Cover Story
“My Vote Doesn’t Matter”
Imagine winning a Congressional seat by one vote, or something even crazier—a tie that is settled by drawing a card. These are the circumstances that landed Democratic candidate Charles B. Smith of New York a seat in Congress in 1910 and Republican Randall Luthi a seat in the Wyoming House of Representatives in 1994, respectively. These instances demonstrate the power of one ballot, one voter and one voice in changing who leads our country.
Yet, here we are, with only 56 percent of eligible American voters participating in the 2016 election, compared to the voter turnout rates in Belgium (87.2 percent), Sweden (82.6 percent) and Denmark (80.3 percent), according to the Pew Research Center. What’s even more disquieting is an analysis done by the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement that discovered that only about 50 percent of eligible voters between the ages of 18 to 29 voted in the 2016 general election.
Why don’t young people vote? Because many believe “My vote doesn’t matter.” This dangerous assumption leaves huge portions of our population voiceless in government. Sadly, many young people believe their one vote would not make a visible impact in a huge population.
“Some people may believe their votes do not matter because they have lost hopes in their ability to change the programs they are voting for or against,” said Anilda Rodriguez, an 18-year-old student from Dorchester who will be a first-time voter this November. 
Just imagine the policy shifts the U.S. would face if all young people voted in every local, state and federal election. It is with this mindset that many young adults are entering the upcoming elections. A recent survey by the Harvard Institute of Politics found an increased enthusiasm for political participation, especially among Democrats. It seems as though the chaotic administration in the White House may have a reckoning on their hands. 
The significant changes that would occur if young people voted in huge numbers will be unforeseen in the history of U.S. elections. The issues and problems we fight for in our daily lives will be in our hands, and we can have a real chance of upending those of the older generation. 
“I believe in youth power and I think that by allowing teens to vote, we are able to elect those who will actually help make the world a better place,” said Sonny Mei, an 18-year-old student from Dorchester who will also be a first-time voter. “I also believe we [young adults] are more open-minded and will be able to tackle issues that are often ignored—issues that affect minorities and the less privileged groups around the country.”
In light of the current political state, it is more important than ever that young people vote. Major political issues are making headlines, and for real, long-lasting results to occur, young people need to be engaged and politically present.


Make Your Voice Heard 

Where can I register to vote?
You can register in-person at the Department of Motor Vehicles, armed service recruitment centers, and public assistance offices [SNAP/Food Stamps, WIC, Services for the Disabled].
The Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, William Francis Galvin, also has an online forum that makes it easy and simple to register or pre-register to vote at www. sec.state.ma.us.

How do I know when to vote?
To keep up with all the upcoming elections, visit turbovote.org, where you can subscribe to alerts about all the elections happening in your district.




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 In 2005, game director David Jaffe introduced gamers to the “God of War” franchise. The franchise includes eight games, including the PSP games “God of War: Ghost of Sparta,” “God of War: Chains of Olympus” and “God of War: Ascension.” In February 2018, they released their latest installment, “God of War,” which I consider to be the best game in the franchise. According to Nicole Smith, an Assistant Dialogue Recordist for Skybound Entertainment, the game “showcases a lot of growth in the sense that it reflects general attitudes both within and without the gaming industry as a whole.” For the past 10 years, the game has evolved on many levels: storyline, graphics and gaming experience. 
The other seven games before this latest installment in the franchise follow the story of the mortal Kratos. Kratos was a general for the Spartan army. During a battle and on the verge of death, he calls out to Ares, the Greek god of war for help, and makes a blood oath to him. Kratos destroys town after town and eventually ends up blindly killing his wife and child through the power of Ares. The games in this franchise follow Kratos’ journey and show how Kratos’ hatred for the gods grows. When he finally kills his father Zeus in “God of War III,” he flees Sparta and comes to Midgard in ancient Norway, where he marries his second wife and has a son, Atreus.
This new game leaves the Greek mythology behind and instead delves into Norse mythology. In the latest “God of War,” Kratos finds a home in Midgard. He meets many Norse gods like Freya, Balder, Magni and Modi, the world serpent and Thor himself. This change of worlds in “God of War” has made the game much more exciting because now you get to focus and learn about a new mythology, and discover a world not seen in the past.
The graphics of the franchise slowly made their way to the realistic, vast world of Midgard. Around 2008-2010, the graphics were not that good on PSP, since it was on a portable system, not on a home console. In “God of War: Ascension,” for example, the combat was choppy and glitchy. It seemed like the designers focused more on the storyline than delivering a quality gaming experience. In the new “God of War,” the characters are more realistic. The vast world of Midgard really comes alive, and all the other nine realms do as well.
“God of War” has come a long way, giving gamers the best fighting and mythical world yet. What I like most about the latest installment of “God of War” is that after 10 years of Greek mythology, it finally shifts to a new world. Also, the storyline is much better because it shows Kratos teaching his son Arteus how to survive. I have a good feeling about what the franchise is going to bring for the next “God of War.”


