The Vindicator - December 2015

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Vindicator Cleveland State University’s Arts and Culture Magazine

DEC 2015

creating karma UB ELMI

streetwear designer, philanthropist, college student

+ gift

guide gifts that give back

more than christmas 4 holidays celebrated right here in CLE

fear & creativity why you shouldn’t be afraid to chase your dreams

home for the holidays

DEC 2 Letter from the Editor 3 Contributors 4 Online 5 Calendar ARTS 7 University Circle 9 The Year on Screen 11 Fear & Creativity 13 Liberal Arts Majors 15 Gift Guide CULTURE 17 20% Gratuity, 80% Common Decency 19 Combating Anti-Israeli Views on Campus

21 Not So Happy Holidays 23 Merry Christmas is not an insult FEATURE 24 More Than Christmas 29 Creating Karma 37 Home for the Holidays 39 Pointing Fingers 41 The Price of Privacy POETRY 43 Nevermore 44 Plans 45 No Peace 46 Shattered Eclipse

29 Creating Karma

UB Elmi is not your average CSU student




he positive feedback that we received on our last issue has been incredible and encouraging not only for our contributors, writers, artists, and illustrators, but also for everything and everyone the Vindicator has come to represent. Our content is becoming more and more relevant to today’s current and social issues and the staff and the contributors are entirely to thank for that. As a student run magazine, I can’t be more impressed by the creative minds that this magazine collectively represents. I hope that in reading about things like feminism, finding freedom in yourself, the power of addiction, staying grounded, remembering art, and different cultural perspectives, you are inspired to be open minded and see the beauty in things you might not understand.

For the last issue of the semester, we featured U.B. Elmi, an entrepreneur taking on the fashion industry in a new way with his brand Create Karma. Additionally, check out which holiday gifts can give back to the community in an article by Alana Whalen (and enter our giveaway to win some of the merchandise!), a crash course on holidays from different cultures, and overcoming the fear of creativity by Evan Prunty. As we close out our last issue of the semester, I couldn’t be happier with the growth of this magazine and how many people have been inspired to share their voices, their art, and their stories. Thanks for reading!




Faculty Advisor Julie Burrell Media Specialist Daniel Lenhart

CONTRIBUTORS Editor-in-Chief Reese Shebel Art Director Becky Byron Managing Editor Carissa Woytach Copy Editor Michelle Galmarini Multimedia Manager Evan Prunty Culture Editor Louis Walee Arts Editor Benjamin Heacox Online Content Editor Michella Dilworth Contributing Writer TJ Hayes Contributing Writer Arbela Capas Contributing Writer Chau Tang Contributing Writer Mutaz Al-somali Contributing Writer Katie Lechner Contributing Writer Greg Elek Contributing Writer Chau Tang Contributing Writer Alana Whelan Contributing Writer Caitlin Drayer Contributing Writer James Ellis Contributing Writer Sidney Morgan Contributing Writer Sydney Choe Contributing Writer Morgan Elswick Contributing Writer Holly Bland Disclaimer Magazine theft/fraud is a crime. Single issues of the vindicator are free, to obtain copies contact the Vindicator or student life. The content of the Vindicator does not necessarily represent the opinions of Cleveland State University, its students, faculty, or staff: nor does it represent the members of the Vindicator staff or our advisors unless otherwise stated. The editor reserves the right to comment on any issue that affects the student body in general as well as the multicultural community at large. Letters to the editors and other submissions are accepted, however they must have the authors name, address, major if applicable, and telephone number. All submissions become property of the Vindicator and the Vindicator reserves the right to edit submissions as deemed necessary.


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THEVINDI.COM CHATTER “You guys are killing it with the Vindicator this semester. This November issue is super dope!” -CONNOR BALDERSON

“Dallas Turner, reading your article about your own self. I have to say we all can learn from you saying “ in life, you have to be completely open with yourself.” Not an easy task girl but when we allow it to become second nature we can be free to live a better life! No fear no shame just being ourselves!!! You are heard and I am working on it myself !”

Watch the video interview with our December cover star, UB Elmi!

“Whether some might want to admit it or not, we are living a in a digital age where we must change the way we look at incoming information. The influx of technology, internet speed and social media has changed the way we watch the news, read stories and ultimately how we empathize with tragic events happening in our world.”


“Ok everyone, please read November’s issue of [The Vindicator] It’s amazing.” -@TUBLILTIMEBOMB ON TWITTER

“Check out the current issue of The Vindicator, which features three students in our programs. Breanna Davis and Kayla Kearney are Deckard Family Civic Fellows and Jibreel Gould is a LINK Scholar. Congrats, students!” -CSU OFFICE OF CIVIC ENGAGEMENT VIA FACEBOOK



Check out our new and improved website!


This is an amazing issue of @Vindi_CSU. From art to content, it is truly a great representation of @CLE_State

Our October cover star, Leah Fedor, stopped by campus last month to say hi! DECEMBER 2015 | VINDICATOR 4


what’s happening in...

DECEMBER 25 6 1 Brews and Prose at the Market Garden Brewery

Held the first Tuesday of every month, the Brews and Prose brings Northeast Ohio’s top authors in to discuss their work with the audience. December features Prof. Michael W. Clune, author of NPR and the New Yorker’s best book of 2013 White Out: The Secret Life of Heroin as well as several scholarly works; photographer Barney Taxel, who published The Lake View Cemetery: Photographs From Cleveland’s Historic Landmark; and Laura Taxel who wrote Fifth Gospel and the essay accompanying her husband’s photographers in The Lake View Cemetery. Other than the cost of drinks, the event is free. Dec. 1 7PM, 1947 WEST 25TH ST


The Rocky Horror Picture Show at Cedar Lee

The first Saturday of every month, relive the now 40-yearold cult classic in all its ridiculous glory. Bring your best Frank-NFurter costume and dry toast and sing along to the oddest rock-opera in history. Tickets are $9.50 Dec. 5 12AM, 2163 LEE RD

Krampus Krawl at Heather Pennington

Celebrating St. Nick’s lesser known and pretty wicked counterpart, Krampus, this bar crawl will go from Roxu (15607 Madison Ave) to Buckeye Beer Engine (15315 Madison Ave). Vendors, art, food and drink are all included with a $5 suggested donation at the door. Dec. 6

12PM - 2AM, 1500 ELBUR AVE


Don’t have anywhere to go for Christmas? Now That’s Class opens its doors to anyone during the holiday season for this potluck dinner special. Free live music on the hour and Christmas beer specials available. Free (though you should bring food for the dinner) and sponsored by Lotus Printing. Dec. 25



Vinyl Tuesdays at Jukebox

Every Tuesday Jukebox owner Alex Budin hosts Vinyl Night, a listening party for recent record releases. They have also partnered with LOOP in Tremont to bring a new release, or you can spin your own. Other than your bar tab, it’s free. Dec. 8 7PM, 1404 WEST 29TH ST


Love and Revolution at Revolution Books

UK poetry slam champion David Lee Morgan will perform live, spitting his verses over music by Michael Harding of Animat. This event will ask the question — can we learn from our past mistakes or are we doomed to be ruled by market forces? A donation of $5 to benefit Revolution Books is suggested. Dec. 16 7PM, 2804 MAYFIELD RD


Assholes of Christmas at Now That’s Class

Ring in the New Year at the hottest NYE party in Cleveland. CLE Rocks NYE will take place at the Cleveland Public Auditorium with performances by Ruby Rose and Duelle. Hosted by the most famous Clevelander, Drew Carey. Tickets are on sale now and range from $10 to $200. Dec. 31 8PM, 500 LAKESIDE AVE



Download the ISSUU app on the App Store and search for The Vindicator − visit for more information.



by Ben Heacox



leveland – it’s a well-polished piece of the rust belt when it comes to museums, art institutions, and education. One of the epicenters of this shiny piece of belt loop we all love: University Circle. Towering, refined institutions surround Wade Oval, serving as the conservatories of Cleveland’s culture. Visitors and locals alike enjoy the music of Severance Hall, the arts exhibitions of The Cleveland Museum of Art, the MLK day celebrations, the parades, the culture that defines this part of town. With every season and holiday, traditional celebrations return each year and have become a core piece of Northeast Ohio’s culture. This winter season, there are many activities and events available from ice skating to concerts to free museum exhibits -- and don’t forget the festivals! With so much to do at little-to-no cost... why haven’t you gone yet?


