Protesting ICE: A Perspective From the Frontlines

BY: BEC HOROWITZ


My siblings and I left home at 11:30. We arrived in Graham after the hour and a half drive at 1. The speeches began at 1:20. The crowd marched at 2:00. The crowd was stopped by police barricades at 2:05. We sat Shiva, a Jewish mourning ritual involving song, prayer, and kneeling, for the lives lost in US detention centers in the middle of an intersection at 2:30. The riot gear emerged at 3:00. Sound cannons went off at 3:15. Tear gas was threatened at 3:45. At 4:00, the arrests began. We retreated to private property. At 4:12, a girl in front of me was pulled from the curb into the road by an officer and arrested. At 4:15 we resumed singing, louder than the sound cannon could ever blare. We faced off with the police for another hour, face to face. And they had clubs. 

This is the reality of peaceful protests in 2019. 

On November 24th, Never Again action, a Jewish organization sponsoring protests against ICE detention center across America, held its first event in North Carolina. Approximately 300 Jewish, Latinx, and black activists and their allies met at the Center for Spiritual Living in Graham to end Alamance County’s $2.3 million contract with ICE, signed by Sheriff Terry Johnson. For months, Johnson’s policies have terrorized Alamance communities, resulting in the arrests and detainments of hundreds of immigrants in deplorable conditions. One speaker recounted his detainment before we began marching. He described the injuries he received there, sexual abuse he suffered, and the complete absence of health services. Another speaker explained that when she was arrested for a traffic violation, the police took her passport and work visa. It took weeks for her to get those documents back, weeks she lived in constant fear of deportation. 

As my sister and I stood at the frontlines, facing the armed and armored police directly, we began to get a small glimpse of the all-consuming terror immigrants feel day-to-day living in Alamance County. We felt it creep up on us as police apprehended and arrested two women simply standing on the public sidewalk across from our group, watching and filming the protest. I saw it in the flash of fear in the eyes of a woman behind me, who told me I reminded her of her daughter before handing me a small mask to cover my nose and mouth when we heard the police threaten that they had tear gas ready. It gripped me in the smallness, the unimportance, I felt as we sat Shiva, the mourning prayer of my people, and the police laughed at us, trampling over our strong silence. 

November 24, 2019 was the first day I felt truly connected to my Jewish community. It was also the day I lost all trust in the police. I wish I could have experienced the spiritual empowerment of our gathering without the violence and horror of the police response. Peaceful protest should never be met with unflinching brutality and fear tactics. Especially not when the majority of those demonstrating are minority groups. My involvement in this event taught me one very important thing, a lesson clear in the stark imagery of armed police lined up before strangers hugging and crying and singing as one: violence is the weapon of the oppressor, but love creates change.    

Pictured: Bec Horowitz (in orange pants) and their sister (in green plaid) listen to speakers before marching. 

Photo Credits: Anthony Crider

Cr: Anthony Crider

Bec Horowitz (author) pictured right. Cr: Anthony Crider (above and below)

A Recap of the Fifth Democratic Debates

(Demetrius Freeman for The New York Times)

BY: SARAH GOVERT

The fifth Democratic debate took place on Thursday, November 20th with ten hopefuls still vying for the Democratic nomination in the upcoming 2020 presidential election. The remaining candidates and debaters include the following: Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, former Vice President Joe Biden, South Bend, IN Mayor Pete Buttigieg, California Sen. Kamala Harris, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobucher, Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, entrepreneur Andrew Yang and billionaire activist Tom Steyer. At the start of the debate, the frontrunners were considered to be Warren, Sanders, Biden, and Buttigieg. Following the debate, these four remain at the top. MSNBC and the Washington Post co-sponsored the debate. Rachel Maddow, Andrea Mitchell, Ashley Parker, and Kristin Welker moderating. Maddow is the host of the MSNBC nightly news show The Rachel Maddow Show and a political commentator; Mitchell is the NBC news foreign affairs correspondent and host of “Andrea Mitchell Reports” on MSNBC; Parker is White House reporter for the Washington Post; Welker is NBC News’ White House correspondent.