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The year was 1996, and Australia had their deadliest mass shooting ever by one man. Shooter Martin Bryant killed 35 people and wounded 23 in Port Arthur, according to the Atlantic. Less than two weeks after, all Australian states, including Tasmania, agreed to make several gun laws, including the banning of shotguns and rifles. Twenty years later, Australia still has not had a mass shooting worse than the Port Arthur one yet, proving that the gun laws set into place after the shooting were effective. If the United States adopts stricter gun laws like Australia, the country could be safer than it is now.
It has been 20 years since the Port Arthur mass shooting. According to BBC, Australia requires a 28-day waiting period before you can purchase a gun because the government has to check criminal records to make sure you can own a gun legally. On the other hand, in the U.S., each state has their own laws about guns and owning them. Some states like Massachusetts have different age requirements for owning guns. Massachusetts is not an open carry state, meaning that you can not carry a gun if you are not class A or else you will be committing a crime, according to Mass.gov. However, some states, like Texas, are open carry states. You can purchase shotguns and rifles if you are 18, according to the Caller Times. 
In 1996, Australia started making laws that used financial incentives to encourage citizens to turn in their guns. Oliver Palmer, an Australian resident, also explained to me that the Australian states adopted laws that made owning guns more annoying for people. 
 “My grandparents who lived on farms had guns to eat rabbits and kill snakes. My parents had guns but had to keep paying for storage, and they got tired of it,” he said. 
The federal government needs to adopt national gun laws similar to Australia. We all want to prevent another mass shooting. The U.S either has two options: one, we learn from our mistakes and create national laws that prevent mass shootings, or two, we do not change anything. 
However, organizations like the National Rifle Association (NRA) stand in the way of change. They want to “defend their gun rights” and keep the gun laws the way they are. Some people think if we implement laws like Australia’s, it would conflict with the Second Amendment, the right to bear arms. 
However, the United States needs to have similar laws to Australia because the longer we wait, the more lives that will be taken in the hands of terrorists. America is on the its boiling point, and in addition to our mass shootings, riots and racist events, our government must take action one way or another. 


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I am on the trip of my dreams and stepping off the plane, when I realize how little I have really prepared. I have a hotel and I am packed, but I am unprepared for the biggest challenge of all—visiting a country where English is completely foreign. With all the signs in Chinese, I do not understand where to find baggage claim, can not find customer service and I can not even buy a bottle of water. 
How could this been avoided? Here are some tips for traveling outside of the U.S. to put your anxiety at ease that have proven helpful.
Before you leave the US: 
  1. Make sure there is more than 6 months on your passport.
Some foreign countries have very strict rules when it comes to passports, so it is always better to be safe than sorry when traveling.
  1. Make sure to tell your credit card company that you are traveling.
It is better to do so in case of emergency and you need to use your credit card. You need to tell the credit card company where you will be traveling and for how long, even if you do not plan on using your card.
  1. Learn the conversion rate.
Knowing the conversion rate can help you find out if something you want to buy abroad is a good price. Make sure to check on the same day you start your trip to see if the rate has changed. Do not get intimidated. 
“It is not hard once you get the hang of it. It is easy and quick to pick up,” said Kemmara Bailey, a young teen traveler. 
  1. Get a translator app that doesn’t require the internet.
Getting this app will be helpful, but also try to learn some basic words and phrases, such as “Hello,” “Where is the bathroom?” and “Do you speak English?” This way, you won’t have to keep looking them up every time.
  1.  Learn the culture.
Some cultures in other countries are different than American culture. It is important to find out the offensive and acceptable behaviors for foreigners in different countries. 
Eric Jeffords, a long time traveler, said, “Look into how to be respectful in basic interactions, whether it be bowing or what to say to be polite.” 
On the plane ride to your destination: 
  1. Stay hydrated.
On planes, they lower the humidity to create a clean and comfortable environment for travelers. But, this causes the body to release moisture quicker than normal, which leads to dehydration. The best thing to drink is water.
When you get to your destination:
  1. Get your hotel’s business cards. 
If you get lost while traveling, you can give your hotel business card to someone nearby to help you find your way back. I tried this tip, and it was really helpful.

