It is a capital city without the hustle and bustle. Its small streets are decorated with vibrant colored cafes and impressive street art. Perched on top of the city is the architectural masterpiece, Hallgrímskirkja - a cathedral with a tower that can be seen from anywhere in the city. Reykjavik is a small city that is emits and attracts, creativity and spunk.
Hailing from a small mountain town, Reykjavik connected with me. On a winter Tuesday morning before the sun was up, at 9 A.M, locals and tourists assembled into coffee shops and breakfast eateries to chat over coffee whilst the snow danced its way to the ground outside. Everyone was clad in huge scarves and even bigger smiles as they sipped on hot drinks and started their mornings with Iceland’s own renowned rich and creamy yogurt, topped with a mountain of honey, baked granola and a mountain of berries.
Once the winter sun finally rose, the mountains across the peninsula were illuminated and the ocean’s hue transformed from lead into cobalt. The city offers an intense contrast to this monochromatic wintry landscape. Reykjavik’s buildings pop in comparison, with their hues of red, orange, yellow, and even aquamarine.
From cute cafes like Cafe Babulu, which is so popular that it receives postcards from around the world to quirky bars featuring board games and from the simple but mouthwatering hot dog to Icelandic fine dining, Reykjavik has a bit of everyone’s funk.
Iceland’s capital may be cold, but it truly is one hot destination! It is the epitome of city located inside the snowglobe - where everything and nothing happens and all is at peace. Whether you are on a stopover going to or from Europe or you’re intending to solely visit the this trans-continental island nation, Reykjavik is your place. It is the perfect point to kickstart extreme outdoor adventures, and it is most definitely, the spot to end a week of breathtaking Icelandic tourism by soaking in one of the city’s many hot springs.
For a personal travel itinerary for Reykjavik and the rest of Iceland contact us!
For years there had been no definitive research carried out to see if those who are on hormonal birth control, are at risk of depression. Most people were self-diagnosed or simply changed to a different dosage to see if that would fare better with them. Mood changes did occur but it was found to be solely tied to birth control, rather society continued to see the benefits of birth control outweigh the effects it had on mental health. One Buzzfeed article even says that if your acne goes away and you no longer experience extreme cramping, of course your moods ought to get better. However now, there are real statistics and qualitative data that note that those on any form of hormonal birth control are at higher risk to mental health issues - including depression, anxiety, and/or increased mood disorders.
A recent Danish study conducted between 2000 and 2013 looked at women aged 15 to 34. It must be noted that those with preexisting psychiatric conditions along with others who could not take hormonal medication due to risk of clotting, were excluded. To give the study a further element of credence, immigrants, who have been proven to show higher rates of depression, were also excluded.
According to the Harvard Health Blog, contributing editor and doctor, Monique Tello, said, “The researchers analyzed hormonal contraceptive use and subsequent depression in two different ways. They evaluated women who had received a diagnosis of depression as well as women who had received a prescription for antidepressants; these analyses were run separately, and they obtained statistically equivalent results.”
The results showed that all forms of birth control lead to higher risks of depression or serious changes in mood, in a small percentage of women. The highest rate of those at risk are individuals who take “progesterone-only forms, including the IUD.” Dr. Tellow continues to say that the research concludes that “this risk was higher in teens ages 15 to 19, and especially for non-oral forms of birth control such as the ring, patch and IUD. That the IUD was particularly associated with depression in all age groups is especially significant, because traditionally physicians have been taught that the IUD only acts locally and has no effects on the rest of the body.”
Birth control continues to serve as a very positive contribution to our society. It gives women and couples the opportunity to enjoy sex without the burden of having a child or worse - having to decide if a child is wanted or not. Birth control has many benefits, but all of its side effects need to be known. Just like every type of medication, the side effects vary from individual to individual. It is crucial that each person knows the risks that they may face as a result of what they put in their bodies.
A personal note:
Growing up with a father who played the dual role of mother and father, I often went blindly into the area of womanhood. My dad, who is an expert at making pancakes like Cinderella and was my coach for nearly everything, was never an expert in female anatomy. And hell, I can’t blame him —he is a man after all. But damn, did he do his best. From asking me if I had become a woman to taking me to get birth control knowing that I had become sexually active and that my cramps left me crippled, my dad was always there.
