantees the same protections. Ohio’s anti-discrimination laws do protect citizens on the basis of gender, sex, age and other characteristics, but does not include LGBT citizens. Without protections of this kind, citizens can be legally dismissed from their jobs, restricted from accessing preferred bathrooms, or even barred from renting homes. Residents’ responses have been overwhelmingly positive to the city’s reaffirmation of its accepting reputation.

Another compelling aspect of Lakewood is the city government’s commitment to involving its residents in political affairs. There is a strong emphasis on engaging the community in discussions about ballot issues, which strengthens the local democracy. The current topic of debate, which will appear on the November ballot, is the recent city ordinance that transfers ownership of the publicly-owned Lakewood Hospital to the Cleveland Clinic. Local political activities, sports and features of residents are spotlighted by the community-written and -owned newspaper, the Lakewood Observer. Other media outlets include The Lakewood Sun, Lakewood Times and LakewoodBuzz.com.

2015

Solstice Steps completed at Lakewood Park

1970

Allowed to include girls in sports across the country

Lakewood is LGBT-friendly

1917

Lakewood Sufferegetts gets a motion passed to allow Lakewood females to officially participate in the democratic process

1911 Becomes a city of 12,000 residents. Real estate begins to replace farmland.

1903 1819

Becomes a village of 3,500 residents

Established originally as a part of Rockport Township

CULTURE

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LIFESTYLE T he amount of dynamic, lively places to eat, shop, drink and have fun in Lakewood is vast. With a variety of restaurants and shops to keep you occupied, the city’s warm environment will never cease to excite you. Whether you are going out with friends, family or that special someone, there will always be a place for you to call your new favorite spot. Many Lakewood residents say that one of the reasons they love Lakewood is that it is a “walking city,” so many of the businesses are easily accessible by foot. The diversity of the businesses, along with the sense of community that surrounds Lakewood makes it a welcoming, appealing place to live and spend time, no matter what you are doing. Where to shop: Goddess Blessed - A shop dedicated to selling mystical items like incense, candles and books relating to witchcraft. 15729 Madison Ave. The Avalon Exchange - A fashion resale boutique that sells all types of clothing. 15006 Detroit Ave.

Where to Eat:

Where to Hangout:

Cleveland Vegan - Known for its catering services, Cleve-

Lakewood Park - A wonderful spot to spend time doing

land Vegan has a wide selection of vegan foods, as well as a cafe that is open for lunch. 17112 Detroit Ave.

any sort of activity, from playing volleyball at the courts to enjoying the sunset from the popular Solstice Steps, or going for a nice run around the paths. 14532 Lake Ave

Angelo’s Pizza - With its noteworthy, delicious pizza, Angelo’s has received various awards around the Cleveland area. 13715 Madison Ave. Barrio - Popular for inexpensive, appetizing tacos and wide selection of margaritas, beers and cocktails. 15527 Madison Ave. Voodoo Tuna - Known for its original sushi creations, Voodoo Tuna is a vibrant sushi bar to hang out in downtown Lakewood. 15326 Detroit Ave. Humble Wine Bar - With a large selection of wines and other beverages, Humble Wine Bar is the perfect place to spend time with friends and dine on their large array of different foods and desserts. 15400 Detroit Ave. Melt Bar and Grilled - Very active in the community, Melt Bar and Grilled has a variety of delicious grilled cheese sandwiches, as well as a bar, and offers options for everyone. 14718 Detroit Ave.

Lion & Blue - An Earthy store that sells a variety of clothing, pillows, incense, crystals, and many other Earthy items. 15106 Detroit Ave.

Lakewood Public Library - Opened in 1916 and expanded along with the city. Lakewood library holds many unique events and over half of a million items available to check out. 15425 Detroit Ave. 16-Bit - A bar featuring retro-themed drinks, as well as old arcade games! Check the schedule for Smash Bros Tournaments too! 15012 Detroit Ave. The Side Quest - A chill bar perfect for board game nerds! Only $1 to use the games, but the memories are priceless! 17900 Detroit Ave. Now That's Class - A punk bar with awesome, grungy shows that has a small skate park in the back with band names written all over the walls. 11213 Detroit Ave. The BottleHouse and Mead Hall - Looking for a huge selection of brews, as well as an authentic brewery atmosphere to enjoy it in? Look no further than this creative bar/restaurant! 13368 Madison Ave. Daring Room Escapes - Creative team games that create scenarios where you must rely on each other, your ability to communicate, and you creative genius to escape a room. Participants must use their wit to find clues, solve puzzles and unlock a door within 60 minutes to escape.. 13000 Athens Ave. #202

The Root Cafe The Root Cafe is a cute little spot located in downtown Lakewood that serves an array of coffees and teas, as well as a wide selection of locally-grown vegetarian and vegan dishes. Out of the many great words I could use to describe The Root, the first that comes to mind is vibrant. The energy that the cafe encapsulates is not like any other, which is why it seems to draw so many interesting people, like artists and writers. It is a wonderful place to do homework, talk with friends, or read one of the curious books available on a small bookshelf in the back. The feeling of harmony that The Root creates makes it difficult to leave; the workers always friendly and the walls consistently covered with beautiful art. The Root encompases the views of the people in Lakewood as a whole, inviting in anyone at all who desires a good cup of tea or a delicious cookie. One of my absolute favorite places in Lakewood, The Root is the perfect place to go when in need of some inspiration, or coffee. 216-226-4401 15118 Detroit Ave. OCTOBER 2016 | VINDICATOR 34