Following these simple tips will make sure you do not waste time stressing about your trip, and help you have an amazing time and experience.


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 In 2003, Bravo graced us with a new reality makeover show. We were introduced to the Fab Five—a group of gay men who hosted the show, “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.” In an era when “Will & Grace” had been the sole TV representation of gay men since 1998, many still squirmed at the meer implication of queerness. “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” however, shone a spotlight directly on gay men—even if the premise was based on the stereotype of gay men being fashionable. Running for five seasons, the show was tremendously successful, so much so that in 2017, 10 years after “Queer Eye” finished airing, Netflix picked up a reboot of it, introducing a new Fab Five.
 So, maybe makeover shows are not really your thing. Maybe you find them to be shallow and degrading, and some certainly are. However, “Queer Eye” brings something new to the genre of “makeover shows.” The Fab Five break down the walls of what we have seen in shows like this before, and they offer show participants so much more than haircuts and new outfits. The Fab Five focus on making the entirety of participants’ lives better, while preserving the essence of the person they are.
“Every person they work with, they are not just looking about what the right haircut for their face shape is; it is more like ‘What is this person covering up that needs to come out to make them a brighter, more self-actualized person?’” said Sasha Cagen, lifestyle coach and author of the book “Quirkyalone: A Manifesto for Uncompromising Romantics.” 
Javiel Rios, a student at City On A Hill, said that a makeover is “something that changes the exterior of a person, but also the inside, and it affects the way the person feels about themselves.” 
That is what “Queer Eye” does. And in addition to this, they help participants with something else along the way—like helping bartender Leo get ready for a parent-teacher conference, and helping Walmart employee William Mahnken propose to his girlfriend. There is something you can connect to in each episode because every person is treated as an individual, and each person is special.
Throughout the show, you also get a sense of the Fab Five as individuals, and you see them grow and learn from the people they meet. They focus on what is presented on the outside—fashion (Tan), culture (Karamo), grooming (Jonathan), food (Antoni) and interior design (Bobby)— and connect that to what is inside. In the season two premiere, we hear some of the Five talk about their experiences with religion. You witness some significant moments with Bobby especially, as he refuses to go inside the church because of the rejection he faced when he came out. We then watch as he opens up about this to the woman they are making over, Tammye Hicks, and finally watch him step inside. 
Similarly, when the Fab Five get ready to meet Skyler, a trans man who just got top surgery, they open up on their lack of knowledge of the transgender community, and how willing to learn they are. You get a genuine sense of who the Fab Five are, as you get to know the show’s participants. 
“I think ‘Queer Eye’ is special because I think they [the Fab Five] can make a lasting impact,” said Anya Edwards, a Boston Arts Academy student. “They actually have conversations with these people about their lives and what is holding them back from achieving their goals.”
 No matter how firm you are on the idea of all reality and makeover shows being, well, trash, I would tell you to hop on Netflix and put on “Queer Eye”—you will find the Fab Five just as enduring and charming as I do.


