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The MacArthur Research Network on Youth and Participatory Politics (YPP) formed out of recognition that youth are critical to the future of democracy and that the digital age is introducing technological changes that are impacting how youth develop into informed, engaged, and effective actors.

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Updated: 32 min 31 sec ago

DACA True or False: Reality vs. Rumor

February 17, 2017 - 10:47am

It’s been a scary start to 2017: news of immigration raids, deportations, executive actions. The uptick in ICE activity stokes fear and rumor in the immigrant community. That’s true even for young people with DACA — the program that allows undocumented young adults who came to the U.S as children to have work permits and protection from deportation. But what’s reality and what’s rumor right now?

Want more information about immigrant legal rights and DACA? There are lots of resources available:

For direct legal services, check out this directory of immigration legal service providers around the country from the Immigrant Advocates Network.

 

Categories: Blog

Fader Features Youth Radio Alums Making It Big

February 16, 2017 - 6:21pm
Photo Credit: Leah Mandel via Fader We’re so honored to be featured in Fader, a magazine cover music, culture, and style. Writer Ruth Gebreyesus wrote glowingly of Youth Radio’s work and our talented alumni.

In the early ‘90s, the American media’s reporting on young people, especially young people of color, focused on violence and crime. By the decade’s midpoint, the term “super predators” was in heavy circulation, used by politicians to conjure up a false and racist image of a remorseless and impulsively violent youth. But in 1992, journalist Ellin O’Leary saw a different picture… Youth Radio teaches kids creative independence — it’s the catalyst that transforms young media consumers into imaginative creators. To read the full article, click here. And shout-outs to our talented alums who spoke about their work here, Iamsu!, 1-OAK, and Rayana Jay
Categories: Blog

The Beautiful ‘Female Energy’ Offers Great Vibes in Every Way Possible

February 15, 2017 - 6:34pm

Wassup Wassup. It’s yah human HANIF. And I recommend listening to the audacious female energy by Willow Smith.

This song sounds euphoric, like when you hear your mother speak after a couple years. That is what music would sound like. The alternative r&b sound of the song makes you feel so positive and happy. The song is not intimidating but not dreadful either, Her voice adorable and dorky but sexy all in one.

This song is about wanting something that is not good for yourself. But also not being able to help it. The instrumentation is chill. The producer did a good job with the thought and work put into this piece. The song is simple and understated, sort of elegant. The synthesizers are mad interesting to the ears. This song is filled with calming energy and love.

 I relate to parts of the song that express resignation. I really appreciate “It’s really out of my control what you do is not my problem. I do not want you to go. But I don’t know how to stop you.” They express understanding abandonment and how it’s out of our control whether in an argument or on the verge of breaking up.
If you are not interested in alternative R&B then you definitely won’t like this song. This song is beautiful. But you like what you like. So, it’s up to you to like it.

Categories: Blog

Youth Radio Podcast: Foster Care

February 15, 2017 - 4:26pm
Illustration: Storm White

Four different Youth Radio commentators take listeners inside their experiences with the California foster care system.

Categories: Blog

Study Stresses Dangers Of Charging Youth As Adults

February 15, 2017 - 3:20pm

Until November of last year, California prosecutors could bypass the juvenile justice system, charging minors in adult courts without any input from a judge. “Prosecutorial direct filing” is no longer legal after the passage of Prop 57 last November, and now a report from advocacy organization Human Impact Partners, published earlier this month, has made a case for why California should go further–and eliminate the practice of charging youth as adults entirely.

Juvenile InJustice: Charging Youth as Adults is Ineffective, Biased, and Harmful’ argues that adult correctional systems are inappropriate for young people based on factors such as inadequate health and education resources, exclusion of families from adult court proceedings, and lack of consideration the adult court system gives to the individual circumstances surrounding each particular minor, not just their crime.

The report finds that young people incarcerated in adult correctional facilities are more likely than those in juvenile facilities to face trauma, violence, and abuse, including a 36-fold increase in likelihood of committing suicide, and five-fold increase in sexual assault.

