The Vindicator - February 2016

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Vindicator Cleveland State University’s Arts and Culture Magazine

FEB 2016

the black history issue cleveland’s civil rights history


justice for tamir rice

the social media generation how to use your favorite apps in a healthy way

are you having safe sex? CSURGE teaches us how to be safe in the bedroom

overthinking got you stressed out? you’re not alone

FEB 2 Letter from the Editor 3 Contributors 4 Online 5 Calendar ARTS 7 The Oscars Suck 9 Cleveland That He Loves 11 Single on Valentine’s Day CULTURE 13 What is Islam? 15 In The Name of Progress 17 Palestine’s Unknown Reality 19 Unlearning Racism FEATURE 21 The Social Media Generation 25 Sixth City History 29 Cleveland’s Turn 31 Safe Sex is Good Sex SOCIAL ISSUES 35 My Unexpected Valentine 37 Swipe Right or Swipe Wrong 40 The Damage of Overthinking 42 Watching You Die POETRY 44 Puzzle Pieces 45 Your Viens Found You 46 Untitled 47 To Stop Loving K.R.


Sixth City History A look into Cleveland’s involvement in the Civil Rights Movement




ome my final semester on the Vindicator team, I couldn’t be happier with the reputation that we’ve upheld and, more importantly, the people that 48 pages of art, culture, social justice and strong opinions have united to form our staff. Activism and shedding light on important and relevant topics has taken the initial intent of the Vindi and elevated it to embody a huge spectrum of issues that the modern college student might face in the media or even on campus. Specifically for February, being Black History Month, we uncover the significance of Cleveland’s role in the Civil Rights Movement with an article by Carissa Woytach and rally in a feature piece on Tamir Rice by Arbela Capas. In a time clouded by injustice, especially in Cleveland, remembering our place in history can inspire and

remind us that our generation has a chance to hold an imperative role in history as well. Lately we’ve been aiming to cover more stories surrounding the current month’s observances that we find relevant to our cause – not that National Pistachio Day isn’t a crucial February event. For instance, National Eating Disorder Awareness Week is in February, so we have an article by Kyrie Anderson on her own personal experience with a close friend. We also had to sneak in some Valentine’s Day articles too, so check out a guide to being single by Michella Dilworth and Gregory Elek, and My Unexpected Valentine by Sydney Choe. Thanks for reading!




Faculty Advisor Julie Burrell Media Specialist Rodolfo Pagsanjan

CONTRIBUTORS Editor-in-Chief Reese Shebel Art Director Becky Byron Assistant Art Director Ben Rodriguez Managing Editor Carissa Woytach Copy Editor Kyrie Anderson Multimedia Manager Evan Prunty Culture Editor Louis Walee Arts Editor Benjamin Heacox Online Content Editor Michella Dilworth Junior Designer Nicole Zollos Junior Designer Vicki Vincent Contributing Writer Arbela Capas Contributing Writer Chau Tang Contributing Writer Sarah Mohammed Contributing Writers Members of CSURGE Contributing Writer Gregory Elek Contributing Writer Chau Tang Contributing Writer Alana Whelan Contributing Writer Sydney Choe Contributing Writer Joy McKinney 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. 2121 Euclid Ave, MC 471, Cleveland, OH 44115 216 687 2118 3 VINDICATOR | FEBRUARY 2016



“I absolutely love the ‘Merry Christmas is not an Insult’ piece in this month’s @Vindi_CSU issue! Everyone should give it a read” -@ANDRIANAKRAP VIA TWITTER

Watch the interviews for “The Social Media Generation” story

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“Arbela’s take on the Trump campaign in the The Vindicator is so insightful! She underlines the big issues with his campaign having support, and gives us who oppose him the words to explain our fears. “This isn’t even a political campaign anymore, but rather it has become more of a mass “movement” that is being fueled by bigoted propaganda, bombastic rhetoric, and white fear.””

“Trump does not scare me, because when I look at his angry face and his pointed finger in the air, I see the embodiment of modern America. Or, more specifically, Modern Angry White America. Whatever you want to call it, but that’s what that is. And it’s finally being unmasked for the world to see.” CONTINUE READING ONLINE


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what’s happening in...


Vegan Mondays at TownHall

Jump on the “meatless Mondays” train and feast at TownHall in Ohio City every Monday night. Offering vegan and gluten free options, guests can devour their way through plates of specials like Tofu Etouffee. Feb. 8 5 - 10PM, 1909 W 25TH ST


Mardi Gras at Bourbon Street Barrel Room

Celebrate Fat Tuesday in true New Orleans style, minus the four hour plane ride, at Bourbon Street Barrel Room in the heart of historic Tremont. Tickets are $9.50. Feb. 9 4PM, 2393 PROFESSOR AVE


Dark Universe at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History

Every Monday thru Friday from 2:30-3:00 p.m. take a trip through the galaxy in a new planetarium show narrated by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. Tickets are $5 with normal $14 general admission ($10 for students), and museum members get in free.. Feb. 10 2:30PM, 1 WADE OVAL DR



Swing Dance at the Lakewood Masonic Temple

Do you feel you were born in the wrong decade? Then visit one of the longest running swing dances in the country for a night of foxtrotting and jitterbugging your way back to the jazz age. No previous dance experience required and admission is $12 per person. Visit for more information. Feb. 12 7:45PM, 15300 DETROIT AVE



Friday thru Sunday, the Convention Center will become host to celebrities from every fandom possible in Wizard World’s second year in the city. Vendors from the Cleveland area and beyond will descend upon C-town, along with actors including Matt Smith and Karen Gillan from Doctor Who. Single day and weekend passes are available, with GA three-day passes available for $75 in advance or $85 day-of. For more information on special guests, panels and tickets visit Feb. 26 3 - 8PM, 300 LAKESIDE AVE

Dropkick Murphys 20 Year Anniversary Tour at the House of Blues Ever-original Dropkick Murphys, an American Celtic punk quintet from Massachusetts, are celebrating 20 years of mainstream success for two nights at House of Blues Cleveland, Feb. 17 and 18. Tickets are on sale at, GA standing room only, $32.50 in advance or $35 day of the show at the box office, and $40 for balcony reserved seating. Feb. 17 7PM, 308 EUCLID AVE


Let me break you up: Cleveland Rocks/Love Sucks at Mahall’s What’s the opposite of Valentine’s Day — this anti-dating game show, hosted by comedian Carly Ann Filbin, where real couples are tested to see if they’re “meant to be together” by answering questions about one another. Tickets are $8 online via ticketfly or $10 at the door. Feb. 27 8 & 10PM, 13200 MADISON AVE



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WHY THE OSCARS SUCK Maybe the ever popular Academy Awards aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. // Gregory Elek


always thought that it was unanimous opinion that The Oscars are meaningless; that more often than not, they miss the mark. Recently, however, I’ve been hearing a number of people saying that “the Oscars normally get things right” or “that movie nominated for best picture was good.” Best picture nominations shouldn’t be good, though — they should be fantastic. The Oscars should be the ten greatest achievements in film released that year. This is an admittedly difficult piece to write for two reasons: 1. because these arguments could be seen as critiques for any award show, and 2. because it’s really hard to not just sit here and complain about my favorite movies, actors, and filmmakers that haven’t been nominated or won. Because of that, I’d like to preface this article by saying that this could be seen as a critique on award shows in general at times, and I will only bring up snubs if it seems to be general opinion. My first complaint with the academy is that they do things that don’t make any sense, and I’ll use the 2015 show as an example. You can nominate up to 10 films for best picture. The academy nominated 8. Now, if they only believed that there were 8 films

worthy of the nomination I would have no problem with that at all, but that’s not the case. The academy nominated Foxcatcher for 5 awards, including Actor in a Leading Role, Actor in a Supporting Role, Original Screenplay, Director, and Makeup & Hairstyling, but no nomination for best picture. If you like the movie well enough that it you nominate it for 5 awards, and you have the spot for another film in the best picture category, why wouldn’t you put it on there? It just doesn’t make any sense to me. Perhaps the filmmakers behind Foxcatcher aren’t in “the club” yet. Which brings me to my next point. Yes, the academy has a club. One of its most obvious members is Meryl Streep. Now I’m not trying to discredit Meryl Streep as an actress at all, because she’s absolutely fantastic. All I’m saying is the academy is at the point where they will nominate her even if she’s just fine and, like I said earlier, The Oscars shouldn’t be for “just fine” filmmaking. Streep received a best actress nod for her work in Into the Woods (2014). I personally saw the movie and didn’t even take note of her performance. Upon reading reviews of the movie, no one else really seemed to either, but somehow she ended up with the nomination anyway. If you aren’t in the club you might as well not even bother. Jake Gyllenhaal received nothing but praise after his memorizing role in Nightcrawler (2014). It seemed to be unanimous opinion that he completely transformed himself and put on the best

performance of not only the year, but his life, yet he received no nomination. He might get in the club one day, but unfortunately for him, the academy has yet to see him as worthy. I know all of my examples have been from the 2014 show, but that’s just for relevance. I can almost guarantee that if you just google “Oscar Snub” you will find at least one result that has you scratching your head. There’s also some very odd trends the academy seems to follow when giving out awards. For example, its been blatantly clear that they favor movies based on true stories. In recent years we’ve had 12 Years a Slave, Argo, The King’s Speech, and although it might be a bit of a stretch last year we had Birdman. For Best Actress awards they seem to have a bias towards women who play a role where their sex is a major part of their story. For example, out of the 88 best actress awards 13 have gone to a woman playing a prostitute. Men seem to get more nominations when playing someone with some kind of a mental disability. Since 1988, 14 of 27 best actor winners have had a mental or physical barrier that would interfere with daily life. Just like with best picture the acting awards are more likely to go to actors and actresses playing a real person. Also if you’re an actor going for an Oscar you might as well forget it unless you’re over the age of 40. In 2002 Adrian Brody won for The Pianist when he was 27, making him the youngest winner ever, the only winner in his 20’s, and one of only 32 best actors that have been under 40. The average age of a best actor winner is 43.7. It’s the opposite for best actress. There has only been one best actress win in her 50’s, 5 in her 60’s, one in her 70’s and one in her 80’s. Now this might seem like odd nitpicking, but I feel like these trends show that the academy is looking for certain things as opposed to better filmmaking. Now that I’ve listed more than enough problems, the real question is how can this be fixed? I’ve heard many people say that fans should vote online for all of the categories. I don’t think that’ll work for two reasons: 1. because there’s already award shows for that and 2. it should be left up to people

who really know film and not just the general public. I know that might sound incredibly pretentious, but it’s true. If the general public can vote, you’ll have the most popular films winning awards, not the greatest achievements in film. My first suggestion to make things better is to add diversity to the academy. 94% of the Academy members are white, 77% are male, and 54% are over 60, while 25% are in their 50’s. I think including people from different cultures, and just varying personal experiences in general, might help open the minds of the academy. Perhaps some young up-and-coming filmmakers would create a new perspective in the Academy’s mind. Another thought is to get some filmmakers from other countries. This might help put an emphasis on foreign films, because I feel like the Academy doesn’t give foreign films nearly enough love. Another suggestion that would help the Academy would be to move back the date of the actual show. As of right now, the Oscars take place in February. Perhaps giving the Academy more time to see the movies they want to vote for would be a good idea. They might watch the movies more than once, then. It’s not uncommon at all to see a movie once, like it, and then see it again with a lessened fondness for it. Pushing back the show might also help voters discover smaller movies that they might not have heard of if they had to vote right around the new year. I know this is more unlikely idea because the longer they wait to do the show, the less viewers would care, but I really do think it would help. The important thing to remember is that it doesn’t really matter what happens in this award show, or any other award show, for that matter. I know it means a lot to the filmmakers and the actors and actresses, but if a you think a movie is great, that’s all that matters. Time has shown us that not winning Oscars won’t stop movies from being classics. Citizen Kane (1941) is often considered the greatest and most influential American film ever made, and it didn’t win “best picture.” It’s all just opinion, and no one is stopping you from loving what you love. •




• Meryl Streep is shown or mentioned • Anyone makes you feel less confident about how you look • Someone is being cut off my music • There’s a pointless clip between commercials of celebrities interacting TAKE TWO SIPS IF:

• Someone says the award itself is heavy. • Someone in the crowd looks offended/ uninterested. • Anyone you’re watching with says “Who/what is that?” TAKE THREE SIPS IF:

• Someone is noticeably drunk • Two people presenting an award together make a joke that gets little to no reaction • Any controversial joke is made • Someone cries during their acceptance speech


• Leonardo DiCaprio wins an Oscar

*The Vindicator does not encourage underage drinking. Please be responsible whilea playing this game.



