Tag Archives: enough

Artists play a role in politics

By Alejandra Gomez and Jasmeet Kaur

Staff Writers

Should artists play a role in politics? Of course they should. Artists need to play a role in politics because of the power and platform they have in our society today.

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Tahoma senior Vivienne Dimalanta

In a few interviews we conducted, students agreed with the argument above. In one interview, Tahoma senior Vivienne Dimalanta shared why she thinks artists should be involved in politics. She said, “Artists have a really big platform that they can utilize to get a certain message out, so they can reach a lot more people if they just post it online.”

This is true. Artists like Drake, Rihanna, Beyoncé and so many more have millions of followers on social media sites like Twitter and Instagram, so what they post never goes unnoticed. These artists can use their power and relationship with their fans to give attention to and support big important movements like the March For Our Lives movement.

#MarchforOurLives is the social media branch of the movement for stricter gun control started by determined students following a number of school shootings. A prominent member of this movement is Emma González (@emma4change), a survivor of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Fla. that left 17 adults and children dead and others injured.

This movement has been given a lot of attention by artists as well. Many celebrities in the music business, such as Demi Lovato, Miley Cyrus, DJ Khaled, Justin Bieber and many more, have shown their support for this movement in their own ways.

Demi Lovato performed at the national march for this movement, held on March 24 in Washington, D.C.

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25-year-old Miley Cyrus attended the movement and publicized some tweets from that day. She used her song “The Climb” to motivate others. 


Other artists supported the movement by tweeting about the march to acknowledge the students’ hard work and to publicize it as well. 

 

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All these artists, and many more, supported this movement in more ways than one, and that’s really important because the artists were able to reach a lot of people solely by posting about this march on their social media due to their huge platforms. Artists have a lot more reach than others, so their involvement in politics can really help our world if they use it in a positive way.

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Tahoma freshman Bianka Ortega

Artists can get involved in politics in other ways too, not just social media. Tahoma freshman Bianka Ortega said, “The music is something that everyone can hear, and you could spread messages through music. As you can see throughout history, music is being used to tell people things and to tell them stories; so if musical artists write about gun control, people will notice there’s something wrong, and wanna make a movement.”

Many believe that artists should take advantage of the position they are in to speak on issues like this. Some artists do. They use their music to talk about issues in politics or their thoughts on the world issues.

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Jermaine Lamarr Cole

J. Cole is an artist who speaks on behalf of the Black community about governmental issues in society today. One song that stands out in particular is “High For Hours.” This is a song about racism in society and a visit J. Cole made to president Obama, including a vivid portrayal of the conversation between him and President Obama in the lyrics.

He says, “American hypocrisy, oh let me count the ways. They came here seeking freedom and they end up owning slaves.” This line speaks for itself about the issue of slavery in our society, an issue is still present in some ways today. He goes on to talk about his conversation with the president, saying:

“I had a convo with the president, I paid to go and see him, thinking bout the things I said I’d say when I would see him. Feeling nervous, sitting in a room full of white folks, thinking about the black man plight, think I might choke, nope. Raised my hand and asked the man a question. ‘Does he see the struggles of his brothers in oppression? And if so, if you got all the power in the clout as the president, what’s keeping you from helping n****s out?’ Well I didn’t say n****, but you catch my drift. He look me in my eyes and spoke and he was rather swift. He broke the issues down and showed me he was well aware. I got the vibe he was sincere and that the brother cared, but dawg you in the chair, what’s the hold up? He said there’s things that I wanna fix, but you know this sh*t n****, politics. Don’t stop fighting and don’t stop believing. You can make the world better for your kids before you leave it.”

This is a good example of an artist using his voice to make songs about issues in society today. While Cole’s songs focus mostly on the struggles of Black people, other artists can also use their voice to convey other important messages through their songs as well. Another song by J. Cole that portrays messages about issues in the world is “Be Free,” and Cole also dedicated a whole album, “4 Your Eyez Only,” to sharing his views on society today, including governmental issues, along with other world problems. 

Artists all around the world can do many things to help the society we live in due to their platform and influence. They can post about issues or transmit their messages through their music to reach a lot more people. We believe that every citizen has a responsibility to the country and should work to make it better in whatever way they can contribute; which means that artists just have the same responsibility, but with a bigger advantage because of their fame. Artists should definitely use their power to make this world a better place.