FEATURE

SAFE AT HOME but safe in time? In honor of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we discuss House Bill 359; Ohio’s Safe at Home Program fighting for victim’s of domestic violence. // Holly Bland

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here is no argument denying that there is an endless amount of information at our disposal, especially on the world wide web. Whether we choose to acknowledge it or not, even if we have attempted to remain anonymous in the majority of our online affairs, we still tend to leave some sort of trail. Additionally, almost everything is now a matter of public record online, including your voter registration. This can be extremely counterproductive, especially if the disclosure of your personal information can put you in danger. Unfortunately, this is a reality that thousands of Ohioans face. Victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking, stalking, rape or sexual battery’s safety is at risk, giving their abusers the possibility of locating them, just with a few minutes of navigating through the internet and voter registration database. To protect these survivors, Ohio joins thirty-eight other states by initiating an address confidentiality program via the National Association of Confidential Address Programs (NACAP). Through Ohio’s Safe at Home Program, survivors of domestic violence, sexual as-

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sault, human trafficking, stalking, rape or sexual battery now have the ability to apply for a designated address assigned by the Secretary of State (SOS) to serve as the person’s address to shield their residential address from public records, including voter registration lists, (Safe at Home Ohio). Potential program participants are referred to the program by domestic violence counselors and other similar organizations. When referred to the program, the survivors then meet with certified application assistants who guide them through the application process, registering them with the Ohio Secretary of State’s office. Once the Secretary of State receives the completed applications, they are then required to certify the applicants as program participants. Following certification, the Secretary of State then assigns each program participant with an address confidentiality number, which functions similarly to a post office box. Certification is valid for four years and may be renewed. Government entities are generally required to use this designated address. In like manner, the participant is able to request to use this address in other

affairs like higher education or work. Mail sent to this designated address will then be cycled through the Secretary of State’s office within the same day it is received and then sent to the participant’s residence address. Only selected government officials in addition to the Secretary of State will have access to that information, such as chief of police and prosecuting attorneys, accessible for emergency-only purposes. After obtaining address confidentiality numbers, the program participants have to apply with the board of elections to keep their voter registration records confidential. In the Statewide Voter Registration Database, participants’ address confidentiality numbers will appear in place of their addresses of residence, but only as part of the official registration list. This will not be made available to the public, (LSC Analysis). Program participants are then allowed to vote only under absentee ballot which is handled and processed exclusively by the director and deputy director of the board of elections, thus ensuring the safety of these program participants. With the unfortunate reality of sexual assault on college campuses, you can


WHERE TO FIND APPLICATION HELP Akron Ashland Athens Bellefontaine Bucyrus Cincinnati Cleveland Columbus Dayton Findlay Lancaster Logan

Mansfield Miller Newark New Lexington Oxford Powell Toledo Urbana Wooster Worthington Xenia Zanesville

use the designated address confidentiality number for records on campus including on-campus employment and other necessary institutional documents. This is another step to ensure a student’s safety from their abuser on campus, whether that abuser is a student or not. House Bill 359 might be just what Ohio needs to go the extra mile in protecting its survivors, especially by allowing them to vote without fear of being found by their assailants. There seems to be a few potentially marginalizing gaps though. A factor that could become problematic to this year’s voting program participants is the reality that the Safe at Home program was effective as of September 8, 2016. The election is exactly two months following: November 8, 2016, and the last day of voter registration is marked October 11, 2016. Nothing in the bill discussed how long the application process could take, or how long certification by the Secretary of State could take. Theoretically this is a great effort on Ohio’s part, and achieves it’s goal of protecting survivor’s privacy- but it is questionable whether that is timely enough for them to also exercise

their civil liberties for the upcoming Presidential election. Also requiring an application assistant to be present upon submitting this application could get a little tricky. There seems to be only twenty-seven listed locations in the entire state of Ohio that have qualified application assistants, which could result in some potential participants jumping through extra hoops and taking extra steps just to become qualified for the program. Another pressing factor with obtaining an address confidentiality number is that a program participant would not be allowed to use it instead of their residence address on petitions, thus diminishing their right to petition in a manner where they feel safe. Comparing this to the data available by the state’s Office of Criminal Justice Services and the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, which suggests that number

totals up to 40,000 plus per year (Ohio Legislative Service Commission), this could leave 40,000 plus voices out of exercising their right to support certain issues sent to government officials; in some instances supporting issues that could make it to local ballots. Ohio’s Safe at Home Program is aimed to help survivors in Ohio by allowing them to exercise their civil liberties without fear of their abusers. Although HB 359 has the overall best interest of the survivor at heart, a few changes could enhance the survivor’s ability to fully exercise their civil liberties, absent from unprecedented obstacles and doing so in a timely manner. • FOR MORE INFORMATION REGARDING HB 359:

www.safeathomeohio.com www.legislature.ohio.gov

OCTOBER 2016 | VINDICATOR 36


SOCIAL

OPPRESSION POLICE BRUTALITY America

BLACK LIVES MATTER racial inequality INJUSTICE

MURDER unfair rulings

misdirection

of unarmed black men

COVERUPS

unequal rights ku klux klan

WHITE SUPREMACY

RACISM DOMESTIC TERROR

COLIN KAEPERNICK Making a stand by taking a seat

NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick is under fire for opting not to stand during the national anthem. The decision was made in light of racial slurs found in the original versus of the anthem. We delve even further to look at the social and political injustices surrounding modern racism in America. //Dwayne Castleberry

