The Rise of Birtherism

Written by Ariama Long

Our country has created some interesting and unassuming neologisms, most notably the addition of words like ‘hashtag‘ or ‘favorited‘ to link and save the latest social media phenomenon. However, not every new word we cultivate as a society is as safe and trendy. Recently, the new term Birtherism has taken on a life of its own.

This phrase is generally attributed to none other than business mogul, Donald Trump, when he savagely went after current President of The United States (P.O.T.U.S) Barack Obama in his second term run against Mitt Romney. Trump thrust himself into the limelight claiming that Obama had no right to run for presidency because he was not a natural born citizen, after which dominated a large percentage of the news coverage that year.

According to James Taranto, in his article published in the American Spectator, “That same week, Donald Trump’s revival of citizenship questions accounted for much of the attention directly on the Obama administration, at 4% of the newshole in PEJ (Project for Excellence in Journalism) reports.”

Briefly fueled by the media, Trump is slinging the same accusations against a new opponent, namely Ted Cruz. Birtherism thus takes a gruesome pirouette in the spotlight in a year where refugees, immigrants, racism, and religious outcasts are always sure to be the topic of conversation for any candidate. Considering that I’m not a huge fan of politics, I’d rather briefly discuss the emergence of this word and the societal attitude that bore it than rant on about Trump and his inveigling tactics.

As President Obama stated in his last State of The Union address:

 

 

Have an opinion? Leave a comment.

Advertisements

African-American Student Opens Case Against Alma Mater

This country is in a state of ‘turmoil,’ finding itself talking about race more often than not. Our society throws terms, like ‘turmoil’ or ‘justice’ or ‘race’, around like fists of shredded paper towels, too scared to stand beneath them. I’d like to take a moment from writing poetry to say that our country is not in a state of ‘turmoil,’ it is turmoil. Our country was born from struggle. There has always been an us, the Americans, and a them, the British; a North and South; and unfortunately a man-made separation between black and white.

It is this last point that is most evident in the Trayvon Martin case, the Ferguson riots, the recent developments on the University of Missouri’s campus; and, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC) findings against Chestnut Hill College in the case of Allan Michael Meads. A model African-American student, director, actor, and volunteer was expelled on unfair grounds and harshly escorted off the premises with only weeks until his graduation in 2012 after his production of ‘A Raisin In The Sun’ debuted on campus due to an alleged misappropriation of funds. Today, November 23rd, after fighting an uphill legal battle for the past couple of years, his case is finally gaining some traction.

Allan Michael Meads (left) in his starring role of the production of 'Fiddler on the Roof' at Chestnut Hill College.

Allan Michael Meads (left) in his starring role of the production of ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ at Chestnut Hill College.

As a member of the cast for ‘A Raisin In The Sun,’ I honestly didn’t think that a play about race relations would have such an impact on the director’s life in the very same way. Through auditions and rehearsals, building sets and finding wardrobe and props, it became clear, at least to me, that as the first all African American production at Chestnut Hill College (CHC) our play would always be more.

Mead, the cast, and the African Awareness Society on campus poured ourselves into putting on the best performance we could because of the unspoken expectations of us. For every student who had struggled with a feeling of discrimination at CHC, it was a big deal if it failed in any way.

After successfully coming together to entertain and simultaneously educate hundreds of people, Mead deserved to enjoy his accomplishment. Instead he, as well as the cast, were scrupulously questioned in regards to the proceeds of the play and procedures. The PHRC found that

“There was no written contract or agreement between Complainant [Mead] and Respondent [Chestnut Hill College] detailing the obligations of conducting a student performance.”

Nor was there a faculty adviser provided to inform us beforehand of how these things should be handled.

