TUGZ Magazine 2

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The American Nightmare takes a closer look at the values, beliefs, morale, and events of the early-mid 20th century while looking through the lens of the present.

It examines the correlations and parallels between then and now in terms of issues, news, and culture. It takes the traditional American vibe and distorts it in a way that opens it up to modern progressivism. We have used the raw, radical, journalistic style of the time and to compose and collect various pieces that feel like the inverse of the classic “American Dream”.


the american nightmare: a playlist Going Gets Tough..................................................................The Growlers Vienna...........................................................................................Billy Joel Plastic Jesus................................................................................Tia Blake American Idiot.............................................................................Green Day Verbatim...............................................................................Mother Mother Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked........................................Cage The Elephant Read My Mind.............................................................................The Killers Rubble to Rubble.........................................................................Wilderado The Bidding...................................................................................Tally Hall Constant Headache................................................................Joyce Manor Saint Bernard...................................................................................Lincoln Rodeo........................................................................................Mötley Crüe Something To Believe In...................................................................Poison Trash...................................................................................New York Dolls You’re So Vain...................................................................Faster Pussycat Learnin’ the Blues..................................................................Frank Sinatra Dead Presidents II..............................................................................JAY-Z Lost Ones.............................................................................Ms. Lauryn Hill Valerie..........................................Frank Zappa, The Mothers of Invention New York, I Love You but You’re Bringing Me Down....LCD Soundsystem Katie Queen of Tennessee.............................................The Apache Relay Back In The U.S.S.R.................................................................The Beatles Amos Moses...............................................................................Jerry Reed American Honky Tonk Bar Association................The Country Gentlemen Blame It On The Boogie........................................................The Jacksons

A 21st Century 'Red Scare' Zoe Scott

As a developed society, it is concerning to see how attacks on personal freedoms guaranteed by the US Constitution are downplayed and overlooked in the name of “national security”. Delving into the extent and method of various anti-Communist workings throughout the nation’s past show an alarming indifference to the violation of the liberties of the minority. As the self-proclaimed “freest nation in the world”, the US has let baseless fears adulterate civil liberty. A Red Scare, a classic American hallmark, is a period of widespread hysteria evoked by the dominant or rising presence of Communism perceived as a threat to national security (and superiority). First seen in 1917 in the height of World War I and again in 1947 with the beginning of the Cold War, the effects of these anti-Communist pushes are still clearly seen today in modern American Politics and media due to the rise in popularity of Communism and other leftist ideas amongst young people; young Americans have begun to lose faith in the US Capitalist system as only half still hold a favorable opinion of it with further decline predicted. Near the end of World War I, the Soviet Union was on the rise after the Bolshevik Revolution led by Vladimir Lenin which instilled feelings of insecurity in many Americans. In the United States, a period of labor unrest had arisen in which there were several strikes led by laborers in pursuit of a greater share of the post-war prosperity. Strikers advocated for increases in pay, fewer hours, and better working conditions. Though their goals were nowhere near revolutionary, this paired with an increase in Soviet power led to the First Red Scare. Workers were accused of being aggressive and radical or categorized as Communist Sympathizers, referred to as “Reds”. This was a tactic used to turn the public’s opinion against organized labor and labor unions as a whole. At this time, the Sedition Act of 1918 was passed. The act targeted those who spoke out against the government and closely monitored those they deemed radical such as union leaders whilst hanging the threat of deportation over their heads. Vladimir Lenin

The use of an educational indoctrination system pioneered by Nazis during the

Second World War encouraged a push of pro-American propaganda in schools. After the war, America was in the perfect position to cast itself as the symbol of freedom and justice in comparison while grouping their former Soviet allies along with the defeated Nazi state. In efforts to promote this idea, the Division of Civic and Educational Cooperation published and distributed over 35 million pamphlets consisting of Capitalist agitprop targeted at high school students along with a bi-weekly magazine titled National School Service sent to every public school teacher in the country. In the wake of the Cold War caused by an intense rivalry and competition for power between the US and USSR, the Second Red Scare arose. In the United States, a fear that American leftists could potentially be active Soviet spies who posed a real threat to the security of the nation grew. This fear extended to all displays of dissatisfaction with the government and protests and continued to include Civil Rights demonstrations. Focus was placed on Martin Luther King Jr. by FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover who labeled King a Communist and passively aided in limiting the successes of the movement. In 1947, the Loyalty Order was issued mandating the analysis of all federal employees to determine if they were adequately loyal to the US government. Thus began the blurring of the line between violating the First Amendment rights of citizens and sacrificing personal freedoms for Capitalist dominance. By 1950, Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy had begun an infamous series of public interrogations with the goal of exposing Communists inside the federal government. Tactics of hearsay and the threat of alienation scared American citizens and government officials alike into submission. Accusations of treason and disloyalty were hurled at celebrities, journalists, political philosophers, federal officials, and anyone else who posed a political opposition. These accusations ruined the lives of innocent people and cost many their livelihoods and reputations. This is proof of an attack on the democratic right to join and affiliate with a political party of choice. Today, although these tactics have translated to more subtle alternatives, their effects are as present as ever and a mass fear of Communism

still lives. This can be seen through the efforts of Amazon workers to unionize in 2021 and the continuous pushback they’ve received. Amazon warehouse employees in Bessemer, Alabama have been working towards unionization because of unfair and highly surveilled working conditions. Union organizers have reported penalties for taking maternity leave, health-related leave with a presented

doctor’s note, using the bathroom, and other tasks Amazon management considers “time off task”. In addition, employees receive only 20-30 minute breaks for less pay than surrounding Joseph McCarthy competitors ($15 compared to 22$). Amazon’s management has hired a union-busting law firm in attempts to dissuade workers from voting to unionize by presenting misinformation and convincing workers they are better supported without. Communication between workers was limited due to “COVID regulations” and extensive measures were taken to prevent organization. This resulted in a 2 to 1 loss in the vote for unionization despite over 3,000 workers signing their intent to vote in favor of it (unionization requires 30% of workers to vote in favor). However, this vote has been overturned as the Wholesale and Department Store Union claims Amazon undermined the integrity of the election. Another recent example of this translation is seen in Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ commission to push patriotic education. At a press conference in June of 2021, DeSantis signed 3 bills on how Communism would be taught; he detailed one bill as including an added requirement for Florida high school government classes to teach about the evils of Communism and other Totalitarian ideologies (HB 5). At the conference, DeSantis declared Florida would also establish a “Portraits in Patriotism” Library for students to learn about horrors of Marxist ideologies from first-hand sources. He introduced several refugees from countries such as Cuba, Vietnam, and Nicaragua to speak as conservative pawns. At the conference, DeSantis declared Florida would also establish a “Portraits in Patriotism” Library for students to learn about horrors of Marxist ideologies from first-hand sources. He introduced several refugees from countries such as Cuba, Vietnam, and Nicaragua to speak. One of these refugees was Anna Abauza who spoke about how she fled Nicaragua when the Sandinistas brought Socialism into the region. However, at this time in Nicaragua, Socialism was on track to improve the state of the nation as a whole as well as making tangible and positive change in the lives of individuals. In response, US-funded, heavily militarized squads were deployed and played, along with the CIA, a large role in the “Dirty Wars” by planting mines near harbors. The US was later convicted of violating international law in the Ron DeSantis