Featured Image (at the top of the page): Students from Summit Tahoma participating in the March For Our Lives movement on March 14. 

 

Unheard voices join the gun control dialogue

By Annabelle Wilkinson

Staff Writer

Gun control has been a hot-button topic in recent news after the tragic Parkland shooting. On Feb. 14, when Nikolas Cruz opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, an action that left 17 dead, most people assumed that this mass shooting would follow the same pattern that every shooting in the United States follows. People send their thoughts and prayers via social media; it’s talked about for a while; but then, with time, the world goes on. However, the surviving students from Parkland, Fla. became the change that the United States had been waiting for.

Instead of thoughts and prayers being sent, students all around the nation were spreading the message of national walkouts and plans to march on Washington. These plans were later formed into the March For Our Lives. The March For Our Lives was a march that took place on March 24, and over 800,000 people showed up to denounce gun violence.

In the video I created, I allowed students within my own community to discuss their opinions on the matter and to share what they think should be done to make our country safer.

Watch the video here:

Featured image (at the top of this post): Staff Writer Kent Williams captured this image of student protesters at the March 14 walkout at Tahoma.

Tahoma says #NEVERAGAIN

By Kent Williams

Staff Writer

Following the school shooting in Parkland, Fla. on Feb. 14, there has been a resounding response from high school students across the country. On March 14, one month after the shooting, school walkouts took place across the country to protest gun violence and bring attention to the issue.

At Summit Public School: Tahoma, a group of seniors led a large chunk of the student body out of the school to meet with neighboring students in front of Oak Grove High School at 10 a.m.

The walkout lasted 17 minutes, one minute for each victim of the shooting. At the top of each minute, a victim’s name was announced and the crowd responded with “never again.”

Other events have taken place in response to the shooting, such as the March for Our Lives, which occurred on March 24 and featured a main protest in Washington D.C. as well as smaller marches across the country. Thousands of people attended these marches, with 800,000 coming to D.C. alone.

Tahoma students are planning to hold a longer, more political walkout on April 20, the 19th anniversary of the Columbine shooting. They intend to leave school in the morning and take public transit to the San Jose City Hall and protest with other local high schools in the East Side Union District.

 See below for a video of the March 14 walkout at Tahoma and an overview of other #neveragain events:

Everest, and other Summit students, join nationwide walkout

By Ale Navarro, Rylee Storms and Jennifer Valencia

Staff Writers

Students from Everest Public High School joined the nationwide walkout on March 14, from 10 to 10:17, to pay respect to the 17 victims from the Parkland shooting. Students gathered in the front lot, stepping up to speak out about why they are passionate about having gun control. When each student finished sharing, their fellow students roared applause and yells of approval and motivation. (Click here to see a video of the protest.)

A group of students then set out for downtown. The footsteps of students could be heard along the busy roads of Redwood City. As workers took a look at the students, a few thumbs up were given. A sign reading “Honk for better gun control” was held tall against the wind. As people in cars read the signs, the honking sounds of agreement rang out and student cheers followed suit.

After marching into downtown Redwood City, Everest students were met by students from other schools: Sequoia High School, Woodside High School, Summit Preparatory Charter High School and Menlo-Atherton High School. The quintet of schools gathered in the open cement square in front of the San Mateo County History Museum. Among the crowd, leaders from each school stood tall and yelled out cheers.

The group then moved to City Hall to meet with Redwood City Vice Mayor Diane Howard. Ms. Howard gave a speech to the students, expressing support for their commitment to peaceful protest and encouraging them to seek respectful dialogue. Once the speech was over, the students headed to the courthouse.

At the courthouse, many speeches were made; yells mixed with chants were made to grab pedestrians’ attention. After about an hour more of protest, students dispersed to get lunch and head home.

The March 14 walkout was approved and was able to go forward with the support of the faculty. Everest junior Isabella Gutierrez decided to join the walkout. “I feel that our school has not discussed the issue of school shootings enough, and I feel that with our current administration and the political status of the U.S. this is a very important topic to talk about, considering the difference between Republicans and Democrats and the possibility of our president arming teachers. I also feel that it’s important to find the solution since 7,000 kids have died due to gun violence,” she said.