We chose three main topics of the debate that caused disagreements between the candidates, highlighting some of their fundamental differences. Let’s take a look at these categories and see what each candidate had to say.

The Impeachment Inquiry:

Warren began the debate, focusing on the Mueller report and the evidence it provides to show that the president attempted to obstruct justice. She also discussed Ambassador Sondland as an example of the corruption in Washington, seeing that he has no qualifications for his position. Klobuchar responded with an attack on President Trump, saying that he “is a president that not only with regard to his conduct with Ukraine, but every step of the way puts his own private interests, his own partisan interests, his own political interests in front of our country’s interest.” Sanders focused on the American people—specifically those struggling within the country. Following the first three speakers, Senator Harris and Mayor Buttigieg both contributed to the discussion of the criminal conduct on the President.

Medicare:

Division of the Democratic Party over Medicare was a large topic of the night. Senator Warren and Senator Sanders are running on Medicare for all and former Vice President Biden is running on rebuilding Obamacare. Warren discussed her plan to bring down the cost of prescriptions, defend the Affordable Care Act, and bring 135 million people into Medicare for free in her first 100 days as president. Sanders followed Warren’s plan with his own—to introduce Medicare for all in the first week of his administration. Biden rebuked both of these plans, saying that they would never pass in the Senate with the Democrats right now. He provided his plan to build on Obamacare, add a Medicare option, and allow the people to choose what they wanted. 

The Climate Crisis:

Climate change was another big topic of the evening, especially on the candidates’ plans to ensure bipartisan support would be there to continue the fight against climate change. Gabbard discussed one of her plans for the first time that evening, stating that she would “[transition] our country off of fossil fuels and [end] the nearly $30 billion in subsidies that we as taxpayers are currently giving to the fossil fuel industry, instead investing in a green renewable energy economy…” She continued on to say that the United States should invest more in local agriculture. Moderator Maddow gave Tom Steyer the chance to jump in because one of Steyer’s main political points is climate change. He was quick to say that he would declare climate change a national emergency on day one of his presidency, and that he would “make sure that [his] climate policy was led by environmental justice and members of the communities where this society has chosen to put our air and water pollution.” Biden responded by stating that he believes climate change to be an existential threat to humanity, adding that he “[passed] the first climate change bill… managed the $90 billion recovery plan, [invested] more money in infrastructure that related to clean energy than any time we’ve ever done it.” Sanders interjected to state that climate change is happening now, and that we don’t have decades to do something about it. He also said that he will possibly prosecute the fossil fuel industry, to let them know that “their short-term profits are not more important than the future of this planet.”

Additional Resources:

Candidates’ websites:

https://elizabethwarren.com/, https://berniesanders.com/, https://joebiden.com/, https://peteforamerica.com/meet-pete/, https://kamalaharris.org/, https://corybooker.com/, https://amyklobuchar.com/, https://www.tulsi2020.com/, https://www.yang2020.com/, and https://www.tomsteyer.com/

The full transcript of the debate: https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2020-election/read-democratic-debate-transcript-november-20-2019-n1088186?yptr=yahoo

Mr Yasick: The NCMEA Choral Teacher of the Year

BY: SARAH GOVERT

Mr. Yasick—Cary High’s outstanding chorus teacher, the “godfather of the fine arts department” in the words of Mr. Bryant, and now the NCMEA Choral Teacher of the Year. Mr. Yasick was recognized for this well-deserved honor at the Honors Chorus performance in Winston-Salem last Sunday, November 10th. The Teacher of the Year award has been given prior to the performance each year since 2001, making, Mr. Yasick the 19th recipient.

A great deal of work went into the consideration of Mr. Yasick for the Teacher of the Year award. The process starts with a nomination by another choral director in the state of North Carolina. The criteria for a nominee includes: being an active member of NCMEA and teaching in North Carolina for at least five years. In addition to these qualifications, a letter of recommendation citing the merits of the candidate must be submitted by the nominator, and the nominee must send in an updated resume, including their philosophy of teaching. Following this process, five or six choral directors are nominated for the final vote, which takes place at All-State in April. The voting body includes the high school choral teachers in the state of North Carolina.