World Court. This misinformation and inaccurate recollection of what truly happened shows how the American right is able to use pawns as a way to skew public perception of their actions. With the increase of support and momentum behind the Black Lives Matter movement in the summer of 2020, right-wing media and government officials made it a point to characterize the movement as Socialist and Marxist. Similar to how the Civil Rights Movement was branded and impacted by both the media and involvement of the CIA with the intent to limit its progress, BLM has felt the effects of anticommunist propaganda. Police violence against lawful protesters and the false idea that BLM’s main goal is to push Socialist policy has factored significantly into the lack of tangible change in the lives of Black people as a whole due to the connotation the organization has in the eyes of many. In November 2021, Republican Senator John Kennedy questioned Biden’s Comptroller Currency Nominee, Dr. Saule Omarova, over her childhood in the former Soviet Union. With his McCarthyist-style public probe, Kennedy interrogated Omarova on her involvement in mandatory youth groups and school programs he called “the Young Communists''. He questioned her motives and doubted her loyalty as he said “I don’t know whether to call you professor or comrade.” Omarova denounced Communism in all forms including “Marxist discussions”. While attempting to press a false narrative that Omarova still subscribed to these ideologies, he repeatedly asked for proof of resignation from the group despite the country ceasing to exist for 30 years. In cases like that of Dr. Omarova, it is important not only to understand the senselessness of her particular situation, being that she had no choice in Communist involvement yet has repeatedly denied current affiliation with it, but the issue with this premise as a whole. In the United States, society as a whole has become far too comfortable with the violation of the First Amendment rights of those they do not agree with. Those who claim to support the Constitution most are the same people who find no issue in the lengths the American Government has gone to prevent the spread of a political ideology they do not identify with. Red Scare tactics, used in both the past and present, completely disregard the sentiments of freedom and individual liberty the US has built its image on since its founding. If we as a nation continue to allow these rights to be violated, we are leading ourselves down a path of government censorship under a fundamentally anti-democratic rule.

Dr. Saule Omarova

In comparison to the vast world political spectrum as a whole, American Politics are centered heavily to the right meaning ideas viewed as “centrist” or moderate in the US are typically more right leaning than perceived. Because of this off-center, the “radicality” of ideas such as Communism, Socialism, and other forms of Marxism are seen as more extremely leftist than they may be in other parts of the world, capitalist or not.

The smell of stale coffee and distasteful air freshener clung to the man’s mustache hairs. As he slapped away mindlessly at his keyboard, his eyes fell; they hung droopily on his face as if they might melt away at any moment. The beige panels of his cubicle surrounded him like a prison cell does the worst inmates. Mind-numbingly insignificant tan folders covered the desk sporadically and the sounds of clicking keys filled the building. 5:30, finally. The man gathered the mess of papers and shuffled them into his tawny briefcase. In unison, the building stood and began to exit the room like robots. Down the sidewalk, the building stood expressionless as they waited at the bus stop. The faded bus halted with a huff and blow of gasoline as the building boarded. The dingy brown seats filled with stark button-ups and cheap ties. 41 minutes. The man exited the bus as it reached the stop on 22nd street. Down the bus steps and up the narrow walkway towards his front door. He inserted the bronze key into the dreary door







cookiecutter house on 22nd street, he looked around and flipped the light switch. He loosened his belt and fell sluggishly onto the patchy couch and there he sat for the remainder of the night, flipping through TV channels and only getting up to microwave a frozen meal. As he let out a sigh, his eyes drifted shut only to wake up and do it all again in the morning.

As he fell slowly to sleep, the man

He got up and got ready for work, but he

appeared on the faded bus. He sat in his

was different today. Today his eyes

usual seat towards the middle of the

weren’t full of lifeless resent for the world

vehicle as the sound of forgettable music

but liveliness and curiosity. He made his

played faintly in the background. He

coffee cheerfully and walked down to the

stared blankly out of the window and then

bus stop. He sat and waited with the

around at the others of the building. He

others of the building and greeted them as

had worked at the company for over a

they appeared. Taken aback by the man’s

decade and yet each of them was nothing

unrightful joyousness, his greetings were

but a stranger with a familiar face.

often followed by nothing more than a surprised grunt or a stammered hello. As

Now lost in a thoughtless daydream, the

the bus approached them the man went

man paid no mind to the screeching breaks

pale as the dream did not only leave him

and blaring horns coming from outside the


bus. It wasn’t until he could nearly reach

immeasurable fear. He stood back as the

the semi-truck when he snapped out of his

others of the building boarded the bus and

haze and saw it bolting uncontrollably

waited until there was no one left to wait

towards him. Without a second to react, he

for. Suddenly, he took off. The man

was thrown from his worn brown seat as

skipped down the street and into the

the side of the bus caved in towards him.

intersection. As the crosswalk symbol

Paralyzing sounds of crashing and intense

appeared, he made his way giddily towards

blows surrounded the man as he lay

the building. When he arrived, he burst











discussion whatsoever, the man tossed his His eyes sprung open as sirens roared. He

badge and was out the door.

sat up breathlessly on the patchy brown couch perplexed by the genuineness of his

6:00. The man’s alarm blared as he shook

dream; for a moment, the man did not

his dreams out of mind as threw on his

know which reality was true. He had seen

same cheap tie. He boarded the bus and

his life flash before him, unable to do

was off to the building. There, he slapped

anything about it and all he could think of

mindlessly at his keyboard until 5:30 came

were the things he had never done. What


had he accomplished? What was he proud of? He sat for a while until his thoughts were interrupted by the high-pitched ring of his alarm clock.

Zoe Scott


It's hard to find a haven when your world is swamped with electric lights and the cold, hard glares of Enforcement Officers. Sometimes, you can't slip through the cracks-sometimes, E-Officers catch you before you can dart into the night. Not me and E, though. Never me and E. Our haven for tonight is a cramped alleyway, squeezed between a roboassistant repair shop and a desolate office building. We watched the workers file out in long, miserable lines hours ago, their heads down and their suits grey. I couldn't see their eyes, but I bet they had that dead look in them--the one we're running from. But we're not just running. We're sprinting madly like zigzagging


If we can't find any more nutrient paste tonight, we might end up joining that percentage. "Pass us the grub, Tinz," E says, holding out an expectant, oily hand. I hand over a white packet, plastic and rolled up like a toothpaste tube on its last legs. "Christ. This won't last us." "Then find us another." As she squeezes the last of the pale pink sludge out of the packet, my hands become busy again, digging through a rectangular rubbish chute. These things jam more often than not, leaving little treasures behind that no one cares about, except us. They're treasures drenched in dark, heavy liquid and stinking to the high, smog-hidden heavens of factories and machinery, but treasures nonetheless.