The Rink @ Wade Oval Go ice skating–It’s more than skating in circles! The Lincoln Wade Oval Skating Rink is a relatively new little spot right in the center of all the museums, university buildings, and concert halls around Wade Oval. There are regular, open-skate hours for everyone, but there are also plenty of special events here. You can skate with Santa, listen to live bands on their stage, take skating lessons, and enjoy movie nights. They’re open all season through March, and entry is only $5 dollars, and that includes rental skates! Go with some friends, buy some coffee or hot coco, and skate in the middle of one of the best arts communities in the US.


just a University Circle is ! Hop ay quick bus ride aw CSU on the Healthline at h! and get off at E. 120t

Cleveland Orchestra Christmas Concerts After you’re done skating, there are many weekend Christmas concerts happening in Severance Hall. This is a huge tradition for Cleveland, dating back to the founding of its famous orchestra. You’ll hear Christmas-y classics in a new way– Christmas carols sound completely new when they’re rehearsed and performed professionally. The concert hall is decked out with lights and enormous ornaments, and Santa may even stop in for a visit. This is a night to enjoy classical music in a fun way, and it only comes once a year. Tickets are on sale now at Student discounts are available. Circle Fest This is the heart of the University Circle celebrations. The museums, schools, churches, and nonprofits all open their doors to host a day full of free activities, music and dance, ice carving, food trucks, more ice skating and, of course, Christmas shopping. There’s even a free shuttle bus to take you on a tour between events. It’s a full day of seeing, making, and exploring. Finally, at the end of the day, the annual Winter Lights Lantern Procession (pictured here) begins at 5:30. A parade of lights will tour the streets of Wade Oval, launching the Holiday season on December 6th. University Circle has been called Cleveland’s “Central Park,” a beating heart of culture and history that anybody can access. These are just a few events from a year-round packed schedule. Whether you’re from Cleveland or just passing through, go see this part of town at its best this holiday season. You simply must be there. •


THE YEAR ON SCREEN From The Visit to The Gift, here’s a round up of some of the most interesting films of 2015.


by Gregory Elek

ormally around this time of the year you’ll see “Top Ten Films of the Year” lists all over the internet, and I can’t stand that. The lists almost always start off with a disclaimer saying something along the lines of: “Now, I haven’t seen all of the movies this year. I’m sure there are some great ones that would make the list if I would’ve seen them.” Then why the hell are you making the list? Why not just wait until you see all of the movies that you want to? A lot of foreign films don’t even get Blu Ray releases here until the year after they come out. So, instead of making a definitive “Best Movies of 2015” list, I’m just going to recommend some movies from the year that I think are worth seeing. I’m going to try to stick to films that were a little on the smaller side or that might have not gotten as much buzz, so sorry Mad Max, you won’t be on this list. You were still fantastic, and Star Wars, I’m sure you’ll be fantastic as well. First off, I just want to list some movies that were on my radar this year that I’ve yet to see. So, I’m not saying these are great movies or anything. I just think they look good or interesting and might be worth checking out: Sicario, Crimson Peak, Goodnight Mommy, The Witch, The Stanford Prison Experiment, Cop Car, The Martian, Tangerine, Junun, Mr. Holmes, Hardcore, Legend, The Revenant and many more movies that I’m sure I’ll find out about one way or another. With that being said, here’s my list...



Released: Jul. 1 2015 Starring: Thomas Mann, RJ Cyler, Olivia Cooke, and Nick Offerman Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is a coming of age film that follows three friends their senior year of high school as they deal with cliques, cancer, cult films, and chaos. This could change once I see more films from 2015, but as of right now, this is by far my favorite film of the year. I’ve heard some people call the director, Alfonso Gomez-Rejon,


Released: Jun. 19 2015 Starring: Shameik Moore, Zoë Krav-

itz, Tony Revolori, Kiersey Clemons, and Blake Anderson

Dope is an action adventure film that follows a group of high school friends who are obsessed with 90’s culture and who get into some trouble when they get involved with a bad group of people. Dope wasn’t a perfect movie, but damn it was fun. It’s a lot like a Tarantino film -- really interesting

a junior Wes Anderson, and I can see some similarities but he definitely has his own style that really shines through this film. During my second viewing, I was much more emotional than I was the first time, and that’s saying something. When you already know what is going to happen in a film and it affects you even more a second time, it truly shows how powerful the film is. It takes a great director, writer, and actors to pull something off like that. This is a special movie that I would recommend to everyone.

GRADE: A+ characters getting into really unfortunate situations and they have to go on a crazy adventure to fix it. The only thing that holds this movie back is that it can get way too preachy and in-yourface at times. It’s fine when a director or writer wants to express their opinions through their work, but sometimes it can be a little much, and they do go overboard. With that being said, I would still recommend this movie, it’s a lot of fun, and there are some really fantastic performances in it as well.



Released: Apr. 24 2015 Starring: Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac, and Alicia Vikander Ex Machina is a science-fiction thriller that follows a programmer as he gets an exciting opportunity to spend a week with his company’s CEO and interact with the artificial intelligence that he created. This film has been compared to some of the work of the late, great Stanley Kubrick. Those are some huge shoes to fill. While I wouldn’t ex


Released: Aug. 7 2015 Starring: Joel Edgerton, Jason Bateman, and Rebecca Hall The Gift is a thriller that follows a husband and wife who move to a new city and meet an old friend with a past almost as dark as theirs. If this list was one for worst trailers of the year, this movie would be taking the number one spot for sure. I thought it looked like something that belonged on Lifetime, however, when all of the reviews came


Released: Sept. 11 2015 Starring: Ed Oxenbould, Olivia De-

Jonge, Deanna Dunagan, Peter McRobbie, and Kathryn Hahn The Visit is a found footage horror/thriller that follows two children as they take a trip to their grandparent’s house for the first time, and things go horribly wrong. Now, The Visit isn’t by any means a great movie, but it’s definitely something worth seeing. After a string of some really bad movies, it looks like writ-

actly say this is an instant classic or anything as influential as Kubrick, it’s still a very good movie and it shows a ton of potential for director/writer Alex Garland, who has never made a film before this. The very slow-paced thriller has a lot to say about society and technology, and thanks to great direction and an incredible performance by Oscar Isaac, it really nails what it’s trying to do. I do have some small issues with the film, but those are minor and didn’t take me out of the movie that much.

GRADE: Aout and when I saw that Joel Edgerton wasn’t just staring but he was also writing and directing, I knew I needed to see it, and I was not disappointed. This movie doesn’t follow the same formula that every other thriller does. It went places that I wasn’t expecting it to, and it shows that Joel Edgerton has a very promising future in front of him. He got great performances out of all of his actors, he knew how to build tension, and he wrote a very original script.

GRADE: A er/director M. Night Shyamalan might be back on track. It’s not just worth seeing for that, however, but also because it’s a really refreshing take on the found footage genre which I think everyone is really sick of. There are good performances from all of the actors involved, and the movie is surprisingly really funny. There are some problems and the move is not for everyone, but if you want to see a triumphant return of a once acclaimed director, or a refreshing take on a stale genre, I would definitely recommend it.



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ck out even more of G regory’s picks for most interesting films of 2015 on line at THEVINDI.COM

fear &

CREATIVITY by Evan Prunty


By the time we have all this self-doubt and are distracted by everything else, what do we really get done? Are we really working to our full potential? When it comes to creative work whether it's writing, photography, cosmetology, or filmmaking, literally any creative task experience is the number one way to get better at your craft. Just going for it and doing it is the way to get better. You can sit and think about what you want to do. You can talk about how

Not being afraid to be yourself and chase your dreams may not be easy, but you will live your life with less regret knowing you went for something you really wanted.


aking the decision to follow your dreams seems pretty straightforward, right? Choosing to do what you love should be easy. You have what it takes. You’re different from your peers, more passionate, this is your dream, you can do it. Where do you start though? What will people say? What if people don’t like your work? How will you make money? How do you know if you’re even any good at this? What will your parents say? What will your friends say? More often than not, the big decisions we make in our life are based on what society wants us to be. But the bottom line is that we don’t have time in this short life of ours for the “What ifs.” There’s always pressure coming from both sides: doing the thing you love, versus fulfilling expectations of others. Wasting time in my life has become a huge source of anxiety. Having been through the experiences I’ve been through, time has become a precious commodity. When I feel like I am not using that time for positive and resourceful endeavors, it frustrates me. And I know I’m not the only one in our generation who feels this way, but I also feel as though many in our generation waste time, including myself. When is the last time you actually accomplished something you were proud of ? What is stopping you from doing something important everyday, every week, even every month? Once we get around to our daily responsibilities there is hardly anytime left the way it is. We all have school, jobs, family, relationships, and any number of other mandatory tasks to complete. Our world is filled with pointless distractions aside from our daily responsibilities. After all this, we finally find time to sit down to do something we actually like to do and struggle to even get started. As I am now in the middle of writing this. I know what I want to say but I am having trouble focusing and I even wonder if what I’m saying is just coming across stupid and pointless. What makes us feel this way though as we are doing something we love even though we love it. How many times have you stopped when you were writing or taking a photo and thought: Is this cliche? Is this stupid?

great something you’re going to make is, but until you actually do it, no one is going to take you seriously, and honestly, you won't even know if you can do it or not. There are many people stuck in this cycle and my advice to them is to just go for it. It's not worth wasting your time being in fear of being good enough or not. Letting fear control you or not will be the difference between your success and failure. No matter what path you take in life there will be obstacles, but in the creative field the amount of doubt you get from others is overwhelming as well as there being really no set path for you. This is on top of the pressure of just being creative and making things happening. For example, if you were

going into the medical field you are under an extreme amount of pressure to compete with everyone else but you have a path to success. Nothing is for sure in life, but at least there is a set path in most non-creative professions. When it comes to creative fields, it is up to you to make your own path. Yes, you can get a degree in film, writing, or drawing but depending on the program you find yourself in, your actual experience may not match up with others who have been getting their degree and working on their own. There are so many variables in this situation and that is where the fear comes in. Not knowing can be a scary thing. However, this should not discourage you from chasing your dreams. If you really truly believe that something creative is what you want to do, do it. Stop worrying about money and other judgements, and invest in yourself and your own skills. Life is short and you will regret at least no going for it. Have you ever noticed that when you tell someone about a project or an idea you have to someone who isn’t in the creative field, a lot of the time their response is, “Why are you doing that?” or “You’re wasting your time.” I’ve gotten many of those comments in my life but it is a great feeling once you have accomplished what you say you’re going to do then everyone jumps on the support bandwagon because there is something tangible and real they can engage with. That is just something you will come across when you chase after something that people can’t necessarily visualize or understand. This is not their fault, but you just have to ignore their comments. They don’t say them out of doubt in you, most of the time they just say them because they don’t see your idea as clearly as you do. Overall, in any aspect of life not letting fear and judgement of others be the reason you make the choices most important to your well being. Not being afraid to be yourself and chase your dreams may not be easy, but you will live your life with less regret knowing you went for something you really wanted. It takes time to learn this and get over your fear but I urge you to give it a try. • DECEMBER 2015 | VINDICATOR 12