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You probably recognize Terry Crews. Maybe as the soft-hearted sergeant on “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” the flirtatious Latrell Spencer from “White Chicks” or as a professional football player. He is hard to miss—245 pounds, six feet and three inches of pure muscle. Even so, he has an unmistakable comedic and lovable air to him. He’s a nice guy, but can certainly handle his own.
 You look at this famous actor and former athlete—and I can bet the word “sexual assault survivor” never comes to mind.
 Terry Crews came forward about his experience with sexual assault in October of 2017. He talked about it on Twitter and gave his testimony for the Sexual Assault Survivors Bill of Rights, detailing an experience he had with a Hollywood executive in which he was belittled and violated. He discussed how the #MeToo movement motivated him to come to terms with what happened—even when countless people told him his experience was invalid. 
After coming forward, he has received countless support, along with backlash. Backlash as in unless he agreed to drop his case, he would not be in the fourth installment of the Expendables franchise. Backlash from the likes of rapper 50 Cent, who mocked Crews on a now deleted Instagram post. Backlash that adds to the toxic culture of invalidating male victims of sexual assault. 
 In the United States, 1 in 6 men are raped and/or sexually assaulted. Around 10 percent of rape survivors outside of criminal institutions are male. High school students Zorely de la Rosa and Travis Ambroise estimated that the percent of male rape victims is only 6 and 2 percent, significantly lower than the reality. 
1in6.org helps bring clarity to what the words “sexual assault” means—unwanted sexual experience involving force, coercion, unconsciousness or age difference.
Men, and women, like 50 Cent who shame people coming forward as victims add to the part of rape culture often ignored—the fact that men can and are sexually assaulted. Many men do not come forward with their experiences and if they do, they are made into caricatures, forcing them into hiding. It is an issue that takes toll on all survivors.
We have all heard the blame placed on female survivors before—she was dressed too provocatively, she was too drunk, she didn’t say no—even when the only one at fault is the rapist. The misandrist attitude towards men comes in when they are the ones on the opposite end of the situation. De la Rosa said “People in general would find it odd if a guy does not want to have sex, let alone someone coming onto him and him denying it.”
 Some argue men should be able to stand up for themselves and fight back. This idea alone negates male victims who are children. Children like Jaidyn Tucker, who had been continually molested by an adult at his after school program for months. Invalidating male victims can lead to men who were victims as children to deter from coming forward and get justice, or even just closure.
There are so many reasons survivors do not come forward. Terry Crews himself discussed how for him, he realized that as a black man, he was at a disadvantage and there were unfair consequences if he stood up for himself.
 “Senator, as a black man in America,” he said in his testimony, “You only have a few shots at success. You only have a few chances you make yourself a viable member of the community.” The next day, he called the agency and told them about what happened—and nothing was fixed. In fact, 10 percent of Crews’ income from season six of his show “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” will go to the company that still employs the man who molested him, Adam Venit. Countless people who he told the experience about brushed it aside, and told him what had happened was not assault, and he should leave it alone. “I can only imagine it makes men feel like they have been stripped from their own humanity and are only seen as sexual beings,” de la Rosa said.
It is incredibly unfortunate we live in a world where we must fear being shamed as survivors. Not victims, but survivors. Survivors of a crime any person can live through. No matter gender, race, age, size or stature. No matter what, every case and every person who comes forward should be treated with the same rights as the one before them.


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A&E
The Cool, the Gross and the Colorful: Your Guide to Harvard Museums
At the Harvard Museums, there is an incredibly large range of different things to experience and explore. Whatever kind of history you are into, or if you are not into history at all—there is an exhibit that at the very least will catch your eye. Here are my favorite things and must-sees if you ever end up in Cambridge.
1. Romer Hall of Vertebrate Paleontology
If seeing the skeletons of animals that could swallow you whole as easily as you can swallow a grape terrifies you, then this exhibit is not for you. There are incredibly well-preserved animals such as early mammals, fish and dinosaurs (including the world’s only Kronosaurus on display, which is 42 feet long), then step no further than the Romer Hall of Vertebrate Paleontology. It is packed with gross and deliciously cool animals and reptiles preserved in jars and cases of glass like that in the lab of a mad scientist. 
2. The Great Mammal Hall
You can find The Great Mammal Hall as you pass through the museum, and through time. Make your way past all the evolution and extinct animals, and find yourself cornered by a million mammals—from tiny rodents to grimacing predators. You can land on any one animal and find a disturbing, bulging expression, or some that are actually quite comical. If there is an animal that you are interested in, or even just love, you will find it here.
3. Arts of War Headgear Exhibit
One of the most interesting things that you can explore about a civilization is, for one, how they dress, and for two, how they protect themselves. In the Arts of War exhibits in the Peabody Museum, you can walk through and connect pieces from places like Japan, Hawaii, Italy, Borneo and more, guns, knives, suits of armor, shields, clubs and my personal favorite: helmets. There is something entrancing about stunning headpieces like these that you can imagine gracing the heads of those on the battlefield.
4. Día de los Muertos
Maybe your eyes get bored at what, to you, are just fancy rocks and stuffed animals. “Who cares about some boring ceramics?” you may ask yourself. Well, inside the Encounters With America Exhibit, your eyes will land upon the overwhelming Día de los Muertos exhibit. The altar set-up features Mexican art with Aztec influences, decorated by local and international artists. The aura of it can be described as a “unique blend of Mesoamerican and Christian rituals,” in which you can play a fun little game I like to call “Find The Jesuses."
5. The Javanese Village
As you make your way up the stairs of the Peabody, you can reach The Javanese Village—an exhibit that showcased parts of the Japanese Bamboo Theatre. There are gorgeous puppets as well as paper depictions of Hindu gods and stuffed glass representatives of class. So if you are drawn towards Eastern Asian culture, you will certainly find yourself lost in the eyes of the Krishna puppet.