Mr. Yasick met all the criteria. He was a member of the board from 2006-2018, receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award during his last year on the board. He first became involved with NCMEA when former Enloe High School Choral teacher Anne Huff asked him if he wanted to become the Choral Activities Chair. From this position, he went on to become the Chair of the Board of NCMEA for two years. In addition to being involved with NCMEA, Mr. Yasick has been teaching at Cary High for 24 years, helping the choral program grow from 33 to 200 students. When asked how the arts department has evolved during his time here, he responded, “The program was nowhere near as big as it is now. I mean, we never did Galas and all the stuff that we do now together with the band and orchestra and having the art people in the same building and everything else.” He has helped transform the Cary High School arts department throughout the past 24 years. 

Mr. Yasick shown being crowned by Mr. Bryant to recognize his award (WCPSS)

When asked what this award means to him, Mr. Yasick smiled and said, “It’s just a real honor. I mean, it’s such an honor, and it’s really nice to be recognized by your peers across the state that know the work that you do and be able to give you an award that recognizes people who made a difference in choral music in North Carolina.” To celebrate Mr. Yasick earning this well-deserved award, Mrs. McCormick gathered a group of about 50 people to surprise him in Winston-Salem last Sunday. They sat out of sight in the last three rows of the Stevens Center, making themselves known by screaming and clapping when Mr. Yasick’s name was announced. That was not the only surprise. On Wednesday morning the second period performing arts students had the chance to celebrate Mr. Yasick on his way to class—rolling out the red carpet and showering confetti on his head while he walked down the hall to the chorus room.

Cary High is lucky to have the newest NCMEA Choral Teacher of the Year producing and inspiring generations of talented musicians. This honor is truly well-deserved, and we are so proud of Mr. Yasick and the work that he has done and continues to do for all of his 200 students and counting.

Mr. Yasick shown conducting his chorus class. (WCPSS)

Syria, Turkey, and the Plight of the Kurds

GETTY IMAGES

BY: ASHLEY LOGUE

Just a few weeks ago, the centuries-old conflict between the Kurds, an ethnic minority group based in parts of the Middle East, and the country of Turkey was thrust into the international spotlight. The reason for this newfound deluge of worldwide attention? The Trump administration decision to withdraw American troops from the Syrian border, where they were allied with Kurdish forces in defeating ISIS. 

The Kurds comprise the largest ethnic minority group in Syria, making up between five to ten percent of the total population. They are mostly concentrated in the northern region of Syria, which shares a border with Turkey. Large Kurdish communities also exist in Turkey, Iraq, and Iran, but no country in the world has a majority Kurdish population. The Kurdish population in Syria gained international recognition for their boots-on-the-ground efforts to eradicate the terrorist organization known as ISIS, or the Islamic State, which gained power after the turmoil of the Syrian Civil War in 2011. Their involvement began after the United States joined a multinational coalition in 2014 aimed at defeating ISIS; this coalition soon allied with Kurdish militant groups who consistently proved themselves as forces to be reckoned with in the region. 

While the Kurds are heroes to the free world, Turkey is distrustful of them: the Kurdish militia that proved itself irreplaceable in the fight against ISIS is considered by some to be a subsidiary of a Kurdish insurgency group within Turkey known as the Kurdistan Workers’ Party. This subset of the Kurdish Turkic population has brewed guerilla violence for decades upon decades, leading Turkey and the United States to label it a terrorist group. Turkey sees Kurdish reclamation of land formerly controlled by ISIS as a threat to their national security, and fears that Kurdish extremists could convert those fighting for freedom into those fighting for insurgency. The Obama administration tried to smooth over this conflict of interest by encouraging the Kurdish militia to adopt a different name and enlist more non-Kurdish freedom fighters. This policy enjoyed moderate success, as the group has since been renamed to the Syrian Democratic Forces and about 40 percent of its members are non-Kurds. As a show of good will, under Obama, American troops stationed in the region began patrols of the Turkish border to preserve peace. American goals of Turkish appeasement even went so far as to convince the Kurdish administration to retreat from the border and dismantle some of their defensive capabilities. 

