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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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Turning Your Love for Coffee into a Business

Youth Radio - April 22, 2019 - 2:15pm

The age of entrepreneurs is getting younger. At just 21-years-old, Kylie Jenner became the youngest self-made billionaire ever, according to Forbes.

And many are following in her footsteps.

On a much smaller scale, Reid Burford is a 17-year-old entrepreneur from Benicia, California who has been running his coffee business out of his parents’ home since middle school.

Burford started his coffee roasting company, Howling Hounds Coffee Roasters in 2016. But his coffee interest started much younger than that. “It all really started when I was 12 years old,” he said. “I would purchase coffee and I’d watch the baristas make various coffees…that’s when I started to become intrigued by the process of making it.”

YR Media’s Chris Weldon visited Burford at his home, where his shop is located, to talk about the process of owning a business while being a high school student, his achievements so far and coffee roasting.

This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

Chris Weldon: What motivated you to open your business?

Reid Burford: I had thoughts about how cool it would be to open a coffee shop someday. Then one Christmas, I got a coffee roaster. A very small one that didn’t have a lot of capacity but it made me realize, “Why wait? I really enjoy roasting my own coffee, I could start a small business now.” It’s named after my two basset hounds. I love them and their fun attitude; their howls are especially unique. I thought it would be a perfect name for my business because it’s distinctive and different, just like my hounds.

Reid Burford preps coffee beans at his shop inside his family’s garage in Benicia, California. (Photo: Chris Weldon)

CW: What does Howling Hounds Coffee Roasters aim to provide its customers?

RB: Howling Hounds is currently a fully online business. My customers can go online and pick out the type of coffee they’d like shipped to them. Once they order, I roast, package and ship. One day I do hope to open a storefront.

CW: Where do you get your coffee from?

RB: I have a few different sources. There’s a distributor down in Orange County that I order a lot from. Port of Oakland gets a ton of coffee and so I have outlets there and I also get some from a company out of Vallejo, California, as well. Right now I have 10 different kinds available to order on my website all ranging from different origins, a couple of which are decaf options.

Reid Burford getting a coffee bag ready for shipping. (Photo: Chris Weldon)

CW: What kinds of support do you have?

RB: Most of the operation is done completely by me. I receive and fulfill all of the orders from the website. I order coffee and manage the money. I get assistance from my parents on financial stuff and getting licenses because you need to be 18 to have legal rights in a company. I have support from them whenever I need it.

CW: How has owning your own company changed your life?

RB: It definitely has kept me busy and out of trouble. I do have a very busy schedule because of it. There will be days where I get three orders and I’ll rush to fulfill those and deliver them. So it’s kept me busy; it’s kept me with a clear path and showed me what I want to do in the future. I enjoy running the company so much, that’s probably what I’m going to end up doing.

CW: What kinds of challenges do you face as a young entrepreneur?

RB: A lot of people don’t expect a coffee roasting company to be completely run by a 17-year-old. Sometimes I’ll get phone calls in the middle of the school day from interested customers who have questions and sometimes I’ll have to step out of class to take the call. There’s also definitely a limit to running a business out of high school. You don’t have a ton of money like larger businesses do and so you’re more limited to how big you can grow.

CW: Where do you see yourself and your company over the next 10 years?

RB: I plan on going to college in the Pacific Northwest. My top choice is Oregon State University. I plan to study business management and probably finance as well.  I hope to settle down in Oregon. I could really see myself living there and bringing my company to that area.

Reid Burford making coffee inside his shop in Benicia, California. (Photo: Chris Weldon)

CW: What advice would you give to young people interested in starting their own entrepreneurial journey?

RB: You know, they definitely have to be committed to it. It takes a lot of time to start up. It took me about six to eight months before actually launching my website. There’s a lot of preparation that had to go into it. I had to get a lot of equipment. I had to get business licenses and approval. So there’s definitely a lot of work and a lot of consideration they have to do.

The post Turning Your Love for Coffee into a Business appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

Young Californians Talk Climate Change in Their Communities

Youth Radio - April 22, 2019 - 10:13am

Editors note: An earlier version of this article was published on Sept. 10, 2018, following a series of wildfires that ravaged California. Young people in California reflect on their own experiences with a changing climate. The following is a collection of short essays from across the state. 

I’m saving droplets

Coming from the San Francisco Bay Area, I grew up worrying about the drought. My second-grade teacher was the first person to teach me about water conservation. I started to save water in a bucket while I waited for my shower water to warm up, and reuse it for watering plants. Then, when I was in middle school, California entered the worst drought in recorded history so saving water seemed even more urgent — and routine.

Like the drought, Northern California wildfires have also become a disturbingly routine part of my life. It feels too common now to wake up to orange, smoky skies. In July, I watched ash falling outside my window at work.

When it comes to climate change, there’s so much out of my control, but I try to make a difference anyway.

If I have to hold myself accountable for my water consumption, what are our politicians doing to hold corporate farms accountable for theirs? I’m literally saving droplets of water, but I can’t change how big agriculture operates. As I get older, I start to think: Is this climate change the new normal? This is more than just bad weather, and it’s all I’ve ever known. 

Emiliano Villa is a writer for YR Media in Oakland.

8 things you can do 

Growing up in the heart of California’s Central Valley, I learned to appreciate the agricultural workers who work tirelessly to feed the nation, but living in Fresno also gave me another souvenir: severe acute asthma. I have been hospitalized more times than I can count for sudden onset exasperations. Especially during the California fires, it’s not abnormal for me to feel as though I’m breathing through a thin red coffee straw. 

Despite countless scientific studies that prove climate change is happening all around the globe, there are still those who refuse to believe humans cause it, or that it even exists.

Climate change, global warming, impending doom — call it what you like. But it’s real, it’s happening and it’s all our fault. There are things we can do, however. Recycle. Ride a bike or walk more. Plant trees. Buy local food. Eat less meat — go vegan. Support environmental acts and activists. Run for office! Educate yourself and others.

