COLUMN: Man! I feel like a bigot

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By Roxanne Timan, Managing Editor

Follow her at @Roxlobster

This past weekend my friends and I stopped by a party on the way to a bar to say hello to some friends. We got there late and scanned the basement of drunken, sweaty partiers, as we stood in the corner, eagerly inching towards the door. After final goodbyes and sloppy hugs, we walked out into the crisp spring night, down porch steps, when I stated “Let’s go girls” in my best Shania Twain impression.

Unofficially named a queer anthem adopted by queer people worldwide, ‘Man! I Feel Like a Woman’ by Twain has made its rounds in gay bars and dance clubs, no matter if it’s “country” or not. The first twang of the guitar makes girls scream and grab one another’s wrists to yank them to the dance floor. That is, until this past week.

Twain’s reign in the gay world came to an abrupt halt after mentioning in an interview that, if she were an American citizen, she would have voted for president Donald Trump.

Donald Trump, the man who attempted to strip transgender military members of their status, joked about his vice president wanting to “hang” gay people, argued anti-gay discrimination in the workplace is legal, and axed the whole Presidential Advisory Council for HIV/AIDS all within his first year of office.

Obviously, all stars have their slip-ups, but her explanation for the statement is that “he seemed honest.”  Does that include all the racist, sexist tirades during his campaign? Does “grabbing someone by the pussy” follow the morals put together by the song that made you such a sensation, a song played in drag bars across America as a sign of escape from the identities that most drag queens must portray during the day?

Oh yeah, this past week Twain also appeared on one of the highest viewed gay reality shows, ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race.’ The show is a competition for drag queens to show their personalities and talents in order to make it out on top, introducing a once underground gay scene to a wider audience of straight women and LGBTQIA+ folk mainly. 

Her disinterest in the stars while two pranced around on stage to her previously mentioned chart-topping fitting hit, already gave viewers a sour taste in their mouths, and this endorsement was the ignition on the implosion of her career in the community.

One of the most popular tweets on the subject by user @perryduff285 explains, “Shania Twain is a Trump supporter... I’m devastated. Right after her appearance on ‘Drag Race’ too, now we know why she looked so disgusted all the time. Thought it was just her reserved personality #shaniatwaincancelled.”

In past columns, I have pointed out how we must be consistent in our values, that if we diss one celebrity for something we deem inappropriate or wrong, that we must do this to all celebrities or none. This tricky dichotomy is tough to bear, but as someone with such a gay following, it feels like a stab in the back for Twain to publicly endorse someone who has proved to be hateful to the queer community.

Even with an apology, it seems like Twain has taken a tumble that can’t really be resolved. In the meantime, I would suggest looking the other way and maybe looking to Canadian sensations Nelly Furtado or even Alanis Morissette, both big gay allies with potential pro-gay hits. I believe ‘Promiscuous’ is a definite gay banger, even if it’s a bit ironic, don’t ya think?

COLUMN: End dysmorphic disorder


Noah Pearson, Columnist

Follow them at @tbhimscared

If you’re Black, you’re Black. 

Read it again, take it in, for many non-Black readers this sentence may not seem controversial, however, to many Black readers this statement is among the most derogatory statements possible. 

In America today, two things are very popular: research on one’s ancestry, and colorism. For many, being born Black is perceived as a blight or curse because of the way Black people are treated in this country. 

When we can analyze our history and find non-Black roots, many Black people flock and boast about being Dominican or Brazilian despite what their hair and skin color truly reveal about their roots. 

Representation of positive dark-skin role models are few and far between in social media or even positions of power and respect. Often times, the few major Black leaders we observe take action to do what appears as purposefully separating themselves from the rest of the Black community. Some leaders get into power and can continue this trend un-checked for eight whole years.

This underrepresentation as well as this shame of our skin tone is what leads to this desperation to deny our heritage and grasp onto whatever roots that don’t make us seem Black. 

This problem seems to be minute until it reaches politicians. 

In the Dominican Republic, a country once colonized by Spain, and a part of the African Diaspora, shares the island of Hispaniola with the country Haiti. Haiti was the first independent Black nation in the western hemisphere. Slaves in Haiti revolted against Napoleon’s regime and won them their freedom and assisted Dominicans in doing the same. 

Today, overt ethnic discrimination exists in the Dominican Republic and culturally it manifests itself as anti-Black discrimination. 

In America, many people with roots in the Afro-Latin part of the African Diaspora claim strong ties to the Latin part of their identity. This become a problem when they claim superiority over other non Latinx Black people. 

Because of the prevalence of colorism in America, it becomes easy to disconnect oneself from their own Blackness, even if it means denying obvious parts of their identity. 

While we all have a right to self identify with our own ancestry as we please, there cannot be a disconnect between what an individual says about their own identity vs. what their skin color says about their identity, especially when that disconnect is overtly anti-Black. 

If you’re reading this and you’re Black, you’re Black. 

COLUMN: The feminist bandwagon is using women

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By Marielle Decena, Opinions Editor
Follow her @_marsbarz23

I am a college-aged Filipino American woman living in an age of proliferate social media usage and I am concerned for the future of feminism. 

Much like the latest diet trend, modern feminism is heading into the path of becoming the latest muse in marketing. Dove’s feel-good “real beauty” campaign and many others brandish this image of “inclusiveness” and female empowerment when they have absolutely no impact on the movement itself. What’s worse is that women buy into this image with the intention of making a difference, when they’ve simply filled these companies’ pockets. 

The commercialism of feminism is an outright act of exploitation.  Feminism is not a brand nor should it ever be treated as a pedestal to achieve some sort of personal monetary gain, especially when it is an ethical movement that applies to the livelihoods of so many.

Take cleaning industries like Swiffer, for example, who have distastefully brandished feminist icons like Rosie the Riveter to promote cleaning products or Beauty industries that are suddenly promoting slogans like “The Future is Female,” after previously selling oppressive ideals of the heteronormative, skinny, white woman. I’d like to believe that these feminist ideals are at the core of these companies values, but the truth is that this is merely a marketing strategy.

Some might argue that I’m being way too pessimistic about these seemingly innocuous advertisements. Yet, we don’t see feminist-fueled marketing strategies used to promote male products because quite frankly, it does not boost sales. So before another one of those Dove commercials tugs at your heartstrings, think again. They are not selling you a heartfelt message, they’re just selling you soap.

