Tag Archives: Blog Post 4 – Exercising Public Voice

Blog Post 4- Exercising your public voice: making a case for a position

College cost has been one of the many long term issues that many student deals with. Many students are often told to go to school so they can afford a good job however, not many understand that a job can be landed after college but the high number of school debt doesn’t make the situation any better. The link below talks about the insanely increasing cost of college and what is it doing to college student.


It is no joke that many student want to attend higher education but due to the cost, it is stop many to attend. From the article, student are falling more and more into the trap of student loans with high interest and causing a high debt number at the end of college. It is stated that in-order for this increasing tuitions to stop we must stop the federal government with their loan businesses.


As a college student, I couldn’t agree more that tuition are insanely increasing and it’s costing many to stop going to school. I, myself have many time considered of dropping out of college after I calculate the debt I will owe after I am done. It does not make sense to go to college and get a high debt number to just end up working to pay it off. The action I want to take on this is I want to form a petition of some sort or go on strike for tuitions to drop lower. Going on strike or sign a petition does not mean I am asking for higher education to be free but to be more reasonable for everyone. The link below here gives 5 great reasons to why college should be free.


My action is not to get college to be free as it will not have much meaning to education if its a easier getter. However with the article above the reason for free college make sense, therefore if we can at least lower the cost, our society can go far.

I believe in order for my action to work, I will need the hands of all students to join with me and make it happen.

Blog Post 4 – Paul Nettles

History Hurts! There is a debate about the “Confederate Flag”, does it represent Heritage or Racism?

Confederate Flag revolution…..


YouGov asked more than 34,000 Americans to say whether the Confederate flag most represents racism or heritage? “For a plurality of Americans, the Confederate flag represents racism (41%). But for about one-third of Americans (34%) — particularly adults over 65, those living in rural communities, or non-college-educated white Americans — the flag symbolizes heritage.”

I think that this debate is very simple, what Political Analyst Avlon says in the video below is very interesting.

“Moral Empathy, being able to see the flag through other eyes.” Slavery was a very tough time and still plays a role in today’s interracial communication and relationships. People and specifically African Americans have taken the flag as sign of disrespect and a reminder of history which we would like to put behind us. This debate reminds me on how the world is currently transitioning to the way the LGBTQ community would like to be included/represented. Even down to the word “Gay”. Using the word gay negatively was and is still a problem in society. But if you have moral empathy you can see how words can harm people. The United States of America is very diverse country and we have to be open for change and be understanding with open hearts.

Black women dying from birth/pregnancy complications

Black women’s concerns are so easily dismissed in hospitals. This article states “Black women are three to four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s partly why the overall rate of pregnancy-related deaths has climbed over the past two decades, making the maternal mortality rate in the United States the worst in any industrialized country”. I find this pretty scary since I am a Black woman myself and one day would like to have kids of my own. On Twitter I would sometimes see a news article or a post about a Black woman that has died of birth complications in the hospital, the article or post would always state that the mother had concerns but the doctors didn’t think it was serious until it was too late. The article states “The reasons behind the racial disparities are many and complex, she said. Lack of access and poor quality of care are leadings factors, particularly among women at lower socioeconomic levels. But there’s a bigger problem, Langer said. “Basically, black women are undervalued. They are not monitored as carefully as white women are. When they do present with symptoms, they are often dismissed.” Although “lack of access and poor quality of care” and low socioeconomic level could lead to birthing complications, Black women are definitely undervalued. Serena Williams and Beyonce had difficulties with their pregnancies and birthing, and they’re both well established women. In the article Serena experienced a pulmonary embolism a day after giving birth. Pulmonary embolism is a condition in which one or more arteries in the lungs become blocked by a blood clot. Serena has had this condition before, so she knew right away what it was when she was gasping for air. The hospital staff dismissed her at first but she pushed them to check her lungs and of course she was right. This is a famous athlete who had to push these doctors to do something before it was too late. This says a lot about how the healthcare system treats Black mothers, regardless of their socioeconomic level. I hope Black women will be valued more in the healthcare systems so these tragedies that can be completely prevented don’t ever happen again.