CLEVELAND THAT HE LOVES A CSU graphic design alumni, Greg Vlosich, is taking the world by storm, one t-shirt at a time. // by Ben Heacox



land, the GV team has been designing for nearly 100 NFL players, George has been a guest on “Oprah” and “Late Night with David Letterman,” they’ve worked with many national brands, and have their work on display around the country. They’ve even opened up a second shop on the East Side in downtown Willoughby. “We get people coming in for one day to watch a browns game from places like Florida and they say ‘this was a must stop on our visit.’” Even with such national recognition, Greg and

Rather than cloning another jersey or mascot into their apparel, Greg and his team design unique graphics for each piece, fusing a love for all things CLE with original artwork.


he “Cleveland Renaissance” has inspired a lot of hometown love in recent years. Playhouse Square has seen revitalization, our sports teams have more die-hard fans than ever, and our art galleries, restaurants, and museums have gone from local secrets to a must-see tourist spots. Our city is getting a lot of love, but before it was cool to love Cleveland, people like CSU alum Greg Vlosich and his family were

building up their hometown’s pride. It’s that some passion for CLE - especially our sports - that inspired the creation of GV Art and Design. For them, art is in sports, t-shirts are a canvas, and Cleveland is a masterpiece. GV Art and Design is a home-grown business that creates and sells original Cleveland apparel and artwork. Walking into one of their stores, there’s immediately a sense that you’re in an oh-soCLE sanctuary. Murals of the Cavs in action, the Cleveland skyline, mascots, and hometown glory line the walls and appear proudly across t-shirts, hoodies, and baseball caps. We’ve seen Cleveland pride in the form of jerseys and browns fan’s war paint, but there’s nothing else quite like what Greg and his team have created in their Lakewood-based shop. Rather than cloning another jersey or mascot into their apparel, Greg and his team design unique graphics for each piece, fusing a love for all things CLE with original artwork. “Growing up, there were two things I was really interested in and that’s art and sports” Greg tells me. “I watched my brother draw, tried to emulate what he was doing.” So, artistic roots lead Greg to attend the Cleveland Institute of Art (CIA). However, with no real sports programs at CIA or even a group of students to play sports with, Greg decided he needed to transfer schools. A year later, he began classes at CSU. He was able to play division one basketball while pursuing a degree in graphic design at Cleveland State, developing both his passions for creating art and playing sports. In 2007, Greg graduated and launched into the world of professional sports: as a photographer and artist for Browns players. All this time, Greg paired with his dad and brother George selling “Cleveland That I Love” t-shirts out of his parents’ home. About two years ago, the demand for the Cleveland art the Vlosich family was creating became too huge to continue working out of a basement. GV Art & Design was born just down the road from Greg’s parents’ home – a truly home-grown business. While maintaining strong roots here in Cleve-

his family have remained dedicated to their hometown, the Cleveland that they love. “Each shirt is a piece of art or some strong statement” says Greg. Each design is carefully thought out and the designers view each piece like a canvas – even the t-shirts. But it’s more than that; GV Art and Design is about community, family, and a love for your hometown. This is a thriving small business but also an artistic space. It’s a place where art, sports, and community are used to bring people from all over Cleveland and abroad together. It’s a one of a kind CLE experience, and you simply must be there. •



VALENTINE’S DAY // by Michella Dilworth & Gregory Elek

Valentine’s Day can really suck when you are single, especially if everyone around you is not. In reality, the holiday will only suck if you let it. Instead of moping around and feeling bad about yourself, make the day special and do something fun!


Dress Up and Go Out with your Single Friends There are others out there that are just as single as you. Even if you don’t find your soulmate, you will definitely get an ego boost from all the other single people hitting on you.

2 Celebrate your Independence


Embrace the Holiday Spirit

It is Valentine’s Day and there is nothing you can do about it. Don’t just accept it, live it. Wear a pink sweater, cut your sandwich to look like a heart, give yourself a hug. If no one else is going to love you at least you’ll love yourself.



4 Have a Guy’s/Girl’s Night


5 Buy Yourself Some Flowers


Show yourself some love. It will be a nice surprise! 7 Plan a Trip


Be Productive

Whether it’s cleaning your apartment or writing that paper you’ve been avoiding, just do it. If you need a day to get something done, choose Valentine's Day.



Get some Puppy Love Take a trip to the local animal shelter and spend an hour or two with some pups. They definitely will give you more attention in a single sitting than any gf or bf could.


Talk to your crush


Live Your Life




WHAT IS ISLAM? // by Sarah Mohammad



of faith is believing in angels, angels are created from light and their sole purpose is to follow the command of God. The third pillar of faith is believing in the holy scriptures, as I previously stated, Muslims believe in the Quran, we also believe in the original untouched scriptures like the Bible, Torah, and Zabur (Psalms of David). The reason why Muslims primarily use the Quran is because it is the only holy book that is 100% authentic and has gone unchanged. The forth is believing in the prophets, we believe in many prophets, 25 of which are mentioned

know that whatever Allah wills will occur. Also He is the creator of everything including our deeds. Allah knows our past, present, and future. Our lives are set, but that does not mean that we strive any less toward perfection. There are many practices that Muslims follow based on the teachings of the Prophet Mohammed peace be upon him. They are considered religious and not cultural because these actions are derived from a religious figure and completed by Muslims from various cultural backgrounds. For example it was advised to us by the prophet Mohammad (PBUH) for an individual to rub the inside of the date on the pallet of a newborn baby. This is a practice completed by Muslims from all over the world. Not too long ago BBC news came out with an article stating the benefits of having a form of sugar gel being rubbed on the pallet of a newborn baby. Babies born prematurely normally have low blood sugar and therefore would benefit by having this affordable treatment completed. Another practice our beloved prophet advised us on doing is to sleep on our right side. Many medical professionals have advised people to sleep on their right because it applies less pressure on the heart and improves blood flow throughout the body. As an American-Palestinian Muslim, I value and practice Palestinian traditions as long as they do not in the Quran. Prophet Mohammad contradict my religious beliefs. This (PBUH) is believed to be the last and is the same principle many Muslims final messenger, but we also believe in follow across the globe. At Cleveland Adam, Abraham, Moses, Noah, John State University you will meet Muslims the Baptist, Jesus and many more. The from all over the world like India, fifth pillar of faith is the belief in the Pakistan, Syria, Turkey, Palestine, day of judgment. This is the Day of Nigeria, Egypt, and many more. accounting for all deeds; evil or good, We all come from different cultural big or small. In our lives we need to backgrounds, but there is one thing believe that all we do will have bearing that unifies us all; Islam. Islam is a faith on the Last Day. No one but God knows that does not discriminate against an when this day will come, so it is our goal individual due to their gender or to the to live each day as if it was our last. The color of our skin. We are all equal in sixth and final pillar of faith is believing the eyes of God and therefore consider in fate in free will. Everything in our one another brothers and sisters in lives is already written, it is our duty to faith. •

At Cleveland State University you will meet Muslims from all over the world.


slam is a faith that is followed by people of all ethnic backgrounds. A Muslim is an individual who follows the religion of Islam, to be a Muslim one must believe that there is only one God, Allah, and that Mohammed peace be upon him is the final messenger of God. Islam is one of the fastest growing monotheistic faiths, it consists of over 1.6 billion followers from all over the world. You won’t find a continent on this planet that does not have at least one individual believing in Islam. As Muslims, we believe in the holy book called the Quran which are the words of God that was sent down to the last prophet, Mohammad peace be upon him, our second source of information comes from the sunnah, which is the teachings of our last prophet. As Muslims, we believe in the five pillars of Islam which consists of taking a testimony, prayer, charity, fasting, and completing a pilgrimage. The testimony that must be taken is called Shahadah, which means believing that there is no God but Allah and Mohammad (PBUH) is the messenger of God. The second pillar of Islam is prayer - a Muslim must complete five obligatory prayers every day. Third is charity, one must give 2.5% of their annual savings to the poor. Fourth is fasting, we must fast during the holy month of Ramadan which consists of not eating or drinking from sunrise to sunset. And the last pillar of Islam is completing a pilgrimage to the holy city of Makkah. A person must complete this pilgrimage at least once in their lifetime. Those who are physically or financially unable to go aren’t obligated to do so. Muslims worldwide abide by these pillars. We also believe in the six articles of faith which is believing in the oneness of God, the angels, the holy books, the prophets, the day of judgment, and fate and free will. It’s important to understand that we do not associate partners with God, we believe he is the most supreme. We worship the creator and not the creation. The second pillar





ith 2015 having come to a close, 2016 is sure to be an interesting year, especically for the African American population in the United States. This past year was indeed a tumultuous year for African Americans, with a frenzy of police shootings and killings of unarmed African Americans, the death of African Americans “mysteriously” in police custody, and the inherit racially motivated attacks on African Americans across America. This of course is in addition to the already unsettling high rates of unemployment amongst African Americans, mass incarceration, and poverty. African Americans have consistently had to struggle and persevere through a variety of conflicts whether they be racial-ethnic, economic, socio-cultural or political, and while we have persevered we haven’t collectively as a sizable ethnic population within the United States of American truly progressed as a people. After historic events such as the Civil rights movement (1954-1968), which was aimed at ending legalized racial segregation, and the election of America’s first recognized


African American President Barack Hussein Obama (2008-2016) there would be conversations and dialogue that would assert that Africans Americans have progressed greatly, have made impeccable strides and are in no position lesser or greater than their other American counterparts. While it is true African Americans collectively have made progress in fields of education, government, military and other sectors of American society, overwhelming we have not been able to function as a fully capable “American”, which is essentially covert for saying African Americans haven’t been able to fully assimilate into a predominant European society. African Americans still have had a very difficult time adapting to America and with much of our history in this country rooted in either legalized enslavement, chattel slavery, and dealing with the aftermath of slavery (Jim Crow, reconstruction, WWI & II, Civil Rights movement, Reagan-Bush I, and Bush II to Obama) we’re still struggling to overcome our past hardships that are still very current. One of the outcomes of the Civil

