Get To Know Representative Anna Eskamani

As mentioned within my previous article,  Anna Eskmanai an Iranian-American woman, and representative of the Democratic party was recently elected in Florida HD 47.  She has contributed to the betterment of her community tremendously and continues to serve as an inspiration and mentor to young activists around the nation.  Last week, I had the honor of interviewing Representative Anna Eskamani over the phone. Below you can find the interview questions and answers.
1. Was there any specific event that sparked your desire to engage in civic discourse to make a change within your community and the nation?

AE: “My mother passed away to cancer when I was 13 years old, this was a traumatic experience for me and my family, however, at that moment I knew I would honor the life of my mother through empowering others and giving back.  Aside from this, my engagement with politics began at a young age. I partook in theatre within high school, however, Mr. Norris my AP Government teacher got me back into the fold of the operational side of civics. I attended, and currently attend, UCF which initially got me involved in a series of environmental movements, and Iranian organizations. I have always been  rooted in a foundation of having a professional career with constant non-profit advocacy.”
2. Throughout the duration of your campaign, it became evident the opposing side attempted to mark your actions and standpoints on progressive issues as “radical” what was your response or mindset throughout all of this.

AE: “I constantly reminded myself that my very existence was radical, the idea of a young woman of color, running for office, raising over half a million dollars, knocking on thousands and thousands of doors… they – the opposing side – would go to any extreme in the attempt to hurt or scare us, I grounded myself in knowing who I am and knowing the issues I was fighting for. I find in most cases the candidate in fire avoids talking about backlash and it’s so typical,  it is a fear of difference, and it is inappropriate, so I wanted to lead by example and clap back letting them know we weren’t afraid.”
3. Are there any current affairs that are at the top of your priority list, what do you ultimately wish to see change within the United States?

AE: “ There are many different affairs I’d like to address ranging from improving conditions for the hard-working Florida families, working to improve public schools, protecting the environment, fighting for increased health care access (mental health and reproductive health), while ensuring gun safety and regulations.  These affairs were also the root of our campaign, focusing on the many crises present today.”
4. Do you have any advice for young activists specifically in regards to getting involved within current affairs?

AE: “ Any young person should look for organizations that match their passions and if they can’t find them, then they should start their own and bring people together, I also advise the youth to look for internship opportunities and mentors. I am honored to be a mentor to so many and always show up for others. I truly believe that good leaders create new leaders and I want to make sure I can cultivate strong advocates and leaders through supporting them in any way I can.”

5. You’ve mentioned within various interviews etc. that you are very proud of your Iranian American roots do you have a message to other Iranian American individuals living in fear of their roots?

AE: “This is such an important question, throughout the campaign we were always authentic about our culture and our identity, the best advice is to just be yourself and be proud of how amazing our identity is.  Take pride in sharing your culture with others and know that you are never alone.”

I wanted to end this article with a sincere thank you to Representative Eskamani for allowing me to interview her and taking the time to have a genuine conversation with me and so many others throughout this exciting time.  I look forward to supporting Ms. Eskamani throughout all her future endeavors and witnessing the change she works for in action.

You can learn more about Representative Anna Eskamani here.

Tragedy Averted… America, We Have an Issue.

Featured Image courtesy of CBS News

BREAKING NEWS:

Image result for santa fe high school
Santa Fe High School 5.18.18 – Photo Courtesy of Yahoo

May 18th 2018.  7:45 a.m: A shooter opened fire on students at Santa Fe High School today killing over 8 individuals and injuring many others.  

May 18th 2017.  7:45 a.m: A shooter opened fire on students at Santa Fe High School today KILLING OVER 8 individuals  and injuring many others.  

May 18th 2017

7:45 a.m

Shooter.

Santa Fe High School.

KILLING.

OVER 8.

Santa Fe Independent School District has confirmed via Facebook that there were injuries sustained in an active shooter situation which has recently been contained with two suspects identified. One in custody the other detained.  The district has not confirmed the fatalities however it was mentioned that there could be anywhere from 8-10 deceased.