37 VINDICATOR | OCTOBER 2016

S

an Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has taken a stand or, rather, he has taken a seat against the oppression of African American citizens by police officers. Kaepernick has chosen to stay seated during the playing of the national anthem. Kaepernick stated, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black people and people of color. To me this is bigger than football…there are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.” The 49ers staff released a statement: “In respecting such American principles as freedom of religion and freedom of expression, we recognize the right of an individual to choose and participate, or not, in our celebration of the national anthem.” The National Football League stated, “Players are encouraged but

not required to stand during the playing of the national anthem.” Despite the league’s choice not to discipline Kaepernick, many have voiced their disdain for the protest. For example, Tomi Lahren from “The Blaze,” gave a critique that went viral. Lahren called his protest, “mouth diarrhea” and called him a “whiny, indulgent, attention seeking crybaby.” Lahren then follows with the motto of many White supremacist groups, “If this country disgusts you so much, leave.” Lastly she finishes with some classical misdirection calling Kaepernick “racist” for his protest against racism. Misdirection is the diverting of attention and is a problem that plagues the Black community. Cries of pain are often muffled by alternate stories serving to discredit them. Although


Colin has repeatedly stated that his protest isn’t against the military, Cleveland sportscaster Tony Zarella counters that “the real issue is the disrespect of servicemen and women Black or White who fought for this country.” Kaepernick claims he is not oppressed and that the protest isn’t about him, but some people disagree. Major League Baseball manager Tony La Russa stated that Kaepernick is just “struggling for attention” because of his current status as a backup Quarterback. Kaepernick actually led his team to the Super Bowl in 2013 as a backup. La Russa says “when he was on top…I never heard him talk about anything but himself. Now all of a sudden… he makes this big pitch. I don’t buy it.” The worst comments have come from social media. Many threats of violence and wishes of grotesque injuries directed at Kaepernick have been posted. It’s definitely not hard to find racial slurs aimed at Kaepernick on social media right now. I’ve had to block and report many people personally. This isn’t Kaepernick’s first run with controversy. In 2014, Kaepernick was fined $11,025 for unsportsmanlike conduct. He was charged with calling defensive lineman Lamarr Houston a racial slur during a game. Houston denied being called anything and Kaepernick was found not guilty after an appeal. He was still given a partial fine of $5,512 for saying “back the f**k up”. Kaepernick was never charged with using the F-word, but the F-word was added at the appeal to uphold the partial fine. I know, that hurt my head too. The country appears to be split on whether the protest is disrespectful to the military. In a CNN interview, Teri Johnson, mother of slain Sgt. Joseph Johnson, said her “heart kind of stopped” when she seen Kaepernick’s protest. She felt that Colin was disrespecting her son who “died protecting the ideals of the flag you [Kaepernick] refuse to respect.” Supportive veterans took to Twitter with the hashtag #VeteransForKaepernick. Army veteran Charles Clymer tweeted, “Don’t use my service- or that of any veteran- to justify the silencing of black Americans. Not on my watch.” Even President Barack Obama has stated that Kaepernick was “exercising his constitutional right.” Colin made a compromise to take a knee as a show of goodwill. As the football season continues more athletes continue to join him by either kneeling or throwing their fist in the air, honorary to Tommie Smith and John Carlos at the 1968 Olympic games. Hall-of-fame basketball player Kareem Abdul-Jabar and

Cleveland Brown hall of famer, Jim Brown have expressed their support. Abdul-Jabar and Brown were highly active during the Civil Rights Movement and continue to fight against injustices. NFL fans are showing their support as Kapernick’s jersey have risen to the number 1 selling football jersey surpassing 49er’s legends Joe Montana and Jerry Rice. Brunswick high school football player Rodney Axson Jr. joined the protest after hearing his white teammates use racial slurs. After kneeling Axson received multiple threats from teammates and twitter users including a letter stating “f**k Rodney nigger” and “lets lynch niggers.” Axson says he will continue his protest regardless of the threats. What’s all this fuss about the anthem anyway? Doesn’t it represent freedom? Not to everyone. To enslaved Africans the song represented their captors. There are many racial issues surrounding the anthem. Recently the third verse of the anthem has trended on social media and search engines. The verse states that “the hireling and slave” will have “no refuge” from the “gloom of the grave.” “No refuge could save the hireling and slave From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave: And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.” The anthem was written by lawyer and slave-owner Francis Scott Key after the war of 1812, known as the second war for independence. The song is performed over the arraignment of “To Anacreon in Heaven,” an 18th century gentlemen’s club drinking song from the Anacreontic Society. Board chair of the Star Spangled Music foundation Mark Clague states that the anthem is talking about “British professional soldiers” as hirelings and the “Colonial Marines” as slaves. The Colonial Marines were enslaved Africans who promised freedom for service by the British. The U.S. guaranteed the same freedom for service but broke its promise after the war. No disrespect to the military, but most Black citizens didn’t get full access to the rights reportedly fought for. They were never offered to African Americans. Each one was brutally fought for by enslaved Africans who were never given anything.. They rose from chains to achieve amazing feats.