Those diverted to adult court are more likely to be people of color as well: 88% of juveniles who were tried as adults in 2015 were youth of color.

The report cites that between 2003 and 2014, the rate of prosecutorial direct filing in California increased by 23% even though the rate of juvenile felony arrests had decreased by 55%. Its authors argue that direct filing, a practice that continues in other states, expands unnecessarily punitive punishments to minors who would be better served in the juvenile justice system.

The report from Human Impact Partner can be found here.

Categories: Blog

Relationship Deal Breakers

February 14, 2017 - 6:01pm

What are your deal breakers? Could you be with someone who doesn’t recycle?

On Valentine’s Day, our teen journalists share the traits they couldn’t tolerate in a significant other.

Categories: Blog

Youth Radio Raw: Turnt Up Station Episode 4

February 14, 2017 - 4:59pm

Welcome to the 4th episode of Turnt Up Station on Youth Radio Raw.

Make sure you tune in every week on Fridays from 6:15 to 7:35

On this show, you’ll hear recent news, personal experiences, and a diverse selection of music.

Youth Radio Raw is a weekly radio show produced by Bay Area high schoolers, ages 14-18. Students partner with professionals to learn the basics of journalism, music production, and multimedia.

For photos of the show, go to Youth Radio’s Flickr page.

Check out live tweets of the show by following @YouthRadioRaw and @yr_raw on Instagram.

Categories: Blog

A Handy Glossary of Political Factions in the 21st Century

February 14, 2017 - 10:47am
Illustrations: Desmond Meagley

What’s the difference between a liberal and a progressive? Is Black Bloc a group? What the heck does alt-right mean anyway?

We’ve put together this little guide to help you figure out Who’s Who in the streets and on the web. Now mind you: these are up for debate and are by no means exhaustive. We’ve tried to line up the historical philosophies with those who are making a splash in the news, providing a bit of context as you try to keep your head above water in the daily flood of news.

Think of this glossary of activists types as thumbnails to get you started in your own quest to understand an often confusing culture.

Illustration: Desmond Meagley

On The Far Left

 

  • Anarchists – Most people associate the word “anarchy” with chaos. The actual philosophy is simple: anarchists reject hierarchy on principle, which means they don’t dig governments. There are a variety of “flavors” of anarchists, but a core mistrust of authority is the common thread.
  • Black Bloc – Not a faction but a tactic. Usually a tool of Anarchist and Anti-Fascist groups, and is also popular with any group looking to evade identification by the police. The appearance of a Black Bloc group at a protest doesn’t necessarily mean there will be property destruction or violence, but it can be a sign that is to come.
  • Anti-Fascists (Antifa): like it says on the box: these people don’t like fascism.  Antifa usually indicates those who are willing to take direct, sometimes violent, action against members of the far right. Organized Antifa groups can represent a spectrum of beliefs, bound together against their common foe that sometimes includes the police.
  • Communists – In the U.S., communism has a deep association with the Soviet Union, but Soviet-style communism is just one branch. The USSR was more of a state-focused version of socialism with a totalitarian bent. In the U.S., the current Communist Party promotes labor issues, socialism, and like others on the left, is actively organizing against the Trump administration. While often thought of as anti-capitalist, in China the Communist Party effectively runs a hybrid of socialism and capitalism, and has the second largest economy in the world.
  • Socialists – The big idea of socialism is that the economy should be subject to social control. That usually means state ownership of the means of production as opposed to the private ownership under capitalism. However, fuzzier forms of socialism have long been part of the fabric of the United States (Medicare, Social Security). Self-identified socialists tend to gravitate to the more strict forms.
  • Greens – The Greens have four big concerns: ecology, social justice, grassroots democracy, and nonviolence. While the Green Party is often portrayed by Democrats as a “spoiler” in electoral races, they are the home for progressives who don’t like the Democrats’ relationship to Wall Street or military policies.
Illustration: Desmond Meagley

On The Left

 

