Massachusetts prides itself on being one of the most liberal states in the country, but a ballot initiative in November could put that image in jeopardy. 
Known as Proposition 3, the ballot initiative could overturn a 2016 law that prohibits discrimination based on gender identity in public places such as hotels, restaurants and stores. Signed by Governor Charlie Baker, the law also contains a provision that transgender people are allowed to use the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity, according to the Boston Globe. 
If Massachusetts voters repeal the law, it could become the first state in the country to overturn a law that grants protections to transgender people in public accommodations, according to a report released by Boston Indicators in collaboration with The Fenway Institute. 
If the law is repealed, it won’t ban transgender people from being in public accommodations, but they will lose the assurance of federal government protection, according to Kurtlan Massarsky, Director of Development and Marketing at the Boston Alliance of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Youth.
17-year-old Florence Kallon, a student at Roxbury Prep High School, believes Massachusetts portrays itself as a liberal state, when in reality, this ballot question proves to Kallon that “a lot of people have this secret hate towards trans people.” 
According to a recent poll conducted by the Suffolk University Political Research Center, 49 percent of people would vote to preserve the law, 37 percent would vote to repeal it, and 13 percent are undecided. Major religious organizations, colleges, and civil rights groups have voiced their support for preserving this law, including prominent people like Mayor Marty Walsh. The ACLU of Massachusetts, the Anti-Defamation League, NARAL Pro-Choice and GLAD have all voiced their opposition to Proposition 3 as well, according to Ballotpedia. 
In a statement, Mayor Walsh said, “Supporting this law is the right thing to do. This law has been in Massachusetts for two years with no issues, and a similar local ordinance has been in Boston for more than a decade. In that time, we have become a more welcoming and inclusive city for our transgender friends and neighbors. We can’t take a step backwards.” 
Freedom for All Massachusetts (FFAM) is a coalition recently launched to update Massachusetts’ long-standing civil rights laws to include nondiscrimination protections for transgender people in public places. Matt Wilder, a communications consultant at FFAM, said he's not transgender, but the people he knows who are just want to live their lives like all of us, and that's what this law allows them to do. 
“It allows them to go to school, to work and to meet the obligations that they have to provide for their family without harassment,” said Wilder. “We all expect that in our daily lives, and there’s no reason why transgender people shouldn’t expect the same.”
Meanwhile, Keep MA Safe, a ballot campaign dedicated to repealing the law, claims that the current anti-discrimination law endangers the safety of women and children. According to their website, they believe the law creates an opportunity for sexual predators who are confused about their gender to use this as a cover for their evil intentions. 
Naleyah Cesar, a 17-year-old student at Roxbury Prep High School, argues that repealing the law is “going to make the world a lot harder for LGBTQ people of color, and it’s going to lead to a lot of fear.” 
Whether the law remains in place or is repealed, one thing is certain: the outcome of the ballot initiative now lies in the hands of voters this November.

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Lights, Camera, Action! Putting The Spotlight On Paloma Valenzuela
In the pilot of the popular web series “The Pineapple Diaries,” we are introduced to Maite, a young Afro-Dominican woman, who picks up the phone to hear her mom reminding her to wish her abuela a happy birthday, and not to forget to send her money. This expands her busy schedule and leads her running around Jackson Square trying to fulfill her seemingly endless list of errands. In the midst of this, we are introduced to her group of friends: a mix of 20-year-olds trying to find their footing in today’s society.
 In a world where women of color are often not showcased on television, or reduced to sidekicks for their white protagonists, it was comforting to see women of color take control in telling their own stories. I spoke with the series creator, Paloma Valenzuela, to inquire what inspired her to create this underrated, yet groundbreaking, series.
What was the inspiration behind the creation of “The Pineapple Diaries?”
I was definitely inspired by a lot of other artists and writers that were using YouTube as a platform. I was totally inspired by Issa Rae and “The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl.” I knew I wanted to create something of my own, and I wanted to try writing a television series. What inspired to me to create the show based on these subjects, this feeling of like, lack of seeing an honest portrayal of something I could relate to on television. I wanted to write stories that felt relatable to me and hopefully could relate with other women of color, with other Dominican-Americans, with the Latino community, and that’s what really drove me to want to tell these stories.
Why do you think it was important to set the show in Jamaica Plain?
I was really excited to have the show set here because I feel like I am just realizing how much of this neighborhood is a part of me, how much being a Bostonian is part of who I am.
The other reason I wanted to do it is because Boston has a certain profile in terms of how it’s portrayed on TV and the movies, and that doesn’t fit the profile of what I experienced. I thought to myself, Boston isn’t just Southie, it isn’t just white Bostonians or Irish Bostonians. And it certainly isn’t just this Mafia storyline—which is a great storyline, and those stories can keep coming—but it shouldn’t be the only thing coming out of Boston. We have Latino communities as well, we have Latino neighborhoods and there are diverse communities here in Boston that I wanted to highlight in the show, so that was important to me.
Your show features of a lot of Afro-Latinas. What aspects of the Afro-Latina identity do you hope to showcase to your viewers?
That there is one. For a long time, black Latinos were playing African-American roles in movies because nobody understood the concept that within the Latino community, we are all different shapes, sizes, colors and hair textures. It’s important that any actor is able to play the roles that they can play, but also be able to represent where they really come from. If we continue to perpetuate that, the people won’t understand there are afro-communities within the Latino community. We need to be knowledgeable about that, and be inclusive, because if you’re Afro-Latina and you don’t see yourself on TV as the Latina that you are, how can you feel a part of it? It is important for everyone to see themselves in magazines, on television, in the news, in politics, in the government. It’s important because we all need to feel like we’re a part of these communities.
Do you think the absence of Afro-Latinas in media leads to uninformed opinions as to who they are and the diversity of their experiences?
 I think that black Latinos have all the right in the world to feel just as black as all other black people. A light skin Latina has a different experience from a black Latina. It’s important to understand that. I think people are not informed enough about the racial diversity within the Latino countries. We’re all so different. We can’t all fit in one box, and we shouldn’t have to, and we should see those characters in all those layers reflected in our entertainment, for sure.

