#ThisIsNotConsent

by Nikki Nuno

A rape case in Cork, Southwest Ireland took an unexpected turn when the defendant was found not guilty of raping the victim who happened to be wearing a thong. The defendant’s lawyer argued against the victim in consideration of her thong. The accused man’s lawyer, senior counsel Elizabeth O’Connell, stated “You have to look at the way she was dressed. She was wearing a thong with a lace front.” The defendant was acquitted by a jury of 8 men and 4 women, most of which felt the 17-year-old had consented to having sex in an alley with a 27-year-old man whom was a stranger to her. This controversial court decision has sparked an enormous outrage in Ireland’s republic. In Dublin, women have hung underwear on clotheslines along sidewalks. In Cork, protestors laid lingerie on the steps of the courthouse. Many people have sided with the young girl’s claim of rape, but why did the judicial branch have a different say? Why does a female’s choice of clothing decide whether her claim of rape is truthful or not? The Rape Crisis Network estimated that only 10% of rapes are ever reported, while only 1 in 40 cases receive an appropriate punishment. Cases like this are much more common than the public believes; an annual awareness day passes time and time again while the reason behind it usually goes unknown, causing cases like this to become a cycle in our judicial system. This day is known as Denim Day, Wednesday, April 24th, 2019, observed for sexual harassment awareness. In 1998, an Italian Supreme Court decision enraged women from the Italian Parliament, to the California Senate and Assembly, leading to the national event. An 18-year-old female was picked up for her first lesson with her 45-year-old driving instructor, taking her to a secluded area for instruction. He pulled her out of the car, wrestled one leg out of her jeans, and forcefully raped her, threatening her life if she told anyone. Once she returned home, she told her parents who supported her decision to take matters to court. He was promptly arrested and prosecuted, charged guilty of rape. However, he later appealed the case, centering the argument on “the victim wore very, very tight jeans, she had to help him remove them, and by removing the jeans it was no longer rape but consensual sex”. The case went on to the Supreme Court, and within days, the perpetrator was released and the case was overturned. This case will forever be a reminder that it takes more than just speaking up to get the results wanted, especially when the judicial system is not in your favor, you need the courage to endure the possible counter attacks that await your accusations.
Through popular music, social media influencers and an under-educated adolescence that know no better than to follow sex stereotypes they see daily, the 21st century has been marked with rape culture. We need to stop waiting for things to change, silence needs to speak and violence needs to surrender. Each time you say or post a sexually controversial topic you open the door for thousands to think harassing behavior “isn’t a big deal”. This month you have the option to make a social statement and open a topic people don’t like to talk about with just a pair of jeans. Why not take up the opportunity?
Nearly 1 in 2 women and 1 in 5 men in America experience some form of unwanted sexual contact, don’t accept these statistics! Wear a pair of jeans on April 24th and open up the conversation of rape for people who want to ignore it and those who wish they were heard.

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.

Diverse Holidays this Month

By Nikki Nuno

March is Women’s History Month, celebrating the groundbreaking progress women have made to get where they are ow in the 21st century. Starting in 1987, this month is recognized as a time to look back and appreciate all contributions women have implemented to our history.

This month is also known as National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, to help promote the public’s knowledge on understanding issues affecting people who experience intellectual and developmental disabilities. These are just a few of the special holidays celebrated throughout the world during this time of the year. March is an especially diverse month when it comes to traditions and cultural exchange; here’s a list of everything happening around the world this month!

2nd: St. David’s Day. The feast day for the patron saint of Wales

3rd: Transfiguration Sunday. Celebrated by several Christian communities in memory of the transfiguration of Jesus.

4th: Maha Shivarati. A hindu holiday which honors one of the most influential Hindu deities, Shiva.

5th: Mardi Gras. I’m sure you’ve heard of this one, it’s the last day Catholics are able to indulge before Ash Wednesday, in which they fill the streets of New Orleans with dancing and traditional street foods before the sober weeks of fasting that accompany Lent.

6th: Ash Wednesday. Recognized by Christian faith, members mark themselves with ashes as a sign of atonement seven weeks prior to Easter. It is a time of reflection and preparation for the Holy Week by fasting.

8th: International Women’s Month. Starting in Germany, it is now celebrated across the globe to honor women’s economic, political and social achievements.

11th: Clean Monday. The official beginning of Lent in Orthodox Christian faith.

March 17th: St Patrick’s Day. Celebrated in Ireland in memory of St. Patrick, who introduced Christianity to the country in the early ages of the religion.

20th: Ostara. For Wiccans and Pagans, it is a time to mark the beginning of Spring and the fertility of the land.

25th: Annunciation of the Virgin Mary. Observed by Christian faith, it celebrates the announcement angel Gabriel made to the Virgin Mary that she would conceive and become the mother of Jesus.

31st: International Transgender Day. A day of awareness to transgender people and their identities, also expressing appreciation to those who helped fight for the rights of trans people.

NCT on Tour

By Alexander Alvarado

K-pop boy band NCT 127 will be bringing their Neo City – The Origin tour to North
America this spring, according to Billboard. NCT 127 is a diverse group of singers who each
bring something different to the table. They are bringing their boy band flare up to the United
States.
The Seoul-based act, which most recently released their single “Simon Says” in
November, kicked off the world tour last month in Seoul followed by multiple shows in Japan.
Tour dates and venues have yet to be announced, but the North American leg of Neo City will
mark NCT 127’s first time touring throughout the western hemisphere. Sources say that the band
will head Stateside in April or May.
The NCT 127 concert series comes amid one of the busiest North American touring seasons by Korean artists ever.