// Louis Walee

Rights movement was racial integration and while many had hailed it a victory, I would reason that it underdeveloped Black America and crippled us (to this present day). Black America was once a true economic power with businesses, investments, education and wealth to go along with it. We had the strength, love, comradery, unity, and respect within our community and outside of it that solidified us and this was present while segregated, not integrated with European American society. Once integrated we lost much of the wealth, business and infrastructure we established as well as the cultural and social mechanisms we used to stay cooperative and united with one another, and these losses compelled with the other consequences of integration are some of the reasons the African American community has the problems it does today and inhibited our progress. The Civil Rights Act of 1964, which was a consequence of the Civil Rights movement, outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, and while it benefited many non-African American groups (women, LGBT communi-


ty, and Latinos) it hadn’t truly benefited the African American community who were the ones who actually fought, marched and died for its passage. The Civil Rights of Act 1964 would likely have never came into existed without the sacrifice of African Americans, surely even the election of President Barack Obama wouldn’t have been possible without that sacrifice as well. As a result of president Obama’s presidency there where many who assumed the that plight of the African Americans had improved, and of those who assumed this assumption was not limited to those on the political right or left. There were many Republicans who argue that African Americans had progressed and argue that there is no real reason for African Americans to “complain” about our issues, and the election of president Obama is testament that with “hard work” and “dedication” African Americans can be just as successful as any other American. What many on the political right fails to understand and acknowledge if that racism exist and permeates within every sector of American society and racism ‒ whether individual,

institutional, or national ‒ is a system of power and control that dictates what opportunities are available for many African Americans and strongly hinders our lives in every facet. The poverty and lack of employment in the community is largely said to be a by-product of African American “laziness” and a “culture of dependency” which is interesting to say the least since America was built on backs of enslaved Africans and there would be no “America” without them. Again many on the right fail to see that the wealth reaped from my enslaved ancestors allowed European Americans today to be as economically and financially off as they are and these economic disparities are largely overlooked when the economic-financial situation of African Americans are brought up. Then there are the Democrats, within the president’s own camp on the political left who believe that America has become steadily more “progressive” and that African Americans have a place within that progression. While this “progression” can be looked at as simply optimism and can be appreciated, it could also be seen as naivety. I would state that there is a serious lack of understanding as it comes to African Americans on the part of many Democrats. Their usual ideals of “progression” usually means notions such as diversity and inclusion. While such things have meaning, they can be counterproductive to a people whose main obstacle has been racial-ethnic and whose situation rest solely on race-ethnicity. Also many on the political left have a habit of equating African American issues and the plight of the community with issues either outside the community or simply not relevant to the African American community. It should be understood that African American community’s agenda shouldn’t and doesn’t have to be joined with that of others and/or co-opted because such actions may not work in the vested interest of the community and in fact can be damaging to the community, the culture and the African heritage the culture derives from. Though many on the left would say they are allies of the African American community, their beliefs and actions prove otherwise and are contrary to the benefit of the African American community. African Americans first should work to cooperate with other African Americans and come to a consensus-understanding our ethnic identity and who we are as a people, where we come from and what works in our best interest as a community. What is commonly overlooked by both parties is that when you’re not the majority (in this case African Americans), you’ll

have a more difficult trying to make a way for yourself when you live in a system that simply wasn’t built for you, as it was built to benefit those who it was created for and by ‒ European Americans. While there are many that have their own idea of what progress is, it surely is easier to see what is not than to see what is. For the African American community in 2016 to overcome our problems and conflicts, I would advocate that we collectively return to in some essence of practicality what had been beneficial to us in previous times. It is known that if there is employment, there is less crime. So African American communities should surely promote, establish and maintain Black businesses and hire those who live within our communities, our children, our neighbors, our students. Establishing economic prosperity can reverse the poverty within our communities and help to curve and hopefully end the violence that economic depravity surely helps the cause. If we invest in our communities, we invest in our children and our future. We must promote education that is conducive to our children and promotes positive thinking, actions and behavior. We must instill in our children racial-ethnic pride and integrity, culture, respect, and understanding of the past, present and future so our children will be equipped to handle whatever challenges that they should happen to encounter. Our history is very relevant and should never be forgotten, it should be cherished, expressed, and passed down from generation to generation. There has to be significance placed in our culture, a genuine appreciation and embracement of it. Collectively, we must understand that strength lies in numbers, and progress is achieved by cooperation. Finally no matter the conflict, it can be overcome, and no matter what is said about us we are a people used to hardships and we know how to survive. We should strive for advancement, empowerment, and self-sufficiency as these are keys to our liberation. We must understand that in order for our situation to change, it won’t change until we decide to truly change it ourselves. As a people we must put our own conflicts and struggles first, because nothing or no one will solve the issues of African Americans but African Americans. Power respects power, let’s work to create our own way of life. Peace. Also I’d like to acknowledge the souls we lost this last year and pray that their souls rest in peace, including our beloved sister Sandra Bland, brothers Freddie Gray, LaQuan McDonald, Tamir Rice and the many more whose lives we’re taken unjustly. Rest in Peace.



PALESTINE’S UNKNOWN REALTIY The unseen horrors that palestinians face // Anonymous


nytime someone speaks about the conflict of Israel and Palestine, you’re either one of the two extremes: a heartless Zionist or a radical jihadist. There’s never an in between. Both sides should be held accountable for their wrongdoings. If they continue to blame each other, they will never obtain peace. This article is in response to my fellow colleague, TJ Hayes, to clarify the inaccurate portrayal he projected about the Palestinians without a well-informed background concerning the conflict. In response to the way Hayes explained anti-semitism, a clear definition of


this word is needed. Anti-semitism is “hostility toward or discrimination against Jews as a religious, ethnic, or racial group” (Jews, not Zionists). If I were to stand against the violent acts of the Zionists, that would consider me anti semitic? Are you implying that if I were to defend the rights of those who endured slavery in the late 1800s, I would be anti-white, since I do not agree with the violent acts that the African Americans were subjected to? My position is that the Palestinians have a real grievance: their homeland for over one thousand years was taken, without their consent and mostly by force, during the creation of the State of Israel. I am not trying to create this image of Israel being

this monstrous state. All I am trying to do is shed some light on what Israelis have done and are currently doing to the Palestinians. It’s all due to the barbaric acts of the Israelis that the Palestinians act in self-defense. Let’s paint a small picture of what takes place overseas that U.S. media fails to display to everyone, shall we? A 16 year old Israeli soldier, brainwashed and heavily equipped with fine arms, is led into a Palestinian home with a group of his close buddies. His commander demands him to remove the Palestinians out of their home, and if the Palestinians resist, whether it be a man, a woman, or a child, they simply shoot. Once that is complete, a soldier puts the bulldozer in drive and moves forward, destroying the Palestinian home. Let’s take a moment here and reflect; this was a home. A home that was built on so many memories. Kids once used to run around and play in that particular home, but now it is destroyed, due to selfishness and greed for more land, in order to continue building more Jewish settlements. According to If Americans Knew, 0 Israeli homes have been demolished by Palestinians and at least 28,000 Palestinian homes have been demolished by Israel since 1967. You do not see this on the news or published in the newspapers because we are also responsible for this mess. Each year, money is collected from every hard working American’s pockets and sent down to fund such atrocities. Roughly three billion dollars per year. Rachel Corrie, an American journalist, was a part of a nonviolent resistance organization, trying to stop the demolition of Palestinian homes. Unfortunately, her peaceful protest led to a tragic outcome, one that Israelis determined to be an “accident.” She stood in front of a Palestinian’s home and shouted to the Israeli in the bulldozer to stop. However, the Israeli soldier threatened her to move or he would bulldoze her. Anyone would think that the Israeli soldier was bluffing, because who in their right mind would do such a thing? Apparently, he was not, because Corrie was then found under the belt of that bulldozer. Another incident that took place: a young American citizen, Mohamed Abu Khdeir, was abducted and burned alive by Israelis. But it’s okay guys, it was only an “accident.” During the summer of 2014, the number of deaths accumulated as the tension escalated. It all started with the assumption that three Israeli teens were kidnapped by Hamas. Prime Minister Netanyahu stated: “Hamas is responsible...Hamas will pay.”

reveals them as basically Nazis with beards and black hats.” He then continues: “My parents often wondered why I would grow so indignant at the falsification and exploitation of the Nazi genocide. The most obvious answer is that it has been used to justify criminal policies of the Israeli state and U.S. support for these policies.” Hayes claims that Palestinians are the only human beings who oppose the creation of Israel. However, in New York, there have been countless protests, where even a group of Orthodox Jews burned the Israeli flag and wore pins of the flag crossed out in red. So, can a Jewish person be anti-semitic? The Jewish people who were once the victims of unfathomable tragedy are now the perpetrators responsible for the

When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty.

In response, the Israeli Defense Forces went on a killing spree. Based on the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reports, 2,104 Palestinians were killed in Gaza, including 1,462 civilians, among them 495 children and 253 women. That would mean that 69 percent of the total killed were innocent civilians.The claim that Hamas kidnapped the teens was a venomous false accusation, but it was too late to prevent the loss of lives. This was only a plan to exterminate Palestinians. In 2008, the homemade rockets that Hamas fired into Israel killed no one. In return, the Israelis killed 400 children and 900 adults in Gaza. After the Israeli attacks, Hamas rockets killed 3 Israeli civilians. The Israelis bombed UN schools and used white phosphorus against civilians; both of these actions are war crimes. The U.S. supplied the aircraft, missiles, bombs, and bullets for these attacks and blocked any international condemnation of Israel in the UN. As the world is horrified by the slaughter of hundreds of Palestinians in Gaza by the Israelis, the British Government refuses to condemn the slaughter. This destruction has nothing to do with Hamas; it is an attempt to destroy the civil infrastructure of Gaza. There are people and countries who choose to indiscriminately kill, imprison, and torture innocent people. From the last century, Nazi Germany in the 1930-40s and the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia in the 1970s are some of the many. In these countries, they would slaughter anyone that came in their way as they tried to gain their desires. And so it is with Israel and U.S. In order to gain land for themselves, the Israelis have driven the Palestinians from Palestine, killing those who resist. What sort of people are these Israelis who, when seeing a child’s face look out of a window, instead of raising their hand to give it a friendly wave, raised their gun to blow its brains out? Or would swing around a tank’s gun and blast a whole family into tattered body parts? Norman Finkelstein is a Jewish professor who researches the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in depth. Both of his parents survived the Warsaw Ghetto and the Nazi concentration camps. Apart from his parents, every family member on both sides was exterminated by the Nazis. He states that “the Zionists indeed learnt well from the Nazis. So well that it seems that their morally repugnant treatment of the Palestinians, and their attempts to destroy Palestinian society within Israel and the occupied territories,

-Thomas Jefferson genocide of the Palestinians. Yes, I am talking about the Israeli Zionists that now occupy Palestine. It is only a minority of the Jewish people who stand for this outlandish behavior against the Palestinians. Hayes stated: “a Palestinian terrorist attacked an Israeli civilian.” He also emphasized the peacefulness of the Israelis, declaring the Palestinian people to be an anti-semitic group that enjoy killing innocent people. Based on the statistics of If Americans Knew, “at least 1,217 Israelis and 9,271 Palestinians have been killed since September 29, 2000.” These are outrageous numbers that both groups of the conflict have suffered tremendously. I would caution Hayes when using the word terrorist when describing Palestinians. Based on these numbers, it is evident that Hayes’ article was a victimization of the wrong group of people. Netanyahu is mimicking the

same actions as Hitler and implementing it towards the Palestinians, specifically in the West Bank. “How?” you may ask. Let’s take a trip down history lane and see. In the Warsaw Ghetto of 1940s, the Jewish people were completely shut off from resources in order to put an end to them. Today, Israel controls the borders and all that is allowed in and out of occupied territory. They also have been restricting food, medicine and fuel, to such an extent that there is now extensive hardship and malnutrition in Gaza. The Israelis have decided it is simpler to kill the Palestinians with bombs and missiles provided by the U.S.. The Israelis seem to accept how Hitler handled unwanted people; perhaps Gaza should be renamed Auschwitz [Nazi concentration camp]. What’s unraveling overseas is a massacre, not a war. Today, in the Holy Land, the Zionist government, with the support of Israel’s population, are perpetuating a holocaust against the Palestinian people. After the bodies are counted and the atrocities documented, how will the Zionist government excuse themselves for committing these crimes against humanity? Nazism is happening today, but they changed the label to Zionism and the Israelis are no longer the victims, but rather the finger that pulls the trigger. Ilan Pappé emphasizes how the only chance for a successful struggle against Zionism in Palestine is based on a human and civil rights agenda that does not excuse one violation while condemning the other and accurately identifies the victim from the oppressors. Those who commit atrocities in the Arab world against oppressed minorities, as well as the Israelis who commit these crimes against the Palestinian people, should all be judged by the same moral and ethical standards. They are all war criminals. Whether they call themselves jihadists, or Zionists, they should be treated equally. The horrific events that I witness ache my heart; I see my people becoming victims of such inhumane carnage. Let’s put my people aside, any human being that is subjected to unjust violence should make you want to stand against it. I can go on and on about the unfortunate events that occur in Palestine, but I will stop here. I want to take a moment and say this: we, as individuals who come from different backgrounds, spend so much time categorizing each other that we fall ignorant in realizing our common humanity. It’s merely this hatred and this ongoing racism that finds its way to separate us. Educate yourself, before you spew out any false accusations towards an oppressed group. • FEBRUARY 2016 | VINDICATOR 18


