Cover Story
Ayanna Pressley's College Media Roundtable
 On Wednesday, October 17, Congressional candidate Ayanna Pressley hosted a media roundtable in the More Than Words bookstore open exclusively to student journalists, to emphasize the importance of youth voices in her campaign and policy proposals. The roundtable was followed by an event open to youth from across the city. Campaign staff and volunteers hosted five discussion groups as Pressley circled around and listened in on the conversations. The groups discussed sexual assault, school safety and discipline, student debt, affordable housing and DACA and other immigration issues. 
Pressley’s recent historic victory over incumbent congressman Mike Capuano has set her up to become the first African-American woman to be elected to Congress in Massachusetts. 
The Massachusetts 7th Congressional District—the district Pressley is poised to represent—is one of the most diverse, most unequal, and most millennial in the country. This was thought to be a disadvantage for Pressley, as most groups she was likely to motivate were “unreliable voters.” 

Yet, “every group that’s considered to not be a likely primary voter voted in this election,” Pressley said on Wednesday. “We have to give people a reason to vote. That’s not here—” Pressley moved her hand from her head to her heart—“That’s here. That’s not cerebral. That’s here.”
The diversity of the Massachusetts 7th District drives Pressley’s campaign. One of her slogans is “Those who are closest to the pain should be closest to the power.” This is echoed in her campaign ad that went viral in August—in it, the viewer follows Pressley as she rides the Boston Route 1 bus through familiar Boston locales and points out that along the route, life expectancy can differ by as much as 30 years and median household income by as much as $50,000. Pressley understand that in a district like hers, people experience very different pain, and allowing individuals to express that pain is central to her platform. She promises to be “intentional about creating space for those other voices.” 
Before the roundtable was over, Pressley assured students that this wouldn’t be a one-time event, but rather, part of a process. She shared her plans to create a student advisory board and to meet quarterly with every school in the 7th District, as well as continuing to host events for student journalists.
Throughout the event, Pressley echoed her campaign slogan, “change can’t wait,” as she emphasized the need for the country to continue to move forward; for politicians to continue fighting for the people and for the people to stay engaged. “We can’t accept things as an inevitability,” she said. 
“Victory is not magic—it’s work...Hope is not magic. It’s work.”

Read more…
 In 2005, game director David Jaffe introduced gamers to the “God of War” franchise. The franchise includes eight games, including the PSP games “God of War: Ghost of Sparta,” “God of War: Chains of Olympus” and “God of War: Ascension.” In February 2018, they released their latest installment, “God of War,” which I consider to be the best game in the franchise. According to Nicole Smith, an Assistant Dialogue Recordist for Skybound Entertainment, the game “showcases a lot of growth in the sense that it reflects general attitudes both within and without the gaming industry as a whole.” For the past 10 years, the game has evolved on many levels: storyline, graphics and gaming experience. 
The other seven games before this latest installment in the franchise follow the story of the mortal Kratos. Kratos was a general for the Spartan army. During a battle and on the verge of death, he calls out to Ares, the Greek god of war for help, and makes a blood oath to him. Kratos destroys town after town and eventually ends up blindly killing his wife and child through the power of Ares. The games in this franchise follow Kratos’ journey and show how Kratos’ hatred for the gods grows. When he finally kills his father Zeus in “God of War III,” he flees Sparta and comes to Midgard in ancient Norway, where he marries his second wife and has a son, Atreus.
This new game leaves the Greek mythology behind and instead delves into Norse mythology. In the latest “God of War,” Kratos finds a home in Midgard. He meets many Norse gods like Freya, Balder, Magni and Modi, the world serpent and Thor himself. This change of worlds in “God of War” has made the game much more exciting because now you get to focus and learn about a new mythology, and discover a world not seen in the past.
The graphics of the franchise slowly made their way to the realistic, vast world of Midgard. Around 2008-2010, the graphics were not that good on PSP, since it was on a portable system, not on a home console. In “God of War: Ascension,” for example, the combat was choppy and glitchy. It seemed like the designers focused more on the storyline than delivering a quality gaming experience. In the new “God of War,” the characters are more realistic. The vast world of Midgard really comes alive, and all the other nine realms do as well.
“God of War” has come a long way, giving gamers the best fighting and mythical world yet. What I like most about the latest installment of “God of War” is that after 10 years of Greek mythology, it finally shifts to a new world. Also, the storyline is much better because it shows Kratos teaching his son Arteus how to survive. I have a good feeling about what the franchise is going to bring for the next “God of War.”


