Influential Women of the World

BY: AMARAH DIN

Every year on March 8th, people from across the globe come together to discuss the issues that women face and how society can progress in caring for women. This day is known as International Women’s Day. In order to further commemorate and honor the contributions of women in history and society, beginning in the 1980s, March was declared as Women’s History Month. Instead of waiting for others to make change, there are women who spark movements themselves. These women have crossed boundaries and broken glass ceilings to help their communities and the world. In the spirit of Women’s History Month, here are some extraordinary women you should get to know.

Malala Yousafzai

Yousafzai is an activist for girls’ education. She’s been advocating for a girl’s right to education ever since the terrorist group, the Taliban, banned women from attending school. After speaking out against the injustices in 2012, she was shot by a member of the Taliban; fortunately, she survived. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize at the age of seventeen. She now attends Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford. Get to know about her current activism:

https://malala.org/

@Malala on Instagram and Twitter

Nadya Okamoto

At sixteen-years-old, Okamoto co-founded the organization, PERIOD, to provide menstrual aid to girls in need after experiencing homelessness in herst years of high school. The organization distributes pads, tampons, and menstrual cups to people experiencing period poverty. PERIOD has served over 850,000 periods globally and hopes to destigmatize the topic of menstruation. In 2018, Okamoto wrote the book, Period Power: A Manifesto for the Menstrual Movement. She has sparked dire conversations about the reality of menstruation and has helped so many girls with their struggles. Take a look at the organization’s goals and find a chapter near you:

https://www.period.org/

@NadyaOkamoto on Instagram and Twitter

Greta Thunberg

Thunberg is widely known for her environmental concerns and protests. The seventeen-year-old from Sweden started the movement, #FridaysForFuture, to promote the creation of climate policies regarding the crisis affecting the earth right now. She has faced much backlash from climate change-deniers, but persists in raising awareness and rightfully demanding climate action. Get to know about her movement:

https://www.fridaysforfuture.org/

@GretaThunberg on Instagram and Twitter

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Ocasio-Cortez is the U.S. House Representative for New York’s District 14. Majoring in International Relations and Economics, AOC graduated from Boston University in 2011. She has proposed legislation like the Green New Deal to combat climate change. Her goal as a congresswoman is to provide justice for people of all races, genders, economic backgrounds, etc. Get to know about her goals for America:

https://ocasio-cortez.house.gov/

@AOC on Instagram and Twitter

Helena Gualinga

Gualinga lives in Sarayaku, Ecuador, a part of the Amazon Rainforest. The indigenous people that make up her community have faced oil companies taking over their land and destroying everything in sight. At the 25th annual United Nations Climate Change Conference, Gualinga called out world leaders for not doing enough to combat the lasting effects of environmental injustice against native people. She speaks for indigenous groups all over the world. Learn about activism within the indigenous community:

https://www.wecaninternational.org/post/people-power-rises-for-climate-justice-at-cop25

@HelenaGualinga on Instagram / @SumakHelena on Twitter

Yara Shahidi

Shahidi is a model, actress, and activist. She inspires black girls through her role in the shows, Black-ish and Grown-ish, and many others; she has shown continuous support for the Black Lives Matter movement. Shahidi co-founded an organization called, Eighteen x 18, which encourages the youth to vote and also started Yara’s Club through the Young Women’s Leadership Network of New York to tackle poverty through education. She currently attends Harvard University where she is double majoring in sociology and African-American studies. Get to know about her organization:

https://www.eighteenx18.com/

@YaraShahidi on Instagram and Twitter

Roxane Gay

Gay is the author of best-selling books, such as, Bad Feminist, Hunger, and Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture. She often discusses the importance of girls breaking societal standards. She mainly writes fiction, but a lot of her work is about the struggles of being a queer black woman and dealing with eating disorders. Her work is eye-opening and inspirational to many readers. Learn more about Gay’s past and her literature:

