March for Our Lives | #NeverAgain

When I was in high school, all I worried about was what I was going to do in the future. Nowadays, students have to worry about tomorrow. They have to worry about if they’ll see their best friend tomorrow, if the person they knew will be the same tomorrow or if someone could come in tomorrow and change their lives forever.

Since the latest shooting in Florida, there have been too many to count. Too many students have been killed, too many teachers’ lives have been taken away and too many families whose lives have been changed forever. Each moment carving a poignant moment in the country’s lives driving us to indifference and a constant fear reverberating in our hearts. We would send our most sincere prayers and mourn the lost of another and watch the news go by, telling untold stories and reciting facts until we turn to safer alternatives rather than feeling the constant pain.

Why do they deserve to die? What drove the someone to do such an act? How come there are so many? What is currently being done? What’s going to happen next?

As we cycle through Presidents and seasons of law making, the only obvious answer we’ve been hearing besides the cry of our dead children is the lack of response. Should a student put on their résumé, “survived a mass school shooting”? Should they become parents and fear for their children’s lives even after begging those with power to just do something? 

We’re not asking for much. All we want is to ensure the safety of not only our children, but for our country. Having students walk through metal detectors, carry clear backpacks and learn about guns and the history will help, but it won’t solve anything. Families will continue to become broken, lives will be lost and all there seems fit is to just wait and see what tomorrow brings.

As brave and empowered people #MarchforOurLives through the streets of D.C and cities around the country, let’s remember that #NeverAgain will our children fear for their lives at school. #NeverAgain will another mass school shooting need to happen before our eyes are opened again. #NeverAgain will legislators ignore our plea.

Stay strong.

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Alice

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2017 | A World Around Us

Notice: I know it’s a Tuesday, which isn’t the scheduled day for A World Around Us posts, but next Monday is Christmas and this post is a heavy one.

2017 has been a difficult year.

With climate change upon us and ignorant politicians turning their head the other way around, we’re almost forced to hide our most vulnerable side and continue like the world isn’t melting right under our feet. It’s old news right now, but when we see a video of a starving polar bear, our heart aches. It’s not like 100% of the proceeds we donate will go towards helping those in need. With a leader acting on impulse and people’s voices being shut down, we feel as though our power no longer stands anymore.

“What’s for dinner, mom?”

“The faded voices of change.”

With shootings from one state to another and bleeding into countries, we shout and scream while we stare at headlines and while we hold onto our loved ones. These shootings have become too numerous where we’ve run out of adjectives to fully comprehend them. The visiting hours at churches should be extended until we’re guaranteed a sense of safety. In 1949, duck & cover was taught to give a sense of security to the children. As I crouched next to my classmates at 7:14am, my math teacher shushed us and furiously whispered, “What if there was a shooter in our school right now? What would you do?” A thought passed through my mind, “We’re all dead if the shooter breaks through.”

“Mommy! I’m scared!”

“Me too, baby.”

With celebrity singers releasing a song titled, 1-800-273-855, the suicide hotline, to someone at my church seriously thinking about ending their life, we quickly scour our minds for a solution, a way to help and a reason why. Stevie Ryan – YouTuber, Clay Adler – actor, Kim Jong-Hyun – singer. They have grounded us by reminding us of our fading humanity, but they’ve also lifted us up into their work. May they rest in peace as well as the many others who have taken their lives. As for us, let’s create an ongoing dialogue to limit the feeling of oppression especially when it comes from yourself. Let’s create an ongoing dialogue to save those who still have decades to go. And let’s create a healthy dialogue where we’re unafraid to share.

“How are you?”

“Terrible, but can we talk?”

 2017 was terrible, but in about a week, 2018 will be here, hopefully brighter and with lessons learned from 2017.

The Rhetoric of iPhone | The World Around Us

On November 3, 2017, the iPhone X was released and as usual, lines spanning a couple blocks would emerge a couple days before the release date. Armed with tents and sleeping bags, the truly dedicated would sleep on the sidewalks to anticipate the release of the newest iPhone. It sounds absolutely ridiculous, but over the past ten years of Apple product releases, this is the routine that has been built up over these products. There are two types of people sitting in these lines. Those of which claim to be die-hard fans of Apple products and those who hope to make some decent money off of the iPhone. No one in their right mind would be willing to sleep on the sidewalk for a phone unless there is something they can get out of it.

