AFH Photo//Aijanah Sanford
The one thing she remembers most was the pressure. At first, it seemed he really enjoyed her presence. But then, in one instant, it all changed. All she said to herself was, “Everything will be alright. Don’t worry about a thing.” But as each second went by she felt him closer and closer until eventually the room felt like a cage from which she couldn't escape.
Now she's forever trapped in this “perfect world,” and there's still that room, that couch, that cage where she lost the fight and her thoughts blanked out. Now she’s sitting down in bed, confused with tears running down her face, unable to believe. Is it true? Did it really happen? How could I let this happen?
In the meantime, she works hard to act normal. She manages to put a smile on her face everyday from ear to ear just so nobody will notice her pain. But on the inside, every day is harsh without any escape. She feels lost in this world, with no one to talk to. She feels responsible. Because she invited trouble and then failed to defend herself.
Three years went by. She was insecure; she couldn’t walk late at night and hated to fall asleep because the only thing that came to her head was that scene, that couch, that cage.
Now she is here, in a small room with only the lamp turned on; it is cold and she feels desperate—shame and distrust are holding her back. But then, that wonderful woman tells her, “I know what you're going through. I've been hurt also, and we're going to get through this. But you have show that you're strong. There's a wall, you know, that you have to break through so you can let all the good things happen to you.”
All of a sudden, in that moment, she feels safe. Safe to explode. She can't keep everything in anymore. She is feeling the woman that she could become pushing out from the inside.
So, she finally talks. Words spill from her mouth, tears spring from her eyes; a grip is loosening, a chain is breaking. With each tear and with each breath, she feels relief. And so she tries and breaks that wall between her past and what awaits her in the future. The woman hugs her, and little by little she starts realizing that in this world there are people who love her and who will support her through it all.   
A few months from now I'll be in college. I am prepared. I want to become a pediatrician so kids never feel like they're alone in this world with no one to talk to. I know that in every life, including my own, there will be challenges and suffering, but I have learned that I can be strong—as long as I find the people to hold me while I find that strength.

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IBA Photo
Ahhhh, Soda! We all love it!  But do you know what might happen to your body the more you drink it? 
Soda is one of the worst beverages you can consume, beating out other drinks like juice and coffee.  An English chemist named Dr. Joseph Priestley invented soda or “carbonated water” in 1767 (251 years ago!). Do you know what it’s made out of? Diabetes! Just joking. Actually, soda contains water, caramel coloring, high fructose corn syrup and caffeine. All of these ingredients are bad for your body, except for H2O of course.
But anyway, Joseph Priestley invented soda because he thought it tasted better than plain water.  I mean he ain’t lying, soda is bomb, but what he didn’t know was all the harm it would bring to our bodies. Over time, soda can cause you to lose your teeth to cavities and erosion.  It can increase your chances of having a heart attack by 20 percent. The caramel coloring in soda also contains a possible carcinogen, and it’s estimated that 44-58 percent of people are increasing their cancer risk by drinking a soda each day.  On top of all that, you can develop poorer memory, damage your kidneys, or become obese. Now if this isn’t enough to get you to stop, don’t say I didn’t warn you, sis!
But if you love soda like I do, try drinking some of the healthier ones like: Sprite, Ginger Ale, Sierra Mist, or 7-UP. These drinks all have a lower amount of sugar and do not contain as much of the unhealthy ingredients that the worst sodas do. Coca-Cola, A&W Cream Soda, Mountain Dew (that includes all of the different flavors), All Crush/Fanta sodas, root beer, and all energy drinks (yes, that's a soda because it’s carbonated!) should be avoided at all costs.   
 Ready to give up soda for good? Let me introduce you to the answer/the cure/the truth/the fact/the holy grail of bevs…
Drumroll please (you better make some noise, don’t leave me hanging...)
WATER! Yup, you know it, that’s right, plain old agua!
There are so many benefits to drinking water. You will have clear skin, healthy hair, and more energy, plus it helps you lose weight.  Water is one of our basic necessities as human beings; we need it to survive.  More than 1 billion people in the world do not have access to clean drinking water, so be grateful that here in the United States we have what so many people wish they had: access to clean water at any given moment in our daily lives. 
 Did you know that nearly 1 out of every 5 deaths in the U.S. is caused by obesity?  Save your body and fight that craving for soda. It’s 2018, and for a whopping free 99 you can get... tap water, sis, go fill up a bottle!

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AFH Photo//Esther Bobo
I never really thought about my race. Of course, I was aware that there were different races, but when I was younger, I simply identified my race as Hispanic without a second thought. 
However, as I began to think more about race, my identity became confused. Although my mother is light-skinned and my father is dark-skinned, they’re both from the Dominican Republic.They had three children and none of us look alike. My parents pointed out the difference between my second oldest brother and me through the nicknames “morenito” and “blanquita.” It wasn’t until I was older that I realized that colorism fueled these nicknames and plagues the Dominican Republic. 
Growing up in the DR was confusing. To understand where I’m coming from, you must understand what colorism is. According to an article in Time called “The Difference Between Racism and Colorism,” colorism is “the prejudicial or preferential treatment of same-race people based solely on their color.”
Colorism is your mom straightening your hair because “it looks more presentable.” Colorism is your dad not letting you to go out to play when the sun’s out because “you’ll get darker.” Colorism is not identifying yourself as black because you’re too proud to be Dominican to be anything else. This thinking has poisoned Dominican society; people who live on the island have a rigid, preconceived idea of what it means to “look Dominican.”
Some Dominicans praise my European features, like my light skin and curly hair, but don’t think I look “Dominican enough”—AKA black enough—because my skin isn’t sun-kissed like theirs. I struggled to accept myself the way I am. How can I say I’m black if my skin says something different? I don’t identify as black because I don’t look black. I want to accept my roots, but I a constantly shut down because I don’t fit the mold. 
My mother, my grandmother, my great-grandmother and I were all born in the DR. We are by definition and by history “black.” But if I told strangers that, I would get odd looks. Why? Because although my lineage is black, I do not go through the same struggles as my dark-skinned older brother. By sight, I am not identifiable as black, so I don’t face the same prejudices darker-skinned people do. 
I think that to be Dominican is to accept all of the cultures that influenced the DR. Spanish, Taino and African are all important races that have contributed to the shaping of Dominican language, art and culture. Accepting that can clear the debate of what a Dominican is supposed to look like. The term Hispanic is a melting pot. Hispanics come in all shapes and colors. 