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Imagine winning a Congressional seat by one vote, or something even crazier—a tie that is settled by drawing a card. These are the circumstances that landed Democratic candidate Charles B. Smith of New York a seat in Congress in 1910 and Republican Randall Luthi a seat in the Wyoming House of Representatives in 1994, respectively. These instances demonstrate the power of one ballot, one voter and one voice in changing who leads our country.
Yet, here we are, with only 56 percent of eligible American voters participating in the 2016 election, compared to the voter turnout rates in Belgium (87.2 percent), Sweden (82.6 percent) and Denmark (80.3 percent), according to the Pew Research Center. What’s even more disquieting is an analysis done by the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement that discovered that only about 50 percent of eligible voters between the ages of 18 to 29 voted in the 2016 general election.
Why don’t young people vote? Because many believe “My vote doesn’t matter.” This dangerous assumption leaves huge portions of our population voiceless in government. Sadly, many young people believe their one vote would not make a visible impact in a huge population.
“Some people may believe their votes do not matter because they have lost hopes in their ability to change the programs they are voting for or against,” said Anilda Rodriguez, an 18-year-old student from Dorchester who will be a first-time voter this November. 
Just imagine the policy shifts the U.S. would face if all young people voted in every local, state and federal election. It is with this mindset that many young adults are entering the upcoming elections. A recent survey by the Harvard Institute of Politics found an increased enthusiasm for political participation, especially among Democrats. It seems as though the chaotic administration in the White House may have a reckoning on their hands. 
The significant changes that would occur if young people voted in huge numbers will be unforeseen in the history of U.S. elections. The issues and problems we fight for in our daily lives will be in our hands, and we can have a real chance of upending those of the older generation. 
“I believe in youth power and I think that by allowing teens to vote, we are able to elect those who will actually help make the world a better place,” said Sonny Mei, an 18-year-old student from Dorchester who will also be a first-time voter. “I also believe we [young adults] are more open-minded and will be able to tackle issues that are often ignored—issues that affect minorities and the less privileged groups around the country.”
In light of the current political state, it is more important than ever that young people vote. Major political issues are making headlines, and for real, long-lasting results to occur, young people need to be engaged and politically present.

Make Your Voice Heard 

Where can I register to vote?
You can register in-person at the Department of Motor Vehicles, armed service recruitment centers, and public assistance offices [SNAP/Food Stamps, WIC, Services for the Disabled].
The Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, William Francis Galvin, also has an online forum that makes it easy and simple to register or pre-register to vote at www.

How do I know when to vote?
To keep up with all the upcoming elections, visit, where you can subscribe to alerts about all the elections happening in your district.