Valeria Pedroza is a writer for The kNOw Youth Media in Fresno.

More to the story

I remember my mom in the ER with pneumonia a few years ago. Doctors provided my parents with a remedy they couldn’t afford: Stop working in the fields to prevent exposure to pesticides. But there’s no escaping the fields — we’re surrounded by them. These same toxins that are inescapable in my Coachella Valley community have been fed to the Salton Sea for years. Now that the sea is drying and has become a widely known environmental hazard, I know the impact is deadly. 

But there’s more to the story.

This area is the ancestral home of Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians and hardly anyone talks about their ongoing efforts to protect their home.

I’m tired of hearing plans that just talk about the bird and fish habitats. What about our homes and our lives? I’m tired of politicians hosting meetings on the environmental crisis in English when our community is predominantly Spanish speaking.

While the Salton Sea continues to shrink, I can promise that our voices won’t.

When officials meet in San Francisco to debate climate change this week, I hope they don’t forget the experiences of the people who live with the issue every day in the eastern Coachella Valley.

Olivia Rodriguez is a writer for Coachella Unincorporated in Thermal (Riverside County).

Living on the front lines

Someone like me, who grew up in Richmond, can’t enjoy a casual day without having to drop what I’m doing and listen closely to unusual sounds or sirens, or take a moment to question the air I breathe when it starts to smell like rotten eggs; a smell close enough to compare to the smell of sulfur. Every so often, I step on a high pedestal to check up on the Chevron refinery to make sure the “steam” that is being released into the air isn’t a huge black cloud. 

There have been many times when I thought the Blue Angels were flying above or an emergency helicopter was landing at Kaiser Hospital late at night, but each time I was wrong. Those loud hissing sounds were coming from the refinery just 2 miles away from my house.

Big Oil, bought-out politicians and climate deniers should not be the ones who make decisions about our health and our climate. Programs like cap-and-trade or refinery and oil/gas well expansions are false solutions that increase climate problems like wildfires and droughts happening everywhere. Those of us who live on the front lines of our fossil-fuel economy, and our family members or friends who work within these polluting industries, are being impacted every single day.

I will be standing with many of them this week in the streets of San Francisco, mobilizing for our state to transition away from fossil fuels and uplift renewable and sustainable energies that will lead us toward a healthy and vibrant future for the generations to come.

I don’t want policymakers and greedy industries putting our own lives and our health on the market.

Isabella Zizi is a writer for Richmond Pulse in Richmond.

Think about our health

I was born and raised in Sacramento, so I know the air quality is bad here. Sometimes there is so much smoke in the air, you can’t even see that far. And it can get really bad for your health — you definitely notice when you’re coughing a lot more. And since Sacramento is in a valley, and shaped like a bowl, smoky air can stay there for a very long period of time. 

Even now, there is smoke clearly visible in the air.

Climate change in California is starting to be a lot more concerning, especially in recent years. Every year, there are more and more fires, which means more and more smoke. 

As a young person, I don’t feel like I have many options to solve the issue, but I hope our elected leaders will think about the future generations when passing laws that can help clean the air.

Arthur Kunert is a writer for Access Sacramento in Sacramento.

Practice creative reuse

I often hear phrases like “reducing our carbon footprints” or “counteracting climate change,” but I didn’t realize how big of a role environmental sustainability has in my life until recently. I realized that we all have our own part in ensuring sustainability.

One of my favorite ways to practice eco-friendly living is by thrifting and up-cycling, that is, making new products from unwanted materials. I found this the perfect way to marry a love for fashion with a frugal budget and a moral responsibility to abstain from environmentally negligent fast-fashion. I love the process of up-cycling so much that I decided to collaborate with my friend to create an up-cycling brand called “Freshcycle.” As our brand grows, we hope to integrate an educational program where other youth can learn to up-cycle as well, thus creating an outlet for creativity that promotes a greener, cleaner world.

Endiya Griffin is a writer for The AjA Project in San Diego.

Thanks to our collaborators at Coachella Unincorporated, Richmond Pulse, The kNOw Youth Media, Access Sacramento, and The AjA Project.

The post Young Californians Talk Climate Change in Their Communities appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

My Mom’s Immigrant Story Is Not Mine, but I Learn from It

Youth Radio - April 21, 2019 - 8:00am

I’m a first generation Eritrean immigrant. My parents survived a revolution in their youth. It’s often difficult to figure out how my life experience compares to theirs.

When my parents were teenagers, they fled a war in Eritrea. I was born in California, and have had a peaceful upbringing.

My mom often tells me stories about her childhood in relation to mine. When she was 16, she was crossing a desert to save her life. When I was 16, I was worried about my next midterms and when I could hang out with my friends.

It’s sometimes hard to ask my parents for what I want. More time with friends, more freedom. Because my desires feel inadequate compared to theirs when they were teens.

As each year passes, I learn more about my mom’s life. I realize that her experiences are unique and important, but so are mine, even though I didn’t go through the same struggles. That’s when I started looking at our stories side by side, rather than comparing them against each other.

By shifting my perspective, I’ve learned to honor my mom’s brave — almost unimaginable — journey. She gave me this life I have now.

The post My Mom’s Immigrant Story Is Not Mine, but I Learn from It appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

Autistic Man Shot By Police

Youth Radio - April 21, 2019 - 1:06am

Mentally ill people are 16 times more likely to be killed by police. After the latest death, we want to talk about why these tragedies occur.

The post Autistic Man Shot By Police appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

Anderson .Paak Returns to His Roots with ‘Ventura’

Youth Radio - April 19, 2019 - 6:39pm

Released only a brief five months after his album “Oxnard,” Anderson .Paak’s “Ventura” is the ambitious sequel we didn’t even know we needed. Although both albums were created and executively produced simultaneously with Dr. Dre, “Ventura” showcases a softer and more soulful sound than its predecessor, “Oxnard,” while still extracting nostalgic funk and R&B sounds. During an interview with Esquire, Anderson revealed that Dr. Dre gave him more creative freedom on this album, and listeners everywhere will appreciate the casual richness birthed from that freedom, along with Anderson seeming more comfortable and sure of himself. The album features big names in hip hop and R&B from both today and yesterday, with André 3000, Smokey Robinson, and Jazmine Sullivan included as some of the highlights. Here are five of our favorites from “Ventura.”