Colorism In the Makeup Industry

By Nathalia Arevalo

Men and women from all backgrounds spend millions of dollars on makeup annually. According to a 2018 study by Nielsen Company, makeup consumers spend 63.5 million on makeup, while African American’s money makes up 85.65% of it. So why is it that both men and women of color lack range in skin tone products if they make up most of the consumers? Makeup companies such as Tarte Cosmetics and Too Face stock millions of shelves with their products. However,  many people of color have to settle for shades close enough to their skin tone or use multiple bottles to mix shades and at the same time, meanwhile, those who have fair complexion can walk into a beauty store and easily find their shade.

tarte foundation
2018 Tarte foundation launch which received backlash for the lack of dark shades.

Many companies have faced backlash for their lack of dark shades and undertones. Recently, Tarte Cosmetics released a wider range in foundations after receiving backlash during their first launch in 2018. Luxury brand Marc Jacobs also received criticism for their foundation launch of 22 options but only 4 shades available to darker people. Yet within the hundreds of cosmetics brands, there are a few who raise the bar. Makeup brand Fenty Beauty, founded by musician Rihanna, debuted with 40 shades ranging from shades made “for very fair skin with neutral undertones” to “very rich, deep skin with neutral undertones” as stated in Fenty Beauty’s website. Drug store brand, Maybelline created a foundation line with 40 shades including mainly dark shades.

With the praise for Fenty Beauty comes the new standard for makeup lines: to include everyone. After Fenty’s and Maybelline release, other companies need to follow the lead and create new products for more complexions.

Are You Happy in Your Own Skin?

by Tanairy Robles

Julian Hernandez, 17, is a transgender male who has been happy in his own skin, something many aren’t because they might be treated differently. Being in the LGBTQ+ community comes with so many struggles, yet the optimistic Julian wears a smile every day and proves he is still strong. Julian states that he has never had anyone approach him the wrong way nor has had an experience where anyone treated him differently when he confirms his identity.

He believes finally being open and happy in his own skin had changed him to be a better version of himself. Julian does not let any negativity get into his head because he knows that one day he will get to live to be the man he truly is. He advises his younger, struggling peers in the LGBTQ+ community to attempt to not let the fear or the bullies get in the way of their own happiness. There are many resources for someone to help cope with these things find peace. He admits that some days will be hard, other days will be harder, but finding inspiration to continue every day is important.

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Julian found out he was interested in girls at a young age when many of his peers were talking about guys. He knew he felt differently but had amazing friends to support him throughout his journey. Being in the LGBTQ+ community has many struggles within it, which could lead to distractions and, for students, get in the way of their school work. However, Julian shares that he finds graduating school an important goal for him and continuing on to college. He enjoys sharing his positivity all around and loves his involvement with school activities. Julian aspires to be a successful scientist in the future and has already begun this journey as President of Chemistry Club.

Teach Children Race Before Racism

By Nikki Nuno

Educators, scholars, and philosophers have been searching for the origin of racism since its existence. Why does it still exist in today’s world, and why is it so uncomfortable for teachers to talk about it with their students? Dr. Beverly Tatum, psychologist, administrator and educator, has brought light to the heavy issue teachers have to come across every semester, especially for elementary teachers: explaining a past of racism and oppression while still leaving hope of change. She shares accounts of her and her peers during their attempt of teaching race to kids who are net yet aware of the issue of race.

The educator acknowledges the unease both teachers and students endure when the topic of targeted oppression comes up in class. She used the experience of her elementary teacher friend who couldn’t look her students in the eyes when she talked about black men being lynched and black churches being burned during prayer. But, Dr. Beverly Tatum claims race doesn’t have to be such an uncomfortable topic. There are alternative routes to ease children in to the dark past of our country, while still leaving them with a sense of positivity in humans now. She said one of her favorite ways to expose children to race history is Faith Ringgold’s “Aunt Harriet’s Underground Railroad in the Sky.”sdfkjsbxs.jpg Through the book, she ties in the ideas of white people being portrayed as enemies and allies, both crucial traits to share with all children, regardless if it immediately affected their race or not. Dr. Beverly Tatum knows we can’t get of racism entirely, but we can make a huge reduction of it through teaching young minds the truth before they are exposed to the categories of color.

Moment of Change

By Nathalia Arevalo

The Golden Globes, an annual award show recognizing outstanding achievement in film and television, aired on January 6, 2019. In the midst of all new films, shows and nominees, there was one other new factor at the Beverly Hilton where it all took place. For once, diversity was all around the ceremony. Typically award shows in any subject like the Oscars or the Golden Globes for years have lacked recognition for films/television shows featuring a lead role played by a person of color. In recent years, they have received backlash for the lack of diversity and finally seem to be listening.76th Golden Globe nominees. From left and right: Constance Wu, Idris Elba, Donald Glover and Rami Malek.sgsg.jpg

Out of five nominees for the category Best Motion Picture – Drama, four featured roles were played by actors of color, and even the winner Bohemian Rhapsody, played by Rami Malek, son of Egyptian immigrant parents. During the opening monologue, host Sandra Oh mentioned the mainstream success of movies such as “Black Panther” and “Crazy Rich Asians” that would previously have been ignored. “I said yes to the fear of being on this stage tonight because — because I wanted to be here to look out into this audience and witness this moment of change.” Oh sharing a heartfelt moment when talking about her decision in hosting the award show. After winning lead actress in a TV series for her role in “Killing Eve”, Sandra Oh acknowledged her heritage when she told her parents that she loves them and bowed to them respectfully from the stage in Korean. Although The Golden Globes did better in recognizing more diverse movies, they still need improvement in other areas. In the category Best Screenplay – Motion Picture, only includes one woman and two people of color.