  • Democratic Socialists – Taking inspiration from European countries where democracy and socialism usually get along (universal healthcare, free college education), Bernie Sanders’ 2016 Presidential campaign brought the ideals into vogue in the United States. Democratic Socialists may align with the Democratic Party or see themselves, like Sanders, as a political independent. A few years ago, this group would have been seen as being on the far left, but Millennials and activists have changed that.
  • Progressives – The label “progressive” came back into vogue in the late-90’s after conservative talk radio turned “liberal” into a kind of political slur. As a hard and fast rule progressives are a bit more eager to pursue stronger stances on a wider range of issues than self-described liberals, but in practice the two terms are used interchangeably. Within the ranks of progressives you will find activists from Planned Parenthood, Black Lives Matter, and those who oppose the Dakota Access Pipeline.
  • Liberals – Liberalism is a philosophy of liberty and equality. The term is broadly used to describe the mainstream political left, and is identified–for good or ill–with the Democratic party. For most of the 20th Century that meant a coalition of labor and civil rights activists, although after the 1980s the party shifted to the right due to the popularity of Republican President Ronald Reagan.
  • Neoliberals – Liberty + Equality + Wall Street, with a dash of the military industrial complex thrown in. Politicians that run with neoliberal ideas also tend to be more willing to resort to the use of military force than others on the left. Although technically speaking this would make them neoconservatives.
Illustration: Desmond Meagley

On The Right

 

  • Neo-Conservatives – Originally a term adopted by some “hawkish” Democrats way back in the 1960s who weren’t happy with the way their party was conducting foreign policy. They ultimately abandoned the party and became an ideological force within the GOP. From the outside, it can be hard to tell the difference between “neocons” and neoliberals, until you get down to their social policies.
  • Conservatives – At its core conservatism is about holding onto the way things “just are.”  Most often conservatives believe in free markets and limited government. Socially they tend to emphasize Judeo-Christian values, and a sense of personal responsibility. The term is generally identified with the Republican Party.
  • Alt-Right – Compared to traditional far-right groups the alt-right is younger, more internet savvy, and has fewer issues about gay people. It’s hard to say how much of the later is due to the celebrity status of alt-right figure Milo Yiannopoulos. Alt-right figures played prominent roles in the GamerGate controversy of 2014. A few years ago, this group would have been seen as being on the far right, but Donald Trump’s embrace of Steve Bannon has changed that. Before becoming a White House Senior Advisor Bannon positioned the news site Breitbart as a home for the “alt-right” while it was under his control.
Illustration: Desmond Meagley

On The Far Right

 

  • Fascists – A form of state power that doesn’t shy away from the use of force to achieve its goals either at home or abroad. That tends to mean the use of police powers, military action, and the curtailing of democratic rights. Might makes right, essentially.
  • White Nationalists/Supremacists – These groups hold that white people deserve power because they are the victors of history. Cultural diversity is seen as an active threat. You’ll find groups like the Ku Klux Klan here.  
  • Traditionalists – The most active groups claiming the label “traditionalist” resemble white nationalists in form and function. Where things get interesting is on the intellectual side. There you will find Julius Evola, an Italian thinker from the early 20th century who contributed to the philosophy of fascism. He sought to establish a society that was organized around myth and ritual, and was firmly against democracy. Evola is, according to reports, a favorite thinker of Steve Bannon.
  • Neo-Nazis- While “neo,” the Latin for “new,” is in the name, there’s nothing fresh about these guys: they’re Nazis. Hopefully, you remember them from history class/the movies.

 

Wildcards

 

  • Libertarians – While there is a Libertarian Party in the U.S. the basic philosophy is that government should just let people do what they want. You’ll find both strident free-market voices and drug legalization advocates adopting the term. These days there seem to be more publically right-leaning libertarians, including Senator Rand Paul, a Republican from Kentucky.
Categories: Blog

Debating Free Speech on College Campuses

February 13, 2017 - 5:37pm

The debate over free speech versus hate speech on college campuses has been going on for years. It was reignited recently in the wake of campus visits by right-wing writer Milo Yiannopoulos of Breitbart News, which sparked protests and a cancellation of his speech at UC Berkeley.

