Letter to the Editors

by Gloria Meza

This memory keeps replaying in my head, and when it does, I feel this sense of pain, fear and as if I’m all alone. After my brother finished brutally beating me, I ran into my restroom, locked the door and began to cry. As I cried, I watched the drops of blood run from my nose and fall onto my knees that were so far pushed into my chest, I could feel the vibration of my heart pounding on them. I was scared out of my mind, all I wanted was to be safe and warm. With my mother and sister Brenda allowing the abuse to go on, and with my other two sisters (Stella and Thalia) being in federal prison, I felt trapped and alone. This unbearable pain I felt all my childhood is indescribable. When I reported the abuse the first time and was questioned by the police, I felt I wasn’t being heard, taken seriously and as if they didn’t believe me. When child services intervened, I hoped and prayed to be taken away from these people I feel damned to call my family. The only thing done was kick him out and threaten my mother to take me from her custody if she were to let him live with us again. For some that may sound fair, but it really wasn’t. How could I live with people that put me in danger? I should have been put in another home away from my mother and Brenda, I’m safer with strangers than with these people; I know my mother, she’ll put him over me no matter the situation, I know for a fact my mother was going to let him in again. Sadly, the social worker didn’t see it that way. As I was forced to stay with my mother, where I was being resented, I constantly feared the thought of my mother letting him in. Every sound, even the slightest touch on my shoulder would startled me. Nightmares and flashbacks began to happen. My brother was once a construction worker and an electrician, and when there was road work being done among the streets, the workers who wore yellow vests made me feel immediately ill as if I was in danger again because my mind was convinced it was my brother. I began seeking therapy and was diagnosed with PTSD. I was on a long road to recovery. As I began taking medication, my everyday nightmares lessened to 5 days a week, a big deal to me. Even though I was still having flashbacks, having a good night’s sleep 2 days out of the week was progress which wasn’t easy. I was proud of the progress I was making, and thanks to my incredible therapist, psychologist and UCLA medical students that have helped me progress. All that time, effort and progress I was making was soon thrown away because my mother had let him back in again. I reported it for the second time and stayed with my cousin in the meantime, I was certain they would finally take me away, having that in the back of my mind as I reported it was comforting. I told myself “I don’t ever have to see my mother again” which also brought a sense of relief. Well it was a big “sike, ha you thought,” all they did was – again kick him out and threaten my mother (FOR THE SECOND TIME) if she were to let him in they’ll take me away. I refused to go back, they didn’t do what they were supposed to do. They should have taken me away from my mother for child endangerment, but they didn’t. I put my foot down, enough was enough, I demanded my social worker to get me out of there to which he replied, “let me talk to my supervisor.” I didn’t hear back from my social worker after that, even though I was constantly leaving him voicemails. Meanwhile I remained with my cousin, only to find that when my mother was forced to kick my brother out, he stayed with a friend that was one house down the street I was staying. I couldn’t get away from my abuser, everywhere I turned he was there. I had to decide between, living in a house away from him or staying with my mom knowing she’ll let him back in again. I was trapped. I was forced to move back with my mother where at least it would buy me some time before I got beat again. I began getting flashbacks or, as I call them “episodes,” along with nightmares. This time the pain felt different, it was changing me into a cruel person towards men. I lost my faith, for many reasons but mainly because I didn’t want to praise a man, as well as I feared men, I felt like every man that entered my life was going to leave me or beat me. I remember an incident: I had seen a homeless man laying down on the street asking for money, when he asked me for money I replied “ no” something I don’t normally do because I knew the struggle of being homeless, I knew how it felt to ask for money, but I said no because in my head I immediately thought “you probably don’t deserve it because you just came out of jail for beating a woman.” I knew that was wrong, and I know it’s a horrible way to live life, assuming every man beats women, but the thing is, having that mentality makes me feel safe. It’s hard to explain but think of it like this: parents always tell their children to not talk to strangers that the “stranger danger method” prevents you from running into “bad” strangers. Now, don’t get the sense that I completely despise what I went through because I don’t, it’s bad, but it has also allowed me to have a strong desire to help woman that’ve been abused like me. For example, it led me into the arms of law, more specifically I want to be a lawyer and eventually change laws that make woman feel defeated under the justice system. For instance, when woman have been physically abused, sexually abused and even raped and report it they must face their abuser in court. I also want to fix the department of child services as well as the foster system, which I mainly must thank my social worker for that, for never returning my calls and leaving me out to dry. Surely all these changes I want to make lead me to participate in Teen Court, take two ELAC classes (psychology and communication studies) as well as volunteer in women and children homeless shelters. I’ve met some incredibly strong woman at the shelters I volunteer in whom I exchange my story with along as them sharing theirs, they repeatedly mention to me to not allow my abuser to get the best of me and to live my best life, and the fact that my voice wasn’t heard should make me work harder to make sure the next woman is. I’ll be graduating soon and turning 18 in November which is the light at the end of the tunnel for me because legally I won’t be forced to live with my mother. I want to deeply thank Jessica Ramirez for being able to express my story in the best possible way along with the editors, Ms. Garcia, who allowed me to share my story and also for being a teacher who truly cares about her students, my counselor Mrs. Lopez for guiding me, my sister Stella and Thalia for risking their futures so I can have a roof over my head and everyone who took the time to read my story. I’ve been feeling resentment from my mother and Brenda for so long and to finally hear people tell me they support me and stand with me truly means the world to me. 