http://www.roxanegay.com/

@roxanegay74 on Instagram / @rgay on Twitter

Meghan Markle

The Duchess of Sussex is known for her acting career and relation to the Royal Family, but Markle has been an activist since her youth. Early on, she protested against the Gulf War and sexist television ads, and she volunteered at soup kitchens in her teenage years. As a growing actress, she began speaking out against sexism within the industry and in foreign countries. She regularly visits and donates to struggling communities. She is an inspiration to young girls around the world. Take a look at the organizations and charities Meghan Markle supports:

https://www.royal.uk/wedding-charity-donations

Emma Gonzalez

After surviving the 2018 Parkland school shooting, Emma and her classmates have continuously fought for gun control in Florida. They started the March For Our Lives movement, which sparked a nation-wide school walkout. Students all over the United States have hosted protests, marches, and walkouts since then. Emma has called out the National Rifle Association for their blatant disregard of the death by gun violence statistics in America. Her outspokenness inspires students to demand change. Learn more about the movement:

https://marchforourlives.com/

@emmawise18 on Instagram / @Emma4Change on Twitter

Senate Acquits Trump Of All Charges To End Historic Trial

BY: ALEXIS COPE

After five months of investigations and three weeks of hearings, the Senate officially acquitted President Trump of charges of abuse of power and obstructing a Congressional investigation of his actions. This makes Trump the third president in American history to have been impeached but not removed from office. Presidents Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton were the only others on this short list.

Neither article of impeachment collected the required 67 votes necessary to remove the President, or even gather a simple majority. The first article, abuse of power, for threatening to withhold military aid to Ukraine if they refused to investigate the Bidens, fell through 48 to 52, and the second, deterring a Congressional investigation, lost 47 to 53. 

Had either of these notions won by the two-thirds majority, Trump would have been removed from office.

Members of the Senate voted very much along party lines, with all Democrats voting “guilty” and the Republicans backing Trump with their “not guilty” votes. Republican Senator Mitt Romney of Utah was the only member of the House to vote with the opposite party saying Trump’s actions were, “the most abusive and destructive violation of one’s oath of office that I can imagine.” Three moderate Democrats who were expected to flip stayed with their party; these were the Senators for Alabama, Arizona, and West Virginia.

Democrats insisted the result of the vote was illegitimate and fabricated by the Republicans.

President Trump’s re-election campaign released an official statement following the verdict:  “President Trump has been totally vindicated and it’s now time to get back to the business of the American people….This impeachment hoax will go down as the worst miscalculation in American political history.”

The impeachment process has put significant strain on Trump’s re-election campaign, however. While not the Democrat’s desired outcome, it’s the stain on him, and his presidency, that they have been hoping for, and it could tarnish him in the eyes of many a voter. However, the acquittal has given the campaign possible ammunition to rally Trump’s supporters behind them by using the ordeal as an example of a Washington facility that has been out to get him, and by extension, his supporters.

Trump is the first President to run for a second term after being impeached.

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(National Review)

Voting: What it Means to Me

BY: AMARAH DIN

I am seventeen-years-old. I’ll turn eighteen two weeks before the General Election, and according to North Carolina law, I’m allowed to vote in the Primaries as well. I’ve dreamed about voting ever since the 2016 election. I saw things I didn’t agree with and felt it was my duty to make those wrongs turn right through voting.

I come from a very political family. My parents are on opposite ends of the political spectrum. Being the eldest child, I didn’t want to disappoint either of my parents by picking a side; though, as I grew older, I found myself on the left end of the political spectrum. I felt comfort in the morals and values of the Democratic Party, and that’s where I find myself today.

I’ve experienced a lot of hate throughout my years of speaking out against injustices against women, Muslims, and people-of-color. I’ve received rude messages and tweets, and I’m made fun of every time I talk about what’s wrong with our country. Nevertheless, I will continue speaking out because I know that my beliefs help others. My only purpose in life is to help those in need, and I work towards that every day. I plan to leave a mark on this world. 