We asked editors of 20 college newspapers from around the country to weigh in on free speech on their campus. We only got four responses. (Maybe a sign it’s still a sensitive topic?)

Here are their responses from editors in New York, Tennessee, Georgia and California.

Josh Hamburger
Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
Vanderbilt Hustler

According to polling we have done at the Vanderbilt Hustler in the past, the campus appears to lean toward the left politically. The dominant conversation often arises from this side, which in turn causes more criticism for people who speak with more right-leaning opinions.

So while I believe that free speech exists on campus, we probably are not hearing as much from the political right on issues because they are in the minority. However, the criticism people may receive — from both sides — is itself an aspect of free speech and should be welcomed. The balance may be off-centered on campus, but that is free speech as much as anything else.

 

Danni Wong
University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA
Daily Trojan

As a student journalist, my instinct is to defend free speech, as it is the chief pillar of free press. I look at our campus, which has not been historically known for its activism, and I celebrate the student voices ignited by the new presidential administration. I also jump to protect the voices I do not personally agree with — the ones that promote the current president’s hateful rhetoric — in an attempt to reach across the aisle.

 

 

 

Justin Mattingly
Syracuse University Syracuse, NY
The Daily Orange

Free speech has been a pressing issue at Syracuse for the past few years. In the fall of 2014, a coalition of student organizations held an 18-day sit-in in the university’s administration building, protesting a number of causes, including diversity, sexual assault resources and inclusiveness.

When some of the protesters were delivered highlighted copies of the code of conduct, it immediately triggered a conversation about free speech and the rights of protesters on a college campus with functioning activism. A working group on free speech was assembled and some of its recommendations have taken effect. The university still holds a speech code rating of Red, as determined by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.

 

Sidney Park
Savannah College of Art & Design Atlanta, GA
The Connector

I believe this publication and this campus respect the perspectives of students…but the idea that freedom of speech protects you from criticism and public reproach is outlandish and misinformed.

We have many differing perspectives on campus,  and regardless of their party affiliation — whether Republican, Democrat, or third party — every student on campus feels comfortable expressing their views. They also feel free to debate openly among their peers, and are critical of each other’s perspectives in a way that promotes discussion and new ideas.

Are you an editor of a campus newspaper and want to weigh in on this debate, tweet us @YouthRadio.

 

Categories: Blog

L.O.V.E.: “L is for Lying.”

February 13, 2017 - 4:11pm

For some, Valentine’s Day is a bitter reminder. Check out “L.O.V.E,” a spoken word poem by Dominique Mejia, 17, from Access Sacramento TV.

Categories: Blog

High School Relationships

February 12, 2017 - 8:00am
Photo Credit: stateofplace via Flickr

My sophomore year in high school, my mom said she didn’t want me to be with my boyfriend all the time. And I would tell her to leave me alone. But now, I realize she was looking out for me.

In 10th grade, my boyfriend and I were almost inseparable. At first, it was nice spending all that time together. But over time, he became controlling. Without noticing it I started changing my behavior to get his approval.

These changes didn’t go unnoticed. Every week, my mom would ask if I was okay or if I was going to hang out with my friends on the weekend. My mom, my grandma, and my friends were encouraging me to remember that I was my own person. But it still wasn’t easy.

Eventually, I recognized my relationship was unhealthy and my boyfriend and I broke up. I was lucky. I had so many friends and family members pushing me to be strong.

There’s so much pressure in high school to please boys. We get it from all sides, even from other girls. I’m glad I realized that the most important person who needs to be pleased is me.

Categories: Blog

The Who’s “Tommy” is Deafeningly Loud

February 10, 2017 - 6:18pm

Hey everyone! So, I finally got around to listening to Tommy’ in it’s entirety, and very glad I did! I was a bit intimidated by it’s length (almost an hour and a half), kind of putting it off for a while, finally got around to it, and well, here’s my review!