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Would you listen to your pores if they spoke? Our skin is exposed to bacteria, sun, weather and dust every day, so I’ve decided to take care of it. I have oily skin. The first thirty minutes after washing it is the time span of my experience with “normal skin” (neither too oily or too dry). After that, my pores start their machines and my skin becomes oily again. Blotting sheets are my best friend; these little packs of grease absorbers are the best squares of paper you’ll need. Heads up: Oily skin reacts weirdly during the winter—dry in the morning, oily the rest of the day.  
Moisturizing is the best thing that can happen to skin. You’re feeding the skin and smoothing the lines. The skin on your face is thinner and more sensitive than the rest of the body, so the products you use for the rest of the body will be too harsh for the face. During spring and summer I use a liquid based moisturizer, but during the colder seasons I pull out the balms and thicker creams. During the winter season, I don’t feel like my best self having dry, reptile skin. Out in the cold the skin on my face becomes tight, and with every gesture and expression it feels like it cracking and peeling.  
Winter feels so solemn, like a time of mourning. Applying lotion and inhaling its fragrance is a short five-minute trip back to summer. The relaxation of putting on a face mask once or twice a week feels like the first breath of air after surfacing from the pool. Tapping on toner, smearing on serum, and staring in the mirror gives a sense of self-assurance, a period of meditation.  
Sumeya Ali, an 18-year-old O’Bryant student, says she needs to moisturize more heavily  during the winter season. She replaces tea tree oil with shea butter. She finds it’s easier to care for her skin during the summer than winter. During the summer she picked up the habit of drinking more water, and getting more sleep.  
Another student at the O’Bryant, 16-year-old Cypress Wilson, also notices that his skin gets drier during the winter season. To prevent this, he washes with African black soap, and moisturizes with cocoa butter. Everybody has different skin textures and conditions, so speaking to a dermatologist will help you figure out the skincare routine that matches you.  
After getting the opinion of numerous students, it seems there is a consensus that heavier moisturizing is preferred during the winter season and that skincare becomes more complicated. The sun isn’t blessing us the way it does during the summer. You will definitely catch me stocking up on lip oils and oil serums. Anything with the word serum on it will definitely be gold for the skin. I’ll be glowing so brightly that you might mistake the season for summer.   
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On Saturday, October 16, CNN News reported “The YPG women’s unit takes back the city of Raqqa from ISIS.”  
The YPG women’s unit (often abbreviated as the YPJ) is the all-female brigade of the YPG, also known as the People’s Protection Unit. The YPJ fight for the rights of citizens in Syria, where a violent civil war has been raging for five years. According to Maxim, the YPJ has had several victories over ISIS over the years, the greatest being when they regained control of the Syrian city of Kobani from the jihadist group in 2015. Sarya Mahmoud, a YPJ trainer and commander who was featured in Reuters, said, “Female fighters give hope to women in the towns they liberate, because we’re going to free them and give them the volition they lost years ago, not just from Daesh, but from the male mentality and the government mentality.”  
The women of the YPJ decided to fight for the rights of Syrian citizens even if it meant putting their lives on the line. These women fighters know that, if captured, they will likely be raped and killed; therefore they fight knowing they must succeed in battle.According to the New York Times,ISIS fears the YPJ because they are “ashamed” to be killed by a woman.  
When Asya Abdullah, a politician who advocates for the YPJ, was featured in the Independent, she said “The hallmark of a free and democratic life is a free woman. ISIS would like to reduce women to slaves. We show them they are wrong and we can do anything.” She also emphasizes the creation of the YPJ is a fascinating development in a region where women’s rights are often repressed. 
Although the YPJ are a unique phenomenon in the Middle East, they receive relatively little media coverage, as does the plight of Syrian women in general. However the YPJ women stand to defend themselves. The Kurdish Project wrote, “Thanks to their role in liberating Kobani in Syria, the YPJ have captured the attention of both socialist and non-socialist feminists around the world.”  
Sidebar: Reporter’s Reflection 
The women of the YPJ represent what feminism should look like in the 21st century. Women should be given equal opportunities in society when it comes to jobs and political positions. Teenage girls should know they can contribute a lot to society; they can fight for their rights when they are degraded. Every girl has the right to an education. Girls should grow into brave and courageous women who are not afraid to take on any task, just like the YPJ women are not afraid to speak and fight for the rights of all women. Like the YPJ, we as young girls should continually fight for our presence in society—but the war we face is sexism in our everyday lives. 
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