GMO’s: Blog post 4

There is a lot of misinformation surrounding GMO’s. Indeed I once listened to a podcast talk about GMO’s fro almost 20 minutes before one of the guests was asked to explain there understanding of what an GMO was and they had some powerful misconceptions about what it even means. It is easy even necessary to not understand all the issues year to year that crop [ha] up in our society and become talking points. I remember the first time the subject was made relevant in my life: Spring 2014 in a public speaking class. I was assigned a debate position to defend GMO’s against my opponent who volunteered to debate against them. The issue of GMO’s I was entirely ignorant of the subject {my first bit of research was too google what a GMO was] so I researched the issue. I learned about the first controversy in GMO’s when an ex employee of a GMO producing company demonstrated in an experiment that rats that ate GMO food developed cancerous tumors. I later read the experiment was a sham as the rats he selected were laboratory rats bred to have tumors for research purposes and in fact the rats that ate GMO’s developed less tumors than the control group. I also read about Monsanto corn where corn was bred to contain pesticides had become dangerously toxic. More research taught me that most plants have natural pesticides and this toxic feature was found during the testing phase which existed to screen out such possibility and that the toxin amounted to a mild upset stomach in humans. I learned that despite GMO’s doubling the food supply these where the major examples of GMO’s going off the deep end. The debate day came and I felt quite prepared for my opponent as I had done my research but also I knew I had been given the easier “right side” of the debating corner. I was not prepared for the arguments my opponent she had prepared. She argued that GMO’s were unnatural, addictive, and were dangerous to society. She told the audience that frog DNA was being inserted into strawberries. She told the audience that the GMO strawberries were found to be more addictive that normal strawberry. She also told the audience [as I expected] that they caused cancer in rats. A simple understanding of biology told me that sharing DNA with frogs means nothing as we share over 80% of our DNA with a banana so this was nothing more than information selection bias as the strawberry’s clearly shared DNA with a frog naturally. I asked her about what made the strawberries more addictive and according to the study they tasted better because they contained more sugar and thats why they were more “addictive”. Finally I countered her points about the rats with my own research. After the debate the teacher talked to both of us and I was curious as to where she found the information for her talking points and she told me they were from a website devoted to condemning the “dangerous of GMOS”. She my opponent told me that she was really surprised that her information was so easily found to be false as when she read them they were very convincing. The website dident say anything about how the rat study was a scientific farse and rejected by the academic community nor the other things about the frog DNA. Since that debate I have had many conversations about them since. My family are very health conscious and tend to prefer things organic and GMO free and I live at a christian Community with many of the same values for natural food. These conversations like the first debate almost always go the same. It starts off as nice but soon they quote these study’s and one dimensional non understood facts and thier argument falls apart very quickly and they get frustrated. The conversations feel very much like talking about anti-vax interests which dont hold up well to public discourse because its not scientific and there is a lot of evidence against it. Ive learned that this is not a coincidence, both are movements that are not scientific but have received a lot of money from agencies that are fearful of the sudden massive changes and fiance groups that spread whatever information they can that make vaccines or GMO’s look bad. It shouldn’t be surprising for me now in this age of “false news” that such groups exist but that does not mean they are not frustrating when I hear them at the dinner table. I hope that my blog post today was entertaining but I want to make a few points clear.
1 GMO;s are good for society. Having more cheaper food is good because the population is growing larger and we can really do a lot to be more Eco friendly with GMO’s.
2 People wrapped up in these arguments are the victims of groups that exist to spread misinformation. Sure many cling to these beliefs and are stubborn but it is hard to change your mind about subjects that you have a lifestyle based around.

Post 4 – Why you should be able to garden and store food!