Come Home (feat. André 3000)

The first track on an album has the burden of setting both the tone and feel of the project while also being compelling enough to make listeners want to stay for the rest of the album. “Come Home” plays this role perfectly and introduces “Ventura” in the best way. On this track, Anderson .Paak creates a dream-like state for funk, crooning for a former love to come back to him while melodious background vocals accent each verse. André 3000 adds elaborate variety to the track, with his quick-fire verse contrasting with Anderson’s soulful singing.

Make It Better (feat. Smokey Robinson)

Released as the album’s second single, “Make It Better” embraces the elemental sounds of both Motown and hip-hop. This track is sweet in its nature, making it stand out as the most mellifluous song on the album. Here, Anderson sings about the ups and downs of a relationship while pleading to his love to help mend the situation, so that they could again share the love they use to have. Smokey Robinson only offers background vocals for a handful of lines at the end, yet creates an impression that makes the song feel complete while still letting Anderson’s expressive vocals shine.

Reachin’ 2 Much (feat. Lalah Hathaway)

“Ventura” is the quintessential Anderson we know and love. This time around Anderson teams up with Lalah Hathaway over vintage-like production. “Reachin’ 2 Much” starts off as a groovy track with a funky bassline, then a minute-thirty in, the song switches up to a two-steppable track. Anytime Anderson uses his raspy voice to sing, hum, or rap about relationship woes, I’m in.

Good Heels (feat. Jazmine Sullivan)

“Good Heels” is the shortest song on the album and probably the most simplistic, but a gem nonetheless and proves the saying that less can be more. Jazmine Sullivan lends her raspy, sultry voice and plays the role as Anderson’s “girl on the side” while the two trade verses of their perspective of their short-lived affair.


On “Twilight”, .Paak teaches us to look up when we’re upset. The song serves as one of many life lessons on Ventura. The track echos that, without clear directions, it can become hard to focus. True to Anderson .Paak’s style, he plays the lesson off cool with a light-hearted thumping beat that lifts you up into the groovy atmosphere. Pharrell shares space on the song as the producer too, adding his own polyrhythmic twist to the song by pairing claves and a dreamy trumpet that stays true to the song’s uplifting nature.

Due to the laid back style of the record, “Twilight” could easily fade into the tracklisting of his previous albums, “Malibu” and “Venice.” From this, .Paak shows us that he is still everyone’s soul-influenced rapper. However, “Twilight” still shines through, acting as a guiding light to inspire: “You’re my twilight when it’s awfully dark and I lost my way / ‘Cause when my life feels off the mark, you put me back in place.” Looking deeper, you’ll find that “Twilight” is actually an ode to his wife, Jae Lin, that has been with him through thick and thin. The song sets the scene that hopefully, one day, we will look up and find our own twilight during tough times.

The post Anderson .Paak Returns to His Roots with ‘Ventura’ appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

Excellence in Higher Education Summit

Howard Gardner - April 19, 2019 - 12:41pm

From April 4-5, 2019, Harvard University hosted a summit on “Excellence in Higher Education” organized by the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning. Speakers included leaders and researchers from across Harvard and a number of other institutions, including Howard Gardner, who spoke on the topic of the national study of the college experience in the United States that he has conducted for the past seven years.

Gardner shared several takeaways from the data thus far, including the prevalence of mental health as an issue for students today, the “transactional” attitude with which students often approach college, and the need for institutions of higher learning to avoid “mission sprawl” and “projectitis.”

The Chronicle of Higher Education has also released a brief summary of the conference, which provides an overview of Gardner’s presentation. Click here to read the article in full.

Categories: Blog

Meet Abby Imperial, a Young DJ Who’s Using Music to Find Herself

Youth Radio - April 18, 2019 - 6:33pm

Abby Imperial is keen to share parts of herself with the world through music. But amongst it all, like everyone else, DJ Imperial is finding herself. Free-spirited and relatable, she’s constantly searching for new music; constantly evolving with each new discovery. It’s through the collection of her diverse music that DJ Imperial shares her voice.

Since first learning how to DJ under DJ Fuze at YR Media, Abby Imperial has produced her own show, “Plant Bass,” with All Day Play, and frequently gigs throughout Oakland and the Bay Area. From her laid-back sense of style to her taste in music and love for searching for the perfect vinyl record, it’s clear that Abby Imperial is unapologetically herself.

In our interview, Abby and I discussed how discovering new music leads to personal growth, how DJing became an outlet for her own personal expression, and how she uses music to communicate and connect with others.

You’ve been DJing for about 4 years now, how has DJing impacted your life?

Socially, I’ve found more friends when it comes to DJing. It has impacted me having a voice and sounds that I can share with others, which I really appreciate. Another thing that it’s impacted-definitely just meeting new people, connecting with others through music.

You mentioned having a voice through DJing — what does that mean to you?

I think it means to express myself through music, just to like play all of my favorite songs and just share it with a whole crowd is one of the best feelings ever. When people ask me, ‘Oh, what song are you playing?’ I’m super open to just let them know.

Tell us about the time you came up with your show, ‘Plant Bass.’ What was that moment like?

The name ‘Plant Bass’ is from the term ‘Plant-Based.’ Instead of spelling it ‘based’ it’s spelled ‘bass’ because I like heavy bass. I’m really into drum and bass and jungle music. Last year, I did try to become vegan, so I combined the two with plant bass. Later on, I kind of fell off with the plant-based diet, so [now] I’m more focused on plants. I love plants, anything green.

What was the process of coming up with your DJ name like?