The first birth control I went on immediately caused me to become lethargic and very quiet during the fall of my junior year of high school. I then switched to an alternative that was a much lower dosage. For years this worked as it did not seem to affect my mood or hinder me athletically and it definitely helped my cramps that had previously left me bedridden. Unfortunately, after a few years, I started bleeding for weeks on end. Throughout my freshman year of college, I had my “period” for weeks. After doing some reading, I discovered that this is commonplace once one's body become acclimated to one form. So, I went to go change my birth control once more.
This time, the doctor prescribed me something slightly higher but was essentially comprised of the same components. For the most part, I felt fairly normal, but I began to notice that my lows became lower and I would often cry for hours on end. I would like to think that I was so lost in what was happening in my life at the time that I could blame all of my extreme emotions on exterior things, but looking back I just can’t. Yes, I dated some bad guys. Yes, I was frustrated in how I couldn’t translate hard work into things on paper. And yes, I was officially cutting my mom out of my life. But months later, when I no longer needed contraceptives in my life, I found immediate changes. I never cried, and I was consistently happier. I didn’t find myself getting upset over the small stuff and collectively, I was stable again.
Up until recently, a part of me still didn’t believe that a little pill that could affect me so much. So, after not seeing my boyfriend for ten months, and not crying in nine of them, I started the pill once more. I took them for three days and on the third day, I yelled at my boyfriend about a movie. I stopped taking it the very next day. I have come to the realization hormonal birth control just does not work for me or my body.
Athletes have long served as some of the most important activists. They are respected by their fans based on their performance, their work ethic, and their way of life. In turn, they have earned a platform to discuss and to highlight issues they deem important. Thus, athletes have become essential diplomats and advocates for real change.
Historically, we have seen sports serving as the platform for discussions surrounding race, gender, and sexuality. Athletics also provides the arena for athletes to talk and to demonstrate how they can be representatives of their nation - regardless of their leader or the rhetoric the party in office, stands behind.
Heading into the Winter Olympics, Lindsey Vonn, Colorado bred, ski-racer, spoke up about how she intends to represent the good in the nation. As noted in The Guardian, Vonn was quoted saying, “I hope to represent the people of the United States, not the President.” She thinks that there are currently not people in the U.S. political system that are accurately representing the United States. Thus, Vonn finds it her duty to showcase the United States in a positive light and to represent a large majority of America that does not support the narrative of the current administration.
Generally speaking, the Summer Olympics are the time when most protests take place. However, due to Trump's time in office, it is very likely that this year will see a higher rate of protests - from gay athletes to those speaking out about religion as well as those who will stand up against the inevitable comments and tweets made by President Trump. For instance, Gus Kenworthy, British-born, but born and raised in Telluride, Colorado, is a freestyle skier who is largely known as the only openly gay competitor going into the 2018 Olympics. In his recent interview with The Times, Kenworthy told them he has no interest in feigning support for the President. Further, he notes that 30 years ago he could not have come out and have been able to be successful in his sport. He sees his position in society as being a catalyst of change —using his status as an athlete to promote acceptance and equality.
Being an athlete demands respect. Athletes put in the hours, and in many aspects, their sport plays an integral part of their identity. Perhaps even more importantly, an athlete has earned the platform to speak up to what matters to them. In many cases, athletes have spoken up for humanity, for collective human rights. From Jackie Robinson to Jesse Owens, from Lindsey Vonn to Gus Kenworthy - athletes play a momentous role in creating change and in creating history.
Shopping smart can be the first thing that could help cut on your carbon footprint, but it can also cut your shopping bills! This year make a choice to shop smarter by buying goods in bulk and items with less packaging. If you start off the year by purchasing household goods in bulk, such as flour, sugar, olive oil, along with spices, you will pay less per weight and also pay less for packaging since you won’t have to purchase these everyday goods for awhile!
Say No to Plastic
And say yes to reusable grocery bags, and your favorite water bottle. Plastic is something that never goes away, so making sure you play your role in cutting it out of your daily life is hugely impactful. You can make these bags and your water bottle your signature items. We love and use these:
Get There “Greenly”
Transportation is one of the largest environmental impacts. Within the context of the United States cars and trucks account for ⅕ of CO2 emissions, one of the primary fuelers of global warming and climate change. Each independent action has the ability to reduce overall emissions. There are many great options. If you live in a city where public transportation is a viable option: take that. However, if that’s not an option - bike or run to work! This is a great alternative to driving. If you invest in a great running backpack, you can bring your change of clothes, have your water, and enough room for lunch too. If you have to drive to work, but still want to reduce your carbon footprint, offer your car up as a car to share rides. Some great apps for this are Carma Carpooling and Trees for cars.
