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Updated: 1 hour 25 min ago

Students Join Picket Line of Oakland Teachers Strike

February 21, 2019 - 6:34pm

The Oakland teachers strike kicked off on Thursday — and it’s not just about higher salaries. Teachers and their student supporters are demanding smaller class sizes, more support staff and charter school oversight.

YR Media reporters Ivelisse Diaz, Georgia Kingsley-Doyle and Will Flattery-Vickness spoke about their first-hand experience as OUSD students.

Almost no one was inside at Oakland Technical High School on Thursday, according to one student Flattery-Vickness spoke with.

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See what it’s like at an Oakland public high school as Oakland teachers go on strike. YR Media’s @wfvisuals, a student at Oakland Tech, reports from the picket line. #ousdstrike

A post shared by YR Media (@yr.media) on Feb 21, 2019 at 12:22pm PST

The school district recently recently offered teachers a seven percent salary increase, falling short of the 12 percent the union asked for.

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The hardest part of the job for this striking teacher? Not being able to give students one on one attention because her classes are too big, she told #YRmedia. The teacher, who preferred not to be named, was one of hundreds at a rally today in downtown Oakland. #ousdstrike

A post shared by YR Media (@yr.media) on Feb 21, 2019 at 3:07pm PST

The strike has already gotten the attention of multiple celebrities on social media. W. Kamau Bell showed up at a rally at Frank Ogawa Plaza in downtown Oakland on Thursday.

Seen at the #OaklandTeacherStrike in downtown Oakland: comedian and TV host @wkamaubell. Oakland public school teachers are striking for better pay and smaller class sizes. #OUSDstrike pic.twitter.com/ofWAk7YiAu

— YR Media (@itsYRmedia) February 21, 2019

Nearly all of Oakland’s 2,300 teachers decided to strike, according to multiple news outlets. The length of the strike is still unknown. Teachers say they’re prepared to strike until their needs are met.

The post Students Join Picket Line of Oakland Teachers Strike appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

Meet 5 Milwaukee Artists Putting on for Their City

February 21, 2019 - 5:01pm

When you’re thinking about music from the US, a couple of markets come to mind, LA, NY, CHI and ATL. These cities have produced music acts that consistently dominate the national spotlight, but many artists still find it hard to break out of their region.

Chicago artists have long dominated the Midwest’s eclectic music scene, birthing notable acts such as Kanye, Chief Keef and Chance The Rapper. Alongside Chicago lies Detroit, another blue-collar city that also produces national acts semi-regularly, such as Tee Grizzley, Dej Loaf, and Big Sean among others.

However, just a shy 90 miles north of Chicago lies Milwaukee, an active music scene underrepresented in the national spotlight. Many of the region’s acts participate in the art of sing-rap, a rapping style that was was popularized in the early 2010s. As everyone’s eyes focus on the Detroit and Chicago drill scene, many don’t know these Milwaukee artists who are pushing their city into the national conversation.

Jay Cash – Get Down Or Lay Down

Jay Cash casually flexes on all the haters on this fast-paced bass-boosted record. Cash nonchalantly invites people to test him on “Get Down Or Lay Down.” His unique flow and use of auto-tune paired with gritty lyrics provide the perfect contrast to the songs upbeat melody.

Mari Boy Mula Mar & Mari Boy KP – Wise

The Mari Boy Mula Mar and Mari Boy KP collab is a slow-paced banger. Although the vibe is a little bit more on the softer side, the message, “Don’t think broke, think wise,” definitely sticks. The subtle flaunting of name brands keeps you pulled in especially if you can relate. Alongside the catchy ad-libs, autotuned harmonies and occasional switch up of flows, you definitely don’t want to miss out on the wave.

FBE Savage ft. Solowke & LBM Oneway – 1st to the 3rd

Any collab from this dynamic trio is bound to slap. In “1st to the 3rd” we witness LBM Oneway, Solowke, and FBE Savage trading straight bars. The track is produced by Milwaukee native Mech and definitely will have your phone trembling courtesy of the 808 slapping way too hard. 

Cap Drive Montana – Old Kobe Pt 2

Cap Drive Montana also known as “Big Homie Montana” delivers once again with a part two to his original song “Old Kobe.” This time around Montana draws us in with a soft hook while exercising his use of playful metaphors and similes that show us how truly creative the Milwaukee music scene is. In his Detroit-style drill banger, the artist references the 2006 movie featuring Keke Palmer, “I can spell it out for ya, Akeelah and the Bee.

Solowke ft. LBM Oneway, LBM Lil Joe & Jay Ballin – Federal

Solowke, LBM Oneway,  LBM Lil Joe and Jay Ballin flip back and forth between bars delivering us straight fire. The three borrow a Detroit style of conversation-rap to show us what a day in the life looks like. Although this is a common storyline/message in many rap songs, their Milwaukee slang helps differentiate it from others making it a truly unique listening experience.

The post Meet 5 Milwaukee Artists Putting on for Their City appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

Latino USA’s Sayre Quevedo Talks Trump, TPS and More

February 21, 2019 - 3:48pm

Sayre Quevedo has become a bit of an expert in Central American affairs, driven in part by his quest to understand his own Salvadoran identity. Through his work with Latino USA on “The Quevedos,” he tackled the issue of finding his own long-lost family in El Salvador. In “The Return,” he told the story of Javier Zamora, a Salvadoran poet forced to return to a country that’s become foreign to him. His stories intertwine important social issues with powerful storytelling.

Quevedo was a keynote speaker at a conference hosted by YR Media that brought together almost 100 young journalists, many with backgrounds similar to Quevedo, who himself was a youth journalist at YR not that many years ago. They represented diverse ethnic communities from across California, from Del Norte to the Central Valley to San Diego. 

YR Media reporter Emiliano Villa sat down with Quevedo before his keynote to break down some of today’s most pressing headlines, and discuss Trump, TPS and other issues related to immigrant communities.

EV: Trump refers to MS-13 to justify the wall. Do you think people have misconceptions of El Salvador?

SQ: People have the misconception that it’s a war zone, which is a complete falsity because there’s a spectrum like in any country. The landscape is more reflective of what life looks like in the U.S. than I feel most people would be comfortable admitting. It’s not just an impoverished country that had a civil war, it’s also a country that has trade relationships with China. It’s much more complex than I think Western media often gives it credit for.

EV: Trump recently declared a national emergency in an attempt to fund the wall. What do you make of this?

SQ: There are these very simple ideas about why people leave and what causes that, so the wall is just a simple answer to what they think is a simple question. What we need is complicated answers to a very complicated question, as in: why do folks leave?

I personally think that it’s related to the history of U.S. intervention in Central America. That’s not something that is being addressed by any politician. Western media also plays its role in really simplifying stuff down without giving proper historical context. Trump sees people as these very simplified versions of themselves, whereas in real life they’re actually way more complicated.

Our job as journalists is to add layers of complexity and to show that there are many different narratives behind what we may think of as one large story. Our job is to help them all individually tell these stories, so that we can recognize that it’s a mosaic of motivations and life experiences, not like a singular life that’s just being repeated over and over again.  

