With cultural icons like Malia Obama and actress Yara Shahidi both announcing their attendance at Harvard University, more minority students are deciding to further their education.
Harvard University recently made headlines as a majority of its incoming freshmen class is made up of minority students. The Boston Globe reports that 50.8 percent of students admitted to Harvard are minorities from backgrounds such as African-Americans, Hispanics, Asian, Native Americans, and Native Hawaiians. This number is an increase from last years 47.3 percent. 
This uptick shows minorities are making important decisions to further their education through college. Further studies support this. In 2012, the Pew Research Center reported that for the first time, Hispanic college enrollment rate trumped the enrollment rate of whites, 49 to 47 percent.
While these numbers show progress for minority students in higher education, students of color across Boston face unique experiences and challenges as they prepare for college. 
15-year-old Jacky Garces, a student at Excel Academy Charter High School, whose family is originally from Colombia, is currently enrolled in an advanced placement history class. She is excited for AP classes, but is nervous it will be time consuming. Garces is positive she will maintain good grades if she stays focused on her studies. She feels supported by her parents, but also feels pressured because her parents did not attend college, therefore, she must attend. 
Cyril Robinson, 15, also from Excel Academy, faces other difficulties. Robinson describes himself as a good student, but has different techniques for learning. He also thinks he struggles in school with time management and forming teacher relationships.
As college admission for minority students grows, the experiences of students once they are in college should be given greater thought. Christopher Grant, Associate Director of Student Success in Enrollment Management at Emerson College and co-founder of EmersonWRITES, says through his line of work he definitely sees more minorities enrolling and attending college. However, he believes more can be done for minority students.
“First, on the financial aid side, there definitely could be a lot more help for first generation students. Then, also on the academic side, I think there could be more classes geared towards this generation, especially more diverse classes.” 
As more minority students populate college campuses, it is important to provide support to the changing dynamics. “The best way to combat all the racial tension is to be able to inform people and have students see the world through the classroom,” said Grant. 

Read more…
From ballpark to Boston, Alex’s Chimis brings fresh Dominican fare
Walking into Alex’s Chimis feels very welcoming. The modest Jamaica Plain restaurant has a lot of big windows, making it easy to see into from the outside. The menu, written mostly in Spanish, hangs above the register—the employees were very helpful, explaining the dishes in English. I spoke to Clara Lopez, the owner’s wife, about the origins of Alex’s Chimis.
Alex Lopez, who is originally from the Dominican Republic, traces his restaurant roots to baseball. After games, Lopez’s team would come to his house for homemade Dominican-style burgers called chimis. One day, a friend gave him the idea to sell chimis at the ballpark. People seemed to really enjoy them, so Lopez decided to take his business a step further. He needed a bigger space. In October 1998, he bought that space—358 Centre Street in Jamaica Plain.
The Lopez’s main focus is the community. Most of their employees are locals—friends and friends of friends. All of their food is homemade and they use the same recipes they have been using since the restaurant opened. The prices are very low and affordable.
“[Our] prices haven’t increased in five to six years,” Lopez said. “Our goal isn’t to take all of people’s money but to share our food and culture with the community.”
Alex’s menu features a variety of meat including chicken, ribs and pork. The Lopez’s also sell chimi combos, which include a sandwich, fries and a soda. The restaurant offers a wide variety of smoothies and juices, from orange to mango to pineapple and more. Flan, pastelitos and stuffed potatoes are also popular dishes.
When I visited Alex’s Chimis, I had the chicken chimi combo. It was lunch hour when I went so the restaurant was packed, but I still got my food surprisingly fast. The chicken was sliced and mixed with onions and tomatoes. The bread was perfectly toasted; it wasn’t too hard, but it wasn’t soft enough for it to rip. The fries weren't overly salty, and you could tell they were freshly cut from potatoes instead of being bought frozen.
Alex’s Chimis has good service and great food. I would recommend this small, family-owned restaurant to anyone in the neighborhood who is looking for a quick meal.

Read more…
The year is 20XX. Our Internet addiction has skyrocketed in the years since its conception. However, the web we once held dear has been perverted into something else—something darker. The combined knowledge of the human race was once a click away, but now things have changed.