I pull back for a moment, and my fingernails bleed black. Small, invisible cuts sting along my fingers and inside my palms, but I don't care. I can't care. Infection and disease are worries for another day. Neither matter if I starve to death before they can even take root in my body. Sure, the thought of E having to watch over my body as I scream through a fever-dream is harrowing, but is it any worse than our current reality? For want of a few credits to our names, we can't have anything. No roof. No food. No water. This city is such a perfect little mess of twisted systems and policies, leading to a couple of unintentional drop-outs like us. If the E-Officers drag us to the station then we'll get separated and spat into the 'protected citizens' system, which will have a heart

attack when it realizes that neither of us exists anymore. You'd have to be stupid to not realise that we exist, I know. E can't get more obvious than having neon blue hair--a little faded now, to be fair, but it has been a few months since we found the dye--and I... I'm just a living, breathing human. I've got a heart in my chest and it's beating, despite what the stupid systems say. It's better this way. I try to think like that. Don't worry, Tinz, just imagine how absolutely boring life would be if you have a stable income and a warm

ME AND E home to relax in every Wouldn't that be awful?


"Nothing here, kid." E takes in a deep breath, shaking her head. "And nothing left. What a combo." "We shoulda tried the mega-market," I say, plunging my hands back into the chute. "More food. Most we're gonna find here is some mechanic's lunch." "Do you not wanna switch out, go somewhere else for tonight?" Even at just the suggestion, I automatically check to my left and right. Moving is dangerous. Staying still isn't great either, but moving introduces a whole new layer of

possibilities for disaster. This haven is a dead-end, but I don't trust the brick wall between us and another block of offices. E reckons we can scale it, no problem, but there's something about the looming structure that sets my heart fluttering. The easier escape route-until someone appears in it--is the opening at the other end of the alleyway. Shadows roam past sometimes; late buses herding the last of the evening shift home, and the first of the night shift to work. E says she can remember when her parents had a car. Their own car, paid for by them and fuelled by them and driven by them. I can't remember if my family ever did. Not that it matters now. Now they don't exist, and neither do I. My stained fingernails disappear, curling into my palms until my hands are clenched into tight fists. Pain shoots around the nerves, tingling like little spikes of electricity. I can feel E's eyes cutting into my face, but I can't look at her. There's a hand on my shoulder, and I know it's hers, but I can't look. Closing my eyes, I know I'm in the apartment and it's my mother's hand on my shoulder. Her tiny, thin hands, webbed with sickly veins. I can eclipse them with my own even at my young age, with my emaciated frame. Never enough food. Never enough anything. The heating dies with a spluttering cough, and the electricity fizzles around us. Just me and her. Me and Mum. E and me. No, not yet. Not E. She's not here--it's

WRITTEN BY OSKAR LEONARD Mum's hand on my shoulder, her tiny hand. It's comforting. It's everything I need and everything I've ever wanted. Our apartment is the world, and she--she is everything. I can see her eyes. Red lines drill their way towards her irises, as if they're trying to take everything from her, even that soft brown shade. Around us, the world shifts, but her eyes stay the same. Caring. Memories are swimming around her pupils, memories that I will never be able to experience, but I don't mind. I can't mind. Mum is everything. She has been everywhere and done everything, even when she hasn't. There's a knock at the door. I know that E is on the other side of the wall, now. I know her parents and the lanky brother who smokes in the hallway. Still, E isn't right here--she isn't in the room. No, that's just me and Mum. Another knock at the door. She's whispering in my ear but I can't make out the words. She's moving away from me, towards the door, and all I want to do is scream at her to stay away. It would've been fine if she never opened the door. It all would've been fine. "It's okay, Tinz." No, that's not her. She never called me Tinz. Tinz is later. I open my eyes and turn my head, even though the effort threatens to saw my neck

in half. It's E. E's hand on my shoulder. E's words in my ear. It's always been E, ever since... that. isn't in the room. No, that's just me and Mum. Another knock at the door. She's whispering in my ear but I can't make out the words. She's moving away from me, towards the door, and all I want to do is scream at her to stay away. It would've been fine if she never opened the door. It all would've been fine. "It's okay, Tinz." No, that's not her. She never called me Tinz. Tinz is later. I open my eyes and turn my head, even though the effort threatens to saw my neck in half. It's E. E's hand on my shoulder. E's words in my ear. It's always been E, ever since... that. Just us. Two crazy kids fighting tooth and nail to stay together, against every system and every E-Officer who tries to get in our way.

"It's okay to cry, Tinz." "I know." I don't want to cry. "Just let it all out." "I know." It needs to stay inside. "We'll find some food. Come on."

Neighbours, once. But that was another life.

She rises to her feet and pulls me up with her, but I'm unsteady. Tears run down my face, gathering unceremoniously around my lips and jaw. E's smile is the kind of motherly expression that really

"I know," I say, but my chest shakes with a sigh that is assaulted by sobs.


doesn't help with intrusive memories, but I know she's trying to help. Her sleeves dab away the tears, then her fingers smooth down my hair. "Somewhere new, right? We'll find something. We always do." "We always do," I echo, but the words are numb. Havens are hard to come by in this city, and now we're leaving one in an attempt to find another. Maybe we're like rats, scurrying from food source to food source, but at least rats are better than ghosts--better than the zombies that shuffle to and from those brain-mushing jobs every day-better than the broken bodies that result from the back-breaking jobs we'd probably end up getting assigned to. In this city, there's no ideal life, not for us. There's just the next step, and the one after that.


an interview with community leaders Renée Forrester and Raye Kimberlin of the MLK Coalition of Lebanon interviewed by Zoe Scott A little background: How did the MLK We emerged out of a Coalition of longstanding MLK Jr. Lebanon begin? Day planning group -Lebanon’s diverse Race Unity group, formed in the 1960’s. Community members; including representatives from faith-based organizations, schools, local government, businesses, families and community organizations have served on this planning group. Bethel AME Church has coordinated the annual service each year since 1985. Several churches and community groups have supported, hosted, and attended these programs. The Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Coalition of Lebanon, Ohio was incorporated in 2010 by a steering committee led by Bethel A.M.E. Church. Those planning the annual event felt that there was a need to do more in the community and should have more activities, events, and projects throughout the year. The Race Unity Group (Cousins) was also a big factor in the formation of MLK Lebanon. They were a group of people from Bethel AME, St Patrick, Resurrection Lutheran Churches and other churches. They came together to get to know one another to discuss race, discrimination, and what they could do about it. There are two living members from that group: Mary Lou Harmon and Jean Benning.

The MLK Coalition of Lebanon is a community organization focused on tackling local racial, socioeconomic, and other issues as well as spreading messages of community and openmindedness. Lebanon is a small town located in southwestern Ohio with a past of racial discrimination and prejudice. Several court cases have been taken up against the local school system for instances of racism though little has been done to combat such issues. Lebanon was the first city to "ban" abortion and promises to prosecute those who aid in the act. Lebanon High School proudly sports a Native American man as their mascot, the Warrior and is among one of the least diverse schools in the state. These are just a few examples of the difficulties organizations such as these face in their local communities though it is important to highlight the efforts of activists in rural areas.