Now, for people who may speak about this occurrence in the future with terms like ‘race baiter’ or ‘black card,’ I’d like to address you. Not every battle over race is bloody. Sometimes an event is devoid of riots and violence. Sometimes its the pain of the everyday, persistence with lawyers and meetings that makes a difference. There are many within the minority of CHC’s community, and the country for that matter, that attend a predominantly ‘white’ school (PWS) thinking that an unseen hammer is always hanging above them, ready to strike down at the smallest slight.

In some instances we can regard this feeling as paranoia, and others are too obvious to ignore. When “100% of the African-American students charged with a violation were either expelled or suspended,” compared to the overwhelming amount of ‘white’ students found guilty of the exact same infractions or more severe offenses, received suspension or alternate correction only after multiple cases, we can not ignore the facts.

These findings in no way reflect the amazing professors, faculty, cooking staff, and security guards employed by CHC that work tirelessly to treat all of us, black, white, or in between, as students and friends. But, even so, I have had moments on campus where a comment or disdainful judgement has made me feel uncomfortable to say the least. Hopefully, our Alma mater will learn to grow from this experience in accordance to their mission, and help transform the school for future generations of graduates.

Even though the college refused to cooperate with Allan Michael Mead and the PHRC initially, they are currently in the pre-hearing stages as of today. I for one would like to see a peaceful resolution reached, but if the case does make it to trial, I’d stand in full support against what was an egregious mistake.

I welcome all questions, comments, or concerns on this topic, if you’d like to contact me directly. If you’d like to learn more about the case, please click on the link below:

Open Letter on Behalf of the CHC Alumni of the Color Collective

–Written by Ariama Long, Creator of The Poetry Corner, Member of CHC Color Collective

5 Ways To Get Past Your Poetic Writer’s Block

By Ty Jacoby

As poets and writers we all know that it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been writing poetry, how great you are at creating long and intricate pieces, or even how many stories and experiences you have to tell…we all get writer’s block sometimes.

Writer’s block is defined in the dictionary as a “temporary condition in which a writer finds it impossible to proceed with the writing of any work”. Sounds about right, sometimes it seems like there’s a literal block inside your brain preventing your ideas from communicating themselves with first you and then your pen.Often times this will stop you from being able to write for days and sometimes weeks on end. Trust me it’s not fun, especially when you have deadlines to make.

So how exactly do you overcome your poetic block? Well, in just a few simple steps you will be on your way to beating writer’s block in no time.

Think of a topic that you’re passionate about

What gets you fired up? What topics make you feel 10 different emotions all at once? Whatever it is, identify it immediately. It could be anything that you have an opinion on, want to tell a story about, or have a unique interest in. The faster you pinpoint what you want your piece to be about, the better. Try not to spend more than 10-20 minutes thinking of a topic, not only is it a waste of your writing time but poets go wrong when they spend days trying to find the best topic to write about. The best thing is whatever hits you the most.

Start Writing Down Key Ideas

Grab a piece of paper and pen or pencil of your choice…no, do not write anything down in the notes of your smartphone…and start jotting down words and phrases that come to your mind when you think of this topic. It gives you almost a list of things that can be used once you actually start to write your piece. Writing things down on paper also makes you think more critically and it helps you remember your ideas better. Things you write down could be anything! Even rhyming phrases. For example sometimes when I write songs, one line of the verse or chorus could come to my head and I just think to myself, “I should write that down”. Next thing you know by the time I go to the write the song I’ve got all my best lines down on paper for me to just organize into a flow of lyrics.

Write and Don’t Think

Don’t worry, you’ll have plenty of time to think later. One of the worst things about writer’s block is that feeling of being stuck because everything you think to put down on paper doesn’t “sound right” to you. It prevents you from getting the pen going, and once you get the pen going it gets easier to keep writing. Therefore the most important thing is to just start writing and don’t worry so much about the technicalities until you’re done and you’re ready to revise. That’s what revision is for, so you can think, but when originally writing a piece you want your freshest and most raw thoughts to be on paper first and foremost, so that you’re not contemplating the perfect first line for hours.