African Americans differently than other citizens. The Santa Clara Police Officer Association have sent threats of officer boycotts if the NFL doesn’t discipline Kaepernick. Are they protesting Kaepernick’s right to protest? Are they flirting with blackmail? Frank Saunders, the president of the association stated, “The 49ers are allowing this to come out from an employee and it’s making for a hostile work environment for us at the stadium.” Kaepernick fired back by questioning the exposed racist text messages from the San Francisco police department aimed at fellow officers and community members. Is that a checkmate? African Americans have always had trouble with police. The police force was preceded by the slave patrols of the 1700’s. In the 1800’s slave patrols, local militias, and Klu Klux Klan members gathered to form police forces. These forces would become the biggest tool used to solidify White privilege primarily through the oppression of the Black population. Police have been the street-level enforcers of racism for around 200 years so it’s going to take more than PR firms, media propaganda, and cook-outs to fix that relationship. Many sit or keep their arms in non-traditional positions during the anthem but it only seems to become controversy when it involves a public figure of color. Forcing Black citizens to honor the anthem doesn’t help anyone. We need real change. Colin Kaepernick used his platform to bring that change. He has committed to give the proceeds of his jersey sales to organizations fighting for human rights. I had an abandoned field behind my backyard and for years would often walk out to police beating up some neighborhood teen. I have witnessed the police make an underage girl strip in front of a group of teenage boys. Police brutality isn’t a viral hashtag to me and my family. It goes way beyond the unarmed Black citizens who were killed because many more victims survived but their stories hang in the shadows of doubt and suppression. We need to stop with semantics and word play to address the issues at hand. Racism is real and can be found in the foundation of almost every major institution in America. How amazing would it be if we were the generation to end it. Colin Kaepernick just made an attempt. We’ve tried the nation of fear and oppression, now let’s try something else. •

The U.S. is called “the land of the free” but there remains an unwritten rule that polices

OCTOBER 2016 | VINDICATOR 38


SOCIAL

The Tradeoffs, Triumphs and Trials of Nonprofit Work “I don’t know if people understand what a safety net is woven under American society by nonprofits, and how fragile that safety net can be.” — Michael Miller, former United Way employee //Carissa Woytach

T

he nonprofit sector is far from perfect. I know because I currently work for United Way of Greater Cleveland. While I enjoy my job as a staff writer and feel that it makes an impact on the communities we serve, I can see the problems. Resources are scarce, donors and volunteers control everything, bureaucracy and politics slow work to a crawl and staff turnover is high. These problems are not singular to nonprofits, but they are magnified. Nonprofit work is given simultaneous disdain and sainthood in the same breath. It takes good, strong people to work in human services like counseling, crisis lines and shelters — a point most would concede to, yet few want to or have the ability to pay these workers the same amount as their private-sector counterparts. If we’re going to start solving the societal issues that many nonprofits try to address, problems like poverty, equality and mental health, I think there needs to be a change in how this sector runs and how organizations and investors value employees.

Overhead Myth The boogeyman of the charity world, the overhead myth is so ingrained and retold that it’s synonymous with overpaid CEOs and scandalous private jet trips. Its hold on donors’ minds is hard to break.

39 VINDICATOR | OCTOBER 2016

Simply, the tale boils down to this: the higher an organization’s overhead, the more wasteful their spending is. Overhead is the amount of money an organization allocates to administrative and fundraising costs. According to overheadmyth.com, a ratio is calculated that shows what percentage of expenses is allocated to administrative and fundraising costs. Available through simple math from all government-recognized charities’ tax forms, it is often misconstrued and misinterpreted as unnecessary. The reality is, however, this money makes up the salaries of everyday employees, from marketing teams to secretaries, and is used to print newsletters and flyers. Unfortunately, some smaller organizations feel its weight more than others, as scanter resources have to stretch farther to make ends meet. Shannon Scott-Miller, executive director of Art Therapy Studio, knows the damage this myth can do to her staff. Founded in 1967, Art Therapy Studio provides therapy services to individuals suffering from mental and physical illnesses, trauma and community collaboration opportunities. During her first board meeting, she fought to raise her therapists’ pay to keep good staff onboard. “You’ve got to be able to pay the people to stay, otherwise you’ve got a very high turnover,” she said. “People get their feet wet, get their experience, they

either get burnt out or they move on to making money now that they can show they’ve done some work in the field.” Scott-Miller’s husband, Michael Miller, is a former United Way employee with extensive experience as a volunteer and board member for large and small nonprofits. Familiar with how several charities run, he sees the overarching problems and too-familiar cycles. “A nonprofit is still a business,” he said. “And like any business, self-sustaining becomes as much a part of your mission as anything.” While a nonprofit is not in the business of making and selling products, they do need similar fiscal resources to provide services. The question is how to show donors the impact their dollars are having on the community. “We don’t buy and put things together to make money, we’re out there providing a service to people,” Scott-Miller said. “And that does not necessarily come back with a price tag [or] profit ever, you’re doing something for someone and that’s our struggle.” Miller agrees that it’s hard for employees to put a number on qualitative triumphs. Cries of joy can’t be counted in dollars and cents, but sometimes


Nonprofits feel pressure to conform

investors don’t want to see anything else. “It’s hard to put a number stamp on some of these things, even though they see it,” Miller said. “I’ve been to schools and I’ve seen kids happier and I’ve seen parents cry because of the resources that are provided. [Do I] count the tears? How do I show investors or board members data and numeric impact based on quality of life?”

