City News
Teens should be warier of becoming gang-affiliated
Gangs have a huge effect on our youth these days. Did you know that the average age to join a gang is just under 15? In Massachusetts, you can’t even get your permit at that age! Being gang-affiliated is life-changing, and it can ruin your life.
According to Legal Match, being gang-affiliated is being associated with or close to a group of people, typically with three or more people who use certain names, signs or symbols to identify themselves; as a group or individually. 
Teens are becoming awfully tribalistic when it comes to their fellow gang associates. People choose to associate with gangs because they think it gives them power, protection and easy money. It gives them a feeling of being untouchable and highly respected because they always have these gang members by their side. Often people assume that the more dangerous the gang, and the worse the reputation, the less likely you are to get bothered by anyone outside of the gang.
Gang members often put on this act where the police and other gangs (unless they have a partnership) are their enemies. Ever heard the phrase “snitches get stitches?” That is street slang. It means that if you tattle on an ally to an opposing gang or law enforcement, the outcome will be a physical attack. This often makes people afraid of telling on other gang members. The information that’s kept from law enforcement due to this fear could be relevant to an open case, and withholding it could prevent a criminal from being brought to justice, or result in the withholder themselves going to prison.
University of Washington researchers found that people between the ages 27 and 33 that were gang-affiliated were three times more likely to receive income from an illegal source and twice as likely to have been locked up. The same study also found that former gang members are twice as likely to have substance use problems and half as likely to graduate high school. Without a high school diploma, it’s extremely hard to get a job.
Even if you did find a job, people without a diploma usually work for a very low income. High school dropouts make about $260,000 less than high-school graduates in a lifetime. That may not seem like a lot, but that’s $10,000 more than a quarter of a million.
According to the Boston Police Department’s database, there are about 160 documented gangs, 5,300 total gang members, 2,800 active gang members and 2,500 inactive gang members in Boston. Many of these members may have joined gangs in high school. In 2010, there were approximately 772,500 young gang members in the United States. That was roughly 7% of the teen population then, so imagine the statistics now.
Being affiliated with a gang doesn’t mean that someone is in a gang officially, it just means that they are associated with one. Authoritative figures shouldn’t punish or nag a teen for being associated with a gang, but teens should also know what or who they are getting involved with. There can be a real danger to even being gang-affiliated.
For example, 15-year-old “Junior” Lesandro Guzman-Feliz was chased down into a bodega in Bronx, New York before being brutally killed by several men armed with machetes. This case immediately blew up and everyone came up with their own stories. 
A popular theory was that it was an awful case of mistaken identity, but his untimely death was the result of gang affiliation. A show called “True Life: Crime” found that Guzman-Feliz had been seen hanging out with members from a New York gang called the Renegade Sunset, the Trinitarios rival gang. The Trinitarios are a well-known New York gang whose weapon of choice is a machete. Guzman-Feliz was on his way to hang with some friends when he encountered some members of the Trinitarios. Since he had been seen with Renegade Sunset he was considered a target, and members of the Trinitarios brutally murdered him.
The point is, being gang-affiliated can be dangerous. Before you become comfortable hanging out with gang members, think of the outcome. Do not feed into peer pressure and be a kid while you can.  
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City News
Welcoming the Kings back to Boston
We’ve all been to the Boston Common. Whether it was for Pride, to spend time with friends at Frog Pond or to participate in a march or a protest, Boston Common is a landmark for everyone who has visited or lives in Boston. You’ve seen the Brewer Fountain and you’ve seen the Soldiers and Sailors Monument. You know of the Frog statue and the Boston Massacre Memorial.  But did you know that Martin Luther King Jr. delivered a speech on the Common? You’ve probably also heard the city referred to as “historic Boston,” but did you know that it was King’s second home? It was in Boston that King and his wife, Coretta Scott King, got a great deal of their work done. 
King Boston is a privately-funded nonprofit working with the city to create a memorial of Coretta Scott King and Martin Luther King Jr. The nonprofit wishes to honor the Kings and their work together in Boston as it is not widely recognized. According to King Boston’s website, the memorial will be placed on Boston Common where King delivered a speech on segregation in 1965. 
Not many are aware of the important work the Kings did in Boston. In his sermon “The Drum Major Instinct,” delivered on Feb. 4, 196 in Alabama, King expressed his hope that his legacy would continue on as a call to action, driving more people to pursue justice. King attended Boston University in 1951 and met Coretta Scott King in 1952 as she attended the New England Conservatory of Music for graduate school. 
Christina Demard, a 17-year-old senior at Boston Latin Academy, said she did not know of the Kings’ influence in Boston throughout her 17 years of living in the city. “I did not know they did anything here,” she said. “I didn’t even know they came up here — I thought all their influence was in the South.” 
