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The Urban Village Voice

T h e n e w s pap e r o f t h e S P RIN G 2 0 1 1 U r b a n J o u r n a l i s m W o r k s h o p | Sp o n s o r e d b y t h e W a s h i n g t o n A s s o c i a t i o n o f B l a c k J o u r n a l i s t s a n d t h e W a s h i n g t o n P o s T


LEFT: Black soldiers who

served with the Union Army are shown in this reproduction from the collections of the Library of Congress. RIGHT: A servant to Maj.

Raleigh Spinks Camp of the 40th Georgia Infantry of the Army of Tennessee, identified only as Marlboro.

he planned to escape by sailing the Confederate ship he worked on, which was loaded with important equipment for two Confederate forts. He succeeded, and provided the Union Army with valuable information about the Confederate Army. Smalls was considered a hero and used the recognition to win political

WA SHINGTON – Fra nk Smit h,

founding director of the AfricanAmerican Civil War Memorial and Museum, tells a story about Robert Smalls, an African-American soldier who became a congressman. Smalls was a slave who worked on ships for the Confederate Army; 

“America wouldn’t be America without the Civil War” — Fr ank Smith , director of the AfricanAmerican Civil War Memorial and Museum


WALDORF, Md. — Kareeba Gabri-


See 2012 Page 5


Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

Mitchellville, Md. – First-time vot-

ers are expected to play a major role in the 2012 presidential election – perhaps just as they did in the 2008 contest. Voters between the ages of 18-29 account for 21 percent of the electorate, according to CIRCLE, a political thinktank that engages young voters. First-time voter Andrea Williams, 18, said she believes that most young voters support the same party as their parents. Her mother is a lifelong Democrat but has recently considered

President Obama will need to appeal to issues affecting young voters to win 2012.

Local Teens Say They Have Been Bullied By Their Peers On the Internet 3

el has always dreamed of a fairytale prom. Inside her closet awaits her one-shoulder, navy-blue dream dress. A reservation for a Hummer limousine has been placed, and her makeup is ready to go. But one detail still lingers about the May 7 prom as pressure mounts from her friends: the burden of deciding if she will drink alcohol. “I hate feeling the pressure because I know it’s wrong to drink. I just don’t want to put a damper on everyone’s night,” said Gabriel, a senior at Westlake High School here.

ROCK V ILLE , Md. — Cat her i ne

See SADD page 5

See DRUGS Page 4

positions, starting with the South Carolina House of Representatives. He served there from 1865 to 1870, then was elected to the South Carolina state Senate from 1871 to 1874. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and served from 1875 to 1879. Smith, an authority on Civil See LEGACY page 2

Promises Not to Drink

First-Time Voters Targeting 2012 Presidential Contest


The constant increase in underage drinking and driving has sparked numerous school-level campaigns to put an end to this dangerous practice, especially on prom night. Westlake High School is participating in a nationwide campaign known as the Prom Promise. Founded in 1990 by Students Against Drunk Driving (SADD), this movement provides students with prevention tools to deal with issues of underage drinking on prom night and in their everyday lives. Alcohol use remains widespread among today’s teenagers. Nearly 72 percent of students have consumed




O’Connell, 17, says she never thought she was breaking the law. As a senior at Thomas S. Wootton High School in Rockville, she often shared bottles of Adderall, a treatment drug for Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD), with classmates. What O’Connell thought was an innocent gesture actually was against the law and led to her expulsion from school. It was exam week and a friend of O’Connell’s had gone to the senior for moral support and comfort. A sixpage forensics paper was due and it wasn’t going to write itself, her friend explained to her. O’Connell saw that her friend needed a quick fix and time was running out, and figured, “Why not give it to her?” The “it” was Adderall. The prescribed drug helps adolescents combat ADHD. According to the ADHD website, it can help improve focus and enhance ability. “It was a huge mistake and I regret it,” O’Connell said about sharing the drug. “I didn’t think it would go as far as me being expelled, though.”  O’Connell is a part of a growing number of students who engage in sharing ADHD medication. The risks can span from expulsion to the most extreme case of landing in jail. But despite the risks, abuse of Adderall is common among high school students because it enables users to get a high that increases their attentiveness and endurance. So some students say it’s essential to their academic achievement. “I need to do whatever it takes to


Students Fighting Stimulant Use


TOMS Pushes Shoes, But Markets for a Cause 5


Black Crew Members Hope to See More Minorities 8


The newspaper of the SPRING 2011 Urban Journalism Workshop. Sponsored by the Washington Association of Black Journalists and the Washington PosT


Justin Carter Forest Park High School

Selina Dudley Holton-Arms School

Isaiah Glenn Charles Herbert Flowers High School

Laurel Hattix Stone Bridge High School

Queen Hudgins Cesar Chavez High School

Corynn Johnson Charles Herbert Flowers High School

Arianna Poindexter Westlake High School

Johnelle Revell Springbrook High School

Josh Samson Winston Churchill High School

Briana Savage Oxon Hill High School

Jelani Scott Bishop McNamara High School

Francies Stephenson Woodrow Wilson High School


Dakarai Aarons Communication Works

Porscha Coleman Freelance journalist


Tiffany Arnold

Joshua Garner


Justin Carter Forest Park High School

Selina Dudley Holton-Arms School

Laurel Hattix Stone Bridge High School

Briana Savage Oxon Hill High School


Lorrie Grant LG Communications Inc.


Lee Ivory IvoryComm Inc.