A VINDICATION OF THE LIBERAL ARTS MAJOR Majoring in the liberal arts is often seen as impractical and wasteful, but these Cleveland graduates prove just how valuable studying the arts can really be. by Ben Heacox


bbey Blake began her college journey as a biomedical arts major at the Cleveland Institute of Art. This major is about visualizing the science of human anatomy. It was a practical, applicable field of study – certainly not an indulgence. She loved it, but it wasn’t exactly right for her. She eventually switched to a less practical, more conceptual path: printmaking. Printmaking involves designing paper artwork and incorporating new technology like 3D printing and laser cutting. This field is rapidly expanding its possibilities. “It was more honest to who I was as a person,” Abbey tells me. Abbey grew up in Burton, Ohio, a more rural part of the state. There were flowers and nature, something she loved. She also loved creating things, often related to her natural surroundings. It only made sense that she should pursue a major that allowed her to connect with that part of her again in college. However, Abbey did not initially plan to attend college right away. She was going to participate in a program teaching English in the Amazon Rainforest, again surrounded by the natural world. When her family raised some objections, she decided to apply to a single school, The Cleveland Institute of Art. She began to shape her identity as an artist here, beginning her art-making


process The decision to become an artist is a difficult one, full of hard work and extreme dedication. Abbey, now graduated, has a full-time job and also has her own art practice. She’s constantly sending emails, working with people, and trying to get press. Her advice for current students, “Make as much work for yourself as you possibly can!” It’s practice that makes the art better, it’s exposure that makes the art successful, and all of that requires a ton of hard work. After college, Abbey started her career in customer service at a professional printing company with her studio work on the side. It was like the many entrylevel positions that artists will take on after receiving their degree. But of course, she

wanted to do more. Today, Abbey’s work is part of the new post-digital printmaking world, doing a lot of her work at Case Western Reserve’s Think Box. Her prints are three dimensional and have been shown in exhibits around Ohio. She also works for American Greetings, designing and developing their products – but that’s not her full time job. Abbey is dedicated to her own art, running her own small business out of her studio and seeking exposure for her modern art. Overall, Abbey is a creative specialist for the world’s largest greeting card company, a small business owner, and is an active participant in the post-digital art world. All of this was possible because of her education in the arts and her artist-like work ethic. Did I mention she’s only twenty-four?

Success is up to the individual. It’s a matter of choosing to pursue what you love.


ou don’t have to attend a renowned liberal-arts school to pursue a career in the field. Robert Cutietta began attending Cleveland State University in its early years. Before the dorms, the Wolstein Center, or even the Student Center, CSU was a small commuter school with a big vision. The classrooms were mostly in temporary facilities and the music department, where Robert was studying, held classes in Trinity Cathedral, that beautiful church building on Euclid Avenue. Robert’s journey as an artist and an educator has humble roots here in Cleveland, and today he is the dean of two premier schools at the University of Southern California: the Thornton School of Music and the Glorya Kaufman School of Dance. Robert was already a full-time musician when he decided to attend Cleveland State University. He had started that career at the age of 12, filling in as an electric bassist for his brother’s band in local bar performances. By the time he was old enough to attend college, Rob was playing 3-5 nights a week on various Cleveland stages and also recording music for commercials in a studio that eventually became the communication’s building on campus today. Back then, he had no interest in the arts education field – he wanted to learn about music composition and how to better his current work. His love for music education began two years into his undergrad at CSU when one of his professors offered him an opportunity to teach a group of young kids about composition. He found a new part of himself – the part that would make him the educator he is now. Many people have asked Cutietta what school is the best in the country. His response: “For what student?” Robert’s experience at CSU was part of the non-traditional identity that has defined this school and helped it grow. Not only was he pursuing a career in the arts, but he was doing it at a school that most wouldn’t expect to produce great artists or educators. When choosing a school and a career path, there’s no set way to find success. Success is up to the individual. It’s a matter of choosing to pursue what you love. The school and the major you choose are just a small part of reaching that dream. After Robert Cutietta graduated with his bachelors, he came back to CSU to finish his masters in Music Education. He taught in a school at Lakewood and

then in college classrooms before pursuing his doctorate at Penn State. Today, he’s the Dean of two of the best arts schools in the country: The Thornton School of Music and the Glorya Kaufman School of Dance. He's also one of the first individuals to become a dean of two institutions. He sets the vision for both schools, always attempting to break the mold of what it means to be art educators. He raises millions of dollars for music education each month and is a huge advocate for arts education in the US. On top of all that, he still plays his electric bass. His love for music and education began right here in Cleveland, and he had to drive to get to school every day like many CSU students still do. Throughout his journey, Robert stayed true to his love of music-making and chose an education that reflected his passion. It was not an indulgence, it was not a mistake, and he wouldn’t be where he is today if he hadn’t decided to go to school to learn more about his art. •

GIFT GUIDE gifts that give back by Alana Whelan



5 1





he holiday season is a stressful time of year, especially if you’re going to school at the same time that you’re trying to figure out holiday plans, organize parties, and just honestly, stay sane. It’s easy to get distracted, and either completely forget about, or put off getting Christmas gifts for people. So, in order to ease your mind maybe just a little, I have come up with a list of ideas of what to buy your friends and family members for Christmas. These are not traditional Christmas gifts by any means, and I’m sorry to tell you that they are not all cheap. However, each of the gifts I’m about to describe are from places that donate some of their proceeds to charitable causes. So, while you are buying a nice, cute, and meaningful gift for someone, you are also helping to save adorable animals, or underprivileged people, or to support whatever cause you would like.



PURA VIDA BRACELETS The first product on the list is something that anyone can wear. Pura Vida bracelets are made all different colors; some with charms, some without. Many bracelets you can buy at their shop are specifically for charity. What I find really nice about this is that I can choose which cause I want to recognize, while buying a trendy bracelet that also shows my support. They donate to causes including animal awareness, education, military, health conditions, women, and memorial. Another really nice reason for buying one (or ten) of these bracelets is that they are relatively inexpensive, ranging from $5 to $40. Being so inexpensive, they can be great gifts to give to anyone for the holiday season!


THE ELEPHANT PANTS The next product is Elephant pants! With a flowy, hippie vibe, these pants can be worn by men and women alike. You can gather from the name that the charity they are supporting is elephants. Hundreds of thousands of elephants are hunted and killed by poachers each year for their ivory tusks, which is a staggering amount, so this is a very good cause to acknowledge. These pants are amazing quality for the price, and they are extremely comfortable. You can also choose from many different patterns, making deciding on what pants to buy so much more fun, especially when picking out gifts for others. These would be a great gift for your mom, sister, girlfriend, best friend, or even boyfreind if he likes.


IVORY ELLA Another great elephant-supporting charity shop is called Ivory Ella. This shop sells t-shirts, long sleeve shirts, necklaces, water bottles, and other adorable items. This is personally my favorite because they carry so many different items to choose from. While these are definitely more expensive than the bracelets, they are still very reasonably priced. Ivory Ella is a great organization as well as shop, having donated a huge sum of money to in just the passed few years (10% of the proceeds from each purchase!). Also, they have items made specifically for men, and items specifically made for women, so it works for anyone you’re looking to buy a gift for!


EARTHBOUND Not using a bag at earthbound goes much further than just the fact that using plastic bags is bad for the environment. If you don’t use a bag at Earthbound, they donate 5 cents to the Arbor Day Foundation, which is a foundation that plants trees and helps rebuild communities destroyed by natural disasters. Building off of this, Earthbound sells some great products that they use a part of the proceeds from to donate to certain charities. They donate money to help improve education in lesser countries when you buy one of their special notebooks. They also sell bracelets for women’s education. Overall, Earthbound is a great store to shop at no matter what you are buying. It’s a shop with a hippie vibe so they sell a lot of incense, sugar skulls, and strange little knickknacks, but they also have clothes, jewelry, posters, and loads of other cool products. This is without-a-doubt where I will be buying most of my Christmas gifts for people.


YOOBI Moving on to something that may seem a bit closer to home is a shop called Yoobi. This is an organization that sells stationery. For every item purchased, they donate an item to a school that is in need of supplies here in the U.S. The best thing about this organization is that their products are sold at Target! So, if you’re not the online-purchasing type, you can run to your local Target store and pick up the supplies you need. Also, these items are extremely necessary because honestly, when isn’t one in need of some stationary? These products are colorful and kid-friendly, so they can be great gifts for young siblings or cousins. Whatever reason you are buying for, Yoobi has some very cool and useful supplies.