How would you describe MLK Lebanon’s overarching goal?

The overarching goal in the work that I do with MLK Lebanon really aligns with our

three core values – ACTION – UNITY – SERVICE. It is important to learn and read about Dr. King, but we also must remember he was a man of action. He provided vision and instructions on how to become the “Beloved Community.” Our projects and activities are focused on our mission to honor Dr. King's vision of justice by building an inclusive network of individuals and organizations that work toward empowerment for people. We all can serve. Teach a man to fish and he

will be able to feed himself. MLK Lebanon works with churches and other organization to reach those in need, to educate, to encourage inclusion and kindness.

What kind of At the volunteer work does MLK appreciation luncheon, Lebanon do? a needs assessment survey was used to gather information from various community organizations and leaders. This helped to guide the direction of projects and ultimately served as a blueprint in establishing our committees. MLK Lebanon has the Day of Awareness and Celebration committee that organizes the King Day celebration in addition to awarding the Drum Major Awards. The Community Service For Peace committee coordinates day of service projects, community service opportunities, Earth Day activities and recently 5K fundraisers to support area charities and the mission of MLK Lebanon. The Education Excellence committee has been instrumental in many projects including the Homework Zone homework club, Community Stories, book discussions, field trips, health workshops, and anti-racism training. Currently this committee is conducting a children’s book drive with the goal of giving each and every student at Bowman Elementary their very own personal book about Dr. King. The Research and Development committee is responsible for researching needs in the community and find gaps of service. This committee launched the Lunch On Us project to help feed students at Lebanon City schools and eliminate lunch debt. This committee also is responsible for fundraising and grant writing. Currently, we are working researching and compiling a list of black owned businesses in Warren and Butler county. Newer committees include our Publicity committee that maintains our website, social media and public relations.

This committee worked last year to create a new logo. The Advocacy committee is a newly formed group that is working on voter education, voter registration, and legislation research.

What impacts can be seen in your local community because of these projects?

over the years, we've seen many changes. When our school district was sued for discrimination and racism, we recommended an organization to conduct district equity training for staff and administration. We also developed a strong relationship with the superintendent and school board. This led to another project “Lunch On Us.” After doing research about hunger in the community, it was identified that there was a gap in services for students that were unable to pay for lunch. The project helped to feed students and paid off the lunch debt for graduating seniors so they could receive their diplomas. We also championed for students to receive the full lunch not just a sandwich if they had no lunch money or had lunch debt. MLK Lebanon members have advocated for change at the city level recently. A resolution denouncing racism was a collaborative effort with citizens and city council to help start conversations about the history and perception of the city. The city also adopted a strategic goal focusing on diversity, equity and inclusion. Although the council did not support the request to establish a Human Relations Commission as a new citizens board similar to the Shade Tree Commission, there are many organizations in the community interested in forming such a group and the Lebanon Chamber of Commerce has picked up the mantle to get something done in this area for the citizens of Lebanon.

What is the biggest local issue you have worked on or are currently working on?

Racism in the schools was the biggest local issue we dealt with as an organization. We wanted to be in partnership with our schools and assist in helping to improve the situation for our students. We applaud the schools for collaborative communication between the MLK Coalition, the superintendent, and the board; including parents, community members, students, faculty and staff in ongoing efforts to eradicate racism in our schools; and engaging in professional learning and systemic change work toward educational equity. There is still ongoing work to be done to help close the achievement gap for students of color as well as diversifying the teaching staff and administration. Another MLK Lebanon has highlighted is the need for students to have lunch; to illuminate school lunch debt. After researching what had been done to help people with food insecurity the committee focused on students' lunch. Lunch debit was illuminated and graduating senior;s fees were also paid off so they could receive their diplomas and start their adult life without this debt hanging over them. MLK Lebanon was grateful to the generosity of the Lebanon community. We all worked together to solve a problem. That’s unity! Art in color was also a project that was very impactful. ArtScape Lebanon teamed up with MLK Lebanon because a young man taking photographs of the buildings in downtown Lebanon was harassed by restaurant owners and told he didn’t belong there. This young man’s family (my family) has been in Lebanon for over 8 generations and most definitely belonged there. We belong in whatever space we happen to choose. We all have value and something to contribute to our community. This art exhibit was to show the talent of local

artists who were unseen in our community. Engaging in conversation with Lebanon City Police Department, Chief Mitchell and Warren County Sheriff Department Sheriff Sims has been encouraging for MLK Lebanon. Getting to know their practices and policies have been very helpful and we are building a strong relationship. Bringing education as far as book studies, seminars on See the Face of God in Each Other Healing Racism Training lead by Debbie Stokes, classes with city of Lebanon Management, and our Earth Day 5K have all had huge impacts on our community. My personal passion right now would be DEI work. I believe MLK Lebanon can help lead the community into important dialogue, education, training, and healing. Human Relations is very important in order to create a more accepting and loving community. Lebanon wants to be known as a charming place to live and visit, so this is a much needed initiative in this city.

How does an organization like MLK Lebanon fit into a community like Lebanon?

Lebanon is a very conservative, Republican town and has had a history of discrimination and racism. MLK Lebanon has become an important organization for the community. It is highly respected and recognized by city officials, leaders, businesses and organizations. We have a small group of volunteers that have grown over the past 5 years. Recently, we have seen outreach and collaboration extend beyond our city and county with new relationships being built with other like-minded organizations and grassroot efforts in Springboro, Centerville, Beavercreek, and other areas.

Lebanon used to have a thriving black community around Pleasant Square Park. Entire families moved out of the area due to no jobs, seeking better opportunities, and racism. It’s been difficult reaching the black community to get involved to help make positive change. The majority in Lebanon are becoming more aware of MLK Lebanon and have seen the work we have done for the entire community.

How are the messages and ideas of Dr. King being carried on by MLK Lebanon?

Dr. King’s philosophy on service, inclusion, & human value. Our various works on serving the community by supporting the Lebanon Food Pantry, students, education, Humane Society, bringing awareness to voting rights, criminal justice, environmental justice, living wage and housing. MLK Lebanon believes in the 6 Principles of Nonviolence. We use these principles to guide work as a coalition. -Nonviolence is a way of life for courageous people. -The Beloved Community is the framework for the future. -Attack forces of evil, not persons doing evil. -Accept suffering without retaliation for the sake of the cause to achieve the goal. -Avoid internal violence of the spirit as well as external physical violence. -The universe is on the side of justice. Dr. King describes the Beloved Community: In the Beloved Community, poverty, hunger and homelessness will not be tolerated because international standards of human decency will not allow it. Racism and all forms of discrimination, bigotry and prejudice will be replaced by an all-inclusive spirit of sisterhood and brotherhood.

What similarities between Dr. King’s time and the current day do you see in terms of injustice, inequality, and racial or socioeconomic tensions?