For those who can’t grasp the unethical nature of this sort of marketing, we must remember that not too long after the women’s liberation movement and the Equal Rights Amendment, a advertisement led by Virginia Slims in the 60s and 70s marketed cigarettes under the guise of female empowerment utilizing slogans like “you’ve come a long way baby.” This is yet another example of a company catering to female populations to increase their sales with little to no regard for the actual buyer. 

If  industries wish to exude this feminist image, they should give more opportunities for women and other minorities, play an active role in destigmatizing women’s rights, and advocate feminist ideals beyond the mere aesthetic look of being feminist. 

Companies like Nastygal and Thinx, seemingly liberal and progressive faces of industry,  have failed to grasp just that. Both companies exude this image of feminist agendas yet have recently come under fire for poor workplace environments.

While I encourage women to have an awareness of which companies they support, I also push women to pay closer attention to the actual feminists that are making a difference. 

Today, we have celebrity feminist  icons like Beyonce and Taylor Swift who have openly embraced feminism. Their presence in pop culture is certainly electrifying and has sparked a large following but then we are also presented with a bunch of bandwagon “feminists” who only express feminist views because it is “cool.” 

This bandwagon following is especially relevant today as a result of the social-media savvy generations that are quick to pick up social trends. This occurrence along with blatant feminist marketing hinders feminism and with time, it will simply be reduced down to the superficial.

Most times, feminism is not glamorous. Never forget that the movement was catered towards the liberation of survivors of rape, abuse, and gender inequality. On a global scale, there are still large scale atrocities that oppress young girls who are denied an education, a voice, and the control of their very own bodies.

Let’s place our pockets where they matter. Let’s give a spotlight to women who matter. Educate our girls to look up to unwavering figures like Malala Yousafzai who took a bullet to her head for her right to an education. Give more credit to women like Tarana Burke, founder of the #MeToo movement who has profoundly exposed the Hollywood rape culture. Encourage women to read the works of feminist authors like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Roxanne Gay,  and Alice Walker. 

The notion of feminism was to disassemble oppressive and exploitative forms of male, white heteronormative power. Sadly, it seems that modern feminism has merely partnered with them, establishing roles of female power that are not any different from the patriarchy. 

COLUMN: You will not be remembered

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By Marisa Karpes, Columnist

There is probably not a single person on this planet that does not want to make an impact in their lives. As humans, we want to be able to make our make on this big, beautiful world. We want to be able to die and have something grand to be remembered by--something that would even withstand the tests of time and long outlive us.

But unfortunately the world does not work that way.

It may seem way off, but the world is going to end soon. Most of everything made or thought of by humans will perish along with the rest of us. There will be nothing left. No one will be around to remember any of us.

Not even the people who have already achieved greatness. The pyramids created by the likes of those spanning across the world from Egypt to the Mayans will be gone. Our beloved Chicago skyline will fall from the horizon. The Constitution will no longer be preserved, and every book on every shelf will every idea ever will turn to ash. 

It is very likely that none of us reading this paper will even achieve such greatness to be known on a global scale, but nonetheless we will not be remembered even on the smallest scale in our communities.

It is almost time for the graduating class of 2018 to part ways with the college. Now, I personally have met quite a few seniors this year who I can called friends (some even being my colleagues here on The Leader). Don’t get me wrong, I am very sad to see all of these people leave. It is hard to imagine campus life going on without them, but it inevitably will. Life without them here will become the new normal--almost as if they never existed in the first place.

I learned this lesson upon graduating high school. I thought that I had made this grand name for myself and for some reason it did not occur to me that the world there would transition so well without me. The same occurs here and schools all over the world. They have chewed up and spit up so many students over the years it is impossible to see where one impact starts and another one begins.

So what’s the point of even doing anything remarkable if it doesn’t even make a difference?

I’m not trying to pick a fight with the optimists of the world or be completely pessimistic about the world. Believe it or not, I do want to do something remarkable, but even so, I do not think it should be approached that way.

We shouldn’t do things for the place or the status or to avoid falling into the great oblivion. We should do it for the people.

While people in our lives now may perish long before the end of the world does, but their love nonetheless is something that is far more important than being known more widely. You do not have to do the grandest thing to even win their thoughts and their support and their acceptance. 

For as long as I go and as long as I am able, I will always remember how I made my friends smile and how they made me feel when we went out on those late nights. Hopefully they feel the same, and that would be enough for me.

We don’t need the biggest splash because it does not exist. Your best self exists in the minds in those you love and those who love you. You don’t need that pressure of doing something necessarily remarkable. To them, you are the remarkable thing. 

COLUMN: Trust nothing and no one


By Marisa Karpes, Columnist

It’s a harsh world out there. There are so many people throwing out so much information that it is impossible to tell what’s real or not. In an especially information-driven society today, it is crucial that the information we take in is accurate. However, today’s society is also a very opinionated one, thus most of the information we are receiving is often manipulated in order to support different opinions.

“Fake news” has become a commonplace in today’s society, and for good reason. The increased amount of technology and media has made information all the more accessible, yet it also becomes easier for people to post complete and utter bullshit that could still be mistaken for fact. 

As a society as a whole, we need to be weary of what we hear from other people, especially online, but also in real life. 

I personally could remember a time when I did not have to worry about it. I thought the one thing that I could not have trust issues with was what I heard on the news and on news sites. From the first time I used the internet, I was told not to believe everything I saw, but now I think it safe to say that things are blown way out of proportion.

Everyone is guilty of telling the little white lie, however, we need to be more conscientious of how the lies we tell affect those around us. Sure, it can be said that things may be less likely to spread on a one-on-one in-person encounter, but nonetheless what we say could have a profound effect on many if we are not careful - especially with today’s media and social media. 

Writers, or even those who want to publish any text at all, have to be especially careful, though all it seems like is that people are more interested in getting their opinion out there than getting the facts right.

We used to live in a world where the news was the most trustworthy place one could go to be up to date with what was going on in the world. Will it ever be possible to go back to that world?

Unfortunately, probably not. However, as educated readers, we could take necessary steps to find the truth or something very close to it.

First of all, do not assume anything you see is automatically the truth. Do your own research and increase its credibility by seeing if other sources claim the same thing. Make sure these sources are diverse ones; similar sources may hold biases around their respective ideologies. Even if the facts do not have any political tie to them as we are defaulted to think, they need to be backed up. Science, math, even just plan old quotes need to be brought right back to the original source.

It’s tough work doing this weeding out in order to get to correct information, but if we want to be able to trust our the news and facts we hear, it is a must.