I was stuck on what to name myself as a DJ. I went with my last name, Imperial, which represents royalty and high power. I wanted to represent my family and where I’m from; I feel like Imperial just suits well for me. I’m pretty lucky, I don’t think anyone has that as a last name.

How does the music that you grew up listening to influence your current music taste?

I had a bunch of phases with various music genres, however, as I get older, I love discovering new and interesting genres. I’ll absorb it and note how long it takes until I get tired of it. I grew up listening to a bunch of underground hip hop, bay area rap music, and R&B. Lately, I’ve been digging into more underground or unheard of genres like “Dang, how come I haven’t heard of this song yet? How come I haven’t heard of this artist?”

Listening to your DJ mixes, you clearly have a very eclectic taste. What’s your process of discovering new music?

I love to dig on YouTube, it’s the easiest way for me to discover music digitally, you can find a lot of rare music on the internet. I also go to record stores and search for vinyl, CDs, and cassettes. I really love the feeling of digging through the crates. I’ll look at a cover and I’m like ‘This one kind of appeals to me.’ If there’s a blank cover and I don’t know what it is, I’ll give it a listen and test it out. If it sounds good to me I’m like ‘Okay this is the one.’

On your Instagram, you frequently share photos of tapes and CDs. Do you prefer using records and cassettes over digital music in your sets?

I don’t limit myself. I try to go for vinyl and CDs rather than MP3 because I feel like the quality sounds good. I also do love having a physical copy of my favorite music. Sometimes I’ll do a vinyl set and then I’ll do a Serato DJ set. I like to do a little bit of both, be more versatile. 

How do you curate your live sets?

When I’m using Serato on my computer, I go back and listen to all the music that I have. Depending on the event, I’ll choose a theme, throw some songs that sound right for the event. Sometimes I like to throw in a wild card and play something random just to see how the crowd feels.

So you feel like you’re always trying to find new music and new genres?

Right, whatever sounds good. Lately, I’ve been listening to a lot of 90s R&B. That’s just my go-to at the moment.

Is your creative process different when you DJ for fun versus when you play for a party?

I don’t think there’s that much of a difference. Whenever I’m doing a live set, I go up there and just have fun, and that goes the same for just jamming out at home.

You don’t get nervous?

No, I got over that, as long as I’m having fun I think that’s all that matters. Most of the time it goes both ways, where the crowd is feeling it and I’m feeling it. I don’t think I’ve ever had a really bad gig.

I see that you perform at a lot of parties, do you have a favorite place to perform?

I really love Smartbomb, because that’s my community. They have supported me a lot through the years, ever since I’ve been here in Oakland. I feel at home with Smartbomb. Their lineups are really good because they bring in local artists and also people from other cities who are a little more well known. I guess I have to say Smartbomb, for sure.

What’s one thing you’ve learned through DJing?

Communication is really big and also learning that I can’t always please everyone in the crowd, being open and responsive to event coordinators. When people request songs, I get a little offended, but I feel like that’s pretty common for DJs. Let me just do my thing, I got this.

Any last thoughts or experiences that you want to share?

I’m really thankful for YR Media. This is where it all started.

The post Meet Abby Imperial, a Young DJ Who’s Using Music to Find Herself appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

Big Robots, Bigger Hearts: Anime Streaming Is Big Bucks

Youth Radio - April 18, 2019 - 2:16pm

You might have noticed that we’re in a golden age of television. One that’s only threatened by the sheer volume of content that’s out there.

Streaming services are stockpiling shows left and right, with platforms like Netflix putting so many series out so fast it’s hard to keep up. They probably dropped a new series while you read that sentence.

And yet, the rules of the marketplace seem to demand that *even more*  shows make it onto every available screen. The same way that there is a seemingly endless variety of laundry detergents on store shelves.

To bulk up on content, Netflix has turned in recent years to anime (that’s Japanese animated series for any Baby Boomers who are lurking) — and in the past two years they made big investments, funding 30 series as part of their $8 billion push for original content.

Yet Netflix is far from the go-to name in watching anime online. In so many ways they are late to the party. While they’ve committed to new versions of classic series like “Ultraman” (using CG animation) and “Cowboy Bebop” (live-action adaptation) and have acquired the streaming rights to “Neo Genesis Evangelion,” the heart of anime streaming lay elsewhere.

For starters, there are a seemingly endless supply of websites where users can stream anime for free. Anime fans have always been resourceful when it comes to spreading the gospel, and in the streaming era lists persist of sites that provide ad-supported and, um, other means of acquiring their fix. You can even find some classics buried in the depths of YouTube with questionable levels of legality.

That obviously hasn’t stopped major subscription services from emerging.

We’ll start with Crunchyroll, which has been around for more than a decade. They recently raised their prices (by a whole $1.04, oh no!) for the first time since they started up in 2006. Crunchyroll is home to a mountain of anime offered up primarily in subtitled form. That’s the preferred format for anime purists, and also happens to be less expensive to produce for American audiences.

What Crunchyroll is to subbed anime, Funimation is to dubbed anime. The two used to be partners, but Funimation — which is owned by Sony Pictures Television — skipped out with their library last year. They took some gems along with them, including the aforementioned “Cowboy Bebop.” For fans who prefer dubs to subs, Funimation has long been a critical player in the anime scene.

Both Funimation and Crunchyroll are in the simulcast business. In broadcasting, that means when content is sent out simultaneously on different channels. In anime streaming, it indicates that when a show goes up in Japan, it also hits other parts of the world. For Crunchyroll that means shows hitting in subtitled form, for Funimation it means in dubbed form. Some dubs on Funimation go up the same day as the broadcast in Japan. Given that fans used to have to wait years for official translations, or for other fans to do the work on unofficial versions, simulcasts are an attractive feature.

You’ll also find simulcasts at HiDive, which launched in 2017. HiDive’s catalog is a lot smaller than the two services we’ve already mentioned, and if you’re looking to maximize bang for buck, it is part of the bundle at VRV.