 

BREAKING NEWS:

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Dixon High School 5.16.18  – Photo Courtesy of ABC News

May 16th 2018.  Wednesday morning.  19-year-old former student used a 9mm semiautomatic rifle to open fire near the auditorium of Dixon High School in Illinois.  Mark Dallas shot and wounded the gunman. Tragedy averted.

May 16th 2018.  Wednesday morning.  19-year-old former student used a 9mm semiautomatic rifle to open fire near the auditorium of Dixon High School in Illinois.  Mark Dallas shot and wounded the gunman. Tragedy averted.

May 16th 2018.

Wednesday morning.

Former student used a 9mm semiautomatic rifle

Suspect Matthew Milby opened fire near a graduation ceremony rehearsal.  The suspect was quickly identified and chased by Mark Dallas, Dixon Police Officer.  Milby and Dallas exchanged fire at one another until Officer Dallas shot and wounded Matthew Milby, the 19-year-old former student in possession of a 9mm semiautomatic rifle.  

Tragedy averted…. or was it.  

 

Fatalities do not mark a tragedy.  

 

The gun culture in America is a tragedy in itself encompassing, “behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs about firearms and their usage”.  To obtain a firearm federal law requires an individual to be at least 21 to purchase a handgun, and only 18 to purchase a long gun. Specific states however have decided to bypass these federal laws and allow children as old as 15 to purchase a firearm with no parental consent.  Many individuals may argue these laws are harmless and the matter of the transactions are carefully monitored and professional. This is the root of the problem. Americans are addicted to their guns and they don’t want to face this fact.

 

Unfortunately many elected officials are not helping the cause. Understanding the extent of their political abilities, their continued inaction on the legislation that could potentially prevent these inhumane acts have only opened doors for more to occur.

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Gun Control Debate – Photo Courtesy of The American View

Individuals are missing the mark, we need gun control.  Eradicating guns is unlikely, and unnecessary, we need to monitor and control the transaction, trade, and behavior of gun owners, sellers, buyers etc.  As a community we need to ensure that the background checks and mental examinations of individuals with possession of firearms are strengthened and religiously utilized.   

 

Understanding the mental stability of the individual plays a significant factor in the recently observed violence and damage,  the loosely followed laws and lack of frequent background/ update checks allow for these potentially mentally unstable individuals to obtain these firearms.  

 

While taking into mind that many mass shooters obtain their weapons through a family member or through legal purchase it is important that any individuals with firearms in their household or in an accessible place undergo examination or background checks, and that any suspicious behavior is documented and reported by friends and families.  The phrase, “If you see something, say something” cannot be stressed enough.  

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Background Check – Photo Courtesy of Dr. Deb

In comparison to other nations, the protocol to obtain firearms in the United States is seemingly inadequate.  Understanding no background check can truly identify the intended use of the firearms or the early warning signs of a potential mass shooter, psychological exams as proposed by Utah cops and lawmakers may prove extremely beneficial.  

 

Konrad Chen stated he thinks its a, “good idea to make sure that [gun owners] are sane and that they are capable mentally to handle firearms”  further Chen mentioned that if, “there were any signs of issues that they could go ahead and take care of that before issuing a firearm”. The conversation continued with Chen further stating that these psychological exams could also ensure that the prospective gun owner knows how to safely use the firearm.  

 

The issue lies in the fact that many gun owners are hesitant when approached with the idea that their ownership of a firearm may be jeopardized due to increased legal action ensuring the safety of all.  It is important for individuals to understand that increasing the security and monitoring of the transaction of firearms is imperative to ensure that firearms are being obtained by stable, and mentally capable individuals.  

 

It is our hope that individuals continue to take action and speak out against the lack of action taken in order to alleviate the pain and suffering the lack of gun control has caused.  We cannot afford to remain silent in the midst of the chaos present.

