These articles remind me that our generation can make a huge difference in the world, even through just a computer screen. Also that the economy could collapse at any moment, if anyone with REAL money made a sudden move. The redditers that invested in the Game Stop stock affected Wall Street daily. We have that kind of control available at our finger tips, we have the power to change things. This should be taught in schools. The stock market is such a crucial part of the economy. Teaching students about stocks could benefit both the country and each person who decides to take it further independently. Schools or parents could use beginner apps such as Robinhood as mentioned in the article. Even just using programs that simulate stocks so that money is not involved as a teaching method could benefit our future economy. Stocks should be open to everyone who wants to participate. The “young and inexperienced” are the new generation. Anyone who owns stocks right now is either young and inexperienced or once was so. If they are restricted from owning stocks then no one would know about them. Social Media has exposed many young people to stocks and has created many aspiring investors. Why would we kill that kind of excitement? The stock market is already fast paced. Some of my family friends own stocks and are always on top of it, even at times like 3 in the morning. The stock market holds a lot of power in our country and there are many lessons to be learned from it.
Sadness crawls through another month
Spreading its seed and feeding off the chaos
Our hope wears thin as we slip further away from unity
Bottled up rage from years of injustice finally coming out
Breaking down invisible barriers and shattering glass ceilings
A fury of fists some in rebellion and some in resistance
All emerging now in a fight for their beliefs
Now, even after all whole year we still are being met the devastating effects of this pandemic and another month passes with little change in the national situation. I saw this sadness specifically in the picture of the woman crying in the top left of the collage and her tears that are falling through all of the other pictures that represent this month partially tainting their meaning. The fire and general confusion throughout the collage as a whole shows the chaos and disunity that is being felt in our nation. The images of the fists and the mouth spewing some type of energy were very strong signs of rebellion and with many different fights for equality being fought right now in America, it is important that people are standing up for what is just even when times are tough. Another theme I noticed in this collage was control, shown by the TV remote as well as the word “control.” In this collage, I saw this as part of a battle between the outbreak of justice and the oppression that has been controlling people for so long.
I lie in my bed in the darkness
One post caught my eye
Another person of color has died
I’m deeply upset and I have a feeling
That everyone else is angry as well
I see their tears, I feel their rage
We want this injustice to end
With picket signs and posters
They march through the streets
Unwilling to accept defeat
These masked warriors
Unite against a unified hate
To make themselves heard
And make a change for good
The explanation for my poem is that I tend to go on my phone to see what is happening in the world today. When I stumbled upon a post that talked about the death of a person of color, I was upset that it was because of their race. I already knew how people would react to this, and so they gathered out in public with their signs, expressing their anger towards the injustice done to the victims. Regardless of the pandemic, people were angry, and so they had to protest for a good cause.
When I first saw the collage, there was so much going on that it was hard for me to focus on just one thing. As I looked closer I could discern some elements that were significant to March of last year. I saw faces wearing masks, which related to the pandemic. I also noticed a photo of the upper half of a woman’s face with a wavy red shape. This reminded me of the Breonna Taylor case, an event that sparked nationwide outrage.
Amanda Gorman the youngest inaugural poet in America history read, “The Hill We Climb”, on January 20th, 2021, as Joe Biden was sworn in on the steps of the capital as president. Gorman’s poem followed the flexible guidelines she was given when asked to read at the 2021 inauguration. The theme for the inauguration was “America United” and Gorman expressed this through her poem remarkably. In listening or reading Gorman’s poem we are given a chance to look at the past and how it has gotten our country to this point. In an interview with the New York Times Gorman said, “Now more than ever, the United States needs an inaugural poem. Poetry is typically the touchstone that we go back to when we have to remind ourselves of the history that we stand on, and the future that we stand for.” Poetry is much more expressive than a traditional speech or prose. It takes us into the mind of the poet and allows us to feel every emotion poured into the piece. A speech can tell you how it is but poetry tells you how it feels. Gordon’s “The Hill We Climb” uses striking descriptions and raw emotion to unify Americans after such catastrophic events these past years have brought us. This poem captures the emotions of frustration, hope, anger, pride, bravery, and many more representing how we all have felt these past years. These emotions are a thing speeches could not completely convey.
