Walkout at Boston Collegiate Charter shines a light on racial tensions
On Nov. 1, students at Boston Collegiate Charter School sat at their usual lunch tables, the room buzzing with chatter and gossip. Underneath the typical background noise was a layer of anticipation bubbling to the surface as the hands on the clock made its way closer to the fifth-period bell. It was evident even to those out of the loop what was to come, as demands were posted on every floor and dozens of students and some teachers were defying the school uniform by dressing in black. Everyone in the lunchroom knew that with the fifth-period bell would come an explosion never seen before at BCCS. 
In recent weeks, there have been multiple racially motivated incidents at the school, including the n-word being written on multiple bathroom walls, and a hijab being pulled off a student’s head. In response, several students decided to organize a walkout to point out racial tensions and draw attention to a list of student demands on how the school could create a better environment. Anyone who wanted to participate was to wear black and rally into the school parking lot after the lunch bell.
During lunch, a handful of students dressed in black passed out slips of paper to each table with “POCatBCCS DEMANDS” in bold, numbered one through ten. The same sheet was rotating around social media the days following. Student demands included a public show of support for the Black Lives Matter movement on social media, allowing cultural head wraps to be worn on school grounds, hiring more teachers of color, anti-bias training for all teachers and more.
By the end of the lunch block, Ariana Constant-Patton, junior and one of the student organizers, had taken to the stage, wielding a microphone and flanked by other walkout participants, some holding posters. The representatives stated that the walkout was necessary to respond to the racial problems taking place at the school. 
Critics whispered that the walkout would flop and participants wouldn’t exceed five, while others excitedly posted about the event on social media. While expectations varied, dozens of students ended up walking out of the building, some of whom had always planned to, and some of whom were convinced by the speeches in the cafeteria. 
Afternoon classes were relatively empty, ranging from two to ten kids present. Most teachers, those who weren’t protesting alongside their students, gave up on their lesson plans and allowed their students to watch the protest from below.
The crowd of people in black stood in the parking lot, holding hands and chanting “No justice, no peace.” Individuals took the microphones and gave speeches, being cheered on by their peers. Some were full of anger and passion, leading call-and-response chants and yelling up at underclassmen who were laughing down at them from indoors. Others were full of praise for everyone that participated and sending love to those that stayed in the building to gawk out the window. Journalists from the Boston Globe observed from the back. After the speeches and chants came music and dancing. 
“The people who participated in the walkout don't hate anyone,” Constant-Patton assured. “It’s just about finding the mutual respect line for all of us and just trying our best to like come together as a community rather than be against each other … I think that as long as we're respecting each other and respecting the way that we go about things that will be a lot better.”
The following Monday, morning classes were replaced with an assembly addressing the walkout, where faculty came forward and discussed the events that took place and where to go from there. 
“It felt like we were seen as the aggressor,” Constant-Patton said regarding the assembly. “The students who were laughing in the windows during the walkout weren’t called out. I feel like the the assembly didn't really like fully attest to what happened.”
Following the assembly was an optional space for discussion. Some felt the walkout was empowering and necessary, while others stated it created a divide in the student body. Sarah Purvis, senior, countered the latter, saying, “The school has been divided since I can remember. The walkout just highlighted the divide that’s been here for years.” 
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A work of art is only as good as the message it conveys. While many artists try and fail to make a piece more than what it was meant to be, I have yet to see social commentary executed better than “The SpongeBob Musical.” 
Yes, you read that correctly. No, you’re not having a stroke. “The SpongeBob Musical” not only exists, but it may be the best satire of the decade.
Curtains rise and we see the familiar yet fresh setting, Bikini Bottom. The musical has a makeshift set with a majority of the props and pieces seeming to be recycled from everyday items, adding to the charm.  The lighting moves ever so subtly to emulate the motion of the ocean. You remember the simple pleasures of wasting away weekends in front of the TV.  Try as you might, your Gen Z cynicism is melted away by a tide of nostalgia drowning your heart only to be rescued by the shrill tones of one SpongeBob SquarePants, played be the miraculously square Lorenzo Pugliese. After catching up with your favorite fish-folk, the plot is set into motion. And what, you may ask, is the plot of a SpongeBob musical? The heckin’ apocalypse of course.
