To my fellow first-generation friends,
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The 2020-21 school year was a long one — one for the books. Not only did this school year start off with the reality that we had been in a pandemic for close to six months at that time, but this year was also met major political and social justice events taking place both locally and nationally.
Celebrations took place all over the country on Jan. 20, 2021, as President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Vice President Kamala Devi Harris were inaugurated into office. On this Inauguration Day, history was made as Harris was sworn in, not only as the first female vice president but also as the first Asian-American and African-American one. The Biden administration has also been deemed the most diverse cabinet in history — according to PBS NewsHour, the staff is “made up of 61 percent women, 54 percent people of color, and nearly 20 percent first-generation Americans.”
As a person with a uterus, it is terrifying to realize that Judge Amy Coney Barrett, the newest addition to the United States Supreme Court, has the power to reverse the progress that has been made in terms of reproductive rights for those with uteruses. Abortion accessibility is a major concern of mine. A person’s right to elect for an abortion should not be infringed upon by politicians. Abortion accessibility is vital for everyone, no matter what their background may be. Abortion accessibility is not about aborting every pregnancy but about being given the freedom to choose how a person would like to proceed with their pregnancy. Abortion is not murder and whoever says otherwise is absolutely not educated on the topic whatsoever. Pro-lifers, I implore you all to look into fostering or adopting the already born 400,000 children in the American foster care system instead of imposing your beliefs on those who did not ask for it. Our bodies are not political playgrounds for legislation. Let's begin to acknowledge and respect that.
In my freshman year at the University of Arizona, I was in a math class. While waiting for class to begin, some classmates and I were talking about the cost of college. Everyone was talking about how much they pay a semester: “My parents pay $8,000” or “Oh yeah, well my parents have to pay $13,000.” When it became my turn to share, I felt majorly uncomfortable as I knew I was not paying even half of what my peers were paying. I brushed it off and said, “Well I get a good amount of financial aid, so I don’t pay too much. I am also an in-state student.” After my response, I was met with comments such as, “Wow you’re so lucky you even qualify for financial aid. My parents make too much money.” After this interaction, I wondered to myself if my peers knew what makes one eligible for financial aid.
As an aspiring journalist, I felt that it was important to make a professional Twitter for myself. While creating my Twitter, I was looking for a profile picture, a professional-looking picture that will put a face to my name. In the process of trying to select my picture, I kept running into the same problem: every picture that I liked I felt that the way that I looked was too girly and/or too youthful. In turn, I felt that the way that I looked would make me seem unprofessional. I felt that having false eyelashes on or having my hair done in my picture would be too much.
This story was produced as part of the Daily Wildcat's "Election Guide" special print edition, published Wednesday, Oct. 21, and available on campus or online.
On Sept. 4, Russell Vought, director of the United States Office of Management and Budget, issued a memo to federal agencies telling them to “cease and desist from using taxpayer dollars” for trainings that are centralized around critical race theory — also referred to as CRT. The memo implies that trainings held for federal employees that are based on CRT are teaching “divisive, un-American propaganda.” Nineteen days later, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that prohibits federal contractors from providing trainings that have anything to do with CRT. The executive order specifically listed these topics as being off limits for employee training:
The way a person presents themselves physically does not always reveal their gender identity. One’s gender identity is the “personal sense of one’s own gender,” whether masculine, feminine, both or neither. With that, a person with a beard is not always a man and a person wearing a dress is not always a woman. We as a society have been conditioned to correlate certain physical presentations and behaviors with a particular gender, which can be harmful to those who do not traditionally conform to the gender binary.
As an incoming freshman to the University of Arizona in 2018, trying to navigate campus and classes were daunting. In my time adjusting to my new environment there was a major observation that I had made that had perplexed me: The way the people around me were speaking was different. My professors and peers were all speaking English, but at times I felt that even though I knew the words that they were saying, I was not fully able to understand the meaning behind them.
Ethnic studies are a valuable component in a student’s education and should be offered in all schools. Northern Arizona University defines ethnic studies as “the interdisciplinary study of race and ethnicity, as understood through the perspectives of major underrepresented racial groups in the United States." Taking ethnic studies classes in high school was the most formative and important experience of my educational career. As a first-generation Mexican-American student, it wasn’t until then that I was taught about Mexican history and Mexican people’s contributions to American history.
With less than 50 days until the 2020 U.S. presidential election, there has been a lot of news about the potential voter suppression that American voters could be facing. In an interview with Politico, President Trump said, “My biggest risk is that we don’t win lawsuits.” He continued on to say, “And if we don’t win those lawsuits, I think — I think it puts the election at risk.” The lawsuits he was referring to were filed by his administration and the Republican National Committee in more than a dozen states and seek to fight the expansion of mail-in voting as well as limiting voter access to the ballot box in November. In short, Trump and his Republican allies are attempting to limit access to voting this upcoming election cycle under the guise of concern for voter fraud when, in reality, fraudulent votes — especially via mail — are virtually nonexistent. What is this? This is textbook voter suppression.
Police brutality is not new to our country. Now more than ever, change within our policing system is being demanded all over America. With the murder of George Floyd that was committed by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin this past May, the voices of the Black Lives Matter movement have become louder than ever and have gained great attention across the nation, and around the world. This year alone, police in the United States have killed 1,019 people. With that, 28% of those 1,019 were Black Americans, despite Black people only making up 13% of the American population. Why is it that Black Americans are killed at a disproportionate rate as compared to their white counterparts? Is race a factor?