If you’ve been living under a rock for the past ten years, then you wouldn’t be aware of the the reputation that Apple has been building up. Ever since it released its first iPhone, it changed the entire market of phone. Gone with the flip-phones and in comes the new touch screens. I’ve grown up in the “generation of iPhones” and I was mesmerized by having a necessity be so interactive. Each time Apple released a new phone, I was curious to see what they would do next. First came the multi-tasking abilities and second came the cameras and the new applications that would go with it and then came all the fastest and smoothest software. The phone looked classy, yet clean and it was pretty easy to use. It reeked of power, but looked humble in appearance. And with the expenses, you would have to have a decent amount of money to be able to afford it. This is everything we wanted to be — powerful and respected.

With that being said, everyone had to have an iPhone.

Because if you had an iPhone, especially if it was the latest one, then you would be considered powerful and respected. You would appear to have all of yourself together since you would have to have a decent amount of money to be able to afford it. Everyone wants to be friends with someone who has money because after all, they’re smarter. How else would they have been able to get that job to have all that money? They would’ve had to go to a top school with a relevant degree. And of course, you would’ve needed to be quite intelligent to get in.

In all seriousness, there exists a divide with iPhones and smart phones in general with those who want, those who desperately need it not for its software, but for its worth and those who have it. Why do people need to sleep on the streets just to get their hands on an iPhone and we only look upon them in fascination and admire them for the stamina rather than say, “Shouldn’t you be doing something else?” How come our society has transformed into revolving around what’s temporarily satisfactory rather than fixing the issues that surround us every single day? And what have we lost as a whole that has caused us to find comfort in the most powerful device in our pockets?

I was inspired by Casey Neistat’s video about the iPhone X where he decided to capture the perspective of those spending the nights on the streets, waiting for the iPhone X. He has made several other videos about each iPhone release and I definitely recommend watching them since he does a good job in showing both sides of why people want the iPhone.

iPhone X – FIRST IN NYC TO GET – slept on the streets for 5 days

Black Market Takes Over The iPhone 6 Lines

Thanks for reading and I hope this made you think!

Alice

Dear Familiar Stranger | A World Around Us

To those who have been hurt whether by themselves or by others with sharp stabbing words or with painful blows, hang on. Your soul will heal and your organs may still bleed, but what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger right?

To those who have been lured into a trap of use and misuse, never fear because there is love and genuine care out there. Someone will come along and gently take you in, feeding and nourishing you until you’re all better. Never let that someone go or you’ll be like the trap that broke you.

To those who feel perpetually lost with no light in sight, no opening to look for and nothing to hold on to, just know that liberation is near. Your eyes will soon meet light and this revelation will stun and surprise you, but it will be present.

To those who work until their fingers bleed, shout in the empty streets, but no one listens or cares, there is still time.

Dear familiar stranger, you definitely heard life is hard as if they’re saying suck it up as if they’re saying we’re all suffering out here, there’s no reason for your complaints. Let it out. Sit in the pain. Feel it only so you can conquer it. It only gets worse when you sit in it and let it overtake you because that just means you are lesser than what you have created when in reality, what you have created should compliment you no matter the difficulty.

Do you have any spare change? | A World Around Us

Something has come into my focal point and needs to be addressed. With these stories, I hope that I can bring light to a dire situation in need of people with power to present solutions. Hear me out.

There’s a street on my University that the students look at as the barrier between the university and the city. Students from different backgrounds walk through to get their fix of coffee or Chipotle. Nurses and doctors are able to get a quick meal before needing to head back to work. And then, there are drug addicts and the homeless who sit on the side of the street and ask the busy for change or even a meal.

Option 1:

“M’am? Do you have any spare change?

“I’m sorry. I don’t have any.” 

That was usually how the exchange went. They would saunter back to their original position, standing or sitting and we would walk away to grab lunch, that spare change being used for our personal nourishment. In your mind, an exchange questioning their background using your personal judgement and concluding with their best interest and your own in mind that they would do better without the cash and you have no time for them — the sorry truth and an air full of privledge.

Option 2:

“Ma’am? Could you spare some change?”

“I don’t have any cash on me, but I could get you some coffee.”

“That would be wonderful.”

“How do you take your coffee?”

With your heart full, you head into Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts and buy the coffee exactly how they wanted it, a medium with 4 creams and 6 sugars. It’s only a couple dollars, they stay warm and it doesn’t take too much time out of your schedule — the ideal situation. You return to the streets with the coffee and watch a smile erupt onto their face, a sense of gratitude flooding your body, yet when you leave that street, you wonder about their dinner.