EV: What’s it been like watching the debate over TPS unfold?

SQ: It’s difficult because you have this situation where people have built their entire lives in the U.S. TPS has been around since the 90’s, so think about someone who was 3 years old [when they immigrated], they’re like 23 now. Their whole life has been in the U.S. They’re not taking into account that some people don’t have lives or family members in their countries of origin. There’s also the complication that TPS holders — and DACA recipients — are either being ignored or used as political pawns for both parties, and not being treated empathetically by politicians in any shape or form.

EV: You told Salvadoran poet Javier Zamora’s story in “The Return.” What challenges did you face telling such a personal story?

SQ: One of the biggest issues was the amount of time it took to produce. We did like eight hours of interviews, so it’s hard when you’re sharing people’s life experiences to whittle it down to one thing because that’s not how we live. Your feelings about certain things that happen in your life may be way more complicated than a single thought or emotion you could say in a sentence… That was hard. In Javier’s story, he brought up issues of misogyny, of homophobia and transphobia. Every single one of those issues is important and should be talked about, but unfortunately — especially in audio – the audience has such a limited attention span that it can be hard to delve into stuff.

EV: In your work, you focus on a lot of hot-button issues like racism and immigration that may incite some people. How do you deal with any backlash you get?

SQ: I haven’t gotten much backlash, but it’s normal at Latino USA. We’ll put something on Twitter and of course there are MAGA trolls. You just have to ignore it, because it’s not like those people are making a sincere effort to begin a conversation. They don’t want a response, they want a reaction and I don’t have the energy or time to give anyone a reaction.

EV: Most of your work chronicles your roots in El Salvador, but would you ever do a piece on growing up in the Bay Area?

SQ:  I’d like to eventually come back here, and I do feel like there are a lot of really interesting stories. A piece of advice that I got was to focus on one thing and then become an expert at it, because that’s how you get a job.

I feel like I’ve taken that pretty seriously and it’s worked out really well. There are lots of people who can skip around different issues and learn very quickly what they’re about, but it gives you a certain amount of depth to do bigger picture things like “The Return” when you have the historical context of a place and what it’s been through. I also feel like a more confident reporter going into a story like that. You can speak with a certain amount of confidence about things. Like I’ve been studying this for five years, I think I know what I’m talking about.

To see more of Sayre Quevedo’s work, check out his website.

The post Latino USA’s Sayre Quevedo Talks Trump, TPS and More appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

How To: Pick the Right Distribution Company

February 19, 2019 - 5:24pm

As the music industry continues to evolve, independent artists are making more and more noise in mainstream music. As an independent artist, it’s essential to find the right distribution company to upload your music to streaming platforms. There are many companies that assist you in putting your music out worldwide. All distribution companies have certain characteristics that distinguish them from one another, which is why it’s necessary to find the one that works best for you. Each company comes with certain positives, however, there are also negatives that could possibly affect you and your career. Here, I’ve laid out significant pros and cons that come with each service as well as my analysis of why one may work better than the other for the project you plan to drop.

TuneCore

Pros:

-You keep absolutely all of the sales made from your project.

-TuneCore has an administrative publishing arm which will help track down your songwriter royalties (TuneCore Publishing) which is great because you won’t have to go through the hassle of getting in touch with songwriters or producers in order to give them their cut for whatever they contributed to your project.

-TuneCore offers advances (money) for future revenue projections (this can help fund future projects e.g. studio time, mixing, etc). They will literally pay for you to make music if you have already had an account with them for two years, and if you are able to bring in an above average amount of streams.

-TuneCore offers physical distribution on top of digital distribution which means they can distribute actual CD’s and vinyls for anyone who wants a physical copy to slap in the whip.

-They offer mixing and mastering services for a better/cleaner sounding song for as little as $10 a track.

Cons:

-TuneCore charges a fee for adding new streaming/distribution outlets like iTunes, Spotify etc. if you don’t add them to your original order. Either pay $2 per outlet or an additional $10 per release to automatically add all new outlets (streaming platforms).

-There are no mechanisms in place to help new artists. For example they offer no marketing support, playlist plugging, etc. which can be very helpful to new artists because it can get them discovered by a bigger audience.

-TuneCore doesn’t provide updated notifications as you work with their platform to upload music, they only send a notification when everything is fully uploaded.

-Fees include a $9.99 charge for each single if you want to upload it individually, and $29.99 fee for an album upload  (covers the album being live on platforms for a year). After that first year it costs $49.99 a year. There is also a 5-year option which costs $207.

-TuneCore’s music publishing fee is $75.00. On top of the upfront cost, they also charge a  15% overall commision fee and 20% sync commission fee for services that are generally offered for free with other distro companies. The added service you pay for includes them collecting your royalties for you and providing sync pitching where they pitch your songs for placement in TV, movies, and more (this is offered for free on CD Baby).

My Professional Analysis: TuneCore’s high prices aren’t worth paying for the stated pros above. Money adds up and next thing you know, you’ll go broke trying to get rich. The only real positive is that you get to keep 100% of your sales. In my opinion, they don’t have enough pros for me to be paying about $50+ dollars a year just on uploading music.

Related – How To: Upload Your Music Using Distribution Companies DistroKid

Pros:

-The cost is only  $19.99 a year. You only have to pay this fee once annually and you can upload as much music as you want.  Compared to other companies this is a small price to pay for unlimited uploads.

-You keep absolutely all sales revenue made from streams.

-DistroKid gives discounts!! Which is great if you’re on a budget… or not. They often offer promotional deals like 20% off sign-up fees and more, so keep a lookout.

-Unlike TuneCore, users receive an email with updates on every step of the way until songs are successfully uploaded to Spotify, iTunes, etc. This keeps you updated on the process and how long it will take to upload your music. It’s also helpful because you’ll know when your music is fully uploaded so you can properly promote it on social media, and more.

-You have the ability to download the songs you’ve uploaded. DistroKid stores everything you upload, and if you need to download the wav/mp3 file of your song because your hard drive crashed, you can log into your account and download it. It’s a great back-up plan if you’ve lost or lose files!

  • They give an option to pay a one-time legacy fee of $30 which means your music is live on streaming platforms forever (you won’t have to pay any annual fees to make sure your music is still live).

Cons:

-They charge a $0.99 fee per year per release for your music to show up on Shazam, which is a FREE addition with ALL other services. Also, DistroKid doesn’t disclose up front that this is not included for the yearly price. If you distribute an album of 10 songs, it will cost you an additional $10/year for that album to show up on Shazam. Why is Shazam important? As an up-and-coming artist trying to gain engaged listeners you want to have access to Shazam so people can identify your music if they just happen to hear it playing somewhere and don’t know the name or artist. It is definitely a great tool to have.

-There is no administrative publishing partner to help collect songwriter royalties for you, which means you have to do it yourself (other sites offer this service).

-They automatically remove previously uploaded music if you stop paying the yearly fee of $19.99 and if you opt out of the $30 legacy fee option.

