Opinion
Taxation without representation: It’s time to give teens the vote
AFH PHOTO//KAT MORGAN
I felt the benign wetness of a teardrop on my face. Donald Trump 53%, Hillary Clinton 44%. I stared in disbelief. Some of my friends disliked Hillary’s ideas, but we all agreed Donald Trump was the wrong way to go. I began to think, if teens were allowed to vote, we wouldn't be in this predicament. 
Older teenagers are being disenfranchised by the U.S. Teens who work are getting taxes and social security taken out out of their checks. In some states, teens can be tried as adults in court. These are all ways in which teens are treated as adults, yet we lack the right to vote.
As more teens become regular consumers of social media, we’ve developed a heightened awareness of worldly issues affecting us. Unfortunately, many believe that 16-year-olds are not responsible enough to vote in elections.
Luckily, a country across the ocean has experience in this topic. In 2007, Austria legalized 16-year-old voting which has proven that “lowering the voting age does not appear to have a negative impact (...) on democratic decisions,” according to Electoral Studies, an international journal covering all aspects of voting.
Upon surveying 80 14- to 21-year-olds, I found that 76% felt underrepresented in politics.  “An older voting block might not be as keen to tackle climate change as it isn't as much of an immediate issue for them,” said Boston College High School senior Jack Shankar. 
 Of those surveyed, 94% have seen current event coverage on social media, exposing them to modern day issues. 80% have established that they read current events articles, and  100% of them have conversations about politics with their friends.
 “Social media, of course, has made me gain access to insight on political news and especially with the current administration it has kept me on my toes with what's currently going on in that mess of a White House.” expresses Shelby Casimir, a senior at Marblehead High School.
Then the main question: “Should the legal voting age be lowered to 16?” The overarching answer? Yes. With 61% of voters agreeing.

“There’s always been a lot of political maturity in young people” said Felicia M. Sullivan, Senior Researcher at The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement. “There is no cognitive difference between being 16 and being 18.” 
Infact, research has proven that 16-year-olds are more likely to vote than 18-year-olds is because “they are in the presence of an educational mechanic.” or in other words they're still in the K-12 school system. 
Voting is important. The future of democracy depends on it. By including teens in politics while they're in school, they carry these habits into adulthood.
As teens, we can register to vote early and that will save us a step and allow us to walk into a polling site ready to go. We can also join initiatives for lowering the voting age like Teen Empowerment or Boston Mobilization Teens Vote. 
The one thing we can't do is allow our generation to stop participating in the election process. When it’s time to vote, get out there and do your job. When you’re mad about who's in office, I’m going to ask, “Did you vote?” 



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5:30AM - my alarm shatters the landscape of my dreams. I stand for two seconds before collapsing back onto my bed. At 5:43, I roll off my bed and look for my clothes. After brushing my teeth and dressing, I glance at my watch—it’s 6:00AM, I have to leave soon. This is my life as a METCO student. 
The Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity (METCO) was founded in 1966 with the aim of providing educational opportunities to inner-city minority students. The program  seeks to increase diversity and reduce racial isolation by placing Boston students in high-performing suburban public schools. METCO has helped break down cultural barriers in predominantly white institutions. However, one question remains: How do METCO students feel?
After surveying 21 METCO students from different districts, one common theme emerged: Boston teens have a strained relationship with their city. 81 percent of teens wanted to spend more time in Boston, and 71 percent felt either little or no connection to Boston and their neighborhood. The study also found that those who had joined in their high school years had a better relationship with Boston due to having grown up in the city.
Desiree Brown, a 2016 graduate of Marblehead High School, joined METCO in second grade. Brown said she only felt accepted once during her entire school career—when she was picked to coach her school’s powderpuff football team. 
“In that moment there was no ‘METCO student,” Brown said. “There was just me... Desiree.”
Brown’s peer had accepted her once, but the administration of her school never did. Each district in the state has a designated METCO director who is supposed support its METCO students. However, Brown did not feel supported. She wishes that METCO directors would realize that their job is to be there for the kids. “For many of us, our METCO director is someone who we look up to, sometimes the only African American role model in our life. So when they turn their back on you and side with someone else it hurts… alot,” she said. 
 Sarah Simpson a 2016 Swampscott METCO graduate, shared a story of her fellow METCO friends being expelled for having weapons. Simpson’s friends carried weapons to protect themselves from the gangs they were formally in. Sadly, many did not see it as protection, but just students carrying weapons. 
“I mean, they hear rap about how difficult the black life is, but the moment they see it face to face they act as though it's a new thing.” explained Simpson. Simpson’s friends had left their gangs to achieve a better education. “The same education they were ready to kill for was lost when the cultural distinction between Swampscott and Boston deepened.” explained Simpson.
METCO is a great program with good intentions. Sadly, somewhere in it’s history the cultural lack and understanding between METCO towns and their students deepened. Students lose their Boston friendships due to increasing suburban friends and often feel unwanted.
 In the future, I believe METCO students need to put their foot down. We need to be heard. Be strong and courageous in your voice. Your teachers understand your life is hard and you need a little bit more help than others. Don't allow them to treat you as though you can handle everything they throw at you. During the summer, create more Boston based friends by trying out new activities. Speak to your METCO directors, they are there for YOU.


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Atomic Blonde is a great action movie that shows the determination women can have. The moment Agent Lorraine Broughton (Charlize Theron) first appears on the screen in her heels and long white coat walking like a goddess, you won’t even want to blink.