There have been great progress and achievements since the Civil Rights Movement. More African Americans and People of Color are serving in public office, holding high level positions in corporations, and are achieving in higher education. We’ve seen progress of course with the first black president and the first black/Asian/female Vice-President. There are still social injustice and racial/socioeconomic tensions. There is a need to continue Dr. King’s work related to the Poor People’s Campaign and deal with issues of poverty that impact all races and ethnicities. This is necessary to make the United States the great nation that Dr. King believed it could be. Voter suppression laws, living wage, jobs, housing, the justice system, and a black person’s right to just exist in a space is still threatened.

What does Black Black History Month is History Month a time to reflect and Represent to you? celebrate black excellence and achievements. It was a necessary initiative started by Carter G.; Woodson first as Negro History Week and then becoming Black History Month. Today, it is now more than important to recognize that Black History is American History, in fact it is World History. With discussions of banning books and the misinformation about critical race theory, education about the African American experience in our country is necessary in order to learn from our past and to relate it to the present-day policies and systems that are still in place that are creating racial and socioeconomic gaps in the Black community.

What I fought for at Lebanon High School in the mid 70’s; alongside my cousin, was for history to be taught as history happened. Not just how we were slaves. There is so much more all students need to know. MLK Lebanon has supported local Black churches, Bethel A.M.E. Church and Zion Baptist Church, which host Black History Month programs and celebrations over the years.

What advice can you give young people looking to make a change in their community?

Find a cause you are passionate about and an issue where you can affect others in a positive way. Focus on what you can do and bring like minded people along for the cause. ALWAYS SERVE! Get involved in school organizations as well as community groups. There are many wonderful volunteer opportunities in various areas that support activism, health and human services, animals, veterans, etc. MLK Lebanon partners with local organizations to offer service projects throughout the year. Our committees and projects are open to students looking to volunteer for an hour or a day, as well as those interested in long term service projects. Important things to understand: it’s about the cause not you, you will have some against you - don't take it personal. While doing this hard work, always show kindness and consideration. Stay encouraged and have other things in your life you enjoy doing. Strike a balance!

What future plans do you have for MLK Lebanon? Anything exciting planned this year?

MLK Lebanon is continuing to press forward in the coming year. We are looking forward to meeting in person again hopefully this spring. The MLK Earth Day Virtual 5k is April 17-23 with proceeds to benefit the Nature Center Association of Caesar Creek. We will host another diabetes educational workshop and begin planning the 38 th Annual MLK Celebration in Lebanon for January 16, 2023. MLK Lebanon is interested in partnerships with individuals and organizations that understand our mission and goals of building an inclusive network, a coalition, to carry out Dr. King’s vision of justice and to create the “Beloved Community.” I'd like to see more activism, Art in Color Exhibits featuring other ethnic groups, and more collaboration. I also want to encourage more young people to get involved as well as expand funds and participation for our scholarship.


“The Negro's great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Council-er or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate who is more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says ‘I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can't agree with your methods of direct action;’ who paternalistically feels he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by the myth of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait until a ‘more convenient season.’” — Martin Luther King Jr., Letters from Birmingham Jail, 1963

The moment I walked across the football field for the last time, gripping my diploma, the rose-tinted glasses seemed to tumble from the bridge of my nose and fall uselessly into the reality I was facing ahead. Four years of my life were consumed by planning every aspect of my future and it was now at my doorstep. The mixture of fear and anticipation that overwhelmed the summer leading to my freshman year of college are inexplicable, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

As I finish up my first semester of university, I find the Hollywood depictions of “the high school experience” to be laughable. In actuality, my experience in secondary education lacked the majority of its trademark

experiences. As an Arab, Muslim girl, unreasonably strict curfews and guidelines followed me around like an expectant vulture, ready to swallow up any chance of a traditional prom night or friday night lights. I was lucky enough to be

surrounded by other Muslim girls that lacked any semblance of freedom and countless nights were spent criss cross apple sauce on the floor of one of our bedrooms cramming for whatever looming deadline was approaching. The notorious FOMO was an ever-present feeling, and I still feel pity for the 14-year old version of myself that

was always hoping for something more out of life.

The transition to postsecondary life has prompted countless conversations with old high school friends. A blaring thought that stumbled through these dialogues was the realization that everything we stressed over in high school with such imminence, had absolutely no effect on where we stand today. I starkly remember my sophomore year, sitting in the counseling office and mapping out which schools I needed to attend in order to be successful. It seemed like the fate of my career and worldly successes depended on earning a spot in an elitist structure that wanted absolutely nothing to do with me.

My hopes and dreams were solely built on throwing myself into years of fivedigit debt in exchange for a title that would win me positions in society for my status rather than my character or intellect as an individual. I highlight this phenomena because it was the embodiment of the high school experience I consumed. My experience wasn’t one of a celebration of youth and life lessons; instead it was a constant uphill climb towards an unattainable future.

If I could go back in time and change my high school experience, I would put down the SAT prep book, delete the excel sheets filled

with acceptance rates and tuition costs, and unleash the expectations that shrouded my ability to see the opportunities to grow as a person right in front of me. I would quit the clubs I hated so much, go to the football games, spend less time in the library and more time with my friends, tell that boy I liked him, and skip school when I really needed it.

My high school experience was not ideal, but it isn’t uncommon. As I reflect on the past year and the changes that have accompanied it, I don’t blame my younger self for feeding into the detrimental need for

academic validation. Like many ethnic kids, perfection was the expectation from my family, and in my mind the only way to escape the toxicity at home was to serve the role of the overachieving minority student. I forgive that version of myself, and I now traverse the ups and downs of adulthood with her in mind at all times. I know I’d make her proud, and I wish she’d known how great she would be.

In Retrospect: High School Written by Amirah Ahmed

Freedom Line if i leave now, how many will stay until they lie in the cemetery down the street? i want to slip a few more inside the back pocket of my weathered levi’s on the way out of this town where complacency is the only legacy how many childhood friends can i fit in the 5 year plan crafted so meticulously to take our names farther than the fredericksburg borders freedom line redefined we’ve gotta get out, go anywhere but here anywhere but here… but how far can we get before stumbling on guilt for the ones we leave behind? By: Amirah Ahmed