Voting is a way to make one’s voice be heard. I want to be able to say that I voted for progression, not regression. Voting is an American civic duty, and I want to take part in the systematic change of our country. On February 24th, 2020, I participated in Early Voting and voted for Democratic Primary Presidential Candidate, Bernie Sanders. 

Even if you can’t vote, take part in local protests, organizations, or raise awareness about certain issues on social media. Doing something is better than doing nothing. Because if we all take small steps together, the distance we travel will be far greater than if we were divided. 

State of the Union Recap

BY: EBENEZER NKUNDA

Article II of the US Constitution requires that the President of the United States deliver a State of the Union from time to time, including a budget report and legislative proposals. Every president uses the State of the Union as a way to update the people on what has been done and what there is to do in the country, but The State of the Union is nothing without some form of rebellion. 

Memorable moments include Democratic Congresswomen wearing white in honor of the women’s suffrage movement; during Trump’s talk on gun laws, father of a killed Parkland student started to scream his disagreements and was escorted out by security shortly after. Also, something that stole the show and gained a lot of attention online was Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi who immediately ripped up her copy of President Trump’s State of the Union speech after he finished speaking.

One of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s guests for the event, Fred Guttenberg, a gun violence activist who lost his daughter in the Parkland school shooting in 2018, was escorted out of the House chamber by police after loudly shouting something at the president during his address.

Here is a quick recap of what President Trump mentioned in the Speech. 

Economy

Population growth

Government Expenses

Standard of living for the American People 

Education

Healthcare

Criminal Justice System​

Military/Veterans relations

Immmigration

Infrastructure

Environment

The History of Cary High’s Integration Process

BY: Ebenezer Nkunda

Over 50 years ago, Cary High was an all-white high school, like many schools during that time. However, that all changed when 6 black students came to the school. In 1962, the Wake County assistant superintendent and the board decided that the county needed a “Negro High School” to accommodate the growing black student population. In 1963, the Wake County board of education approved a transfer of six students from an all-black school to the all-white Cary High School. These students were the first in the county to be authorized under the “freedom of choice” policy that had been adopted by the Wake County Board, following the Supreme Court’s decision on segregation in Public Schools. 

On August 30, 1963, integration officially began in the Wake County System; as predicted– it wasn’t easy. Gwen Matthews, one of the first black students entering Cary High, recalls her first day with white students, the racist shouts and chants against integration engraved in her memory. The black students did not want to return the next day, but they say they were influenced and encouraged by their parents that it would get better. In an interview with the News and Observer, Gwen Matthews said the demonstrations lasted for ten days and county school officials had to be brought in to make sure no organized community demonstration happens. 

Even though the anti-integration demonstrations stopped, the lives of the six black girls didn’t get easier. Gwen Matthews recalls that in the days prior to her integration, her father tried to prepare her for the name-calling that she would experience; however, she says she wasn’t “prepared for the intensity.” Her father told her not to retaliate after the name-calling, which makes sense, retaliating allows the white students to pinpoint you as “dangerous.” These six students were not accepted into Cary High life with open arms. Teachers and students both ignored them. One student recants the events of when white students would physically move their desks and seclude her, making it seem she was in her own world. 

Many things have changed since Cary High was integrated; for example, the mascot was originally the “White Imps,” but was later turned to simply “Imps” after black students voiced their concern on the racist connotation it could portray. The integration of Cary High led to the integration of the entire Wake County system. It is those brave six girls who set the pace for all other black students in the county. Lucille Evans, Frances Louise White, Gwendolyn Matthews, Brenda Lee Hill, Esther Lee Mayo, and Phyllis Rose are why we have black students Cary High today; these six girls are why Cary High is the Cary High it is today.

Crown Act.

BY: EBENEZER NKUNDA

The CROWN Act ensures protection against discrimination based on hairstyles by extending statutory protection to hair texture and protective styles in the Fair Employment and HousingAct (FEHA) and state Education Codes.