UNLEARNING RACISM // By Kyrie Anderson


mong the many issues that came into the spotlight in 2015 is the continued problem of racism in the United States. More specifically, I’m talking about the type of racism that finds its roots in American slavery, the classic “black vs. white” issue. Just over 150 years is not enough to banish from our memories the horrors that one race inflicted upon another, but our memories are growing dim and we’re all choosing to blame the wrong people for our problems. There is fault on both ends of the spectrum, black people who blame the general population of white people for their struggles, choosing to view themselves as victims, and white people who choose to live in denial, ignorance or both when it comes to racial issues. When the topic of race comes up, we are quick to blame everyone but ourselves for the problems we see. As “Black History Month” rolls around again, I would like to encourage people to take a fresh look at the racism we see today and the history so often undervalued by members of our society. Full disclosure: I am one of the privileged. I am a white woman who grew up in a comfortable middle-class home.


intended or not. I was a white girl who believed in equality. I believed that black people have as much ability and potential as everybody else. I believed that they should have all of the same opportunities as white people, and that they shouldn’t be discriminated against. I believed the things I was supposed to believe, but I didn’t care. I wasn’t racist, but I wasn’t innocent, either. I didn’t care about them because I looked at them as “them.” But what if I looked at them as “us?” What if, for a few moments, we entertained this idea: people are people. Skin is skin, hair is hair, teeth are teeth, and people are people. How ridiculous would it be if people suffered for their hair color the way African American people have suffered because of their skin color? Or teeth. What if the way our teeth grew in determined our status in society? Can you imagine if our height determined whether we were murderers or not? Does anyone else find this outrageous? Let’s imagine a perfect world. Racial profiling doesn’t exist. A black man walking down the street in a hoodie is not a threat. People today don’t have to pay for others’ mistakes in the past. “Little black boys and girls join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.” How beautiful would that be? I have come to a deep love and appreciation for black history. The more I learn about their struggles, the more my heart aches. As I learn of their achievements, my heart swells with pride. They are people, subject to the same dreams and fears as the rest of us, and I pray that in each of us rests the lions’ hearts that we can see in heroes like Frederick Douglass, Martin Luther King Jr., and Rosa Parks. We need to stop looking at “black history” as a color and start looking at it as a history. We need to embrace it as our own. It is a history that belongs to the African American, yes, but we forget it is also a history that belongs to us. We are people, capable of suffering as much as they did, capable of overcoming as much as they have. Let us all, white and black together, embrace black history in such a way that the rest of the world is forced to ask, “Whose history is it?” Let us lay aside our ourselves long enough to think of our neighbors’ plight, and let us show the world what forgiveness and love really are.•


I never had difficulty finding a job, so long as I wasn’t too picky. My life wasn’t handed to me on a golden platter, I had to work to get where I am, but my efforts have always been rewarded. My life is not perfect by any means, but I’m doing okay. So a question must be asked, why is a girl like me choosing to tackle an issue that I have no personal investment in? I am not black. I have never been subjected to attacks founded upon racial prejudice. People don’t look at me and guess how I’ll compare to the “statistics.” My identity might be problematic, for some. I am, after all, a white woman writing on black history. Is this just another example of white supremacy, how whites think they can do everything better than blacks? Or is this another example of the “problem,” how black people don’t even take an interest in the things that directly involve them? Even as I type those questions I realize how much bitterness and hate fuels them. African-American slavery might no longer exist in the United States, but hatred is as fresh as ever, and we haven’t progressed as far as many would have us believe. In 1976, President Gerald R. Ford officially dubbed February “Black History Month” to honor “the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” Forty years later, February rolls around again and a new generation is afforded the opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of an oppressed people that rose up against all odds to meet the challenges they faced. There’s only one question: who cares? Racism is a hot topic that’s lasted for more than a century, and some think that it’s growing a little old. I have a confession, as a member of the majority, I spent much of my life relatively unaware of minority struggles. I look back at sixteen-year-old me and see a girl who was too absorbed with her own struggles to see that there are some problems that far surpass her own internal strife. I remember, when I was eighteen, I was frustrated with university “diversity” requirements, most particularly that I was forced to take an “approved AfricanAmerican course.” I had the classic “us vs. them” mentality that is almost drilled into us by society, and I didn’t know how anything African Americans had gone through pertained to me. I fell into the trap that so many Americans fall into, whether



Social Media THE


Is the social media phenomenon ultimately making us more distracted and empowered in our lives? Or is it possible to find a balance? // by Arbela Capas and Alana Whelan




owadays, social media is more than a means of communication, it is a way of life. The advancements in technology and the internet have created a sense of reality that we have never experienced before, and it’s scaring some people. Some people, especially those from the younger generations, are being criticized for their participation in these advancements. Critics say that they are so consumed by technology that they interact through social media, creating inauthentic images of themselves, instead of genuinely interacting with people. It’s not true that people don’t have real interactions with others outside of social media, but the way that we have become so engrossed with it is hurting our relationships with people outside of the smart phone, internet consumed world. It is unlikely to go to a place and to see no person on their phone. We sometimes use it as a form of distraction to avoid interaction, even if we aren’t on social media. I cannot say how many times I’ve been in a situation where the person I am with (or even I) is on his or her phone, and all I want is to be able to have a conversation with that person without being distracted, or using it as a distraction anytime there is a lull in the conversation. This is how phones in general are killing real human interaction, but social media is almost a different story. Personally, I find social media to be time-consuming and disappointing, but also a way to get inspired. Anything done excessively can be harmful, and this goes the same for the evolvement of social media. However, I believe there is a way to find a balance. These are all diverse ways to look at it, but it is being used in every one of these forms today.


Having information right at our fingertips at all times of the day is a luxury no one could have even imagined one hundred years ago. This easy access to information is arguably

the most important way social media is being used. News spreads so quickly to people everywhere in the world that it is almost impossible to be out of the loop about the most current events. The way the news is being spotlighted in social media also means more job opportunities for people in this field, and job opportunities in general. Social media managers are needed for businesses, and people can make money from blogging about almost anything. The occupations that come along with social media are endless. Stemming from this, the ability to network becomes much simpler. College students looking for jobs or internships can find people working in their field of interest through connections on social media. College professors may even recommend the use of social media as a way to network in some cases. Social media is important today for more reasons than one. It is a powerful tool for networking, making connections and being part of communities around the world. Cleveland State student Sydney Choe told us about her experience starting a fitness instagram, and how it helped her with her own health and well-being, by connecting with others who had the same views. Choe said that even though she sometimes got negative feedback, it was all worth it in the end when she felt like she made a positive influence on others.


TIME SPENT In this day and age, it’s amazing to think how much time and effort we put into social media. The couple minutes (or 20) you spend on Instagram may not seem like much, the numbers definitely add up. According to The Global Web Index, the average person spends 2 hours and 25 minutes a day on social media, with Facebook being in the lead with most users in the world. The number of users increase, as well as the time spent, and this is because of the growing importance and necessity of using social media and social network platforms in day to day activity.

CAREER CONNECTION Social Media has become an important tool for employers and different companies. It has given job seeking landscape a whole different route, on which people can network, connect and even find careers by knowing how to use social media to their advantage. Statistics show that 67% of job seekers using social media use Facebook, while 45% use Twitter. Along with these there’s the popular resumebuilding platform called LinkedIn, which literally helps you connect with possible employers by showcasing your career profile. 40% of employers use LinkedIn.


The majority of the people who are on social media today seem to use it as a distraction. Not everyone wants to use it as a distraction, but because our phones are so insanely easy to access, it’s normal to just pick them up and scroll through twitter or facebook when we get bored. This distraction can lead to obsession. Even though many don’t realize it, if they lost their phones they would feel like a big piece of them is missing. It is true too that a huge chunk of the information on the internet is useless and just for entertainment. While social media is great for

THE FUTURE Although the recent criticisms and even small backlashes against social media do exist, it’s not stopping major social media companies from growing more each year. An article published in FreshGigs a year ago predicted the ways that social media will grow in 2015. They predicted that 20.5% of all internet users will have a Twitter by the year 2015, and they reported that Snapchat is growing at a rate of 56% a year. Who knows how much these trends will increase (or decrase?) at the end of 2016? Is social media going up or going down? And what developments and changes are still underway within the culture of social media?




According to many recent articles, one major prediction being made in the upcoming decades are surrounding how the landscape of technology and social media may begin to change. It is 2016 and the internet is not just simply the internet anymore; it is a powerful force of change, connection and evolution. The key component that has reshaped the way we think of the internet is social media and the culture of social media that has evolved around it. This is the norm. This is our life. It is as common as knowing how to ride the bus or opening a bank account. Social media is 23 VINDICATOR | FEBRUARY 2016


@AJPLUS AJ Plus is a news website that branches off of Al Jazeera and provides all the important stories you need to know, in interesting, easy-to read content, or through interesting informational videos that will always teach you something.

everywhere and the way it looks right now, it’s not going anywhere--or is it? We asked a couple students, “Do you think the social media/smartphone trend will continue for a while in our society?” Most students we talked to said that this trend will continue for a while. But others believe that the social media phenomenon will start to die down, just like most popularized things do. A backlash against social media has already begun, and it seems that it might start to grow as more people start to criticize it and reflect on themselves.

@VICE A less classical, more progressive unique publication, Vice gives you the crazy, weird, but also immensely important stories you never even thought to think about.