After resident scientist, Sandy Cheeks (Daria Pilar Redus), uses science to figure out that a volcanic eruption is two days away, the entire town loses their collective mind. It is then up to SpongeBob and his friends to stop the volcano that would destroy Bikini Bottom and prove he is, in fact, “manager material.” 
“The SpongeBob Musical” uses its jovial tone and familiar characters not only to raise awareness of social issues but also to poke fun at them.  A personal favorite is that after it is revealed that the world is set to end, a school of fish engage in anti-mammal sentiments directed at Sandy in an effort to blame someone. While commentary on ignorance is often heavy-handed and distracting, here it is done in a way that not only spotlights the damage that the “us and them” mindset creates, but makes a mockery of it in the process.
Praises aside, there are scenes that feel unnecessary and several of the musical numbers feel forced. With every semi-important character getting their own song explaining their motivation, it becomes distracting and over bloats the run time. This isn’t to say that every song is bad, however. Where it works, the music is entertaining, catchy, and downright hilarious. Credit must also go to the stellar soundtrack, including songs written by David Bowie, Panic! At The Disco, Steven Tyler, John Legend and the Plain White T’s (the guys who wrote “Hey There Delilah”). The songs are bops and perfectly capture the essence of he who lives in a pineapple under the sea. 
Should yee be interested—he said like a pirate—“SpongeBob SquarePants” is playing at the Boch Wang Theatre through October 27, matey!
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During the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s and 70s, African American people exerted their potential. The movement was rich in black excellency across many spectrums, but most articles only mention three parts of the movement: the work of Amiri Baraka, often seen as the igniter of the Black Arts Movement, the poets of the movement and jazz. What’s missing from the narrative is visual arts and dance. 
Hannah Fosters, author of “Black Past,” begins by describing Amiri Baraka, as he’s seen as the “Father of the Black Arts Movement.” She proceeds to write about how jazz musicians were celebrated such as John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Archie Shepp and others.
For an article dedicated to the understanding of African American history, I’m surprised that there’s isn’t discussion of more aspects of the Movement. For example, a Google Images search for “Black Arts Movement” on google yields a lot of artistic drawings. Yet, that drawing aspect of it is barely even mentioned in articles. 
Non-profit website also starts off with the mention of Baraka after its introduction. Here Baraka is also seen as an “important figure.” It focuses specifically on the poem aspect of the black arts movement because “poetry was the genre that saw the most expansion and growth at the time.” The site shares information about Baraka and poems, but it fails to acknowledge other perspectives and narratives such as how art was transformed or how women played a part in helping exhibit the black aesthetic. 
Learning about the Black Arts Movements solely through a lens of writing, men and music is bad because of the limited perspective. I find it kind of saddening that only these aspects of the Black arts movement are portrayed. Many sources accuse the movement of sexism, but these sources also exclude female artists who strived to make the Black Arts Movement even more popular. 
I could only find one article that focused on another type of art: painting. In “Widewalls,” notable journalist Patina Lee explores theater, dancing, and drawing. For example, Lee mentions Jeff Doanldson, who was a respected artist and was known for his “Wall Of Respect” mural. Lee writes that he was “one of the most prolific visual authors.” If it weren’t for this article, I would have never learned of the artistic and theatre aspect of the Black Arts Movement. If we are to learn about something as encouraging and powerful as the Black Arts Movement, I would want to learn all perspectives of it. Wouldn’t you?
Why then? Firstly, sexism was much more prevalent in the 60s. Women in general were looked down upon by men and males were seen as the dominant. Like the previous articles said, the Black Arts Movement was criticized for being sexist, and I believe it indeed was. You can most definitely find solid information on the web in which women contributed to the movement now, but the articles themselves would tell you that the Black Arts Movement seemed to be exclusive of them. 
How come writing is so much talked about, and specifically about poems? Part of the reason why this might be was because the start of the Movement itself first revolved around poems. Also, since poems were short and could be recited at rallies and other protests to sway the people, poetry was one of the most popular aspects of the Black Arts Movement. Music, particularly Jazz was a big part of the Movement as well. That is no surprise as Jazz was invented by black people. So why not include that in a movement that focuses on the Black aesthetic? 
The Black Arts Movement let people see the aesthetics of their culture and helped put many black people in the spotlight across many professions. The Movement can be criticized in any way, but you can’t deny the fact that the movement did a lot of good. It helped Black culture progress and thrive at times when the dominant culture was trying to oppress it.