Look For Inspiration in Things

Having a hard time finding inspiration? Watch a movie, read a book or talk to some fellow poets. Sometimes when I’m stumped on what to write my poem on, I’ll watch slam poetry on YouTube to get me inspired. A lot of times I’ll just watch some of  my favorite poets perform and it somehow loosens up my brain a little bit so that I can start writing. Reading short poems or poetry books usually can help too.

Take a Break

You know how they say if you can’t figure out a puzzle you’re trying to solve, put it down and come back to it later? Sometimes we tend to focus too much to the point where we’re frustrated and not seeing any more answers or clues. However upon returning later, you find things you didn’t see before and it’s easier to think now that you’ve unloaded all that pressure. It’s actually pretty true, and the same can be so when you’re writing a poem.  So putting down a poem and coming back to it later is never bad. You may even think of some other great lines you could put in there while you’re away for a while.

All in all writers block is a very common thing, even in poetry and can be overcome by taking these small steps. Happy Writing!

Share this post if you enjoyed it.

I Know You Rest In Peace

Maya Angelou, my hero, died at age 86 in her beautiful home in North Carolina today.

“She lived a life as a teacher, activist, artist and human being. She was a warrior for equality, tolerance and peace,” said her son, Guy B. Johnson.

Her poem “Still I Rise,” was the first I ever recited, ever memorized, ever performed, and ever loved. As a kid her words found me in a dark place when no one else’s did, and continue to inspire me to rise beyond who I was. My only hope is that she passed knowing that she moved countless generations to poetry, and that she fermented a love of language that could leap oceans.

Inaugural, outstanding poet, will never cover how much Maya Angelou meant to the literary community. Her life and works awe millions. So I challenge you this day, in honor of a woman who was always more than just a poet, to rise above and believe that words can make a difference. In truth, they are the only things that have ever infected and effected change.

 

Still I Rise

Maya Angelou, 1928
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.Maya Angelou in Oil

Spotlight: Shawn Price

Shawn Price, an 18 year old from Maryland, runs Trail Blazing Writers . A writer flirting with words and girls since the 6th grade, he started taking it seriously in high school. His page includes creative stories and hot topics as well as poetry that hits his audience square in the heart.

 

“I’m not very unique or special, I just have a lot to say. llSo I write, because I know if I speak; I live. I don’t want to say too much about myself. I’ll let my writings speak to you and explain myself in my views and feelings.”

 Check out his poetry and more on tbwriters.wordpress.com!

Let’s Review

Whoa…

What the film lacks in faces on the screen it makes up for in outstanding shots, CGI or not, of Earth as it spins through unbounded space. In fact, spinning is probably the key element to this movie. A single motion can set off a chain reaction that we have no control over, yet we find purpose in straightening out and moving forward. Drive to live is what makes us unbearably and remarkably human. Clooney, who plays the funny, charming, and dashingly experienced astronaut to Bullock’s fledgling character, is also her conscience, her will, and philosophically a projection of the inner voice of God that tells us not to be afraid.

That’s Real!

Playing to the depths of our souls, the unknown, and space. Even if the movie wasn’t in IMAX, I still would’ve cringed. Among the phenomenal graphics that pushed us deep into our seats with the singular prayer that what we were witnessing was in fact a movie and not some awful time warp where we had been transported into our deepest fears. An unconventional horror film that doubles as a realistic Sci-Fi flick, Gravity, starring Sandra Bullock, George Clooney, and a clawing realization that death is always closer than we think, made this definitely worth the $17 ticket and IMAX glasses.

Plot

“Life in space is not possible.”