‘Tommy’ is a rock album by english band The Who, originally released to general critical and popular acclaim in 1969. It was one of the first rock operas, or a rock album with a more-or-less coherent (if rather…interesting) plot. The lyrics and music were written primarily by The Who’s guitarist, Pete Townshend, with two songs penned by the bassist, John Entwistle, lead vocals by Roger Daltrey, an and a tremendous clatter-sorry, drumming-from Keith Moon.

This album is generally quite well regarded, and it’s easy to see why. The music and the plot work very nicely together, and the lyrics are fairly clear, though it might be helpful to look at the booklet that’s included with the record. I think the bass is turned down a little quieter than it is on the rest of Who’s stuff-on ‘Quadrophenia’ it’s almost as loud as the guitar-but otherwise very good. The drumming is amazing. Really from about ‘68 to ‘73 seems to have been Moon’s peak as a musician, before the drugs start to affect his playing too much, but after he’s got some experience and chemistry with his bandmates. Townshend really seems to spend most of this album just reinforcing my impression of him as a) a very good guitarist, but especially one of the best rhythm guitarists out there and b) a genius songwriter, definitely on the same level as John Lennon, Paul McCartney, or Brian Wilson. Just…yeah. Wow. Er, my incredible admiration for Pete Townshend aside…Daltrey has really grown as a vocalist between this album and their last, and that “see me, feel me…” bit that recurs a few times throughout the album is beautiful. Really my only complaint is that is sometimes a bit too hard to follow the trippy plot about a blind kid playing pinball. Still, the fact that they recorded an entire album about a blind kid playing pinball, an album that a quick glance at my phone tells me is a full hour and sixteen minutes long, and made it work, well, that’s quite something.

I would absolutely recommend this album to anyone I know. Even if you don’t really dig that much rock music, or music that’s quite this old, just give it a shot. The most well known song off it is the lead-off hit single, “Pinball Wizard” and it’s a fairly good song to get an idea of The Who at this period in their career.

Categories: Blog

My Shoot Out Experience

February 10, 2017 - 6:15pm

I was chilling with my brother in the drive thru at Jack in the Box waiting on my food and while we were stuck in the drive thru, it started looking weird when I noticed somebody in the car behind us get out of the car and go to the trunk for a few minutes until the cars started moving again.

We pulled off and we drove down the streets and cocked the gun and we turned the corner and seen the car that was behind us in the drive thru. We let off shots and stepped on the gas. I looked back and the car was right behind us still. We let more shots off then the gun jammed. When the gun jammed we got low and my brother stepped on the gas. The other car sent shots back. I was thinking in my head who is bruh? For blocks he was following us and then he rammed our car into another car. When we crashed my bro yelled “I’m hit!” I heard four more shots then the car skirted off. We both got out the car. Bro told me leave so I did. I jumped a few gates and heard police sirens and my brother yelling “I need an ambulance bruh!” I looked through the crack in the gate and seen the police holding my brothers face to stop the bleeding.

When I told my friends about the story, they were mad that the situation turned out like that. They also told me that being apart of gangs requires you to keep your eyes open and to watch your back because you never know who knows you and who doesn’t.

According to Mercury News,  nearly 80 homicides were recorded in Oakland in 2016. You don’t want to be a victim of a homicide so it is best to stay to yourself and get your money. Since the incident, I move different and I stay to myself and I stay focused on money. My brother does the same.

It’s more to life than getting into shootouts and getting shot at. You don’t want to live a gang life having to watch your back and your surroundings all the time.

 

 

 

Categories: Blog

All Day Play: Current 5 Favorite Tracks

February 10, 2017 - 2:32pm

All Day Play, our 24/7 music stream has a top 5 new release roundup.

1) Matt Martians
This is a single off his debut solo album “Drum Chord Theory.” Matt Martians is most well known for playing keys in The Internet with Syd the Kid. We hope to see more of him this upcoming year.

2) Joey Bada$$
Joey returns to lyricism in this single responding to racism in America. He addresses the common misconception that because we had a black president that racism is dead. He also addresses issues with President Trump and police brutality. We hope to see more of this social justice side of Joey.

3) Thundercat
Thundercat brings together two 80’s greats Kenny Loggins, and Michael Mcdonald to make this soulful joint. His new album “Drunk” drops February 24th.