TOMS SHOES This next gift idea is something you may already have heard of, or own yourself. For every pair of shoes you buy, Toms shoes donates a pair to a child in need. And it doesn’t stop there. Toms also sells eyeglasses, as well as bags and coffee. Depending on the item you buy, Toms will donate a corresponding item to a child in need. While their products are not inexpensive, they are undoubtedly worth it. The shoes and bags are spectacular quality and are very cute and comfortable. These can be great Christmas gifts for anyone, because shoes are very useful to pretty much everyone!


SEVENLY The very last place you can get your gifts that also support a good cause is a website called Sevenly. This website sells clothing for all sorts of charities, and the reason the shop’s name is Sevenly is because each week (7 days), they donate 7% or $7 of each purchase to a different charity. They also have clothing for specific ongoing charities along with the weekly cause. Most of the clothing has cute sayings, such as, “Different is beautiful,” and “Be the change you hope to see in the world.” Sevenly has clothes geared to anyone you can imagine. Tank tops, t-shirts, and long sleeves with a variety of words and images to choose from are all available on their website. If you know someone who has struggled with a certain issue, Sevenly probably donates to that charity. Therefore, it will probably be super easy to find a gift for whoever you need to find one for!


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By Arbela Capas


even if you don’t get perfect service at times. It’s really important that everyone knows the economic reality of tipping in restaurants. In the United States, servers usually make only half of the minimum wage, and that’s exactly why gratuity is necessary for them to make a decent living wage. And for most people in these job positions, it’s their main source of income, the primary thing that they depend on for paying their bills. They’re not just doing this for fun, or for the work experience. They’re working long hours with short breaks because they have to. They have bills to pay and college loans to repay. And if they

don’t take time to notice this. For example, I’ve had people come up to me and specifically say “thank you” and “I can tell it’s busy so don’t worry, you’re doing a good job.” Comments like this always warm my heart, because it shows that the people are coming there not just expecting to be served, but also don’t mind taking the time to be patient and understanding of the staff. I’ve even had experiences where as I was bussing tables, certain people even helped me or stack glasses. Usually this is almost a sure sign that those customers have been in server’s shoes before and are giving me a “I’ve

When you go to a restaurant, you’re not only paying for the food & the entertainment, you’re also paying for the service.


never thought working in the service industry would cause me to develop such a profound view on people and class in our society, but it did. I began working officially as a server at a restaurant back in May, and I can definitely say it has been an interesting experience. I remember struggling to learn the ropes of waiters and waitresses, and putting myself in shoes I never really put myself in before. The job ultimately taught me the value of hard work and the importance of patience. Unless you’ve worked in a similar setting before, most people never really try to empathize with our servers or bartenders when we go to a bar or restaurant. Many people don’t take the time to identify with the person behind the bar or holding the bus tub, which is normal because yes, we are there to serve you. But that does not mean we don’t deserve your respect, as well as the minimal gratuity. This often leads to people mistreating their servers in unnecessarily harsh ways, and ultimately hurting them by not leaving the respectable amount of gratuity.This is why it is so important not to walk into a restaurant thinking these servers are there just for you. I have seen far too many cases at my work and other places where servers get far too little gratuity and not enough respect for what they do. Tipping is absolutely necessary. Not a choice. Point blank. That might sound harsh, but after working in the service industry and just from observing the situation from the other side, I firmly believe that there is rarely a good reason not to tip the minimum amount. Especially when you take the time to realize that your server or bartender is, in fact, doing everything they can to meet your needs, despite the typical restaurant craziness that can occur at any moment. When you go to a restaurant, you’re not only paying for the food and the entertainment, you’re also paying for the service. Unlike other countries, in America, tips are what servers and bartenders survive on. And it’s so incredibly important to realize that,

receive the minimum gratuity, they’ll get by just fine. This is why the tips are important. However, I think that gratuity is also just the tip of the iceberg. Another thing that has bothered me that I have started to notice since I’ve started working as a server is the amount of respect that is given to servers/bussers/bartenders at restaurants. I’ve heard one too many stories of customers being unnecessarily rude to restaurant workers. The way I see it, there needs to be an equal amount of respect and patience coming from both parties. And empathy is a big part of it too. Often I see people coming in to eat with complete lack of awareness that they are not, in fact, the only people there and that it is virtually impossible for everything to go right with the service because in the restaurant business things can get real chaotic, real fast. What makes me especially mad is when some people

been there” gesture. All in all, make sure you’re being decent with your servers, but also don’t forget that these are real people underneath those aprons and they deserve some encouragement just like anyone else in any other job. Being a good customer is just as important as being a good staff member. I think this is especially important with the holidays coming up, when many servers and restaurant workers are stuck working during the holidays and are desperate to make enough money for presents for their family and friends. So this year, take the time to practice some empathy when you go out for a holiday dinner or when you go out in general. The way I see it, you shouldn’t go out at all unless you’re prepared to tip the staff members accordingly and give them the right amount of respect. There needs to be an even amount of respect between the two sides; an even amount of gratuity, as well as common decency. DECEMBER 2015 | VINDICATOR 18

COMBATTING ANTI-ISRAELI VIEWS ON CAMPUS After coming face-to-face with anti-Israeli extremists at CSU, TJ Hayes is calling for change. *This article is the sole opinion of the author and does not represent the views of the Vindicator. 19 VINDICATOR | DECEMBER 2015

“Free Palestine!” “Down with Israel!” These are just a few of the Anti-Semitic statements that I’ve heard over the past couple of years on Cleveland State’s campus. Unfortunately, the conflict between Israel and Palestine has been ongoing for a very long time. In 1947, the United Nations decided to establish a two-state solution: one Jewish, and one Palestinian. Even before the solution, there was intense conflict between each side. In time, the conflict worsened. While the Jewish Leadership agreed to the UN’s two-state solution deal, the Palestinians resisted with violence. In 1948, after the British left the State of Israel, the Jewish Leadership declared

I’ve encountered several people with negative and even hateful views toward Israel. I believe there are several AntiSemitic individuals on campus, along with organizations that promote AntiSemitism, and even violence! Last semester, I went incognito to an Anti-Zionist conference that took place on CSU’s campus. During this conference, there were people who had the audacity to make statements such as calling all Israelis terrorists or even saying that the Holocaust was “Israeli propaganda.” During this conference, there was a moment during which I felt that my physical well-being was in jeopardy, so I left. Last year, there was another

walls throughout Main Classroom, along with Israel being scribbled off of the large world map in a first floor lounge of MC. It is extremely unfortunate that Anti-Semitism has occurred on campus, and continues to increase. These crimes will not be tolerated! From experience, I’ve witnessed several Anti-Israeli demonstrations such as tabling on campus and promoting hate. Even in public events, horrible things are said about Israel and about Jewish people in general. There were recently two “Free Palestine” rallies, in which one of the protesters had a sign that included a drawing of the Star of David which is the most recognizable symbol with a Nazi swastika drawn over

Given the history of the Jewish people, I would not sit by and write off a threat by those who say they are going Netanyahu to annihilate us. Benjamin Prime Minister of Israel it, making a true statement of hate. Even though there are AntiSemites on campus, there are also people who do not have such dim and hateful viewpoints. There are countless strategies in combating the AntiSemitic views regarded in Anti-Israeli viewpoints. Unlike those who protest against Israel with shouting and cursing and even destroying the Israeli flag in public, those who protest for Israel choose to do things in a peaceful and civilized manner. Several Pro-Israel protests demonstrate the true nature of Israel. With the peaceful protestors who promote the honest ways of Israel, people see the truth about Israel and not the hateful views filled with lies that the Anti-Zionist extremists demonstrate with their shouting and hate. Let this be a message for those who think that the Holy Land of Israel and the Israeli people are bad. You are wrong! Israel has been around for thousands of years, and will never fall. • DECEMBER 2015 | VINDICATOR 20


Israeli Independence. Instead of also declaring independence, the Palestinians along with six other Middle Eastern countries declared war onto the Jewish people. Unfortunately, violence against Israel continues to happen on a daily basis. Constantly, there is a news broadcast of how a Palestinian terrorist yet again attacked an Israeli civilian. The hostility that is being committed by the Palestinians is hitting very close to home, as some of that hostility has made its way to CSU. There have several verbal accounts of Anti-Semitic incidents that I have either heard or have been victim of on campus. In the past year alone,

incident on campus in which a Palestinian student approached one of my Jewish friends and said “When we take over, we will kill all of the Jews but the ‘Good Jews.’ ” By “Good Jews,” this Anti-Semitic individual was referring to Jewish people who do not support the existence of Israel as a Jewish state. An incident that I was one of the victims of occurred last Fall during Cleveland State University’s International Day. Fellow Jewish students and I were performing in tribute to Israel. While we were performing, Palestinian students in the balcony above us shouted “Free Palestine!” and even photographed us and posted it onto social media with a caption saying “It’s nice that these Israelis are taking a break from murdering Palestinians.” But that’s not the end of it. As we were giving our bows at the end of our performance, a Palestinian student held a scarf of the Palestinian flag behind us. Luckily, the culprit with the flag was caught. Months later, there were swastikas drawn on the

NOT SO HAPPY HOLIDAYS Mental health is an important topic no matter what time of the year, but the Holidays can bring about more concern. by Carissa Woytach