VRV is a bundle of channels that is run by Crunchyroll. The company doesn’t own all the channels, but it has partnered with channels who share its core audience. For the anime curious, it’s a pretty sweet deal (I say this as someone who is subscribing to VRV after switching off his Netflix account until “Stranger Things” comes back.) VRV gets you access to all of Crunchyroll, then puts in HiDive, Boomerang (which has a bunch of “Looney Tunes” and other Warner Bros. favorites), Rooster Teeth (makers of the anime-styled “Gen:Lock” produced by and starring Michael B. Jordan), and nerd culture channels like Geek and Sundry. This “thin bundle” strategy is what’s likely to dominate the whole of the streaming industry — anime or not — in the years ahead. For the moment, VRV costs $9.99 — just two bucks more than Crunchyroll on its own.

Of course, bundling anime and cartoon channels together might not be enough to survive in a world where the streaming giants’ goal seems to be total market domination.

Netflix has a CGI “Ultraman” series which they have locked down as an exclusive. Vibes of “Iron Man” here.

Netflix is spending all that money, and is locking down exclusives as they always do. Its only weakness seems to be the service’s unwillingness to stick with any series for too long — which has a lot to do with how content deals are structured. Usually the longer many series go on, the more a studio has to pay everyone involved.

And then there’s Hulu, which has a cache of anime itself. That’s in large part due to a relationship with Funimation, so Hulu subscribers can find “Cowboy Bebop” and “Attack on Titan” there. They recently signed a first-look deal for distributing Funimation series, including simulcast series. For the anime curious, jumping in on a Hulu subscription (or remembering that you already have one) isn’t a bad option at all.

What’s interesting from a business standpoint is that streaming services remain a bit of a “black box” when it comes to what’s actually driving success. The business leaders at companies like Netflix appear to be betting on just having so much content that there will be something for everyone. Yet when it comes to the cultural conversations, we collectively still seem to gather around a few key shows. Since Netflix and their competitors don’t like to share their viewership numbers, it’s hard for all of us to know if entertainment is still a hit-based business, or if we really have entered an era where big winners are no longer the big story.

The post Big Robots, Bigger Hearts: Anime Streaming Is Big Bucks appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

Harvard Magazine Covers Gardner’s Higher Education Study

Howard Gardner - April 18, 2019 - 1:10pm

The May-June issue of Harvard Magazine has published an article by John S. Rosenberg, Editor in Chief, about Howard Gardner and Wendy Fischman’s national study of higher edition.

Summarizing the motivations and methods of the study, Rosenberg provides an overview as well of the initial findings regarding the primacy of mental health and belonging on college campuses, as well as the mental models with which students approach their college experiences.

Click here to read the article in full.


Categories: Blog

The Long Shadow of Columbine

Youth Radio - April 17, 2019 - 5:41pm

I’m a high school senior in Littleton, Colorado. I go to school about twenty minutes away from Columbine High School. Although the Columbine shooting happened 20 years ago, it still casts a shadow over our community.

On Tuesday night, Denver FBI Chief Dean Phillips gave a press conference about Sol Pais, a young woman who “expressed an infatuation with Columbine.” Phillips warned that she had traveled to Denver and that she was armed. Within hours, several school districts in the Denver metro area announced that they would close the next day due to safety concerns.

Littleton Public Schools will be closed Wed. Apr 17, 2019 due to ongoing safety concerns re: a woman considered armed and dangerous in the Denver area. No activities, athletics, SACC. @CBSDenver @9NEWS @DenverChannel @KDVR @CentennialGov @CityofLittleton

— Littleton Public Schools (@LPSK12) April 17, 2019

By midday Wednesday, the FBI announced that Sol Pais was dead. It has been a whirlwind that’s shaken up my local community.

We can confirm that Sol Pais is deceased. We are grateful to everyone who submitted tips and to all our law enforcement partners for their efforts in keeping our community safe.

— FBI Denver (@FBIDenver) April 17, 2019

I’m accustomed to living with Colorado’s relaxed gun laws. Still, it was disturbing to think that Pais flew to my home state and legally purchased a gun from a store close to Columbine High School. Gun shop owner Josh Rayburn confirmed that he sold her a gun, but he added that she passed the background checks required to purchase a firearm.

Before Pais was located, many parents and other students expressed concern. On Facebook, I saw posts from parents who wanted to keep their children home from school the next day, regardless of whether classes were canceled. Many of us breathed a collective sigh of relief when school districts announced closures.

After school, I work part-time as a preschool teacher aid. Several hours after I arrived at work on Tuesday night, my supervisor showed me Sol Pais’ picture and told my fellow coworkers that the FBI had asked citizens to be on the lookout for this person. I was afraid not just for myself, but also for the young children I watch. I instinctively scanned the classroom for potential weapons that I could use to protect the children and myself.

The next morning, I felt that I should not go out in public alone. A friend and I met at a coffee shop to study for an exam. In between practicing math problems, we discussed how crazy it was that one woman’s threats could shut down so many school districts in the entire Denver metro area. We felt dazed, but sadly, I also feel desensitized to events like these.

I was born two years after the shooting at Columbine. My peers and I have come of age in an era where school shootings are the norm. In some ways, I feel that my generation is more used to the reality of gun violence than our parents. At school, we practice lockdown drills, where we turn off our classroom lights and hide in corners or behind chairs, outside the line of sight of a potential shooter. These drills seem foreign to people of older generations. Last summer, I covered an anti-gun violence rally, where a survivor of the Columbine High School shooting, Annette Haugh spoke. She questioned the lockdown drills. “Should we really be asking our children to practice for mass shootings? Enough is enough,” she said. But practicing for gun violence is my reality.

The post The Long Shadow of Columbine appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

Suzanne Lacy: We Are Here

Youth Radio - April 17, 2019 - 3:40pm

Dear YR Media Family,

I’m excited to share an update (and an invitation!) for a project the YR Media Arts team has been working on for several months, in collaboration with Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.