Cover Art: Lady Gaga’s Evolution

By Vicky Hernandez

With the spotlight on Lady Gaga, because of her role in her current award-winning movie, “A Star is Born”, Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta’s talents are being highlighted in both acting and singing. Her  career did not start just recently with the movie, but instead at the early age of 4. She began to produce albums in 2008, which lead her to create her global top charted song, “Poker Face”. She continued this huge success by creating more albums to further grow her success. Lady Gaga was always very mysterious and attention catching, not only for her personality but for her symbolic cover art in her albums. “Art pop” was one of the top cover albums that was most attention calling; which presents a nude Gaga sculpture appearing to give birth to the world in the form of a large blue orb, with other framed art works chopped up in the background. As well as in the album cover “Born This Way” she reflects on her what we call “Meat loaf period” which is when nothing is too dramatic, too gaudy and no song was to big for her. Lady Gaga expresses her views on life and life morals through art and portrays her more in depth experiences through her music.

Womanhood into a Work of Art: Elizabeth Catlett

By Alejandra Gonzalez

In her 70-year long career, Elizabeth Catlett created sculptures that celebrate the strength and endurance of African-American and Mexican women. Granddaughter of former slaves, Catlett lived in Washington D.C. for more than three decades until moving to Mexico City with her husband on a grant from the Rosenwald Foundation. Catlett used her art to explore themes relating to race and feminism through sculptures, paintings, and prints, in which most women during the mid-1900’s could share similar experiences. Catlett was refused admission to Carnegie Institute of Technology because of her race, later enrolling at Howard University. She graduated with honors in 1935 and went on to earn the first Master of Fine Arts in sculpture at the University of Iowa five years later.

Being black herself, race has had an influential impact on her, Catlett highlighted the struggle of black people with her art. In hopes of being vocal on segregation and the fight for civil rights, Catlett explains “I have always wanted my art to service my people—to reflect us, to relate to us, to stimulate us, to make us aware of our potential.” Her work began to gain interest during the 1960s and 1970s, almost entirely in the United States because of social movements her works covered like the Black Arts Movement and feminism. Catlett is known largely for her sculptures, especially for works such as Homage to My Young Black Sisters (1968) and various mother-child pairings, later becoming one of her central themes.

In the 1940s, she traveled to Mexico on a fellowship and began to paint murals influenced by the work of famous Mexican artist such as Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. Until her death in 2012 in Cuernavaca, Mexico at the age of 96, Catlett received numerous awards and recognition. Catlett’s artwork are held at The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, and the
Art Institute of Chicago, amongst others.