The premise of the movie, stated in the opening credits, is that “Life in space is not possible.” A point that turns a paradox into a running joke as we follow the astronauts through their struggle to survive a pernicious environment that seems hell bent on testing their will at every turn. The larger symbolisms here, that escape most, is that we live on a planet revolving in space. How is our lives possible and why? Questions that the movie skillfully avoids. It does, however, confront the unknown and chaos that orbits Death. In this movie fear, death, and fear of death are palpable and concrete. Not the abstract ideas we think about among the daily grind of menial existence but right against the glass; as close as a crack in a helmet, a slip in life’s crucial grip, or panic at the wrong moment that flings us off into a dark, shapeless void. Scary as hell, to the point where all you can do is grip the seat and hope that the intensity will subside, which it never does. The film makes the audience feel as if they are just as lost in space, holding their breath like each one is a grain from God. No one inhales too much, not until the end do we all dare to breathe deeply with the character.

Soul Survivor

Arthur Schopenhauer wrote about The Will as the fundamental and indestructible building block to mankind, that intellect is irrelevant in the grand scheme of our lives. This film demonstrates his theory with the interaction between the only two fully developed characters, but mainly within the conversations she has with herself. Tom Hanks had Wilson in Cast Away, Will Smith had Sam in I am Legend, but the film makes the point over and over again that she, Ryan, is the “sole survivor”. It has a final tone to it that permeates throughout her experiences. She is on her own disconnected from the living on Earth, and even the dead in space, curled into the fetal position, she has only herself and her will to keep going.

Janice Kuklick: Our Superwoman

An Amazing Athlete
A passionate advocate of social change and athletics, Janice Rensimer Kuklick, M.Ed., Associate Professor of Physical Education Chair of the Physical Education Department, has longed practiced what she preaches through years of dedication and hard work.

A celebration
The premise of Janice Kuklick’s presentation last Wednesday afternoon was to celebrate the last 40 years of societal and legislative progress towards gender equality.

“No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance” (Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 to the Civil Rights Act).

Until this particular piece of legislation passed women struggled to be recognized as athletes, and indeed continue to. But thanks to the tireless efforts of women and students at Chestnut Hill College, and across the country, the fight to be seen as equals on and off the playing field doesn’t wage on in vain.

The Mission kuklick

Her entire career is essentially an attestation to the cause. Janice Kuklick has been named a member of the Plymouth Whitemarsh High School Hall of Fame, the West Chester University Athletic Hall of Fame, the Pennsylvania Lacrosse Hall of Fame and the USA Lacrosse Hall of Fame. These prestigious titles are only in addition to her 35 years of service to the college as staff since1977 and her being a student here as well. She has held almost every office involving the athletic department from player to amazing instructor to director, as well as playing her hand as author and mature role model for virtually any student that has come in contact with her.

Her Influence
Shannon Salandy, a senior education major, said “I have class with her now, yoga and pilates. And she’s still got it. She really pushes her students through hardwork and motivation…and pain.” She added comically as she related her experience on Kuklick’s class. Many students marvel at the intensity and drive Janice Kuklick manages to exude with every activity. Richard Browne, senior science major who learned how to swim from Kuklick’s beginners class , had this to say when asked what he thought about his teacher’s long career, “It’s ridiculous, but you know, in a really good way.”

Its not just the students that admire Janice and all that she accomplishes on a daily basis, but the Chestnut Hill faculty and staff as well. Susan Magee, M.F.A. Assistant Professor of Communications, reflects on when she was a student at the college and had Kuklick as her instructor. “She was like pregnant and doing more than I ever could. I mean it was hysterical that we couldn’t keep up with her.”

An Inspiration
She will always be remembered and loved as the most energetic and lively person at Chestnut Hill, and an inspiration to male and female athletes and students alike.

Break-in At Breakers Bar

The Burglary

Two men were arrested and indicted after breaking into a local business, Breakers, a billiard hall and bar at 549 E. Meadow in Mohave County, earlier this morning. The two assailants George Butner, 38, and Max Brewster, 24, were apprehended shortly after the crime was committed. They’re currently being held in the Mohave County Jail and charged with burglary, resisting arrest and vandalism, with a bond for each of them of $15,000.