My Professional Analysis: I’ve used DistroKid in the past and I believe it’s the right company for me. They keep you updated on everything pertaining to your music, and sales. The prices are nice and cheap for the essentials you need which is really just being able to upload as much music you want and getting to keep all of your sales. Even though some of the extra options that come along with it are a bit pricey (still not as much as TuneCore), they’re worth it in the long run and their pricing options make up for what they are lacking by not offering some other services (sync, publishing, etc.).

Related – How To: Plan Your Own Event CD Baby

Pros:

-No yearly fees and you pay just $9.95 a single (each individual song), and $50 for an album (usually seven songs or more). This means a one-time fee and your music is live forever. Other distro sites usually make you keep paying fees annually to have your music stay up on the various platforms you choose.

-They collect the money made off of your projects (royalties) and give them to you either via check (there is a $103 minimum balance for checks to be distributed), PayPal, or EFT (Electronic Funds Transfer). To get paid, artists just have to sign up for SoundExchange, which is an organization that distributes your royalties for you so you won’t have to go through the hassle of tracking down producers, songwriters, etc. to pay them their share of the royalties.

-They offer physical distribution which means they can distribute CD’s and vinyls for anyone who wants a physical copy to slap in the whip.

-CD Baby offers promotion services to get your music to fans who could potentially be interested in you. For example, they promote (via pitching music to podcasts, blogs, etc.) to people who are into the genre of music you make.

-They give free sync licensing! This means they pitch to companies to license your music for commercials, tv shows, games, movies and YouTube channels, all of which get you paid.

Cons:

-You don’t get to keep 100% of your sales, they charge a 9% commission fee that goes to them, you keep the remaining 91%.

– You have to pay $10 for a each single uploaded or $50 for an album which is very pricey compared to other companies.

-The bigger audience you have and the more money you make from streams, the more you have to pay CD Baby.

My Professional Analysis: CD Baby offers great services, one of the best being free promotion. Although their prices don’t seem as reasonable as some of the other distro sites, and you don’t get to keep all of your hard-earned cash, it may be the right company for you due to the extra promotional specials,  if you don’t mind paying the price.

Related – How To: Collaborate with Other Artists on New Music Stem

Pros:

-No annual fee — they just take five percent of whatever you make in streams.

-Stem offers the ability to edit (in terms of mixing/mastering) songs that are already distributed (uploaded) without having to take down and redistribute the songs.

-Stem gives data on how much money you’ve earned from streams. This is a great tool for indie artists to track their progress.

-Stem handles splits for you. Meaning they will handle the pay out of any earnings that need to be distributed to other people involved on your project for you. For example, they can split the overall earnings from a song with a producer or songwriter who were also involved in making it.

Cons:

-They have a payment threshold  of $50 which means you have make at least that much in order for them to pay you your streaming revenue. They also make you put an initial $50 in your Stem account as collateral in case your music doesn’t meet that minimum.

-It’s invite only! If you don’t have a invite you have to fill out a form telling the company about yourself and then they approve or decline your request to upload music through them.

-They only distribute music to 12 outlets and streaming platforms. And they don’t distribute to Asia.

-There’s no administrative publishing partner to help you collect your songwriter or producer royalties which means you have to do it yourself.

My Professional Analysis: Although they can offer convenient services like edits (mixing/mastering) and splitting earnings with others, their cons outweigh the pros in my opinion. Even though there isn’t an upfront annual fee like other sites, they are still taking five percent of your overall earnings and making you front a $50 fee just to get access to your streaming sales which doesn’t seem reasonable. The invite-only aspect as well as the rest of the cons just make the company unappealing… but hey if you’re down, go right ahead, every artist is different.

In order to build exposure as an independent artist, producer or songwriter, distribution companies are vital to helping gain access to larger fan bases. Although most distro companies may seem almost identical to one another, each has its own pros and cons which cater to different peoples’ needs. Every artist has different needs, therefore certain companies are more ideal for certain types of artists. All companies require funds (as seen in the pros and cons above) in exchange for exposure; the more money you put into your own career the greater the chance of more exposure.

The post How To: Pick the Right Distribution Company appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

Why Gender Pronouns Matter: Two Teenagers Share Their Stories

February 19, 2019 - 5:30am

These essays are part of our ongoing coverage by non-binary teens: In Their Own Words

When Teachers Use the Wrong Pronouns

By Jenifer Abigail Chavez

“Yes ma’am?”

That’s the phrase that almost landed me in middle school detention. I was in eighth grade and my teacher had just called me ma’am to answer a question. There’s just one problem.

I’m not a ma’am.

I’m non-binary, which means I use they/them pronouns and don’t fall into either of the two genders assigned at birth. 

As far back as fourth grade, I had a picture of what I wanted to be that didn’t include sticking to any of the gender norms. “Why don’t you dress more like a girl?” people were always asking. I felt like a lab rat being poked by pesky scientists.

So I’m always a bit hesitant to speak up about my pronouns. Sometimes I don’t correct my teachers or classmates when they misgender me because I fear being rejected. But this year, I wanted to start fresh and stay true to my identity and myself.

So, with my classmates all staring at me, I forced a smile and said to my teacher, “Uh, I’m not a ma’am.”

He frowned, crossing his arms against his chest and looking at me.

“Stop wasting my time,” he said. “This is nonsense. Don’t waste my time or you’ll get detention.”

I felt suffocated, like all the air had left my lungs.

Suddenly I was in fourth grade all over again, surrounded by bullies. And here’s the thing — being hassled for your gender isn’t like a “Mean Girls” spinoff. The kids who tormented me back then were big into the anti-bullying message at my school. It’s like they didn’t even know they were doing anything wrong.

I get that it takes people time to get used to a new concept. My teacher lectured us all the time on justice and equality while judging me for correcting my pronouns.

When teachers don’t recognize different sexualities and genders, they make it OK for students to do the same. My advice? Respect your students, respect their pronouns. If you don’t know, ask or just use a student’s name. And try using gender neutral terms like “everybody” instead of assuming I’m a ‘ma’am.’

I Am Me.

By Felix

As a young child, I loved to dance. Sometimes I would swing my hips with sassiness. Other times I was more dominant, guiding girls in duo dances with my hands on their hips. Others would say the way I moved would change from being feminine to masculine, and sometimes both. When I felt like both, I would combine my dancing styles, sassy and dominant.

Back then, I didn’t have words for my gender identity, but it’s like my body always knew. Even so, I used to try to ignore my gender identity, wearing large amounts of makeup and a long fringe to hide what my face actually looked like. This put me in an extremely dark place.  I now know, as much as I try, I can never change who I am. 

I recently came out as gender-fluid. Some days I felt like a girl, other days a boy, somedays both but also neither. Day to day, I would identify as a different gender, but my personality did not change.

One day at home, while preparing to bind my chest, my mother walked over and said, “You know, on the days you say you’re a guy, you act really different from your normal girl self.” I want to respond to family members when they make comments like this, but they are my elders and I need to respect them. If I could, I would rip my head open to show them the storms in my mind.