Cause-Driven and Sleep Deprived Late August, The Atlantic published an article called “The Plight of the Overworked Nonprofit Employee,” by Jonathan Timm. An in-depth look at how a new federal overtime rules will affect philanthropic organizations, it also pointed out a problem many had guessed — nonprofit employees work long, irregular hours often without extra pay or incentives.

Nonprofits neglect infrastructure & misrepresent data Funders have unrealistic expectations

“When faced with dwindling funding, one response would be to cut a program or reduce the number of people an organization serves,” Timm wrote. “But nonprofit leaders have shown themselves very reluctant to do that. Instead, many meet financial challenges by squeezing more work out of their staffs without a proportional increase in pay.” Working to address issues larger than one person or organization can hope to solve, employees often look at their work as helping one person at a time. The work can be overwhelming when someone who is emotionally connected to their work realizes the sheer number of people they will never help with the resources available, Miller explained. “It you’re connected to your work — and almost all these folks are [because] none of them are making millions of dollars — they do this because they’re helping people,” he said. “And as good as it feels when you have triumphs, breakthroughs and successes, in my experience there’s this constant, nagging undertone of ‘You’re never done. You’re never going to get this done.’ And how can that not burn you out over the years?” Tired from balancing success stories with the vastness of a community’s needs, bureaucratic challenges become magnified, Miller said. This can lead to higher turnover rates, as staff become frustrated as challenges slow attempts at meeting community needs or goals. In nonprofit administration, Scott-Miller has struggled to provide her staff with the mental and emotional care they need when helping clients work through their traumas. “As a nonprofit director you’re looking at every dollar that doesn’t come in impacts the number of people I can’t see, but it also impacts what I can and can’t provide for my staff while they’re on the front lines,” she said. “I always say that therapists are sponges, we kind of absorb all that stress and pain from everybody, so when I can’t provide good healthcare for them, where they can take care of their own mental health, [or] I can’t provide enough vacation days for them [it] takes a toll on what they’re able to provide.”

Cycle of Starvation Nonprofits are always fundraising. Because of that, they are at the mercy of their sponsors. When donors have unrealistic expectations of what it costs to run a business, organizations cut overhead costs and try to provide the most services with the fewest dollars. This hurts an organization’s physical, technological and personnel infrastructure. “They almost expect the nonprofit to operate commensurate with the people their serving — ‘well if you’re going spend your day helping homeless people or helping impoverished students, you can’t drive a BMW home.’ So how much of this is reality versus how much of this is just public expectation and donor expectation and board expectation and a kind of unfair misunderstanding of how a nonprofit would work.” The Stanford Social Innovation Review compiled an article on the nonprofit starvation cycle, examining research findings to support the chokehold donors have on an organization’s capital. And this dangerous cycle all starts with funders’ unrealistic expectations of the money and risk capital it takes to run a successful nonprofit. Often, to meet the ridiculous expectations of a 20 percent overhead or lower mark, they fall into the never ending trap the Stanford Social Innovation Review describes. First, nonprofits neglect infrastructure needs like upgrading technology or building repairs, and then misrepresent costs to donors to meet these overhead expectations. This leads to further perpetuates unrealistic donor expectations that nonprofits feel the need to conform to and the cycle continues again. The cycle leads to a lack of resources and innovation. Some nonprofits are slow to take on new social media trends, and have a harder time reaching new,

younger donors because of it. And misrepresentation of costs can lead some to fall down a rabbit hole of misinformation, as older donors expect more and more out of a tired staff in outdated, failing facilities. As the organization buckles at the knees to lower costs, running on tight budgets with little room for new ideas, they run the risk of becoming obsolete and losing potential donors’ interest without the ability to campaign for their dollars.