Not a very controversial topic, I know. But if COVID 19, my volunteer work with others who are facing food insecurity, and the NPR podcast I referenced in blog 2 have taught me is that the future is uncertain. We do not know if we will lose our jobs, if the stores will run out of produce of if they will have to price gauge to prevent people from hoarding certain products.

My grandmother, mother and some aunts have all historically canned pickles and jams. Which are a delicious treat when you go home or to a family gathering. My grandmas pickles are the reason all 35 of my cousins LOVE pickles and will fight over the remaining pickle juice. Gross, I know. But, it is a part of who we have been since we were able to have solid food.

My fiance and I started a garden in our yard 3 years ago. We started slow. We tested out the soil, what grew well for us, what was undisturbed by rabbits and squirrels. and what amount was just right in order for us to waste less. Alright, I am not going to lie. We STILL over produce and last year I had zucchinis the size of my calves and hundreds of cherry tomatoes to harvest.

The next question was what to do with it all? We shared peppers, zucchini, cucumbers and tomatoes with our neighbors. I canned pickled tomatoes (perfect as a garnish on a bloody mary, or a surprising sweet pickled snack!), I made homemade pasta sauce, we blanched and froze green beans, froze zucchini for breads.

Why should you care? Well, in a time when the world is scary and we do not know what impacts COVID 19 will continue to have on our grocery shopping experience, and the availability and cost of fresh food – if you are able to grow and store your own food you can take a little worry out of your life and gardening is a little therapeutic.

The last potential obstacle I can think of – I don’t have a yard. Glad you brought it up, many urban communities offer community gardens where you can lease a small plot and grow and maintain your fresh feast. If that is not an option consider reaching out to family and friends to see if they have space and want to split the work and produce!

Don’t believe me? Listen to research done by The World Health Organization and The University of North Carolina Chapel hill, gardening improves your financial, physical, and mental health!

Below are pictures of my tomato hoards throughout the years.

OH AND – the most important part. Canning is basically botany. So please make sure you follow recipes and sterilize your jars properly so you do not make you and your loved ones very ill!

Sentenced to Prison or Sentenced to COVID?

Many of us are aware that our judicial system is not built to benefit black and brown people. We are also aware that black and brown people are arrested at an alarmingly higher rate, and black people at the highest. Right now COVID19 is passing through prisons and even killing some inmates. After hearing how easily the illness is spread, it isn’t surprising that it is spreading quickly in an environment like a prison. There are people in prison for non-violent marijuana convictions, as I mentioned in a previous post, and marijuana is legal in a lot of states. There are people in prison who have been wrongfully accused of a crime and they have lawyers and other advocates working tirelessly to prove their innocence (a lot of times there’s evidence of innocence). There are people who have served their sentence and are weeks away from being released. Should they be forced to stay in prison and risk catching the virus and possibly killing them before they get to taste freedom?

The big question has been do we let people out of prison to prevent them from catching or spreading COVID19? In my opinion, there are a few different ways to handle this, but my answer is mostly yes. If a prisoner is going to be released within 30 days, they should be released now. There isn’t much of a difference that will take place in 30 days. If someone is in prison for a non-violent marijuana offense, in a state marijuana has been made legal, they should be released. Yes the COVID should speed this release up, but come one… they shouldn’t be there in the first place. Prisons need to figure out a way to treat prisoners who have been diagnosed with COVID in a space away from the other prisoners. If the prison industry is a billion dollar industry, why aren’t they using the profits to treat the people they are profiting from. Committing a crime does not mean they aren’t human and shouldn’t be treated as such. I certainly understand that there are some prisoners who committed heinous crimes. I do believe that we as humans should not give ourselves the power to decide who should live and who should die, we have to let the universe decide that. Therefore, all inmates should be treated, pun intended, equally.

