AFH Photo//Bill Le
The Voices

The anger inside me bubbles like my niece. 
The voices inside my head will always speak. 
Lead, please lead the way. 
I’ll stay with you for as long as I can stay. 
Fight my anger, yeah, that's what I do. 
But don't tell anyone, that's between me and you. 
I am the rose that grew from the concrete. 
Let me know when you are done. Then come see me.

Anger

The anger inside me is full of frustration.
The anger inside me has a question.
Do I control it or does it control me?
What about this that I didn’t see?
There’s inception with a question.
Expression, plenty more.
Question

The Jungle

These people are salty, salty as my tears.
People say stay in your lane, but the pain keeps driving me to queer.
These voices in my head sound much like the jungle.
But that’s okay, like I say…there’s always a new day. 

Cry 

Tell me why you lie to me?
Tell me do you cry for me? 
Would you die for me?
No, I can’t be here anymore, I can’t see you anymore
My tears drop down to the floor.
When I see you, I CRY.

Friends

Friends-what is that? 
Don’t know, don’t have any
Other people that be in mess, I’m pretty sure they have plenty.
They betray you, deny you and many much more.
I need no friends because I’m hard to the core.
Now cruel is the word that I should say cause all I wanna do is go in my bed and lay. 
Some people don’t understand, when you’re a savage, you don’t have friends. 
I got a messed up life, that’s how it’s always been.
Some people tell me out of spite that I don’t belong on this earth. 
I mean, what can I do, I go to church.
In these streets, you only gotta couple friends and if you don’t, its going to be hard to blend in. 
Friends, friends, friends.
Oh sorry, DiD I hurt your feelings?
You thought we were friends?
Well we’re not but I’ll lend you a hand.
I’m letting you know where I stand. 
What do you think? 
I am one of your friends…
Please.


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IBA Photo
I’m in a museum, the art is… good. Everything on the wall is… good.  That’s what I’ve always been told at least. And that’s what art was, something that hung on a wall—only if it was good, and by “good” I mean, based on the opinions of a few specific people.
I’ve always loved to draw, since I could hold a pencil on my own. Growing up with my father who is an artist, I enjoyed drawing, but I felt that my drawings had to be “good.” I based my success on the opinion of others. I always felt I created good art but I never pushed myself to truly explore art. So my junior year, I decided to sign up for art class because it was expected of me. 
While creating my own art, just trying to get the assignments done, I began to really watch my instructor as he worked on his art. He wore a strange pair of glasses and would get very close to the artwork. Though visually impaired, his art was nothing short of spectacular from the intense colors to the amazing amount of detail. This led me to wonder how somebody who is completely blind can create visual art.
With a quick Google search, you’ll find endless links to articles and studies of blind artists. One example is Esref Armagan, born blind to a poor family in Turkey, who taught himself to write and paint. Using a Braille stylus, he was able to create vivid paintings with depth and color. He applied paint with his fingers and managed to never smudge the paint. We can see the finished product but I still wonder, how did it feel for him?
Through a study done by John M. Kennedy on artbeyondsight.org, I realized that others have had the same questions. Kennedy’s study covered artists who were partially to fully blind. His study found that some see color, many have depth perception and they do feel the art. They truly experience their art. Art is an experience that should be a part of you, pouring out into your piece, feeling each motion it takes to create it. The blind can make and enjoy visual art without effort because they literally feel it. You want your viewer to feel something through your artwork; whether it is good or bad, art should strike an emotion. My teacher’s art is beautiful because you could see his experience, you can feel it.
The reason my art was just “good” all my life was because it wasn’t about the experience for me; it was to show off my skills. I wanted other people to value my work, like the paintings that hang in museums. It took watching my art teacher creating his art to truly understand the purpose of it. When you look at his art, you can see him within it, I can feel what he felt while creating it. His work may not be on those fancy museum walls, but he is a true artist because he lives his experiences with art, the way art should be.


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AFH Photo//Dominic Duong
One day, a girl named Laura was on the bus on her way home. She was 9 years old and in the 5th grade. Everyday, this chubby white girl named Quenisha bothered her, called her names, and threw her stuff. Because this was Laura’s first year in the U.S., she trusted a kid to translate what Quenisha was telling her, but he translated wrong. Laura always felt alone. She didn't want to tell her grandma about Quenisha because her grandma wouldn't believe her. Why didn't anyone stand up for her? 
Quenisha started hitting Laura every day on the bus. The bus driver saw Quenisha  hitting Laura every day, calling her all kind of names, and throwing dirty things at her, but the bus driver didn't do anything to stop Quenisha. One day, poor Laura was mad and in such a rush that she was praying “ I don't want this girl to start bothering me today please.”  When Laura got on the bus, Quenisha was there to start hitting her and bothering her. Laura thought, “Oh God, help me.” Then Quenisha started throwing her things.
Laura was dirty when she got to her house. Her grandma said, “What happened to you?” “Grandma, there is a white chubby girl calling me immigrant, hitting me, and throwing my things on the floor,” Laura  replied. 
Later that week, when Quenisha was on the front seat of the bus waiting for Laura, Laura said patiently, “Please don't hit me. Leave me alone. I’m not in the mood.” Quenisha didn't listen. She hit Laura. Then, Laura got more mad. She grabbed Quenisha’s hair and start hitting her. 
Weeks later, Quenisha’s mom went to the school to report Laura, saying Laura was bullying her daughter. But you know that is not the truth. Laura was the one getting bullied, just for being short with long hair, caramel skin, and eyes like coffee with milk. Just for being Latina. Quenisha was being racist. 