If you do not own a car, Cargo and Zipcar are great options. Whatever you can do, even if it is once or twice a week, has the ability to greatly impact the world around you, make you happier, and work towards a better world, where we all do our part.
Spring Cleaning? No Winter Revamping:
This winter, revamp your house and make it green. Again it will reduce your bills and your impact. Change all of your lights to LED (use less electricity-both a cut in coal burning and in your monthly bill), seal up your window seals and keep more heat in (use less heat). Most states offer free energy audits to find more ways you can make your living situation even more green!
Join a Local CSA
Joining a local CSA means two things —you will get wonderful, seasonal and fresh veggies all year long and because your produce is locally sourced your food will have a very small environmental brunt given that it must not travel long distances to get to your table. Also, in many places if you volunteer to help plant, weed, or help with sales at a CSA you can get your share of veggies in fruit in turn for your work. Check out some local recipes from Portland's Farmers Market Cookbook for inspiration!
It is the small things, done by many people that create a wave of change. In order to create a world that is more sustainable it is up to each individual to integrate sustainable practices into their lives to create this change. Please reach out to us with any ideas or contributions. If you own a company that is creating sustainable change we would love to interview you or highlight your product on our website!
Throughout the fall of 2017 the hashtag #metoo exploded on social media. It started as small scale hashtag where women noted how they too had been affected by sexual harassment— unnecessary comment and unwarranted attention based off of objectifying women and classifying them as merely sexual beings, rather than considering their intellectual capacity, and their innate abilities, whether it be athletic or artistic. Throughout history women consistently have been disregarded when it comes to their worth as individuals and instead singled out based solely on their sexual attributes. This has most commonly come in the form of unwanted comments, mansplaining, women not being respected and listened to, but the problems correlated with sexist commentary and actions go much deeper than this. Sexual harassment is the basis to all sexual assault as it is the normalizing factor to deeper societal concerns.
The #MeToo hashtag started with actress Alyssa Milano who tweeted:
According to the Atlantic, within 24 hours, it already had been retweeted a half-million times. Women were coming out with their stories of sexual harassment.
Unfortunately, these comments and acts of sexual harassment, along with the sexual assault, have become so normalized that they are often overlooked and disregarded. Women learn to blow comments off, to walk by with their head down when a group of men are gathered on the streets, and sadly, often learn that their sexuality is the manner in which to get ahead
Background of Sexual Harassment
The way in which our culture defines sexual harassment has changed fundamentally over the past decade. The situation often comes down to what has been allowed or tolerated societally at a given time .Just look at the situation involving Harvey Weinstein or any of the other named predators in the United States Congress. Many have simply stated that they had acted in ways that were socially acceptable at the time. Although the idea of harassing a woman will always be “wrong,” there was a pervasive culture of it throughout much of the past. Until the Civil Rights Act of 1964, there was no legal standing for a woman to make a claim against their employer for discrimination based on sex. And if you consider that to be “coming late to the party,” it should be noted that India didn’t establish sexual harassment as being illegal until 1997, in the case of Vishakha v State of Rajasthan. Even worse? Kuwait and Djibouti still do not have laws prohibiting sexual harassment.
Each country and correspondingly, each culture handles sexual harassment differently. Currently, there is an enormous American revolution involving men from every end of the spectrum - from Roy Moore to Senator Al Franken - being outed for sexually harassing women. However, there is still a pervasive culture of the concept of women “asking for it” in India. The 2015 documentary “India’s Daughter” showed some of the underlying attitudes towards rape and sexual harassment in India that go on even today. Jyoti Singh was a 23-year-old medical student who was killed following a gang rape on a bus, and the documentary follows the trial of the men who are alleged to have committed the crime. In one scene, one of these men nonchalantly says that if the woman had just gone along with the men, she wouldn’t have died. Shocking in its content, it isn’t surprising that the documentary was banned in India after the Foreign Minister claimed that it “disrespected women.”