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Now that LGBTQ characters are abounding in the media, it is time to raise expectations on their portrayal. The majority of LGBTQ representation revolves around characters behaving like the caricature of their sexuality, similar to flamboyant side characters like Damian from “Mean Girls” and Kurt Hummel from “Glee.”
While there is truth to the cliché, it is also healthy to see members of the community be accepted and normalized in the media so that young members of the community can see more of themselves in the characters, rather than what writers assume they are.
Having an LGBTQ character is a start, but an important part of normalizing the community is writing them like human beings, rather than caricatures. Becky Albertalli, author of the book “Simon VS The Homo Sapiens Agenda,” which was adapted into the movie “Love, Simon,” exemplifies how to properly integrate LGBTQ characters into her novels.
There is a scarce amount of books that have a homosexual protagonist, so Simon is a breath of fresh air. The novel follows closeted teenager, Simon Spier, who is in danger of having his emails with an anonymous gay kid at his school leaked to the public. Through Simon’s character, Albertalli proves that LGBTQ characters can differentiate from their stereotype. While the story revolves around romance and his sexuality, his romantic relationship is as fleshed out and focused on as a heterosexual’s relationship would be in any other book. 
Albertalli’s second book, “The Upside of the Unrequited,” follows Molly Peskin-Suso, an overweight teenager who struggles with her self-esteem and love life. Molly’s twin sister, Cassie, has a subplot love story with a pansexual teen. Cassie is very flirtatious and can easily pick up girls. She is deeply flawed, quirky and protective. She is not constantly tormented by her sexuality; she proudly embraces it without it being her only character trait. Seeing people so confident in their sexualities helps to encourage younger members of the community to do the same. 
Albertalli could have stopped there, but she is truly a LGBTQ character dispenser. Cassie also has two moms. Most authors would not write about a family with more than one member of the gay community, but Albertalli was really onto something—a household where the majority of the family members are LGBTQ, and none of the characters are negatively affected. Stories praised for representing the gay community usually only have one or two gay characters. Albertalli proudly showcases many gay characters, demonstrating how similar the lives of a gay family and straight family can be. 
If gay characters are underrepresented in literature, then bisexuals are treated like they do not exist. During the rare occasion that a bisexual is featured in the media, the word “bisexual” is usually treated like Voldemort, the thing that shall not be named. Cheryl Blossom from “Riverdale,” for example, has a sexuality that is never mentioned in the show, despite having romantic encounters with both men and women. 
In “Leah on the OffBeat,”Albertalli sheds light on bisexuality. The protagonist, Leah Burke, is a bisexual teenager who is out to her mom but not her friends. Leah’s bisexuality is acknowledged frequently in her own inner dialogue. While her tendency to be reserved withholds her from being out to her friend group, she is not ashamed of it. 
Homophobia blatantly exists and prejudice is something most, if not all, members of the LGBTQ community face. However, the majority of LGBTQ representation in the media centers around characters being treated like a burden, and being excessively ridiculed because of their sexuality. Meanwhile, Albertalli executes an interpretation of these characters in a matter that makes them feel like authentic human beings, rather than bizzare exaggerations of the assumptions society places on them. She makes her books seem less like an LGBTQ genre novel and more like a story that just happens to have LGBTQ characters in it. In a literary utopian world, more authors would take after Albertalli when integrating LGBTQ characters into their work. 


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