AFH Photo // Toni Jonas-Silver
In the presidential race, says Rayven Frierson, a junior at the John D. O’Bryant School of Math & Science, forget the face. 

“I don’t care if a political candidate looks like Channing Tatum or Jessica Alba,” says Frierson. “As long as they have the intent to benefit our country with the people in mind, I have no consideration towards their appearance.” 

Yet as far back as 2008, one study shows, appearance can count in political contests. 

“Campaign managers seem to be ahead of the game in understanding that image really matters,” one of the researchers, Joan Chiao, assistant professor of psychology at Northwestern University, was quoted as saying. “They know that, contrary to popular notions, people are not necessarily using deliberate and rational strategies in deciding who to vote for, especially when it comes to women,” 

Not so for Al Fox, a junior at the O’Bryant, who believes that competence is the key. 

“That’s like asking ‘Would you want a trained professional who is mediocre-looking in comparison to a model?’ to work on your teeth,” Fox says. 

Even as some teens do consider a candidate’s exterior, many say that it’s what’s inside that’s most important. 

“Sure, looks matter to an extent,” says McCain Boonma, a junior at the  O’Bryant, “but it is the true intents that will carry the...nation’s burdens.”
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Muslim teen Edil Mohamed says she was outraged to learn this summer about the fatal strangling of Pakistani social media star Qandeel Baloch at the hands of her brother, who was taunted by friends about her provocative poses and postings, according to news reports. 
“We have been fighting for women’s rights for more than 100 years,” says Mohamed, a junior at Boston Latin School. “It’s crazy that in 2016, women still don’t have equal rights.” 
Over 500 people die in largely Muslim Pakistan annually in these so-called “honor-killings,” according to, and are mostly perpetrated by relatives who are embarrassed by behavior they consider shameful. 
Activists denounce these acts as pure murder. 
“They feel they could be happy because they regain their honor,” says Djibril Conte, 15, from Mattapan. “At the same time, that’s not OK.” 
Indeed, Baloch’s brother told reporters after his arrest that he had no regrets about the slaying. 
“I think that’s really sad,” says Feven Yohannes, a junior at Boston Latin School, “Her life was wrongfully taken from her.” 
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In the wake of police killings of unarmed black people, and retaliation against cops, the battle has been raging on social media: #blacklivesmatter vs. #alllivesmatter. 

#BLM supporters say that their movement is meant to convey the fact that blacks are facing intense mistreatment and mayhem from mainstream society -- not that people shouldn’t care about everybody. 

But #ALM backers say the message they are hearing is that only black lives matter. 
“Obviously all lives matter, but not all lives are getting racially profiled and harassed by police officers,” says Kamilla Mercado, 17, from Margarita Muñiz Academy. 

Eighteen-year-old Aureli Reyes, who attends Margarita Muñiz, feels that #alllivesmatter was created by privileged white people. 

“Everyone knows that all lives matter, but the problem here isn’t with all lives, it’s just black lives” says Reyes. “Nothing has happened to anyone else except for black lives.” 

Carlos Espinal, 18, who goes to school in Jamaica Plain, says people should be 
educated that #BLM began as a backlash against hatred directed at blacks, but he 
understands the origins of #ALM. 

“Everyone wants to be heard,” says Espinal, “no matter their skin color.”
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AFH Photo // Mary Nguyen
The news media want everybody to think that Hillary Clinton is the first woman to ever run for president of the United States of America. 
Except she isn’t. 
She was preceded by a host of others, according to, including Shirley Chisholm, the first African-American woman elected to Congress, who unsuccessfully sought the presidency in 1972. 
Eighteen-year-old Kamii Parker, from West Roxbury Academy, says she never learned about Chisholm in any history class and believes it is because society is controlled by men. 
“Why would they tell us about women that used to dominate?” she says. 
Especially a black woman. 
They want teens to believe that US history is based only on white people, says Raquel Quinonez, 17, from Margarita Muñiz Academy. 
“The government has a very messed-up system,” she says. 
Eighteen-year-old Roberto Braxton, who goes to school in Jamaica Plain, says he, too, has never heard of Shirley Chisholm, who last year was posthumously awarded the prestigious Presidential Medal of Freedom. 
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Oil spills may seem like a faraway issue but teens know how the issue can hit home. 

When oil contaminates the seas, and the marine life, it can also foul their food. 

“I feel like they need to change the way they distribute the oil on the ships or find a way so that they don’t spill it into the ocean,” says Cynthia Rodriguez, 18, from Margarita Muñiz Academy. 

About 20,000 oil spills are reported to the federal government each year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. 

“I believe that they should….find other ways to store the oil,” says Basia Brown, 17, from Margarita Muñiz. 

Seventeen-year-old Jose Pinales, from  Margarita Muñiz, says that wild animals living  near the polluted water are also harmed by  the spurted oil, so companies need to come  up with better ways to transport and contain their product. 
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