Eric Garner -- unarmed and choked to death. Michael Brown -- unarmed and shot to death. Trayvon Martin -- unarmed and shot to death. The list goes on.
These are not isolated incidents. It is important that we start talking about the brutality that is acted upon the black body and start changing the system together. There is a skewed narrative when people speak of violence against black bodies, one that seeks to criminalize rather than show that we, too, are humans. We saw this with the Michael Brown case when it came out -- after he was gunned down -- that he was accused of stealing from a local store prior to being shot. And then we found out that grand juries had failed to indict white police officers whose actions led to the deaths of African-American
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Yessica Guzman, 16, says her friends don’t always understand why she’s not in the mood to talk. “It’s not personal,” says Guzman, who goes to Boston Community Leadership Academy. “Some days I’m quieter than others, but that doesn’t mean I’m not their friend.” Being misunderstood by friends or family -- or at least thinking that you are -- is a big part of the teen experience. Joan Corporan, 17, from BCLA, says that one time he told a friend she was ugly. He was only joking, he says, but she took it seriously and didn’t want to hear his excuse. Aline Santos, 17, from BCLA, says that her mother has trouble seeing why her daughter doesn’t always check in and tell her that she’s safe. “It’s not that I don’t want to call her to let her know where I am at,” says Santos, “but that I want more freedom and in my mindset if I call her to tell her where I’m at she wouldn’t agree on letting me go where I want to go.”
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Bintou Conte, a senior at Dorchester Academy, is very good at reflecting on her life and making changes. “I was looking around for afterschool programs and came across the Urban Scholars,’’ Conte says. She says joining this group was her smartest decision ever because it supports high school students with things like college applications. Teens are often criticized for making stupid choices, but sometimes they are good with their heads. Kayin Walker, 13, from Mattapan, says that talking to his current girlfriend was a superb selection. “She makes me happy and she is smart,” Walker says. “I wake every morning feeling excited because I know my day will be filled with her.”
Najma Abdirahman, 14, from Dorchester, considers her greatest call trying out for the school basketball team. “I made it,” she says.
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Culture Club
"You're So Sweet, You're Giving Me A Toothache" --And Other Corny Pickup Lines
Jhadley Sanchez, a junior at Boston Community Leadership Academy, has had this corny come-on sent her way via text message: “Just because I’m guilty of stealing your heart doesn’t mean you can lock me up.”
Though the means of delivery have changed, the presence of cheesy, attention-grabbing phrases has been passed down from generation to generation.
Epiphany Dunston, a junior at BCLA, has received this one: “Hey sexy, can I find you a Pepsi?” Kevin Teixeira, 16, a junior at BCLA, has been known to employ this declaration, in jest: “I’m not a photographer, but I can picture you and I together.”
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Angelique McAuliffe, a 13 year-old-from Dorchester says that what has her feeling different is undeniably important to her.
“What makes me unique is my name,” she says. “It’s not a common name.” And people tell her that all the time, she says.
“It makes me feel special,” McAuliffe says. Although there is a lot of peer pressure to follow the crowd, many teens feel that being distinctive is their way of stepping out in the world and saying that it’s OK not to be like everybody else. Rosauri Laura, 14, from South Boston, says that the silly way she uses her voice -- going super high, for example -- sets her apart.
“Not many people I know are as weird as I am,” she says. Keahja Pittman, 13, from Dorchester, says that her particular heritage is a mystery to many. “Everybody looks at me,” Pittman says, “and never suspects that I’m from Portugal.”
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