Everything you need to know about the LGBTQ+ Community

By Tanairy Robles

Gay marriage was not legal in California until June 16th, 2008 and It was not legalized in the United States until June 26th, 2015.  On that date, all states took away their ban on gay marriage and allowing many people around the world marry whoever they want. President Barack Obama was the first president to ever state on national TV, “Same-sex marriage should be legal.”

Majority of the people in the LGBTQ+ community grow up with anxiety or depression. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, “The risk of a mental health condition, like depression, anxiety disorders, or post-traumatic stress disorder, is almost three times as high for youth and adults who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.” The reason for that is the troubles of accepting themselves in this society. Though 53% of Americans support gay-marriage, there is still another huge percentage that disapprove and spread hatred towards the LGBTQ+ community. Many believed that expressing who you are and coming out the closet lifts a huge weight off of their shoulder which could help the depression, but the idea of being judged still affects people. Nicole, who is a 43 year old lesbian transgendered woman whom stated, “We go through each day afraid that someone will hurt us because of who we are.” This society’s percentage of acceptance has increased over the years but the divide is still there. How can we bring that divide to an almost 90% rather than 74% which is the current percentage? In simplest terms, we forget our differences and remind ourselves of our similarities that make us human. 

You Earned Your College Admissions

By Nathalia Arevalo

A recent college admissions scandal involving celebrities, business moguls and other wealthy parents hit the front pages. Undeserving children of the wealthy are being admitted into ivy leagues and other top schools. A parent on one account depicted their teenage daughter as a soccer star (who had zero experience in the sport) recruit for Yale, totaling to $1.2 million in bribes. A future University of Southern California student was falsely labeled disabled in order to take his standardized test with a proctor complicit in their ruse. The face of the scandal, well-known actress Lori Loughlin, paid thousands into an account to guarantee a space for her daughter at USC using the ploy of a rowing spot in the team, in which she had no experience in.

PC: USA Today

This incident brought up a dilemma many first-generation or students of color, face during college decision season, affirmative action policies. Affirmative action policies give priority to racial minorities and members of other excluded groups in admissions. These policies are used to make black, brown, and low-income students feel as if they do not deserve to be there and to only be used to make the campus more culturally diverse. This is due to the mindset many white and wealthy students have that black, brown, & low-income students are not as smart or hardworking as them. Meanwhile, so many upper-class students have their parents buy their way into these prestigious schools.

This just goes to show that what matters is the hard work you put into your future. No matter how many colleges you get denied from: they do not represent you. Your college acceptances are well deserved and their importance cannot be lessened by anyone.

Day of Silence

By: Nikki Nuno

April 12th is a day observed by the LGBTQ+ community as the day we give tribute to those who have risked or sacrificed their lives through the expression of their sexual identity. Many individuals take this day seriously as it is a student-ran event to further push back anti-LGBT agendas and help all people feel free to love who they love. Day of Silence was originally formed by a group of college students at the University of Virginia. What was meant to be a project for non-violent protesting became an annual occurrence across the nation, having tens of thousands standing together to end the “endemic” of name calling, bullying and harassment of LGBT students. Those who partake in its observance take a vow of silence for the entire day and use cards to explain what their sacrifice is intended for.

How to get Involved?

The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) became the official sponsor of the event in 2001. Search their website with the special link www.glsen.org/day-silence to register online or via text to show your support. Below the registration option is several other ways to take action in your school. You can join the Street Team to help spread the word in your community by receiving updates on new resources for April 12th. If you’re planning your silence, GSLEN gives great tips in starting up activities in your school beforehand. You can send in a sign to GSLEN telling how you plan to support at your school along with a selfie. The website also recommends printing out their speaking cards that explain your participation in the event.