It is a common misconception that winter’s falling snow and freezing temperatures brings about a rise in suicide rates. And while this does make logical sense, given the prevalence of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) — especially in Ohio — the month of December has the lowest suicide rate of any month of the year. According to the CDC, each year more than 500,000 are treated in hospitals for self-inflicted injuries, with over 39,000 successfully committing suicide, making it the 10th leading cause of death in 2013. While a person commits suicide every 12.8 minutes, rates are more prevalent in the springtime — peaking in April — versus the winter holidays. According to multiple studies presented by Hillaird, Halpern, Valenmoor and Ballard between 1984 and 1994, statistics showed a consistent decrease in suicide rates in the weeks leading up to Christmas, with a rebound spike in the weeks afterwards — peaking shortly after the New Year. This decrease may be attributed to a higher connection with family during the holidays, which may result in less time alone and a greater sense of guilt surrounding thoughts of suicide.

there was a 30-40 percent decrease in hospital admission rates from Dec. 19 to 26. The excessive commercialization of the season can lend itself to negative thoughts, as the focus shifts from the spirit of the holidays to that of crowded shopping malls and parties. The rush of traffic and black Friday spending can spike social anxiety through the roof. According to an article published by NBC, 45 percent of individuals said the holiday season brings so much financial pressure that they would prefer to skip it altogether, with the same amount saying they do not have enough money set aside for the holidays to begin with. The post-holiday season is comparatively the worst time for those

January is associated with more reports of domestic violence (55% more) and other social health Issues involving caregiving (42% to 50% more), marriage and relationships (10% to 42% more), and family (14% to 37% more) Reports of mental health problems also rise in January, including suicidal thoughts and feelings (27% more) anger (12% more) and depression (7% more). From Dec. to January alone, reports of suicidal thoughts increased over 50 percent, along with subsequent spikes in anxiety, depression and other personal or emotional stressors. Though the statistics show that suicide and self-injury rates drop near the holidays, that doesn’t mean they’re an easy time for anyone. But even when even when someone’s mood is at odds with the holidays, hope is not lost. If you or someone you

But that doesn’t mean that the holiday season is an easy time for those struggling with mental health problems. Anxiety can spike with the stress of planning and shopping, depression can drop in as empty places are set at the dinner table, and bipolar disorder can turn family gatherings into a new level of hell. Few scientific studies have actually examined the link between specific mental illnesses and the holiday season, but in a 1980 study at the University of Chicago, when students were asked what feelings they identified with Christmas, most reported loneliness, anxiety and helplessness — all symptoms recognized with multiple mental health problems. Unrealistic expectations for what the holiday season holds can lead to anxiety and depression. One of the hardest things to live up to is extended family member’s expectations, and a failed dinner-interrogation is enough to set anyone’s head spinning. But it’s worse when someone is already struggling. Pointing out inadequacies can lead to detrimental self-reflection and can spiral an already warped selfperception farther down a black hole. The pressure of living up to other’s expectation can cause some to turn to harmful coping mechanisms in an attempt to ease some of their anxiety, turning to substance abuse and self-harm. But even these statistics have similar patterns as that of suicide around the holidays — lowering in the weeks leading up to Christmas specifically and then a rebound afterwards. Three separate studies examined the rate of self-harm related hospital admissions in the two months leading up to Christmas. One study by Bergen and Hawton from 1973 to 2003, of the 20,000 individuals with self-harming tendencies studied;

From December to January alone, reports of suicidal thoughts increased over 50%.

struggling with mental illness. New Year’s brings about a peak in suicide rates during winter via the “broken promise effect” — or the consequences of high expectations for the holiday season left unfulfilled. While the New Year is meant to bring new beginnings and resolutions, more often than not it brings about feelings or failure, isolation and frustration or anger. According to a study conducted by Shepell-fgi Research Group to examine when their employees accessed employee assistance programs, there was a consistent increase across all demographics in use of medical care programs.

know is struggling with mental health problems, there are resources available. And if a friend or loved one expresses suicidal thoughts or actions, do not leave them alone and consult one of the hotlines below. • • • •

Crisis Textline: Text “Go” to 741-741 to contact confidential counselors 24/7 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-8255 The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, To Write Love on Her Arms nonprofit organization,


merry christmas

IS NOT AN INSULT by Sydney Choe


are so ethnocentric that they’re offended by the recognition of someone else’s traditions. Many people will naturally say, “Merry Christmas.” Why? Not because the idea of shoving Christ’s birth and celebration down your throats is amusing, but rather because the tradition has been woven deep into the roots of their family and culture. “Merry Christmas” is not an insult and it is unfortunate that there are people who choose to see differences as offensive rather than a stimulant for growth. Our society thrives on the

and acknowledging it as an insult, learn to respond in a proper manner. Here’s five simple ways you should respond to “Merry Christmas” even if you don’t celebrate the holiday: 1. Thank you! Have a good holiday. 2. Thank you! I celebrate _________, so happy ____________. 3. I actually don’t celebrate _________, but thank you and happy holidays. 4. Happy Holidays, thank you! 5. Actually, I celebrate _______. What’s your favorite holiday tradition? Mine is _____________.


merica was founded on the principles of cultural diversity and freedom of expression. While we, as a country, have achieved diversity and have become borderline “tolerant,” we have failed to learn the true meaning of cultural acceptance—a crucial aspect to coexisting in a state of serenity. Why is it that we are so easily offended by other people’s religions and cultures? Unless the way someone else celebrates hurts you physically, his or her beliefs are truly none of your business. As the holiday season is approaching, whether you’re hanging up stockings (Christmas,) dusting off your Menorah (Chanukah) or Kinara (Kwanzaa,) prepping yourself for the Feast of Sacrifice (Eid al-Adha,) or just spending time with family, take the time to remember that our country was founded on differences. America is the world’s melting pot, the salad on a dinner plate where people believe most foods should not touch, the place where people came to express themselves without judgment and to practice their lifestyle without punishment. In retail stores across the country workers are now required to say “happy holidays,” instead of “Merry Christmas,” simply to avoid offending someone who does not celebrate the holiday, but even this offends some. People claim that happy holidays is not just an insincere phrase, but also inconsiderate and exclusive. This in itself is proof that you cannot please everyone. Some people

Our society thrives on the differences between people’s religions, cultures, thought processes, and beliefs.

differences between people’s religions, cultures, thought processes, and beliefs. In fact, the world would fail to advance if every person thought the exact same or refused to listen to each other’s ideas different to their own. Merry Christmas is not an insult unless you make it one. The same goes for “Happy Chanukah,” “Joyous Kwanzaa,” “Feliz Las Posadas,” or the recognition of Eid al-Adha or Diwali. The meaning of a statement is in the hands of the beholder, so instead of taking offence to a sincere statement

You can’t control what people say, but you can control how you choose to respond and you can choose to do so without being offended or offensive. While you should always be sensitive to the way another person feels, you should not have to censor what you say and forget your own beliefs to conform to someone else’s. Merry Christmas is not an insult; please don’t take it as one. The best way to achieve cultural acceptance is to educate the masses. So for this holiday season, listen to a story and share a story. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. •


christmas As the Christmas decorations come out of the attic and the shopping malls become flooded with hasty shoppers and crying children sitting on Santa’s lap, it’s important to remember that around the world and in our own backyards, people are celebrating more than Christmas. COMPILED BY LOUIS WALEE ILLUSTRATED BY BEN RODRIGUEZ


CHANUKAH the feast of dedication

by TJ Hayes


would never abandon them. The courage of my ancestors continues to inspire me to this day. The thought that even though literally all of the odds were against them, God showed his never-dying love for the Jewish people. Along with Chanukah being the commemoration of the beautiful story of God once again showing his never-ending love for the Jewish people, it is also a delightful time! Some of my happiest memories from my childhood celebrations of Chanukah with my grandparents. I remember my first learning the Dreidel Song. I remember learning the different words in Hebrew that were painted on the Dreidel and their meanings. I remember the love and the happiness brought to my grandparents as we would celebrate it together. To me, if I had to describe Chanukah using only one word, that word would be “Love.” Chanukah will always stand out to me as God’s love to the Jewish people that he has, and always will have. Celebrating Chanukah also reminds me of my grandparents and their love for Judaism. I look forward to someday again celebrating Chanukah with my grandparents when I’m eventually reunited with them.


hanukah, the Festival of Lights. A story of the perseverance of the Jewish people that has transcended for over two thousand years. One of my earliest childhood memories is of my grandparents teaching me to light the Menorah for the first time. I remember being so nervous at first. I remember asking my grandma, “If I do it wrong, will God be upset with me?” She responded by saying, “He knows it’s your first time lighting a Menorah, honey. I’m sure he understands.” Whenever I think of Chanukah, I think of the courage that my Jewish ancestors had as unspeakable things were happening and how Israel was being taken away from them. But no matter how bad things were, they wouldn’t give up, and God would help them. When the Menorah was finally lit, there was only enough olive oil to keep it lit for one night. But, with God not giving up on his people, he made it so that the flame lasted not for one, not for two, but for eight nights! As a result, we celebrate Chanukah for a total of eight nights. I still remember my grandparents telling me the story of how our ancestors prevailed through the chaos through their faith in Judaism and knowing that God

