Oh, The Places I’ll Go

With a couple of Home Depot boxes, ranging in sizes, a white laundry hamper (which I purchased at the Clearance aisle at Walmart) and a suitcase full of aspirations, I embarked on a 6-hour car ride to a place I would call home for the next 4 years of my life. Coming from an underdeveloped high school for inner city students, I placed expectations of how college life would be. I envisioned all the things that college brochures are so good at promising and the immense amount of freedom to decide the path I found fit. Immediately, I could see the difference between high school and college. I enjoyed the ability to pick my classes, live on campus, and interact with my peers in a way I could never do with my past classmates. I felt intellectually challenged by those around me which pushed me to think beyond my original aspirations for the first semester of my freshman year. Despite having a memorable semester, I have also learned from the struggles I encouraged as a result of the decisions I made. I remember the words of wisdom my mentors and advisers gave me before departing for college. While most of them had to do with avoiding procrastination and mastering my time management skills, the reality was far from that. It all started with my inability to start. Continue reading “Oh, The Places I’ll Go”

The Future (I hope), Solarpunk: How Good Does That Sounds?

Fun fact: In 9th grade, my English teacher tasked us with the difficult assignment of creating our own utopian society. We needed to create the foundation which included the Declaration of Independence and the geography of our population, the culture our residents would uptake, the economy such as jobs and agriculture, and finally the laws and policies within our society. As most 14-year olds would think, it was a pretty good project. It meant that we could build our very own world from the ground up but, most importantly, it meant that we didn’t have to read any more boring books. Continue reading “The Future (I hope), Solarpunk: How Good Does That Sounds?”

Pessary and Reproductive Rights

Disclaimer: The following blog post focuses on topics such as pro-choice and pro-life. It is mostly research-based with my stance on reproductive rights at the end. Please read at your own discretion.

Women’s reproductive rights have been a battle in society that has gained widespread support in only the last couple of decades. According to The CUT magazine, “In the 18th and early-19th centuries, abortion was legal before “quickening,” the point at which a woman could feel her fetus move… abortion after that was considered a common-law misdemeanor.” From that point on in the United States, there have been battles and negotiations over women’s reproductive lives. Below is a timeline of the history regarding reproductive rights, that have helped me educate myself on this topic.

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“We Rise” I Rise

Over the summer, I took pleasure in reading the book “We Rise: The Earth Guardians Guide to Building a Movement that Restores the Planet” by Xiuhtezcatl Martinez. From the very beginning, I loved the book. It was inspiring, empowering, and insightful. Xiuhtezcatl (‘Shoe-Tez-Caht’) is an indigenous climate activist, hip-hop artist, and powerful voice on the front lines of a global youth-led environmental movement. Amazingly, at the early age of six Xiuhtezcatl began speaking around the world. He has also worked locally to get pesticides out of parks, coal ash contained, and a temporary prohibition on fracking in his state. He is currently a lead defendant in a youth-led lawsuit against the federal government for their failure to protect the atmosphere for future generations. This is in terms of CO2 emissions, greenhouse gasses release, and any other harmful discharges of chemicals. As many people describe it, that is truly iconic. Continue reading ““We Rise” I Rise”

In Response to Sarah Bracy’s “The Connection Between Rocks and Social Justice”

The Connection Between Rocks and Social Justice: First and foremost, this blog post is very insightful and beautifully written. It’s important to have an answer to the questions “Why should people who care about rocks care about social justice?” and visa versa because it connects two otherwise distinct ideas into one. I honestly love how Sarah introduced the concept of Environmental Racism because it is a prime example of how rocks and social justice intertwine. As she states, “Environmental racism is the inability of low-income and/or marginalized groups of people, generally racial and ethnic minorities, to leave a situation in which they are at risk of environmental hazards, often because of socioeconomic status.” This is prevalent to people of color in the United States. Continue reading “In Response to Sarah Bracy’s “The Connection Between Rocks and Social Justice””

How Women Are Portrayed in Storytelling

Upon viewing the #SEEHER Tip Sheet for Storytellers, it quickly reminded me of Essun’s decision to kill Corundum in The Fifth Season. Although this was seen as a sign of strength for those who understand the context in which this decision was made. I know that when I was explaining this to my mom, she was in utter confusion and disbelief.