Making a Change “You get into this vicious cycle where ‘how do we keep people happy to serve the community, but not too happy to make the volunteers mad — [what] a system,” Miller said. “There’s no silver bullet solution to it, but I think what it demands is an appreciation and respect for the people that do make it happen. That go to work every day knowing what they’re facing and they still do it and they still get it done.” Breaking these cycles and changing these ingrained, unattainable ideals takes time. Nonprofit employees are not magically going to get 20 or 30 percent raises overnight. But change starts with getting donors to see first-hand the unmeasurable work nonprofits do, and reevaluating the value they place on the organizations and employees who try to address these quality of life issues. “This is why the culture of engagement and site visits is so important,” Miller said. “It’s not enough to write a check, it’s not enough to sit on a board meeting. You need to get people to the impacted audiences so they can see. You can make videos that have impact, you can have speakers and tell stories, but when you take a board member or volunteer or a donor to a school or to a shelter and they see and they make an organic impact, that’s how you move the needle.” • OCTOBER 2016 | VINDICATOR 40


SOCIAL

IS AMERICA A TRUE DEMOCRACY? Inside the illusion of the American democracy we live in. // Elisabeth Weems

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n a frigid November day, you’re sitting in your car in the parking lot of a local church, fingers rummaging through your backpack for your photo ID. You’re mentally listing off predetermined positions for every ballot issue, politician and judge who you’ve deemed appropriate to represent your voice. Yes on 3, no on 4, definitely no on 6. You walk inside, bundled up in a black coat and after grabbing your ballot, you begin to meticulously fill in ovals. After looking over your answers, you decide you’re thoroughly satisfied. A kind volunteer with wire-rimmed glasses and a roll of “I love voting” stickers approaches you so you tack it on your t-shirt and take a selfie for Twitter. You smile, thinking I’ve made my mark on Democracy. By the people and for the people, right? Not quite. The History of Our Democracy People often assume that the founding fathers envisioned a system in which every adult citizen had an equal say about the workings of the country, but such was not the case. When the colonists broke away from England and declared independence in 1776, they created a republic in which citizens would choose individuals to represent them. This differs from the classic direct democracy of Athens, Greece, in which all citizens were obligated to have direct participation in politics. The modern equivalent is a caucus or town hall forum. The original form of government in America, however, was a liberal democracy, which emphasized individual rights and a representative government, fueled by a disdain for government intervention after a bitter relation-

41 VINDICATOR | OCTOBER 2016

ship with the English monarchy. To combine the ideologies of John Locke and John Stuart Mills, it was fueled by the prioritization of natural rights to life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness and also promoted a free press. This new form of government in which elections determine political decisions - as opposed to rhetoric - is more practical for a large society. Our population is too large to hold a discussion for every policy change, and thus we elect representatives into government to do our bidding. Ideally, if we are unsatisfied with our representatives, we vote them out of office or have them impeached. What the current presidential election has taught us is that there are serious problems with the way we elect our political representatives and begs the question: Do we live in a true democracy? Our Beloved Corporatocracy While reflecting upon on his time as an economic forecaster for dirty governmental deals, John Perkins, author of “Confessions of an Economic Hitman,” called our form of government a “Corporatocracy.” Perkins divulged details about the relationship amongst the World Bank, transnational corporations and the government. The three work together to infiltrate the economies and governments of third-world countries (which are now called peripheral countries). The aim is to profit from natural resources, to install Democratic leaders and to expand the reach of the American military. In short, Perkins explains the relationship between big banks, big business and big government to pass legislation and streamline politicians into office who favor corporations. This occurs despite the environ-

mental, social and political degradation that results from the actions of this triad, called the Corporatocracy. This is the underbelly of American politics. The Citizens United Supreme Court decision of 2010 allowed corporations to contribute an unlimited amount of campaign funds to elections, by justifying that money is a form of free speech. What has resulted since is the increased influence of money on politics and the amount spent on campaigns. In this case, dollars can carry more weight than the voices of the people. How Much Does One Vote Count? Many assume that our politicians and policies are decided upon by a majority of citizens, but the electoral process is much more complicated. In the simplest terms, by a plurality, the candidate with the most electoral votes wins, even if most of the country did not choose that candidate. Whoever wins the plurality of a state’s electoral votes takes all of those votes, except for in Nebraska and Maine. Although it’s efficient, one drawback of the plurality rule is that it ensures a two-party political system. This is explained by Duverger’s Law, which states that most voters are more moderate than extreme left- or right-winged. Because of typically centrist views, it is not viable for third parties to emerge victorious, because by voting for an extreme that is unlikely to win, one takes votes away from the party whose platforms one more closely agrees with. Third parties almost never win, but successful candidates include notable presidents like Teddy Roosevelt. Within a binary political


It’s important not to undermine the vital nature of political activism and civic engagement. Voting, as well as being knowledgeable of policies, processes and politicians is necessary for a functioning democracy. However, it is impossible for all citizens to have a full understanding of the issues, which results in adverse selection, where people make choices without having all of the information necessary to choose wisely. Sure, your parents and grandparents may have belonged to Party X for decades, so you vote for that party down the ticket, but may not actually conduct research about the issues. Or maybe all of your friends are in favor of Candidate A, so you jump on the bandwagon without really knowing that candidate’s platforms. At least they have nice slogans and merchandise, and maybe appeal to one of your political stances, right? Wrong. When we have a voting population that is unaware of the implication of its decisions, we do not foster a truly representative democracy. Instead, we perpetuate a system that favors certain people, particularly the rich, men and non-minority groups. Although the U.S. Constitution includes information about the qualifications for the president, it doesn’t actually lay out specific guidelines for how our elections work. That information comes from decisions made at the state and local level. The Voting Process The Electoral College. It sounds like an Ivyleague, university that specializes in political science, right? Wrong. It is a group of just 538 electors who formally elect the President and Vice President. The candidate who earns 270 votes or more wins the majority vote and is elected into office.The Electoral College can carry more weight than the popular vote of the voting public. Like the election between Al Gore and George W. Bush in 2000, it is possible for a candidate to win a majority of electoral votes by a small margin, even if he or she did not win the plurality of popular votes.The number of electors that each state has depends on its population. This is why candidates emphasize winning over states like California, Texas and New York. Confusing, right? Some aspects of democracy are more comprehensible, like the qualities of such a government. The Norms of a Democracy According to Richard M. Perloff, communication professor at Cleveland State, in his book