Providing change also means putting the right things out there as well and becoming educated in our own writing and posting. That means taking the step that many do not dare to take and put the facts first and build whatever argument if any around them. 

Wikipedia has better facts than the whole rest of the world it seems like. Let’s rebuild the trust in our media and in turn in ourselves by projecting the truth and exterminating the lies the best that we can. If it cannot be done on the large scale, it is up to us to do it. 

COLUMN: While haters hate, do better


By Noah Pearson, Columnist

Follow them at @tbhimscared

During the walkout against gun control, a couple conservative students representing EC Republicans staged a mini counterprotest. Following the event, controversy over comments made by one of the organizers of the walkout inspired the counter protesters to express that they felt attacked by the organizers on social media. Angry with them, I was tempted to respond and prepare an argument until I remembered a saying from the Jocko Podcast hosted by Jocko Willink: Ignore, outperform. 

This simple piece of advice just means that while those who oppose you work themselves to death trying to show their opposition, don’t confront them, don’t pay them any mind, just keep working until you’re satisfied with your own achievement. When the haters hate, don’t stop yourself from being great. 

Everyone on the planet has been faced with opposition of some kind, be it a conflict of ideology, a middle school bully, or even a teacher whose grading system you don’t agree with. 

In these situations we are faced with two options, fight or flight. The first may stop the bully, maybe even forever, but at what cost? How much energy are we willing to invest in someone that we don’t like? How much of our lives are we willing to spend fighting some antagonizer or bully when we could be spending it on ourselves. 

We rarely explore the merit in flying. At first it may appear a cowardly act, but what makes it valuable is how we spend our time after flying. 

Instead of risking ourselves, becoming frustrated when the opposition still doesn’t understand, and being to tired and annoyed to continue the conversation, we can relax, regroup, and keep on truckin’ with what we were planning on doing in the first place. 

Even if we pass the mic, even if we hear the opposition, their words don’t have to mean anything to us. Everyone has legal rights to express themselves. Everyone has a right to free speech. However, no one is obligated to take speech we don’t like to heart. They may be upset that we don’t represent their views, but in the end them being upset doesn’t mean the momentum from the walkout has to die.

When counter protesters show up there is no need to stop calling your representatives. There is no need to drop everything just because someone else is upset about what your message is. 

The important thing to recognize is that this is not a partisan statement. 

There are at least two sides to any argument. However, in the end there can either be one winner or none. What happens often is that the arguers get so caught up in an argument that they forget what really matters: action. 

The proof comes from the action. Who does the best follow up? Who meets more consistently? Who’s programming is more attended? Who controls political narratives? Who do people view as role model and leader within their communities? Who better creates that sense of community in the first place?

The answer to those questions are often clear, and unsurprisingly point to the person who you tried adding on Facebook to pick a fight with while they worked on their vision for the campus. 

No matter how many irritated centrists comment on a Facebook thread, our movement and our vision for this campus lives on through us.

COLUMN: Time to teach yourself some tech


By Marielle Decena, Opinions Editor
Follow her @_marsbarz23

Mark Zuckerberg’s recent trip to D.C. certainly shed light on the complete ignorance of lawmakers over social media giants like Facebook, a platform utilized by 2.2 billion individuals.

For the most part, the cringe-inducing cluelessness of lawmakers over the largest social media platform served as something to chuckle over. Yet, this should open our eyes to the importance of technological literacy, especially amongst older generations.

In an age where technology has a significant influence over our lives, it is perhaps worth addressing the importance of embracing it as opposed to nit-picking the negative. Yes, there are drawbacks to an era comprised of smartphone addicted youths but technology as a whole is not society’s greatest evil.

Older generations have often been quick to refuse the convenience of technology, deeming it “lazy” or taking away from the authenticity of daily living. 

For whatever reason, we continue to have professors at EC who refuse to utilize Blackboard to post grades and lecture material. Not only does this serve as an inconvenience to students but is also a disservice to themselves.

It does not take exceptional skill to learn how to use technology, it simply takes a willingness to apply it within your daily living. 

One can argue that we as a generation are heavily reliant on technology, and while that is true, that is not necessarily a bad thing. Technology has made our lives easier and there is nothing wrong with that.

Uber, an app-driven technology, has been shown to decrease rates of drunk driving in major cities. More recently, the growing transportation network is aiming to expand its services to senior citizens who are unable to drive themselves to medical appointments. 

The ease of securely transferring money in a matter of seconds has been made possible through apps like Venmo and Quickpay.

Tinder has revolutionized the dating culture in a way that gives individuals the opportunity to meet other individuals they would not meet under normal circumstances.

My personal experiences in the rehabilitation field have opened my eyes to the role of technology in enriching the lives of individuals who are physically disabled. This is made possible through Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, and Google Home which have the ability to control a person’s home settings through voice command.

The possibilities are endless.

I will admit that older generations are not entirely opposed to the idea of technology and in most cases, these individuals embrace its existence. Especially during a time in their lives that require some degree of assisted living, technology has granted them some independence. 

However, when it comes to social media literacy, smartphone literacy, or internet literacy, we must acknowledge that these forms of technology have to be given more credit as they heavily influence the way in which we acquire information, the way we communicate with each other, and the way in which we live. 

COLUMN: Do not put Plath on blast


By Roxanne Timan, Managing Editor

Follow her at @Roxlobster

This past week marked EC’s 28th Annual Holocaust Education Project. The schedule was full of events to memorialize the tragedy, including a guest lecture by Jill Peláez Baumgaertner to begin the week. 

The lecture, ‘Can Poetry Be Written After the Holocaust?’ never seemed to answer the question in the title, but instead told the audience what literature is okay to read and what is not. As the introduction to a remembrance of a historical event, I felt disappointed and somewhat betrayed at the College’s choice of this speaker.

Baumgaertner began the presentation with examples of what she felt were poor literature written about the Holocaust, putting writers like Sylvia Plath, Martin Amis, and Paul Celan under the bus for exploiting this tragedy for their own gain.

Specifically, she went in on Plath’s poem, ‘Daddy,’ which compares her volatile relationship with her late father to the acts of Adolf Hitler. Baumgaertner expressed to the crowd that the work was an act of privilege, stating “one girl could never feel the pain of the death of so many innocent people, this is never okay to do.” 

I was under the impression I was in an academic lecture, and it came off mostly as her opinions on writers without explicitly letting the audience know that these were, in fact, just opinions without a counter argument or even thinking of the situation from other sides.

I am not a Sylvia Plath aficionado, but I recognize her contribution to the poetry world as a poetry writer myself. The poem ‘Daddy’ is a tragic story of abuse, not making a mockery of the Holocaust. She was doing what writers do, comparing her own experience to something she knew about and with an accurate voice. 

 Everyone has felt like the “other” in some situations. People feel ostracized and targeted, most definitely in our angsty teenager days. Writing, especially poetry, is meant to put these ideas of anguish to life even if they are not completely politically correct. 

No one can be sure of the sure intention of Plath’s work, but it is in charge of the reader to make their own perceptions on writing. It isn’t very shocking that the lecture did not include a reading of the poem in full, but two clips strategically placed on a powerpoint to make the poet look bad.

This was just the beginning of the lecture, and I already felt my blood rush to my cheeks out off anger and lack of options on what to do. The preface of this week was to “ask the hard questions” about the Holocaust, however, I felt more silenced than anything. I felt that I would be targeted instead of welcomed for my inquisitiveness about her feelings towards other writers.

I understand criticism is a part of our culture, and I welcome it, but there is a difference between criticizing a work with academic reasoning and standing in front of a room of students with blossoming minds sternly repeating “the holocaust should never be used as a metaphor.”

EDITORIAL: Bombs build enemies, not peace

On April 14, 2018, it was announced that our country carried out a missile attack on Syrian forces in the city of Damascus. The attack was a response elicited by the use of chemical weapons on Syrian citizens, yet the public eye has been quick to debate our country’s involvement on Syrian soil. 

Without a doubt, action was necessary to reprimand the injustices of these chemical attacks. However, we can’t just ignore the ethical ramifications of our involvement on Syrian soil, let alone abuse the power to employ acts of war.

For a figure that has been notorious for denying refuge to millions of desperate Syrians fleeing from the violence, president Trump’s supposed humanitarian efforts leave much room for skepticism. 

Avoiding a war with Syria was a major part of Trump’s campaign against Hillary Clinton, yet his recent orders deeply conflict with his prior stance. He stated, “You’re going to end up in World War Three over Syria if we listen to Hillary Clinton. You’re not fighting Syria any more, you’re fighting Syria, Russia and Iran, all right?”

Indeed, teetering into war with Syria will likely result in increased tensions with powers like Russia and Iran, which are known sponsors of Al Assad’s regime. 

Many of us that grew up in the wake of 9/11 and the ensuing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan know the hardship and pain that long conflict brought upon thousands of families in this country and in the aforementioned conflict states. Why then are we rushing headlong into yet another complicated Middle Eastern conflict in which both sides have glaring faults?

After over a decade in Iraq and Afghanistan as a direct result of 9/11, no lasting solution was ever met and both countries were left in shambles. Worse yet, the involvement of the United States in the Middle East has also directly given rise to the region’s greatest threat: The Islamic State, which is now also an active threat to both The United States and its allies abroad. 


There is a clear history of mishandling the very complicated conflicts in the Middle East, and there is no reason to believe the situation with Syria is any different. Perhaps military intervention could prove to be useful if the United States granted asylum to the thousands of refugees displaced by the conflict, but this administration has displayed nothing but complete unwillingness to do so. 

Moreover, the implications this bombing has on the United States’ relations with Russia is deeply troubling. The Russian Ambassador to the United States has already made statements that seemed to signify some kind of retaliation could be on the way from the Russian government. 

While Russia has been a huge humanitarian threat in recent years with the annexing of Crimea and alleged assassinations of Putin’s loudest critics, a direct conflict between two of the biggest nuclear power on Earth is certainly a bad idea. And the United States involvement in the Syrian conflict will inevitably become a proxy conflict that draws the United States and Russia closer to direct war.

This is utter hypocrisy on our country’s part  and to deem this cause as “humanitarian” seems rather egotistic.  Let’s not forget that our meddling in other countries like Iraq have given rise to much turmoil, to the rise of ISIS.

In reflecting on president Trump’s new position, American journalist, Glenn Greenwald, stated, “everybody knows that the U.S has supported regimes in the past that used chemical weapons. Everybody knows that the U.S. right now is supporting Israel as they slaughter journalists and peaceful.”

COLUMN: Show me the homo average Joes

 Roxanne Timan , Managing Editor

Roxanne Timan, Managing Editor

By Roxanne Timan, Managing Editor

Follow her at @Roxlobster

It’s 2011, I’m in my room and music is roaring through worn-out laptop speakers, the clunky hand-me-down computer heats my lap enough to burn as I close in on my sixth hour on the internet that day. Scrolling through Tumblr, half-naked girls and gifs from pop music videos plaster the screen, some of my favorite things.

It’s probably the 100th time I have heard ‘No matter gay straight or bi, lesbian, transgender life, I’m on the right track baby, I was born to survive’ from Lady Gaga’s 2008 gay anthem ‘Born This Way,’ but it still sends a shock through me that elicits a big smile and causes me to clench my fists in happiness. Gaga has become a pioneer in the gay community, all stemming from ‘Just Dance,’ released 10 years ago this month.

 As a closeted 16-year-old lesbian at the time, I grew up with Gaga because I didn’t have anyone else to rely on for any support on my sexuality. Her freeing lyrics shook my system with a reality that no one around me knew about. I felt whole for once in a world where my friends would talk about making out with boys, when I wanted to reach over and kiss them instead. 

Being gay is not always rainbows and pop songs, but most of the time that is all we have. LGBTQIA+ people across the world have these stories of isolation and insecurity. They are walking a road alone without anyone to counsel them along the way.

With an influx of celebrities coming out in the past decade, it would seem that gay role models would be aplenty. In reality, my baby-dyke self didn’t have anyone who I could talk to with any experience being a gay teen, no one to tell me it does get better besides inaccessible celebrities like Ellen. 

Out adults in the LGBTQIA+ community are few and far between, especially when they grew up in a less than gay-friendly time. However, they are out there, with stories that could inspire and ignite hope in those who are struggling to grow up with any realistic idea of what being a gay adult is like. 

It was not until after being out of the closet for seven years that I met a gay person of influence in my community. This year I had the opportunity to take a course with an adjunct professor and rabbi at the local synagogue and we bonded in a way I had never felt with anyone in my life. I finally found someone who I could look up to for guidance that understood where I was coming from.

I had to wait seven years to meet someone who could give me advice that would make sense to me, the rest of my life relied on a heterosexual perspective I never understood. It was like a bell going off in my head like the first girl kiss I had - it felt right and completely genuine. Unfortunately, so many queer youth will not have this experience in their colleges, high schools, or neighborhoods.

This is not an attack on anyone, especially the wonderful allies that I have met along the way. I applaud all the allies out there, their voices on this campus have made it easier to be an out individual. With that being said, I know there are people who could be great resources if they are willing to make the courageous step to be out and provide a real life example of “it getting better.”

This is not a call to wave a rainbow flag and shout it from the rooftops (unless you want to), but the world needs more average joe homos around. 

COLUMN: Listen to the youth

  Marisa Karpes  , Columnist

Marisa Karpes, Columnist

By Marisa Karpes, Columnist

Over the course of history, youth have been dismissed when it comes to many different things. Whether it is a matter of opinion or their actions, youth have not been held to the same standards as the rest of the population. The March for Our Lives moment has especially showcased how powerful youth can be, but also how they are not fully appreciated and listened to.

Interestingly enough, this should absolutely not be the case. The future belongs to our youth, and if anyone should have a say in how it should go, it should be them. If the youth want to be taken more seriously, however, they need to put all of the effort they possibly can in the things they believe in.

I guess in a sense it is understandable that youth get shoved to the side when it comes to being on the forefront of change and activism. Older people consider themselves to have more experience in the world, therefore allowing themselves to believe that they are more knowledgeable and more qualified to determine what goes on in society.

While, yes, it is true that people who are older have been around for longer and thus have seen more and had more time to interact with the world around them. However, this should not be used to undermine the abilities of younger folks.

Even though the younger generation may lack in age and thus experience, the younger generation still has ways to educate themselves. While it might be hard to decipher what information is correct on the web, young people, nonetheless, have access to that information right at their fingertips. More and more people are also attending universities nowadays, and some are thus surpassing the education levels of their own parents.

 It is one thing to be naive, but to say that young people are not educated is just completely not the case.

It was seen through the March For Our Lives that young people are capable of absolutely extraordinary things. Their passion for the things they care about is undying, and the issues they bring up are ones that are of importance.

I think that it is safe to say that the survivors of the school shooting in Parkland know more about guns in schools than adults long out of the school systems do. Youth know more about how safe they feel in school than the authorities who do not know firsthand what that feeling is like.

And don’t get me started on the claims that millennials are killing everything. This world is a changing one, and in this crazy time, we are at the center of an evolution. While millennials may be blamed for the descent of taxis, we’ve also created the easier innovation that is Uber. While it may seem like millennials refrain from face-to-face communication, we’ve also brought up the innovation of Twitter, which allows us to connect with those all over the world. It should not be surprising how the times are changing.

The future belongs to the young not the old. We are the ones who will be deciding what happens from here on out.

Now is the best time to make people believe that. While so much progress has already been made, there is still so much more us young people can improve on.  We need to go out and vote, for if we raise our voter turnout rate we can really change the tides.  Attend events and rallies for the things that you believe in. The more we show that we care and the more of us there are, the more likely our voices will be heard together.

COLUMN: White is not always right

 Marielle Decena , Opinions Editor

Marielle Decena, Opinions Editor

By Marielle Decena, Opinions Editor
Follow her @_marsbarz23

During my most recent visit to my native country, the Philippines, I distinctly remember the  plethora of skin-whitening products that brimmed the supermarket shelves. From facial moisturizers to deodorant, the typical Filipino beauty product consists of ingredients like kojic acid, a chemical known for its skin-whitening effects.

In the Philippines, a fair complexion is synonymous to beauty. Famous singers and actresses are often deemed “mestizas,” a mixed-race Filipino with fair skin and European-like features. Take Pia Wurtzbach, for example, a Filipina of German descent who was crowned Miss Universe 2015. Her beauty represented the people of my native country, yet she looked nothing like the brown-skinned, flat nosed Filipina that comprised the majority of the population.

From an outsider’s standpoint, this might come off as surprising. Some might even deem this as somewhat racist. Yet, the obsession over fair skin has been a long held norm amongst Filipinos and it has more so become a symptom of a dark history as opposed to outright racism. 

Historically, Filipinos lived under three centuries of European influence, namely during the Spanish Rule. From our language to our food, there are traces of Spanish influence in our culture. 

Unfortunately, Spanish colonization has deeply ingrained the notion of hierarchy based on skin color. Brown skin was associated with hard labor and poverty, while those genetically lucky enough to have lighter skin or Caucasian features dominated the aristocracy. In the end, the brown Filipino was treated as a second class citizens within their own country.

While our strive for fair skin presently seeks to achieve aesthetic beauty, we have to remember that this standard resulted from centuries of conformity. As members of a formerly oppressed nation, we shouldn’t be perpetuating this toxic idea. By furthering this idea that our native brown skin is unworthy, we oppress ourselves. 

Filipinos are not the only Asian countries that adopt this mentality. In countries like China and Korea, people will also go to lengths to acquire lighter skin, often opting towards surgery or skin bleaching. Some will argue that skin bleaching is the same as botox or an aesthetic surgical procedure. In my perspective, changing your skin color is completely different story. It is a sign of detaching from one’s roots for the sake of appeasing people other than your own. 

As a young child, I was taught by older relatives to avoid the sun and to apply sunscreen religiously. The irony of it all was that I lived in a tropical country where the sun was always shining. Even through college I would get yelled at for tanning or staying out under the sun for too long.

As ridiculous it all seems, we have to take a step back and realize that that the U.S. is also home to beauty standards that are equally as harmful. Here in the U.S., we burn ourselves under the sun and lay in tanning beds to achieve this “exotic” bronzed complexion. 

Having a taste of two different cultures simultaneously has taught me that many of us are never truly satisfied with our appearances. Filipinos desire fairer skin while Americans strive for bronzed skin. There is this thing about beauty standards that drive humans to do odd things. Whether it be bleaching one’s skin or exposing our skin to harmful radiation, it is all rooted from  a distorted perception. 

Most of us don’t need a lesson on racism or prejudice. And while I am lucky enough to live in a time and place that embraces diversity of color, I know that there are still parts of the world that are stuck in this obsession with becoming a Caucasian carbon copy. 

Whiteness does not ultimately define beauty. 

As a Filipino American, I hope to see my native culture more accurately represented in movies, beauty pageants, and magazine labels. We need to take more pride in the brown-skinned Filipino just as much as we take pride in the mestizas who have Filipino running through their veins.

EDITORIAL: Do not be afraid to pass the mic

Two EC Republicans drew much negative attention during EC’s walkout on Wednesday, March 14. The reason: they showed up toting a “Don’t Tread on Me” flag and pocket constitutions protesting against the idea of limiting their second amendment rights. 

For the most part, we believe that there must be stricter protocols in terms of purchasing firearms and limits as to which weapons civilians can possess. Despite how ardently we disagree with their protest, we must acknowledge that they have a right to express their political beliefs. 

EC students like Katrina Mioduszewski responded to their protest with disapproval stating,   “Their opinions do not matter,...the facts are clear that guns are evil and harmful to society and people’s lives. Those in favor of guns have no right to express their opinions.” 

Whether or not their opinions matter is entirely up to you. However, none of us should take it upon ourselves to pick and choose who gets to express their voice. That is not a democracy.

Their difference in political thought have as much influence over our legislation as ours do. Take this as an opportunity to hold constructive dialogue rather than an excuse to belittle equally valid thoughts. 

While guns have certainly placed our nation in a serious epidemic of violence, we can’t entirely define its existence as purely evil or harmful. 

Guns will always exist in our country and at certain circumstances they are essential. Members of the editorial board have households that carry guns for the purpose of self-defense and protecting one’s family members in the event of a threat. Yet, we also urge for regulation.

During this time of political tension, college students have been notorious for hindering conservative speakers. Riots have ensued and violent protests have surfaced when ideas that clash with the liberal youth make their presence on campus. Not too long ago, UIC students protested Trump’s visit to the UIC pavillion, causing the cancellation of this speech. 

Recently, Mike Ditka’s lecture had been “postponed” due to the growing numbers of outrage.

Our generation has a knack for condemning opinions that we don’t particularly agree with. There is always room for differences in political thought, but when some take it upon themselves to diminish the voice of others, then we have entirely missed the point. The first amendment applies to everyone, there are no exceptions.

A few months ago on this very campus, we saw some of the sharpest minds in our community gather for a teach-in that urged students to “Dare to Disagree,” however if the sentiments displayed here are that of the majority, then it would appear that message fell on deaf ears. 

Part of forming a society that is truly best for everyone is letting the ideas of everyone collide with each other, and letting society determine which of those ideas have the most merit. If we simply decide that some ideas do not matter, we are robbing ourselves of the opportunity to form a better society.  

Furthermore, if you disagree with a dissenting opinion so fervently it would behoove you to jump at the opportunity to confront that opinion. Part of truly debunking flawed ideologies is confronting them head on to shine a light on their logical shortcomings, and if you are unable or unwilling to do that then perhaps your beliefs are not as strong as you thought.  

We don’t have to agree with these opinions and some of these opinions may not even be ethically correct but the point is that we have no right to hinder their voice especially when they have let ours be heard. 

Facing an unpleasant truth: the first amendment is not always pretty

  Photo courtesy of Noah Pearson

Photo courtesy of Noah Pearson

COLUMN: Empower me through example

  Marielle Decena , Opinions Editor

Marielle Decena, Opinions Editor

By Marielle Decena, Opinions Editor
Follow her @_marsbarz23

For the majority of my college career, I have spent countless hours volunteering and interning at various rehabilitation hospitals and clinics. As an aspiring physical therapist, I can tell you that there are plenty of inspiring women in the rehabilitation field and I am lucky enough to have learned under their wisdom. 

Yet, one particular experience proved to me that even the greatest of female role models are capable of tearing other women down. 

Last Tuesday, the Oscars popped up in a conversation between the patients and two physical therapists. Initially, the chatter comprised of which actresses were best dressed. From there, the topic served as a catalyst for merciless judgment. 

One senior physical therapist retorted on Sandra Bullock’s “flat hair” and “excessive makeup,” deeming her ridiculous. Another chimed in and commented on Rita Moreno’s outrageous dress and how “idiotic” she looked. At this point, the conversation had taken a sour turn and I couldn’t help but cringe at the blatant hatefulness that came out of these womens’ mouths.

We’re all subject to gossip and it’s an inevitable occurrence in our society. Still, what makes this particular experience infuriating is the fact that these are highly educated women in their field who know better than to instigate negative commentary about women they don’t personally know, let alone at their place of work.

I myself have scrutinized women on screen but this type of behavior is best left behind within the confines of a high school cafeteria table.

I look up to these women. I aspire to be them. They are incredibly talented women who are trusted with the care of multitudes of lives but that image can so easily be shattered with even the slightest of toxicity. 

Sadly, if these women are so quick to belittle women on the red carpet, who is to say that they don’t do the same to the very patients that seek their help? Working at a rehabilitation hospital often entails knowing the most personal of information about each patient. 

Being a health professional requires working with a patient in their moments of deepest insecurity and pain. Day in and day out, patients entrust the care of their bodies to these women, despite their scars and ailments.


Sadly, if these women are so quick to belittle women on the red carpet, who is to say that they don’t do the same to the very patients that seek their help?


I can’t stress enough the importance of integrity, especially in the field of health care. To be respected requires consistency in character. 

This experience was a first for me and it forced me to open my eyes to the reality that even women of power can also be quick to minimize other women of power.

For as long as patriarchy existed, women have been pitted against each other for reasons of exploitation. We’ve been taught to step on one another, to be jealous of one another, and to fight over success with one another. 

I think we can all agree that women have made powerful strides in working together, despite their differences. Nurture one another, be a stepping stone to another woman’s success, appreciate this network of women that has much to offer the world. 

It’s about time that we learn to deviate from hateful behavior and to set an example to future female professionals.

As I look within the very walls of EC, I see young women well on their way into becoming future teachers, physicians, lawyers, and writers. Yes, the future is female but let’s not forget that this path is not paved through hard work and ambition alone. I believe that behind every successful woman is an example, and that starts with us. 

COLUMN: Six reasons to drink the journalism Kool-Aid

  Roxanne Timan , Managing Editor

Roxanne Timan, Managing Editor

By Roxanne Timan, Managing Editor

Follow her at @Roxlobster

After working for The Leader for almost two years now, I can safely say I have become a journalist for life. There is something addicting about telling the (true) stories of our campus, and with our editorial board and staff looking meager for the future, we are looking to EC students to fill these voids in The Leader’s cold, cold heart.

If my begging and pleading is not enough, here are some reasons you should dive in to the wonderful world of journalism:

1. Chicks dig journalists.

Have you ever wanted all the EC students to know your name, including the sorority sisters who would normally not even look in your direction? Become a student journalist and you won’t just have the attention, but you will also have a witch hunt put out on you for stating your opinion! Nothing is more flattering than online hate, am I right?

2. Never fear FOMO (fear of missing out) again, because you’ll be reporting everything.

Cancel your plans of Netflix or Brazzers binges after class, because you will be booked with lectures, sporting events, and news to cover on this campus 24/7. Having a notepad and tape recorder packed in your journalist tool belt is also required, and yes, we have tool belts.

3. AP style becomes a part of your everyday life.

Your copyeditor is basically your priest in your religious journey through journalism. Every rule is a commandment in a book that might change its mind and reverse the rules next year. Wait till you are having sex AP style, you will thank me later.

4. If journalists were angles, we would be acute.

You come to realize everything is newsworthy if you can create an angle. Cafeteria runs out of mac and cheese? “Students experience starvation over Chartwells production error.” Get stood up on a date with the girl from your capstone course? “EC student apathy reaches beyond extra-curricular activities.”

 Boom. You made a news story.

5. Xoxo Gossip Girl.

You instantly become more in the know about the latest gossip on campus. If people want the word out on something, they come to you, the messenger, and you get to spread it like wildfire.

Two professors making out behind Schiable? An underground student cult? You never know what’s going to come through that door.

6.“Ass production” happens.

Mistakes happen, and you will learn from them. Some will come to you in the middle of the night menacingly, like the time you leave a serial killer film title in a print issue when the event is a family-friendly Christmas parade. Those are the ones where you wake up dripping in a frigid sweat, wondering how you got to this point.

The media is consistently under fire, it is not breaking news to anyone. Even the president does not like us, but we still push forward. As some of us live and breathe journalism, there are some who will chew us up and vomit after they realize how bitter and salty we really are. It’s a risky job, but don’t shoot the messenger.

EDITORIAL: Cracking the whip on student apathy

  Sending each clubs’ best and brightest off to EC’s funding games, Graphic by Soffiah Decena

Sending each clubs’ best and brightest off to EC’s funding games, Graphic by Soffiah Decena

For years, The Leader has pleaded for a representative government where student organizations are mandated a seat at the table. On March 8, that is exactly what we got.  

SGA’s last meeting saw them approve a new constitution which mandates that each student organization have a representative attend a monthly meeting with SGA. 

While SGA meetings have always been open to the student body, its previous constitution has often led to issues surrounding student funds. In the past, SGA’s meeting were characterized by a half empty boardroom as the invitations extended to student organizations to attend often went ignored.

This is a crucial step towards increased transparency with SGA, the only organization on campus that holds the purse strings for every other student club on campus. Keeping student leaders within the loop is perhaps one of the best moves taken by SGA and we believe that this demonstrates SGA’s willingness to create a more representative government. 

Though some may view mandatory monthly SGA meetings as yet another tiresome chore that clubs must begrudgingly tolerate, the importance of this change should not be undersold. The only way to build a functional and thriving campus culture is through face-to-face communication with the various leaders on EC’s campus and there has to be some kind of incentive to encourage this participation. 

Without that communication, we have seen the campus culture lean more towards apathy than anything else. Events become ill-attended, clubs die and confusion ensues. Do not forget that SGA is the organization that has the ear of the administration, and they are supposed to be voicing the concerns that we as students have. 

We need to do away with the days where the communication between clubs and SGA consists of endless emails that get sink to the bottom of our inboxes. Real progress happens when our campus’ brightest and most active minds get together and make decisions together. 

With these monthly meetings, we are contributing more minds to the think tank that the administration relies on for student feedback. If we as students seek to make real, meaningful change on campus communicating with our student government is how we do it. 

While The Leader’s funding being attached to student government still leaves room for inherent dangers, these mandated meetings increase the transparency between SGA and the student press allowing us to more effectively inform the student body.  

Overall SGA’s willingness to include The Leader in their dealings bodes well for a productive relationship. This also holds true for the rest of the student body who wishes to establish a clear line of communication with SGA. 

But let us not forget that no amount of government mandates can force students to participate, no matter how easy they make it for everyone else. So let us all make the effort to battle the apathy that has plagued this campus for far too long, because we all stand to benefit from a campus where we actually talk to each other.

The new constitution takes effect in fall of 2018 and though this editorial board will be long gone by then, we are hopeful that this fresh start will facilitate a revitalized campus. 

COLUMN: Accept the failure in you

  Marisa Karpes   Columnist

Marisa Karpes


By Marisa Karpes, Columnist

As college students, we’ve all been there. Getting a bad grade on a quiz or an exam. Totally missing the point on an essay. Losing the big game. Not winning an award you thought that you were a shoo-in for. It is not a good feeling to fail and/or to lose at something. It may bring you down or discourage you from continuing on. It may make you feel like it’s something you will never bounce back from. It might even make you rethink your dreams. While failures and losses do provoke all of these negative connotations, they are, nonetheless, things that are necessary in order to develop and improve.

If  it were not for failures and the occasional slip-up, every thing we do would just feel numb. Always getting a perfect grade takes away from the good feeling of accomplishment. There becomes nothing to aim for. It is human nature to want to get better at things, but when that opportunity is not provided for us, it becomes numb. Failures, especially in academics,  allow us to see where we can improve. For example, I did not do well on the first quiz of the semester in a class I am taking, but it taught me to trust my gut and not overthink things. Sure enough learning that lesson made all the difference. 

And winning every game does not feel great not only for the team, but for the audience as well. Take for example a WWE professional wrestler named Asuka. The WWE has had her on a winning streak for the past two years, and the momentum does not seem like it is going to stop any time soon. While Asuka is a very talented performer, many fans detest her due to the fact that we know that no matter what match she is in, she will win. It takes the excitement out of the match, and I would not be surprised if winning does not mean much to her anymore either.

Failing or losing does not always amount to being bad at something. Sometimes, those going up against you are just simply better. 

If you truly want to succeed and win, you can take from what others did well and apply it to your own work in addition to taking other criticisms.The Leader did not win the top award at the ICPA conference a month or so ago; it didn’t even get an honorable mention in that category. Even though it did not place in the big award, there were still plenty of things The Leader did do well, and my colleagues should be proud of that. It is not something that should be taken personally, this just leaves all the more room for improvement.

 Things should not be done just to succeed. Sure, grades are important, but you should be here not to get grades, you should be here to learn about things you are passionate about. 

Sure, winning games or matches is important to an athlete’s record, but you should play the game for the fun and the love of the sport. And sure, winning awards may define accomplishments, but you must do what you love because you love doing it, regardless of what anyone else says. 

I write for The Leader not just in the hopes that I could maybe one day win an award, but because I love writing. The Leader provides me with an opportunity to not only do it, but to improve as I go on.

It’s okay to fail. Just accept it and improve from it. But most importantly, remember what drives you to do what you are doing in the first place. 

COLUMN: Black Lives Matter and Don’t you Dare Forget It

   Noah Pearson, Columnist

 Noah Pearson, Columnist

By Noah Pearson, Columnist

Follow them at @tbhimscared

For many of us, the assertion that black lives did not matter was made evident, or at least established as concrete fact on July 13, 2013 when George Zimmerman was acquitted for murdering unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin.

The state of black lives is apparent, abysmal, and it is the fault of complacency with oppression.

Since then, the police and local judicial systems across the country have been sure to remind us of this fact. Whether you are twelve years old playing in a rec center, pinned down and caught on camera yelling “I can’t breathe,” or a terrified teenager asking why a grown man has been following you on your way home from school for some time now it is a widely celebrated fact that your life does not, in fact, matter.

So much so that in the wake of the murder of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown, a movement simply stating that black lives matter baffled White Americans across the country until they found it necessary to counterprotest.

Black lives don’t matter so much that despite the televised cries of weeping mothers, it is indeed the fault of Jordan Edwards, the child yet to receive a high school diploma, for getting shot.

Black lives don’t matter so much that despite complying with a police officer’s orders to reach into his wallet to retrieve his ID, Philando Castile is at fault for tricking that officer into thinking he was pulling a gun.

Black lives don’t matter so much so that at EC the usage of the N-word and the proud dawning of Blue lives matter flags are common and unquestioned practice.

The fact of the matter is that many students at EC are comfortable with the ongoing slaughter of black people at the hands of the police.

While many have not been personally behind the trigger, eye-witnesses to the crime, or even among the N-word using Blue lives matter group, the silence when another black person is slain by a cop, or the silence when our colleagues openly support the actions of the

aforementioned murderer is the same as being one of them.

Blue lives matter is a movement dedicated to eradicating the perspective of a population of people living in constant fear of those sworn to serve and protect. It is trivializing at best, and outward anti-black hatred at worse.

Who is even more at fault, is the observer. The friend afraid of political conversations who might even be uncomfortable, but finds it more convenient to accept the racist association of their peers than to do what is right in correcting them.

Black history month is coming to a close. This month EC has seen a variety of cultural events sponsored by the Black Student Union, the organizers of the Intercultural Lecture Series, and even black alums associated with the Mu Mu chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc.

Despite this past year being one of the most exhaustive years for black students and black people nationwide, participation from those who claim to be allies has not increased and arguably has diminished.

Following tragedy, there are many ready to tweet #blacklivesmatter and to #sayhername, but when real actual black people on this very campus express an issue with the language or actions of our “allies” and their friends, we are met with closed and often frustrated ears.

Allow this to serve as a challenge. Black Lives Matter. Don’t Forget it.

If that message rings true for you, which it should, then don’t think that sometimes it is ok to act as if they don’t.

If you claim #blacklivesmatter, but allow your friends to throw that black, white, and blue American flag on the back of their pickups then you have forgotten, and you have failed us.

If you claim #blacklivesmatter, but are more comfortable with your white friends saying the N-word than correcting them, then you have forgotten, and you have failed us.

If you claim #blacklivesmatter, but any action following that statement is too much to handle, that any personal sacrifice isn’t worth committing, then you have forgotten and you have failed us.

All of us are witnesses. When black people are executed by the police, that execution is broadcast all over our personal networks. What matters is the kind of witness we chose to be. We can stand up and put our money where our hashtags are, or we can be silent and complacent. Just know that silence is violence. If you’re not mad, you’re not paying attention. If you’re silent, you have forgotten, and you have failed us.  

COLUMN: Black History Month is not enough.

  Marielle Decena, Opinions Editor

Marielle Decena, Opinions Editor

By Marielle Decena, Opinions Editor
Follow her @_marsbarz23

With the month of February coming to a close, another year of Black History Month will have passed and with it comes the surfacing of cynics, those who argue that #blacklivesmatter holds no relevance in our present culture.

While thankfully the educated majority thinks otherwise, there is one thing that I agree upon to some extent and that is the notion of getting rid of Black History Month.

Rather than designating a mere 28 days to recognize the impact of African American men and women in our country, why not embrace it in each and every 365 days of the year?

At the age of six, I immigrated to the U.S. not knowing a single drop of its history. Much of what I can recall from history lessons consisted of useless facts about white men who wore atrocious wigs while our textbooks failed to give voice to the slaves they owned.

To be completely honest, most first graders can tell you that George Washington once chopped down a cherry tree during his youth and not have a clue of the historical context that got these cherry-tree-chopping-white men on this pedestal of power.

Let’s not forget that white men did not build this great nation alone.

Black history is American history. Our country rests on a foundation of the blood, sweat, and tears of black men, women, and children who have have been forced to forge their own path in this country when the rest of America chooses to abandon them.

Our textbooks and lectures have only gone as far as promoting the mainstream and we have only gone so far as to scratch the surface of a history whose roots are deeply embedded in our country’s identity.

The youth is made to read the works of pivotal black figures like Martin Luther King Jr., Maya Angelou, and Malcolm X. All the while, we are given sugar-coated anecdotes of slavery, Jim Crow laws, and segregation. Yes, all of which have long been abolished but that does not erase our history and it does not mitigate the symptoms of systematic oppression.

Black History Month is not enough.

Even still, racism is alive and well in America and the color of your skin continues to determine the quality of your health, your education, and your economic status.

Those who dispute this truth need a reality check and clearly we have failed in accomplishing just that.

I urge us to be practitioners of activism.

Black history will remain pertinent in our everyday lives because injustices such as the Flint water crisis occurred, because we elected a leader that was hesitant to denounce endorsements from members of the Klu Klux Klan, and people like Colin Kaepernick are made into pariahs in the eyes of the American public.

Good or bad, there is much value to our country’s history and the acknowledgment of painful truths elicits a necessary component of growth.

Designating the shortest month of the year to black history is simply not enough. Black History Month is not enough.