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March For Our Lives – Photo Courtesy of CNN

 

“ If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor”

– Desmond Tutu

Clout Club Global: The Next Generation of Street wear

 

 

Recently millennials have experimented bringing forth new and old styles to be worn as a form of expression. Expression and individuality is what sets this generation so far apart, prompting those both awe-less, and bold, to leave their mark and set the newest trends. For the next generation, fashion has become a reputable language, that is spoken by many but only executed by few. A bar set by celebrities, and designers of the most noted collections, has been reset by a young entrepreneur that goes by the name “SauceBoy Cam” with his solo brand Clout Club Global.

 

Designer and Self inspired creator Cameron Garnigan has introduced CLOUT to the world of street wear. Only 18, He is single-handedly responsible for an interesting brand that has surpassed the quo of t-shirts. Not so new to the city of Cartersville, Cameron began his creations Fall of 2015, quickly becoming popular and publicly promoted by his friends and family.  (instagram.com/sauceboycam)

 

 

His brand includes a variety of T-shirts, and a growing list of other products such as Windbreakers and fanny packs. Garnigan calls experimenting with new products “refreshing”. He reveals that in the future for Clout Club Global, he will have a fall collection with “…hoodies, crewnecks and a few new pieces coming.”

 

“My favorite would have to be the fanny pack. It was a different experience, it wasn’t like making the t-shirts, which is my specialty.” (instagram.com/cloutclubglobal)

 

 

In an exclusive interview Cameron opens up about his process, experiences, pros, and cons.

“Honestly the process is very strange. I have flash drives full of designs and there are times, though, that I make a design and use it right away. I’ve done that twice but no one has seen the NEW Clout Club designs.” “I release them out-of-order just based off what mood I’m in.” (Garnigan) Using Adobe Illustrator, Cameron hand crafts his designs and if you pay close enough attention, he tests them online and on social media to get feedback, but often the finished product is unexpected, original and one of a kind.

In entrepreneurship there are lots of pros and cons, unseen to consumers of what the brand has to offer. “Your business is a reflection of you”, Garnigan enjoys the free schedule of his own business. “You get to choose when you want to work and no one can tell you what to do.” (Garnigan) And with ups, there are definitely downs such as marketing aspects, costs, and promotions. It isn’t all easy to get people to buy something that you create. Like owning a lemonade stand, some people just aren’t thirsty or they left their coin purse back at home. “Since this is a solo business of mine, everything comes out-of-pocket and the promo and marketing is the main factor of any business. Basically the main struggle is getting people to shop with you.” (Garnigan) “I’ve been dropping all my old work to get everyone on board.”

You wouldn’t believe the struggle of getting people to shop, from the amount of social media posts and reviews on his most popular product, The Clout Club Rose Tees.

Instagram.com/cloutclubglobal
Instagram.com/cloutclubglobal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

( More )

Owning this original Tee from Sauce has become a social norm in the city of Cartersville. Everywhere you turn you see an array of colors and designs, but no matter what color you just can’t miss a Rose logo or the famous brand name printed on the front.

CLOUT CLUB ORIGINALS

(instagram.com/cloutclubglobal)
(instagram.com/cloutclubglobal)

Garnigan describes working with Clout Club as a learning experience, “I feel as if I am learning as the days go by.” As seen by the released products above, one can tell just how limitless the creativity can be. “There is no one way to do something, and that is where I am; learning and studying endless possibilities.” (Garnigan)

The interview wrapped with Cameron’s final thoughts, advice, and next steps.

“Next I personally plan on dropping all my best work, I also plan on doing more sewing projects too, and getting into denim (pants, jackets, and even alterations).” (Garnigan) These next steps definitely sound like success.

Advice from the man behind Clout Club Global is to “Be strong hearted. The whole game isn’t for the weak. Really chase your dreams, no exceptions, do not skip steps and to trust the process.” (Garnigan) With these steps for reaching your goals, and the drive, artistic advantage, and heart of a next generation youth, achieving anything is a piece of cake. Clout Club is more than just shirts, windbreakers, and fanny packs. It’s a brand, a brand that I am proud to see grow, and that I have even bought into a few times. I am very impressed by Cameron and I have been so glad to see CCG grow into something big. I am more than excited for the future.