This shouldn’t be needed; it shouldn’t even be a problem—but it is. We keep seeing discrimination against black bodies because of something as simple as their hair. Discrimination based on hair texture is a form of social injustice, found worldwide, that targets black people—specifically black people who have afro-textured hair that hasn’t been chemically straightened. Black hair has frequently been seen as unprofessional, unattractive, and unclean as eurocentric hair is known as “the good hair”.

This is why black women have often felt the need to assimilate to the majority. Cultural assimilation in regards to hair causes black women, who are constantly attacked with negative images and messages about their textured hair, to be forced to resemble the bulk (white women) to be accepted in society. This suggests that natural hair or the hairstyles that black women create/wear are ugly, ratchet, unprofessional and/or ghetto. Black people can be fired from their jobs, expelled from schools, or punished because of the natural state of their hair. So they straighten it to fit the eurocentric beauty standards of our modern society. Black people often don’t have any choice but to assimilate to these beauty standards to avoid microaggressions or unequal opportunities. This need to assimilate to a dominant culture is a survival tactic, not an optional fashion trend to abide by.

In 2018, high school Wrestler Andrew Johnson was given an ultimatum by a white referee before a match: cut your dreads or forfeit the match and your team loses. He couldn’t be the person to cause the team to lose, so he cut his dreads. His dreads were cut then and there on the floor during the match. Just in the last couple of months, DeAndre Arnold, a black Texas student, has faced in-school suspension for failing to cut his long dreadlocks. Arnold’s family said he has been wearing his hair in locks since the seventh grade and it is an expression of his Trinidadian heritage. They have asked the school for an exception to the rule. Officials at Barbers Hill High School, a public school in Mont Belvieu, Texas, told Arnold and his parents that he may be forbidden to attend graduation in three months unless he cuts his hair. How is this fair?

These stories are why the CROWN Act matters—why it is needed in all 50 states. As black people, we shouldn’t have to turn down our blackness. Not for anyone. Not for anything.

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(Good Black News, 2019)

It’s Black History Month!

BY: EBENEZER NKUNDA

It is February, Black History Month. A month where in many schools, students will be learning about historical black figures and events that were pivotal in making the United States what it is today. This is an amazing month, but how did it come to be?

Carter G. Woodson was the son of former slaves. He spent his childhood working in coal mines and Quarries. At nineteen years old, he entered high school, finishing in only two years. He later went on to earn a Master’s degree from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. from Harvard. As he was in school he saw how black people were not represented in books and history as they should be. He claimed that as he was in school, Black Americans were cut out of the story of shaping America in history lessons, a blatant falsehood. He became unsettled by this information, so in 1915, Woodson and Jesse E. Moorland, an associate of his, founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, which is now referred to as The Association for the Study of African American Life and History. The organization was made to promote studying black history and celebrate the accomplishments of Africans Americans. In 1926, Woodson launched Negro History Week to help schools teach about important black history. Woodson chose the second week of February for his celebration because it marks the birthdays of two men who have incredibly impacted the lives of Black Americans. Those two men are Frederick Douglass, who even though he did not know his actual birthday, celebrated it on February 14 and Abraham Lincoln, whose birthday is on February 12. Many mayors accepted this week in their cities until it was made a national observance as Black History Month by President Gerald Ford in 1976. 

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Portrait of Carter G. Woodson (biography.com)

Schools today now use this month to teach about many black important figures and it’s no secret, MLK, Harriet Tubman, and Rosa Parks get a lot of attention. This month is so much more than learning about important black figures in history. It is a way to fight the invisibility and negative imagery of black people that still exist today. In a society where black people have historically and systematically been viewed as less than, Black history months’ goal is to inspire and instill pride in the black community for generations to come. Black History Month is so much more than a month, it’s a lifestyle that is year-round. It’s a reminder that a month is not enough to educate. The attention that Black history and black people get throughout February must be year-round because it matters. So I encourage you, learn something new, support black business, stand up, and show your support not just in February, but all year.