“The Dynamics of Political Communication,” there are six primary characteristics of a democracy. First, all adult citizens have the right to vote and run for office. Second, elections must be free, fair and should involve more than one party. Third, individual liberties and freedoms of expression should be guaranteed. Fourth, people must have the right to form associations. Fifth, there must be opportunities for reasoned, public deliberation. Finally, the news media must be free to challenge the powers-that-be.

Only 3 in 10 Americans think that the voting system is functional.

party system, people are forced to conform to predetermined thought systems, which means that their own views are not fully represented by their own government.

Ideally, our democracy should fit all of these qualifications. Over the last century, our country has made significant improvements to increase access to the voting process. The 15th Constitutional Amendment granted Blacks, including those formerly enslaved, the right to vote. The 19th Amendment granted women’s suffrage. The 24th outlawed poll taxes and the 26th lowered the voting age from 21 to 18. The 1965 Voting Rights Act was geared to increase voter participation amongst minority groups, especially Blacks, and the Federal Elections Commission was established in 1975 to regulate campaign finances. Despite continued efforts to increase voter turnout, like registration drives, citizens still face voter suppression. Problems with US Modern Democracy This past July, North Carolina’s voting laws came under fire for deliberately undermining the votes of the impoverished, the elderly and black residents because of rules regarding acceptable forms of identification. In fact, the southern state’s actions were not atypical. In Texas, gun permits, typically carried by white citizens, were accepted, but employee and school ID’s, frequently held by Blacks, were not. The Department of Justice is currently investigating numerous states for voter suppression, which include the revocation of

voting rights from felons. According to The Sentencing Project, nearly 6 million Americans are disenfranchised based on their prison records, which includes 1 in 13 Black citizens. This form of suppression has been practiced for centuries as a deliberate attempt to limit the political power of the poor and of blacks. According to a recent Gallup poll, only 3 in 10 Americans think that the voting system is functional. On an individual level, there exists voter apathy. Citizens are not motivated to vote, and some do not have the competence to do so. This partially accounts for America’s ranking as having one of the lowest voter turnouts in the world. However, voters show up to the polls in higher numbers every four years, likely motivated by the media frenzy surrounding presidential elections. This coverage tends to be superficial, focusing on the horse-race and poll results instead of the actual issues. Instead of articulating sound arguments, considering a variety of perspectives and engaging in the reflective consideration of issues, we now have presidential races and interpersonal discussions that focus less on rationality and more on popularity and personal attacks. This has led to gridlock in Congress between change and conservation. In Conclusion We do live within a democracy, but our government does not directly represent the masses. This is partially due to the diverse nature of our unique country and to our large population. Consider the current presidential election: Do either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump actually represent the majority of the population? Neither of them are colored and both are part of the wealthy, elitist class. According to the New York Times, of the 60 million people who voted in the primary elections, only 18% of the entire population voted for either Clinton or Trump. Although we would like to believe that we live within a ‘one vote, one voice’ system, due to its complexities and the barriers to accessing the voting process, our elected officials do not always reflect the masses. Despite the advances that we have made in allowing more people to vote, there are still deliberate attempts by states to disenfranchise voters in a multitude of ways. The U.S. has an embarrassingly low voter turnout rate, and part of that is due to a lack of voter motivation or the cognitive capacity to choose wisely. So next time you’re sitting in your car in a church parking lot on a cold, November day, remember that there is purpose in your civic engagement, but that the buck doesn’t stop with the casting of your ballot.•


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Resources

CSU Maryjoyce Green Women’s Center: 216-687-4674 CSU Counseling Center: 216-687-2277 CSU Health and Wellness Services: 216-687-3649 Cleveland Rape Crisis Center: 216-619-6192 Witness/Victims Service Center: 216-443-7345 Women Helping Women: 513-381-5610 National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE Domestic Violence & Child Advocacy Center of Cleveland: 216-229-2420 18 VINDICATOR | FEBRUARY 2016


WHAT ABOUT THEIR STORY In a world where the media attention is on the rapist, we dare you to focus on the victim. // Caitlin Cole

