Author Archives: Andrew Chavez

street mural of Ruth Bader Ginsburd face

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away on September 18, 2020. Ginsburg was a trailblazer in her profession, as only the second-ever woman to serve on the US Supreme Court. She was an advocate of gender equality, a pop culture icon, and a role model for all women.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away at the age of 87 due to complications related to pancreatic cancer.

Ginsburg served as a justice on the Supreme Court for 27 years after being appointed by President Bill Clinton. Before her time as a justice, she earned her Bachelor’s degree at Cornell. She then attended Harvard before transferring to Columbia Law School, where she graduated top of her class. Ginsburg experienced sexism throughout her education and her career as Law was not a profession women normally chose at the time. Her experiences pushed her to fight for gender equality so she and all women would be treated fairly in her position. After graduating from Law school she struggled to find a job. Eventually, she became the second-ever female Law professor at Rutgers University. Despite landing the job at Rutgers her fight against sexism continued as she had to fight for her pay to be equal to the men employed at Rutgers. After eventually joining Columbia as a Law Professor, she co-founded the Women’s Rights Project of ACLU. This is where she took on litigation of gender equality cases and fought the problem one law at a time, slowly changing the landscape of our legal system to recognize women’s equality in the workplace.

Before making her mark in law, Ruth Bader Ginsburg was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. Neither of Ruth’s parents went to college but instead worked hard and pushed their children to better their lives through education. Her mother, Celia Bader, lost a battle to cancer and passed away while Ruth was still in high school. Ruth’s mother was a great influence on her and instilled the hard-working attitude Ruth carried on throughout her whole life.

While attending Cornell University Ruth met and married her husband Martin D. Ginsburg. After graduating from Cornell the couple’s first child Jane was born. Eventually, Martin took a job as a tax lawyer in New York. This led to Ruth transferring from Harvard to Columbia where she became the first woman to become a member of both schools Law Reviews. She then went on to have a law professor at Rutgers University followed by Columbia. During her tenure at Columbia, she took 6 cases before the supreme court winning 5 of them. After her impressive success against the supreme court in the 70s, President Jimmy Carter appointed her to the US Court of Appeals in 1980 where she would work for the Supreme Court. This led to her eventual nomination, by President Bill Clinton, to join the Supreme Court in 1993.

In Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing, she leaves behind two children, four grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. Her daughter Jane Carol Ginsburg is 65 years old with two children and pursuing a career as a lawyer. Her son James Steven Ginsburg is 55 years old with two children and a grandchild. James is currently a record label executive. 

Ruth Bader Ginsburg makes history one last time as she is the first woman ever to lie in state at the US Capitol. Mourners held a candlelight vigil on Saturday, September 18th outside of the Supreme Court. A private ceremony at the Capitol was held for Ginsburg on September 25th. Thousands lined up outside the Supreme Court to pay their respects as Ruth Bader Ginsburg lies in repose Wednesday, September 23rd, with many still mourning outside the building over the weekend.

Trump vs. TikTok

The Trump administration attempted to place a ban on the video-sharing app TikTok on sunday September 20th. This would have been the last day US citizens could download the Chinese owned app, but the ban is being temporarily blocked by a Federal Judge.

Federal Judge Carl Nichols wrote that although there is evidence of China being a threat to national security, “it was less clear that TikTok itself posed a risk.”

TikTok has over 100 million users in the US currently. In an executive order written by president Trump, he states, “This data collection (done by TikTok) threatens to allow the Chinese Communist Party access to Americans’ personal and proprietary information—potentially allowing China to track the locations of Federal employees and contractors, build dossiers of personal information for blackmail, and conduct corporate espionage.”

Secretary of state Mike Pompeo warns to only download TikTok, “if you want your private information in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.”

President Trump announced his plan to ban the app on July 31st, just one month after teens using TikTok registered for thousands of free tickets to the President’s rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma to limit the number of attendees. This left thousands of seats empty after the administration promised to fill all seats.

President Trump has also insisted that instead of using a Chinese owned app people should use the new app Triller. Triller is almost completely similar to TikTok and has risen in popularity since the banning of TikTok.

The President and his son, Donald Trump Jr, are both verified and actively posting on Triller.

Trump Jr recently posted a 7 minute video on Triller attacking Tiktok and urging people to use Triller instead. He stated,“There’s an option that you can go to that’s an American company, that’s not saving your data, that’s not going to eventually weaponize it against your children.”