This Saturday, April 20, 2019, marks the opening of Suzanne Lacy: We Are Here at YBCA, an exhibition of work honoring the artist and her collaborations with communities — artists, activists, organizations, schools — throughout her prolific career.

Back in February, YR Media’s artists were tapped to develop a special audio and visual installation as part of this exhibit, which explores young artists’ experiences of and with gentrification, and invites the visitor to put themselves in the artists’ shoes. It’s an abstract piece, allowing people to emotionally experience and understand the perspectives of young artists.

Every aspect of the installation, including the background, was created by our team of  young artists. It’s a beautiful and immersive experience, and also showcases a peek at the type of work YR Media artists are refining within our internship and training programs here in Oakland.

The concept for the installation centers around artists’ recreating memories using soundscapes, a concept inspired by YR Media Board member and seven-time Academy Award-winning sound designer, Gary Rydstrom.

At the opening, YR’s NEA-backed musical artists will be building beats in a live performance.

Without giving away more, I invite you to please join us for the opening night celebration this Saturday, April 20th at YBCA. There will be DJs, dancing, and special performances from our very own Remix Your Life music producers: Cole Anderson, David Lawrence, Jacob Armenta and Christian Romo, among others! Tickets and more information here — we look forward to seeing you.


Maeven McGovern

Executive Producer, Arts

The YR Media audio and visual installation is curated by GBaby, with artistic direction from Maeven McGovern, Oliver Rodriguez, Maya Drexler, Yared Gebru, Brigido Bautista, and Ben Frost.

Featured musical artists:

Clay Xavier, Christian Romo, Jacob Armenta, Jessica Brown, and Rommel Delafuente

Featured visual artists:

Xingzhou Chen, Symone Woodruff-Hardy, Rami Kingsley-Doyle, Gabriel Saravia, and Noah Holt.

Build a Beat Performers:

Cole Anderson, David Lawrence, Jacob Armenta, and Christian Romo.

The post Suzanne Lacy: We Are Here appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

Playlist: POP Hits

Youth Radio - April 17, 2019 - 3:13pm

You might try and deny it but we all have a sweet spot for pop music — you know you have that one pop song that comes on that makes you go dumb. Don’t be that person who always has to act hard when pop music comes on and don’t act like pop music doesn’t complement genres all across the world. In this playlist, I have curated the best-of-the-best pop tracks for your road trips, pool parties, beach parties, BBQs, etc. It’s about to be summer and everyone is happier during the summer, so you might as well match that energy with this poppin’ a** pop playlist full of hits.

The post Playlist: POP Hits appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

What If You Ruled the School Dress Code?

Youth Radio - April 16, 2019 - 12:19pm

About half of all public schools in America have a strictly enforced dress code, which means a lot of us have to think twice each morning before getting dressed. Sometimes dress codes are designed to keep us safe, like a ban on open-toed shoes in science labs. But when there’s no health issue, it’s harder to pin down the logic.

Commonly banned clothing categories include baggy, tight and revealing clothing, according to the dress code policies YR Media analyzed from 42 schools across the United States. Given that range, how do schools even decide what’s off-limits? What are dress codes really for?  

Before I share my take, what if you got to rule school dress code policy? Check out the outfits below and decide which you think are violations — and then compare your answers to a subset of actual dress codes from schools across the country.*

One last note: dress codes are subjective! We’ve made our best attempt to interpret the published codes, but sometimes it’s a hard call. That’s why we’re sharing the codes in full, so you can judge for yourself. Oh and remember: as we all know, official policies don’t always match what happens in real life…

* Why those schools? We picked them because they’re located in metropolitan regions where the YR Media audience is concentrated and represent a range of types (public, private, charter, parochial) with diverse demographics.

Okay so we know how your dress code judgments compare to real-life examples. Now, we’ll go deeper.

Let’s Talk About Gender

A common justification for dress codes is that they keep students from being “distracted” or  “distracting” others. It’s been widely reported that girls are more likely to have their outfits policed and be asked to alter their appearances for the sake of others. Taken to an extreme, this core idea came up last year in a rape case where the victim’s lace underwear was reportedly used in court as proof that her clothing signaled her consent, according to The Irish Times. Also, take the example from our line-up of outfits with a non-binary student in a dress. Would a ban on an outfit that “causes distractions or inhibits the learning process” make that one off-limits — using the code to enforce gender norms? School is where students first form perceptions of the world around them. Dress codes risk normalizing an outdated sexism that young people can carry into adulthood.

Getting Ready For Work?

Most of us eventually graduate from school to the workplace, where discrimination, harassment and the wage gap are widespread, and these problems are related to dress codes, too. Of course, modest dress can be a show of respect, whether at a place of worship or a job interview, and that’s important. But students aren’t doing a job or getting paid. Some dress code proponents argue that dressing professionally helps prepare students for the workplace, but why not allow students to take advantage of these years for personal expression before they have to adhere to dress guidelines for the rest of their lives?

Ironically, while dress codes might be designed to reduce sexualization at school, the effect for those whose bodies are policed is often the opposite — suddenly they’re being viewed and shamed for how they look. In the #MeToo era, dress codes can feel out of date and just plain out of touch with the current political climate.

Social Control

Clothing is not just clothing. Take a headscarf. Banning that can be a coordinated attack on a person’s religious identity. Gang-associated garments are another tricky case. The term “gang-related” gets twisted and racialized in a lot of dress code policies. One school in the YR Media sample bans chains, bandanas, stylized belt buckles, and PLAIN WHITE T-SHIRTS because they’re considered to be “gang-related,” and it’s hard to find a school that doesn’t ban sagging. Essentially, if you want to dress like a popular rapper, you are labelled a “thug” or “gang member.” These rules put people in boxes and criminalize some of the culture trends associated with people of color.

Now that you’ve read my take, do you want to go back and re-assess those outfits above? Also: if you went to school with the clothes you’re wearing now, would your outfit pass?