The harassment of women is a global pandemic. Within the current context of the United States,, women need to continue to speak out, to confidently pursue their dreams and advocate for themselves. Ultimately then, a large part of the change will be rooted in men beginning to make changes. According to Mashable, five ways men can help be a part of the end of sexual harassment will be: listening to women, men speaking to other men, for men to practice consent-every step of the way, and advocate for better education and prevention. In a world where women have long been sexualized products within a society, it comes down to all members of society to make the change— it is a change for respect, a change for status.
What follows is a selection of personal scenarios that each member of the Sub Stances team has faced in their daily lives
It is a testament to the fact that sexual harassment is so common in our society that at least for me, personally, I often have to consider whether or not I’m normalizing situations where men sexually harass me. The insidious part about sexual harassment is that it happens all the time, and that one particular moment does not, in fact, stick out to me.
Being objectified has come in ways that work their way into everyday habit. In the workplace, a man can treat a female coworker differently than a man, act invasively to impede her own advancement with snide remarks or full-out assault. In daily life, there’s catcalling, inappropriate touching in clubs and unasked for lecherous words thrown at you on the street. For each of us, it happens differently and has its own pitfalls and insecurities that follow.
The first step of initiating change is acknowledging that these situations and scenarios happen to each of us, whether or not we have simply shunted it into the category of ‘these things happen.’ For me, that’s where I am. There are so many things in my past that I can think of as men causing me to feel uncomfortable because of how I was dressed or how I look, but I have difficulty qualifying those as “harassment,” sexual or otherwise. But naming something gives you power over it - and saying that you have been sexually assaulted is not confirming you are a victim, rather it is saying “me too” to the millions of other women so that none of us feel as alone, ever again.
Even now, as a 24 year old, I still hesitate to disclose my experience with sexual harassment. But then I think, what about those young girls who are becoming in the process of becoming a woman? What is supposed to be a time to be celebrated in a woman’s life is likely to be marred with negative commentary, unwanted advances, gross gestures and so forth.
As a daughter raised by a fiercely protective mother and a proudly feminist father, I do believe I grew up in the best environment a girl could. They supported all my endeavors and my education - no matter the societal barriers. If girls weren’t allowed to play a sport, I became the first and my dad stepped up as my coach. I was the only girl on my block growing up, and I was always welcome to participate not because of my sexuality - but because of my skill. I grew up knowing I was valued as a human being.
And as I slowly transformed into a woman, so did my interactions with the outside world. I started becoming valued for what I looked like as opposed to how I could perform. This was further perpetuated by society’s image of what a preteen/teen/young woman should look and act like. And after time, I hate to admit it, I allowed it to become normal. I grew to expect the unwanted looks, the comments, the gestures, etc. I learned how to be both proactive and reactive to these words and actions in order to protect myself. I had to change, not them. This was the reality.
But now, this Me Too movement and The Silence Breakers as Time’s Person of the Year, has the potential to change that. And to be completely honest, I find this movement to be both debilitating, but also empowering. When I realized just how far-reaching sexual harassment extended, it was a crushing blow. It did not matter whether a person was famous or not or even male or female - sexual harassment was an pandemic. That being said, now people are listening and perhaps more importantly, taking action against the accused and not the accuser.
This all has been a whirlwind and I hope it does not enervate nor lose its value as more and more people begin to speak up, and more people step down from their (usually powerful) positions. MeToo has highlighted the inequality that still exists and the very large need for societal improvement.
After Harvey Weinstein was accused of a series of sexual assaults by many actresses, the hashtag MeToo started to spread over social media. The magical world of Hollywood suddenly shook. And more and more allegations of sexual violence followed. Voices have started to be heard on the web, with every day, more women sharing their stories or simply tweeting #MeToo.
I find this MeToo thing to be very positive, but none of this is new, so why now? Why now, and not earlier? I was not surprised at all by the flood of messages I read on Facebook. Of course, women are victims of sexual assaults on an everyday basis. I am, my friends are. And many courageous women have been talking about it for ages. So, was it because of the Hollywood scandals, this girl taking selfies with her catcallers, the launch of the Me Too hashtag, or the election of Donald Trump? I don’t know, but all of this encouraged women to talk and they started to verbalize everything. Finally, voices were being heard. And “now” is better than “later”.
I thought it was just common knowledge but it obviously was not. And it is good that people started to realize how the reality is. I have never been sexually assaulted strictly speaking, but I am objectified far too often. And the saddest part is that I got used to it.