I originally came out as gender-fluid to convince my family that I still had a bit of femininity left in me. I wanted them to be proud of me and not disappointed that their little girl was gone. But two months ago, I came out again, this time as transgender (female to male). I was hesitant, because I knew people would say fluid gender identity is just a phase.  But repressing who I am was hurting me mentally. When people close to me deny who I am, my self-esteem drops down like a thermometer on a cold winter’s day.  

I just wish the other people around me could understand what my brain and heart are telling me.  One of my dreams is for my family and peers to address my pronouns correctly — for people to understand that it’s not always just one or the other, it could be both or neither. I know I’m not the only one in this world going through this situation. Knowing others are fighting by my side makes me feel less alone.

These essays were produced in collaboration with ZUMIX in Boston.


The post Why Gender Pronouns Matter: Two Teenagers Share Their Stories appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

Bay Word of the Day: Slide

February 18, 2019 - 11:00am
BAY WORD OF THE DAY, STARRING MONEY MAKA, IS A VIDEO SERIES BREAKING DOWN BAY AREA SLANG.

The post Bay Word of the Day: Slide appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

How My Grandfather’s Death Helped Me Look Past Politics

February 17, 2019 - 8:00am

My grandfather died this past summer. While I honor our relationship, my memory of him is complicated by our political differences.

My grandfather lived across the country, so I only saw him twice a year. It never seemed like enough.

I remember sitting on his lap. I’d hold his old globe as he spun it until the countries blurred together. He mesmerized me with stories of his travels.

As I grew up, I became increasingly aware that my grandfather’s political opinions contradicted mine. In recent years, we couldn’t even watch the news together.

We never fought out loud. But our differences fractured our relationship.

This summer, my grandfather passed away. I was overwhelmed with heartache. He was gone, and our relationship could never be pieced back together.

For years, I looked at my grandfather and saw only our differences. Now that he’s gone, I’m trying to look past our rift to see our larger relationship, and the real person he was.

Now, when I think of him, I remember how he taught me to be curious, generous and kind. In the face of death, I learned not to forget his faults, but to see past them.

The post How My Grandfather’s Death Helped Me Look Past Politics appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

4 Things I Learned from Self-Help Books to Deal with Depression

February 17, 2019 - 5:30am

When the doctor told me I had depressive symptoms, I came to the stark realization that I was expected to get a therapist. I was already uncomfortable talking about my feelings in front of friends and family, so the thought of bringing up my deepest, darkest thoughts to a stranger terrified me.

I got creative and started doing my own research. It started with a spontaneous trip to the library, a bit of wandering in the vacant aisles and picking out a few books with appealing covers. I wasn’t expecting much from them, just an interesting read that might entertain. Instead, it turned out to be a life changing experience.

A few chapters in, I was hooked. I loved their practical methods of bringing the joy out in my life and, as I took their advice, I saw my mental health significantly improve. I became the most confident I have ever been — and I owe a lot of that to the books I read.

Self-help books became my silent therapist. There were no questions, awkward silences or fears of judgement, just meaningful advice that I still strive to live by. While I’m still trying to better my mental health, these small tips and tricks have been helping me navigate through it all.

1. “True Face” by Siobhan Curham

Never compare yourself to “Fakebook” profiles

Like most teens, a lot of my insecurities are rooted in social media. It was part of my routine: go home, spend a couple hours on every social media platform I was on, and move on to something more productive. Going through Instagram and seeing everyone’s social lives made my life seem bland. I felt boring, but I didn’t stop scrolling.

I read “True Face” by Siobhan Curham and learned about “social media detoxes,” temporary breaks from all social media platforms. I decided to try it out for a couple of weeks. In that time, I wasn’t focusing on comparing myself to what I saw on screen and my confidence skyrocketed because of it. I used my newfound time to find the things I loved about myself. When I returned to social media, I saw the posts for what they were: isolated moments that were filtered and edited to look perfect. It was all “Fakebook” to me.

2. “The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck” by Sarah Knight

It’s OK to say no!

I’ve always had a hard time saying no to people. Whether it’s someone asking to hang out at 11 p.m. or take on extra work, I’ll likely say yes, even if it means I’ll wake up exhausted the next day. My biggest concern: disappointing someone.

On one of my library runs, I picked up a small white book titled “The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck” and thought, “Why not give this magic a try?”

It instantly became one of my favorites. All concerns about disappointing people went away because I learned that saying no doesn’t make you a bad person. It gives you control over what you do with your life. It makes you focus on what would actually make you happy. And as long as I didn’t change as a person, my friends didn’t care if I couldn’t hang out every once in a while.

3. “The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well” by Meik Wiking

Taking the occasional mental health day is essential

In the peak of my inability to say no, I found myself completely overwhelmed. I was busy balancing homework, extracurriculars and organizing a blood drive at school. My mind was on work mode 24/7 and I desperately needed a break.

When I finished “The Little Book of Hygge” (pronounced “hoo-ga”), I decided to give the Danish concept a try. After all, the book was written by the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute. Hygge is all about creating a cozy atmosphere to bring joy, so I did just that. I spent the next day going to my favorite cafe, journaling and playing ukulele — anything to get my mind off of work. When I inevitably had to finish what I started, I felt refreshed and ready to take on the day. It was better than ignoring the stress and trying to finish everything at once. Whenever I feel myself getting to that point, I try to remind myself to take a little “me time” to reset and start over.  

4. “Little Victories: Perfect Rules for Imperfect Living” by Jason Gay

Focus on the little things

A sprinkle of negativity can easily bring your good day to an end, like spilling coffee on clean clothes or missing the bus. When these negativities happened, I immediately labeled it as a “bad day.”

The book “Little Victories” changed my mind. It emphasized the importance of looking past negativities and cherishing the little things. I started by writing three things that made me happy each day, big and small. I soon found myself finding happiness in the smallest things, from the feeling of sipping a hot drink to perfecting my eyeliner for the day. It made me more optimistic. When anything negative happened, I easily brushed it off by looking for something that would put a smile on my face.

The post 4 Things I Learned from Self-Help Books to Deal with Depression appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

Her Dad Makes Art About Immigration, Borders and Sanctuary Cities

February 16, 2019 - 5:30am

Artists Sergio De La Torre and Chris Treggiari have been printing posters to raise awareness about what a sanctuary city is and how immigration policies affect communities.

Watch De La Torre’s daughter, Mila De La Torre, interview him about his art and a project called the “Sanctuary Print Shop.”

The project kicked off in 2009, when De La Torre interviewed immigrants and researched immigration policy, creating an installation at a gallery in San Francisco’s Mission District.

In 2017, the project morphed into the “Sanctuary Print Shop” — a three-month poster printing effort at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Audience members responded to immigration-related questions De La Torre and Treggiari printed on posters, and some of the audience’s answers themselves became phrases for posters.

Since then, De La Torre and Treggiari have held more than a dozen poster-printing events around California and beyond. And the artists have expanded the scope of the project to include full-blown billboards that they’ve erected in San Francisco, displaying phrases first seen on the posters, including “This is a sanctuary” and “The country of the immigrant is here.”