  • Ariel Tang
  • Dante Brundage
  • Elisabeth Guta
  • Jen Tribbet
  • Marlene Rodriguez
  • Mila Sutphin
  • Shanya Williams
  • Radamés Ajna + Asha Richardson 

The post What If You Ruled the School Dress Code? appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

Trump Requires Campus Free Speech. Students Speak Up

Youth Radio - April 15, 2019 - 1:20pm

President Trump recently signed an executive order that requires colleges to protect campus free speech in order to continue to receive federal funds. At the signing, he was joined by conservative students who felt that their free speech rights were threatened at their universities.

In a speech in front of the Conservative Political Action Conference last month, Trump pointed to the assault of conservative activist Hayden Williams at UC Berkeley in February as a reason for the order. Williams was tabling on campus for Turning Point USA, a conservative organization, when Zachary Greenberg allegedly knocked over his table and proceeded to punch him. The incident was quickly met with backlash from conservatives, who were disappointed with the delayed arrest of Greenberg.

However, neither Williams nor Greenberg are affiliated with UC Berkeley, according to the university. After the incident, campus spokesperson Dan Mogulof reaffirmed the university’s commitment to the First Amendment, writing, “Our commitment to freedom of speech and belief is unwavering.”

With this new executive order, the White House has waded into a years-long debate about free speech on campus, cultural appropriation, safe spaces and political diversity. How do students around the country feel? Here’s a sampling of what college journalists and opinion columnists are writing and reporting from around the country:

Conservatives should not be closeted

Many conservative college students have said they feel “closeted” at their hyper-liberal schools. In fear of being ostracized by their peers, these students have kept their political beliefs quiet.

Drew Alcorn, a freshman at Loyola Marymount University, articulated his frustrations in an interview with the Los Angeles Loyolan. Alcorn said, “One of the biggest issues is that in class, often both professors and students will make anti-conservative thought the accepted ‘truth,’ not opinion. It creates an environment where everyone seems either against you or complacent.”

Free exchange of ideas is vital to education

Many supporters of campus free speech point to colleges as space for students to become exposed to new ideas and open discussions. Ashley Vaughan, a University of Texas alum, wrote a guest column in her college paper, The Daily Texan, “Universities are places for debate, ideas, discussion and disagreement. Students who are never exposed to ideas they disagree with will learn nothing.” 

Protecting hate speech goes against school beliefs

Eastern Michigan University struggled with its own incidents with campus free speech this past December. A wall on campus that previously said “Together Against Antisemitism” was painted over and replaced with “Together Against Semitism” and later the phrase “it’s ok to be white.”

Many students felt that the white supremacist message contradicts their ideas of acceptance. Student and writer for The Eastern Echo Austin Elliott wrote, “This isn’t about censoring speech we don’t agree with. This is about protecting our community and making it clear that everyone is welcome here.”

Despite the range of student opinions on campus free speech, some higher education leaders are accusing President Trump of federal overreach. Association of Public and Land-grant Universities President Peter McPherson warned that under the free speech executive order, federal agencies could “strip or block federal research funding from universities they subjectively believe aren’t adequately permitting the diverse debate of ideas. While enforcement could be challenged in court, this executive order is deeply disturbing on many levels.”

The post Trump Requires Campus Free Speech. Students Speak Up appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

Playlist: 2000’s Throwbacks

Youth Radio - April 12, 2019 - 6:15pm

We all have those times where we wish we could go back and relive our early 2000’s memories featuring baggy pants, baggy shirts, and swangin chains. To help get you back there, re-lace yourself with this playlist I’ve filled with all of our favorite 2000’s throwbacks (excluding a few songs that hit around 2011 but still made the playlist), guaranteed to make errybody and they playa patnas “Holla Back” (wooo wooo). You can never go wrong with “old school” Hip Hop, R&B, etc. (yes, early 2000’s music now counts as old school). 

The post Playlist: 2000’s Throwbacks appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

How My Stepdad’s Move Prepared Me for College

Youth Radio - April 12, 2019 - 6:08pm

When my stepdad moved across the country, I was worried it would strain our family. Instead, it’s prepared me to move to college next year.

Last fall, my stepdad got a job in Richmond, Virginia. I was afraid our lives would change drastically. He’d no longer be here during dinner, we wouldn’t hear him leaving the house for his weekend bike rides. And when would we make fun of his British accent?

When I expressed these anxieties, my parents said, “It’s like he’s going to college. We’re sort of prepping for you leaving next year.”

Since he left, we’ve seen him often. We spent two weeks on the East Coast over Christmas, and he’s come back for long weekends. He’s super present in our lives, and the time we spend together makes up for the distance.

This experience has lifted some of my anxieties for college. The idea of being apart from my family creates this heavy feeling in my stomach. But I look at how my family has thrived, despite the distance, and I’m not so scared anymore. Just because I’ll be living away, doesn’t mean I’ll be alone.

The post How My Stepdad’s Move Prepared Me for College appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

Five Tax Tips for Freelancers in the Gig Economy

Youth Radio - April 12, 2019 - 3:14pm

It’s 2019 — so you don’t have a job, you have JOBS. It’s April — time to file taxes. Here are five things you should know about freelancing, the gig economy and paying the tax man.

The post Five Tax Tips for Freelancers in the Gig Economy appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

Family Separation Back In Spotlight Amid Homeland Security Shakeup

Youth Radio - April 12, 2019 - 11:05am

Kirstjen Nielsen resigned from her position as the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) this week after less than two years on the job.

Nielsen faced heavy criticism during her tenure for the “zero-tolerance” family separation policy in April 2018 that split migrant children from their parents. Facing widespread public backlash, President Donald Trump reversed the policy two months later through an executive order.

But the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General reported on January 17 of this year that separations began as early as June 2017 and thousands more families were split than once thought.

YR Media spoke to Dan Galindo, a staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), who is working on a class action lawsuit against the administration.

“The latest in the lawsuit is the judge ordered last month that the government has to account for what could be thousands more separations than they previously reported,” Galindo said.