Gay Activist Pioneers you should Know

  1. James Baldwin. Known as an author, activist, and playwright, Baldwin was one of the first individuals to venture into the correlation between race, class and sexuality (intersectionality). He was a highly active participant during the Civil Rights Movement; he attended numerous marches and helped stabilize the motivation of Africans Americans to fight for their human rights in the South. As for his reputation in gay rights activism, in one of his most renowned literary works, Giovanni’s Room,gave clarityto the dynamics of same sex marriages. This was a crucial breakthrough in early gay rights activism, giving answers to numerous stereotypes while making sexual identity a less taboo topic and leaving more room for conversation.
  2. Barbara Smith. As a black feminist, lesbian, activist and elected official, it seems as if the fight for gender/sexual equality was bound to be part of her future. In 1974, she became co-founder of the Combahee River Collective, which is known for its developments in the field of intersectionality. It also helped highlight that the “white” feminist movement helped only specific groups of women and excluded African American women. Through this organization, Smith gained some experience under her belt, and with the motivation of her friends, later founded the Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press. This was a national advancement not only for women, but the most oppressed group amongst us, colored women. The Kitchen Table was the world’s first publishing company to be operated exclusively by colored women. Once she received her chair in Albany, New York’s councilmen, she would serve two terms directed in addressing systemic imbalances in the city.
  3. Rev. Dr. Brent Hawkes. Now retired, Senior Pastor Brent Hawkes has worked at the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto for 35 years. He realized he was “different” at a young age and decided to keep his sexuality to himself. One day, he saw an ad for the Metropolitan Community Church and knew from there on he’d finally found a place where he could show all that he is and be accepted for it. He is the forefront of ministry for the Gay and Lesbian community of Toronto. He relishes his reputation with several human rights initiatives, especially benefitting those with unbound sexual identities. In 1994, he received the highest civilian award in Toronto, Award of Merit. In 2007, he was appointed the Order of Canada for his strong stance on social justice and human rights for LGBTQ+ members. This is currently the highest honor a country has given to a gay activist.

An Irish Celebration

by Maite Sanchez

Top of the morning to you, Saint Patrick’s Day is close! Saint Patrick’s Day began as a religious feast day in the 17th century, but has evolved into a variety of festivities across the globe celebrating Irish culture with parades, special foods, music, dancing, and a whole lot of green. The holiday focuses on the anniversary of Saint Patrick’s death, the patron saint and national apostle of Ireland. Most people celebrate this saint and Irish culture by wearing any clothing that is green and pinching others if they don’t participate.  

Another way to celebrate this holiday is to the parade in Hermosa Beach! Over 100 local

businesses, civic organizations, and school marching bands will take part in the seven-block parade down Pier Avenue.  This Saint Patrick’s parade includes entertainment such as bagpipers from the Emerald Society, floats, horses, and other animals from the Irish Setters Club of Southern California. The parade captures about 20,000 spectators and participants who come to enjoy the family affair as well as the great dining, shopping and beautiful beach weather that Hermosa Beach has to offer!

When is this parade?  

*Saturday, March 16, 2019

What time does the parade start?  

*11:00 AM

What is the cost of this parade?  

*This parade is free to the public.  

Where is the parade taking place?

*The parade begins at the staging area near

City Hall on Valley Drive, makes a left onto

Pier Avenue and ends at the corner of Hermosa Avenue and 10th Street.

Visit the Night Garden

by Brianna Villalobos

Stroll Descanso Gardens’ grounds as the sun starts to set during this inaugural after-hours series of workshops and performances. Night Garden kicks off in February with storytelling, shadow puppets, and stargazing. As the days start to get longer, the programming shifts from plant-related activities in March, spring blooms in April (floral attire encouraged), and a spin on a science class in May.

Celebrate the variety and beauty of flowers. Wear your best florals, or maybe a garden party hat, and enjoy blossoms – real and imagined – in full bloom. Let your inner science geek go free and enjoy nature in a new way.