If I had to describe Chanukah using only one word, that word would be LOVE

KWANZAA the celebration of heritage by Louis Walee

Kwanzaa is a way for African Americans to understand and embrace who we are as a people


hat purpose is there for a people without culture? For African Americans, this is the reason we have Kwanzaa. Kwanzaa is a week-long celebration (December 26th – January 1st) held predominantly in the United States that helps bring African Americans together as a community, and it also helps African Americans reconnect with their African cultural and historical heritage. Kwanzaa was created by Dr. Maulana Karenga (professor and chairman of Black Studies at California State University, Long Beach) in 1966 and is the first specifically-created African American holiday. Kwanzaa was modeled after traditional African harvest festivals and the name “Kwanzaa” originated from the Swahili phrase, “matunda ya kwanza,” which literally means “first fruits.” The extra “a” was added as a way to honor the seven children who were present at the first-ever Kwanzaa celebration. Swahili, an East African language, was chosen to represent Kwanzaa as it is a symbol of Pan-Africanism (African Unity and Empowerment). Kwanzaa honors the African heritage in African American culture as it incorporates bringing African Americans together in meditation and study of African traditions, most notably “Nguzo Saba” which are the "seven principles of Kwanzaa." These seven principles represent values of African culture which contribute to building, reinforcing, and unifying community amongst African Americans. The seven principles comprise “Kawaida,” a Swahili term for tradition and reason. Each of the seven days of Kwanzaa is dedicated to one ofseven principles which Karenga himself describes as “a communitarian African

philosophy.". these principles are Umoja (Unity), Kujichagulia (Self-Determination), Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility), Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba (Creativity) and Imani (Faith). The greeting for each day of Kwanzaa is “Habari Gani” which is Swahili for "How are you?” with the holiday greeting being "Joyous Kwanzaa." During Kwanzaa, there are often celebrations with an African feast called a “Karamu” held on December 31st. Homemade gifts are encouraged to be exchanged (to avoid over-commercialization) during Kwanzaa, and any other items purchased are to be purchased from preferably a black-owned business. Each evening of Kwanzaa there is a candle-lighting ceremony that allows Kwanzaa adherents to gather and discuss the meaning of Kwanzaa as well as one of the seven principles. Each family celebrates Kwanzaa in its own way, but celebrations often include songs and dances, African drums, storytelling, poetry reading, a candle-lighting ritual, artistic performances, and libations. Families celebrating Kwanzaa can choose to decorate their households with objects and symbolism unique to their African culture and heritage. It is customary to include children in Kwanzaa ceremonies and to give respect and gratitude to ancestors. Non-African Americans can also celebrate Kwanzaa. Kwanzaa is a way for African Americans to understand and embrace who we are as a people, as well as advance and empower ourselves, as Dr. Maulana Karenga had said himself simply put, “We stress culture because it gives identity, purpose and direction. It tells us who we are, what we must do, and how we can do it.”


EID AL-ADHA the holy day by Mutaz Al-somali


This holy day represents the strong connection for each family


Some of us may or may not know what the true meaning of Eid alAdha is and why Muslims celebrate this holiest day. In this article, we will know the true meaning of that holy celebration for Muslims and the origin of this holy day, when they celebrate, and why they celebrate. In this holy day, Muslims celebrate the story of Abraham sacrificing his son, Ishmael, to God in which God is testing Abraham’s faith. God ordered Abraham to sacrifice his son. Abraham had prayed to God for a son whole his life, and God had answered his prayers and gave him Ishmael. God wanted Abraham to prove his faith to the public, so God commanded him to make the sacrifice. However, Abraham was also demanded to tell his son about the sacrifice, and Ishmael responded with acceptance so he can also prove his faith to God, like it mentions in the Quran: "Father, do what you have been commanded. You will find me, Insha'Allah (God willing), to be very patient.” God knew about their faith to Him, so He sent a lamb to replace Ishmael to prevent killing Abraham’s only son. Eid al-Adha is a holy day celebrated in the twelfth month of the Hijri calendar, the pilgrimage calendar relating to the Prophet’s journey to Mecca, which was celebrated this year on Sept. 23, after Arafat, which is the second day of Hajj (the pilgrimage to Mecca). Muslim prayer on this day is known as the holy day prayer in which they pray after what they call the “red line on the sky in dawn,” or sunrise. After they pray, they gather around with the family and sacrifice

lambs, to remember the story of Abraham, and then use the meat to give to the poor and save some for the family. This is also practiced by donating money or other items if a lamb is not available or used. This day is the most important day for kids too, for they enjoy gathering and playing with other kids. Malls and parks have festivals for children, but generally, Eid al-Adha is celebrated with family on a more personal level. The celebration of Eid al-Adha varies between countries who practice Islam, but as for me, meeting up with family is one of the important things we do on this holy day — a big family reunion and having a huge feast and gathering around sharing and caring for each other, planing for a family trip to travel around the nation and enjoy each other's company. This holy day represents the strong connection for each family as well as representing a strong cultural and religious relevance. For me as a Saudi, this holiday is only more significant because it is celebrated in my home country of Saudi Arabia, which is the home of Mecca and Medina, the two holiest cities in the Islamic world. Growing up in Riyadh, our family use to take a trip to the desert, camping for a couple of days or maybe a week, enjoying the fresh air, and living the simple life which our ancestors use to live back in the days, and learning how they lived there back in the days. In the end, Eid al-Adha holiday is one of the most important holy days in Muslim culture. This day is known as the greatest holy day which has a lot of meaning and value for Muslims around the world.

DIWALI the festival of lights

by Carissa Woytach

the lights can illuminate our lives and make us search for the light within us that unites every human being


iwali, the festival of lights, is India’s largest holiday of the year and is celebrated by Hindu, Sikhs and Jains throughout the world. It is said to mark new beginnings and the triumph of good versus evil and the power of knowledge over ignorance and hope over despair. It also honors the goddess of wealth, Lakshmi, and the legend of Ram and Sita. According to the Ramayanas — Hindu mythology — it is the day that King Ram had fought and vanquished the evil emperor Ravan and destroyed his stronghold. It is celebrated by cleaning and decorating the home, with thousands of lights in public spaces and fireworks. It inspires family togetherness and gift-giving as a part of the celebration, similar to other Western holidays during the winter. Celebrations vary from country to country, depending on the prevalence of practicing families. While the celebrations in India are much more elaborate, creating a sense of community as neighbors light their houses, according to Nisha Gupta, it is still celebrated in the United States. “I was born and brought up in the states, so my memories of Diwali are of being together as a family and also attending various parties with family and friends,” she said, “The parties were festive with a lot of food! We typically went outside and lit spar-

klers to brighten up the night sky.” “We celebrate the day by lighting candles inside and outside of the home and acknowledge how the lights can illuminate our lives and make us search for the light within us that unites every human being,” she continued, “We also typically dress in Indian clothes, serve sweets, and engage in a family prayer.” She also attended a party at her friend’s house with the Cleveland Chinmaya Mission, which follows the Vedanta tradition. According to Prattyush Roy, another writer for the Vindicator, the celebration for Diwali in India is similar to the Fourth of July in the United States, with fireworks blanketing the night sky. “The most ancient memory I can recall is when my grandfather was alive and he had bought a big box of fireworks for me and the intensity and excitement I had that day while bursting those crackers is simply indescribable,” he wrote. Celebrations also took place at Cleveland State University, hosted by the Indian Student Association. Attendees dressed up in traditional clothing and performances were also given by students. While the celebrations for Diwali are as diverse as the people that celebrate it, it is meant to create a sense of community and friendship. DECEMBER 2015 | VINDICATOR 28

g n ti a e r C arma K L SHEBE E S E TY BY RE PRUN N A V YE HED B P A R G PHOTO




The most striking quality of U.B. Elmi, one of the founders of the streetwear brand Create Karma, isn't his undeniable determination or his casual ability to speak intelligently on almost any topic, but rather the humility that can be considered a rarity in such a competitive industry.


Although I might be a little biased for knowing U.B. for a couple of years, I genuinely think he has identified himself as a new breed of designer, creator, and entrepreneur. Self-promotion has become a natural part of our lifestyles, and one can only imagine how incredible it must feel to have a fairly established brand before graduating college, yet U.B. uses his line in the most selfless way — to create karma. The brand started in Minneapolis in 2012 with a close friend who was a rapper during high school and continued to pursue it afterward. In an underground music scene that was constantly growing and evolving, U.B. helped out behind the scenes as a manager for their duo they called Good Karma. After moving to Cleveland for school, he was still going back and forth for shows until another friend suggested that they combine powers and start making clothes, using their identity as Good Karma as a place to begin. “We all thought we were pretty fashionable, as all young kids think,” U.B. said. “We didn’t really know what we were doing.” When they decided to patent the name, they found out it was already taken, but still wanted to keep karma in the name. After establishing themselves as Create Karma, they started posting on social networks, created a website, and got picked up by their first store, Studio 23, which is privately owned in Minneapolis. After that, they started pushing to other stores, expanding, and progressing day by day. “I think we’ve started to make pretty good quality clothes,” U.B. said. “Most of them are hand made or made in the United States.” Now, his brand can be found at stores in Cleveland, Denver and Minneapolis. Referring back to humility and the unique aspect of spreading karma in relation to the brand, the most recent example is the Major Change event in the name of Major Howard, a 3-yearold African American boy who was killed in a drive by shooting. After attending the candlelit vigil, U.B. met with Major’s mother and got the approval of the family


ur p s e h t f o t s r fi e It was kind of th g n i t t e g s d i k g un o y f o s g n i t o o h s of r a e y e n o a e v ha I , y t i c e h t n i d e l kil id k t a h t e k i l t l e f I old brother and . r e h t o r b e l t t i l y m n e e b e v a h d l u co . e m n e e b e v a h That could