“We are striving to forge a union with purpose, to compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and conditions of man.” I appreciate that alliteration that Gordon used in this phrase. Even after it was read the continuous use of the letter “c” as well as the words she chose lingered in my mind. Gordon also said, “So while once we asked, how could we possibly prevail over catastrophe? Now we assert, How could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?” These sentences make me feel strong. America has grown to become a country that can succeed. I am inspired to fight for our country’s unity.
March marks the beginning of Spring and often a time of growth and new routines. This year, the month of March indicates one year since our school shut down with the arrival of the coronavirus in the United States. One long year later and the country is still suffering at the hands of the virus, yet the creation and distribution of vaccines presents a new bit of hope for the eventual end of the pandemic. In my collage I have included multiple images that relate to the Covid-19 pandemic and vaccines, seeing as it is still something our lives revolve around. Another tragic outcome of the pandemic is increased hate crimes directed towards Asian people in the United States, especially within the past few months. In response to violence towards Asians, such as the the shooting of six Asian women in Atlanta on March 16th, people have fought back by protesting and calling for the arrests of those who have committed the recent hate crimes. The image of the hand holding a gun is representing the mass shooting that occurred in Boulder, Colorado near the end of March and the increased pleads for gun control that followed. I have also included pictures to show how March is Women’s History Month and despite our progress as a society, 97% of women aged 18-24 have experienced sexual harassment in public. Throughout March as we celebrate the many accomplishments of women we must also remember the great distance we still have to go to achieve gender equality. Lastly, I have ended my collage by including images of Spring and hope for the future.
The government has been thinly veiling this injustice for years now and it is time for us to rise up. They have been in control of every technological device from the start and are now attempting to use it and a virus to control us, but we will not stand for this. They have denied that they have been watching us and have said that we are safe from prying eyes. However, we are never truly safe. The government has mind manipulation abilities and they have been building up their army for quite some time. Their soldiers wear facemasks and set fire to institutions that do not comply with the government’s orders. What they do not realize is that we have a plan of our own in the works in an underground facility and we have the element of surprise on our side. We call ourselves the Vaccinators. They try to keep us inside telling us that there is a virus and we must quarantine, but they just want our attention diverted. Everyone is being driven mad and are showing signs of depression. We must put an end to this before it escalates any further. The Vaccinators make an attack on the heart of the operation at the White House. They somehow saw right through our plan and threatened us with our captured loved ones. This means war.
When looking at the pictures in the collage I thought of rebellion and speaking out against injustice or fighting for freedom. That is what inspired me to write this story. I also added some details featuring images found in the collage to make it more interesting and to better fit what the collage represents.
This collage is meant to show my experience last March. The days begin in a steady and somewhat normal way, but then become more spaced out as they felt longer. Eventually the days become all blurred together, and the numbers at the bottom are random and curved and the pictures are kind of all over, because during that time, time itself seemed to stop feeling linear. The pictures start out with me focusing on school and books and videos, then the blue house represents my grandparents’ house, since I remember that weekend was the last time I was there until September. At that time I was getting used to seeing only the upper half of people’s faces in the news, so that is the man’s face, and the cart is our class’s homecoming cart. The big balloons were what we inflated for the Homecoming dance and the elephant and flute symbolize playing in Pep Band. The day before spring break I came down with a cold, which is the sneezing person, but that could also be us collectively beginning to understand what Covid was. I babysat during spring break, so there is a diaper and pacifier, but it was also my birthday so there is a cupcake. In mid-March the nation learned of the murder of Breonna Taylor, which sparked protests and brought awareness to racism and police brutality in the Unites States. The images on the bottom are straightforward and boring, they represent what I did during the long spring last year. Finally, the background is a grid or a net, because while staying at home protected me, eventually it also made me feel trapped.
Hateful tongues spew gas
Tempers flare brightly with fuel
Never a fire heals
Looping through routines
Hidden behind masks are worlds
Waiting to start life
I chose to write a haiku poem based on the illustration of a collage calendar. The first image I noticed was the mouth with the yellow lines coming out of it and it reminded me of the things that have been said on social media lately. This inspired the first line of my poem and the visual of a mouth with flammable gas coming out ready to be ignited.The next two lines come from the image of flames with the bright red and orange colors. When people are angry it is often compared to a fire with the stronger flame meaning stronger anger. I ended the stanza with the line, “Never a fire heals,” which is a reminder that you can’t use fire to build and that anger destroys. In the second stanza I start with a line that almost everyone can relate to and that is the feeling that every day is just like the last. Especially during quarantine it seemed like nothing ever changed and that we were stuck in the doldrums. Then I went on to describe how even wearing masks contributed to the feelings of isolation and how people can hide behind their masks with only their eyes showing. To end the stanza I remarked on the common feeling that life at large has been put on pause and everyone is waiting for it to get back to normal.