 

When: Saturday, March 16, 2019 – Saturday, May 18, 2019

Where: 1418 Descanso Dr

La Cañada Flintridge

91011

Opening hours: Daily 9am–5pm

Price: $15

Letter to the Editors

February 15, 2019
Victoria Barkley
UTLA Chapter Chair and Art Teacher, SGHS

To the Editor:
First, as a teacher, I love when the Rambler addresses issues people think teens would never find interesting. The teachers’ strike affected students most of all, so it’s not surprising that you, our student journalists, would include coverage in the Rambler.
Congratulations, also, on the cover. That’s a strong photograph of our teachers in front of LA City Hall! I love the quirkiness of Mr. Wilkens full-throttle, juxtaposed with Mr. Sacramento’s La Raza power fist, which blocks Mr. Gallardo’s smile. It shows our humor and strength.
Inside, I appreciate the accuracy of your reporting on the matters we went on strike to address. It was so much more than a 6% raise, and no one seemed to understand that before we took to the streets. Sufficient nurses, counselors, and librarians, more green spaces, and ending random searches of students were some of the real issues for us. We cannot teach, and you cannot learn effectively, when learning conditions are bleak and dilapidated, and staff are too overworked to make any difference for
you.
I also enjoyed your interviews with Mr. Martinez and Carlos Ramirez. Both had good points about the conditions that we are working to address. I personally believe that the relationship between Labor and Capital has been upside down for the past 40 years, and that the teachers’ strikes around the country are a sign that we are turning this around to benefit all Americans.
Thank you for covering our struggle.
Vicki Barkley

Episode V: The Teachers Strike Back

by Jesse Mendoza

“Tell me what democracy looks like!” Ms. Barkley yelled.

“This is what democracy looks like!” triumphantly answered the crowd.

On the morning of February 22, both South Gate teachers and students joined together at the front of the school to support show support for those teachers striking in Oakland – which lasted from February 21 to March 1 – for the same reason we did in Los Angeles: better conditions for both teachers and students. On this morning, Alex Caputo-Pearl (president of UTLA), Jackie Goldberg (former member of the California State Assembly), and Randi Weingarten (former president of the United Federation of Teachers) spoke at South Gate High School, announcing their stance with Oakland, the state of West Virginia, and all other area school districts that want to secure the appropriate resources needed to teach the students of America. South Gate’s very own Ms. Barkley, Ms. Solorio, and student Carlos Ramirez had words to say about the strikes, sharing their personal beliefs and stories. “The Oakland strike is our strike!” Alex proudly exclaimed, but what exactly is the continuing issue plaguing the American education system?

For starters, the rising number of charter schools absorbing resources proves to be an issue in improving public education. Charter schools are educational institutions that are independent from a traditional state school district and receive government funds based on enrollment numbers. While there is debate on whether students preform better in charter schools, the truth is that they are more fueled on money than public schools are. Charter schools are seen as “cash cows” to many politicians and entrepreneurs, since there are many students on waiting on lists to enroll and the state is a guarantee payee for charter schools. The fact that they are independent institutions indicates a privatization of education for profit. This focus on money leads to many charter schools to deny the acceptance of special needs and English second language students and have less passion for academic exploration. Furthermore, the increase in money-hungry charter schools are sapping government resources that could go to public schools, and the increase in numbers are causing existing public schools to shut down. One of the goals of UTLA is to introduce a stricter charter cap to secure resources meant for public schools.

There is also the issue with the lack of school resources thought as needed. In the U.S., there is on average one school psychologist for every 1,381 students and one counselor for every 482 students. Only 39% of private and public schools have full-time nurses available for students. Here in South Gate, there are two school psychologists that work part time, one nurse, one college counselor, and classes with more over 40 students. While LAUSD experienced a strike recently due to these issues, it is a nationwide problem that many schools face. Jackie Goldberg and many more believe that “students are the future,” which is why they find it important to provide students with the best resources to succeed in school.

With rampant issues relating to funding, another problem educators in California indicate is the lack of taxes on the rich. California has the fifth largest economy, worldwide, with a gross state product of $2.747 trillion. California is the state with the most billionaire residents (124), along with many other wealthy individuals. However, these few privileged aren’t contributing to taxes as much as they could be. Currently, the state ranked 41st in education conditions compared to the other states, 39th in school finance, and 30th in achievement. Taxes help fund institutions like public schools, which is why teachers are perplexed how there is a lack of public-school funding in the wealthiest state in the country.

The LAUSD strike may be over, but the fight to secure the education U.S. students deserve is far from over.