Read more…
The year was 1996, and Australia had their deadliest mass shooting ever by one man. Shooter Martin Bryant killed 35 people and wounded 23 in Port Arthur, according to the Atlantic. Less than two weeks after, all Australian states, including Tasmania, agreed to make several gun laws, including the banning of shotguns and rifles. Twenty years later, Australia still has not had a mass shooting worse than the Port Arthur one yet, proving that the gun laws set into place after the shooting were effective. If the United States adopts stricter gun laws like Australia, the country could be safer than it is now.
It has been 20 years since the Port Arthur mass shooting. According to BBC, Australia requires a 28-day waiting period before you can purchase a gun because the government has to check criminal records to make sure you can own a gun legally. On the other hand, in the U.S., each state has their own laws about guns and owning them. Some states like Massachusetts have different age requirements for owning guns. Massachusetts is not an open carry state, meaning that you can not carry a gun if you are not class A or else you will be committing a crime, according to Mass.gov. However, some states, like Texas, are open carry states. You can purchase shotguns and rifles if you are 18, according to the Caller Times. 
In 1996, Australia started making laws that used financial incentives to encourage citizens to turn in their guns. Oliver Palmer, an Australian resident, also explained to me that the Australian states adopted laws that made owning guns more annoying for people. 
 “My grandparents who lived on farms had guns to eat rabbits and kill snakes. My parents had guns but had to keep paying for storage, and they got tired of it,” he said. 
The federal government needs to adopt national gun laws similar to Australia. We all want to prevent another mass shooting. The U.S either has two options: one, we learn from our mistakes and create national laws that prevent mass shootings, or two, we do not change anything. 
However, organizations like the National Rifle Association (NRA) stand in the way of change. They want to “defend their gun rights” and keep the gun laws the way they are. Some people think if we implement laws like Australia’s, it would conflict with the Second Amendment, the right to bear arms. 
However, the United States needs to have similar laws to Australia because the longer we wait, the more lives that will be taken in the hands of terrorists. America is on the its boiling point, and in addition to our mass shootings, riots and racist events, our government must take action one way or another. 


Read more…
I am on the trip of my dreams and stepping off the plane, when I realize how little I have really prepared. I have a hotel and I am packed, but I am unprepared for the biggest challenge of all—visiting a country where English is completely foreign. With all the signs in Chinese, I do not understand where to find baggage claim, can not find customer service and I can not even buy a bottle of water. 
How could this been avoided? Here are some tips for traveling outside of the U.S. to put your anxiety at ease that have proven helpful.
Before you leave the US: 
  1. Make sure there is more than 6 months on your passport.
Some foreign countries have very strict rules when it comes to passports, so it is always better to be safe than sorry when traveling.
  1. Make sure to tell your credit card company that you are traveling.
It is better to do so in case of emergency and you need to use your credit card. You need to tell the credit card company where you will be traveling and for how long, even if you do not plan on using your card.
  1. Learn the conversion rate.
Knowing the conversion rate can help you find out if something you want to buy abroad is a good price. Make sure to check on the same day you start your trip to see if the rate has changed. Do not get intimidated. 
“It is not hard once you get the hang of it. It is easy and quick to pick up,” said Kemmara Bailey, a young teen traveler. 
  1. Get a translator app that doesn’t require the internet.
Getting this app will be helpful, but also try to learn some basic words and phrases, such as “Hello,” “Where is the bathroom?” and “Do you speak English?” This way, you won’t have to keep looking them up every time.
  1.  Learn the culture.
Some cultures in other countries are different than American culture. It is important to find out the offensive and acceptable behaviors for foreigners in different countries. 
Eric Jeffords, a long time traveler, said, “Look into how to be respectful in basic interactions, whether it be bowing or what to say to be polite.” 
On the plane ride to your destination: 
  1. Stay hydrated.
On planes, they lower the humidity to create a clean and comfortable environment for travelers. But, this causes the body to release moisture quicker than normal, which leads to dehydration. The best thing to drink is water.
When you get to your destination:
  1. Get your hotel’s business cards. 
If you get lost while traveling, you can give your hotel business card to someone nearby to help you find your way back. I tried this tip, and it was really helpful.