Lilly is upset because she had to go online for school in the beginning of March. She hates online schooling because—like the majority of her peers—she likes going to school in person and seeing all of her teachers and classmates. Not to feel locked up in her house with her crazy family. However, she is happy that she gets to go back to school for one more week and then it’s spring break. During spring break, she did a lot of things that she was too busy to do when she was working on school work. She decided to do some relaxing yoga with her cat, doddle some flowers in her notebook, and write in her diary. Thankfully, it was a very sunny spring break and one sunny day, she and her siblings decided to go out the road and do a bonfire. Before going to the bonfire, they went to the store to get some snacks and for some reason, they also got a big slice of strawberry cake. Being in the store made her miss how things were before Covid and not wearing a mask all the time and being able to see other people’s faces, but she is trying to see the brighter side in everything. Lilly hopes this virus will pass with more positive news than negative ones, because we all experienced enough negative.
I wrote this story from the top of my head just by what I see in this picture. Since I saw a bunch of random things that were happy and sad, my story came out a bit random with a mix of happy and sad. I viewed it as a perspective of a normal school girl in Cordova going through her days during a global pandemic where the world is not in a very good place. I tried to make it where she knows that she is not in an ideal situation, but she also tries to keep it positive and light.
The subject of my collage was Rudolph and the boy with a mixed-up and pixelated face. The boy, with his features re-arranged, embodies my mentality this month–trying stay composed while being present in many different places all at once. I also added a few images around the pixels making up his face, including the “12”, the girl with the blurry face, and a circle with the eye and pen. To me, this represents the potential my ideas hold. The two figures, one to the right of the boy’s face and the one on his left shoulder, symbolize the roles or responsibilities I’ve taken on that will eventually lead me to something greater. I found the article titled, “The Existential Despair of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” quite comical. My existential despair partnered with a sense of duty and hopefulness for the future makes me like the boy with the pixelated face. I also included the words “the years that matter most” and in response “I know, I know; It’s good for me” because it reminds me of interactions I have with my parents. So much of our future is dependent on the work we do in our high school years–especially during the last quarters. The small boxing glove is a reminder that all of the work I’m overwhelmed by is temporary, that I can knock things out. The boxes (to the left of Rudolph’s legs) reminded me of the boxes on to-do lists, which seem to be endless during this month, even when I’m not in school. I chose red for the main theme because these two images together are quite striking and because it represents passion and urgency.
This calendar is not labeled with a year,
and instead feels like centuries
On a single sheet of colorful construction paper.
365 days, and every month
Holds a new catalyst,
An obstacle to overcome,
Or a feeling evoked from being
Locked up since last March.
Too much time on a screen leads to
Empty human beings who rely on
The digital world to focus–
How many zoom calls have I been on
That I’ve actually paid attention to? (Not many)
Frontline workers are being recognized as heroes–
Why didn’t we always reward them for that?
Meanwhile, the capital is burning and
I don’t know how many more fires I can watch be
‘Put out’ before I call this country on its bullshit.
The calendar might read as 2020,
but politicians have written us back to 1968,
Where black people must fear for their lives,
And virtue tries to prevail
In the form of raised fists and rallies.
A disorderly calendar to describe a disorderly year,
Where colors are vibrant
But don’t cover up our fear.
All the days may appear messy and unclear.
But that’s okay:
We always have next year.
My poem describes and interprets some of the images: the fire, the raised fists, the phone screen, and the healthcare worker with a halo over her head. In my poem, I called out the messy organization of the calendar and the vibrant colors that are used. I interpreted this calendar as if it were from 2020, the year of the lockdown, and at the end, I use some irony: we always have next year. Now, in 2021, most of the things in this poem are still occurring.
I came across a story about a safety-net hospital in Chicago that offers free mental health services to minorities and immigrants through its Community Wellness Program. The minorities specifically focus on Hispanic and Black residents. Saint Anthony Hospital provides free therapy for individuals and couples, as well as support groups for adults suffering from chronic depression, anxiety, and trauma. During the COVID-19 pandemic, people have been receiving therapy through the use of technology, which is similar to a Zoom meeting. This is known as telehealth, and it is rapidly expanding and becoming useful in treating people with mental health issues. However, the use of telehealth can have disadvantages, such as poor internet access and elderly patients finding it difficult to use technology. SAH has also provided services for staff members affected by the pandemic.