Demard is not alone. I first heard about King Boston’s initiative after taking part in Twelfth Baptist Church’s annual MLK Convocation where Marie St. Fleur, executive director of King Boston, spoke about the plan and its importance. 
“It is most definitely a good idea,” Demard said. “It will be eye-catching and forces people to pay attention. It will push people to acknowledge what they have done.”
Na’tisha Mills, an associate at King Boston, said the initiative was established about three years ago. Paul English, who is the founder of King Boston, was on his way back from Chicago where he had seen a memorial there that honored Martin Luther King Jr.
“So on his way back, he started talking with multiple leaders in the Boston area, and decided that he wanted to create a memorial that would honor the history of MLK,” she explained. “In a conversation with a lot of community members, they said they wanted to do more than just bring a memorial to the city. They wanted to do something that could actually be a call to action; it could further the work of the Kings and the work for economic justice. That’s when the idea for the King Center was brought up.”
The current initiative is a two-piece living memorial: a monument that will be on Boston Common and programming at the Center of Economic Justice in Roxbury. 
Funds for both the memorial and the Center of Economic Justice — about $12 million — are now being raised. The center will be located in the reopened Boston Public Library branch in Nubian Square. A lot of funds have come from community members who play a large role in this process and its talks. 
When talking about memorials, it’s always a question about what they mean and what the importance of any sort of monument or memorial is. 
“As a history teacher, I think monuments are a way to remember people and moments throughout history and I think they matter as kind of a reminder of our collective history and what that means to us locally, what that means to us on a statewide level, on a national level and even on a global level,” Anthony Mathieu, a history teacher at Boston Latin Academy said. “I think those who control history will remember those who either share a common identity or background with the writers of history or we strive to idolize people who represent our ideals.” 
The King Boston Initiative is something that will hopefully serve to shed light on the history and the work of the Kings during their time in Boston, a history that isn’t known or learned by most residents of this city. The memorial and the Center of Economic Justice are both resources that will serve the Black community and the greater community of Boston as a whole.
As Mills put it, “I think our biggest hope is that we are bringing community members that are most affected by many of the economic disparities in Boston, together with the providers, together with the servers and the policymakers to advance a mutual economic justice agenda.”
“And what that means,” she said, “is that we are giving those that are most affected by these disadvantages the opportunity to lead the strategy around what is best going to work for them, around what they need to succeed, to thrive, to live happy healthy lives in Boston.”
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City News
Traveler’s Guide to the Orange Line
Have you ever asked yourself: what is Oak Grove? What’s at Forest Hills besides more trains? Questions like these probably surround young travelers who are just trying to go from Point A to Point B. What if we told you, you could slow down and take in the area around each stop?
Yes that’s right, there is actually stuff around Forest Hills besides countless bus stops and train tracks. Please continue reading to get ‘The Traveler's Guide to the Orange Line’, one of the MBTA’s most traveled lines.
1. Forest Hills to Roxbury Crossing
Let’s start with the southernmost stops which includes: Forest Hills, Green Street, Stony Brook, Jackson Square and Roxbury Crossing. Honestly the best thing Forest Hills has to offer is its connections. Forest Hills has more bus connections than any other Orange Line stop and it also connects to the Commuter Rail. Forest Hills is also directly connected to the Arnold Arboretum, a beautiful park that is home to various types of plants and a great place to visit with friends or family. If you are looking for something to eat around Forest Hills, Mike’s Donut Shop sells breakfast and is located right in the station. On the street, the Oriental House provides Chinese food and Achilito’s Taqueria provides Mexican food. 
Green Street and Stony Brook are only a short trip away from Forest Hills and much of the same pros and cons apply in terms of connections. The Green Street stop leaves you within walking distance of Centre Street which is home to good ol’ J.P. Licks. 
Jackson Square is at the intersection of Centre Street and Columbus Ave, making it a traffic hellzone. Despite this, Jackson Square not only provides access to il Panino Cafe and Grill, but also a shopping center further down Centre Street. 
2. Ruggles to Tufts Medical Center
Jumping over to Ruggles, you can expect to see a Forest Hills-looking station, with Ruggles also being surrounded by large new developments and a whole bunch of bus connections. If you are really hungry and find yourself at Ruggles or Back Bay all hope isn’t completely lost. Back Bay is in the heart of Boston’s South End, which is highly populated by restaurants and tiny shops. My personal favorite coffee shop, Pavement Cafe, has a location on Newbury Street. The rest of the businesses are really nice restaurants and bakeries. Your wallet might hurt a bit after but at least your stomach won’t.