While the Poor Shiver Anamika Satheesh

Winters, for some, can be colder. While many snuggles cozily in their beds, others struggle immensely in poverty. Despite the development that has taken place at the global level, there are plenty who suffer as their woes aggravate during the cold season - and this takes place across the world. The first and foremost struggle that low-income families face is the lack of adequate amenities. Many struggle to keep themselves warm due to the lack of proper clothing appropriate for the harsh conditions that they would have to survive. Some cannot afford any heat in their houses and are forced to rely upon ersatz methods to protect themselves. These are rarely efficient. However, many do not even have shelter. As a result, they are often subject to the conundrum on whether they should pay for heat or to eat. In the United States, a 2015 study found 25 million American households skipping food and medicine to pay for energy, with 7 million reporting they did so every month. The cost of having heat in their homes places such a great burden on them financially that they are now forced to compromise their health. If they pay for food, they risk getting illnesses related to the cold such as the flu or pneumonia - in extreme cases, even death due to hypothermia. Studies have also highlighted how children raised in cold conditions experienced developmental delays and other health complications. If they pay for heat, the lack of proper nutrition brings along undesirable repercussions. Elders and those suffering from comorbidities may forgo their

medication for this, but this is blatantly detrimental to their health. This is also common in marginalized communities where the population is constituted by blacks or immigrants who have been pushed into poverty by systemic racism. Since they have limited or perhaps even no access to healthcare, their conditions only get worse during the cold months. Another related issue that is quite specific to low-income communities is carbon monoxide poisoning caused by broken or unvented heaters. Owing to insufficient funds for repairs, households might have to make do with faulty or broken heaters. They may also revert to the usage of polluting solid fuel for indoor heating and cooling, which, unfortunately, could be more disastrous than they imagined. When houses get unsafe, the people have nowhere to turn to for comfort. The dearth of funds sends those in poverty out in the cold, seeking jobs that could alleviate their current plight. These jobs may not be the most favorable, but since they do not have much of a choice, they are coerced into dangerous work conditions that do not pay enough. When they are already deprived of basic necessities, the strain on them only increases, and they are even more susceptible to illnesses. In winter, some may not even be able to work. It becomes impossible to afford anything, and at times, families are forced to move out of their homes when they cannot pay the rent. Past surveys have marked such cases as one of the reasons for homelessness. With this, many lose the roof over their heads. Currently, with an ongoing pandemic, the struggles of those in poverty only get exponentially worse. In homes that do not have proper ventilation, transmission is higher leading to a greater number of people falling sick. This compounded with their potentially poor immunity and difficulty to access healthcare does not go in their favor. Therefore, it becomes important to understand these problems that the affluent community may not relate to. Providing such communities with better shelter and aiding them with facilities and supplies become the first step to helping them. Providing different forms of energy is also a prudent strategy that could positively impact their issue Moreover, lowering heating bills and increasing wages could also contribute to helping these lowincome communities sustain as the weather grows harsher.

flare/wide leg pants



psychedelic prints

tall boots


when fashion repeats itself

plaid skirts

cut-out dresses

maxi skirts

Women in the Workforce Quick Facts: 14.6% of board chairs belong to women. The most common job for women is a preschool and kindergarten teacher. 57% of women in the US participate in the job market. 275,000 women left the workforce in January 2021. 52% of women in the world deal with non-inclusive behavior at work. 41 female CEOs run businesses at Fortune 500 companies. Only 22 countries have women as the Head of State or Government Women in the workplace statistics suggest 14.6% of board chairs belong to women in Australia. 74.4% of all healthcare practitioners and technical occupations are women. 4% of women say their organizations have made progress in building inclusive cultures that support women.

History: American women only really started to join the workforce in the United States in the early parts of the 20th century. Even then, only 20% of women were considered “gainful workers” as defined by the Census Bureau. The statistics also varied by race, with African-American women being approximately twice as likely to be part of the labor force. Women involved in the workforce were also very likely to be young and unmarried, leaving their work as they got married. These rates did rise however, coming up to almost 50% for single women by 1930. This occurred despite widespread social ideas that women should remain in the home, and should not be out working in a factory, or as a domestic worker. It’s also important to mention that this time was considered the first wave of feminism, which was also related to the women’s suffrage movement. Then, between the 1930s and the 1970s, the rate of women in the workforce continued to rise. By the year 1970, half of single women and 40% of married women were part of the workforce.

Violeta Salazar Present Day [The Great Resignation]: The “Great Resignation” refers to the “ roughly 33 million Americans who have quit their jobs since the spring of 2021,”. Some of the people that are quitting their jobs are older people who’ve decided to retire early. Others have left their jobs due to the difficulties of having children who are doing online school at home. The majority of people who have quit however, are people who know that they deserve both better wages and better treatment from a job. According to Gusto, more women are quitting their jobs than men. According to CNBC, “...women have borne the brunt of those responsibilities during the Covid-19 pandemic, spending 20 hours a week on caregiving and housework last year, McKinsey & Company and LeanIn.org found in their 2020 Women in the Workplace report,”. The pandemic wasn’t exactly the cause of the Great Resignation, simply the catalyst. Unfair working conditions and low wages are not a new thing, but the pandemic amplified and made more noticeable the unfairness of it all. Women are a crucial part of the American workforce, and an even greater part of the function of day-to-day home life.

The Environmental Concerns of Overconsumption Overconsumption, one of the greatest challenges in the present world, is the situation where the use of a renewable natural resource outpaces its capacity to regenerate. Continuous overconsumption could result in environmental degradation, increased air pollution, depletion of natural resources, and even the extinction of plant and animal species. Its causal factors are often attributed to the current economic growth, consumerism, and affluent lifestyles that do not consider sustainability.

Parallels between Overconsumption and Overpopulation Beliefs that population contributes to overconsumption have been deemed as myths. The population rate has decreased over the years, but use of fossil fuels since the 1970s has not decreased. The United States is full of overconsumption and is affecting the environment due to its rich demands more than overpopulated Africa. The agrarian societies had achieved surplus of food and raw materials due to their tendency to work hard and consume little. This trend, however, changed with the advent of industrialization. In order to maintain a certain status in the society or perhaps to show off a rather affluent lifestyle, people began to use the money that they earned owing to steady economic growth on more than just basic essentials. In the 21st century, it has gotten much easier to buy items that we necessarily do not need for survival but want because someone else - perhaps a friend or celebrity - has it.

Damaging Repercussions of Fast Fashion A striking example of overconsumption would be fast fashion - cheap, trendy clothing that replicates ideas from the catwalk or celebrity culture and rapidly produces them at lower cost to meet consumer demand. It aims to get the newest styles on the market as fast as possible, allowing consumers to purchase them while they are in vogue. Unfortunately, this also reinforces the trend of getting rid of clothes that were worn once, which makes the fashion industry one of the leading contributors to pollution. Fast fashion involves the usage of cheap, toxic textile dyes. Its ersatz quality directly pollutes water resources. The use of cheap textiles, most popularly polyester, has a major impact on global warming. Polyester is derived from fossil fuels and shed microfibres that add to the increasing levels of plastic in oceans when washed, and these toxic substances are ingested by land and marine animals. Natural fabrics like conventional cotton also require enormous quantities of water and pesticides in developing countries, and causing drought risks and creating extreme stress on water basins. Animals are also put at risk for products such as leather, fur, and wool. The rapid speed and demand lay stress on other factors that get affected such as land clearing, biodiversity, and soil quality. Landfills overflow with clothes that were barely used and discarded.

Written by Anamika Satheesh Workers are also forced to work in hazardous environments for low wages and without fundamental human rights. These workers are essentially exploited into dealing with toxic substances and constant stress, which takes a toll on their physical and psychological health. They may be cheap, but their process of manufacturing is no good to the environment. “Throw-away” culture continues to be reinforced in the minds of consumers while workers, animals, and the environment as a whole suffer. It also increases diseases and malnutrition, basically causing issues to health.