4) Migos
Migos have been killing it all 2016 and their new album “Culture” definitely shows that they’re gonna keep killin’ it 2017 too. Of course any Gucci Mane feature gets our vote too. This is easily one of the best tracks of the year.

5) Kehlani
All Day Play studios are on street level in downtown Oakland, so we love to support our Bay Area artists. Kehlani came swingin’ out the gate this year with her debut studio album “Sweet, Sexy, Savage” We’re rooting for you this year Kehlani!

Categories: Blog

Growing Up Japanese-American In A Time Of Islamophobia

February 10, 2017 - 11:03am
Courtesy Sophia Stephens

Recently, my mother sent a picture of our traditional Hinamatsuri dolls.

In the past, my sister and I helped her unpack each doll – about 16 in total – and arrange them on a precarious platform in our living room.

This time, it was just the emperor and empress sitting on top of the family piano.

The picture was gorgeous, but something felt wrong. I quickly realized that it embodied how it felt growing up Japanese American: beautiful but abbreviated.

Emperor and empress Hinamatsuri dolls in Sophia’s childhood home. Photo courtesy of Sophia Stephens.

We are allowed to be here, but the way I’m treated sometimes keeps me in a state of doubt. The slights are big and small – from the smirk of disgust from the cashier at Safeway as I buy daikon, miso paste, and other Japanese foods, to men leering at me as they guess “what” I am because of my “exotic” appearance. Sometimes racism feels like death by a million paper cuts, other times like being hacked by a machete.

How close can we get to being American? How close can we get to being Japanese?

Getting too close to one end or the other of the spectrum threatened our affiliations.

I discovered the story of Japanese internment during World War II by myself since I never learned about it in grade school, and my parents didn’t talk about it. I studied alone for years until my Asian American Studies class in college.

Now this painful reality of an executive order targeting ethnic communities is no longer confined to the sterile safety of a university classroom. It is happening now, again…with President Trump’s immigration policies.

Sure, my family is not at the epicenter of this, but we ride our own waves from the shock and despair of this latest betrayal.

I’m only one or two generations away from the immigrant experience. My mother is a green card holder from Japan who met my father in the 80’s while studying in the States. My father is a first-generation American – he’s the son of a World War II refugee who fled to America from Greece at the age of five to escape the Nazis. So the topic of travel bans and discrimination isn’t too far away to talk about with either parent.

When my mom talks about Trump’s executive order on immigration, she says “Now it is seven countries, but what is next? Japan? China?”

She sighs.

“ If I can’t go back to see my mother in Japan, and I cannot come back to the United States, I cannot imagine… I am always optimistic, though. I hope that Japan will stay okay.”

This worry permeates my mind, but I know that there are others whose lives are not okay right now and affected much more deeply than I am. Although I’m not Muslim, I’ve been spending time at the Islamic Center of North Seattle since the travel ban to feel a sense of connection to the community.

The last time I went, I was taught how to worship – alternating from having our feet or shoulders touching as we listen to prayer to prostrating ourselves on soft carpet.

Each time I bend forward at prayer, I can see the whiteboard in the back says, “Muslims – do not be afraid. We fight for each other” out of my peripheral vision.

I wonder about Buddhist temples and Japanese spaces of community during World War II America. What was that atmosphere like? Was it like this?

The grief of marginalized people is universal.

And that is a horrifying comfort, if we can even call it that. To be honest, I don’t know what to call it.

After prayer, I turn and ask the woman next to me what the community will do for now.

“We keep living,” she says. “Life is hard, that is the way it is for us. But we do not give up.”

She asks my ethnicity and I tell her that I am Japanese. She nods her head.

“So you know this, too.”

Sophia Stephens grew up in Wenatchee, Washington and lives in Seattle.

 

Categories: Blog

Youth Radio Raw: Turnt UP Station Episode 3

February 9, 2017 - 6:39pm

Welcome to the 3rd episode of Turnt Up Station on Youth Radio Raw.