However, President Trump has largely been an opponent of continued United States presence in Syria and what he views as “endless wars.” Campaign trail promises to his supporters finally came to fruition as he led an official order for American troops to leave the Syria/Turkey border after consulting with the Turkish president on October 6th, 2019. The American retreat effectively opened up the region to Turkish attack. An alliance of Turkish troops and Syrian Arabs began an invasion of Kurdish-held territory on October 9th. The invasion quickly devolved into chaos; American troops experienced several close calls with Turkish firepower while attempting to retreat. As a result, the Pentagon reevaluated the situation, and orders have now been sent for a full withdrawal from northern Syria. While President Trump has slapped Turkey with economic penalties for their invasion and treatment of Kurds, Americans, and their allies in the region, all that will be left of the American footprint is a small base in southern Syria. 

What does this mean for the rest of the world? Firstly, Turkey and their allies immediately benefit: Turkey can reclaim land from groups it views as dangerous, with over 75 square miles of Syrian-turned-ISIS-turned-Kurdish territory seized by the Turks in just one weekend. Secondly, Russian support of Syria turned insidious: the Syrian regime is taking back power previously held by Kurdish forces, supported by money and influence from the Kremlin. The Putin administration has even emerged as the main intermediary between the Kurds, Syria, and Turkey, expanding their power in the region to the detriment of United States interests. The final concern is perhaps the most widely recognizable and most widely feared: the resurgence of ISIS. The Kurdish militia no longer has the capabilities or support to attack remaining terrorist cells or guard the over 11,000 captured ISIS militants in the region. 

Abandoned by America, Kurdish freedom fighters are alone in the region, surrounded by enemies on all fronts: Syria, ISIS and Turkey, with Russia pulling the strings. Only two questions remain–will the international community ignore the anguish of our allies? Or will we help them as they so bravely helped us?

American Companies and the Controversy They Spark in Hong Kong

BY: SARAH GOVERT

Hong Kong citizens have protested every weekend for the past four months. Recently these protests have escalated in violence, but why should we care about the protests happening in Hong Kong? The answer: it’s complicated.

Markets around the world have become more and more politicized following the Hong Kong protests. Controversies have arisen as the protests have garnered the sympathy and support of American companies. The New York Times lists some of these controversies with Western companies. Coach, Givenchy, and Versace produced shirts that identified Hong Kong as an independent country. Tiffany & Co ran an ad in which a model held her hand over her right eye (a reference to the protester in Hong Kong getting shot in the eye). Other companies have acted in support of the Chinese government. Two of the biggest are Blizzard and the NBA. (New York Times Business, 2019)

Blizzard is a video game developer and publisher whose credits include games such as Diablo, World of Warcraft, and Hearthstone. On October 6th, immediately after winning one of the largest Hearthstone tournaments in the East, professional video game player Chung “Blitzchung” Ng Wai was banned from playing Hearthstone for a year, and all his outstanding prize money was revoked. The punishment came after a post-game interview in which Blitzchung said, “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our age!” This punishment by Blizzard resulted in extreme backlash from players, fans, and even employees of Blizzard. As a result of public backlash to Blitzchung’s ban, Blizzard reduced both Blitzchung’s and the casters who conducted the interview’s bans from a year to six months. Blitzchung also received all the prize money he was owed, but the damage was already done. This situation sparked a bipartisan agreement between Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon and Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida reprimanding Blizzard’s censorship. Following this incident, many well-known players have stated that they will not cast at BlizzCon 2019 from November 1-3. Other game developers are responding to Blitzchung’s controversial punishment as well. Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games, tweeted out that “That will never happen on my watch as the founder, CEO, and controlling shareholder.” (Beauchamp, 2019)