As a woman, you start to be objectified at an early age. Maybe 12. Then it never really stops. You get catcalled in the streets, looked at in really nasty ways, touched inappropriately in clubs, talked to badly if you’re not nice enough, and more. And it is something you learn to live with.
I find it unbelievable that I got “used to it”. I wish I could just not care about it. But I have to admit, I adapt my behaviour in certain situations because I feel uncomfortable, or because I know there is a risk. I consider myself free, free to dress as I wish, free to say what I want, and it is what I often do, but not always. I have developed reactional behaviours to certain situations. I don’t wear short clothes in some neighbourhoods, I try to never walk home alone after a night out, I am extra careful when I travel, I avoid eye contact when being catcalled and I don’t trust strangers too quickly.
What really frustrates me is that there is no instant solution. I am so glad that this Me Too hashtag got so popular, and that no one can ‘ignore’ the reality anymore, but I don’t think things will change that fast. This is all rooted in our societies, and it will take a long time to really, actually change. I see a long-term solution in education, in a change of mindset and attitude; and for women, to stop ‘normalizing’ it, to keep talking and saying things out loud. Sexual harassment is not normal.
The natural state of my body has always drawn attention—being that it falls into the box of sexual aesthetics society pushes into our everyday lives through the media, marketing, and in recent years, social media. During my years of early womanhood there was a part of me that found it complimentary— comments and sexuality validated my own self-confidence and sense of womanhood. Unnecessary comments walking down the street, flirtatious texts from boys I would never pursue were band-aids to my own insecurities. My identity throughout my teenage years became largely tied to how those around me thought of my body, and while it was athletics that largely kept me looking a certain way, I was also fond of attention that the world around me gave me. Undoubtedly, it was not rooted in authenticity but rather my own self confidence being based on externalities, outside thoughts, and was certainly not built internally. My world, like many young people, was largely shaped by what outsiders thought of me, how attractive people thought I was, and what status I held in their eyes. Ultimately, a part too large, of my own identity became tied to my ability to sexually appeal, my athletic performances, and external achievements. Sadly, a large quantity of these achievements were marked when I felt validated by sexual comments, inappropriate glances, and being objectified.
As I entered my first year of undergraduate schooling, my father sat me down and praised me for my academic successes, my work ethic, but then commented on my choice of attire. It is a conversation I will never forget. I remember feeling livid. How could I be victimized, yet also be at fault for the times when a man commented on the shape of my body or the attire I wore? I was aggravated at my father for calling it a lack of respect, when I indeed had thought I did respect my body (far more than people shoving McDonald’s down their throats), and I certainly did respect myself when it came to how I confidently carried myself in school and in my sports. However, along with this agitated feeling of guilt, even though I was not at fault for being a women, I had also realized that too much of my self “confidence” was vested in what other people thought about me. At 18, I was a product of the media, a product built from the world around me, and so much that I believed it too.
To this day this is a struggle I have both with myself, but also with society—because I should be able to acquire respect as a woman regardless of how I dress, but then again, where did this societal pressure for women to adhere to a set of norms even appear? Why did I feel obligated as a 14 year old to wear pencil skirts that accentuated by waist and buttocks? Why did I feel obligated to wear heels and a shirt that exposed part of my chest? Throughout my years of developing who I am as a woman I have come to deeply respect, and cherish myself for everything I am, from my thoughts and opinions as well as my love for health and exercise.
Six years later, my dad visited me, this fall while working in the Southern Bronx. He came to see where I work as a teacher, and because I run to and from work, as we left, I was clad in my running shorts. As we were walking my dad had noticed people looking at me, occasionally people saying things about my legs, and similar to years former, my dad said I should watch what I wear, especially in the area I am working in. This time, my response was different. I said “no.” I am a woman. I am dressed in running shorts because I usually run home, but regardless of what I am wearing, that is for me. This time it was not a me problem, it is a them problem. I am not asking for this attention. It is not validating, but rather unwanted, and destructive. I told my dad no because I will run in what I want to run in, because it is not a clothing problem, it is a lens problem. The problem lies in the lens of how men see women and women see other women.