Effects of Overconsumption on the Environment Other sectors that contribute to overconsumption include the automobile industry, agriculture, and manufacturing. For instance, in the automobile industry, the mining of resources, conversion of these resources into raw materials, manufacture of parts, and energy invested into processing and transportation along with the water consumption, wastage, and other pollution has an insurmountable effect on the environment. This being done repeatedly as new cars are released every year does no good to the environment even though it may appear like buying a new car every few years is a necessity. Fresh water reserves, fish stocks and forests are shrinking because of overconsumption. Several species are on the verge of extinction. It leads to climate change, which in turn affects weather, agriculture, health, and animals.

What we can do: A redesign in methods of disposal and focusing on recovering and recycling could diminish overconsumption. If governments and organizations shift supply chains to a circular economy, demands on natural resources will be reduced. This would require a collaboration between organizations, governments, and investors, and of course, co-operation from the people, who are most likely not aware of the ruinous effects their consumption based on convenience has on the planet. Extending a product’s life or remanufacturing through ideas such as H&M’s offer vouchers for old clothing and fabrics donated could serve as an example for other organizations to encourage such practices. Solving this is absolutely crucial and requires the combined efforts of all the people in the globe.

influential Black figures you may not have heard of Bayard Rustin

Violeta Salazar Chief organizer of the March on Washington, advocated for the LGBTQ+ community, mentor to Martin Luther King Jr.

Shirley Chisholm Pauli Murray First Black female Episcopal priest and California’s first Black deputy attorney general

First Black woman in the House of Representatives, first Black candidate for a major party nomination for the President of the United States, and first woman to run for the Democratic Party’s nomination

Jo Ann Robinson

Early member of the Women’s Political Council, named President in 1950. Faced verbal abuse for sitting in the empty white section of a city bus.

Dorothy Height

Ella Baker Founding member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, very important member of the NAACP and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

Dion Diamond

Fought for civil and women’s rights, helped create the National Women’s Political Caucus, and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1994.

Opposed members of American Nazi party while a student at Howard University and had a goal to “crash segregated society”

The Effects of U.S. Intervention on the Cuban Economy and Diplomacy The beginning of the relationship between Cuba and the United States dates back to 1899 when the U.S., after signing the Treaty of Paris with Spain, gained control of the country. Cuba, which had been under Spanish rule ever since Christopher Columbus set foot on its land in 1492, became a place of interest for the Europeans due to increased sugar cane and tobacco production. During its rebellion against Spanish control, Cuba sought the aid of the U.S., sparking the seed of American expansion. The explosion of the USS Maine at Havana Harbor resulted in the SpanishAmerican war popularly dubbed as "the U.S. intervention in Cuba's War of Independence” in Cuba. The U.S. military rule came to an end in 1902 when Cuba became an independent nation. While the U.S. did retain the right to intervene in Cuba to restore order, this was renounced in 1934 without ever successfully exercising it.

American Investment in Cuban Economy Cuba’s primary source of income remained the exportation of raw sugar and was dependent on the U.S. market for mutually profitable trade. Cubans traded with Americans and Americans invested in Cuba. Because of this trade being uninterrupted by competition, Cuba was able to enjoy prosperity until it was hit by a severe financial crisis. This crisis resulted in then President Zayos taking a loan of $50 million from the U.S. along with the introduction of financial reforms. However, his rule was met with belligerence as people began increasingly aggravated by his corrupt ways. He was forced to abdicate, bringing dictatorship in Cuba through President Gerardo Machado. Machado failed to keep his promises and in his second term, began to instate harsh methods to combat increasing political opposition and a failing economy. Cuban exiles fled to the U.S.; as violence intensified the U.S. offered to mediate. A revolution in 1933 led Machado to flee, leaving Cuba in the hands of presidents, all of whom acting as puppets to Fulgencio Batista, an army sergeant who had led a mutiny displacing Cuban officers and had established himself at Camp Columbia as the leader of the Cuban armed forces.

The First U.S. Embargo on Arms Fulgencio Batista

Batista’s dictatorship proved to be no less detrimental than his predecessors; Cuba was characterized by corruption, unequal distribution of wealth and opportunity, and some measure of police/military

oppression. However, his rule was recognized by the U.S. who provided military and economic aid. During this period, growing American corporations asserted dominance in Cuba’s economy. Batista’s rule was eventually challenged by a young, but politically active Fidel Castro, who was imprisoned for a brief period, released, and then exiled. While in exile, Castro devised a strategy to overpower the Cuban government forced through guerrilla war — making use of Cuba’s isolated Sierra Maestra mountains and dense jungles. In 1958, The U.S. imposed its first embargo on the sale of arms to Cuba, depriving Batista of ammunition that he required to defend himself from Castro. Batista realized that he was powerless without the support of the U.S. and relinquished his presidency and fled to Portugal, where he spent the remainder of his life.

The Present Embargo on Exports The relation between the U.S. and Castro’s communist government grew strained as Castro publicly declared himself to be “Marxist-Leninist”. In 1960, Cuba nationalized the U.S.-owned Cuban oil refineries without compensation, provoking the U.S. to place an embargo on exports to Cuba except for food and medicine. Two years later, it was extended to almost all exports. The embargo remains unchanged even today despite the United Nations condemning it every year since 1992. Che Guevara, one of Castro’s chief revolutionary lieutenants, spoke strongly about Cuba’s need to confront the U.S.: "To win something you have to take it away from somebody...This something is the sovereignty of the country: it has to be Fidel Castro taken away from that somebody who is called the monopoly, although monopolies, in general, have no country, they have at least a common definition: all the monopolies which have been in Cuba which have made profits on Cuban land, have very close ties with the U.S.A. In other words, our economic war will be with the great power of the North.”

The U.S. Attempt to Remove Communism In 1961, former US President Kennedy approved and financed an army invasion by Cuban exiles at the Bay of Pigs as a futile attempt to overthrow Castro. Following this, the relation between the two nations deteriorated even further, and Cuba turned towards the Soviet Union for ideological and economic support. The Soviets agreed to exchange their oil for sugar no longer purchased by the U.S. When the U.S.-owned oil refineries refused to refine the Soviet oil, the Cuban government nationalized them. Following the Bay of Pigs invasion, Fidel Castro declared Cuba a socialist state while the CIA began to launch campaigns to assassinate Castro. This is believed to have led to the Cuban Missile Crisis— a confrontation between the U.S. and the Soviet Union that had the potential to turn the Cold

War into a nuclear war. The deployment of Soviet missiles in Cuba upon request was beneficial to society in many ways— one of which was to show support for Cuba, which viewed the U.S. as a threat. The US, after acquiring photographic evidence and meticulous deliberation, instated a blockade disguised by the term 'quarantine' through which American warships intercepted any Soviet ships heading to Cuba. Eventually, the Soviet Union removed the missiles and made the U.S. promise not to invade Cuba. These two incidents added to the hostility between Cuba and the U.S.