Recently, the NBA has found itself in a similar situation as Blizzard. According to TIME.com, “The controversy erupted after Daryl Morey, general manager of the Houston Rockets… 

appeared to support Hong Kong demonstrators in a tweet late Friday.” (Wallbank and Cang, 2019) The tweet was quickly deleted, but the Chinese saw the incident as an additional Westerm company questioning the motives and control mainland China has over Hong Kong. China is the NBA’s leading market internationally, leading to extremely profitable licensing/retail deals growing for the past 11 years. The NBA is now at risk of losing all of this. The tweet by Morey contained an image that read, “Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong.” Multiple companies such as Li Ning Co. (sportswear) and Shanghai Pudong Development Bank Credit Card Center have already suspended cooperation with the Rockets, and Rockets gear doesn’t come up anymore when searched for on Chinese e-commerce sites operated by JD.com Inc. and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. Following Morey’s tweet, the NBA released an apology calling Morey’s statement regrettable and that the business is “deeply disappointed about Morey’s inappropriate comment” and that “he undoubtedly has hurt Chinese fans’ feelings severely.” (Wallbank and Cang, 2019) With their cautious approach to handling the situation, the NBA’s actions, much like Blizzard’s, led to bipartisan criticism. Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas blasted the NBA for “shamefully retreating”, with both Democratic presidential candidates from Texas agreeing; O’Rourke called the apology “an embarrassment” and presidential nominee Julián Castro stated that Americans can’t be “bullied by an authoritarian government.” (Wallbank and Cang, 2019) Some players have unintentionally gotten involved in this larger controversy. On October 14th, LeBron James was interviewed and stated  “we do have freedom of speech. But there can be a lot of negative that comes with that too.” The international backlash was immediate. In Hong Kong on Tuesday, October 15th, a group of around 200 gathered on a basketball court to chant their support for Morey and direct obscenities towards James, with one throwing a basketball at a picture of James and trampling on his jersey. Some protesters in Hong Kong even burned his jersey. James Lo, a web designer that runs a basketball fan page in Hong Kong said that, “James’s comments had infuriated many in Hong Kong… We just can’t accept that.” (Guardian, 2019) 

As American companies take a stance on Hong Kong, Hong Kong’s craving for independence gains more publicity every day. This has created a cycle where more companies are being forced to choose between their economic interests and their morals. If they side with China, they have access to one of the most lucrative markets in the world; however, is that worth widespread criticism and boycotts back in the states? When this cycle forces massive corporations such as the NBA and Blizzard to take a stance, our entire nation’s foreign policy is affected. This directly shows how incredibly powerful protesting for what you believe in can truly be. To learn more about the background of the ongoing protests in Hong Kong, check out this article.

Further Reading:

Companies involved in China controversies: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/09/business/dealbook/china-companies-nba.html

All there is to know about Blizzard: https://www.cnet.com/news/blizzard-hearthstone-and-the-hong-kong-protests-heres-what-you-need-to-know/

Info about Morey: https://time.com/5694150/nba-china-hong-kong/

Why Hong Kong hates LeBron: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2019/oct/15/hong-kong-protestors-burn-lebron-james-jerseys-nba

Club Spotlights at CHS

BY: AREEBA JALEEL & RIA DEVGON

Anime Club

Looking for friends and like anime? Check out Anime Club in Room 2330 (Mrs. Duncan’s room). The club meets every Friday to nerd out and watch anime. If interested, you can join the remind @chs0otaku.

Science Olympiad

Science Olympiad is a club where all together a group of students compete in 23 events pertaining to various scientific disciplines, including earth science, biology, chemistry, physics, and engineering. The club is very fun and collaborative; if interested, you can contact the club advisor Raqhi Sarsour or join the remind@arogya

Robotics Club

A group of students who are interested in learning about and working with robots. The club participated in robotics competitions, where teams of students must design and build a robot that can compete against opponents in a series of specific challenges. If interested, you can contact the club advisor at jcrooks@wcpss.net, and you canjoin the remind @chsrc1819

Speech and Debate

Speech and Debate is a club where students learn and use the skills needed to write, edit, and present either topics of interest as speeches, or arguments in formal debate. You also can compete in tournaments! If you like to write, argue, and work with friends, this club is a great fit for you! If interested, you can contact Mr. Jessee at pjessee@wcpss.net

Key club

Being in Key Club allows you to perform acts of service in their communities, such as cleaning up parks, collecting and organizing food drives. If interested, you can communicate with the leader through remind @649eb4.