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Everest junior Isabella Gutierrez

Everest Assistant Director Drew Moriates said, “I think it’s really important for students to be able to express their voice in a meaningful way; one of the parts of our mission at Summit and Everest is for us to develop contributing members of society, and I think this is a perfect example of that.”

He added, “I think that the experience is one which people are going to remember for a long time so as a school our job is to do that and to keep our students safe, and I think yesterday we achieved that.”

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Everest Assistant Director Drew Moriates

There was a lot of confusion about the communications that were sent to parents and students regarding how Everest was going to approach the walkout. Several emails were sent, the first of which (a note in the school newsletter, excerpted below) stated that parents only had to call the front desk to give permission to their child to participate in the walkout.

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The next day, another email was sent, saying that a parent or guardian had to be physically present to sign their child out.

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The day after the walkout, Mr. Moriates addressed the confusion in an interview, saying: “Our procedure to be a part of the walkout did not change; the communication, as always, is if a student is going to leave campus they need to have a parent come physically here to sign them out and allow them to leave. There was some miscommunication in relationship to an email that went out from our Expeditions team and an email that was sent out from our Everest team, so I think that is were there was a gap; but in the end of the day, I think we did a good job communicating with families as to what we needed to have happen for our students leave campus, and that is moving forward any event whether it’s a doctors appointment or a walkout a parent will have to be able to come physically sign a student out and take them off campus because our job is to again keep students safe and in order to do that we needed to make sure that students are in the care of an adult whether the adult is an administrator or whether the adult is there parents or guardian that is on their legal documents.”

Here’s the email the Expeditions director sent out the Sunday before the walkout:

Witte Walkout email

The Expeditions team encouraged teachers to let student leaders present a slideshow they had prepared explaining their plans to march to City Hall following the rally. Here’s the information from the slideshow (which was also published on our site on Tuesday) about how students should engage with the protest:

Walkout slide

The Everest administration attempted to clear up confusion the morning of the walkout by sending a final email:

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With all of the confusing and misleading emails sent out, some students, such as Everest freshman Raul Hernandez, said they were unable to participate in the walkout. Hernandez said, “Mr. Lewine told me that if I were to leave they were going to call my parents and tell them that I ditched.”  He added that not being able to march downtown upset him, “but at least I could participate outside.”

The evening of the walkout, Everest administration sent one more email, reiterating their commitment to student expression.

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Expeditions Director Lucretia Witte shared similar sentiments in an email statement the day after the walkout:

Witte walkout statement

 

During the walkout, there was also a group of students who staged a counter protest in favor of gun rights. Everest sophomore Jacob Press spoke of the need to also have their voices heard. “The reason that I voiced my opinion with my other peers is that we felt kinda silenced in some way because all of these other people were having their opinion; we thought maybe we wanted to hear, have our opinion heard, being more pro-gun than other people.”

This group of four to five counter protesters went to speak to the vice mayor about their views on gun control, arriving and leaving before the main group of protesters got to City Hall. “Our goal: maybe just to have our voice heard by the vice mayor, which we did have, and, yeah, that was probably our goal, just to have our voice heard,” Press said.

Here are some additional images from the protest:

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Students from Summit Public School: Tahoma in San Jose also rallied against gun violence, joining with students from their sister campus, Oak Grove High School, to honor the 17 victims of the Parkland shooting.

The images above were captured by Tahoma freshman Kent Williams. Tahoma senior Jasmin Mendoza captured live video on her Twitter feed:

Students from Summit Public School: Denali also participated in a rally. The images below are courtesy of Expeditions teacher Aaron Calvert.

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Everest students march against gun violence

By Anna Scherer

Staff Writer

It all started with a few students who worried about their safety. I, Anna Scherer, and my fellow Everest students have grown up in a culture where there have been shootings – so many that the shootings have become sort of normal, just a part of our world. But, as we saw more people lose their lives to the guns of others, we decided that, along with the rest of the country, we have had enough of guns. So we all gathered to plan a walkout to protest guns and inspire change.

We originally planned to do a 17-minute walkout like the rest of the country, but we extended the walkout to all day so we can stand up for all lives lost in the face of guns, not just the lives lost in Parkland. We want stricter gun controls and for our teachers not to be forced to carry guns, because we believe more guns isn’t a solution. We are marching for our safety and for our lives, so there will never be another shooting.

My fellow planner Tali Beres created a slideshow with the information all students need to know about the walkout.