Cuba’s Present Condition After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Cuban economy went downhill while the embargo remained; John F. Cuba's GDP plummeted 34%. It wasn't until 1999 Kennedy during President Clinton's time that travel restrictions to Cuba were eased with hopes to increase cultural exchange between the two nations. However, this was once again reverted to stringent restrictions under George Bush's presidency, causing tensions in relations. The embargo has been criticized as the causal cause of medical crises and infectious diseases due to the deprivation of food, clean water, medical supplies, and other necessities. Al Jazeera, in 2015, estimated that the embargo has cost the Cuban economy $1.1 trillion. Restrictions loosened by President Barack Obama were reversed by President Trump, providing Cuba with proof that the maintenance of the embargo is at fault for its dilapidating economic conditions. Cuba, having put an end to its dual currency system, saw its economy shrink by 11% during the pandemic. The rise in global prices, the fall in wages, the failure of government policies, and the standing U.S. embargo caused frustrated Cubans to protest last year. Thus, the relationship between Cuba and the U.S. remains strained as the Cubans blame the United States for their economic suffering. The U.S., however, maintains the stance that a change in the communist ideology of the government may prompt them to rethink the impositions on trade, but until then, their policies will not be in favor of Cuba.

By: Anamika Satheesh

“Again we have deluded ourselves into believing the myth that capitalism grew and prospered out of the Protestant ethic of hard work and sacrifices. Capitalism was built on the exploitation of black slaves and continues to thrive on the exploitation of the poor, both black and white, both here and abroad.” — Martin Luther King Jr., The Three Evils speech, 1967

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On My Identity For as long as I can remember, I’ve felt like a rope in a game of tug of war, being pulled on either side by both of my communities. My father is a second-generation Egyptian who grew up in a traditional Arab, Muslim household. My mother’s background is the polar opposite; she’s a White woman that grew up in a Catholic household. These two respective experiences are starkly different and their one connection didn’t make them any easier for me to untangle. Both my parents, as well as myself, were born and raised in the American “Deep South.” Navigating the hyphenated identities that shape me turned my childhood, and now adolescence, into a journey to find a space where both of my labels and communities are welcome and celebrated. While freeing yourself of labels can be liberating for some, I’ve always seemed to find solace in them. Stumbling through my childhood, I learned how to hone in on one identity or the other to become what my environment expected of me. If I was at a gathering with my mother’s side of the family, I made sure to draw out my speech and amplify my “southern girl” credentials. When my Teta would bring me along to her weekly halaqas, which were attended by a majority of older Arab women, I would pull out my one-piece hijab and was careful to slip in a few words from the little Arabic I spoke in between cheek kisses from her friends. I never dared to expose the opposite facets of my identity in either situation. I couldn’t bear the chance of invalidating my Arab-ness in the eyes of one community or being looked at hesitantly by the other. As I near adulthood, I often find myself feeling like my backgrounds contradict each other and this leaves me in a perpetual state of exhausting uncertainty about how I should present myself to the world. As a White, American

Amirah Ahmed woman that benefits from resulting privilege, I am navigating my role and responsibility in breaking down the structural racism and xenophobia that I witness and benefit from in every aspect of my life. As an Arab, Muslim woman, I live every moment of my life defending myself and my people from the xenophobia and islamophobia engrained within the roots of my country. These two experiences often meet at unexpected crossroads that I have yet to understand. One particular experience that has remained memorable to me was when I first began wearing hijab at age 13. We were visiting my mother’s side of the family and it was the first time they had seen me in a hijab. Some of their first remarks were, “you know you really don’t have to wear that” and “did your dad make you wear that?” While I wasn’t surprised to hear something like that from them, I was shocked by the rhetoric because it clearly symbolized my place in their eyes. I was “one of them” enough to be welcomed into their homes, but not enough to be treated with respect. Situations like these posed a sharp contrast to experiences with my darker family members on my father’s side of the family that were subjected to gross scrutiny in every moment of their lives. Learning to come to peace with the intersections of my experiences has become a daily effort for me and I know I am not alone in this. I am always looking for literature and content that allows me to relate to other individuals with similar experiences hoping that maybe one day soon I can find a balance that will help me walk the tightrope of my identity with unwavering confidence in who I am. January 9 2022

This choking sunlight never burned the skin you kissed when you were here; one street away, another cul-de-sac, and you saved me from the sting of this– this suffocating existence, where normal is king, and kings have queens, and I was yours, but all they saw were two suburban princes, living their best lives, side-by-side. Light never found our intimate embraces, when flesh melded and two became one– in the daylight, even our fingers remained so solitarily separate, never intertwined. They could never see our hearts; I wouldn’t, couldn’t, let them in. We lay on manicured grass, letting sprinklers cast their liquid jewels onto half-clothed bodies, attempting to forget hidden nights, hearts throbbing together, borrowed basements, never close to our own carbon-copy castles–friends, knights, sworn to secrecy; you threatened one with a knife,

Oskar Leonard

Love Letter Penned By A Pining Princess

some promise to ruin his tongue if he ever, ever ruined our fragile regal lives, then sobbed onto my lap once he left us to be us, not knowing what could have ever driven you to such a thought. Me. I knew. Or us, to be specific, because if I meant nothing to you, then we would be nothing and you would have never brought your blade to his throat, and he would have never widened his poor, bright eyes, still caught in a trance of laughter, rapidly becoming terror. You were a strict prince–we were a beautiful monarchy, but no one could know quite how beautiful. They still don’t. The day you left, I promised myself to never tell a soul and preserve the kingdom’s memory of their poster child–so athletic, so smart, so normal. I take the walk up to the school alone, now, no longer fielding questions about you because everyone knows you as the one who left. I count the trees until a full sixteen lead me to the gates and I wish I could enter them by your side again– truthfully, you were the only one who could ever melt the edges of this stifling world, where I cannot be me, and we could not be us, but still I hold a little hope in my heart that you and I, far from this desert of languid, performative life, will meet again, and finally become the king and queen we ought to be; rulers of a throne of our own, so far from these homes that cannot be our homes.

de·moc·ra·cy /dəˈmäkrəsē/ noun general rule by the people American a two party system insistent on creating divides amongst its people for the sake of profit, political gain, and power; a playground for the nation's wealthy and privileged to exert their will onto the poor and marginalized from either side whilst parading their "polarized" agendas despite writing from the same pen.

A Word from the Editor Thanks for reading the 2nd issue of TUGZ Magazine! There have definitely been some ups and downs throughout the creation process, but I couldn’t be prouder of how it has turned out. While coming up with the theme, I had many doubts on what would actually come of something like this; I worried that it was too polarizing, too niche, or too disengaged. But, I think we’ve created something unique that anyone can find a part of themselves in. I spent many late nights writing, editing, designing, and doing nearly anything but sleeping, though now, I think it has paid off. Like working

on issue 1, I had many lessons to learn and many obstacles to overcome but thanks to a great team, I was able to do so. I would like to thank my amazing team of writers for their dedication and reliability; even with tight deadlines and busy schedules, they were able to contribute outstanding pieces. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading issue 2, we’ve got big things coming soon! Stay tuned ;) -Zoe Scott, TUGZ Editor-in-Chief


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