jazz and rhythm to set up a show at a venue called Take 5. st of “It was kind of the fir of young kids the spur of shootings y,” U.B. said. getting killed in the cit brother and I felt “I have a 1-year-old ve been my little like that kid could ha ve been me.” brother. That could ha al artists Bringing together loc ez, MJ the DJ, including Ripp Flam s, and Ricki Slim Slater, Atari Jone ndraiser, he Simmonds for the fu ount of money raised a significant am ther Major’s and got to bring toge cting attention family while also attra from the news. the “The media focuses on t I feel like bad stuff going on, bu gativity and everyone sees this ne create more makes them want to . “But there’s negativity,” U.B. said gs going on too; also a lot of good thin do the best we it’s sad, so we try and eness.” can do to bring awar ge Culture also plays a hu d and an role in regard to his br his interest s ain values, which expl cial justice and involvement in so ngton D.C. issues. Born in Washi rents from to two immigrant pa try in East un Somalia, a small co ically the first Africa, U.B. was techn


generation American of his family of four siblings, all born in the states. His parents immigrated in the 70s and the 80s, and Somalia was one of the most prosperous countries in Africa during that time until a civil war broke out in the late 90s, causing many of the people to flee. Although his parents were already out of the country, they were doing whatever they could to get the rest of their family out. “A lot of countries were accepting refugees like the states, Canada, the U.K., the Netherlands, Australia, etc., so my parents did the best they could to get them all out,” he said. “By the time I was born, all my aunties and uncles were living in all of these different, crazy countries and my parents would send me to London, Toronto, the Netherlands, and Africa to stay with them.” Eventually, this set the foundation toward achieving wellrounded individualism, and ultimately became the influence of culture on his brand. Now as Create Karma’s culture coordinator, he works to push the individuality of their culture by mixing communities, whether its music, snowboarding, skateboarding, or athletics, and meshing it together. “Now that the world is becoming more globalized, more

people are hip to what other people are doing,” U.B. said. “Americans are more open to learning about other people and the world market is tied together, through the economy and now through social networking.” Being aware of what’s happening around the world holds importance to his life and his brand, tying back to his involvement in social justice and throwing events for something that holds impact within a community. “I’m a political science major, international relations specifically, so I’m interested in learning about the world and those principles,” he said. “I feel like life is a game of politics.” The future is bright for someone with such ambition, and U.B.’s goals include opening a boutique someday, but working and finessing his degree first. Currently applying for non-government organizations like the United Nations and the Embassy International, he plans on going to either London, Nairobi in Kenya, South Africa, or New York. Being smart and successful is one thing, but to lend others the success of a business while remaining grounded and humble is quite remarkable. •

Check out U.B.’s streetwear brand, Create Karma - Available online at


HOME for the holidays by Arbela Capas


oming home for the holidays usually means coming back to a safe place. But that’s not the case for many people. The holiday season can bring out cheerful, as well as difficult, situations and emotions surrounding family. I feel lucky that my parents never caused me serious stress during the holidays. I feel grateful that they were open minded and didn’t make out-dated judgements based on the issues of our society today. But that’s not the case with everyone. If you take the time to listen to different experiences, you’ll find out that for a lot of people, the holidays are a very lonely and stressful time. This could range


for many reasons, from controversial dinner talk to triggering feelings due to past memories. During the holidays, a lot of people are trapped with their families. This may sound very bitter, to call it “trapped,” but unfortunately it’s very true that a lot of people do not feel mentally stable around their family. And the fact that it’s dealing with their family, and not just random people, can also cause even more stress and guilt. As hard as it is to say, based on our traditions and values today, family can’t always come first. A person’s health and well-being always comes first, especially during the holiday season. There are many traditional values that our society holds near and dear. Around the time of the holidays, every

commercial and every ad has a central “classic happy family” theme. But the reality is that nearly no one can fulfill that perfect family model, not even during the holidays. As uncomfortable of a topic as this is, it’s important to look beyond the happy commercials and take into account that holiday time may not always be a happy time for people, and they deserve to have all the support they can get. It’s not fair to assume that every person has a happy time waiting for them when they come home, even though it’s easy to assume that. There are countless reasons why someone might not feel safe or content being with their family during the holidays. Depression or other stress disorders are often triggered by bad

avoid confrontations of any kind in order to “get through” the holidays. But I think there are extra steps we can take to develop a better understanding between old and new generations. Stress and anxiety is a serious problem with many people, especially for the millenial generation. And this stress should be at the lowest when we’re around our family. Miscommunication between generations can just seem like “harmless bickering” with relatives, however, if it’s causing serious mental stress, that's when it becomes a problem. A big part of this I think is just for older generations (i.e. our parents and grandparents) to understand that we are living in an ever-changing society. Another part is making sure the younger generation is not only patient with family, but also making sure we aren’t afraid to educate our parents and grandparents into being more open minded about issues today. We all deserve to feel happy and comfortable with our family, as much as possible. •

all your principles about things developed, it becomes harder and harder to ignore your family’s sexist, racist, and homophobic views. The amount of homophobia and transphobia that many people face within their own family is much too common. Many people can’t even handle coming out in front of their family, so coming home for the holidays can be an extremely stressful time. When your own identity is being doubted by the people closest to you, it becomes a very confusing thing to deal with. Dealing with a stress-inducing family could be the worst kind because it’s very hard for the individual to fight back in any way. Most of the tips and advice that I hear on the internet is to ignore family-related stress and just

experiences from family. Also, there are many examples where people aren’t comfortable talking about their mental state with their family, because they know their condition will be rejected or ignored. This kind of stress is triggered by more than just controversial dinner topics; it’s motivated by a serious disconnect between generations. The generation gap keeps getting wider within some families, as certain intersectional issues such as racism, sexism, homophobia, etc. are coming into light and our millennial generation is becoming more outspoken about these issues, and some of our parents tend to still be stuck in the past. At some point, when you’re in your 3rd year of college and have

it’s important to look beyond the happy commercials and take into account that holiday time may not always be a happy time for people.





Many of the criticisms leveled at the black community are rooted in ignorance, misconceptions and stereotypes.


oming from the affluent suburb of Strongsville, institutional racism was something I had never come face to face with (namely because there weren’t a lot of African Americans living there). I had heard about its effects in schools all the time, but I had never observed it so directly until I entered college. The first obvious sign that something was off was the amount of black students enrolled in Cleveland State. I definitely saw more African Americans here than back home, but the numbers didn’t seem to add up. Eventually, when I started attending Choose Ohio First meetings (a scholarship program) I noticed that the meetings were chock full of white students with almost no black students. That was truly troubling to me. It didn’t make sense that such a diverse community as Cleveland would have a problem with diversity in schools. I couldn’t raise any accusations based solely on my own experience, so I found some data (courtesy of The Vindicator staff). One look at Cleveland State’s enrollment statistics confirmed my suspicion-Cleveland State’s student population was only about 18 percent black (compared to Cleveland’s population of just about 50 percent black). At first, I didn’t know what to think of the numbers. Something was definitely wrong with them, but what caused it? This lead me to research the education gap in Ohio with greater detail. The disparity in performance between black and white students in public schools has been recognized by academics for decades. However, the causes of the difference in performance are disputed, and some people even

deny its existence. Among the general public, arguments over the cause of the disparity are heated and incredibly controversial. Many members of the public underplay institutional racism and instead blame black culture for African American underperformance. Many of the criticisms leveled at the black community are rooted in ignorance, misconceptions and stereotypes. Others still hold the archaic belief in inherent differences between the races, insidiously suggesting that blacks simply lack the academic ability of whites. Despite the overwhelming evidence against such an idea, some members of the public still hold on to these beliefs as a way of avoiding the problem. Many members of the public simply don’t want to deal with racism, so they pretend that it doesn’t exist. Academia is not immune to this problem either, as mixed opinions do circulate about the education gap. One such example of a controversial dispute among academics comes right from a study performed right in Shaker Heights. I was introduced to the study performed by the anthropologist Dr. Ogbu. Ogbu was brought to the affluent community of Shaker Heights by concerned parents who had even observed the education gap in their community, whose schools have been praised as some of Ohio’s best. After Ogbu studied the community, he came to a controversial conclusion-that black culture seemed to discourage schooling. He did not place blame on the school system-he focused on the black community specifically. Here we have even a respected anthropologist turn to

victim blaming. To be fair, he didn’t rule out institutional racism, but he specifically cited black culture as the leading contributor to the education gap in Shaker Heights. To me, that seems like a lazy conclusion to come to. Many professionals attacked Ogbu for his methods of investigation, and many academics quickly distanced themselves from the man and his study. The public, however, had a more mixed reaction. While the black community in Shaker Heights reacted with feelings of betrayal, many victim blamers used the study’s conclusions as fodder for

their otherwise unsubstantiated claims. To me, the study appeared to do more harm than good. It gave us no real useful information when it comes to actually closing the education gap, but it most definitely stirred some people to believe it to be a problem caused by its victim. When we are tricked into believing that the victim causes his own problems, we don’t feel the need to fix the problems. Chalking up the education gap to something as simple as culture is, to me, a cop out. I needed information that would actually help make sense of the problem, so I sought

out other sources. While researching the opinions of other experts on the subject, I was introduced to the head of black studies here at CSU, Dr. Michael Williams. I had a discussion with Dr. Williams about the education gap, and he had some very interesting thoughts on the matter. First, I asked Dr. Williams about the education gap at Cleveland State. Dr. Williams said that this was actually pretty typical of colleges around the U.S. Nothing special was going on in Cleveland to cause thisthe education gap is a national issue. Naturally, my next question was what was happening in the U.S. that would cause this? Dr. Williams cited the main reason as the lack of encouragement that black students get from society. The logic behind this statement is simple-If we as a society don’t make the effort to let black children know that they belong, they won’t come to that conclusion on their own. Dr. Williams argues that right now, society could do a much better job encouraging black youth. Dr. Williams cited another reason for black underperformance in schools; Stereotypes. If a child is held to a certain standard, they will inevitably live up to that standard. For black students, this can create a vicious cycle. If teachers don’t expect their black students to perform as well as white students, the black students will tend to fall behind. Observing this only reinforces the teacher’s expectations of black students. Black children don’t want to underachieve, but the system expects them to. So many of them do. Dr. Williams is firm in his belief that black culture simply is not to blame for the situation many black students find themselves in. If we are to make any progress in closing the education gap between the races, we can’t continue to blame the victim. As a society, we need to let black youth know that we care about them; that we need them to succeed just as much as their white counterparts. We simply cannot afford to waste so much human potential. • DECEMBER 2015 | VINDICATOR 40