Tali Beres, an Everest freshman, and Samantha Suchite, an Everest junior, are two of the organizers of Everest’s student-led walkout. They explained their plans, their personal ideas and their influences. 

1. How was the issue of gun control brought to your attention?

“It was brought to my attention because [of] the news of the shooting, and it made me sad that students my age were being killed because someone else had a weapon; and, if you think about it, we could have also been in that position,” Suchite said. 

“It first came to my attention when I heard what school shooting was, when I heard, I heard about Sandy Hook and that the gun was bought legally and it killed so many people and that a lot of stuff is easier to buy than a gun,” Beres said. 

2. Who influenced your passion for this subject?

“A teacher named Ms. Thiele from last year. She brought in my interest about human rights and law,” Suchite said. 

“I would say the media and watching all these other teens stand up for your rights,” Beres said. 

3. What do you believe needs to changed in America?

 “I believe that the mindset of Americans needs to change. By changing their mindset they will be open to new ideas and be able to come up with more, better resolutions that will benefit all parties (lower class, middle class, the rich class, minority communities, etc.),” Suchite said. 

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Everest junior Samantha Suchite

 

 “There needs to be stricter laws on guns to prevent gun violence. There needs to be more respect in our country for students – their voices and their safety. Besides gun control, I believe all people need to be seen as equals. We need a new president,” Beres said. 

4. How do you think you can change these things?

“I think that by putting my ideas, or part of an idea, into motion [that] will start the revolution of a possible new change,” Suchite said. 

 “Standing up and using our voice. Nothing will be done if we are silent,” Beres said. 

5. What outcome do you expect to see from these changes?

“I expect to see an outcome that is similar to what I thought it would turn out or a completely new idea that is heading towards the area of growth and a positive change. I expect to see communities uniting,” Suchite said. 

 “I want to see us get the justice we deserve,” Beres said. 

6. How are you standing up for this cause and how can others join you?

 “I am participating in a walkout that will verbally speak and physically show how much we (youth) would like to have a voice and choice of how to lead our lives. This topic, of guns, is rather very sensitive to the adults, but to the many teens [it] is rather not because many of us see the effects that guns have when handed to people. They are not for protection when they are brought to schools by children themselves. Teens can help by posting on media (after all our generation dominated the social networks) or join us in walkout / marches so our words can actually make an effect,” Suchite said. 

 “I am participating in my school walkout against guns to fight for gun control. Other students are joining as well,” Beres said. 

7. Tell me more about the walkout: when is it and who can participate?

“The walkout is a connection to the 17, TEEN lives lost in a shooting all because a certain student was upset AND at that time had a gun at hand. The walkout is on March 14, 2018 at 9:15 it is either for 17 minutes (for the 17 lives) and the other where they go to City Hall to protect and try to get out voices heard to make an actual change,” Suchite said. 

“The walkout is on March 14 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Anyone from the Sequoia Union High School District (teacher or student) is encouraged to participate,” Beres said. 

8. Why was this walkout organized this way?

“The walkout was organized this way because we thought that 17 minutes of our time would not speak as loud as ditching and making ourselves heard by walking all the way to city hall to speak about this issue. We also thought that by joining together with other schools it would: one, bring more students; two, see that private, charter, and public high school really care and are on the same boat of interest,” Suchite said. 

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Everest freshman Tali Beres

 

“This walk out was designed this way so we all have a voice,” Beres said.

9. What will students do during this walkout?

“We will chant and raise our posters to the public and our (small connection to the) government to show that we want to be involved and take part in choices that meddle with our lives,” Suchite said.

“We will protest for peace and justice. We will use our voices for what we believe in,” Beres said. 

10. Anything else people need to know about in order to participate?

“You have the right to speak and protest and the right to media as long as it is peaceful and mindful then all is good and no violence should be inflicted. Teens should actually fight their way in making their voices heard by the higher-ups in order to get our voice heard and action taken into account, but, more importantly, our solutions to these problems,” Suchite said. 

“There will be a 17-minute protest in Everest’s parking lot, and in order to go to City Hall we recommend you have your parents call and excuse you after 10 a.m. Also please don’t come just to ditch or smoke; that’s not cool or permitted,” Beres said. 