With this increase in reported separations, the administration is now saying it may take up to two years to finish its reunification process, according to the ACLU. That’s a lot longer than the 30 days a U.S. District Court judge gave Trump in June 2018.

“One to two years is obviously far too long,” Galindo said. “If the government can dedicate the kind of resources it dedicated to separating these families in the first place, it should be able to do what needs to be done to put them back together.”

He told YR Media the discussion at the next court date on April 16 is likely to focus on the length of the government’s current reunification plan, which has not been approved yet.

Galindo said the ACLU hopes the court will not accept the plan in its current state. “It certainly isn’t anything like what we say can be done, should be done, and has to be done.”

So far, according to court records filed in February, approximately 2,700 children have been reunited with a guardian or have turned 18. But thousands remain separated.

In defense of the delay, the government said the U.S. Customs and Border Protection did not collect data on family separations prior to April 2018, prolonging the time needed to reunite these children with their parents. That’s according to reports on the case.

YR Media has reached out to the administration for comments on the delayed reunification timeline. But officials didn’t respond in time for our deadline.

Kids In Need of Defense (KIND), a non-profit organization that works to ensure no child appears in court without legal representation, worries about the psychological impacts long-term separation will have on kids.

“We are horrified at this because we have seen first-hand how the months of separation has traumatized children and their families,” Megan McKenna, the senior director of communications and community engagement at KIND, told YR Media. “We have worked with children who refused to speak, others who could only cry, and many who were clearly deeply affected in other ways by the separation, and will be for many years to come.”

Nielsen’s exit from the DHS comes just two days after the administration argued it may need two years to put the families it split back together.

Immigration advocacy and legal assistance groups blasted Nielsen’s work at the DHS.

“Secretary Nielsen presided over a @DHSgov that showed a blatant disregard for our Constitution, civil rights, and human life. History will judge her,” the National Immigration Law Center tweeted following the announcement of her resignation.

Democratic politicians also denounced Nielsen’s policies and expressed concern that the administration may take an even more extreme stance on immigration with her gone.

“It is deeply alarming that the Trump Administration official who put children in cages is reportedly resigning because she is not extreme enough for the White House’s liking,” Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi wrote in her statement.

Reports say Nielsen was forced out of her post by officials within the Trump administration who want even tougher immigration policies at the DHS. 

Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan will serve as acting DHS secretary until the president finds a long-term replacement.

The shakeup of the administration’s immigration officials continues — even after Nielsen’s resignation — as Ronald Vitiello, the head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement is stepping down, according to Politico.

The post Family Separation Back In Spotlight Amid Homeland Security Shakeup appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

‘Like Losing Another Home’: Oakland Closes My Middle School

Youth Radio - April 11, 2019 - 8:00am

Roots International Academy will be the first Oakland school to close. One former student, Danny Lopez, reflects on what he learned as a student there.

My two years at Roots International Academy were life changing. That’s the middle school I attended in East Oakland. I had moved from the Philippines to the Bay Area just two weeks before the first day of 7th grade.

I was scared walking into Roots. It seemed crazy to begin school right after moving to a new country. Other kids picked up on how disoriented I felt. They’d ask: “Do you know what BART is? Do you know what AC Transit is? How can you not know about BART?” I didn’t know anything.

Some adults noticed. We sat in a small restorative justice circle. I had to explain that I was a brand new immigrant. Afterwards, I felt more comfortable and connected.

A teacher pushed me to join clubs, go on field trips, and attend the book fair. Most importantly, she told me about the Gay Straight Alliance. In the Philippines, I attended a Catholic school. I was very much closeted. Through the Gay Straight Alliance, I learned about my sexuality. I found my community.

At Roots, so many people went out of their way to welcome me, to make me feel seen.

Now I’m a sophomore at Oakland Tech, a massive high school. I credit my time at Roots for teaching me how to talk with people and to branch out.

Now, the Oakland Unified School District has announced that Roots will close. That’s like losing another home. I wonder, if I had not gone to Roots, would I be as open or as comfortable with who I am now? I look at my little brother. He won’t experience what I experienced — an incredible education for a recent immigrant.

The post ‘Like Losing Another Home’: Oakland Closes My Middle School appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

The Elephant In My Room: An Illustrated Coming-Out Story

Youth Radio - April 10, 2019 - 9:55am

In elementary school, I didn’t think about sexuality at all. I didn’t know what that word even meant. But that would change pretty soon.

Because I was very new to all of the terms and labels, I thought I was a lot of different things. Was I straight, gay, bi? After a period of trial and error I finally found a way to identify myself. 

I got my first cell phone at the end of 5th grade. With my own internet access, a new world opened. And in that world, I discovered the extensive realm of different sexualities and identities.

And then, near the beginning of 6th grade I met a girl. We got along with each other pretty fast. We always ate lunch together and hung out all the time. Then one day, after school, she asked me a question: “Do you want to be my girlfriend?” And I said yes. Nothing really changed between us — we were only 6th graders! But we started to hold hands. It was my first relationship ever, so it was pretty exciting.

For a while I didn’t really think about telling my parents about being bisexual, because I didn’t see why I should. I didn’t know if they would accept me. Looking back, I realize that was the most ridiculous thing I’d ever thought. See, both of my parents are queer. But I didn’t realize it at the time. When I was younger we didn’t really talk about it, and you can’t really just tell what people’s identities are by looking at them!

And besides that, being an anxious preteen, I didn’t like to make a big deal over stuff. I wanted to just have my parents know without having to say anything. And funnily enough, that’s kind of what ended up happening. I started to get more involved with LGBTQ stuff, like going to Pride and joining the newly formed school GSA in 7th grade. As I did all of that, I just assumed they knew. And that was that.

A lot of the time we think of coming out as a giant event, for better or worse. (I thought so back in 6th grade.) It’s like an elephant in the room. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way. Cisgender people don’t have to come out as cis and straight people don’t have to come out as straight. I didn’t come out either, I’m just living it.

The post The Elephant In My Room: An Illustrated Coming-Out Story appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog