by Claire Jackson
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”1 In the wake of the events in Charlottesville and Barcelona many facts have spilled out, but they why to these stories still seems unanswered. These two events have affected millions of people across the globe and has raised new questions about how we treat our fellow citizens. Together as one community we must stand together to drive out this hate. While much sadness and confusion is hanging over our heads there are simple things you can do everyday to make those around us feel loved and supported. Like Martin Luther King Jr. said only love can drive out hate, so if we want to see a change in this world we must first begin to spread more love.
While it seem that terror attacks have become a common part of the daily news, each new attack seems to drive a deeper divide between the citizens of the United States. We cannot control when the next terror might happen, but we can control how we treat those around us.
Today I encourage you to go up to a friend and or family member who might be struggling or directly affected by these attacks and tell them, first, you love them, and second, that you are open to sit down and hear their frustrations. If this doesn’t fit your fancy at least be a positive role model in your community. For example, you and your family could volunteer at a local food bank (e.g. Arlington Food Assistance Center), volunteer at an animal shelter, tutor younger kids, or read to the disabled or elderly people.
Whether we recognize it or not, these events affect our daily lives. The stress of hearing about them takes a toll on all of us. This type of news often makes people more irritable and frustrated. While we all have the right to feel these emotions it is important that we express them in a more civilized manner. Being able to communicate our frustrations makes it easier to work with others to produce positive change.
It is crucial that everyone not only understands the facts but also promotes positivity in the wake of them. No two people have the same views on each issue and that why it is important that we speak up for what we believe in a peaceful way. We must also listen to others and take into account their views just as much as our own. Just remember that someone, somewhere is struggling and you can be that hope and positive change for them.
Live Kindly, a brand based in Annapolis, began just earlier this year and is dedicated to spreading kindness through all generations young and old. This brand was created by Dave Neely who, after the birth of his children began to realize the impact of living a simple kind life. The goal of launching this brand says Dave is “to make a positive difference” and for people “to pass their kindness onto people they touch day in and day out”. Simply put at the core Live Kindly is about the little acts of kindness, such as holding the door for someone or even just saying “please” and “thank you”.
On their website, www.livekindly.com simple products such as shirts, hats, pins, and stickers are available that encourage people to start a conversation about what kindness means to them and the impacts of living a simple kind life. Dave says that he plans to introduce more products “that have fun, simple but impactful messages about kindness.” Soon more products such as coffee mugs, tote bags, magnets, dog collars, and much more will be available for purchase.
When Dave began to create Live Kindly he knew of multiple organizations that had made a positive impact in his life and he wanted to ensure that a percentage of Live Kindly’s profits went back to these organizations. Every time a purchase is made you get to choose the organization that you want your purchase to benefit. The causes that Live Kindly supports are Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, GRREAT (Golden Retriever Rescue Education and Training), and SCUTE (South Carolina United Turtle Enthusiasts). When Dave and his wife had their second child they discovered that their son was born with severe Hydronephrosis. When doctors recommended surgery their son was admitted to Johns Hopkin’s hospital where he received excellent care and attention. Dave discovered GRREAT nine years ago when he adopted his second golden retriever- Hogan. GRREAT is run solely by volunteers and places approximately 100 Golden Retrievers each year. Lastly, Dave found SCUTE while visiting Litchfield Beach, South Carolina. Also solely run by volunteers, SCUTE is dedicated to sea turtle conservation. Before assisting in hatching and releasing these turtles, the volunteers take time to explain the hatching process and take any questions. All of these organizations have given something to Dave and his family and now through Live Kindly he is able to give back to them.
Since Live Kindly is about sharing kindness there are many ways that you can become involved. First, you can send “kindness in action” photos or stories to firstname.lastname@example.org. Each month a favorite story will be selected and the winner will receive a special gift from Live Kindly. Second, you can follow Live Kindly on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest @welivekindly to learn about new ways to spread kindness and sales going on in their store. Third, periodically volunteer opportunities will be posted on their site so make sure you check back occasionally. Fourth, spread kindness in your daily life and be the person that others look up to.
Lastly, always remember this Japanese proverb: “One kind word warms three winter months.” and Live Kindly in ALL you do…Everyday!
By Claire Jackson 4/2017
This time of extreme uncertainty in our country is difficult for many especially teens. Often we hear conversations in the halls at school and then go home and turn on the news and hear another. It is difficult to find our place in this chaos. Through all of this we must continue to voice our opinions and concerns even if it seems as though are we are not powerful enough to make a difference.
On Saturday, January 21, 2017,around one million people gathered in Washington DC and millions of others around the US and even more worldwide to voice their concerns and advocate for their rights. This march originally named the Women’s March on Washington was meant as a way for people to come together and advocate for women’s rights as the new administration was just getting to work on their first official day in office. Although this march began just to advocate for women’s rights it also turned into a rally for LGBTQ, abortion, African American rights, and much more.