It dawned on me that my 18 year old self, like many teenagers are fueled by what the world around us thinks, how men, and other women fuel the notion that women must be sexual looking beings and that is our objective. Women buy into this. Men buy into it. And sadly, young women, teenagers constructing their identity, buy into this. Women, are beautiful by nature— but we are also smart, artistic, loving, and gifted beyond measure. The problem has never been the clothing, rather the problem has always been what other people think they can say to women, and that first and foremost women are looked at as sexual beings, rather than ones of depth. The problem, more than anything, is that women come to believe it. We come without real conscience believing that we are first figures that must portray ourselves sexually before we are anything else. Womanhood itself is defined in our society by two parallels, yet distinct narratives—sexuality and motherhood, both of which should never be sole definers of what is means to be a woman.
My 18 year old self was part of this spinning wheel that silently fueled the problem by application and letting men say unwarranted comments. It was not my attire that changed, but the respect I had for myself. My 24 year old self respects me, and all woman too much to not say anything. The only way this changes is by women lifting women, and men valuing women for more than what is on the surface. When society is constructed not by a man, or not by a woman, but rather by those looking to delve deeper, by those looking for a world built on a foundation of respect, that is when this world will be a better place.
Being a 24 year old who has put in the time to build my intrinsic values and esteem, my worry again is casted out into society. I live in New York City. There is not a day I do not experience catcalls. But contrary, and parallel to this notion, I am surrounded by women who are thinkers, who are doers, and who are not here on behalf of men, but on behalf of themselves and making this place a better one for each generation (regardless of their sex) to come. The problem will never be how a woman carries herself, but the answer will always be in how we as individuals—men, women, and citizens lift one another, how we stop people from catcalling, how we listen fully, and how we choose consent. After all, this world cannot be its best world, unless all citizens are empowered and respected as their full entities —mind and body.
We hope that this MeToo movement does not lose momentum. As women hailing from all over the world, we demand better. We are entitled to the same rights as our male counterparts. We deserve to be treated equally as human beings and to be able to live and to work without fear of being harassed. Our voices matter - they are not to be silenced. Let us make this, the new normal.
Support and Spread the Fury Against Sexual Abuse: A talk at REvolution Books in Harlem December 9th, 2017
Revolution Books, a bookstore that is home to books that start revolutions, forces critical thinking and hosts a variety of talks. In the heart of Harlem, one of the revolution bookstore locations hosted a talk on December 5th, 2017, titled “Support and Spread the Fury of Against Sexual Abuse.”
The night began with with Fran Luck, a long-term activist and host of the Joy of Resistance on the WBAI radio, who spoke about how deeply rooted issues of sexual abuse are and how they plague every realm of society. Luck addressed the wide spectrum by discussing about undocumented female farmers who are raped, harassed, and have no voice to speak out while white collar women are only able to climb the corporate ladder by often allowing, and not filing complaints when incidents occur. Women, in every walk of life, experience objectification, and systemic sexual harassment.
Luck noted that one of the many current problems is that once women have spoken out, accused corporations find loopholes to avoid accusations. For instance, two out of every five women, who work for McDonald’s have reported being groped, and sexually violated in the workplace;however, the vast majority of these cases were dropped because McDonald’s pleaded that each entity is an individual franchise, and therefore, it beared no responsibility. This is merely one example of how women lose their voice, and are not represented or genuinely listened to. Similar cases, and the lack of female voices, has long been a historical theme — it is each micro-aggression, each job a woman leaves because of discomfort, each instance of objectification, and each time a woman is valued only for her sexual attributes, rather than her brain, her ability to multi-task, and an understanding that she has fundamental abilities to bring to the table, just like her counterpart —the man.
So why now? Why is now the time for women’s voices to be heard? Why is now the end of their silence? Women being muzzled dates back back to the foundation of the written word, it is documented or rather undocumented in the Bible. It is also documented over the more recent years - that women have laid a better path for each woman that has come after them. The ‘Me Too’ movement, that exponentially took off was largely in correlation with social media’s ability to reach hundreds of thousands of people.
Following and piggy-backing off Luck, Sansara Taylor, a journalistand member of the Revolutionary Communist Party USA, spoke. Taylor focused on the notion that while there is a huge necessity to take large key players out of their positions, a larger focus and understanding needs to be occurring on a grassroots level. This isbecause issues regarding women is so deeply pervasive and systemic. Systemic sexual harassment, like many ills that plague society, are learned and passed from generation to generation. Taylor began with telling a story of a four year-old, whom she knew and who cat-called her - merely because it was something he had routinely seen and been exposed to.