Just looking to have fun? Ruggles is right near the Emerald Necklace, a large, expansive, skinny strip of green that is a pretty nice bike ride or walk. If you're in the Tufts area, the Boston Public Gardens and Boston Common are only a short walk away. Weekends can be hectic with an influx of tourists but generally these places are definitely on the bucket list of places to go in Boston.
3. Chinatown to North Station
Our third section brings us from Chinatown all the way to North Station, the heart of Boston. This is a pretty expansive area, teeming with history, fashion, culture, cuisine, shops and entertainment. From Chinatown, not only can you explore the Chinese-owned and inspired restaurants and shops, but you can also easily access the Boston Common, including Frog Pond, the Swan Boats and the Public Garden. 
Next up is Downtown Crossing, which immediately surrounds you with mega stores such as Macy’s, Primark, T.J. Maxx, Marshalls and Old Navy. It also connects to the Red Line, the only stop on the Orange Line to do so. Downtown Crossing is super close to Escape the Room Boston, which is self explanatory so check it out! 
Right after Downtown Crossing is State Street which is close to the Old South Meeting House, a staple in Boston's history. State is the only Orange Line stop that connects to the Blue Line. Haymarket is situated right across the street from City Hall and also right next to, you guessed it, the Boston Public Market. The Public Market is chock full of organic, local individual businesses that put great care into their work. From seafood to apple cider, there is something for everyone at the BPM. 
Our last stop in this section is North Station. While Haymarket makes room for plenty of bus lines, North Station houses four Commuter Rail lines and just like Haymarket, it houses two Green Line tracks. North Station has what scientists call “superior position” as it is on the edge of the city, making it a great place to start any commute. Of course one of the biggest draws of North Station has to be TD Garden, the home of the Bruins and Celtics. If you can snag a ticket, go! Finally, North Station is located in the North End, obviously well known for its Italian influence and the delicious food!
4. Community College to Oak Grove
What lies beyond North Station is a mystery to many Bostonian travelers. Few riders of the Orange Line have ever been to Oak Grove, and if so, definitely not frequently. Well, we decided to take the plunge and go all the way from Forest Hills to Oak Grove. Having gone the whole way we can say for a fact that there is very little to do at Oak Grove. If you want to head in that direction looking for something to do, definitely stop at Malden Center instead where there is a lot to do. Before we get to our experience in Malden, the stops in between need to be covered.
Wellington and Assembly are on opposite sides of the Mystic River. Wellington is an important station as it is the repair hub of the Orange Line, making it one of the larger stations. Assembly is home to the noteworthy Assembly Row, sprawling across 45 acres of shops, restaurants, and other entertainment locations. Some notable mentions include the AMC, Legoland, Mike’s Pastry, Banana Republic and Lucky Strike Social, a cool arcade and bowling alley. Sullivan Square is another stop worth mentioning due to its proximity to Assembly Row and its own row of local shops. 
Going north into Malden there is lots more to do. We encountered the Wanyoo eSports Center, a gaming cafe funded by a Chinese gaming company. You pay a certain amount of dollars per hour of play. We had lots of fun with the racing simulator and the virtual reality setup. We were also given a quick tour of the facilities. The cafe is equipped with high quality gaming equipment and has multiple private rooms for private parties. There is also a menu of Asian imported cuisine. Speaking of which, Asian cuisine dominates downtown Malden, giving you plenty of delicious options. 
The Orange Line is one of the busiest lines in Boston and rightfully so. There are tons of great places to check out and you are truly missing out of what makes this city so great if you're not getting out there. 
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National News
Caucus Conundrum: The Ballad of the Iowa Ballot
On a drab winter day in the 56,000-square-mile cornfield colloquially known as the state of Iowa, the Democratic Party took its biggest “L” since that time they lost to George W. Bush twice. The Iowa Caucus, the first in a long line of mini-elections staged by the Democratic Party to select a candidate for president, would end with intense scrutiny on the Hawkeye state (yes, like the worst Avenger). 
The Iowa caucus works by having residents report to their assigned voter precinct. In the same manner of voting used to decide the prize pig of the county fair, voters are sent to sections of the room meant to represent their preferred candidate. A headcount is taken and the candidates with less than 15% of the vote are removed from that poll site. The process repeats until a winner is decided. In between rounds, supporters of other candidates are allowed to run over and try to persuade losing sides to their own. 

This year, in an effort to modernize the proceeding,s an app was brought on to streamline the vote. Rather than the glorified game of red rover that's been historically played, the app would count votes automatically. However, the app did not modernize a tradition as old as the state itself; instead, the country was collectively reminded why we vote on paper ballots.