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It’s my second period. When I walk in to my history classroom, the teacher announces what we’re going to be learning about today: the Civil Rights Movement. Immediately, I stop paying attention—I’ve learned about this a million times.
The history of African-Americans has been told many times and prevents other minority groups’ histories from receiving the recognition they deserve. In high school, we can open a textbook and read about the African-American Civil Rights Movement, but not about Japanese internment during World War II or the 1960s Chicano Movement. These events happened within decades of each other, but we only learn about one. 
African-Americans’ stories were oppressed for many years, which gives them reason to be so widely discussed now. However, this means we are neglecting the publicity other minorities should be receiving. When the history of minorities is oversimplified to include only the narrative of black victims and white villains, everyone suffers. 
Teachers seem to be obligated and expected to go deeper into black history than all other topics; it is as if this is the only historical narrative they are required to teach. However, according to Jessie Gerson, Chief Academic Officer at WriteBoston, teachers do have the freedom to structure the content they want to teach. 
“Educators can't do anything they want, but they do often have a lot of leeway when it comes to designing the learning experiences of their students, including what students read, and I think that flexibility is a net positive,” she said. 
Teachers have the opportunity to make their lessons culturally diverse; however, it seems that they do not take advantage of their freedom to teach all of the different narratives. 
We need to make it so that all ethnic struggles in history are presented equally. If we start to hear the stories of all cultures, we can see that at one point every minority has struggled and contributed to the struggles of others. 
The resolution to this issue is to put regulations on classroom lessons. Teachers should not have so much freedom in how they want to teach their classes and instead, have some regulations that require them to equally represent different historical struggles. The textbooks we use should have equal chapters on different minorities. There should be unified lessons across all Boston Public Schools so that students are learning about all minorities to the same depth, similar to Common Core State Standards. There should also be training that teachers must attend to assure that they are eliminating all biases when they are designing their lessons.
The way that we can possibly stop giving the wrong amounts of recognition to one race and expand our definition of history begins with teachers and lessons. The leniency given to teachers needs to subside. We need a more focused structure to get everyone to have an open mind towards all historic struggles. 

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For decades, the high-fashion industry has been obsessed with the appeal of the affluent class who have certainly made this world their own. They have dominated the fashion capitals of the world and inspired countless designers to pay homage to their opulent lifestyle. Along with gracing rows of magazine covers, little has seemed to change. Not until recently at least. 
Along the storefront windows of Newbury St., an area comparable to New York City’s modish SoHo district, we can see bijou boutiques and mainstream luxury brands taking on a more “modern” facade. With pop-culture influencers tapping in on the once underground fashion community, the modern face of high fashion is creating a generous spot for streetwear to sit besides it. 
 Away from the mainstream lies a massive culture containing a distinct style: streetwear. They hold anti-corporate sentiments and often go against what the larger brands stand for. Often not receiving much spotlight from the public, this underground community noted for their interest in streetwear fashion has maintained their roots for many decades. They spur revolution and encourage youth to step away from the detriments of capitalism and authority, all the while being a place for free thought to flow without intervention from the control of money. Brands such as Supreme were once small shops that found their roots leading to skate culture, which many believe is where streetwear draws inspiration from. 
Ferguson Herivaux, CEO and founder of OneGig, Boston’s skate apparel shop, has felt the true impacts of streetwear on mainstream fashion. 
“Streetwear has always ruled fashion and always will,” he said. 
For someone like Herivaux who has been in the business for nearly two decades, it is apparent that there are traces of urban style in luxury fashion. While for the rest of us, it is not too clean cut.
 In recent years, more attention is being shed on streetwear as celebrities and social influencers who have once been a part of these communities are now rising to fame and bringing these styles with them. A staple of streetwear clothing is: sweatpants. Previously a garment worn for athletics, it can now be seen on teens as they shop along Rodeo Drive. 
A trailblazer for this change can be none other than Kanye West. When he launched his Calabasas sweatpant line, they sold out within the first day, attesting to their appeal. Where money goes, the larger corporations follow. These larger brands are picking up on the success of this untouched realm of fashion and are beginning to incorporate it into their looks. A notable example is Louis Vuitton’s collaboration with Supreme, which caused major headlines.
 Jayda Dang, a teen who is well-versed in this new fusion of streetwear and luxury brands finds the brand’s intentions to be very one-sided. 
“Luxury brands like Gucci and Louis Vuitton began dipping their feet into the streetwear culture to satisfy their young and ‘hype’ affluent consumers,” she said.
Connor Morgan who is a stylist and selling supervisor at Gucci acknowledges the rise in attention towards this once unknown community. “Since streetwear doesn’t seem to be on any decline any time soon, Gucci will be keeping up with that specific trend by making its unique streetwear style stamp on the fashion world while it is so popular,” he said.
We continue to see this trend as even Anna Wintour herself has announced the Nike x Vogue AWOK Air Jordans collaboration. Chase Elliott, an advertising sales associate at Vogue believes them tapping in on this new style is “not a matter of staying relevant, but rather, it is about leading the next wave.” 
 With streetwear lines succumbing to capitalism, their prices rise with their popularity. Athletics brand Champion was once available in Walmart, but as demand for the style grew, it entered pricer shops such as Urban Outfitters. 
Some teens find this impractical, such as Legacy Thornton who, “would rather thrift shop then feed into expensive materialism.” Although some teens do hold the same values as Thornton, the truth of the matter is, a majority of teens still feed into this frenzy that is creating a multibillion dollar industry. But this issue goes beyond money and into a discussion of preserving a community that once fostered creativity and comfort from the large corporations.
With these streetwear brands finding a spot within the high fashion industry which is going against their initial sentiments, the question of whether these underground communities will continue to exist, and remain safe havens for anti-capitalists, comes into question. When streetwear rises to becoming a lucrative trend, they lose their authenticity and contradict what they have been preaching for decades.

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