The systemic issue of sexual assault always puts the woman as the problem at the forefront. . It has created a set of conditions that perpetuate fear, rather than freedom. Historically rooted, patriarchy stems from the necessity to control - whether it is controlling reproduction or how a woman is perceived. Harassment against women comes in all forms - predation, battery, rape, groping, slavery,molestation, mansplaining and so forth. . But it can end. This can all end. Political participation and pressuring those guilty, to resign from their seats are two ways to elevate women along with supporting those women in your life and being an active voice for change. As Rupi Kaur says, ___________
Now it is time to convince every woman that they are born enough.
*Disclaimer: The author is currently working at a charter school in the south Bronx of New York City. Although she attended a well-funded public school and strongly believes in public education, she believes that charter schools offer a positive alternative for parents in low-income neighborhoods who are seeking opportunities and a better future for their children. This piece is not intended to argue which educational system is better,rather it is intended to spark conversation regarding the necessity that education be of equal quality from neighborhood to neighborhood, state to state, and child to child.
Across the United States, if you are born in a zip code that has undergone extreme redlining, has access to poor public transportation, and is comprised of primarily minorities, it is likely your access to a great education, is also limited.
Public schools, funded directly by the tax dollars of the neighborhoods’ residents, are better in more affluent communities. The discrepancy in tax based funds favors the status of education in wealthy areas —by pulling in better educated teachers, providing better access to resources, and creating a network of support that is always there for students. All of this fuels student development, and ultimately, the scores students reach on state tests.
There is a lot of controversy around state tests. State tests are very structured and are created on the state level in order to collect big data. The controversy is primarily derived from the fact that state-tests are aligned with state-funding. Poorly funded schools are at-risk to lose federal and state funding based on their scores because they lack the resources to adequately prepare students. Despite appearing as an effective evaluation of schools, state tests may counter intuitively punish the schools that need the most support. When students do not have equal access to the same information or resources to achieve success, and school funding is based on their performance, a cycle develops that keeps underfunded schools from improving their performance.
State tests are aligned with common core initiatives; meaning students must be able to achieve a set of standards by each milestone. However, these standards can only be met if test taking strategies are being taught and the schools have access to textbooks that are released and published by the state. According to Atlantic journalist Meredith Broussard in her article, “Why Poor Schools Can’t Win at Standardized Testing,” poor schools cannot afford to buy these textbooks, many of which contain the answers that will likely be on state tests The test-makers and the textbook producers are concentrated in three companies: CTB McGraw Hill, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and Pearson. Consequently, if one has access to these up-to-date textbooks and curriculum aligned to their test-taking strategies, the student will have overall higher scores on state-testing. However if a student does not have access to these textbooks and their curriculum, he or she will be at a significant disadvantage to meet common core standards. This inaccessibility is a compounding factor amongst the walls that poor neighborhoods and schools are already up against.
Across many parts of the United States, charter schools have been the answer to these problems. For instance, in New York City, charter schools are popping up every single year in some of the city’s most underserved and underrepresented areas. Charter schools are funded similarly to public schools. Their funding is based on the amount of pupils enrolled and their average daily attendance (ADA). However, the schools must abide by set guidelines generated and approved by a board of directors and the state charter laws. Charter schools can be funded and supported by outside sources if they adhere to the guidelines. Further, charter schools also have more flexibility when it comes to creating a culture within their school since it is based on a lottery system and annual data standards.
In New York, charter schools have led to extensive rates of student success and also have helped close racial performance gaps. The test scores prove this. Students who attended charter schools in both Harlem and the Bronx, historically neighborhoods with large populations of minorities, do better than their public school counterparts. For instance, students at charter schools passed state-tests at rates 60% or higher than public schools. Not only that, but the students also passed with higher rates than white, affluent, communities within New York City.
The generic comments disputing these statistics include charter schools cherry-picking gifted students that will drive positive statistics, where public institutions are unable to weed students out. In public schools, there is opportunity to decline a student access to education, and therefore public schools are representative of a wider range of data points. In many cases, students, who cannot conform to the structured charter school setting, end up leaving or being pushed through the system to leave. The Washington Post debunked many myths about charter schools in this article, “Separating Fact from Fiction in 21 claims about Charter Schools,” and found that contrary to popular belief, charter schools are funded at lower levels than public schools. Furthermore, this article noted that although they are based on a lottery system that accepts students based on parents who enter the lottery, the reason for high success rates is largely aligned with the rigor and school environment. Students must to meet certain reading levels and complete various math standards at the end of each year. If they fail, they will be retained. The driving reason for drop out rates amongst charter schools is based on grade repetition. This results in students re-entering public schools.