You are divided by what ISP (Internet service provider) you have—Comcast, Verizon, Time Warner—but its really they who have you. Your ISP is your home, your friend, your own personal tyrant. You see what they want you to see, consume the media they want you to consume, know what they want you to know.
You are nothing but a serial number and a dollar sign. Your freedoms are held at the price of paid “fast lane” services. Fast lanes slowed access to certain websites in favor of others. Digital companies were forced to play ball with the warring ISPs or fade from digital existence.
There were casualties. Those unable or unwilling to pay for a fast lane were outperformed by corporations large enough to pay up. Competition is dead—either you pay or you lose.
 Who could have caused such a travesty, such a monumental crippling of free expression? Well, it was the politicians who got in bed with the corporations they were supposed to defend the common man from. They allowed our freedom to be murdered at the hands of massive ISPs. This might sound like a cheesy, low-budget sci-fi movie, but it is an all-too-real future. There is a war going on, children: the war for net neutrality.
Net neutrality is the idea that ISPs and governments regulating the Internet should treat all data equally. In other words, they cannot discriminate or charge differentially by user, content, website, platform, application, type of attached equipment or mode of communication. It is what prevents ISPs from deciding what websites you can access and the speed you can access them at. It is what allows us to communicate and share ideas freely on what should be an open network. It is the ultimate example of free speech.
It sounds like a no-brainer, but net neutrality has been on the Congress floor for some time. In 2015, the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) classified broadband Internet access as a “Title II” communication. Under strict Title II regulations, ISPs were effectively blocked from interfering with web traffic. Now the FCC, led by former Verizon lawyer Ajit Pai, would like to reclassify broadband Internet as a weakly-regulated Title I “information service.”
If we lose this war, the Internet as we know it will cease to exist. The voices of millions will be silenced by corporations who could not care less about our rights, just our cash. For younger generations, the Internet has been a resource, teacher and friend. Do you want be the generation that allowed the Internet to die? If not, call your local representative—in our case, that’s Joe Kennedy III—and urge them to stand up for Internet freedom.
Representative Joseph Kennedy III, House Committee on Energy and Commerce: 202-225-5931

Read more…
Coming out of the closet is arguably one of the most difficult and important things in a queer person’s life. Whether it be navigating family beliefs or doubting your friends, the stress of coming out has been proven to be challenging. So I'm here to give you five pieces of advice in the process of coming out.

Number 1: Confirm you are not straight with yourself. By doing so, you give yourself and your sexuality validation. By admitting you're not straight, you can begin the process of finding out what you do like. Personally, I came out as bisexual before coming out as homosexual. By doing so, I was able to gauge the reactions of my friends and family.

Number 2: Don't rush to label yourself. This aspect of coming out can be terrifying if you're still navigating your sexuality, especially if your culture detests non-heterosexuality. By coming out as non-heterosexual or queer, you can be free without the worries of having to fit into a certain category.

Number 3: True friends don't care. If someone loves and cares for you, they will not turn their back on you. If they do, they are not a true friend. People who honestly and truly care about you won't bat an eye at you coming out, but will welcome you to a life of freedom. I lost a few friends after coming out, but I’ve gained so many more by sticking true to myself.

Number 4: Take your time. I highly suggest waiting before coming out to large groups of people. Instead, try coming out to one person at a time. It helps you gain and maintain the flow of understanding how to interpret and deal with a variety of opinions.

Finally: Recognize you are making a great choice. It may not seem like it—especially if you were like me, who use to cry himself to bed praying to be straight or spewing internalized homophobia—but I can promise that you will be happy someday. Happier than you would have been allowing yourself to hide your true self from society. You will be the butterfly breaking out of its cocoon and entering the world as a beautiful and majestic figure. Do not doubt yourself. Do not doubt your sexuality and do not doubt your life.

XOXO Gossip Gi—I mean, Kenneth.

Read more…
Health + Beauty
Do You Want to Build a Baby?: Gene editing offers more problems than answers
Imagine the perfect baby, your perfect baby, with all the desired traits you want. Green eyes, any complexion, wavy hair, high IQ, you name it. Scientists and doctors call the process human embryonic gene editing. Using the tool Crispr-Cas9, these molecular scissors insert, remove or add on to the DNA sequence. Although gene editing can be helpful in correcting diseases, it can also be ruinous. What will happen to our future generations?
For over a decade, human embryonic gene editing has been in and out of the spotlight. Scientists have been experimenting for years, but China was the first country to successfully do so when, in 2015, researchers used “non-viable” embryos to modify the gene of a potentially fatal blood disorder. Today, there is much debate about the ethics of gene editing, and it is currently forbidden in the United States with strict regulations.
Where gene therapies aren’t banned, the price is still huge. Slate reported that just one treatment is estimated to cost from $500,000 to $1.4 million. This can become a huge problem. If a richer person could spend money to design their baby with any traits they want, and a middle class person can’t afford it, this can lead to greater inequality. 
Aside from the cons of gene editing, there is one brilliant pro. It can help remove harmful or hereditary diseases. The New York Times reported that scientists recently made a breakthrough in gene editing when they successfully edited the DNA of human embryos to remove a mutation that can lead to a fatal heart condition. This procedure is very important because it can help many people. 
Despite the promise of gene editing to prevent diseases, gene editing can not stop all of them; diseases are natural. Our body’s immune system is the defense against harmful disease and infection. It is constantly challenged by bacteria and viruses, building itself up to fight off more threatening diseases. This system keeps us strong and our bodies functioning well. Trying to eliminate all diseases in the future through gene editing can cause more damaging, unknown problems that humans may never be able to fix.
Another problem is that future generation have completely no say in this. If a parent edits their child’s appearance for their personal preference, the child has not given their consent. There are already beauty standards that our society follows and fetishizes: Blonde hair and blue eyes, lighter or darker complexions, curly or straight hair, and even mixed ethnicities. This procedure is giving anyone the option to now fulfill their fetish. 
People born in this world are here to be accepted and loved no matter what. Birth is natural and beautiful because everyone has their own features and characteristics that make them unique. But if gene editing continues, how many people will be walking around looking like clones? How do you think one would feel if they found out they were worked on like a toy? The biggest question might be, “Why?” 

Read more…