A

ccording to Merriam Webster, rape is defined as, “Unlawful sexual activity and usually sexual intercourse carried out forcibly or under threat of injury against the will usually of a female or with a person who is beneath a certain age or incapable of valid consent.” This short, to the point, definition does not even begin to describe everything that rape is. Rape is an act that takes away an individual’s control, an individual’s security in the surrounding world. It takes away an individual’s ability to trust and it leaves behind feelings of nothingness. So often, the media overlooks the trials that the victim has to face. There is a focus on details about the person who committed the act or the victim’s actions. How old is this person? How important is this person? Does he/she have a previous criminal record? What was she wearing? Were they flirting or drinking? These questions are obsolete. Rape is rape. It should not matter whether the assailant has lived a life of selling drugs or if he/she has run 100 marathons to raise money for cancer. The punishment should be the same for all ages, regardless of the personal details of either the victim or attacker. Unfortunately, we often do not see serious consequences for those found guilty of rape. Instead, the victim is berated with hurtful statements or accusations, which make them question themselves and their worth. The Brock Turner case is a prime example of a rapist who did not receive proper punishment. The media focused on describing him as a “Stanford swimmer”, instead of describing him as what he really is: a Stanford rapist. Not only was Turner sentenced to a mere six months in prison, he was released three months early for “good behavior.” According to The Washington Post, this rapist was facing fourteen possible years in prison, but the judge expressed a concern that sentencing Turner so harshly would ultimately ruin the young man’s life.

PHOTO BY EVAN PRUNTY

What about her life? What about the unconscious young woman that he defiled and degraded behind a dumpster? What about the mental and physical scars that she has to face daily, the humiliation and emptiness? Maybe the judge just forgot about all that, as Turner’s swim

scores and “impressive” life accomplishments were rattled off in the courtroom. The story is scattered throughout all sources of media, giving words from Turner’s father, who claims that a harsh punishment would be “a steep price to pay for twenty minutes of action.” People who have his father’s same mindset are the reason that rape and sexual assault are so prominent in our world today. About 1 out of every 5 U.S. women will encounter rape or sexual assault in their lifetime. It is estimated that only 37% of these instances will be reported. 1 in every 5 college women will encounter rape or sexual assault but less than 10% of these cases are ever reported. These facts provided by National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) are extremely alarming. They become even more concerning when relating them to female students at CSU. If there are around 17,800 students on CSU’s campus and 55% are women then there are about 9,790 female students. The statistic is 1 out of 5 women, which means that about 2,448 female students at CSU will experience rape or sexual assault. If only 10% report these crimes then, 2,203 women will receive no justice for the suffering they endure. So, why is it that about 90% of these instances are never reported? Given the way our justice system handled the Stanford rape case, it should come as no surprise that those 2,203 women will never speak up. It is common for a woman to hear questions regarding how they were dressed or how much they had to drink. This victim blaming creates a culture of women who feel ashamed when they are attacked because they think it is somehow their fault. Women are afraid to speak up because they fear the emotional battles they will face in a lawsuit or police questioning will not be worth it, when their rapist will most likely go free. According to The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), only six percent of rapists will actually go to prison for their crime. Watching judges let rapists go free is reason enough for women to be afraid of speaking up, but it is even more discouraging as women are being shamed within the courtroom by these judges.

they’re drunk” are just two of the awful comments that Judge Robin Camp made directly to a rape victim. According to CNN and Washington Post, Camp later apologized and claimed that he had never received training for cases on sexual assault and rape. Why was Camp on this case, if he had never received training for that type of situation? He had mainly worked on cases that dealt with contracts or bankruptcy. This case happened two years ago and since then he has gone through extensive training and has apologized in public more than once. He can apologize as many times as he wants but the damage has already been done because the victim in his case was changed by his words. She expressed that it made her feel like a “slut,” and that she had not done enough in the situation. When a judge victim blames a woman openly in the courtroom and rapists like Turner receive unfit punishment, it takes away a woman’s security in the justice system. These examples tell women that it is okay for a man to disrespect them and take sex whenever they please. It says that speaking up will not make a difference and that the assailant’s life and possible future are more important than the victim’s. What about their life? What about her dreams and aspirations that are put on hold or lost altogether because a healing process hasn’t happened yet? What about her time spent hiding in bed or the bathroom because it is too much to be around other people? When a proper sentence is not given to a rapist, it means only the victim is punished. The victim must endure the consequences for what the rapist has done, while the rapist often faces nothing. The victim is the one within an inner prison of seclusion and blame, while the rapist continues to play out his/her role in society normally. This mindset has to change. Our sisters, best friends, mothers and all the women in our lives should be able to come forward in this situation and receive the support they need. Women need to know that they will be heard. They need to know they can trust the justice system to provide their rapist with a fair punishment. •

“Why couldn’t you just keep your knees together?” and “young women want to have sex, particularly if OCTOBER 2016 | VINDICATOR 44


Days Go By // Chau Tang

ILLUSTRATION BY REBECCA PETRO

I’ve been trying to write everything that I needed to say, But the truth is, I don’t know how. See, ever since I met you, I’m happy. I’m happy with myself, I’m ecstatic just to be here. It was the summer of 2016, when I remember you and so many others. I felt like I was loved and that feeling was overwhelming.

As days go by, I check in with multiple people, talk and hang, just so they will remember me. Will they remember me though? Will they miss me? It’s hard to tell, because I’ll miss them. I may not be a social butterfly, but just being with them and taking in the silence and the conversations I’ve had, it’s enough for me.

I’ve always wondered, what would it be like if I lived near them? Would I have a closer relationship with them? Or will they just say hi then walk by me? So many ‘what ifs’ One thing I know for sure is that I’ll always remember and miss them every single day.


-ba

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ILLUSTRATION BY REBECCA PETRO

I have Asperger’s…



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