In the article I read, link attached below, from BuzzFeed, they mention that prisoners in an Illinois prison are dying from COVID19 within close proximity to inmates who have not tested positive. One of the inmates mentioned is a man named Antonio McDowell who says he was wrongfully convicted of a crime in 1997 by a crooked detective; it has now come out that this same detective has been accused by over 50 inmates of wrongful charges. The courts have been looking into these accusations and some of the accused have been released after these accusations came out and some have the possibility to get out of prison because of this. I just cannot imagine fighting for so long to overturn wrongful charges and then dying from COVID19 in the process. It isn’t fair that this is happening, and it isn’t fair that this matter isn’t being taken more seriously, especially since the war on prisons is not a new plight. There are lots of decisions that are being taken more serious since COVID19 and all of the consequences of it. This is a matter that needs immediate attention for the sake of human beings in a broken system.

Many Inmates Fear Coronavirus Is The New Death Penalty https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/melissasegura/many-inmates-fear-coronavirus-is-the-new-death-penalty

Don’t Run JOE!

Someone shouted famous slogan “Run, Joe, Run” as Joe Biden was begging to address House Democratic retreat in Feb 2018 hoping to challenge Trump 2020 presidential race. The idea that Joe Biden challenging Trump to restore American dignity in domestic and abroad itself is crazy and wild to me. Joe Biden is the definition of status quo and stands everything that is wrong in this country because of his record in the senate. Biden was opposed federally mandated busing policy designed to end segregation in schools in 1975. His excuse, he was concerned backlash from his white constituency. Imagine if that Biden wants to run as champion for rights of minority in this country.

The same guy who sat silently in Anita Hill hearing as she testified powerful supreme court nominee and recalled horrific memory of assault that haunted her for years. He sat silently acting he cared the victim, but his actions said otherwise. As chairman of judicial committee, he could have called other witnesses to collaborate her story or start investigation to verify her accusation but worried backlash from his committee. The same guy who wrote the crime bill that targeted African American communities and destroyed so many families in 90s for injustice incarceration wants to be our savior for this country. The same guy who touches women without their consent and violates their rights and argues that that is how he connects people, or he is old school. This guy took every short cut in the book to stay in power and refused to do the right. Voting Joe Biden to be president in this country is the definition of insanity, doing the same thing over and over again expecting the same result. There is reason this country did not change for everyone and we are still fighting for same rights as everyone else. This is because the democratic party promises to change every election but never fulfills its promise. They only remember their constituency the election cycle and fail to do their duty. I say enough is enough, we should tell the democratic party to either change or be dumped and for Joe, I say DO NOT RUN JOE!.

Why joe Biden is wrong for democratic party.


Is downloading music illegally really that bad?

Jordan Espinoza, Metro State University, 4/4/2019

If you download music illegally, then the artist doesn’t make all the money that they should have. This is a true fact. Some would argue that downloading music for free, makes it harder for new artists to make money. Some would argue that downloading music for free will destroy the music industry.

If all this is true, how do sites like soundcloud and youtube exist. Until recent years, these sites would not pay artists for their streams. Still, you don’t see major artist asking for their music to be pulled from these sites. Some artist, like Chance The Rapper, make their career capitalizing off of free streaming sites.

I would like to make the argument that downloading music for free does not hurt the artist as much as it hurts the record company. An artist can make only a fraction of a penny on each stream. This can add up over time, but there is not serious cash to made unless you are a very well established artist. Even then, the money you make from streams is not enough to fund a music career. The real money is made from shows. Show money is what artist eat off of.

Downloading music, be it legal or illegal, only is proof of the popularity an artist has. If an artist is in the position where they’re being seriously affected by lost streams, then they have a great problem on their hands. They are popular enough for people to want to listen to their music! If you find yourself in this position, congratulations! This means you have fans. If you have fans then guess what? It is time for a tour, or at the very least a couple club gigs.