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There will ever be a true answer to whether or not social media is a completely “good” thing. Through the spreading of information, as well as through the widening of ideas, social media is being used in so many positive ways. But it is also used for negativity when it comes to “brainwashing” people to think they must look or act a certain way, as well as when it comes to addiction to social media. If we think about it though, these positive and negative factors can come into play in any form of media, whether it be television, newspapers, or even everyday human interaction. When it comes down to it, social media is only a reflection of the human race, its obsession


spreading important information, it is even better for spreading information that just doesn’t matter. Of course, much of the media today is used as a source of entertainment, so this is not necessarily a bad thing, but when it comes excessively to every person who owns a smartphone or a computer, etc. we face potential problems. Viewing social media can also make people feel isolated and even anxious, because it has allowed us to have a magnified look into other people’s lives. We are now able to view other people’s experiences and lives through Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, etc and in turn, this is causing us to compare ourselves more to people. it has created not only a culture of isolation but also a “who’s doing the most fun thing” and “who’s the most successful” contest. And the scariest part is that more often than not, the self we show on social media is usually not our true self. It is a less humanistic, edited version of ourselves that doesn’t really show who we truly are. We need to revive the more human version of ourselves on social media, and start to use to it to express ourselves accurately, instead of hiding behind a mask that everyone else wears. We must realize that the number of likes and reposts do not define us, but the reactions that people have to what we post is what matters.

some people may be scared to share their ideas because they are focusing on what other people are going to think, but the purpose is to create discussions! Discussing ideas about world change; environmental issues, equal rights, suicide awareness, animal rights, gun violence, and more are all so vital to the health of ourselves, the world, and future generations. We now have a tool that no generation before us has had, and we can either use it for our destruction or our empowerment. We ARE the generation to change because we have the tools possible to do so. There’s a way we can utilize social media to our advantage and use it properly. We are living in a new era with new modern advances, so let’s create modern etiquette to go along with it, so to make sure we do not become the brainwashed generation; by following news apps, not focusing so much on

counting likes, but rather listening to comments, at the end of the day. Social media isn’t everything because all our ideas and experiences ultimately come from the real world. We must simply remember that social media and the internet are only a reflection of it. •

We are living in a new era with new modern advances, so let’s create modern etiquette to go along with it.

with perfection, and it’s ability to look deeper into situations and conceptions. After running a poll on twitter we discovered that 16% of people who voted felt like social media made them feel empowered, while 84% said it made them feel distracted. Most people who we interviewed in person said that there is a danger of it becoming a distraction to your life; that sometimes it’s important to catch yourself when you’re looking down at your phone and realize there is so much you’re not seeing. Although, many said they were empowered because it made them feel like they could connect with people from all over, and it gives them a chance to showcase their ideas. The most important way that social media can be used is with the spreading of ideas and positivity. By doing this we can create changes that would not be possible otherwise. I think



SIXTH CITY HISTORY cleveland and the civil rights movement written by Carissa Woytach photos courtesy Cleveland Memory Project


A PEOPLE’S HISTORY IS LARGER than any one movement, vaster than the time allotted in any month to focus on it, and Cleveland’s own role in history is no different. Cleveland and it’s residents, who fought alongside those in Watts, Calif., Chicago, Atlanta, Baltimore, etc., were a driving force behind civil rights actions. Cleveland was a stop for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. Both men visited churches on the east side, focusing in Glenville, Hough and Kinsman districts, where racial tensions were the highest. Actions went out, people taking to the streets from the late 60s into the mid70s, with deadly clashes between activists and occupying police forces. While no movement has a definitive start, there are actions and activists that have secured their place in history, for better or worse. While the tactics can be questioned in hindsight, the eventual outcome is a step in the direction of true equality that the United States is still struggling to reach.

HOUGH, 1966

Hough became an inner city war zone overnight, a hurricane that residents expected to last much longer than the week it did.

A summer turned on its head, the Hough riots shook their inner-city community for over a week. Sparked by a conflict between the owners of the Seventy-Niners’ Café (7900 Hough Ave.) and their refusal to serve the mostly-black patrons water to cut the heat, the temperature rose even higher with fires that roared through the city, razing several businesses. Ending in four dead — including at least one innocent bystander, a mother of three, dozens injured and over 200 fires set, the protest was ignited by a lot more than just a backwards bartender. Hough, once an upper-middle class neighborhood in the 1920s, became one of the most overcrowded and underfunded districts forty years later. With unemployment double that of the city’s average, high drug use and solicitation, the area deteriorated quickly, becoming a powder keg of frustration expressed with bricks and shotgun shells. Store fronts burned, cars torched, citizens caught in the crossfire. Sidaway bridge, off East 67th — the only suspension bridge in Cleveland — was burned, the slats never replaced. Hough became an inner city war zone overnight, a hurricane that residents expected to last much longer than the week it did.

The riots, stemming from complex socioeconomic and societal factors, including relations between the Cleveland Press and community members, were further investigated by a Grand Jury shortly after order was regained by the Ohio National Guard. Rather than recognize the inequalities that persisted in sparking the violence, the report from the Grand Jury’s investigation blamed the situation on Communists and a lack of pride and respect in their community. While Hough’s action corresponded with those across the country, it had little immediate effect on the Cleveland community, causing a speculation by reporters that it would burn again in the summer of ’67. With robberies and violence as high as ever, Hough was ready to parallel other civil disorders across the country, but did not ignite due to Carl Stokes successful mayoral campaign — making him the first black mayor in a major metropolitan area. After Stokes election, relations seemingly improved between residents of Hough and other inner-city areas and lawmakers, but it did not keep civil unrest under control for long.

GLENVILLE, 1968 Months after Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination in April 1968, Glenville plummeted into turmoil similar to what Hough had seen only two years prior. Now known as the “Glenville shootout,” four African Americans and three police officers were killed July 23, 1968 after hours of violence between the opposing militant groups. In the week that followed the first shots, upwards of 15 were injured in the confrontation and subsequent riots, resulting in an activation of the National Guard to assist the ill-equipped and untrained CPD. One of the organizers of the black militant group had been a key name in the Hough riot investigation a year prior. Fred Ahmed Evans, a community figure who had been investigated but never charged in connection with arming youth during the neighboring riot, held a standoff with police on Lakeview and Beulah avenues. Korean war veteran and owner of the Afro Culture shop, Evans was well known and respected in Glenville.

The violence, steeped in racial tensions between the African American residents in the area and a majority-white police force resulted in then-Mayor Louis Stokes order that only black officers and guardsmen could patrol the Glenville area — running from the Cleveland Memorial Shoreway to Wade Park, bordered by Hough and the city of East Cleveland. Glenville, like Hough, saw little immediate remedies to the problems that plagued Cleveland throughout the civil rights movement. Sparked by the loss of MLK and frustration with police presence in the area, Evans — who suffered from paranoia and other medical issues stemming from his time in the army — saw fit to take matters into his and his follower’s hands, sniping at tow truck drivers, who were mistaken for CPD, and police officers on another hot summer night.


HOUSING INTEGRATION While the unrest in Hough and Glenville reached a violent head, inequality was rampant in quieter ways throughout Northeast Ohio. And while there are ethnic divides and loyalties within Cleveland, the history of some is much more twisted than textbooks wish to construe. Cleveland and its surrounding areas were populated by a white, middle-class majority up to the early 1900s. But, as African Americans began to move north during the 1920s — increasing the black population in Cleveland by 300 percent — to find better paying jobs, “white flight” caused many Cleveland residents to move to outlying suburbs. The major black population influx was coupled with racist housing practices, which caused overflowing populations in the

poorest parts of Cleveland. Ethnic divides widened as German, Irish and Italian immigrants segregated themselves from one another and barred many black residents from entering their communities. Through “whites only” real estate programs, families were forced to remain in overcrowded ghettos with few social services or job prospects in the immediate area, creating a housing crisis with instances of price gouging and discrimination combined to perpetuate the systemic inequality. Because of this, many “self-help” organizations grew, with affluent black businessmen and community leaders creating groups like the Phyllis Wheatley Assoc., the United Freedom Movement and Lomond and Ludlow Community Associations. The Ludlow Community Associa-

tion (LCA) became an example for housing programs across the country by 1968 in the extreme success its members had at integrating the communities on the border of Shaker Heights and Cleveland. Ludlow was different from other community organizations because it had residents committed to living together peacefully on all sides, combatting “white flight” as many new black families moved in by promoting open houses to keep white families in the area. LCA hosted fundraisers to help the Ludlow community, including Ella Fitzgerald’s performance at Severance Hall and movie events at the Colony Theater, with Ludlow praised across the country for maintaining its peace while other parts of Cleveland burned during the 1960s.

While there are ethnic divides and loyalties within Cleveland, the history of some is much more twisted than textbooks wish to construe.


REED V. RHODES, 1978 From housing to education, segregation and inequality hit every part of life in Cleveland during the civil rights movement. Ten years after Glenville burned, the children of the east side fought for equal schooling — combatting tensions on both sides of the city to do so. Desegregation of Cleveland schools took decades, from the 1950s onward. Protesters took to the streets in the 1960s, backed by a lawsuit filed against Cleveland Public Schools and the State of Ohio by the NAACP in 1973 — Reed v. Rhodes. Before the landmark case, boycotts and sit-ins highlighted the problems in African American communities’ public systems. Stemming from a rapid population increase in predominantly black neighborhoods on the east side, the school systems — which received less qualified teachers, few social services and a lack of vocational programs to serve the exponentially expanding community. Parents took to the Board

of Education and, when ignored, the streets to express their frustration and concern for their children’s education. One solution that the BOE offered was a relay system in elementary schools — which suffered the most overcrowding — where the student body was split in half, with one section attending in the morning and the other in the afternoon. By 1961, 130 classes were split into double sessions, with a waitlist of 1,700 kindergarteners still in place. Meanwhile, schools in predominantly white neighborhoods on the other side of Cleveland were operating at half their capacity. But the school board ignored the parent’s case for bussing to white schools, instead wanting to wait for new schools to be built in the affected areas. With the help of unwanted attention from the media as parent’s continued to protest the relay system, bussing was introduced for the 1962-63 school year. But now the BOE was receiving a pushback from the other side, as white communities protested

the change. While bussing was attempted in some areas, the case of Reed v. Rhodes exemplified those inequalities between the educations given to black students versus that of their white counterparts were not remedied. Although black and white students attended the same buildings, they were still separated, with black students forced to stay in their assigned classrooms throughout the day — not allowed to see the school nurse or use the restroom as needed, according to a report in the Journal of Urban History. Reed v. Rhodes highlighted these obvious problems, citing a violation of the 14th amendment. In the original 1973 case, presiding Judge Frank Battisti ruled that the school district had continued to discriminate against its students on the basis of race. This ruling was reaffirmed in 1978 and was in effect until 2002 when the district was found to have finally reached a “racial unity.” While Reed v. Rhodes did not change the school district overnight — taking almost 30 years to reach its desired effect — it did end blatant discrimination, allowing African American students to interact with white students, attending assemblies, eating lunch together, taking classes together and participating in extracurriculars. Cleveland’s history has not been perfect, it is marred with the same racial segregation tactics and violence that were practiced across the country, but it is not over. The city’s history is repeating itself as protesters again take to the streets in retaliation to incidents of police brutality and the deaths of locals including Tamir Rice, Malissa Williams, Timothy Russell and Tanesha Anderson. In recent years the Black Lives Matter movement — started by three queer women of color — has gained ground and national recognition, now as household a name as MLK and his supporters’ groups were in the 1960s and 70s. Cleveland’s history, and Black history, is not binary, it is not one simple string of events after each other. Each are multifaceted, multicultural, full of names and faces of movements that come and go and are lost with time. But this history month, Cleveland’s place in the original civil rights movement — as well as its current tensions — has not been forgotten. For more information on Cleveland’s involvement in the civil rights movement, visit the Cleveland Memory Project, compiled by Cleveland State University’s Michael Schwartz Library. FEBRUARY 2016 | VINDICATOR 28



Tamir Rice’s murder forces us to look at racist police brutality in Cleveland and around the country. // by Arbela Capas


few months ago, I published an article on about my fear of what the decision of the Tamir Rice was going to be in Cleveland. I talked about the report that was released that stated that the shooting was deemed “reasonable”, and how this appalled many people. I expressed how I wanted to see more people in my city learning, listening and standing up. When the report came out a few months ago, many things happened. The CPD was not trusted anymore to investigate the case, and many people were


demanding that a private investigator would be called in to review the case. Unfortunately, there was a anxiousness in my head that was telling me that the verdict would not be the one that the black community wanted. On December 28th, 2015 the grand jury decided to not bring charges against the officers who killed Tamir Rice. The final decision was made by the justice department. After so many months of protests, anger and impatience, Tamir Rice’s family had still not received the justice they deserved. The many arguments defending the police officer are still pouring in.