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IBA Photo
One day at lunch, one of my friends asked me if I was gay. I replied, “No, I’m not.” However, someone else overheard and thought I said yes. That person told another person, then that person told another person, and before I knew it, there was a rumor going around that I had a crush on a certain boy. Between classes, people would ask me if I was gay, over and over again. I counted—11 people asked over the course of one day. I remember saying to one of my friends “No, I’m not... but why should it matter even if I was?” And they replied, “I don’t want you to be no (explicit).” 
According to stopbullying.gov, 20 percent of U.S. students in grades 9–12 experience bullying. Many people don't understand why bullying happens. According to stopbullying.gov, young people who are “perceived as different from their peers” are at a high risk for being bullied—and one group of students who is perceived as different from their peers are LGBTQ students.
Sexual orientation discrimination is when a person is judged by their choice as to what gender they want to date. An article from The Edvocate states that more than 85 percent of LGBTQ students report harassment. In some situations, some victims might even harm themselves or take their own lives due to the constant pressure of bullying. 
The Edvocate also highlights that this type of bullying happens a lot within our schools. For example, sometimes students make fun of boys with high voices, long hair, or visible emotions. It seems some teens can't even trust their own friends to support their sexual orientation. 
The day that rumor went around the school was the day my depression started. I stopped talking to everybody. If it weren’t for the really good friend I had at the time, I don’t know what would have happened to me. She talked to the kid who started the rumor and told him it wasn’t okay. She told me she was here for me whenever I wanted to talk, and we talked a lot. However, there are plenty of other kids who get bullied who don’t have this kind of support from their friends or even their parents. It’s up to us to step up and be the shoulders to cry on for kids facing discrimination. 
There are a number of ways you can support kids getting bullied. You could walk up to the victim and ignore the bully and just start talking to the victim until the bully goes away. You could also stand up to the bully. You could say something like, “Leave this person alone—what did they even do to you?” Once the bully is gone, ask the victim if they’re alright. If they don’t seem okay, contact an adult you trust, like a teacher. 
Even if someone is different from you, you shouldn’t judge them for who they are. You never know who might need a friend. 


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AFH Photo//Mariana Melara
What viral posts do you see on your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram feeds? Do you see memes involving drama, relationships, confrontations, celebrity gossip or derogatory jokes? More and more often, we see African-American influencers uploading videos and photos that are meant to be funny and entertaining, but end up degrading women and reinforcing stereotypes about black culture. 
Some black influencers get famous through hostile and inappropriate behavior. For example, BlameItOnKway, a black Instagram comedian with 3.1 million followers, posts videos and photos where he is dressed as a girl with bright colored wigs and reinforces the stereotype of the “angry black woman.”  BlameItOnKway is just one of many black men who do comedy sketches and crossdress as “ghetto distasteful” black women. These videos get thousands of likes, comments and shares, despite the fact that they victimize dark-skinned women. 
This isn’t just a trend that exists on YouTube. Reality shows such as “Love and Hip-Hop” and “Basketball Wives” also reinforce this stereotype by showcasing black women who are constantly cursing, fighting, wig snatching and acting aggressively. This is problematic because it’s sending the wrong message to younger people. Many viewers see this behavior as cute or funny, but actually, it’s degrading and doesn’t highlight the professional work and talent that black women have.
However, this problem isn’t easy to solve. In Citizen, Claudia Rankine writes, “In order to get your voice heard, you got to be loud and angry.” It seems like for a black person to become famous, they have to act promiscuous or have a lot of attitude. To gain the attention of white audiences and black audiences, they have to adopt these derogatory narratives. Black Youtubers who actively combat the “angry black woman” stereotype—like Lovelyti2002 and Chrissie—don’t get as many endorsement deals for their videos. Their videos are clearly not as popular as the videos where black women do adopt the stereotype. 
This is where we come in as viewers. It’s time to be conscious of positivity and knowledge. Know whose work you’re supporting. Look for black Youtubers who are giving a lot of information, making truthful videos without degrading content or black stereotypes. If someone shows you a video that features these stereotypes, ask them: “Is this who we are?” or “Is this really funny?”  If we start this conversation, maybe one day all black girls and women could successfully share authentic content YouTube. 


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