 

 

Al Gore’s New Film Brings “Truth to Power”

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power

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Al Gore at Sundance Film Festival. (Photo Courtesy of Getty Images)

A decade after Al Gore’s empowering and eye-opening film and book, An Inconvenient Truth, Former Vice President Gore has brought a new inspiring movie that reminds us of our responsibility to the climate movement. The sequel reviews the changes in both policy and climate, that have shaped the world.

The film exposes the rapid changes that are occurring in the Arctic with a spotlight on the glacial melt in Greenland. Footage shows Gore exploring the quickly melting glacial ice and the colossal chunks of glacier crashing into the ocean. He suggests that due to unusually high temperatures in Greenland, the glaciers are responding. Following the drastic chain of effects that follow sea level rise, the film focuses on flooding events that have ruined cities. After giving the viewer a background on the effects of climate change, Gore calls for the response that is essential to stopping this crisis.

Highlighting Gore’s Climate Reality Leadership Training, the film calls for more activism and involvement to drive the climate movement. In the Leadership Corps program, Al Gore personally trains the potential leaders to encourage change in local community and  to bring the “Truth to Power”. With the program, people can apply to become apart of the Leadership Corps and commit to overcoming the climate crisis.

The coined term “Truth to Power” is now a forceful push in action that stands for change and revolution. Gore proves that through defiance, persistence and charged persuasion, the goals needed to make a difference are achievable. Though faced by many challenges, the climate movement has fought against every opposition and stood strong after every downfall. He brings hope and is determined that we can continue to lead our efforts into the future; despite Trump’s radical agenda. Gore connects the Climate Movement to the many influential movements that have shaped our world such as the Civil Rights Movement, Gay Rights Movement, Women’s Suffrage Movement, and Anti-Apartheid Movement. Each of these oppressed movements were confronted by many threats but continued to develop and achieve ambitious progress.

After a long and burdensome road to ratifying the Paris Agreement, President Trump announced on June 1, 2017 that the United States would be withdrawing from the Paris Agreement. A huge setback to the goals ratified, the withdrawal would ruin the dynamic formed in the agreement and would override the changes endured in other countries. While addressing this announcement, Gore remains hopeful that the strength of the movement is more powerful than the actions of the President.

Closing with the motivating message, “Fight like your world depends on it”, the film leaves viewers with an intense desire to make the changes laid out in the film. Overall the sequel was a perfect combination of recalling the growth of our past while reminding viewers of the obstacles that still lay ahead. The film should be used as proof of the glorious outcomes of unity, determination, and grit.

To join the Climate Reality Project proceed to the project website to bring “Truth to Power”.

Watch the trailer to this inspiring sequel here.

 

WWII Couple- Together Forever

featured image via Scoopnest 

World War II was a time of misery, hatred, and death for many. Death counts reached millions and sorrows were never forgotten. For most, the pain of the war has passed, as they likely have as well. But for these orphans, pain, and tranquillity, has been renewed.

Marcelin and Francine Dumoulin left their home on the morning of August 15, 1942 to milk the family cows in a meadow, but sadly, they never returned home. The couple, who were parents of six children, are suspected to have fallen through a crevice of the Tsanfleuron Glacier in the Swiss Alps. Now, 75 years later, their bodies have been found, ‘mummified’, in the withdrawn glacier. A worker is said to have found them during standard maintenance. Found along with them was frozen belongings of theirs including backpacks, boots, watches, mess kits, etc. The bodies have since been airlifted away from the Alps so The Institute of Forensic Medicine can officially identify the bodies. Though DNA tests have not yet been done the remaining Dumoulin children(Marceline Udry-Domoulin, Monique Gautschy-Domoulin, the only known living) are convinced that the bodies found belong to their deceased parents.