Related:

Everest students join nationwide walkout

 

Everest students join nationwide walkout

By Katherine Enriquez, Ale Navarro, Esmeralda Pacheco and Rylee Storms

Staff Writers

A planned student-led walkout on Wednesday is the latest step in the #NeverAgain movement, a nationwide call for action in response to a deadly school shooting.

On Feb. 14, 2018 in Parkland, Fla., 17 people were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School by nineteen-year-old Nikolas Cruz

Cruz made disturbing posts on Instagram and YouTube, posting pictures of guns and writing about his plans to become a school shooter. Despite these clear warning signs, he was able to legally obtain over 10 rifles, one of which he used in the shooting.

Parkland was far from the first school shooting; however, it was one of the most lethal, taking a spot in the top 10 deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history. So far, four countries have enacted very strict gun laws that have proven effective; the United States has not.

Now, the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas and many other schools, including Everest Public High School in Redwood City, are protesting in support of stricter gun control.

Nationwide walkouts will take place on March 14. Everest students will be participating, along with other local schools, by hosting a 17-minute rally at 10 a.m. The rally, meant to honor the 17 victims of the Parkland shooting, will be followed by a march to City Hall. 

While most schools are planning a rally, Everest students decided to add a march downtown to emphasize their commitment.

“The walkout was organized this way because we thought that 17 minutes of our time would not speak as loud as ditching and making ourselves heard by walking all the way to City Hall to speak about this issue. We also thought that by joining together with other schools it would: one, bring more students; two, see that private, charter and public high school really care and are on the same boat of interest,” Everest junior Samantha Suchite explained. You can find more information about the planned protest here

The Women’s March movement is supporting the March 14 protests, keeping track of where student-led walkouts are happening and endorsing them.

Following the March 14 protests, students across the nation are planning further action. The March For Our Lives will happen on March 24. The D.C. event will include students who survived the Parkland shooting. There is also a National School Walkout planned for April 20, the anniversary of the Columbine school shooting. 

Here’s a selection of posts from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas student advocates:

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As students advocate for changes to our national gun control policies, it’s worth taking a look at the status quo. Here’s a list of Frequently Asked Questions to help you understand the debate:

1. How do background checks work?

One modern day gun control policy is to have background checks on the buyers. Buyers have to go through a process that includes filling out a form that makes them answer questions about their background and criminal record. The dealer then contacts the National Instant Criminal Background Check System with the buyer’s filled-out form and Social Security number. Private sellers currently are not required to perform background checks on their customers.

2. How extensive are background checks?

At least 90 percent of cases are approved in short periods of times (almost immediately). In some cases a buyer might face a longer process because of a number of reasons, such as having a criminal background, incomplete records or legal cases related to mental health. The FBI then has three extra days to do further research. If the seller does not receive a denial or an approval, the seller can then sell the gun to the buyer.

3. What exactly is an assault weapon?

Although there are many opinions of what an assault weapon is or what weapons fall into that category, one thing is for sure – they all create serious damage. An example of an automatic weapon is a machine gun, which will continue to fire as long as the trigger is held down and the gun still has ammunition. Examples of semi- automatic weapons are rifles, pistols and shotguns, more specifically AK-47 and AR-15 rifles. The difference between an automatic gun and a semi-automatic gun is that a semi-automatic gun requires that the shooter pull the trigger in order to fire another round.

The AR-15, which stands for ArmaLite Rifle, was developed in the 1950s. The gun can cause a tremendous amount of damage to its target while firing up to 45 bullets per round per minute, as stated in its manual. It is able to fire as soon as it feels the smallest touch on its trigger. An AR-15-style gun was used in the Parkland shooting, and some have suggesting banning sales on this type of weapon.

4. How influential are bump stocks?

Bump stocks are specially designed to make firing easier, and they are currently legal in the United States. Bump stocks are dangerous because they can make they gun fire faster than it normally would. As the trigger undergoes compression, the front of the gun recoils against the bump stock. This equipment was used in the Las Vegas shooting, and some (including Trump administration officials) have called for banning any further sales. 

5. Where can I get more information about gun control policies?

The Council on Foreign Relations put together this resource sheet detailing how U.S. gun control policies compare to those of other countries. A German broadcaster put together this list of facts about U.S. gun control policy. Vox compiled this collection of maps and charts to show why the United States has such a unique relationship to gun violence.

Related:

Everest students march against gun violence