A billboard created by Sergio De La Torre and Chris Treggiari seen in San Francisco’s Mission District. (Photo courtesy Sergio De La Torre)

There are more murals coming soon.

In his studio, Mila asked her dad why the project feels more relevant now than it did 10 years ago and learned how to make some posters herself.

The post Her Dad Makes Art About Immigration, Borders and Sanctuary Cities appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

Playlist: Songs to Be Sad To

February 15, 2019 - 5:36pm

What is it about being sad that causes us to want to listen to sad music? I’ve spent a long time pondering this and I’ve come to a conclusion. I think sometimes when we are not in a good mental state, we tend to isolate ourselves because of a sort of feeling of dissociation from the normal life routines we adapt to everyday. If I am depressed, I want to keep to myself because in a way it’s socially unacceptable to be quiet and visibly sad out in public. This tends to isolate the mind and make me feel a bit lonely. Where music comes into play is it kinda lessens any feelings of loneliness. Not only might the lyrics resonate with you in letting you know you’re not alone in feeling down, but the calming / relaxing vibes also help soothe you, helping fight anxiety in a sense. Anyhow, these are some of the sad songs I’ve been listening to recently, to kind of take you into what vibe I’ve been on lately.

I think it was around early sophomore year of high school when I started listening to Shlohmo. His music really stands out from others, a lot of textures and warmth goes into his tracks, blending genres into a sense of emotion.

This song is so damn beautiful and FKA twigs looks like a whole angel in the video. Twigs’ older music is insanely good.

I’ve definitely teared up to this song enough times to say that I’m ready for another Kelela album to play with my heart.

I had to put this song in here. One of my favorite songs ever. One of the best songs Frank Ocean has ever made, period. If this song doesn’t make you have an existential crisis whenever it comes on, you might not have a soul.

This track by Baltra is an especially good one to sort of zone-out to. It’s sad but at the same time kinda makes you wanna dance which is honestly the type of music I wanna thrive to make.

I’m channeling my inner cigarette-smoking / crime-novel-reading / middle-aged-man-in-a-tank-top vibes with this song. Something about Leonard Cohen’s voice has always soothed me.

When I was younger I stumbled across this genre of noise music that I never heard, which was a bunch of sad chords mixed with distortion and textures. Tim Hecker was always my favorite artist doing it, but this song in particular is mad pretty.

This song is just an example of a great collaboration, Mount Kimbie has some insane production, and then James Blake is always ridiculous.

James Blake dropped one of the greatest albums I’ve ever heard, I actually used to fall asleep to it every night the first year it came out, so it’s safe to say his music comforts me forreal.

I wanna bring it out of just sad music and end with a song that motivates me and leaves me hopeful. Solange really changed the whole game with this song and that makes it timeless. This song kinda helps take me out of a funk, motivating me to be productive. I guess that’s the beautiful thing about music. It can impact your life in so many different ways.

I hope this list didn’t make you sad, but if you were already, I hope it offered some tracks to help you get through it. No matter how sad we get, the silver lining is that it will always get better, those feelings won’t last forever, and no one is ever truly alone in being sad or depressed. Hope you have a good productive day!

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Categories: Blog

How to Be Genuine on Your First Date

February 14, 2019 - 6:51pm

Dating nowadays can seem like a daunting task, with apps like Tinder, Bumble and Grindr; we’ve made ourselves readily available to the whole world with a quick swipe in hopes to find that special someone. Can’t we just fast-forward to the part to where we binge-watch Netflix?

We know that it’s easier said than done, so we just want to congratulate you for being a brave soul and taking the first step into dating. We compiled some tips and tricks that might come in handy when trying to swipe or slide in dm’s. We want to share some game that might be useful to secure that second date with the person you’re hella into. Granted, navigating the tricky waters of dm’s and mustering up the energy to follow through with plans can be exciting and nerve-wracking all at the same time. Try and have fun, be comfortable and confident in who you are. Go get’em.

Step One: Pre-Date “Talking”

To make it to the second date, make sure you put effort into the pre-date conversation. We call this “Talking.” Make an effort to understand each other’s boundaries and intentions before moving forward. If there’s a spark, set up the date! Set your plans for the date and make sure you have a backup plan for your backup plan. Ensuring that you have a plan A, B and C will help move things along in case you get hit with a curveball that leaves an awkward hang during the date. Plan for every scenario that might occur, don’t just accept everything will go according to plan.

Step Two: Think About What to Talk About During the Date

Try to avoid letting the conversation drop and avoid long awkward pauses! Tricky, I know, but it’ll be helpful in the long run. Find some things you two have in common so that you have something to talk about during the date. No one likes a dry conversation! Show a good amount of your personality, whether it’s through conversation or clothing, be sure you’re able to be the best you possible. That way your date can get a better understanding of who you are. Also, don’t be on your phone all the time. That’s a sure way to make yourself seem uninterested! A real conversation can be hard to come by so be attentive, make sure you’re actually listening and not just talking at someone the whole time.

Step Three: Boundaries

Third and most importantly, respect your partner’s space and boundaries. It can be difficult to be comfortable around someone you just met and the anxiety-prone person inside of you is probably freaking out. You want the other person to feel comfortable with you, and making unreciprocated advances or prying too hard into something is just ultimately not lit. Giving ample space when together and communicating beforehand can make all the difference in ensuring someone feels comfortable and open with you.

Step Four: Embracing the Process

Dating is never a sure shot, ultimately you are getting to know someone for romantic purposes, and there are chances that you may not align well with someone. You can’t let that deter you from moving forward and continuing on though, there are a lot of people in this world, and an aspect of self-discovery in dating. The more people you get to know and open up to, the more you learn about how you yourself operate, and it can be very liberating. So have patience, because there is more to it then just ending up with a partner, this is a beautiful process.

The post How to Be Genuine on Your First Date appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

How Have Florida’s Gun Laws Changed Since Parkland?

February 14, 2019 - 5:30am

Today marks the one-year anniversary of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida. On Feb. 14, 2018, former student Nikolas Cruz killed 17 students and faculty members, and injured 17 others, in one of the deadliest school shootings in U.S. history.

From national marches to voter registration drives to school walkouts — most recently on election day — the Parkland teenage survivors managed to energize millions of young people to call for gun law reform.

A year later, national lawmakers have done little to nothing when it comes to gun control. But Florida’s gun laws have seen a number of revisions.

Here are Florida’s most notable gun proposals since Parkland.

New Program to Restrict Gun Purchases and Arm School Staff Members

Just weeks after the Parkland shooting, then Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed into law a bill known as the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act, which imposed a three-day waiting period for gun purchases and raised the minimum age to buy a firearm from 18 to 21. This provision has received pushback from the National Rifle Association, or NRA, which argues that it’s unconstitutional.

The bill also allows for the arming of some school employees. Named the Coach Aaron Feis Guardian Program, after one of the faculty members who died at Stoneman protecting the lives of students, it allows school staff who are not exclusively teachers to be trained to carry guns on the job as campus “guardians.” Staff must undergo 132 hours of comprehensive firearm safety training, pass a psychological exam and successfully complete random drug tests and ongoing firearm training.