People in defense of the officer are using the ultimate argument that “the officer was doing their job”. But after so many times that police brutality has taken far too many black lives, I think it’s time to analyze how exactly they are doing their job, and how they can do it better. Although it seems easy to just view these officers with the toughness of their job and the “tenseness of the situation”, it is not right to allow them to get away with a crime. I hear too many people hiding behind limited phrases like “damaged criminal justice system” and “flawed law enforcement”--which are true, but they are not adding on the most important piece of the puzzle; systematic and institutionalized racism. I can hear people in my own Cleveland community justifying the officer’s actions because

the child was a “drug abuser” and came from a “troubled family”. As if even if any of that was true, it was justification enough for the boy to be shot dead with no questions asked. On the one hand, I blame the media for this. I blame the news for portraying this boy like this, but I also blame the blind people who do not see the fabricated, racist picture that is being painted before them. I would’ve hoped that after all these incidences, after all the pain that our country has put black people through, more of us would take the time to understand the environment that our society has created. But this is one thing I do agree with the people who are defending the officer. Yes, officer Loehman was doing his job. His job is to follow the racial profiling techniques that he has been taught by his police department and society. His job is to see a black boy as more of a threat than a white boy. And his job is to use deadly force against a boy that looks “suspicious” based on our society’s skewed and deluded perception of black folks. So yes, when you think about it, he was doing his job. He was doing exactly what his police training and his biased society has told him to do: to be afraid of black boys with gun, and see them as a larger threat than they are. And his job is to use deadly force against a boy that looks “suspicious” based on our society’s skewed and diluted perception of black folks. Because that is the way our society is constructed, and this systematic racism within the police force is just a small piece of the bigger monster. The shot that killed Tamir Rice was heard across the entire nation, and people started asking questions, analyzing and calling out the Cleveland Police Department for this injustice as well as past injustices that black community of Cleveland has faced. Ultimately, this story blew up. It hit hard and was used as a symbol for all the oppression and injustice that is happening against black folks in our nation. This was one of the stories that viciously stripped America of it’s fake delusion that we’ve become a post-racial

society, and almost flung the country in a state of civil war that was being fought through Twitter threads and street demonstrations. The Black Lives Matter movement grew many supporters as well as many critics. Either way, people were talking about it, and many were starting to listen. And people should be talking about it more. Especially in Cleveland, the city that has experienced a tremendous amount of corruption by the CPD and is a good example of an American city which is particularly struggling with racist police brutality. I want to see more people caring, and more people understanding that this is still a case that needs to be highlighted. There needs to be more people on the streets, more people voicing their opinions and most importantly, learning the facts of the case that the media is keeping from us. I want to see more people not only in the streets but simply visible with their voices, whether on social media or through the news. We are the forgotten city, and this is exactly why racist and oppressive incidences like this get swept under the rug so easily. We are the city that everyone shrugs at, but we are not the only city bleeding from systematic racism. This is why we need to stand up more than ever before, and make sure this is not another crime that is defined as “reasonable” and “unfortunate” but rather, “unjust” and “infuriating”. We need numbers, we need passion, and we need people who are not afraid to say it how it is. We need to show the world that enough people care about this that there needs to be real change. I’m proud to see that Tamir’ name is not being forgotten by many. The anger over his death will speak in volumes, but it will only louder if we have more people to stand in solidarity, and fight for the truth. This is our time. Our time for Cleveland to stand up and make a difference in our city by rising up and speaking out for this grand injustice in our society. It’s time for Cleveland to turn around and not let this boy’s name be forgotten. Tamir Rice has become a part of our city’s history, but we are not done writing it just yet. • FEBRUARY 2016 | VINDICATOR 30

ts pu e ld S ,w u U he n sex e sho s t e o pl lve hil W aboo l peo mse afe. lf l a t nk a e the tay s ur ha ym thi ucat to s n yo alf g ed how ly o er, h ou e y h on n’t r eac ive d to t Do alth to g nee ces. r i he che you cho tea info ood GE the ke g SUR ma by C //

S I X . E X S E S E F T A A S RE G


BECKY BYRON Opener Photo Courtesy Co.Exist


decisions for themselves. But here’s the best part: it’s possible to undermine this ideology and establish a culture in which factual information about safe and pleasurable sex abounds, and young people are given the information needed to explore their sexuality in positive and meaningful ways. Let’s begin with this simple but radical idea: sexuality is a healthy, positive, and universal component of being human, and it is experienced differently by each of us. In its most immediate sense, sexuality refers to sexual attraction, or implies sexual interaction. But at its heart is the dynamic of interpersonal relationships (whether they be monogamous, polyamorous, open, unofficial, casual -- whatever you’d like) and the mutual respect that should exist between two (or more) sexual partners. And this is where consent comes into play. For many folks, the basic principle of consent comes easily: Do you have your partner’s permission and willingness to engage in this activity? The “Yes means yes/No means no” policy summarizes this principle, but the nature of consent is far more complex than verbal indicators: if your partner is nonverbally telling you that they are uncomfortable and/or unwilling to continue with what you’re doing (i.e., silence, stiffness, disengaged, etc.), then you don’t have their consent, at which point you back up – reach out – how are they doing? Communication is key to ensuring your partner(s) is/are comfortable and that you have their sexual consent. These basic ideas should be learned early in life (preferably in age-appropriate sexuality education), but a majority of sex education programs and school systems do not make mandate it; without clear definitions

for consent, there is considerable room for damaging, entitled, and exploitative attitudes to roam, and rape culture is a direct product of this flagrant disregard and willful neglect of consent. To grasp a better idea about the complexities surrounding sexual consent in a lively and easy way, I recommend viewing Laci Green’s WANNA HAVE SEX (Consent 101) episode on Youtube (and you can thank me later for introducing you to her.) Next, it’s important to understand that when it comes to contraception, there are far more options than an external condom or the Birth Control Pill. Even though these two methods are highly popular in mainstream culture, some folks may not understand how they work, what they can be used for, and where to get them. External condoms are usually made out of latex or plastic and can be worn on the penis and used for vaginal, anal, or oral sex. Dental dams may also be fashioned out of condoms for anal and vaginal sex (hetero or not) by first cutting off the tip and the rim, and then by cutting down the length of the condom.

sexuality is a healthy, positive, and universal component of being human


While oral and anal sex removes the risk of pregnancy, this doesn’t mean they’re riskfree forms of sex. Partners are still vulnerable to STI contraction, anal tearing, bacterial growth, and the risk of HIV.


Since everyone has different body chemistry, they react differently to brands of the Pill. Someone may gain weight from one brand, but try another brand and gain none. Some people never experience weight gain.


Pulling out is a way of avoiding a condom. Risks involve pre-cum (which has sperm capable of impregnation), the partner not pulling out in time before climax, and zero protection from STIs or HIV.


y high school sexuality education was painfully reduced to a skit performed by amateurs. I, along with my peers, looked on with little interest as Johnny and Sally fell in love, made out at the drive-in, and rashly decided to go all. the. way. in the back of Johnny’s hand-me-down car. A condom was used, of course – but Johnny and Sally’s lusty rendezvous sowed the seeds (no pun intended) of discord and infection: within a few months’ time, Sally realized she was pregnant. Meanwhile, Johnny’s interest in Sally steeply waned as his concern for his herpes infection steadily increased. The moral to the story? A Mean Girls homily, of sorts: if you have sex, you will get pregnant and die, become less desirable because your worth is determined by your sexual activity, and suffer consequences that are deeply stigmatizing and impossible to escape and/or avoid. Stories such as these are cautionary tales, folklore designed to warn a specific audience about the dangers that result from an action or inaction. The parallel is easy enough to draw: current sexuality education heavily discourages young folks from recognizing and acting upon their sexuality until they are within a conjugal embrace, and teaches them that transgressing this unrealistic societal expectation produces nothing but problems. Moreover, the messaging surrounding abstinenceonly sexuality education is fraught with heteronormativity and queer-erasure, patriarchal influence, and intentional gaps in knowledge that leave young folks stumbling through their sexuality; altogether, it asserts that young people are incapable of making responsible


The hymen is the part of female genitalia keeping the construct of purity alive. It’s a membrane that can tear from many sources of pressure, not just sex (aka “cherry popping”) such as doing the splits or using a tampon. FEBRUARY 2016 | VINDICATOR 32

CONTRACEPTIVES 101 CONDOMS: Made of thin latex or polyurethane, both male and female versions. Catches sperm and cum, making for easy disposal. SHIELDS: Shaped like an elliptical bowl, found in the form of a cervical cap or diaphragm. SPONGE: Polyurethane material shaped like a bagel. Add water to foam spermicide, insert in vaginal canal. One use only. THE PILL: Combines estrogen and progesterone, and is taken orally every day around the same time. THE RING: Combination hormonal method, and inserts much like a tampon. Flexible circle, must be replaced every three weeks. THE PATCH: Sticks to the skin, and delivers hormones through the bloodstream. Must be replaced once a week. INJECTIONS: Can be used quarterly (DepoProvera) or monthly (Lunelle.) Extended use has undersirable side-effects for some women. IMPLANT: A flexible rod to be implanted in the arm by a healthcare professional, it releases the hormone etonogestrel slowly. Removable any time, lasts up to three years. COPPER T IUD: Ill advised for younger women. Lasts 10 years, but has some health risks and is more expensive. SPERMICIDE: A gel-like substance designed to kill sperm. Designed for use with other forms of other contraceptives, and is often found in lubricant.






Condoms protect from pregnancy and STIs, and they’re relatively easy to access; they are often given out for free by CSU’s Health and Wellness Center, and they’re available for affordable prices at Wal-Mart, Target, gas stations, pharmacies, etc. The Birth Control Pill is another method that is largely popular, and it usually comes in a 28-day combination-pill packet (estrogen and progestin) or a progestin-only packet. It’s an oral hormonal contraceptive that works to prevent pregnancy by keeping eggs from leaving the ovaries and making cervical mucus thicker, which prevents sperm from getting to the eggs. For best results, many brands of the birth control pill instruct users to take the pill at the same time every day. It does not protect from STIs, however, and for most states (Ohio being one of them), the pill is not available over the counter and must be prescribed by a doctor. This is slowly changing (thanks California and Oregon!), but it remains a financial barrier for those attempting to access the pill, and may altogether discourage its use. Other contraception methods include birth control implants, patches, shots (DepoProvera), vaginal rings (NuvaRing), IntraUterine Devices (IUDs), sponges, diaphragms and cervical caps, female or internal condoms, spermicide, coitus interuptus/the pull out method, and the morning-after pill (available at pharmacies and the CSU Health and Wellness Center). In a perfect world, each method would be accessible and free to all people, but accessing contraception is not easy for everyone. Each method has different rates of success, but all are far better than having unprotected sex in terms of safety from STI transmission and unplanned pregnancy. Current sexuality education is eerily quiet

about the options available to people who do become pregnant, but abortion, adoption, and raising a child are three that exist. There are many pit-falls to seeking factual information about these options, specifically abortion, but family planning organizations such as Planned Parenthood provide pregnancy counseling that is non-judgmental and absent of provideroption-steering, which often occurs in Crisis Pregnancy Centers (fake clinics that use scare tactics and inaccurate or misleading information to discourage pregnant people from choosing abortion). Maintaining one’s sexual health is of high importance and usually falls on the back– burner when everything seems OK with your body. The prospect of checking into a clinic to undergo STI testing is daunting for many because of the stigma our culture assigns to those who have STIs or HIV/Chlamydia/ Gonorrhea; but stigma is what fuels the silence and ignorance about these sexual health issues. It’s important to practice self-care (and exercise consideration for your partner’s sake) by getting these exams, many of which are available at CSU’s Health and Wellness Center. Establishing a sex positive begins with discussions, education, and awarenessraising; It begins when we access the info that was purposely kept from many of us in our sex education programs and challenge the existing sexual norms that are rooted in stigma, shame, and fear-mongering; and it continues when we urge our elected officials to mandate factual, evidence-based sexuality education that equips folks with the tools to make responsible and healthy decisions for themselves. Until then, I’ll close with the words of my favorite Sexologist, Dr. Lindsey Doe from Sexplanations: stay curious!