At the Scene

“I have no idea what the two men might have been looking for,” said Manager Hank Ng, 44. The pair broke through a back window at about 4:25 in the morning to enter the club, setting off a silent alarm. Ng identifies footprints outside the broken window, and a barstool had been set under the window for easy access into the room.9819995-large

Troy Delmer, 33, manager of Bill’s Breakfast Burrow, across the street from Breakers, saw some of the action. “It was about 5 a.m,” he said, “Well, I looked up and saw two men run from behind Breakers…They didn’t even make it out of the parking lot when the cops got ’em. Those cops were fast.”

Sgt. Ray Broadmall of the Kingman Police Department, who was unable to comment at the scene, corroborated Delmer’s relation of the events.

The Coastal Hurricane

Incredible Damage

The mid-Hudson region is still reeling from this weekend’s horrendous floods, which have produced tens of millions of dollars in damage, some of the worst destruction in this area in half a century. Residents have been left standing in silt-strewn yards and waterlogged homes desperately trying to salvage their possessions. Officials have reported that it will take weeks or even months before complete repair to washed-out roads and bridges is even possible.

Volunteer Recovery Efforts

Road crews can be seen working overtime, scrambling to open once-flooded roads. American Red Cross workers across the region are tirelessly endeavoring to find motel rooms for scores of people unable to return to their homes. The Federal Emergency Management Agency, 61065<which has been occupied with a mammoth terrorism drill, expects backup teams from Texas to reach local flood zones tomorrow.

Federal Disaster Relief

Officials and statesman hurry to organize some sort of help for their citizens. Gov. George Pataki has officially declared Orange, Ulster and Sullivan counties disaster areas. “Just in public infrastructure alone, we’re looking at millions,” said Bruce Kirkpatrick, Ulster County’s deputy director of emergency management, “… And the human cost … How do you measure the human cost?” Officials hope to get a true measure of the devastation after state and federal disaster assessment teams tour flooded areas in two dozen counties in southern New York and western New Jersey. These assessments could guarantee federal disaster relief and allow residents to apply for low-interest loans to rebuild homes.

Severe Flooding
untitled
Carol Clancy who normally runs the My Friends’ Place day-care center in Livingston Manor, a community in northern Sullivan County, is already thinking about the next flood. Livingston Manor, Deerpark and Ellenville are all water-rich lowlands and have flooded before. This is the second flood to hit her area in the past six months. Clancy is buying new rugs to replace the ones ruined in the day-care center, where water rose to the doorknobs. Her new rugs are dark green — “And ones that I can roll up in a hurry for the next time,” she said. In Deerpark, at the intersection of the Neversink and Delaware rivers, officials say they expect to condemn 160 homes. The floods caused at least $24 million in damage to that town alone according to an Orange County spokesman.

A Hundred Year Flood Level

The Neversink River reached the highest level recorded in Godeffroy since the U.S. Geological Survey began taking measurements there 68 years ago. The river crested just over its 100-year flood level, a measurement that federal officials set based on prior high-water years. The Neversink exceeded levels recorded in the late summer and early fall of 1955, when a potent series of hurricanes and coastal storms pounded eastern New York.

The Delaware also flooded in mid-August of that year after hurricanes Connie and Diane struck the region in a single week.

“We had five days of solid rain, the kind of rain you look at and say, ‘That can’t last for long – it’s too heavy.’ … It was so wet, the ground couldn’t hold it,” ninety-two-year-old Dorothea Solomon, who was Port Jervis’ deputy director of civil defense in those days, said, “The same thing that happened this time.”

The Delaware River in Port Jervis also came close to its 100-year flood level as determined by FEMA. The flooding was less remarkable for the Wallkill River, where waters reached 15-year flood levels. Upstream, in Sullivan County, high waters exceeding 100-year flood levels caused $16.5 million in damage to roads, bridges and other public properties.

Needless to say this weekend’s flood will not be forgotten, setting new records as well as impairing the lives of thousands.