Make sure you tune in every week on Fridays from 6:15 to 7:35

On this show, you’ll hear recent news, personal experiences, and a diverse selection of music.

Youth Radio Raw is a weekly radio show produced by Bay Area high schoolers, ages 14-18. Students partner with professionals to learn the basics of journalism, music production, and multimedia.

For photos of the show, go to Youth Radio’s Flickr page.

Check out live tweets of the show by following @YouthRadioRaw and @yr_raw on Instagram.

Categories: Blog

Undocumented UC Berkeley Student Refuses to Live in Fear

February 9, 2017 - 7:00am
Juan Prieto, a DACA student, will graduate from UC Berkeley in May 2017. (Photo credit: Chaz Hubbard)

When I was eight, I crossed the border using my cousin’s papers. In other words, I came to this country pretending to be someone I’m not.

And it didn’t end there. I went through life acting as if I was just another average citizen even though I’m undocumented.

The act was hard, given that my legal status was such a huge part of my life. UC Berkeley was the first school in the nation to support undocumented students, and it’s where I stopped pretending about my legal status.

I began to truly believe I was undocumented and unafraid, as the chant goes.

But that’s changed since Donald Trump commanded the national spotlight.

At UC Berkeley, it’s become increasingly dangerous for undocumented students who are outspoken. Last June, I received an anonymous email threat. It began with the words, “This University should be ashamed to have someone like you.” It went on to say that my family and I had been reported to immigration officials, also known as ICE.

And last week, my undocumented peers and I felt vulnerable when alt-right figure Milo Yiannopoulos was scheduled to speak at Berkeley. He planned on launching a campaign against undocumented students that night.

I spent much of that evening locked in my room, afraid to go out. Afraid that being undocumented and vocal would make me a target for his followers. I blame UC Berkeley for enabling Milo Yiannopoulos and his fringe form of hate. At the University of Washington a protestor was shot at a Milo event. At the University of Wisconsin, a transgender student was outed.

Fearing an attack over their reputation, I believe that UC Berkeley allowed the event to go on, at the expense of students’ safety.

Now as the nation looks at free speech and who has it, it feels ironic. Because of the fear of deportation, undocumented immigrants like me feel more silenced than ever.

I graduate this May, and I’m worried that work and plans for law school might become impossible under this administration. I refuse, however, to return to the shadows in fear.

I refuse to pretend to be anyone but myself any longer.

 

Categories: Blog

Even Super Bowl Ads Take a Turn Political

February 8, 2017 - 5:06pm

Even Super Bowl ads are speaking out against Trump’s immigration ban. What made this year’s advertisers feel emboldened to take political stances?

 

Categories: Blog

Coming Out Not So Easy

February 5, 2017 - 8:00am
Photo Credit: Ted Eytan via Flickr

For three years, I agonized over how I’d come out as bisexual to my parents. But none of that planning was useful.

At the beginning of the summer, I decided to come out to my family.

But when the moment actually came, I froze. As my mom dropped me off at a friend’s house , I yelled, “Mom, I’m bi, bye!” It wasn’t exactly straightforward. And a scared part of me hoped she’d mishear it for, “Bye, bye!” She laughed as I slammed the car door and walked away.

When I got home, my mom was still laughing about it. She said, “Tell your father what you told me.”

I panicked–I ran upstairs and spent the next few days dodging my parents.

Finally, I confided in a family friend, and she helped mediate. My mom and I are on better terms now. We’re taking it one step at a time.

When I thought about coming out, I imagined a great unveiling. But I never thought about the aftermath. I guess there’s no way to fully plan how to reveal your true self. Coming out is a process, and in a way, I’m still going through it.

Categories: Blog

Teen Establishes A Creative Network

February 3, 2017 - 8:00am

The Bay Area is a hub for creators of various artistic expressions. The streets of Oakland are live with a creative buzz as art venues and boutiques are popping up on almost every street corner. Eileen Syrop, a singer/producer, noticed that there were few outlets for young people to get together and create. She started Bay Creatives, an organization focused on sponsoring events that bring Bay Area young people together to network and create various types of art.

Categories: Blog

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