From LEGACY page 1

War history and the role of AfricanAmericans, has recounted that story many times over the past 20 years. And now he is focusing on revamping the Civil War Museum - set for its grand opening in July. “America wouldn’t be America without the Civil War,” said Smith, who wants visitors to the museum, in Northwest D.C. near the Mount Vernon Metro station, to know that African-Americans played an important role in history. “Racial reconciliation in the United States started with the Civil War,” he said during an interview with high school students about this year’s 150th anniversary of the war.  “There was no way to ever have racial reconciliation in America with 3.9 million people held as slaves,” he said. Blacks formed the Colored Troops who fought with the Union Army for their freedom. Smith describes how these men earned the right to vote on the battlefield and how the Civil War was the only war in which AfricanAfricans won the Congressional Medal of Honor, the highest honor given for valor in a war. “Twenty three of these men won the Congressional Medal of Honor for the Civil War -- 23 blacks,” Smith said. “By contrast, no blacks won the Congressional Medal of Honor in World War I or II. None.” Founded in 1999, the AfricanA merican Civil War Memorial and Museum was built, according to Smith, to “correct the wrong of leaving the black soldiers out of the history books.” Just  blocks away is a bronze sculpture of uniformed black soldiers and a sailor. It is surrounded by a Wall of Honor, a memorial listing the names of 209,145 Colored Troops who served in the Civil War. Smith said he hopes to encourage tourists to travel beyond the National Mall and visit the museum, which sits on historic U Street. He said he believes that kind of foot traffic would lend to the area’s revitalization. “I want tourists to spend one day in this neighborh ood patronizing the businesses,” Smith said. Smith became fascinated with


CIVIL WAR 150TH ANNIVERSARY The Urban Civil War L Village Legacy Voice Lives On

Museum director Frank Smith in 1998 at the installation of a statue memorializing black soldiers who fought in the Civil War.

Civil War Museum Celebrates Black Soldiers BY JELANI SCOTT UJW STAFF WASHINGTON – There are two main goals Frank

Smith, director of the African-American Civil War Memorial and Museum, wanted to accomplish by building the museum and memorial. “One is to rebuild the community, and two is to correct the wrongs in history,” he said. That is exactly what Smith is doing. The museum, founded in 1998, has drawn millions of tourists from all over the world to the District’s historic U Street corridor, Smith said. Its artifacts and documents tell a different story about the history of African-Americans in the United States - a story that is often swept under the rug of American history, according to Smith. But the men who fought on the battlefield during the Civil War 150 years ago this April left a legacy that will last forever. The museum and memorial are “the results of over 20 years of researching” about these soldiers, Smith said during an interview with a group of student journalists. He said people must know about this story. “It’s important for the black community to know that we did something to help ourselves,” Smith said. “It’s also important for white people to know that we valued that freedom so much that we were willing to risk our lives to get our own freedom.”

the Civil War while doing civil rights work in Mississippi, when a man showed off a picture of his grandfather in uniform. Today, Smith operates the only Civil War museum dedicated to African-Americans. Its new location is already gaining some buzz. In the same building a docent training program was under way. Ingrid Armstrong-Doweary, an

“It’s important for the black community to know that we did something to help ourselves.” — Fr ank Smith , director of the African-American Civil War Memorial and Museum

The memorial, located just blocks away from the museum near Mount Vernon Metro Station, makes the story that much more special. A striking sculpture called the Spirit of Freedom stands as the epicenter of the memorial and features uniformed black soldiers and a sailor as they leave home. The sculpture is surrounded by a granite wall called the Wall of Honor. The names on the wall are those of every African-American soldier and officer who served in the Union Army during the war. The sculpture reflects Smith’s idea for the tribute to the black soldiers, he said. “Never give up on your dream,” Smith said. “These people didn’t give up and the sculpture represents that. When these people met adversity, they didn’t give up.”

African-American who is training to become a docent and is a selfdescribed history buff, became interested in working at the museum while researching family history. She was shocked to find that she actually had a relative who fought in the Civil War and whose name is on the wall around the Civil War monument. When asked why she wanted to get involved with the museum, she cited

a career opportunity, and a chance to learn the museum industry. It’s just the kind of generational involvement that Smith hopes will continue. “Every time a new grandchild is born, you need to bring them up here and show this to them,” he said. “It’s our job as parents and grandparents to prepare the next generation. If we don’t do that nobody’s going to do it.”



Local Students Join Forces Against Cyberbullying BY BRIANA SAVAGE UJW STAFF

anticipate the insults from her peers as she walked to her classes last spring the morning after being attacked on Facebook. Taylor, a victim of cyberbullying and a former student at Oxon Hill High School, was eventually pressured to transfer to another high school after she felt the harassment had gone too far, she said. With the growing popularity of social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter, other teenagers throughout Prince George’s County say they, too, have bullied or insulted by their peers in cyberspace. Jalen Fisher, a Oxon Hill High School sophomore, can testify to the effects of cyberbullying. He said he was once a cyberbully who intimidated others by tweeting unauthorized pictures and making rude comments. But he said he has recently seen the error of his ways after witnessing incidences similar to 16-yearold Taylor’s. “Students were making anony-


OXON HILL, Md. — Donye Taylor could

Paulette Brown and Oxon Hill High School juniors wear anti-bullying T-shirts from the “One Less Bully, One More Friend” campaign.

mous Facebook ‘smut pages,’ slandering young girls and their reputations. It was sad because it led to unnecessary violence and tension,” Fisher said, recalling a specific incident last November. Now, Fisher has vowed to be one less bully in his school. The situation was especially heartbreaking to Paulette Brown, the Oxon Hill’s peer mediator and student government sponsor. She knew one of the girls and her family.