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On February 15, the colors of the former Soviet Bloc nation now known as Lithuania waved in the chilled winter wind.
On July 9, Argentina’s ‘Sun of May’ flew high, the summer sun shining through its lightly shaded bars
On September 29, above our own city hall, flew the colors of a nation that not hours before fired a volley of rubber bullets into protesters crying to maintain what little sovereignty they had left. 
Starting in February, Boston’s City Hall has been raising the flags of the different ethnic groups that make up Boston. This initiative by the city’s diversity office aims to “raise awareness in Greater Boston and beyond about the many countries and cultures around the world” and “foster diversity,” according to the city’s website.
On paper, it’s a great idea to recognize the city’s ever-growing diversity while also celebrating our unifying factor — the wicked accent and rouge socks that bring us together as Bostonians.
With Boston’s Chinese population numbering over 25,000 according to UMass Boston’s Institute of Asian American Studies, it would almost be weird if to exclude the Chinese flag. That being said, however, it does seem in bad taste considering the current political situation China finds itself in
Following the murder of Hong Kong national Poon Hiu-wing in Taiwan, an extradition agreement was proposed between Hong Kong and Taiwan. The would also allow China to extradite from Hong Kong. This sparked a lot of controversies as it would violate the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ agreement that ceded Hong Kong from England to China in 1997.
The 50-year agreement sought to gradually return Hong Kong to mainland China while also enabling Hongkongers to continue enjoying various democratic freedoms such as voting and the right to public assembly, that Chinese citizens are not afforded. The issue here is that if Chinese officials were able to extradite people from Hong Kong, they may violate and even completely do away with many of the rights protected under the deal, effectively annexing Hong Kong four decades early. 
While you won’t find a nation with a completely clean record, it is hypocritical for Boston of all cities, where we pride ourselves on rebelling against English tyranny, to be flying the colors of a nation that is using force to subdue protesters. Protestors have been actively resisting the Chinese government since March 31st, with no sign of stopping. With an ever-escalating situation that as of October 2nd, has been violently suppressed, it is important that we stand in solidarity for the free people of Hong Kong.

A siheyuan divided against itself cannot stand and as Bostonians, neither should we in support of a regime that is currently and quite overtly, oppressing its own people.
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Nathan DeJesus
One thousand events alike in the United States alone, and hundreds of thousands more around the globe, were coming together for one goal: making a change for the climate before it’s too late. 

The Boston Climate Strike was led entirely by youth under 20-years-old. With an estimated 10,000 people gathering in Boston’s City Hall Plaza, it was a no brainer for me to give it a look. This would be my first strike, so I had some preconceived misconceptions soon to be corrected. 
When I arrived, I realized that what these kids had was passion. They had energy. They had the power to reach populations of people that adults wouldn’t even think of.
In 11 years, the Earth will have suffered irreversible damage. The Boston Student Advisory Council, Sunrise Movement, Youth On Board and other advocacy organizations, took this problem into their own hands to create the Boston Climate Strike. Organizers called on elected officials and citizens to acknowledge the problem. Additionally, they campaigned for Gov. Charlie Baker to support the Green New Deal, a federal resolution created by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-MA). The proposal calls on state governments to wean cities off of fossil fuels and other planet-warming greenhouse gases. 
“These strikes around the country would lead to federal investment to clean renewable energy,” explained Wellington Matos, a 16-year-old member of the Boston Student Advisory Council.
As I got to the back of the crowd to take some pictures, Audrey Lin, the 17-year-old leader of the strike from Watertown, and her co-organizers started a chant.
“We’re gonna strike for you, will you strike for us?” the group chanted. “We're gonna strike for you, will your strike for us? We're gonna strike ‘cause the waters are rising, we're gonna strike because the people are dying, we’re gonna strike for life and everything we love, we’re going to strike for you, will you strike for us?”

The students held so much joy and happiness in their voices. These kids my age were skipping lessons to teach the adults of the state a lesson on not only the climate but the power of the youth. I realized that these strikes aren’t a bunch of mad people holding pitchforks and torches, but instead they’re people like you and me coming together and bringing attention to a bigger goal with a bigger payoff.
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