he US has always been reserved in terms of sex education, but it is time for us to move away from that past as a nation. We like to congratulate ourselves as a forward, developed nation, but we shouldn’t pat ourselves on the back preemptively. While we see ourselves as highly progressed, we are in fact reliant on outdated sex education and teaching methods taught by gym teachers who double as a health instructor. For example, 37 out of 50 states require information about abstinence is provided in sex education, and of that 25 are required to stress abstinence methods. What is abstinence? It is defined as the practice of restraining oneself from indulging in something, in this case sexual activities. Unfortunately for Ohio, we are a state that puts heavy emphasis on an abstinence only approach. This means Ohio is allowed to ignore other options of sex education, such as contraceptives, condoms, and family planning. Ohio’s sex education varies by region, and covered curriculum is decided by the local boards of education. Although Ohio schools are required to teach sex education and HIV education in some capacity, these boards have almost complete control over what is covered within that broad spectrum. This means there is easily room for biased or skipped information. In fact, Ohio is not even required to provide age appropriate, culturally appropriate, nor medically

accurate information. In doing so, Ohio harms their youth by censoring knowledge on safe and healthy sex, and misleading with potentially incorrect information. Often times, this results in teen pregnancy. Abstinence-only methods of teaching have consistently proven to fail, but correct information on safety measures is successful. Pretending sex doesn’t exist, doesn’t mean teens won’t find out how it works. Wouldn’t America rather these kids had the information they needed to have the safest and healthiest sex possible? Instead, many schools incorporate sex-shaming tactics, and emphasize sex only in marriage. This is not a realistic expectation in the modern day, and to teach under the assumption that it is, is dangerous. Ohio schools also don’t have to cover sexual orientation, contraception, self-defense from sexual assault, how to make healthy decisions, nor family communication skills. Sometimes students are hindered well into their adult lives from never having a full comprehensive sex, or general health education. Too many times people don’t know how periods work, where a girl pees from, how to prevent the transmission of STIs, etc. This is due to a fault in basic education; a fault that is sometimes never remedied in the future, and therefore continues to hinder sexually active people everywhere. • **Please consult with your doctor and conduct personal research before committing to, or using, a contraceptive method.

ARE YOU HAVING SAFE SEX? 1. How is HIV/AIDS transmitted? A. Blood B. Semen C. Vaginal secretion D. All of the above 2. What is the time limit for taking emergency contraception? A. 24 hours B. 36 hours C. 72 hours 3. A woman can still become pregnant when… A. Having intercourse during a menstrual cycle B. Pre-ejaculation fluid touches the vaginal area before intercourse C. Taking birth control pills and antibiotics at the same time. D. All of the above 4. How do you store a condom? A. Glove compartment B. Your pocket C. A cool, dark, dry place D. Anywhere convenient 5. How can an STD be passed on? A. Through vaginal and anal sex B. Through vaginal sex and oral sex C. Through vaginal, anal, or oral sex 6. Does a condom last forever? A. No, check the expiration date B. Yes, if stored properly C. No, but you can tell once you open the package 7. When using a condom during sex, which type of lubricant could you add to it? A. Moisturizer B. Water-based lubricant C. Oil-based lubricant 8. Are STDs 100% curable? A. Only some B. Yes C. No ANSWERS: 1 (D), 2 (C), 3 (D), 4 (C), 5 (C), 6 (A), 7 (B), 8 (A)




MY UNEXPECTED VALENTINE This February, make time for the most important person in your life... you. // by Sydney Choe


ou are not perfect. In fact, I don’t know anyone as imperfect as you but you are still worth loving and I used to forget that, sometimes I still do. You’ve fought through a lot in your life, somehow managing to triumph and come out on top. Sure, it wasn’t always easy but you never gave up—you fought for me in ways no one ever has. You know everything about me from my favorite flower to my favorite song. You know exactly what makes me tick. You’ve seen me on my best days, but more importantly you’ve seen me at my worst. You know what I look like as soon as I wake up in the morning before all the makeup, hair brushing, and fancy clothes. You’ve seen my scars, felt my pain, and have been consumed in my happiness. You’re selfless, tender-


I guess it’s the way you can’t avoid it. You can easily avoid mistletoes, and I guess it doesn’t feel like that big of a deal when the clock strikes midnight on the first of the year and there’s no one to kiss. But there’s something about being surrounded by roses, chocolates, and the color pink for entire month that highlights your seemingly perpetual

I get it, the desire to love and be loved is natural. But sometimes it’s that very search that takes the biggest toll on our heart and soul.

hearted, and gentle. You work hard for everything you want, and you refuse to give up when things don’t go your way. There are days where you hate me, where you wish you could change me, where you compare me and don’t think I’m good enough. But, in the end there are more days you love me than days that you don’t and those are the ones that stand out and make a difference. You know what it takes to make me happy in ways no one else ever can, you have helped shape me into an amazing person and you’re truly the only person that has always been there. It was all of these reasons, collectively, that brought me to the realization that I have always loved you but always seemed to overlook it; constantly focusing on everyone else around me. This year you are, unexpectedly, my valentine. But, next year and every year after it, it will be known and hopefully the world will follow suit. It’s me. The only person in the world who knows every dark and dusty corner of my soul and continues to love me not despite my flaws, but because of them. The only person that will be with me from the day that I am born to the day that I die. There is no escaping me and that used to be frightening. But now it’s relieving. For a large chunk of my life I wished there was another source of love. I wished for someone to love me intimately so I wouldn’t have to be alone on what is meant to be a holiday full of affection and happiness, but more often inflicts self deprecation and hatred. But, what I’ve found in recent months is that no one knows me as intimately as I know myself and I’ve found that my favorite kind of love is the kind that stems from within me. It’s the kind of love you can’t duplicate or replace, the kind I truly would die without. With the love I feel for myself now, I can’t help but wonder why Valentine’s Day used to make me feel so awful.

singularity. There seems to be a serious correlation in the rise in sales of chocolates, roses, and teddy bears and the exponential decline of your self-esteem. You’re enveloped, no suffocated, by the ideals of romance and love while the commercialism of another “Hallmark” holiday is shoved

in your face without choice. When I learned to love myself—I shifted my perspective on Valentine’s Day. I no longer feel as if I’m missing out on anything. I know now that I don’t need a day on the calendar to tell me when I can express love and emotion. The greatest part about loving myself is knowing what I deserve and how I should be treated. I’ve begun to live my life treating myself when I choose. I’ll buy flowers for my apartment without hesitation or feeling silly. I’ll dress up for myself and go to dinner on my own—never being too cheap on what I want to eat. I indulge in what I love for myself, by myself, because that’s how I deserve to be treated. It’s more than refreshing to know that you don’t need another person to be shown that you’re loved. I get it, the desire to love and be loved is natural. But, sometimes it’s that very search that takes the biggest toll on our heart and soul. While we stand by and watch everyone we know falling in love we tend to become discouraged, feel lonely, and subconsciously convince ourselves that not only are we not good enough now, but we never will be, and therefore we will die alone. Just because someone isn’t loving you openly at the moment, doesn’t mean no one ever will. I can’t tell you when that special person is going to come along and when you’ll finally feel loved, and I certainly can’t tell you who your soul mate is. But, here’s what I can tell you: If you choose to love yourself right now then you will love and be loved every day for the rest of your life. So for this Valentine’s day— single or not, spend your time and money on yourself. Treat yourself, be yourself, and remind yourself why you are so worth loving. Your world won’t end if you don’t have a Valentine, but a whole new world can begin if you shift your perspective and decide to love yourself as you would a valentine.•



SWIPE RIGHT OR SWIPE WRONG It’s time we took a look at how we communicate online — Especially when it comes to dating. // Arbela Capas


It seems that misogyny is magnified tenfold on social media because the abusers know they are anonymous so they feel safe to say whatever they please

disrespected for no valid reason. It seems that since it’s such a quickly connecting interface, it gives the guy even more incentive to say whatever he wants, because he knows he can get away with it. Just because it’s online, doesn’t mean the harassment or the sexism is diluted, instead it is magnified. Many responses from guys become aggres-


participate in a very stigmatized activity; hooking up. Over time, I was forced to remember that this activity was much more stigmatized for the female gender. In real life, women are shamed for going on one night stands, and in the digital world they’re shamed for using Tinder. Additionally, as innovative and seemingly harmless the app seems, it can become just another platform for men to be oppressive towards women over the world wide web. Some people don’t usually think about the kind of abuse, or even as I like to call it; online cat calling, that women go through. And as nearly every social interaction we have is being converted to an online medium, is being easier to see. I remember right as tinder was blowing up, there were a lot of stories and even satirical videos coming out about “sexist men on tinder” and how countless women felt uncomfortable with the responses. It seems that misogyny is magnified tenfold on social media, because the abusers know they are anonymous so they feel safe to say whatever they please in whatever manner they choose. I‘ve heard some pretty disturbing examples of where girls get completely


inder, or as some people call it the “modern tool for hooking up”, raises some interesting questions on how our society has evolved in the way we pursue romantic partners. I remember the idea of an app matching me up with people at first didn’t attract me at all. However, just like for other people, my curiosity got the best of me. It was like speed dating, but better--because it took away face to face interaction and fear of rejection. It’s an innovative and efficient way to meet people in the modern age, and many college students are the main consumers of it. Some critics of the app included the fact that it was taking away face to face interaction, and making romantic connections just another thing being replaced by social media. Some people worried it creates a more dehumanizing approach to dating people, and morphing our first impressions of people. I agree with this, however I realized that even in real life people are dehumanized when being hit on--especially if they’re women. When I first started to experiment with the dating app, I tried to think of it as an empowering thing. For both males and females, it allowed an easy way for people to

sive and overly confident, to the point where they are furious when they do not receive the reaction they want from the girl. One of the worst things I have experienced as a female when trying to interact with guys, online or even in real life, is that far too many times they get the idea in their head that we owe them something. That since they tried so hard to muster up the courage to talk to us and give us attention, we somehow need to immediately return the favor. Some men really need to understand the girl they are trying to pursue does not have to accept every lame pick up line they throw at her. It is possible to find good people through this app that you can have a real connection with, so I’m not saying every person you will match up with will immediately ask you your bra size. However, most of the time women are forced to get used to the fact that there will be guys immediately messaging them with certain expectations, and with a specific tone. And it is unfair that women need to be ready for these kind of responses. It is troubling to hear the countless stories of men approaching women in a distasteful way, because this directly reflects how they treat women in real life. A part of me was hoping that Tinder would be an opportunity to modernize the culture of hooking up, and destroy the stigma that women hold on their shoulders. I was hoping it would give women an opportunity to enjoy casual dating and hooking up without them being shamed for it. However, the sad reality is that the heteronormative and sexist trends in our society still cross over into the digital age, and women feel it at a greater rate than before. The good thing about the internet in this case, is that we can just choose to block the person who is harassing us and we never have to really deal with them again. What still bothers me, is that this person is still out there and still exists, and is still going to the next girl and harassing her, either online or in real life. •


GRINDR — GAY DATING DISASTER The struggles and frustrations of online dating isn’t exclusive to straight couples. // Ben Rodriguez


here’s an app for sex, it’s as easy as finding and ordering Chipotle. The gay “dating” app, Grindr, displays gay men based on proximity, and mainly used to hook up. Gay men, ages 18-30, are very reliant on this app, and without realizing, turning into spoiled guys with unrealistic expectations. Grindr has become part of gay culture, yet it sends the wrong message to men, especially young gay men entering the dating world. Meeting another gay man in public is an obstacle, you can’t just approach any man in public and flirt, so unfortunately, Grindr becomes one option to make a connection. Because of this, I feel that the next generation of gay men will feel forced to sell themselves on an app like this, hoping to find something good, only to be disappointed. Another negative point about Grindr is the quick judgements. If you don’t fit the stereotype-- the chiseled face, small waist and good hair-- then you are screwed. Many gay men become insecure because they aren’t accepted based on their picture. They feel too fat, too thin, too tall, too short, too old, too feminine. Sure, we all have physical expectations, but this becomes the narrow expectations for gay men, and it is unhealthy and exhausting. Grindr is not a guaranteed tool to build genuine relationships. Hooking up is more convenient and sought than commitment, and “dating” becomes a scary word. Men who are on the app at the bar instead of talking to one another

just shows that we have lost touch with reality, and the sense of personal connection. A sexual fix is more convenient, rather than a bond between two people, developing a deeper connection with each other. Grindr sets our gay men for disappointment, without values, or success of building good, solid relationships with others and oneself. The natural way of meeting someone doesn’t occur often, and courtship has become a thing of the past. I think the only way a gay man can achieve a healthy dating experience is to go back to the basics without the reliance on technology. Finding a date should come naturally, not forced, and men should realize this takes time, and it takes him to get out there in the public. •




Have a Filter: Don’t say something you wouldn’t say in person just because it’s online. Be respectful.