“Her mother called me and told me her daughter had attempted suicide because someone had invaded her Facebook page,” Brown said. Brown, along with the school’s student government association (SGA), responded to these incidents by developing an anti-bullying campaign called “One Less Bully, One More Friend” earlier this year. “I never expected One Less to explode the way it did,” said Imani

Awareness, Help Gaining for Autisim Patients BY JOSH SAMSON UJW STAFF

Chevy Chase, Md. — In this new age of social media and instant gratification, survival depends on the ability to process information quickly and efficiently. But this rapidly changing world is hard for children diagnosed with autism, a neuro-developmental disorder that typically results in impairment of social interaction, communication, structural brain formation and an increase in repetitive behavior. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), one out of 91 people ages 3 to 17 are diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also shows a 58.3 percent increase in prevalence of ASDs among 8-year-old kids from 2002 to 2006. This drastic increase has changed how those with autism are viewed.

Once thought of as mentally retarded, now they are accepted as functional people with special needs. “I think it’s much more accepted because of exposure, because public figures are talking about it and because more people are talking about it,” said Peter Daniolos, an adolescent and pediatric psychiatrist who is a prominent figure in autism treatment. “I think there is a huge shift in public opinion and public exposure.” Exposure doesn’t always imply understanding. According to NCBI, symptoms of autism range from mild speech and language impairment to severe seizures and a disregard for danger that exponentially increases the risk of death. The wide range of symptoms and drastic differences between people with ASD often makes it difficult for doctors to understand and work with autistic people. “Each child is so unique that it’s hard to figure out who they are,” Daniolos said. “Many people have unknown capabilities that you have

to tap into.” This individuality can also make it easier for family members to find a connection and build a relationship with their autistic child. “One of the suggestions to help autistic children is more contact with ‘normal’ children,” Daniolos said, forming air quotes with his hands to signal society’s definition of what’s normal. “All you have to do is learn what’s cool about that person and move on from there.” What has made people most aware about the prevalence of autism is celebrity backing and outreach. Not only does this make headlines in the media but the spotlight inspires advocacy.

“We are all people in this spectrum on society. — Peter Daniolos, adolescent and pediatric psychiatrist

Brown, the vice president of Oxon Hill’s SGA. “The majority of our school is extremely urban and initiatives such as this one did not seem as if it would grow on students, but I am happy it did.” According to the “One Less Bully, One More Friend” brochure, the campaign is designed to prevent bullying and to raise awareness about the harmful effects of cyberbullying. Students are asked to sign a pledge that commits the signee to reduce the number of bullying incidents at their school in a number of ways. One of the ways student leaders and school administrators bring attention to the cause is by wearing T-shirts and bracelets emblazoned with the campaign’s slogan and logo. “Seeing people walk around with this slogan on their shirt has inspired me to want to join the cause and think before I do things that can be hurtful. It made me smile because my peers genuinely care about those of us being bullied,” junior Shannon Abney said. Student government members also conduct classroom visits and presentations to educate their peers and hear personal bullying experiences.

And in early March, they presented their campaign to county schools Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. at a regional student council meeting at nearby Suitland High School. Since then, the group has received support from other local high schools and the media, including Fox 5 News and ABC Channel 7 News. The students hope to spread their message beyond local schools into others across the nation. The Educator-in-Chief himself is helping to bring national attention to their cause. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama recently held a conference at the White House about bullying. “If there’s one goal of this conference, it’s to dispel the myth that bullying is just a harmless rite of passage or an inevitable part of growing up. It’s not,” the president said. The president has inspired Taylor to overcome her situation and help other bullying victims, she said. “I think since he is involved, people will take the issue of internet attacks as the serious offense that it is,” said Taylor, who is now excited about entering her final year at Gwynn Park High School.

Celebrities, including Academy Award-winning actresses Kate Winslet and Gwyneth Paltrow, have donated to Autism Speaks, a non-profit organization for research, prevention and awareness efforts for children with autism. Model Jenny McCarthy, Grammy Award-winning singer Toni Braxton and actor Sylvester Stallone all have autistic children, prompting them to help fund research for autism and increase public awareness about the disorder. According to Daniolos, this type of exposure has been “only positive,” but other physicians say that not enough has been done to help offer a solution. “(Pop culture) is essential in increasing awareness, sensitivity and advocacy for this group of patients,” psychiatrist Sheila Sontag said after a meeting of the Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Society of Greater Washington at Chevy Chase’s Columbia Country Club. “We need high-quality reporting.” Though more information and more funding could never hurt, it is the support of educators that helps prepare autistic children to make

their own way in society. Take Ivymount School in Bethesda, Md. Since 2006, it has incorporated social learning into a thorough educational experience for children with Asperger’s Syndrome, a type of ASD where people have the same difficulties in social interaction but have normal linguistic capabilities. According to its website, the Blue Ribbon School of Excellence awardwinning program helps “the intellectual, social, physical and emotional growth” of students to prepare them to become self-sufficient and independent people in society. This is done through small classes adapted towards students’ specific needs, a curriculum that integrates social skills with academics and multidisciplinary behavior management. Daniolos urges people interested in autism outreach to find an organization that matches their interests, whether scientific research or advocacy. He stressed that autistic children are not a stereotypical group or a separate type of person. “It’s unique to each child,” Daniolos said. “We are all people in this spectrum on society.”