World Lit Book Club

Do you enjoy reading? If so, then you should definitely take an interest in joining this club. A group of excellent readers, usually consisting of a number of people who read and talk about books based on an agreed-upon reading list. If interested, you can contact the club’s advisor, Ms. Stevens, at gstevens@wcpss.net

Red Cross Club

Its mission is to educate and empower students through constructive training and effective leadership and provide opportunities for directing and harnessing their energy into worthwhile humanitarian activities. If interested, contact the club advisor at kfitzpatrick@wcpss.net or join the remind @h33k7ff

IMProve Club

Being in this club allows you to interact with other students while pitching in ideas on how to improve the school’s campus. Our latest project is working on a plan to paint a mural on the 400 building. If this is something you want to take apart of, contact Mrs. Reid at sreid3@wcpss.net or join the club’s remind: @imps19 

Knitting Club

Do you love to knit? Do you want to learn how to knit? If so, this is the club for you! This club meets together to learn the skills of knitting to create fabrics to show off their style. If you are interested, contact Mr. Tarasco at ptarasco@wcpss.net.  

Muslim Student Association (MSA) 

MSA strives to build unity through diversity and education. It aims to provide for people of all backgrounds, levels of knowledge, and to learn fascinating stuff about the Muslim religion. If interested, you can join the remind @828ace8, or contact Mr. Ashburn at sashburn@wcpss.net

What Are The Hong Kong Protests All About?

BY: SARAH GOVERT

Every weekend for the past four months, protesters in Hong Kong have taken to the streets to send a message all the way to Beijing in mainland China. Since the protests began in June, they’ve escalated in violence and frequency. According to BBC News, protesters stormed “Legco”, the Legislative Council in Hong Kong in July, defacing parts of it through graffiti and symbols. On October 15th, in what would have been the first meeting of Legco since the defacement, opposing lawmakers jumped onto tables and began shouting at Chief Executive Carrie Lam, as she was about to begin her speech, leading to the suspension of her annual address. In August, a protestor was injured, leading to other protesters wearing red-colored eye patches in solidarity. Continuing protests at the Hong Kong airport have led to hundreds of flights being cancelled. On October 1st, the 70th anniversary of communist rule in mainland China, the protests hit their most violent day yet, with an 18 year old being shot in the chest and protesters fighting law enforcement with projectiles and poles. (BBC, 2019)

But what began the widespread protests in the first place? The answer is quite simple: the introduction of an extradition bill this past April.

According to BBC, the extradition bill “would have allowed for criminal suspects to be extradited to mainland China under certain circumstances” (2019). Citizens of Hong Kong feared that this would lead to unfair trials and give mainland China greater influence over Hong Kong. The mass protests and demonstrations that resulted led to Lam agreeing to suspend the bill on June 15th, mere weeks after it was introduced. However, the protesters demands haven’t yet been fully met. Some pro-democracy protesters have adopted the motto: “Five demands, not one less!” These five demands are as follows: “protests not being characterized as riots, amnesty for arrested protesters, an independent inquiry into alleged police brutality, implementation of complete universal suffrage, and the withdrawal of the bill.” (BBC, 2019) Only one of these demands has been met, so protests are expected to continue. 

On Wednesday, October 23, Hong Kong’s security minister announced the formal withdrawal of the extradition bill. This movement forward proves that public outcry is continuing to move forward legislators. These widespread protests have also invoked global economic conflicts which has led to many American politicians taking a stance. To learn more about how American companies are involved in the movement in Hong Kong, check out this article.

Further Reading:

Hong Kong protests explained:
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-49317695

Lam abandoning speech after protests:
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-50065292

Formal withdrawal of the bill:
https://news.yahoo.com/hong-kong-completes-process-withdrawing-080100864.html

FEATURED IMAGE: GETTY IMAGES