Set during 1989, the film begins when Agent Broughton is sent to East Berlin by her boss Eric Gray (Toby Jones) as an undercover spy to get a list that contains the names of German spies in the U.S. With the assistance of Agent David Percival (James McAvoy), Agent Broughton jumps out of buildings, fights cops and sends multiple cars flying into the sky—all for the sake of completing her mission. 
The movie isn’t just about action. When Agent Broughton creates an illusion of a relationship with a female German agent in order to obtain classified German information, her feelings become real in an instant.
One of the strongest parts of the film is the special effects that create a sense of magic. From the beginning of the movie, Agent Broughton seems to do the impossible. She bathes in a shockingly cold ice bath and makes some amazingly accurate gunshots, all adding to the fierceness of her character.
I also enjoyed the film’s historical connections. It takes place just before the fall of the Berlin Wall and correlates with the events of 1989 for a feeling rich in historical context.
The best part of the movie was Charlize Theron’s performance. Movies are mostly led by a male figure but this one has a strong woman fighting in a land surrounded by enemies. Agent Broughton knows how to fight, survive and look sexy. She isn't only an agent, but a woman that knows how sex appeal can change the game. 
Much like this year's hit film Wonder Woman, which portrays a female warrior, Atomic Blonde demonstrates how women’s role in society is evolving. In past action movies, we mostly saw women at home while men risked their lives fighting crime. That's why everyone, men and women alike, should buy tickets for Atomic Blonde. In this movie, women are no longer being saved by men; women are saving the world. 
Atomic Blonde will be released on iTunes, Amazon Video, DVD and Blu-Ray in October 2017.


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AFH PHOTO//JANNA MACH
If I were Bonita…
Caminaria with confidence
Estaria content with mi misma
No sentiria the world’s stare on me

I would smile more, una sonrisa verdadera
A smile that no one podria borrar, 
Take away, nor eliminar

If only society no definiera 
Humans based on los números
My weight would be una medida solamente
My clothing size would only be un número in a tag

If only no nos definieren by our skin
My acne wouldn't make me insecure, no usaría tanto makeup
Different races no separarian the world
No importa how much melanin tenemos

If only no nos definiera by our body types
Entonces my curves no me molestarian
Entonces transgenders, agenders and other 
members de la comunidad LGBTQ tendrían derechos
 
Sin embargo, if you had not noticed, we are defined por estas cosas
Beauty, in our society, se define por numeros, skin and body type
For this reason, soy como soy, solía ser happy, proud, content with myself  y tendria confianza.

Pero hoy, I am not happy, contenida with myself, ni tengo confidence
Sobre todo, no soy bonita

If I were bonita, I would smile all the time,
Bailaria a lot y seria less timid or embarrassed
Pasaría more time with other people, publicaria more selfies, si fuera bonita… 
Pero no soy bonita, not in my eyes nor society’s.


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School
Students of Color Survival Guide for Private School
AFH ART//JASON LOPES
Private school can be hard. Keeping your social life afloat while maintaining your grades gets increasingly difficult as you make your way through high school. The rigor of classes, the commute to school and the extracurriculars all add to the challenge. Being one of the few students of color in a primarily white school can prove to have it’s own challenges. High school can be tough, but with these four tips in mind you can navigate the halls with confidence!

#1: Be prepared to feel out of place, but don’t worry -- it doesn’t last long. 
Feeling out of place is never fun, especially when you look around and notice most people are wearing clothes and talking about concepts you don’t understand. Giana De La Cruz, a Boston resident and private school student at Noble and Greenough in Dedham, said, “The only challenge [I faced] as a student of color was learning how to accept myself, and realizing I wouldn’t fit in with some of the other white girls or kids. They didn't understand my culture and where I come from. But later on thankfully, I found white, Asian, and black friends who did understand and still loved me.” Finding friends who look like you or have similar interests as you always helps in easing the burden of going to a school where the majority of people look different than you. Olivia Martin, a freshman at Noble and Greenough said, “A problem I face[d] is relating to people. The only other black girl in my grade stopped being friends with me, so it's weird trying to find someone to relate to. But Sister 2 Sister helped.”

#2: Be friends with as many students of color and try your best to attend the various affinity groups your school offers  
Making friends and forming connections can be difficult; the majority of the white kids who go to private school all flock from the same towns, which leads to them already having connections. Don’t be alarmed! Affinity groups, common at private schools, are a safe space for people of color to go to discuss their shared experiences in an environment where they’re the minority. Affinity groups unite people of color and help them form bonds to strengthen their place in the community. 

#3: Don’t change yourself, the people who want you will come. Spending four years with people you can be yourself with is better than spending four years lying to yourself and others. 
Trying to change your appearance and the way you act is common for new students of color. Dr. Jennifer Hamilton, a school psychologist at Noble and Greenough, said many students struggle with assimilating to their school culture, especially when it is different than a previous school, home or neighborhood. It is natural to want to relate to other students by dressing and acting like them. “It's a perception that everyone is the same,” said Dr. Hamilton. “The impostor syndrome... feeling like everyone else fits in but you don’t, is common. It’s seen in schools and workplaces across the world.” However, it isn’t worth sacrificing your own identity in order to fit the ‘mold’ of your school. Even though ‘everyone’ may be wearing the same thing, that doesn’t mean you need to dress the same way.  

#4: Find someone you can talk to! It’s always important to have a trusted adult or figure you can confide in through the tumultuous times ahead. 
In the wise words of Dr. Hamilton, “Never worry alone!” High school is difficult for everyone. On top of your circle of friends, you should have an adult to rely on and confide in. Even though it might not always seem like adults give good advice, they’ve gone through high school so they might know what they’re talking about. 



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