The act contains a provision (dubbed a “red flag law”) grants law enforcement the ability to seize firearms from anyone deemed to be a danger to themselves or others.

Bump Stock Ban

Bump stocks are devices that can be added to firearms to give them the capabilities of an automatic weapon. These accessories increase the rate of fire for semiautomatic weapons.

A bill was passed in October 2018 that bans the sale, transfer and ownership of bump stocks. It also outlines the possession of such accessories as a third-degree felony. Finally, it calls for the relinquishment of bump stocks for those who own them.

Campus Carry Bill

If enacted, this bill will take effect beginning on July 1, 2019. It prohibits the carrying of any weapons, lethal or not, on school campuses with a few exceptions.

Firearms may be carried on post-secondary school campuses only if there is a school-sponsored function or firearm training, and only with advance permission from the school’s administration.

Other Proposals For the Upcoming 2019 Legislative Session

Arming Teachers would alter Senate Bill 7026 to add teachers and “contract employees” to the Aaron Feis Guardian Program. This bill has attracted opposition from groups such as the National Association of Secondary School Principals and advocacy groups like Moms Demand Action.

Licensed transactions requires that any transfer of firearms from one person to another be facilitated by a licensed dealer.

Protection of child care facilities prohibits licensed concealed weapons carriers to openly carry firearms in any child care facility.

Removal of waiting period removes the waiting period for handgun purchases, reduces the minimum age requirement for gun purchases back to 18 from 21, repeals the ban on bump stocks and repeals law enforcement’s ability to confiscate firearms.

Firearms on campus permits students to have a firearm on campus in their vehicle for certain firearm programs. 

Restrictions on where to carry guns outlines areas where licensed individuals are prohibited from carrying firearms, including college campuses, courthouses and jails.

Regulation of concealed weapons licenses designates the Department of Law Enforcement as the entity that regulates and collect fees from concealed carry licenses.

This story was written in collaboration with WFSU, a public radio station in Tallahassee, Florida.

The post How Have Florida’s Gun Laws Changed Since Parkland? appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

Playlist: First Dates in the Bay

February 13, 2019 - 6:57pm

Your music taste reveals a lot about you and can have a major impact on the first impression you make with your date. Playing the right song is key to setting the right tone for the rest of the evening. When it comes to first dates in the Bay you must assume that your date is accustomed to great music and culture. Don’t stress — all you really need is a fresh fit, a good personality and good music taste to set the right mood. It’s important not to do too much — you don’t want to come off as too ratchet or too emo, just find that vibe-y middle ground. But don’t worry — if you don’t know where to start, I got you covered. In this playlist, I’ve gathered some songs to get that mood perfectly set to make sure you make it to date number 2.  Just throw it in shuffle and let the playlist work its magic…

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Categories: Blog

How to Know if Your Boo’s a Cheater on Valentine’s Day

February 13, 2019 - 11:56am

It’s that time of year again! Love is in the air and cupid is making sure that Valentine’s Day will be perfect. But there’s just one little problem: what will all the side pieces do? Susana Villanueva and YR Media’s Clay Xavier discuss signs that you might not be your significant other’s main squeeze on Valentine’s.

The post How to Know if Your Boo’s a Cheater on Valentine’s Day appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

The Fight for On-Campus Abortion in California

February 12, 2019 - 12:19pm

When the bouts of nausea began in the first semester of Jessy Rosales’ junior year at the University of California, Riverside, she thought she must have caught some sort of stomach bug. As a busy student with a part-time job and lots of extracurricular activities, she hoped the symptoms would pass on their own. But when weeks went by, and the waves of nausea kept coming, she made an appointment at her college’s student health center.

After a series of tests, Rosales got some unexpected news: despite the fact that she’d been on birth control for nearly a year, she was pregnant.

Rosales remembers breaking down in the exam room. “I was thinking to myself, I’m only in my third year, I don’t have my degree, I’m not financially stable,” she said. On top of that, she couldn’t imagine telling her parents, with whom she’d never even talked about sex. And things with her partner were on shaky ground. (When she broke the news to him, he asked her not to tell anyone else.)

Rosales told her doctor on the spot that she wanted to have an abortion. She could do that, her doctor explained, but not on campus. The procedure isn’t offered at student health centers.

In order to terminate her pregnancy, Rosales would have to go elsewhere.

California has a reputation for being strongly pro-choice. While in other parts of the country, heartbeat bills are being debated and increased restrictions are forcing some clinics to close their doors, the golden state boasts some of the most abundant and widespread access to abortion in the nation. Based on a 2014 report, only 5 percent of California women lived in counties without an abortion clinic. But obtaining an abortion in the state can still be challenging, especially for college students.

Each month over 1,000 University of California and California State University students undergo abortions, according to estimates by the Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health at UC San Francisco. Because such services are not available on any of those campuses, students must be referred out to clinics in their communities. How easy it is to access these clinics varies greatly, depending on whether the campus is located in a rural or urban area. The study found that on average, students spent 38 minutes each way traveling to off-campus clinics via public transportation. UC Berkeley is on the short end of the spectrum at 24 minutes. At CSU Stanislaus in the Central Valley, the closest provider is over an hour and a half away from campus by public transit.

However, for many students, getting to a clinic is only half the battle. First, they have to deal with insurance. Students at both California public university systems are able to get referrals to off-campus clinics through their campus health centers. But while the UC system offers students an insurance plan that covers abortion services at outside facilities, the CSU schools do not.

Even for UC students like Jessy Rosales, the process can be challenging.

Since she couldn’t obtain her abortion on campus at UC Riverside, Rosales made a counseling appointment with a women’s health specialist at her school in order to get a referral. After re-explaining all of her options, the specialist gave Rosales a list of abortion providers in her area, but when she followed up, she says one place turned out not to perform abortions, and another wasn’t able to process her insurance.

Rosales said that at that point, she felt paralyzed when it came to exploring other options. “This was my first time on my own, navigating the medical system and insurance system,” she said. “I didn’t know what to do.”

When asked to comment on Rosales’ experience, UC Riverside’s Director of Student Health Services Julienne DeGeyter responded by email: “All of our students are told to contact us right away if they have any trouble getting in to see a specialist that we have referred them to for services.  I am not sure why this student didn’t contact us, we have an insurance department, front desk staff as well as the medical assistants and providers who are always willing to help a student if they run into difficulty with a referral.”

According to those who oppose abortion, delays in the process of terminating a pregnancy create an opportunity for women to reflect on the gravity of their choice. At a recent California State Senate hearing, a representative from the group Students for Life of America, or SFLA, shared a story about a CSU Sacramento student who, while seeking her second abortion, found her school’s SFLA chapter and decided to carry out the pregnancy instead.

For Rosales, the experience did not alter her decision to have an abortion. Instead, it made her lose faith in her ability to access one.