Teen Pregnancies on the Rise in D.C. BY QUEEN HUDGINS UJW STAFF

WASHINGTON – In the next few weeks, Kimerly Murphy is expected to deliver La’Zariah, her first child. She said she’s very excited about becoming a mother even though she’s just a teen in high school. As a pregnant teen Murphy, 17, is part of an alarming statistic in the District of Columbia. The overall teenage pregnancy rate in the District increased 4.8 percent from 2007 to 2008 to 61.4 pregnancies per 1,000 women between age 15 to 19, according to the D.C. Department of Health Statistics. Some 56 percent of reported pregnancies were black women, 27 percent were white, 3 percent were Asian and Pacific Islander, and 16 percent were Hispanic/Latina. Murphy and her boyfriend had been planning on having a baby later in life. But, of course, things happen. Like the case of Raena Barnes. Barnes, 16, didn’t intend to get pregnant. Still, in February she gave birth to a daughter, Ra’Maya. She’s past the mistake now and said she is pleased to be a mother. Nearly two-thirds of births to women younger than age 18 -- and more than half of those among 18 to 19 year olds -- are unintended, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Talk with local health and teen pregnancy experts, though, and

2008 Teenage Pregnancy Rates in the District of Columbia Ethnicity of mother Black Asian and Pacific Islander Hispanic/Latina White

Source: D.C. Department of Health

they’ll indicate otherwise. In a recent Washington Post article by columnist Colbert King, he reported claims by health providers that some girls want to get pregnant. “Chalk up the desire to have a baby to low self-esteem and a wish to make the boyfriend happy,” King wrote. “Or to the belief that they will be happy if they have a baby. Or to the chance to gain standing among girlfriends who have also had babies. “Or to the failure to fully under-

“Chalk up the desire to have a baby to low self-esteem… .” — COLBERT KING, Washington post columnist

stand the negative consequences of having a child during adolescence,” King wrote. “Or to poor parental supervision. Or to all of the above.” Only Barnes and Murphy really know where they stand on the reason why they became pregnant. They said they plan to continue school and complete their education. Murphy is a high school senior. “Completing high school is a must for me because when my daughter gets older she will have a role model to look up to. She will be able to say my mother completed high school,” Murphy said. “I guess I will have to make some sacrifices but I will complete high school.” Barnes described her parents as “upset and disappointed” after learning of her pregnancy. “They are really supportive now,” she said.

Divide Continues to Grow Between Techies, Everyone Else BY CORYNN JOHNSON UJW STAFF

SPRINGDALE, Md. — Simone Issacs, a high school junior, tweets almost 200 times a day. “It’s entertaining and lets things out,” she said. A trend is emerging in which the information gained from technology is dividing the nation. Access to technology is no longer the issue. It’s the way the technology is put to use. According to the Digital Divide Institute, such a divide exists when there are groups of people who can gain from technology and those who cannot. This divide can be based on economic status, racial identity, gender or age, according to the institute. While Isaacs is entertaining herself with tweets, not everyone uses technology to this degree. Hessie Harris, 80, has a computer in her Washington, D.C., home that she never uses. She has a cellphone but doesn’t know how to text. “I guess I’m old school,” she said. According to the Pew Internet American Life Project, the fastest growth has come from internet users 74 and older. Social-networksite usage for this group has quadrupled since 2008, to 16 percent from 4 percent. Additionally, searching for health information, an activity that was once the primary domain of older adults, is now the third most popular online activity for all internet users 18 and older.

Tasia Joseph, a high school junior, uses her computer to do research, listen to music, get on Facebook or Twitter and check emails. “I try to multi-task but it doesn’t help,” Joseph said. “I spend most of my time on entertainment things.” Fifty-one percent of all online adults listen to music online, compared with 34 percent the last time this question was asked in June 2004, according to Pew. George Ryan Taylor is a 60-yearold teacher at Charles Herbert Flowers High School here who also has access to the internet. He uses it for schoolwork, purchasing items and for keeping in contact with family and friends. He said his life wouldn’t be different without technology because he would just use another source to get information. Taylor said he realizes the benefits of access to technology but understands why others in his generation are reluctant to use it. “People don’t like change they are creatures of habit,” he said. “Some also don’t want to learn new things.” While Taylor uses technology, he said there are downsides to being over-reliant on computers. He also said his students sometimes aren’t able to focus in class because they are distracted by their cellphones and music devices. “It makes you lazy and not have to read,” he said.

High School Students Fight Illegal Stimulant Abuse From DRUGS page 1

get into college. Essentially, that’s what it all boils down to,” said Wootton High School junior Savannah, 17. She said she has taken Adderall, even though it wasn’t prescribed to her.  “My success and progress in school is critical and is the end-all, be-all to my future,” she said. (Students interviewed for this article asked that their last names not be used.) According to data collected in 2010 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in five U.S. high school students consumed a stimulant not prescribed to them by a doctor. Further data collected in 2009 from the CDC’s National Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance describes these

medications as being very safe when used properly and under supervision of a physician. However, if used without approval of a doctor they can become very harmful. Further research shows a tendency for teens to have easy access to prescription medications through family members, friends and even classmates. The trend of illegal use of Adderall is sparking a controversy for law enforcement, doctors and educators. They want to understand why students feel compelled to share their prescribed medications with one another, how they obtain the drugs or how they market them.  “(Adderall) helps me to survive in high school because it assists me in getting my work done,” said Danny,

18, a Wootton senior. “When I don’t take it, I can’t stay on task, I can’t do homework, I can’t study for tests,” he said. Students like Danny use the drug to get them through harder and more demanding classes such as Advanced Placement and SAT preparation. “I’m in two AP classes this year, and in the past I’ve struggled in them. But when I started taking the medication, it improved my studying habits and grades dramatically. The SAT is also extremely important so I turned to the Adderall to help get me focused so I could get a good score,” he said. The website describes high school as stressful, and the pressure to do well leads stu-

dents to take such actions. Carrie, 16, a senior at Wootton, said that she used Adderall that she got from a friend. “If it weren’t for school and the pressure from my parents to do well, I wouldn’t be using the medication,” she said. An ‘A’ student since starting high school, Carrie says she takes Adderall to maintain her 3.9 GPA as she balances a hectic schedule of AP and honors classes, her high school chorus and soccer. “I don’t even have ADHD, but I can’t get my work done without taking the medication. Honestly I don’t know what I would do without it. I’m basically guaranteeing myself that I will do well when I take it,” Carrie said.

Aside from illegally consuming the drug, many students are starting to sell it. Christie, a Wootton High School senior, began selling the prescription medicine for $5 per pill last October. “I make a nice profit off of it,” she said with pride. “The SAT season is usually when I make the most money because everyone goes crazy studying for the test.” Christie continues to sell the medicine and has no intention of stopping as long as her peers want to benefit from it. “If you think about it, everyone just wants to get good grades, and I don’t think it’s that big of a deal to help someone get an ‘A.’ It really isn’t,” Christie said.



TOMS Pushes Shoes, But Markets its Product For A Cause BY LAUREL HATTIX UJW STAFF

ASHBURN, Va. – When Amy Fissmer goes to her closet every morning to choose a pair of shoes, she often reaches for a plain pair of canvas slipons. They are worn and basic, and it is clear Fissmer isn’t trying to make a fashion statement. She chooses to wear these shoes because she says she is helping someone else in the world by buying a pair of simple slip-on shoes, made by TOMS. Whenever someone spends $50 on a pair of TOMS, not only do they get a pair of shoes but the company also promises to send a pair to needy children in a developing country – a business model they call the One for One Movement. “I actually bought them for the One for One deal,” said Fissmer, a senior at Stone Bridge High School here. “I am really passionate about the cause. Showing people in poverty mercy and providing is the first way to open the door.” This idea of marketing for a cause is another attempt by businesses to attract socially conscious young adults. By capitalizing on new business models, companies are cashing in on a tech-savvy generation. Don Aguirre, brand manager of Archrival, a youth marketing company, defines social entrepreneurship as a business plan using social media to

reach a youth market. “So many different people have their own interpretation about what social is,” Aguirre said. “It’s about how you interact with your own community. As a youth marketer, if someone said to me, ‘What’s social entrepreneurship?’ I would say it’s something to the effect of taking a business and applying it in a social idea.” Social entrepreneurship is a twist on an age-old desire to help others. Retailers have helped organizations such as March of Dimes raise money for newborn children since 1938. In the same way, a new generation – transfixed by everything social—is being called on to help raise awareness for a number of causes. Aguirre says that the original obsession can be traced back to one man. “Mark Zuckerburg, the creator of Facebook, is the original social entrepreneur,” Aguirre said. TOMS, as well as other companies, are using Zuckerburg’s model to reach a generation whose cell phones are an extra appendage. Calls and emails to Santa Monica, Calif.-based TOMS Shoes were not returned. But not only has its business model become popular, it is becoming necessary for companies to stay afloat. Businesses can no longer settle for a slogan. The current generation is looking for a relationship. “TV commercials can reiterate a

tagline or a message,” Aguirre said. “Facebook is more organic than that. The brand can speak to a consumer more than a TV can. It’s the idea of a two-way conversation and that relationship is more valuable than a commercial. If you want to foster a relationship, that’s when you go to Facebwook or social media, in general.” TOMS Shoes has taken advantage of the new technology available to interact with consumers. TOMS’ website includes a wall for consumers to post pictures of them wearing the shoes and a blog where news on the One for One movement is posted. The interaction between producer and consumer online has allowed the company’s biggest advertisers to be the customers themselves. The alternate self-advertising being used represents the changing mentality of consumers. “The millennium generation moves in this pack mentality,” Aguirre said. “They move together. They buy together. There is a trust among them. They will like a link. They will like a brand and that’s where they get their idea for buying a brand or a new pair of shoes.” Social media is not just affecting how consumers buy but how businesses create a product.  Today, they are faced with the challenge of not just creating merchandise but an image. Although much more com-

Teens Vow to be Sober on Prom Night From SADD page 1

alcohol by the end of high school and more than 37 percent have done so by eighth-grade, according to the federal National Institute on Drug Abuse. And traffic deaths among teens during typical prom season weekends throughout May are higher than any other time of the year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. “The pressures of being a teen in today’s society can be rough. Unfortunately, students see drinking as a way to socialize,” said Robert Griffiths, a math teacher and the SADD sponsor at Westlake. The school sells Prom Promise bracelets and students attending the prom are asked to sign a contract that says they will not to use alcohol or drugs on that night. Rev-

enue from the bracelets goes back to the organization. Although Gabriel is feeling the pressure to drink, she said she knows deep down that drinking is not the way to go. “Prom is about having fun and enjoying your last care-free day

“Drinking can be really dangerous. I don’t want the night to end in tragedy.” — KAREEBA GABRIEL

with your peers. Drinking can be really dangerous. I don’t want the night to end in tragedy,” Gabriel said. Other teens said they are not feeling as much pressure to drink on prom night. “I don’t feel pressure to drink at all,” said Janell Goodwin, a senior at Westlake. “Most of the people that I’m going to prom with don’t drink, and I’ve signed the Prom Promise. I have to keep my word.” The SADD group is hopeful there will be fewer tragedies this prom season because of its campaign. “We have sold almost 300 Prom Promise bracelets,” said school sponsor Griffiths. “I am confident that the students are aware that drinking on prom (night) can be harmful and they will make responsible decisions.”

plicated than traditional marketing strategies, developing a personality is paying off. TOMS has ignored traditional marketing values to create something more than a product. Some TOMS’ wearing customers hope to project an image of global awareness and philanthropy. Their choice in footwear has been transformed from a fashion statement to a mission statement. “I loved the way they looked,” said Jonathon McJunkin, a junior at Stone Bridge High School. “The style is unique and a bold statement, but the ultimate incentive is the true altruism of the organization. Buy a pair, donate a pair. How awesome is that?” McJunkin is not alone. Senior Kristen Musselman felt the same way. “I bought these shoes because I read an article about how TOMS is helping people in Third World countries,” she said. “I wouldn’t buy the shoes if it wasn’t for the One for One cause because it was that idea that inspired me to help someone without shoes.” By not defining themselves as a nonprofit, TOMS’ business model is raising the same question in many peoples’ minds: Is TOMS trying to help those in need or is it just a marketing technique? Fissmer is clear about her reasons for purchasing the shoes but says she believes that others are simply par-

ticipating in the fad. “It’s a half and half,” Fissmer said. “Half buy it for the cause and half buy it for the looks. I feel like it’s an equal split.” Whatever the reason for purchase, Aguirre says he believes that philanthropy is the focus. “Even if you have corporation ‘A’ and they have this product and they say we are going to come up with some charity endeavor just because it will help us with selling this product. … At the end of the day, if it’s helping a charity, it’s a good thing,” Aguirre said. As a marketing director, Aguirre’s observations of college campuses have found that TOMS has had success in their “market for a cause” model. But will this social-media-inspired model guarantee success? “I think that’s the million-dollar question,” Aguirre said. Aguirre compared the popular Segway, a one-wheeled transportation device, with the Snuggie. There was no way to predict in five years that a blanket without sleeves would become just as, if not more, popular than a new form of transportation. “That’s what makes this business fun. It’s more of an art than a science. It just happens,” Aguirre said. “We can’t say it’s ‘A’, ‘B’, and ‘C’ that will make teenagers buy these shoes. It just happens.”

First-Time Voters Target 2012 From 2012 page 1

becoming an independent because she doesn’t support all of the Democratic Party’s ideas. Samantha Forchione, 18, another first-time voter, said that her parents have influenced her political decisions very little. According to Rock the Vote - the leading organization in getting young people to vote - the top political issues for young voters in 2012 are the state of the economy, the war in Iraq and health care. Jojuan Gross, 17, said she is optimistic that the nation’s economy will recover in the near future. She added that high interest rates will not be so much of an issue if more high-paying jobs become available. “Our economy is not creating jobs and wages are not keeping pace with inflation,” Gross said. Williams says the war in Iraq is

pointless. She says we are losing people every day in the search for nuclear weapons that U.S. military forces have not found in years of occupation in Iraq. “We are wasting money that can go towards caring for the troops who come back home paralyzed and without a job,” Williams said. Reisa Lancaster, 19, said she feels that health care should be a right to every U.S. citizen. “Health care is very important and citizens need it to take care of themselves and families,” Lancaster said. The way candidates choose to address the major issues will determine their fate next November. “The best way to change a voter from Democrat to Republican is to have them live in the real world with a job for a while,” said Moshe Starkman, a representative of the Young Republican Party.






A tour guide waits for his group outside Union Station.

Union Station hosts more than 100 small boutiques and 35 eateries offering travelers products and food from around the world.

More than 90,000 people travel and commute daily though D.C.’s busiest transit hub.

Washington’s Hub of Humanity By Johnelle Revell and Selina Dudley UJW STAFF

WASHINGTON – The sounds of suit-

cases rolling along the platform and the chatter of people talking make up some of the sounds that fill Union Station. Passengers move swiftly so that they won’t miss their trains, while tourists take in the Roman-style architecture. Union Station is the busiest transportation hub in the city. More than 90,000 people travel through it daily, and it hosts more than 100 small boutiques. People of many origins make

up the visitors - either cruising the station or dining in its 35 eateries that serve a range of meals that range from American to international cuisine. Shuai Yuan, a tourist from China, is one of the many sightseers passing through the station on this day in early April. Yuan is impressed by the station’s artistry and esthetics.             “I find Washington is very nice and very safe transportation, very convenient,” Yuan said. “The museums are so great and the station is beautiful.”           The hustle and bustle of the station can be somewhat overwhelming.

Amtrak, Metro, Marc and the Virginia Railway Express are the four rail transportation systems offered at the station. And with them comes the heavy traffic of travelers passing through every day. By 11 a.m. one Saturday, lines for the Amtrak train are stretched around the corner of the gates. Those waiting to board the train were shifting back and forth, obviously becoming impatient as they waited for the delayed northbound train. “Long lines is not unusual, but every train does not leave late everyday,” Magnus St. Ange said. St. Ange, an Amtrak gate usher for six years, explained that using

the transportation at Union Station is a viable option. “It is less traffic and less stressful than a plane. It is on the ground and the trains are usually on time,” St. Ange said. Commuters come from different states for business and use the station to travel back home. Megan Way of Boston came to Washington for a conference and patiently waited in an extended line. While anticipating her train ride, she took in the scenery of the station.    “I like Union Station. It is very big and comfortable,” Way said. But some travelers were not as tolerant about waiting.

Take Melvin Montford of North Carolina. He stood with a worried expression plastered on his face and had a grumpy attitude to accompany it. “I have been waiting in line, going to the wrong station, and then boarded the right train to Baltimore,” Montford said. His wait time has been 10 or 15 minutes and he said he is anxious to leave the station. While waiting in long lines can be irritating, the artistry and eateries make Union Station memorable for the thousands of friendly strangers who crowd its corridors daily.


UNION STATION A Tourist Spot and Travel Destination By Isaiah Glenn and Queen Hudgins UJW STAFF


WASHINGTON – Union Station, a

A convoy of taxis shuttles the thousands of travelers who pass through Union Station per day.

A Center of Life and Transportation BY CORYNN JOHNSON and Francies Stephenson

WASHINGTON –Frank Turner, a Vietnam War veteran from Charlton, Ga., says he hopes to view the Holocaust Memorial Museum , the Smithsonian and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial during his stay here. He arrived in Union Station on a Saturday in early April with his wife and grandkids – and a lot of luggage. Turner expressed interest in seeing the Vietnam War Memorial. “I’ve seen the traveling wall, but I’ve never been to this one. I’ve got several friends’ names on the wall,” said Turner. Union Station is a key hub for travel, allowing commuters to easily reach popular destinations such as the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. It’s also a place to shop, dine and take in much of what the city has to offer. Thousands of people commute to and from the train station for a variety of reasons. Some are tourists looking to

Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images


An Acela train waits to depart for trips along the east coast.

grasp the Washington experience: museums, monuments, restaurants, the White House and other federal buildings. Others are Washingtonians who need to get around the city or out to neighboring Maryland and Virginia and beyond.

“D.C.’s culture, theaters, diversity, good vibes and friendliness is what I like most,” said Harni De Wet, a regular Amtrak train rider. The Cape Town, South Africa, native lives in Washington but was headed out of town to visit her boy-

friend in Philadelphia . Union Station is located on Massachusetts Avenue in the northeast quarter of the District. It’s a major hub for commuters traveling on Amtrak, the main rail service; Marc trains, Virginia Rail Expressway; and the Metro train and bus services. Amtrak train riders say they enjoy the convenience of its location and affordability as opposed to an airport with lengthy security and luggage checks. Folsade Brewner is one of them. A former Freedom Rider who has rubbed shoulders with members of the Black Panther Party and civil rights activists, she was coming back from a civil rights conference in Jackson , Miss. , on Amtrak. Bernard Robbs, 65, of Washington, D.C., had an early fascination with the trains. He recalls childhood memories of growing up around the train station, his father’s worksite. “What I like most about watching trains growing up was the look of the wood, feel of the steam and sound of the big bells,” Robbs said.

gateway for travel and entertainment for tourists and locals, attracts thousands of passengers a day who also account for the hustle and bustle of the District. A round 90,000 people pass through Union Station daily, according to the station’s website. They’re either visiting museums, monuments to the nation’s history or friends and family. Brian Roach is one of them. A Washington resident, but a Philadelphia native, he said he only uses the train twice a year to commute to and from Philadelphia to visit family. “It’s an enjoyable experience and it beats the bus,” said Roach, waiting for his train at Gate J. He said that, for the most part, the trains are on time and provide him a guaranteed good ride. Outside the station, a convoy of minivans and taxicabs await exiting train passengers. Looped around the station, more than 20 cab drivers keep their vehicles at the ready. Also sitting are double-decker tour buses as well as the D.C. Ducks tour bus and boat. These amphibious vehicles – allowing tourists to see Washington on the land and water – take commuters on a tour through the city before splashing down into the Potomac River. The Norman family from Pittsburgh, Pa., was among those in line for a tour bus. Wife Kim Norman brought the family to Washington to celebrate her husband’s birthday. They had already visited the Washington Monument, U.S. Capitol and White House without a glitch thanks to a tourist service at Union Station. Akinwuni Edkunne, a Union Station security guard on the job for six months, said the business days attract the most passengers and that the crowds are always diverse. “If you come Monday through Friday,” he said, “you will see everything.”



Black Crew Members Hope To See More Minorities Virginia Rowers See Diversity on the Up By Justin Carter UJW STAFF

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — It is one of

the oldest sports in existence and the first college sport in America. In Virginia alone, more than 39 high schools compete each season — putting aside personal accolades for a win. A n d w h i l e t h e nu m b e r o f pa r t icipat i ng h igh schools is declining nationally, the number in Virginia has increased in over the past three years. The sport is rowing. The oars of possibility are open to any ethnicity but the problem seems to be the lack of diversity in crew (rowing). Juxtaposed against the border of Washington D.C, there are two African-American varsity rowers on Forest Park High School’s crew team. Their challenge: competing on a predominantly Caucasian team not only for this school, but at the Oxford boathouse that includes six other schools as well. Forest Park junior Richard Jones, 17, provided some insight. “I joined because I wanted to get in shape and row with my friends,” he said, adding that only two of 87 rowers on his team are African American. Jones, however, is hopeful those numbers will improve in the near future. “I see an increasing trend of more ethnicities joining the team,” he said. “Not only ours, but other teams also. I think there is a misjudgment, because blacks do spread to other sports.” The lack of participation could be due to costs. Rowers pay an average $638 to compete. And while that might be a discouraging factor, Dan Schrei, 19, coach of the Garfield High School Crew, said things are starting to change. “There is coming to be a lot of diversity and openness along racial lines,” he said. “More groups and people are trying. It may be small now but it is a start.” Race and income should have no

bearing on rowing, Schrei said. “What we look for in a rower is just determination, strength and technique,” Schrei added. While minority participation in rowing has been slow to unfold in Virginia, states such as New York are being proactive in trying attract diverse talent. In Rochester, New York Cross Currents, a rowing program that seeks out minority athletes, recently celebrated five years of service. Its mission statement: Cross Currents is the premier resource and example

“There is coming to be a lot of diversity and openness along racial lines. Not only ours, but other teams also. I think there is a misjudgment, because blacks do spread to other sports.” — Dan Schrei, Garfield high school crew coach

of a collective, minority-led response that addresses the need to diversify the sport of rowing and water-related activities. Richard Butler, the head of the program, declined comment. Forest Park rower Jones hopes to see the day when he is not so unique on his team. At his boathouse, Richard Jones picks up his boat with seven other rowers alongside him. He stands out as the only African American, but says he feels he has earned the right to be on the team. Senior Eli Brennan, 18, agreed. “I am pretty excited about the subject of diversity. And for Richard and the other multi-cultural rowers around, the more the merrier,” Brennan said.

Not Everyone Is Sold On THE NBA’S ‘Super Teams’ By Jelani Scott UJW STAFF

SPRINGDALE, Md. — LeBron James’

decision to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers last year could be the beginning of a trend among All-Star NBA players to join forces to create “super teams” to compete for an NBA title. But not everyone is convinced that superstars and rivals coming together on one squad is the way to go in the NBA. When James and former Toronto Raptor All-Star Chris Bosh joined fellow All-Star Dwyane Wade on the Miami Heat, the league took notice. Coaches and general managers began to realize that the possibility of players wanting to leave their struggling teams for greener pastures was very real. A hard reality set in when the financial impact of James’ departure began to kick in. According to the NBA Team Valuations 2011 list, when James left Cleveland in the summer of 2010, the team’s value dropped to $355 million in 2010 from $476 million in 2009. James’ departure proved that superstar players, if they leave their struggling teams, take with them not only their talent, but a piece of the franchise as well. This was bad for Cleveland and, unfortunately, other teams may face the same fate. Throughout the 2010-2011 NBA season, countless trade rumors have swirled about All-Stars Dwight Howard of the Orlando Nathaniel S. Butler/GETTY IMAGES


Magic and Chris Paul of the New Orleans Hornets. Both players are considered franchise players – or players who could push middle-ofthe-road teams to a higher level. Former Denver Nuggets All-Star Carmelo Anthony finally got his wish to leave Denver and was traded to the New York Knicks to join fellow AllStar Amar’e Stoudemire. The Knicks were swept by the Boston Celtics in the first round of the playoffs this year, but clearly the team is much more competitive since the acquisition of Anthony and Stoudemire. Former USA TODAY sportswriter Chuck Johnson said that “super teams” are good for the NBA because “controversy sells.” Johnson added that, in the case of the Heat, the move to Miami by James and Bosh was a boon for the league because “it got people talking” and generated even more interest in the

NBA. For the Heat, the moves also increased revenue with ticket sales and merchandising. Kenny Williamson, assistant general manager of the Memphis Grizzlies, is not so quick to applaud the moves by James and Bosh. He said super teams are good for the region they represent, but not for the teams they leave. Williamson added that “sports parity is important because it gives everybody hope.” But if all of the All-Stars teamed up on five teams, it wouldn’t help the teams they leave in terms of the fan base and team success, nor would it help the rest of the league, he said. Stars have always been important in the NBA, as was the case in the 1980s when Magic Johnson of the L.A. Lakers and Larry Bird of the Boston Celtics engaged in one of the most iconic sports rivalries of all-time. But legends such as Charles Barkley and Michael Jordan, who were rivals in their own right during their playing days, have said they never thought of teaming up with their rivals to form a super team. Remarks like those made by Jordan and Barkley have been echoed by some ESPN and TNT NBA analysts. The notion of superstars gravitating to one team seems to pit the “old-school” players, who thrived on the competition, against the “new-school” players, who some argue play for the money and fame. Perhaps Barkley’s comments in wake of James’ announcement to leave Cleveland and go to the Heat sum it up. "In fairness, if I was 25, I'd try to win it by myself. Not technically by myself, but I would want to be the guy. ... LeBron is never going to be the guy," Barkley said on NBA TV.

...not everyone is convinced that superstars and rivals coming together on one squad is the way to go in the NBA.

The Urban Village Voice  
The Urban Village Voice  

The newspaper of the Spring 2011 Urban Journalism Workshop, sponsored by the Washington Association of Black Journalists and the Washington...