Education is the way out of poverty and it is also the door to opportunity.While, the long-term solution is to recreate the whole education system, that is easier said than done. Charter schools offer a solution to an unequal education system that doesn’t perpetuate invisible walls and combats Institutionalized racism.In many ways it is the answer right now for a broken system. With educational goals based and invested in people rather than standardized tests charter schools show that when it comes to education the zip code should not matter, the people should.
Books on Education in the United states
For months, the election of Donald Trump was thought of as a joke. In the primaries it was mere entertainment, by summer he had proved his point and showcased that that nothing would stand in his way, and even all of last fall hurdle after hurdle Donald Trump trudged through. The results spoke for themselves. The United States, as a nation was divided, and the Republican party was being represented by someone far outside of their own party lines, but it did count for something. People’s voices were heard — those who agreed with Trump’s rhetoric and were brought to the surface, but also those who answered had their voices heard. What Trump campaigned on and what he now stands on is a voice that is present but it has only been further legitimized under his presidency. Although the United States has been very forward thinking and in many ways has brought many people together, undertones of racism, sexism and xenophobia still exist. However, once Trump took office, these notions were legitimized. It became okay to discriminate openly and the wave of modern day civil rights was back. Supreme Court cases that have been passed decades ago were brazenly defied, consequently stripping people of rights they once had.But, every time people were stripped of their rights or their value as human was questioned by the administration as well as Trump supporters, there was a response - and a loud one at that.
Although the current president stands on a controversial ground, the question must be asked: Is a Trump presidency what people needed in order to start standing up for what they value most - namely, human rights, environmental rights, etc.? If Hillary was elected president would people so passionately to unite, to defend each other and to take political action? Or, would complacency with the current situation continue? Could a Trump presidency be the drastic driving factor that people needed to take action, to participate in walks and demonstrations, to use social media to advocate for the rights of others, and to make the calls to senators and congressmen, and to have hard conversations with people of opposing views? It might not be pretty, but maybe the marches and the coming together for many communities is the change we need to alter the future of the United States where people embrace diversity, and promote peace.
This article breaks down what Trump has accomplished in a year, how the world responded, and how more people than ever are becoming the call to action for their generation.
It has been a year since the world knew that Trump would rise to being a world leader. Since his time in office, Trump has rolled back environmental protection, increased border control, legitimized hatred and bigotry, and has divided people instead of united them. However, people are responding. They are not sitting idly - rather they are acting, they are marching, they are protesting and they will continue to do so until their voices are heard, are recognized and are met with action.
Project Social T is more than just a fashion line. Based in Los Angeles, all of its materials are locally sourced and its goal is to show the authenticity of its consumers as well as its models.
“Project Social T wants to know about you. We are interested in your dreams, your struggles, and most importantly, your passions. Each of the individuals featured are here to share their story, their beauty and a bit of their soul. After all, a t-shirt is just a t-shirt until you give it life.”
Each fiscal quarter, the company partners with a few organizations across the United States that are truly making an impact. It supports those organizations by giving them a monthly sum of $5,000 during the partnership. Social T’s larger agenda is making sure people know about the organizations. To do this, Social T creates hand-made tags on its products in order to inform consumers about the current partnership —knowing that every purchase has an impact, and it is not just your T, but also a T - with an extending impact.
Currently, Project Social T has partnered with Kids Need More, Motivational Recovery Environments and Community Service Programs. Kids Need More gives children who have been diagnosed with cancer the opportunity to attend ultimate summer camps with their siblings, all while supporting the families. The idea being children deserve not to just survive, but they truly deserve to thrive. Community Service Programs in the LA area do an extensive amount of work for their local communities - from cleaning up public areas to supporting the local youth shelters.
We love that a fashion company is partnering with an initiative that celebrates life. To learn more go its website and purchase beautiful clothing that is supporting life. To learn more directly about Kids Need More click here.
Project Social T Products WE love
understand and Support the Syrian Refugee Crisis
All content posted on this site belong to their respectable owners. Each author holds all copyrights, and all rights are reserved to the holder.