At around the same time that Rosales’ story was unfolding, another student, Adiba Khan, began to hear similar stories of women on her own campus at UC Berkeley who were having trouble getting access to abortions. Khan is from Oklahoma, a state with some of the most prohibitive abortion laws in the country. She said she grew up “feeling like I didn’t have any autonomy, and seeing peers forced into unwanted pregnancies.”

Khan believed that California was different. When she learned that her school’s health center didn’t offer abortions and that many students were struggling to access reproductive care off campus, she was surprised. Khan didn’t have any experience in organizing or activism, but along with fellow student Meghan Warner, she founded the group Students United for Reproductive Justice, and together they set out on a mission: to make medication abortion available through their school’s health center.

Medication abortion involves taking two pills: mifepristone and misoprostol. The first pill is taken at a doctor’s office, the second at home. Medication abortions are less invasive than surgical abortions, but they are currently only an option for women who are up to 10 weeks pregnant — which means timely access to a clinic is important.

Given that abortion is covered by the UC system’s health insurance plan, Khan said it didn’t make sense to her that the prescription for a medication abortion wasn’t available through school health centers.

Building on Khan and her advocacy group’s efforts, in 2018 both the California Senate and Assembly passed Senate Bill 320, also known as the College Student Right to Access Act. Introduced by State Sen. Connie Leyva (D-District 20), the bill would have required all UC and CSU campuses to make medication abortions available in their student health centers by 2022. A fund derived from private donations would have been established to get the program started.

Even in a blue state like California, Khan said that would have been a big deal.

But the bill faced rigorous opposition from anti-abortion campus organizations. “Abortion pills are not a factor in student success,” said Anna Arend, the Northern California regional coordinator for the anti-abortion group Students for Life of America, in testimony before the California Senate Education committee on SB 320.

Opponents also raised concerns about associated costs for staff training, equipment and systems to support the bill’s implementation.

Ultimately, then-Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed SB 320 last September, calling it “not necessary.” But the bill’s drafters refused to accept Brown’s decision as final. In December, State Sen. Leyva introduced a similar bill, SB 24, and in January, Gavin Newsom was sworn in as the new governor of California.

For its supporters, the bill’s fate has high stakes. Long controversial, abortion has become an increasingly contentious topic in today’s divided political climate. In the 2018 midterms, West Virginia voters passed a measure to include language in their state constitution declaring that it doesn’t secure, protect or fund the right to abortion. The state also voted to ban Medicaid from covering abortion services, while Alabamans voted to give fetuses legal rights.

On a national level, just last week the Supreme Court blocked a Louisiana law that would have further restricted abortion access in that state, but that stay is temporary, and the confirmation of conservative Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court has fueled concerns that Roe v. Wade may be overturned.

When SB 320, the bill to make medication abortion available on public college campuses, went before the California Senate earlier this year, Rosales was there to testify.

As she struggled to find an abortion provider and figure out how to pay for it, she became depressed and withdrawn. “The more you wait, the more emotional trauma starts to build up,” she said. At times, she wondered if the obstacles she was facing were signs that she shouldn’t have an abortion. “I started to internalize a lot of stigma.”

Rosales told me she felt immediate relief after she was finally able to have an abortion at a local health center. That said, there are aspects of the experience she wishes had been different. She would have preferred to have a medication abortion within the 10-week window, she said, which would have allowed her to end her pregnancy in the privacy and comfort of her own home. And she wishes she’d been able to handle the whole thing through her student health center, whose services were designed to accommodate students’ schedules and streamline the insurance process.

“If I would’ve been able to have it done in that facility, maybe the very next week, I wouldn’t have had to go through all this,” she said. “It would’ve made my story something completely different.”

The post The Fight for On-Campus Abortion in California appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

Bay Word of the Day: Mouthpiece

February 11, 2019 - 6:01pm
Bay Word of the Day, starring Money Maka, is a video series breaking down Bay Area slang.

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Categories: Blog

How to Break Up with a Best Friend

February 11, 2019 - 1:48pm

I clearly remember the day I left my ex-best friend on read. We’d been traveling together when I overheard her complaining about me to a colleague of mine, which led to a full-blown falling out. That text was the last I would ever get from her. Months later, we ran into each other in a Trader Joe’s, and the minute our carts squeaked past each other without so much as a “Hey,” I knew we were over for real.

This particular friendship isn’t the first in my life that I’ve ended, though it is probably the one I left on the worst terms. Once it was done, I was left blinking in the harsh light of loneliness, struck that no one knows how to talk about this traumatic process. It doesn’t even have a name.

Because let me tell you: it is traumatic. Unlike a romantic partnership, a friendship doesn’t come with pressure to be exclusive or explicit commitments for the future, but the bestie break-up is a uniquely shattering experience. My best friend wasn’t just someone I hung out with. She knew about my goals and fears and was part of all the minutiae that make up a human experience. Losing her felt like losing thousands of little moments that had made me who I am.

This kind of loss is not rare, however. Seeking validation that I wasn’t alone in this, I put out a call for personal stories on Instagram, expecting one or two people who would be willing to share. Instead, a deluge of stories poured in from men and women all over the world who’d ended up in the same place: pulling the plug on a relationship their whole life had centered around.

Justina’s post to her Instagram Stories, asking for people to share their break-up tales.

For some, it was immediate. A friend had placed them in a physically unsafe scenario or said something past the point of no return. More often, it took years to come to a head, compounded by backhanded compliments, cancelled brunches and yes, texts left on read. Sometimes even then, there’s a serious urge to explain away your friend’s behavior, even if you would never tolerate their actions from a romantic partner.

“It takes a lot more to get to the point of ending a platonic relationship. In a romantic relationship there’s usually a point of clarity,” explained Orange County therapist Karin Draper, who specializes in working with young people. “You could in theory keep a platonic relationship your whole life,” Draper said.

All those adorable grandparents on Facebook posing with their best friends of 50 years make us crave that kind of longevity, but we’re putting up with a lot of nonsense chasing it, usually from people we’ve known the longest.

For most of us, making friends isn’t easy, and keeping toxic ones can feel safer than not having anyone to hang out with. Loneliness is reaching “epidemic” status, according to former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek H. Murthy. And 18-22-year-olds are the “loneliest generation,” according to a Cigna study — which makes sense. When you’re transitioning from high school to college, it can be terrifying to launch off on your own.

“Me and my best friend from high school, we’ll call her Karen, were extremely close. We had so much in common and had super-specific mutual beliefs and opinions. Our personalities were even very similar.”

Bizzy Emerson and Karen were always together, preparing to take on the world. They started college together and then decided to take a semester off.

“In this time, we only had each other to hang out with, which just escalated our friendship to a new level,” Emerson said, telling me the closeness pushed their relationship into a clingy, unhealthy territory.

Neither girl was making new friends or engaging fully in their college experience. When Emerson made the decision to move into her sorority house, everything started to snowball. She made new friends and became aware of how unhappy her relationship with Karen was making both of them. She decided enough was enough.

“I definitely think this break-up was 100 percent necessary, because I couldn’t move on with my life,” she said.