Marceline said “I can say that after 75 years of waiting this news gives me a deep sense of calm. Now I know where my parents are” And Monique stated “(For the funeral) I will not put on black. I think white will be more appopriate. This represents hope, which I have never lost.”

Dear White People: Is Your Reverse Racism Really Racism?

 

featured image courtesy of tumblr

It’s realistic and honest to admit that not everyone holds the same views when it comes to any section of social justice. Some are more extreme than others, some more moderate, and this is generally considered acceptable and okay. As Americans, we can express our opinions without censorship of any kind, a freedom that can bring out both the best and the worst. An example of the latter would be the obnoxious, hateful opinions that bleed into public forum simply to generate a great deal of controversy. One of the biggest and possibly most distasteful disagreements is the concept of white racism, also referred to as reverse racism. It is, in most blatant terms, what happens when a white person is so engrossed in their privilege that when someone of color is treated with the same respect and equality as they are, they feel as if someone is attempting to knock them off of their racial pedestal. It’s this childish train of thought that has constrained the white American into belittling the struggles of those who face racism every breathing moment of their lives. It is the unicorn of social justice; we have people who cling stubbornly to the idea of it despite its lack of solid proof of it actually existing. 

Before you open your mouth to disagree with me, just let me say this; my intention is not to say that prejudice against white people cannot exist. It does, on occasion. Racial minorities are not immune to being racist against other racial minorities either, and evidence shows this. However, that is not the point I am trying to get across. White prejudice is real, I will admit it, but it is a trivial issue in comparison to authentic racism. Prejudice and racism are not interchangeable words, as they mean quite different things and carry quite different weights. Prejudice is a small aspect of racism, so one can innocently make this mistake. This is something to keep in mind if you, a white person, feel you are being handled in a manner you deem as “racist”, because you may be experiencing prejudice, not legitimate racism. If this crosses your mind, stop and ask yourself, “do I really understand what racism means?”.

If we want to have a much firmer grasp of this concept, we would have to look first at the concrete definition of racism itself. The most common definition, as quoted directly from the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is “prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior”. If you still believe that this definition fits your idea of “reverse racism”, I urge you to look closer. You missed that it stated, “based on the belief that one’s own race is superior”. To briefly shift our focus from America to Europe, white history consists of a multitude of instances where Europeans conquered native people, such as those in North America and Africa, and committed acts of genocide and violence with the flimsy excuse that they were deemed uncivilized, and, to shift back to our United States of America,  we also have the glaring cases of African slavery deeply ingrained in our American history; this is racism in its most basic, primitive form. Yet it is also critical to mention that this isn’t the entire assemblage of what racism really means. There are countless aspects of it; it is not a simple concept that can be understood by definition alone. We have systematic, economic, social, and historical prospects to take into account.

It’s these elements that shape the futility of white racism. A white person does not have to struggle to get work because of their race, or have to worry about facing racial violence while on the street, or worry about being pulled over and facing brutality at the hands of a racist policeman, or worry about being randomly selected at an airport and being inhumanely searched, or facing an unfair sentence at trial based on a false accusation because of their skin color. Every day you hear tragedy after tragedy of racial violence, but very few of these victims are white. You cannot discuss racism without bringing these components on the table.

To accompany this idea of reverse racism, we have these same white voices that gripe over their assumed racism also gripes over the Black Lives Matter movement and Black History Month and other similar concepts. What they don’t understand is that the white community doesn’t need a month or a movement to “celebrate” its alleged greatness; the dominant anecdote you hear, whether it is historical or fictional, is routinely white. Our history books are drenched in it, our TV shows and movies soaked in it, our books and magazines submerged in it; America bares its whiteness so vigorously, it leaves the colors behind. This why people of color celebrate when one of their own makes a modeling career, or appears in a film, or is written inside of a fictional story because this is an anomaly in our whitewashed America. White people don’t need a group to protest against violence because there is no continuous string of slaughter against them for being white. They own white privilege with their tone of skin, one that not any other race can say the same too.