Option 3:

“It’s not raining that hard out! You don’t need an umbrella!” he chuckles and says. I smile and head into CVS for my fix of snacks because I was addicted to sugar. I’m back out on the street again, backpack full with lunch and in my hand, I carry a bag full of gummies. The man approaches me again calling me out on my umbrella and saying, “Hey, sometimes you gotta feel the rain on your face, like this!” he pulls off his hood and faces the rain, a goofy smile illuminating his face. His lively personality causes me to stop and smile and he approaches me and says, “Can I ask you a question?” I nod before he launches the all familiar question, “I was recently released from prison. Do you think you could spare some change for a meal or coffee?” On impulse, I shake my head and say that I don’t have any when I very clearly have money, my bag of snacks rattling in front of me as I quickly walk away. Statistics flood my head as I realize that either way, he must be telling the truth. He’s doing what he can to have a living even if it comes to asking strangers for money. I turned around in hopes that I could catch him wandering around so I could not only redeem myself with my slip-up but show him that he can trust people and that first impressions aren’t everything. The sorry truth is that it does.

Regardless of the ethics of whether or not the money would be put to use or if they really are what they claim to be, people are on the streets, hungry and without adequate shelter. On the opposite end, there is a moral battle between what had been implemented within us and what should be done that conflicts with the role we are called to play in society. Are you a true humanitarian? What is your personal motives for helping those who approach you? Would you act differently if you were with your friends or if you had all the time in the world? Is it for your own morale booster or simply because you see someone in need of a meal?

Consider the options. Think fast. Act fast.

Alice

Little Did We Know, More We Can Do | The World Around Us

This is the final installment from my project, but I plan on writing more about current events and my opinions. 

There is little that we knew of what will become of this election and even less now that the unexpected has occurred. With a gaping wound at our side, we know what we should do and that is to patch up the wound and prevent any more red from spilling and leaking without knowing. He may sit up top with his suits dry cleaned to perfection and the words coming out of his mouth never believable, but the masses potentially have a strong force against him. Rather than using our strength in numbers to throw him off, we should reunite ourselves since it is pretty evident that we were never united in the first place. Just as it takes some time for wounds to heal, it will take time for the country to be able to call itself the United States of America.

Shouting Red | The World Around Us

I remember reading a post stating, “If Trump wins I’m going to be openly more of an asshole to ignorant sexist racist homophobic people. No more being polite to these fucking idiots. Fuck.” I frantically shouted a response, “No, please. This is when things will certainly go down. Yes, he’s terrible, but if we are going to not be polite and be assholes, then doesn’t that make us just like him?!” I still had hope not that Hilary can win because that had gone by, but that the country isn’t as bad as it revealed itself to be. Among the 21k responses this post received, I can only hope and will that at least a quarter of the people responded as I did.

In the frantic nature of people, we are quick to panic and quick to shroud ourselves to protect our most vulnerable sides. Everywhere I looked, there were open responses of hatred, cutting sharp and leaving lacerations too deep to naturally heal. When I turned around, there were open responses of love, quickly patching and sealing the cuts, the gentle and encompassing red shrouded the sticky and oozing red, the leak that was always there, but we simply ignored because it was easier.

People bravely opened up their shirts to show the world their wounds that were caused from the other night, but the stood still without swaying and opened up the dialogue to converse with them. Our pain united the states and while it did force ourselves to expose the problems, we are evident that it is here. We can’t avoid it as it stares at us in the face. In one of my classes, we expected to just be jumping into Margaret Fuller, instead my professor opened up and said, “I stayed up late last night watching the election and I’m tired. You are also tired. Before we start class, I want to open up a discussion. If there’s anything you want to talk about, we can talk about it.” We stared back at her, not entirely comfortable with this open dialogue because our wounds were still raw but I appreciated her gesture of openness. On campus, a group of students holding handmade signs with “Send hugs not hate!” and “Love Trumps hate” and “Free hugs!” stood around smiling in the bleakness. When I walked by them, I smiled comfortably and felt myself stand up straighter.

My roommate and I hang onto the hope that because Trump is under so many watchful eyes, he wouldn’t do anything as reckless as he promised. We told each other about the small lights that we witnessed and we gave a small sigh of relief. People were shouting red, but for the right reasons.