In story after story, I heard about toxicity invading even the strongest of bonds. Maddie’s best friend kept bailing on plans and stopped answering texts. Audrey’s started taking advantage of her. Ramona’s sent her a nasty text out of the blue. Lucy’s just didn’t value her as much as she thought. In most of the stories I was told, friends who are about to be dumped often don’t even see it coming.

Psychotherapist Sharon Peykar, an associate clinical social worker in Los Angeles who focuses on mindful relationships, told me that your gut feeling isn’t usually too far off. “If you’re feeling dreadful every time you interact with a certain friend, this may be an indicator that your boundaries have been crossed or there’s something you’re not addressing between you,” Peykar explained.

I’d known for weeks before our last trip that something about my relationship with my best friend was off. There were a lot of passive-aggressive comments and periods of extended silence, but I had convinced myself that it would be magically solved by close proximity for 80-odd hours straight.

Believe it or not, my “ignore it until it goes away” tactic is not the recommended method. Both therapists I talked to emphasized that communication is key in healthy relationships.

“A lot of the blowouts happen when one person is expecting something the other person isn’t even thinking about,” Draper said.

Ah, talking about your feelings. It’s a great concept, but honestly? I hate doing it. There’s something extra stressful about just telling someone how you feel. Unfortunately for my avoidant personality, that’s what all the experts recommend if you’re trying to save your relationship.

But say you’re like my ex-best friend and me, seemingly beyond the point of no return. In a time where Facebook regurgitates evidence of how happy you used to be on an annoyingly routine basis, how do you actually disentangle your digital self?

Gen Z and social media commentator Emma Havighorst thinks you first need to do the basic unfollowing on your usual platforms and then move on to secondary removal.

“People need space in person after the end of a relationship, so they need space online as well,” Havighorst said. “Typically, I also suggest muting mutual friends or people who are closer friends with them, so that you have less of a chance to see the other person in other people’s posts.”

That’s the real gut punch, I think — the day you see a photo, Snap or Instagram story of your friend with their new best friend. No matter why you broke up, there’s often this little part of you that wonders: “What if?”

“Especially with friends that have been friends for an important season in a person’s life, as well as long term friends, there’s a sense of comfort and ‘they knew me’ that can be really easy to return to,” Draper told me.

It’s that nostalgia that motivates the midnight texts, the unblocking on IG or maybe even the gentle offer to get coffee sometime. More often, in the timeless words of Gotye, “Now you’re just somebody that I used to know.”

Sometimes I miss those people I used to know. I wonder what they’re up to, what their kids look like (because some of them have those now), whether they’ve kept up with my career. My nosiness gets the best of me, and I’ll spend hours looking at their tagged photos, seeing how their life took shape once I was out of the picture. I like to think that they’re doing the same, and we’re both just a little better off for having left each other alone.

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Categories: Blog

The Cost of Acing the SAT

February 10, 2019 - 8:00am

My sophomore year, I took a practice SAT. When I saw my score, it was evident that I needed some help. But I didn’t know how much that help would cost.

Since middle school, my parents have pushed me to do well and get into a good college. I play sports, I’ve racked up a ton of extracurriculars, and I’ve kept a steady four-point-o GPA. All that’s left on my checklist is the SAT.

There are a ton of classes that can help you ace the test. A couple friends told me about one they loved. And their scores reflected their hard work. But when I saw the price tag, my stomach dropped. It was pushing two thousand dollars. My family couldn’t afford that.

Eventually, my grandparents agreed to pay for me to take another class. I felt guilty, but also grateful to them.

But still, I can’t shake the feeling that this system seems so wrong. The SAT is supposed to be a test of your college preparedness, not of how much your family can spend. I feel like I’m paying for my score, and buying my way into college.

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Categories: Blog

How Schools Deal with Sexual Assault: Betsy DeVos Plan Gets More Than 100,000 Comments

February 8, 2019 - 5:34pm

Last year, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos proposed sweeping changes to how K-12 schools and colleges investigate sexual harassment and assault.

The changes would impact all schools that receive federal funding. But before the government could implement these changes, it had to seek input from the public. In response, more than 100,000 comments poured into the Department of Education — the comment period ended Wednesday.

The new guidelines would give more rights to those accused of sexual misconduct and limit liability for schools. The Department of Education has argued that the new rules will provide clarity for schools and introduce more due process into investigations of alleged sexual violence.

The proposed changes received 20 times more comments than usual for a regulatory rewrite, according to the Washington Post, with most commenters opposing what DeVos has in mind. Here’s what people had to say. 

Schools will no longer have to investigate off-campus sexual assaults

Under the previous guidance, schools were responsible for investigating off-campus sexual assaults, as well as those on campus. But under the new rules, off-campus assaults would not be covered.

Kirsten Wong posted

“In particular I am concerned about the fact that sexual violence that happens off campus will not be covered under these rules. Both of my assaults occurred in off-campus housing. When more than half the school student population lives off campus, it is unfair to leave these victims behind solely based on where the incident is located.”

Mediation would be permitted

The new rules would allow mediation between an alleged victim and the accused as a way to reach resolutions, which wasn’t the case in the previous guidance. Critics of the proposed change argue that mediation “has been proven to be traumatic for survivors.”

Catherine Thomasson posted:

“Having been sexually harassed myself, I understand how difficult it is to report and get reasonable action taken. … The proposed rules would allow schools to subject survivors to biased, traumatizing investigations or use a form of mediation that favor harassers over their victims.”

The alleged victim would need to provide more evidence

Previously, schools relied on a legal standard called preponderance of evidence, meaning that when a student alleges a sexual assault took place, schools have to determine if the allegation was more likely than not to have occurred. Under the new guidance, schools can raise the evidentiary standard to “clear and convincing evidence,” which is usually reserved for criminal charges.

Kevin Bird posted

“Title IX investigations should not be carried out like criminal proceedings because they are fundamentally not court proceedings, they are internal investigations about university code of conduct violations. By treating them like criminal proceedings and putting unreasonably high burdens of evidence these changes will leave many survivors no avenue for justice. ”

The Department of Education will record and examine public comments and consider them as part of regulatory policy, according to a government fact sheet. That said, it is up to DeVos to draw whatever conclusions she sees fit from these tens of thousands of comments, as she shapes the future of how America addresses campus sexual assault.

The post How Schools Deal with Sexual Assault: Betsy DeVos Plan Gets More Than 100,000 Comments appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

Remix Your Life Links Up With Some of The Best Producers in The Bay

February 8, 2019 - 5:12pm

Successful Bay Area producers DTB, Reece Beats, Ian McKee and Spencer Stevens stopped by the Remix Your Life studios to link up with our future music superstars.  Each producer had about two hours to chop it up and collab with RYL producers in creating 1-2 original beats. They shared insider game on how to navigate the industry as well as key production techniques. This collaboration led to the creation of some fire music (which was later showcased at our “At The Moment” mixtape release party at the Beast Mode store) as well as us hosting them for an Inside The Industry panel at the same venue.  Check out some BTS footage from the sessions and quotes from the participating RYL producers on their experience below.

The post Remix Your Life Links Up With Some of The Best Producers in The Bay appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

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