Following these simple tips will make sure you do not waste time stressing about your trip, and help you have an amazing time and experience.


Read more…
 In 2003, Bravo graced us with a new reality makeover show. We were introduced to the Fab Five—a group of gay men who hosted the show, “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.” In an era when “Will & Grace” had been the sole TV representation of gay men since 1998, many still squirmed at the meer implication of queerness. “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” however, shone a spotlight directly on gay men—even if the premise was based on the stereotype of gay men being fashionable. Running for five seasons, the show was tremendously successful, so much so that in 2017, 10 years after “Queer Eye” finished airing, Netflix picked up a reboot of it, introducing a new Fab Five.
 So, maybe makeover shows are not really your thing. Maybe you find them to be shallow and degrading, and some certainly are. However, “Queer Eye” brings something new to the genre of “makeover shows.” The Fab Five break down the walls of what we have seen in shows like this before, and they offer show participants so much more than haircuts and new outfits. The Fab Five focus on making the entirety of participants’ lives better, while preserving the essence of the person they are.
“Every person they work with, they are not just looking about what the right haircut for their face shape is; it is more like ‘What is this person covering up that needs to come out to make them a brighter, more self-actualized person?’” said Sasha Cagen, lifestyle coach and author of the book “Quirkyalone: A Manifesto for Uncompromising Romantics.” 
Javiel Rios, a student at City On A Hill, said that a makeover is “something that changes the exterior of a person, but also the inside, and it affects the way the person feels about themselves.” 
That is what “Queer Eye” does. And in addition to this, they help participants with something else along the way—like helping bartender Leo get ready for a parent-teacher conference, and helping Walmart employee William Mahnken propose to his girlfriend. There is something you can connect to in each episode because every person is treated as an individual, and each person is special.
Throughout the show, you also get a sense of the Fab Five as individuals, and you see them grow and learn from the people they meet. They focus on what is presented on the outside—fashion (Tan), culture (Karamo), grooming (Jonathan), food (Antoni) and interior design (Bobby)— and connect that to what is inside. In the season two premiere, we hear some of the Five talk about their experiences with religion. You witness some significant moments with Bobby especially, as he refuses to go inside the church because of the rejection he faced when he came out. We then watch as he opens up about this to the woman they are making over, Tammye Hicks, and finally watch him step inside. 
Similarly, when the Fab Five get ready to meet Skyler, a trans man who just got top surgery, they open up on their lack of knowledge of the transgender community, and how willing to learn they are. You get a genuine sense of who the Fab Five are, as you get to know the show’s participants. 
“I think ‘Queer Eye’ is special because I think they [the Fab Five] can make a lasting impact,” said Anya Edwards, a Boston Arts Academy student. “They actually have conversations with these people about their lives and what is holding them back from achieving their goals.”
 No matter how firm you are on the idea of all reality and makeover shows being, well, trash, I would tell you to hop on Netflix and put on “Queer Eye”—you will find the Fab Five just as enduring and charming as I do.


Read more…