The cause of Iowa's fiasco is mainly attributed to the voting software. The developer of the app, Shadow, is a for-profit tech start-up hired by the Democratic National Committee to produce the app. And yes it’s called Shadow and it’s not suspicious in any way whatsoever. Either:
A) The pollsters were unable to work the app 
B) Shadow made an app that fundamentally did not work
C) Both
If you're too cynical, too invested or just inclined to pick C in all cases, you would be correct. Thanks to a slew of coding errors, a lack of stress testing and poll officials who were both uninformed of the change and unfamiliar with the tech, interpreting the data quickly became impossible.
As Shadow’s CEO Gerard Niemira put it in a statement: “As the Iowa Democratic Party has confirmed, the underlying data and collection process via Shadow’s mobile caucus app was sound and accurate, but our process to transmit that caucus results data generated via the app to the IDP was not.” Essentially, he suggested that the app worked fine but the results got lost in the mail.
This point is contrasted by takes from critics. “I would say this company failed, not technology failed, Jason Erickson, chief operating officer at ThinkSpace IT, told CNN. “Everything had a single point of failure … our phone solution is not only on redundant servers but at redundant data centers across the U.S.”
In case you’re not big on tech, Erickson is saying that this was not a glitch in the matrix but willing incompetence on behalf of Shadow which has drawn scrutiny and even talk of a rigged system from critics.
It wouldn’t be until February 20, more than two weeks after the caucus, that CNN dropped the final results with former South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg taking a slight .1% lead over Bernie Sanders. However, Buttigieg’s team, which has since dropped out from the race, shot out an ever ominous tweet that “Tonight, Iowa chose a new path. #IowaCaucuses,” when only three percent of polls were reporting back mere hours after the caucuses started.
A 2020 candidate saying something out of turn is hardly news, but what makes things especially interesting is Buttigieg’s established relationship to Shadow.  Last September, the Buttigieg campaign paid $21,250 to Shadow for “software rights and subscriptions.” What does that mean? Great question! One we do not and probably will not get a satisfactory answer to.
So what does any of this mean? For Iowa, its 2020 elections should not be done via red rover. For the Democratic Party, maybe make sure your tech actually works before you kick off the most important election of the century with a strong reminder of both how inept our elected officials can be and the ever-present shadow of big tech completely fumbling our information. 
It is imperative that we continue to hold accountable the people we’re relying on to bring about much-needed change. If the Dems can't even count votes without a state’s worth of infrastructure falling apart, how are they going to win in November? Furthermore, we need to take a closer look as to how votes are counted as, while it does seem more efficient, events have proven that maybe pen and paper is the way to go.
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National News
Immigrants don’t ‘steal jobs’ and that rhetoric is dangerous
Immigration in the United States has a long history. Most immigrants come to the U.S. for the “American dream” because they think they’ll have more opportunities here than they did in their own country. However, it's very hard to be an immigrant in the U.S. because you are constantly being treated horribly. Some racist Americans call immigrants lazy and say that they steal their jobs`, and they should go back to their country. But that’s not actually true.
Americans have been more openly stating their opinion on this starting back in 2016 when Donald Trump was elected into office. Trump seems to really hate immigrants and has called them rapists, drug dealers and other hurtful insults. These insults and accusations are especially directed at immigrants from Latin America. This is relevant because in Boston there are a lot of immigrants. According to a City of Boston demographic report, Massachusetts has the 7th largest immigrant population with a total of 772,983 immigrants that make up 12.2% of the state’s population. 
According to the American Civil Liberties Union, immigrants do not take away jobs from American workers. Instead, they create new jobs by forming businesses. In Boston, there are a lot of Dominican, Puerto Rican, Cuban and Jamaican restaurants. Everywhere I turn, I see a restaurant run by an immigrant family. Immigrants put their blood, sweat and tears into businesses to share their culture and work hard so that they are able to feed their families. Instead of blaming other people for your nation's problems, focus on fixing the problems.
Immigrants come to the U.S. for better lives. They don’t have as many opportunities in their home country to help their family, so they come to the U.S. and try to build new lives here. As Brookings Senior Fellow Vanda Felbab-Brown explains, “Undocumented workers often work the unpleasant, back-breaking jobs that native-born workers are not willing to do.” 
Immigrants will take any opportunity they can to better their lives. If Americans aren’t taking the jobs, who will? Immigrants usually take jobs that Americans are too lazy to do like working in factories, or in construction.  
Everyday immigrants are treated poorly because of their race, class and citizenship status. They are treated poorly for being a normal human being. Americans should not be putting down other people who are different from them. Immigrants are just trying to live a regular life like you. Should they be dragged down and blamed for your problems because they’re different?
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