I attended this march as a young women who wanted one message to be sent to the world “We are always stronger together”. After the recent election that demoralized women, the LGBTQ community, and many different races this message is important to me because while we may feel defeated and powerless alone when we understand what our neighbor is going through we can combine our beliefs and experiences and turn that into positive change.
Originally it was estimated that about 200,000 people were going to be in Washington for this march and that estimate more than doubled to 500,000 the night before the march. When I first arrived at the mall I had many emotions flow through me. To see all of these people from many different backgrounds come together in a nonviolent way was powerful. Just knowing that this feeling of defeat was not just affecting me but so many others.
One of the most powerful things about this march that I experienced was the number of teens that attended. I knew of a few friends that were planning on going; however, I did not think that there would be a great deal of teens there. I realized that this march was a way for teens to get their voice heard and to feel counted.
We as teens are often considered a minority and our opinions often not acknowledged or accepted. From experience, I know that it is difficult to express your opinions when all the adults around you think of your opinions as less than theirs. While we may not have as much experience or even be able to vote, most of the issues that are being voted on directly affect us.
In order to change this pattern teens must form a community with others teens who understand and support what the other is going through. Doing this is so important because when bonds are formed positive change occurs. No matter what you support, advocate for, or are going through it is critical that you find someone who feels the same way and connect with them to build healthier relationships.
By Claire Jackson 1/2017
Lets face it: thinking about college is quite stressful. With all the work we already have to for school and our other extracurricular activities it seems as though thinking college is put on the back burner. Let me tell you, this is not a good thing. The earlier you start thinking about college the better.
There is absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t be thinking about college especially in your sophomore and junior year with your college advisor at school, free guided tours at every college, and online information for you explore. It is never too early to start touring colleges because the earlier you start the more schools you can explore and the more likely you are to pick the perfect fit for you.
When you are ready to start looking at your options after high school there are a few things to keep in mind. One, start by exploring your interests and see what type of college might be a good fit for you including law school, a liberal arts college, culinary school, and so many more. Amongst all the pressure to pick a major right away, there is absolutely no reason why you should have one picked out right away. Many colleges won’t allow you to pick a major until you have completed a certain amount of credits at that school to ensure that you are exploring all of your interests and opportunities.
Two, going on your first college tour is always the most exciting; however, don’t get caught up on one school and stop looking. You may think that the first school you toured was the absolute fit for you; however, you never truly know until you have explored other options even if at first glance they seem less favorable.
Three, most graduating high school students want to go to a college far away from home to have more freedom. While this works for some, it can be a struggle for others who are very accustomed to always living in one place. Don’t be afraid to look at in and out of state colleges no matter what you think you want to do. There are may stigmas that going to an out of state school is more expensive, and while this is true, there are also many scholarships that colleges offer for out of state students.
Four, take advantage of school/community sponsored college trips. Many of these sponsored trips do come at a fee to you for transportation and occasionally hotels; however, it is a great time to really dive into the college process and yes have a fun road trip with your friends. Trying to go through the college process alone is very difficult, it is always better to go through it friends.
While going through this process with friends is always better you must understand that you and your friends will most likely not end up at the same college. This is why it is truly important for you to find a college that you like both academically and socially. On a tour you get a glimpse into life on that school’s campus and explore the opportunities they offer outside of academics.
Fifth, when on a tour DO NOT be afraid to ask questions. Your tour guide will most likely be a student at that school and who better to ask questions to than someone who knows exactly what you are going through and already has had the experience of attending that school. You may feel intimidated by all the students on campus but understand that they were in your shoes just years before.
Looking at colleges is a big deal and is an exciting experience so be sure to take it all in and truly enjoy the experience. While at times it may be stressful just know that there are many resources available to you to help you with the process. Never be afraid to ask questions to anyone and always make sure that you are focusing our your interests and looking at what colleges you are interested in not what your friends are.
By Claire Jackson
In the wake of an increasingly intolerant political climate, many universities now identify as “sanctuary campuses”. Despite the title’s growing popularity, its actual definition remains unclear. Generally, a sanctuary campus signifies a higher education institution that adopts policies to protect undocumented students from deportation.
The concept of sanctuary campuses hails from sanctuary cities, such as Los Angeles and New York, which refuse to cooperate with Federal authorities to deport undocumented immigrants.
The actual policies of sanctuary campuses vary widely between colleges. Some sanctuary campus schools, such as Wesleyan University, strive to shield its students from deportation to the best of its ability, while others, like Portland State University, may merely function as a safe space where students will not face discrimination. This inconsistency in the label’s meaning drives criticism of the sanctuary movement.