Here is the bottom line; white racism cannot exist because racism is rooted in oppression and hate-filled racial intolerance, a situation that white people have historically never been up against. White people have been the oppressors and the ones in power. Theoretical “racism against whites” does not hold the same weight as the genocides, sexual violence, and the manipulative behavior that were exercised throughout the imperial ages of Europe and later the United States by white settlers and imperialists. Racism against white people cannot exist because white privilege exists. This is their protection badge, their get out of jail free card that those of color cannot obtain because our system tips itself towards white privilege time and time again. There is a whopping 48.4% of hate crimes committed in 2015 where the perpetrator was white, and that number has only continued to increase dramatically, with not a single finger lifted to fix it. The KKK doesn’t exist for shits and giggles; it is in itself the personification of white racism, with its website open for the public to access at its leisure. White people have power, and it is needlessly abused. People who use their whiteness for activism and to raise the voices of those who have been silenced again and again should be a radiant standard of how to use privilege, instead of to tear others down. If you are going to take anything away from this, please let it be this; your power is a privilege of its own, and I advise you to use it for the good of others for their sake and, in a way, your own. Being white doesn’t make you a wicked person, being a racist person does.

 

Kendall and Kylie Jenner: the t-shirt drama.

Kendall and Kylie Jenner released new Merchandise on the ___ of June 2017 for their Kendall + Kylie brand.
The new merch consisted of t-shirts that had iconic artists on them, like Ozzy Osbourne, Tupac and the doors, amongst others…. and on top of the images of the artists the shirts had the faces of both sisters superimposed.
But the pictures used on the merch were trademarked, which means they can’t be used unless you ask for permission. There would be no bad in this if the sisters had asked for permission to use the trademarked pictures that are printed on the shirts. But they didn’t. And in order to use tradermarked images people need the consent from the owners and they did not ask for it.
The artists and their families, when warned about this episode, were quick to express their feelings via Twitter:

After the backlash the Merchandise was taken off sale since the young Jenners were being threatened with lawsuits. To apologize for the situation, both girls published the same statement on their Twitter accounts:

kylie

 

 

Friday, Michael Miller filed a copyright infringement lawsuit due to the fact that the sisters did not ask for his permission to use the two pictures that he took of Shakur that are stamped on the shirts and is demanding receipt of any profits they made off the shirts.
Miller said declared he never gave permission for his work to be used in this Merchandise and “is demanding receipt of any profits they made off the shirts”.
As an answer to Michael Miller’s lawsuit, a representative for the brand Kendall + Kylie, Todd Wilson has said that the lawsuit is “absurd and misguided”, since even though the sisters approved the design, they aren’t the ones responsible for the technical details and issues of legality.The statement released from the brand says that the shirts with Tupac’s images were “obtained from a company that had a valid license to sell them”. Besides, the statement declares Miller’s lawsuit as “baseless”: released a statement saying that the shirts with Tupac’s image were “obtained from a company that had a valid license to sell them”. Besides, the statement declares Miller’s lawsuit “baseless”.
“The allegations made are completely false and the lawsuit is baseless. There has been no infringement or violation of anyone’s rights.”

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Each shirt was $125, but only two of them were sold, says LOS ANGELES, Kendall and Kylie’s fashion label.
Concurrently, these controversial shirts served as inspiration for Arcade Fire’s recent merch, which is composed by a picture of Kendall and the band’s logo superimposed.
Arcade Fire are donating the profit from their Merchandise to Partners in Health, which is a non-profit organisation that works to improve the health of poor and marginalised people across the world.
Seems like this messy situation is far from over and that the famous sisters are going to have to deal with some consequences.
What do you think about all of this? Which side are you on? Do you think that the Merchandise was disrespectful? Do you think Kendall and Kylie even thought about the consequences their act was going to have?
Leave your opinions down below!