PRI¢E of PRIVACY by Katie Lechner


n a minute and four second long song, it is said that “privacy is priceless to me.” I think that statement stands for just about everyone. We humans have this thing called privacy as a sort-of barrier that keeps everyone else out. I know that I take my privacy very seriously. Actually, anything that goes beyond at-thesurface conversation can easily slip into my personal privacy. If someone asks me something “personal,” I can get offended, because I believe many aspects of my life to be private – a matter relevant only to myself. Several months back, my mom and I were sitting in our car waiting at Lube Stop to get the oil changed. Somewhere in the conversation we were having, my mom asked me if I ever wanted to get married and have kids. It’s a very common question that most


people would not consider an invasion of privacy, but I took it offensively. I didn’t respond at first and then, when I finally did, I was a little brash, maybe even a little rude (sorry, Mom). Is that the normal response someone makes when their privacy is invaded? Later on, after I’d cooled down, I apologized to my mom and told her I just don’t like talking about those kinds of things. Somewhere, somehow, I decided I don’t find topics like that appealing to talk about. I’d rather let the mystery speak for itself so I don’t have to. So I am protective of these kinds of thoughts. It probably stems from me being such a private person. Whatever is in my head stays in my head — I’m sure my introversion and reserved personality don’t help. My privacy is an important thing and anytime it is

tested by someone asking a question that I think goes too far, I start to break a sweat, my face deepens a few shades of red, my thoughts scramble, and my pace of verbal communication quickens significantly. This exact series of events happened perfectly when, one day, a coworker of mine began to ask me questions about my experiences with relationships and guys. What could have been a casual conversation just went too deep for me. It was like I was sitting in a pitch-black room with a one-hundredwatt light bulb staring me right in the face, demanding answers. At first, I wanted to walk away, avoid the whole situation and say, “leave me alone,” but I am an adult who knows enough about etiquette and self-control to know that wouldn’t be appropriate. So I went ahead and

answered the questions, willing myself to keep composure. Why do I take innocent questions as such an invasion of privacy? Why am I so defensive? It is hard to give a definitive answer, but I think privacy is what it all comes down to. We keep hidden what we want to keep hidden. I just so happen to be comfortable keeping 90 percent of my life hidden from others. I go to school, I go to work, and I get all of my responsibilities done and do so with a friendly attitude. Why do you need to know more? If we go deeper into exactly what privacy is, we must ask just what privacy means to us individually as well as to our culture and society as a whole. How would we all act if there was no such thing as privacy? Would we all be standing out on the streets naked?

Maybe, but I think it goes a little deeper than that. I think of a house, and in every house there are rooms, doors and windows. In the living room, family room, den, or whatever you want to call it — in there is where you mingle with your family, where you’re out in the open, and most of the time, with nothing to hide. And even further, the windows let the outside world see in. That is the part of you that steps even further out of your private world for strangers to see what you don’t mind being seen. But the doors are where you keep hidden. Behind closed doors is where your real personal privacy is. And your bedroom door is the most important door of them all. There are reasons we choose to keep certain things hidden, and those reasons change from individual to individual (maybe each door for each individual has a different architectural design, or has unique signs and posters on it). Privacy is like a life source that gives you meaning. It is where you can be exactly who you want to be. With your privacy, you don’t have to compromise with anybody else, and that is why when someone else tries to pry into that space that is solely yours, the feeling of invasion is expected. Only after breaking down your walls will that person get down to the true meaning of who you are. That just might be why privacy is priceless. But what about our society and our culture? What is outside those windows of our houses? All those people that may or may not be strangers that you don’t mind seeing what is on the surface of you. What is their privacy? How do they define their personal privacy? That is the wondrous part of what privacy is. The exact definition of privacy changes from each person. There is no tangible or measurable “correct” amount of privacy. It is hard to draw the line that constitutes any amount as right or wrong. It is simply the amount that each person finds necessary for him or her to live his or her day-to-day life in comfort. Your dad could choose to be a very private person, whereas your

best friend only feels like him or herself when they share every little aspect of his or her life with you. Your sister may not mind being open with you, but she would never tell you her deepest and darkest secrets. The amount of privacy that each person uses is a way of defining them as an individual. It is like another way of showing your personality. The culture we live in is not very strict on what privacy is, per se. We all know, on some superficial level that it is some kind of information (physical or abstract) that each person wants no one else in the world to know. People in our society that we see as icons or role models, such as actors, athletes and musicians, are some of those who, even though they are in the public eye, want to keep many aspects of their lives private from the world. They choose not to reveal their spouse or significant other, or they keep their children from being revealed to the media. Even though privacy is what is chosen to stay hidden, you see it everywhere. Each person has their own certain degree of privacy. And so privacy can be another way to define our culture. Privacy is a given because we all have it and it is everywhere in our culture. I have my own ways of privacy, and I have my own personal amount of my life that I like to keep hidden. So that means I am a part of my culture and society. I am just one small part of our society of privacy. And even though I am claimed by my society and am one of millions, I stand out as an individual because of my personal privacy. What I keep private and what I allow others to see is part of what makes me who I am. When my mom or a coworker asks me questions that most people wouldn’t think twice about answering, and I get offended, I am just showing them who I am. I consider most of my thoughts to be private things that I don’t feel necessary for everyone to know. But what is it that makes me want to keep so many things, including my personal thoughts, so private? Well, who really needs to know? • DECEMBER 2015 | VINDICATOR 42

NEVERMORE by Holly Bland

Annular and solid matter Small-scale diameter Swallow, wait, success. (it evolves) Far-reaching utensils Manipulate, touch, and nudge Heave, breathe, success. (it evolves) I don’t want it, I need it. You don’t need it, you want it. You want it. I NEED IT. Crave, eat, binge. (it evolves) More calories burned than in …..remember X Work it off, just sweat …..remember (it evolves) I always end up right here Recuperating You’d think I’d become more accustomed? My body’s stronghold strikes, Mission always accomplished, nonetheless. BITTER VICTORY Nevermore, once more Nevermore, once more Nevermore. 43 VINDICATOR | DECEMBER 2015


Yet I stand feeble…

PLANS by Morgan Elswick

Maybe I should have killed myself last Spring as I planned, when the rains were the heaviest and my body wouldn’t have been found for days and days. Or maybe I should’ve done it when my lover was out of town, and I was left to my own devices to do what I wanted and what I yet couldn’t. Perhaps the best time for a proper suicide was during the Winter, when the lake was frozen solid and the poor brown fish were stuck mid-stream, expired. It’s not too late, I suppose, if I try very hard and plan diligently, I might, possibly find the time and resources to die. Perhaps I could wait until the Summer when the grass is vibrant and the children are wild beasts and hang myself with the tire swing. Or maybe I should wait until my house is full, and throw back a mug of pills, foul-tasting, bitter things that they are, it will still get the job done. Maybe I can do it in the Fall, when the leaves are bright yellow and red and hide my lifeless body in an overstuffed tree lawn, amongst the lifeless plant parts.


I’m waiting for the day when I can pull the plug, end the misery, evaporate. I hope I can find the will to end what I never wanted to start.



by Chau Tang

Why do you want to hurt me? Why do you want to see me bleed? They’re human too, just like you and me Have you no regard for the human race? Do you feel the need to be superior and show how powerful you are? This is ridiculous. If you don’t care for anyone else but yourself, can we kill you then? Cause it seems like it’s so easy for you to kill others. Kill with no guilt, when families are in need of healing. It’s all because you decided to kill their family. Severed their head, chopped their bodies up with knives into tiny pieces. Once killed, they’re gone for good. Can we kill your family too? Or will you get revenge? An eye for an eye, right? When you see the damage that’s been done, are you satisfied? This world already has enough criminals to last a lifetime. Why do you want to be involved? This is insane. Do you remember a world with peace? Cause I sure don’t.



Can’t you just stop this madness?



by Sidney Morgan

"You've filled my life with darkness Screaming black has taken possession of all my deepest thoughts But do not mistake this for blindness Nor fearful distraught I've taken a liking to my morbid companions To my friends, the shadows They would never abandon But stand aside me for my most grueling battles Thank you for leaving me a little broken and tainted


Because there is no other color but black that I wish to be painted"















































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