Be Interesting: Just because it’s online, doesn’t mean you have to lose your sense of conversation.

Be Hostile: The person you are talking with does not owe you anything. Take rejection with grace. FEBRUARY 2016 | VINDICATOR 38


THE DAMAGE OF OVERTHINKING Overthinking can lead to mental health problems, but is also an inevitable part of most people’s lives. // Alana Whelan


because I am so far into my mind. As an introverted person, it’s easy to say that I overthink more than an outgoing person would, but that is probably not always true. However, because I don’t assert myself into situations, and have trouble speaking to people, thoughts are constantly running through my head. Every time I meet a new person, thousands of questions come to me. Will they like me? Do they want to talk to me? What do they think of me? Would they want to be my friend? These questions enter my mind in all kinds of situations, but they especially occur when I’m trying to speak to someone new. I think that most people encounter these questions because

difficult tasks can be hard to complete, or sometimes even to begin. Evidently, the ways in which people can put things off are endless. The idea of procrastinating opens so many unanswerable questions. It ultimately comes down to the person and how willing they are to fight whatever it is that is stopping them from accomplishing things. A way I attempt to “cure” my procrastination is by telling myself that life is going to happen regardless of what I am doing, so I might as well be doing something at least somewhat productive. Still though, procrastinating can cause a big amount of overthinking. In the past, my procrastination has led me to think badly about myself. I often told myself that I wasn’t

It doesn’t matter how much I tell myself I will not stress myself out, because I almost always find a way. unfamiliar situations, ideas, and people can be scary. Just as new circumstances can be nerve wracking, stress can contribute majorly to thinking too much. Stress is inevitable, and can be related to anxiety. For me, it doesn’t matter how much I tell myself I will not stress myself out, because I almost always find a way. If I try to relax, I worry that I should be doing something more productive. If I am attempting to get something done, I begin to think about everything else I should be doing. It is almost as if I have put too much on my plate by thinking of what I could be doing with my time, but not actually getting the tasks done that I wish to complete. That is where procrastination comes in, which leads to more stress and anxiety. I really don’t believe there is a “cure” or a way to stop procrastination. Humans are driven by pleasure, so


ver thinking is what happens when people let their thoughts take them over. It is what happens when people think too deeply about potential situations or outcomes instead of taking action. It seems that many people have this problem. When thoughts take over so much for a person that it is almost unbearable is when that person begins to suffer from mental disorders such as depression and anxiety. Personally having dealt with anxiety, I know that it is not fun in any sense. In my experience, anxiety is worrying so much that it seems like all the potential bad outcomes are the only outcomes there can possibly be, no matter the situation. Panic attacks are a whole other level of anxiety, and they happen when people play over in their heads all the bad things that could happen so much that they feel like they can’t control anything. The room starts spinning and all that person really needs is to get out of the situation they are in. Anxiety, panic attacks, and any other mental disorder are very subjective, and the way one person experiences them can be drastically different from the way someone else does. I can only draw from the way I personally understand it, so my feelings about these issues are probably not the same as everyone else’s. However, having experienced anxiety myself, and seen depression around me, I realize that they can affect people’s lives in scary, and often very drastic ways. Over thinking seems to happen to everyone at some point throughout life. Although I know the problems overthinking can cause, sometimes I am thankful for it. I have realized that if it weren’t for my anxious mind, I would never have been able to see the potential my mind truly holds, or the important thoughts I can draw out of the thousands I have. I have experienced over thinking far too many times to even comprehend. I do it without even realizing it

good enough, and I let myself wallow in self-doubt. I thought so much about my imperfections that it seemed as if my thoughts caused me not to get anything done. Obviously, a person’s health can be drastically affected by his or her thoughts. There are so many unanswerable questions when it comes to a person’s mental state, and how it can be changed. When it comes down to it, over thinking is going to happen to some people regardless of their place in life, or their surroundings. While many people can find ways to distract themselves from over thinking, some people are just so caught up in their thoughts that they are unable to find a distraction. I believe that the only way people can stop thinking to the point of hurting themselves is by finding balance in their lives, and realizing what is most important to them, so as to focus their thoughts on the most vital aspects of their lives. • FEBRUARY 2016 | VINDICATOR 41


WATCHING YOU DIE a letter to a friend By Kyrie Anderson


dequate words escape me. Even now, after healing has begun, I still don’t know how to broach the subject of our mutual pain. It is so strange to think that even though we have been through so much together, there were still times we chose to face our battles alone. Sometimes, I think the worst part of everything is not how much I suffered, but that in my own suffering I couldn’t hear you crying out for help. I still haven’t fully grasped just how bad things had gotten, just how far gone you really were. Looking back at our years together, I wonder, “Where did I go wrong?” I remember meeting you that summer before high school. I was young and naive, sheltered, oblivious to the pain that saturates the world. All I saw was hope and opportunity, and you were my idol. You were outgoing, friendly, passionate--so full of life. When you said hello, you awakened a part of me I didn’t know existed. You taught me to believe that, maybe, I was worth people’s time. I came to love you very quickly. You were beautiful and rare and as our friendship grew, I knew


you would become one of my dearest friends. I couldn’t see the shadow back then. I first knew something was wrong one time when I ate dinner at your house. Your mother interrupted our stories and laughter, telling you to eat. We were halfway through the meal, and I looked at your plate. You had barely touched your food. Suddenly, I began to notice things I hadn’t seen before. Your slender figure looked too slender. Your wrists were thin and bony, you had dark circles under your eyes. For one fleeting moment, I wondered if you were okay, but then you smiled and my fear dissipated. We continued with the meal, and you seemed yourself, so I pushed aside my worries. I couldn’t help but notice, though, that your plate was still heaped with food when we left the table. That meal was only the first time. Worries awakened every time I heard someone urge you to eat. You seemed frustrated by them, so I didn’t do the same, but my concern continued to grow. You seemed only to get thinner and thinner, and you were sick half the time I called. I wish I had the courage, back then, to look past the smile.

I broke during those years. I wish I knew the day that I looked in the mirror and realized I wasn’t good enough. I wish that I could pinpoint the time that I first hated my own reflection. I wish I could hold onto my last happy day when I was oblivious to the struggle for value and worth and beauty. I wish I could hold onto the day before I knew what it was like to stay up late just so that I could cry after everyone else went to bed. I had nightmares all the time. I never wanted to sleep because I couldn’t face my dreams, and I never wanted to wake because I couldn’t face my life.

I became so enveloped in my own problems that I never learned how to see yours. I knew something was wrong, but I wasn’t brave enough to ask.


The truth is, dearest friend, is that I became so enveloped in my own problems that I never learned how to see yours. I knew something was wrong, but I wasn’t brave enough to ask. And then, I stopped seeing it altogether. Your shrinking body seemed to reflect my shrinking self-esteem, and I was blind to the dangers of both. So we suffered together, but alone. You ate less and

less, I ate too much or nothing at all. Every bite that you didn’t eat, I ate. And for every bite that I ate, I punished myself by not eating the next day. We were sisters disguised as friends, Anorexia and Bulimia. We looked in the mirror, seeing reflections distorted by self-misimpressions. Here’s the funny thing. One day, we were standing in your driveway and you asked me if I had once struggled with anorexia. It felt safer to lie, to admit to an eating disorder, but not the one I struggled with, and to say that it was past when it was not. I wonder what would have happened if I had been honest. I wonder what would have happened if I had been brave enough to ask you the same question. I’m better now. Mostly. I’ve made a lot of progress since the years of intense pain I struggled through. I like to think that I have learned to be happy, that I am healing. It might be strange for you to read this, but I don’t regret anything I’ve been through. I know that I am stronger now than I ever could have been without the darkness that overshadowed my life. I don’t regret anything I’ve been through, but I do regret one thing. In my struggle, I didn’t see yours. I didn’t hear you crying out for help, for love, to be seen. My only regret is that I was so focused on myself that I could not be there for you. I wish I could blame you for what I did not see, I wish I could say it’s because you hid things so well, no one could have known. I can’t. I never dared to be honest, not with you, not with myself. I knew you weren’t okay, but I wasn’t brave enough to face it. I wanted you to be okay, so I pretended that you were. In my cowardice, I just stood by, watching you die. And you almost did.

You’re healing, now. FEBRUARY 2016 | VINDICATOR 43


puzzle pieces Pieces for picture puzzles Everywhere For


By Joy Y. McKinney

Individually And then Nobody knows

What kind of pieces

People can pick up

From the ground

Or Grab From

The sky.


Pieces may miss

But It is also A kind of Puzzle. Who knows

What pieces

To collect


What pieces

Are missing Even

People themselves’

Own pictures.





What if your veins were really parasites what if they climbed into your body they found your soft squishy form and wiggled in crawled through the dirt under your fingernails pushed through your inner fluff slithered across great mountains of orange protein and cells tangling and weaving lithe sections pushing fraying and recombining connecting, stitching red clay on top of white bone finally culminating into one huge knot


They named that knot the heart and it is inside of all of you



untitled by Chau Tang

I failed too many times, when will I succeed? Wandering around aimlessly, feeling no hope, but then a song played, it made me think about why I did it in the first place. So I picked my head up and worked really hard. For all those people who left my side, it’s ok because you’ll all see, I’ll succeed when you’re standing on the sidelines. Watching the moment when it’s my time. I’d rather be a lone wolf and climb to the top on my own. Fast forward to the future, it’s shining so bright. When you see me again, being all successful and shit, trying to get on my good side when I don’t need you, right? but I finally see what it’s like to be determined and motivated. It was people like you who made me want to strive for success and want to be the best. Positive mind equals positive life, right?



Being underestimated, had so much pressure on me,


Once love is involved, You cannot forget someone. This emotion doesn’t access the situation It simply develops .

Every action causes more questions; Words no longer mean what they should; Secrets are in everyone’s mouths Causing lies of omission to replace conversation.

How can this emotion be stopped When the truth is being withheld? Life cannot move forward If love keeps holding it back.

To stop loving him is not an option. He looks beyond what is there; He is where every guy wishes he could be; In Jesus’ image does he walk.

To keep loving him is not an option. Shadows and mystery are where he thrives Juggling too much and yet nothing at all And taking advantage of his priviledge.

Finding out his truth has become a “them” against “me” . So what may be must be delayed To permit the power he’s holding. It’s unfair what is put up with in the name of love.

Despite the distance the feelings continue And his glorious mystery prevents his reaction It is far too late to take back the admission So now I’m stuck with this fallout. by Kimberly Latrice FEBRUARY 2016 | VINDICATOR 19

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