“How can a mother ever kill her child; she’s a monster” my mother replied even when considering that she did it to save him from a life of captivity and servitude.

To be completely honest, I initially thought that too. Now, I see her decision as a sign of great strength and bravery because she choose what she truly believed was best for her child and that was to kill him instead of having him live enslaved for the rest of his life. On page 441, Jemisin writes “She will keep him safe. She will not let them take him, enslave him, turn his body into a tool and his mind into a weapon and his life into a travesty of freedom”. Her maternal instinct drove her to protect Corundum from being captured by the Guardians and turned into a node maintainer which would ultimately lead to a life of utter torture (bound to compliance).

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The American Dream

As the semester continued, I began drawing more connections between Jemisin’s work and real-world events. One hit home, pretty hard. Jemisin writes, on page 123, “You hate the way we live. The way the world makes us live… we have to hide and be hunted down like dogs if we’re ever discovered.” As I read this, I automatically thought of two things: my family and the families of those who immigrate here as well. My mother immigrated to the United States in 1986 in search of the “American Dream”. After sending more than 30 years in the states she realized that her American Dream would be me. My mom was able to earn the opportunity to apply for her residency and I received the privilege of being a United States citizen because of her. The life we live today wouldn’t have been possible if she did not take the decision to leave her hometown in Mexico all those years ago. A year ago, I was assigned to write a report on a recent event in my U.S. Government class. As I scrolled down the New York Times’ website, I came across a headline that caught my eye and not in a good way. It read “Trump Administration Considers Separating Families to Combat Illegal Immigration.” I was in disbelief.

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Systematic Oppression At Its Finest

You would think that the end of the world would constitute a very well-needed social change in society. Well, think again! In N.K. Jemisin’s The Fifth Season, she introduces and explores the concept of systematic oppression through world-building. Jemisin does this best through the creation and development of the Orogene “race” (race is socially constructed). These individuals have the ability to sense and manipulate the energy of the Earth. In its official capacity, Orogeny is used to do things like suppress earthquakes and minor shakes (since the Stillness is experiencing its recent and more dangerous season) to keep the Stillness stable and so that seasons can be avoided for as long as possible. However, there is one concern that drives the people of the Stillness to treat and control Orogenes the way they do. Orogeny is also connected to an Orogene’s emotions so it can cause a disruption in the Earth’s movement activity as well as the destruction of Earth. As a result, Orogenes are viewed as extremely dangerous, undesirable, and in need of control which is why so many people look down on them. Because of this, Orogenes are not able to reveal their true powers in fear of being discovered, tracked down by Guardians and taken to The Fulcrum against their will. At the Fulcrum, the Guardians teach young Orogenes “discipline” and “control” so that they can use their Orogeny safely but more importantly so that the Stillness can use their abilities to their advantage. Essentially, everything in this society is aimed towards keeping Orogenes oppressed (“in control”). Sounds horrible, right? Well, it’s not at all different from the world we live in today. It’s the reality that those who have power are the ones who shaped history to fit whatever ideal society they envision. We have seen it all throughout history and even in very recent times. This blog will touch upon those instances.

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Can Earth Really Heal Itself?

Wow. I’m finally here, it took long enough. During the first week of September, I was delighted to see that most of the content we were about to learn was mainly surrounding two areas of study: Literature and Geology. Conveniently, the hardest of my two courses this semester. As I began to read The Fifth Season and the other linked articles, my brain began to do this weird thing where it fills up with different thoughts, all leading me in different directions, but somehow leaving me at the same conclusion: not everything is written in stone. The first thing that went through my mind was, how could the eruption of the Kīlauea Volcano possibly connect to N.K. Jemisin’s book? So, there I was opening up about 6 tabs, one after the other. I viewed all of them at a time and then it hit me, my first connection between the book and the Kīlauea Volcano. It was as clear as daylight, I couldn’t believe I didn’t see it before. In @Buitengebieden’s “The Earth is Breathing…” Twitter post, I listened to and saw the Aa (coarse) lava flow which is most commonly found in Hawaiian-type Volcanoes. It made me think of all the benefits and hazards of a natural calamity such as this one.

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