I chose this story because the title caught my attention, and I think that free mental health services are necessary during the pandemic. Everyone is affected by the pandemic, and so it is important that we should be offered free therapy because sometimes we find it hard to cope with what is happening. As a minority, I find it especially important for different races and ethnicities to be given these services for their mental health. Discrimination and prejudice among people that aren’t white has been an ongoing battle. Minorities have less advantages, and since COVID-19 has struck, people are forced out of jobs and have been pushing through this pandemic with little to no money to support their families, let alone themselves. Although we’ve been experiencing numerous hardships, we’ve also managed to make it through a tough year.
In the Washington Post article, A high school student needed help with tuition, so an unlikely group stepped up: Prison inmates, Kellie B. Gormly wrote about the end of an era of economic struggles for student Sy Newson. In 2017 Sy was a sophomore at Palma School – a private Catholic school with a yearly tuition of $12,900. During these times, Sy’s parents were suffering from medical bills for the both of them; one needing a heart transplant and the other had lost their sight from a softball accident. A few inmates at Soledad State Prison had a group called Exercises in Empathy in which they decided to sponsor a student that needed help with their tuition at Palma School. Within the span of 3 years, they raised a total of $24,000 for Sy with an additional $8,000 from other donations, allowing Sy to finish off the rest of his high school career.
I am a strong believer in the idea that America’s prison system should focus more on helping inmates become better people (like a rehab), rather than caging them up like animals. Having read this article, it gave me hope for our prison system and how the inmates are being given the option to better themselves. I am not denying that there are awful people in prison that deserve to be there, but most people are still good humans that aren’t defined by their mistakes. Jim Micheletti, a teacher and director at Palma said, “We will all hurt people and we will fail…so what comes next?” This is something that is always on my mind, not only for those who break the law. I try to have the optimistic mindset that people will want to get better after their mistakes, therefore they should be provided with these options to grow from their actions and be better than before.
On Tuesday, March 2nd, 23-year-old Thai sailor Thatsaphon Saii jumped into the ocean to save four little cats from a flaming, sinking ship. The boat had caught fire before it began to sink, and its eight crew members had already been picked up by a passing fishing boat. The Navy vessel Saii was on went to check the sinking ship for oil spills but soon saw four cats perching on a crane in the bow. Saii jumped out of his boat and swam 50 feet in choppy currents to rescue the cats. He put three of them into an old rice sack and carried the other one on his shoulder as he swam the other 50 feet back to his boat. The felines and Saii returned safely to the Navy vessel and once on shore the cats were fed, hydrated, and taken care of by the people who rescued them. Saii and his crewmates became labeled “heroes” by animal lovers, and their adorable pictures with the cats seem to have been circulating widely, especially In Asia.
I chose this story because it’s just good and left me with a good feeling about people. Saii knew that he could save the animals, so he did it. This story is also funny to me because “hero saves kittens from fire” is a cliché we seem to hear a lot said sarcastically, but people still love it, and they probably always will. It’s seems innate for us to love when the helpless are saved.
Without power, this Texas restaurant gave out 500+ free meals to those in need
Recently due to extreme storms in the state of Texas, people have been living in horrible conditions and many are even living without power in their own homes. Without electricity, many people have also lost the ability to cook warm meals. Luckily for the people living in Plano, Texas owners Ari and Blinera Isufaj saw this horrible situation as a way to give back to the community and show their gratitude for the continued support they have received during the pandemic. The married couple runs an Italian restaurant called Bella Italia Ristorante and they were able to cook up food on their stoves because they were gas-powered instead of electric. On Wednesday the 17th of February they gave away over 500 lasagna and spaghetti meals to the people in their town and on the following days they reopened completely but still offered anyone in need of food free meals if they needed. Many people in the following days praised the restaurant for their kind actions on social media and the couple Ari and Blinera Isufaj who run the establishment said they had no idea how much of an impact their generosity would have. I chose this story because I think these people’s actions were very pure and selfless. Being able to give so much to your community in a time when many restaurants are closing down or losing a lot of support is hard and putting other’s needs before your own is truly noteworthy.