To put this in context let’s look at the biggest artist in the world, Drake. From his massive 10 billion spotify streams, he has pulled in an impressive 60 million dollars. In comparison, a 43-date tour run grossed $79 million dollars for the artist. In one tour, Drake generated close to 20 million dollars more than his entire spotify career. Think if he went on a tour every year? His financial career is not dependent on steam, but rather his tour dates. This same idea can be applied to artists at all levels.


I Stop, Won’t You?

Every day, I risk my life. I risk my life….by walking to my bus stop. To get to the bus that takes me to and from work, I must cross a busy road. I wait at an unmarked intersection for cars to either stop, or for traffic to let up completely. Most days I end up running to avoid getting hit since few drivers stop.

Motorist are legally obligated to “stop for crossing pedestrians at every intersection, even those without crosswalks or stop lights”.


In the city of St. Paul, 148 pedestrians were struck by motor vehicles last year. 3 of them died, another 126 were injured, and only 19 walked away, unharmed. As of March 21, 2019, 3 people had already been killed this year, matching last year’s total.

So, for pete’s sake – STOP ALREADY! Keep an eye out for people waiting to cross the street. Even if the intersection does not have painted lines – it still qualifies as a crosswalk, and you are still legally obligated to stop.

Beyond the obligation, let’s stop to be better neighbors, better human beings to one another. We all have some place we’re trying to get to, and are likely in a hurry. So help me out, please. If you see me (or anyone else) waiting to cross the road, please slow down, come to a complete stop, and give me the few precious moments of your day to allow me to cross safely.

Join me by taking the “I stop for pedestrians” pledge now!

Reconsider How To Fight Poverty in Developing Countries

In today’s digital social media world, it’s very easy to contribute to a whole lot of causes that are claiming to fight poverty. Everywhere there are non-profits and organizations that claim to help people in developing nations – the Red Cross, Samaritan’s Purse, Feed My Starving Children and more. It’s so easy to contribute without thinking critically about where the money is going and if it’s actually making an impact. 
As a native Haitian who spent a year working at an innovative non-profit fighting poverty in Haiti, I believe we need to seriously reevaluate how we contribute to eradicating poverty. 
First off, we can’t assume that non-profits, even the biggest ones in the world, are using donations properly. Two years ago, NPR found that $500 million in donated funds for Haiti earthquake relief were missing. This is not an isolated incident. Non-government organizations aren’t often transparent about where donated funds go to, partially because we as the donors aren’t that interested. We just want to feel like we’ve done something good. 
Our desire to feel good about our contributions goes so far that we sometimes inadvertently hurt the very people we’re supposedly trying to help. This excellent New York Times article shows how volunteer missions trips to do stuff like build homes puts local construction workers out of business and strains the local resources.
Volunteering seems like an admirable way to spend a vacation. Many of us donate money to foreign charities with the hope of making the world a better place. Why not use our skills as well as our wallets? And yet, watching those missionaries make concrete blocks that day in Port-au-Prince, I couldn’t help wondering if their good intentions were misplaced. These people knew nothing about how to construct a building. Collectively they had spent thousands of dollars to fly here to do a job that Haitian bricklayers could have done far more quickly. Imagine how many classrooms might have been built if they had donated that money rather than spending it to fly down themselves. Perhaps those Haitian masons could have found weeks of employment with a decent wage. Instead, at least for several days, they were out of a job.
This type of short-term, self-gratifying contribution is so common that we’ve become immune to it and have lost the ability to see that it’s happening. Instead, we need to partner with local communities to determine their needs, their desires and gauge the resources they already have at their disposal. As the incredible documentary “Poverty, Inc.” demonstrates, the work Westerners often engage in rarely involves the locals in terms of vision-casting, planning and execution. We assume these people are unable to do it themselves, so we must do it for them. It’s demeaning and it perpetuates the cycle of poverty.
What must we do instead? Work with organizations that express an interest in long-term change that involves the local communities and allows them to set the priorities and direction. Consider if the way we’re each contributing is actually helping people, or just making ourselves feel good while furthering their poverty.
That is how to be an enlightened partner to these people.