Some skeptics argue that the term sanctuary campus” is actually harmful because it lacks specific regulations and legal basis, confusing undocumented students, thereby worsening their situation. Additionally, some may argue that sanctuary campus universities are violating the law, but in reality, these universities are merely doing all they can to protect their students. These flaws deter many universities, such as Harvard, Princeton, and Brown, from describing themselves as sanctuary campuses.
In response to pressure on the university to adopt the term, Drew Faust, president of Harvard, said in a meeting with the school’s faculty, “It risks drawing special attention to the students in ways that could put their status in greater jeopardy… Sanctuary Campus status has no legal significance or even clear definition. It offers no actual protection to our students. I worry that in fact it offers false and misleading assurance”. However, the benefit of ensuring campuses are safe and welcoming for all students, regardless of race, ethnicity, or religion, cannot be overestimated and sanctuary campuses serve this purpose.
Despite President Faust’s rejection of the sanctuary campus label, Harvard is preparing to aid students fearing President Trump’s immigration policies by hiring immigration experts to provide legal resources and appointing an administrator to assist undocumented students.
Other universities, like Columbia, do not define themselves as sanctuary campuses, but refuse to cooperate with authorities to expose undocumented students.
While it remains to be seen whether sanctuary campuses will actually be successful in protecting undocumented students, the benefits of students feeling safe at their school are countless. Feeling supported and valued by faculty and peers won’t magically grant a student citizenship. It might, however, provide vulnerable students with strength and motivation to overcome fear, feelings of isolation, and continue their education. Even the creation of safe spaces fosters a better learning environment for all students and ensures students will not be forced to contend with discrimination on a regular basis. A school cannot pride itself on teaching its students if even a fraction of them feel unsafe.
In order to legitimize the label and movement, a concrete definition should be established, unifying sanctuary campuses across the country and strengthening their reach. Such a definition would also address many criticisms of sanctuary campuses by clarifying their resources for students and providing a general set of guidelines. Promoting sanctuary on campuses, in whatever form, is a vital step toward acceptance, tolerance, and valuing all individuals at a time when it is needed most.
by Catherine Burke
An author talk by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely, the authors of “All American Boys.”
“All American Boys” was a 2016 Coretta Scott King Author Honor book, and recipient of the Walter Dean Myers Award for Outstanding Children’s Literature.
Two teens—one black, one white—grapple with the repercussions of a single violent act that leaves their school, their community, and, ultimately, the country bitterly divided by racial tension.
A bag of chips. That’s all sixteen-year-old Rashad is looking for at the corner bodega. What he finds instead is a fist-happy cop, Paul Galluzzo, who mistakes Rashad for a shoplifter, mistakes Rashad’s pleadings that he’s stolen nothing for belligerence, mistakes Rashad’s resistance to leave the bodega as resisting arrest, mistakes Rashad’s every flinch at every punch the cop throws as further resistance and refusal to STAY STILL as ordered. But how can you stay still when someone is pounding your face into the concrete pavement?
But there were witnesses: Quinn Collins—a varsity basketball player and Rashad’s classmate who has been raised by Paul since his own father died in Afghanistan—and a video camera. Soon the beating is all over the news and Paul is getting threatened with accusations of prejudice and racial brutality. Quinn refuses to believe that the man who has basically been his savior could possibly be guilty.
But then Rashad is absent. And absent again. And again. And the basketball team—half of whom are Rashad’s best friends—start to take sides. As does the school. And the town. Simmering tensions threaten to explode as Rashad and Quinn are forced to face decisions and consequences they had never considered before.
The talk will be presented in partnership with Wakefield High School, Yorktown High School, Arlington Public Library and An Open Book Foundation.
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This was a phenomenal recipe. I made a couple servings worth and ate it both hot and cold, and it tasted great both ways. It’s light enough that it doesn’t make you feel gross, but it’s enough to keep you full throughout the school day.
1. Boil whole grain pasta (the stuff from a box). I used about a third of a box, which is about 6 (?) oz. The water can be salted, but there’s really no need. If you look on the side of the box, it will tell you how long to cook the pasta for it to be al dente (listen to the box!! Otherwise, the pasta will get soggy after a day or two when sitting in the sauce).
2. As the pasta is cooking, dice two to three tomatoes (depending on how much you like) and mince garlic.
3. Combine garlic, tomatoes, and white canned cannellini beans in a saucepan. Keep cooking until the tomatoes are kind of soggy. Then add in spinach leaves, and keep stirring until they’ve wilted. This part is so easy, you can really just wing it in terms of time and amount of ingredients, and there’s a 99% chance it’ll still end up amazing. Give it another minute, and you’ve got your sauce!
4. Drain pasta and combine with sauce. You can top it with shredded cheese if you want (do it!!!!!) – I used Gruyere
*Ed. Note – also good with swiss chard or kale in addition to/instead of spinach