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.

Florida Shooting: What We Know

Nikolas Cruz, a 19 year old former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School opened fire on students and faculty Wednesday afternoon killing 17, and wounding others.  Students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High had a planned fire drill Wednesday morning, so when the second alarm blared through the speakers students were confused but didn’t think much of the situation.  It was not until they heard gunshot that students  began to frantically flee and barricade themselves desperate to stay alive.

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Nikolas Cruz, 19, Time

Cruz had been previously expelled and recognized as a danger on school grounds by the schools administrators, his expulsion was a product of his violence presented towards his ex-girlfriends current boyfriend.   Recent statements from students attending Marjory Stoneman mention Cruz had a tendency to “obsessively stalk”  or “threaten” many females within the school.  Classmates had also mentioned Nikolas would make, “dark, gun-related jokes” joking about, “shooting people or shooting up establishments” (USA Today).  Many students were able to immediately identify their former classmate equipped with smoke grenades, an AR-15 style weapon, and a gas mask.

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Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, Wikipedia

After arriving at the campus, Cruz entered buildings where he immediately opened chaotic fire shooting through windows, computer screens, ceilings etc.  Many students hid inside closets, bathroom stalls, and classrooms however others found themselves attempting to flee the campus in order to reach a safe ground.  Students remaining on campus witnessed bullets spraying through classrooms in no particular direction hitting their classmates, and shattering windows.  Students used their mobile phones, specifically Snapchat, to record these traumatizing moments, while others texted their friends and families what they thought was their final goodbye.

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Students evacuating Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, France 24

Cruz had killed the majority of the victims on campus however did shoot and kill an individual down the street.  It was mentioned that Cruz did not remain on campus throughout the duration of the shootings, and was constantly, “on and off campus”.  Cruz was eventually identified and taken into custody by local law enforcement officers, and has since been charged with 17 counts of murder.

The moment Nikolas Cruz was taken into custody by local law enforcement after killing 17 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Broward County, Fla. Wednesday. 
Nikolas Cruz being taken into custody by the law enforcement after brutally murdering 17, WPTV West Palm Beach

12 bodies were found on campus, one off campus, and others succumbed to their fatal injuries on the way to the hospital or at the hospital.  The known victims are as listed:

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Aaron Feis, MassLive.com

Aaron Feis – Assistant football coach killed after throwing himself in front of  the spray of bullets to shield the students.

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Nicholas Dworet, NY Daily News

Nicholas Dworet – Nicholas was a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, and a  swimmer recruited by the University of Indianapolis.

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Jaime Guttenberg, Sky News

Jaime Guttenberg – Jaime was among the 17 individuals who lost their lives in this inhumane tragedy.

Meadow Pollack was killed on February 14, 2018 when Nikolas Cruz, 19, shot and killed 17 people at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on February 14, 2018.
Meadow Pollack, Facebook

Meadow Pollack – Meadow was among many who were thought to be missing until her father confirmed her passing this morning.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10211229977607668&set=gm.1801617480134672&type=3&theater
Gina Montalto, Facebook

Gina Montalto – Gina was a member of her school’s color guard team, and unfortunately succumbed to her injuries Wednesday night.

Luke Hoyer was killed by a gunman who shot and killed 17 people at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Luke Hoyer, Family Handout

Luke Hoyer – Luke was one among the 17 individuals shot and killed by Nikolas Cruz.

Martin Duque was killed when Nikolas Cruz Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on February 14, 2018.
Martin Duque, GOFUNDME

Martin Duque – Martin, a freshman, was also a victim to the school shooting Wednesday.

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Peter Wang, Facebook

Peter Wang – Peter, a freshman, was also a victim to the school shooting Wednesday.

 Joaquin Oliver's family are searching for the young man, saying he was at the school when the shooting started
Joaquin Oliver, Facebook

Joaquin Oliver – Joaquin’s passing was confirmed by his cousin Thursday morning.

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Cara Loughran, Facebook

Cara Loughran – Cara’s passing was confirmed by a peer counselor at the church in which she attended.

Scott Beigel, Facebook

Scott Beigel – Mr.Beigel was a geography teacher at the school, aiding students in reaching safety however unfortunately being shot and killed during the process.

Alaina Petty, Facebook

Alaina Petty – Alaina was confirmed deceased by the Bishop of the Coral Springs Ward, alongside her great aunt Thursday morning.

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Alyssa Alhadeff, Facebook

Alyssa Alhadeff – Alyssa’s death was confirmed by her soccer club Thursday morning via Facebook.

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Chris Hixon, Facebook

Chris Hixon – Chris was an athletic director at the High School who fell upon the 17 victims of the shooting.

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Madeleine Wilford, Facebook

Madeleine Wilford – Madeleine was among the victims of the school shooting Wednesday.

Our hearts and condolences go to the families of the victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High Shooting.

*this is a developing story as updates become available they will be posted*

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.”

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!