TikTok has admitted that their app, “automatically collects certain information from you when you use the Platform, including internet or other network activity information such as your IP address, geolocation-related data … unique device identifiers, browsing and search history.” However this is also true for every other social media app, including American owned app Facebook.

ByteDance, the company that owns TikTok, has denied any sale of personal data to a third party and argued they do not store user data in China at all.

However, a conflicting report by encryption and cybersecurity company Protonmail warns, “the social media giant not only collects troves of personal data on you but also cooperates with the CCP, extending China’s surveillance and censorship reach beyond its borders.”

After failures to sell the App to an American based company TikTok’s answer to the ban is a lawsuit against the Trump administration. Their official statement regarding why the lawsuit was filed specifically, “By banning TikTok with no notice or opportunity to be heard (whether before or after the fact), the executive order violates the due process protections of the Fifth Amendment.”

TikTok was originally given a 45 day period after the September 20th ban to fix any cybersecurity issues and potentially be allowed back into business with Americans.

 However, since Judge Nichols put a halt to the ban, a new plan to have a US hearing decide the fate of TikTok was put into place.

The hearing is scheduled to take place the day after the Presidential election, and will officially decide whether TikTok will be allowed to remain in App stores.

person sitting at computer watching video focused on mental health

Mental Health during a Pandemic

A poll done in late April, by the Kaiser family foundation has reported that 56% of Americans have had at least one negative mental health effect related to the coronavirus outbreak and quarantine.

The number of people accumulating negative health effects is staggering. A report from Well Being Trust, a foundation that provides resources in prevention, treatment, and recovery for mental health and substance misuse issues, has stated that COVID-19 could lead to 75,000 additional deaths from alcohol, drug misuse, and suicide.

According to Sabrina Tinoco, a student living in Oakland and currently out of work because of the pandemic, her life in the pandemic has been difficult because “I’m used to being around my family and being away from them and not having those people to confide in has been difficult.”

As for different ways Tinoco has been coping with the pandemic, “I’ve been reading a lot more and walking my dog a lot.” Her response to the use of alcohol as a coping device, “honestly yes, I would say I definitely find myself drinking a glass of wine or two now more than I ever did before. Just because I am home and there’s only so much tv I can watch, I’m bored, so why not have a nightcap at 4 p.m.”

As for her outlook on the future of the pandemic, “I don’t feel like we’ll ever get back to normal, but I feel like we’ll have fewer restrictions. Even if it’s not required, I’ll always bring a mask with me in the future just to be cautious.”

Danny Chavez, a San Francisco State alum who now lives in Oakland, explained how his life has changed since the pandemic stated, “my world has pretty much shrunk. I’m home all the time, and I go out very rarely, maybe once every other week.”

Describing the effect the pandemic has had on Chavez’ mental health, “it does get to be too much but you just have to think, I’m going to be working from home for all of next year and this is my reality that I have to make it work. So, there are difficult times, but you just have to break through those. There are times where you get a bit of cabin fever, and you drink just because you’re bored, but I don’t think it’s gotten out of control.”

One connection that has been made between the interviewees in their handling of the pandemic is the use of alcohol to help get through the more challenging days. According to a report in June done by market research firm Nielsen, this seems to be a growing theme across the country as alcohol sales increased by 27% since the start of the pandemic.

World Health Officials have warned that consuming large amounts of alcohol is an “unhelpful coping strategy” during the pandemic and recommends finding alternative methods.

David Irving, Mental Health Coordinator at Chabot, stated, “There are things to be mindful of, and there are things that you could add to feel better. Be mindful of certain vices people use to help themselves feel better, like drinking or taking drugs. Just have some awareness of how much and how often you’re doing that.”

Irving continued, “Make sure you’re adding to your life things that make you feel good. Going on walks, getting out of your house, going on drives. All those things can help you get a little feeling of control.”

If you need help finding alternative methods, Chabot college is doing its best to help students struggling during COVID-19 and have plenty of resources available for those who need it.

Alongside its regular scheduled counseling appointments, the school is offering online drop-in meetings with counselors. Chabot will also soon be announcing walk-in hours for students to check in with a therapist by logging onto Cranium Cafe. Available days for sessions will be Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays.

To reach out for help today the CARES Mental Health Center is offering services online. To contact them simply email [email protected] or call at 510-723-7623 and leave a voice message. Voice messages are checked daily Monday through Thursday.