Author Archives: Lupe Hernandez

Roe v. Wade: What Happened in the Supreme Court

President Joe Biden announced on May 3 that while the overturn of Roe v. Wade has not been finalized, the American people must vote for elected officials who support abortion rights this November to protect their Fourth Amendment Right to Bodily Autonomy. 

A draft for the overturn of the 1973 Supreme Court decision ruling protecting women’s rights to an abortion without excessive government involvement was leaked on May 2. 

President Joe Bien released an official statement early the following day, “We do not know whether this draft is genuine or whether it reflects the Court’s final decision.” 

The Supreme Court has now confirmed the authenticity of the leak. 

This is only the first draft of the Court’s opinion that was written back on Feb. 10. The overturn of Roe v. Wade may not even be presented in June, however, this does not bring ease to many Americans across the nation. 

On the night of the leak, The U.S. Supreme Court was blocked off by metal fences around the perimeter. Within a few hours, thousands of protesters were on-site surrounding the entrance demanding their abortion rights, and how far the government would be willing to strike down on more individuals’ rights to their bodies. 

“Illegal abortion means unsafe abortions,” Kimberly Mohaeir spoke with the Washington Post on May 3 just outside the Supreme Court among thousands of Pro-choice protesters. “[this] means women, [and] anyone who can get pregnant is going to die.” 

Mohaeir is an abortion provider in Virginia and has seen an increase of clients coming in out of state, some of who fly in just two hours before their session and leave on a plane right after. Mohaeir is very aware that as much as she tries to help the people she meets, there’s a disproportion in who can access proper resources. 

“I’m concerned that specifically, minority women do not necessarily have the same wealth … I’m concerned people are going to start taking this into their own hands.” 

“We will need more pro-choice Senators and a pro-choice majority in the House to adopt legislation that codifies Roe” President Biden declared in his statement release and promised that he will work to pass into law the original court decision. 

In 1969 “Jane Roe” (Pseudonym name used in court) was Norma McCorvey. She was a Texas resident who, at the time pregnant, was not able to get an abortion in her home state. The law prohibited abortions unless the woman’s life was at risk due to the pregnancy, which was not the case for Roe. 

Roe took her district attorney, Henry Wade, to court to declare that her choices among her body were not a matter of the state and violated her constitutional privacy rights. 

On Jan. 22, 1973, The Supreme Court ruled 7-2, in favor of Roe and this became a milestone in the process of how the government could interfere with a woman’s pregnancy. 

It declared that within the first trimester of pregnancy, three months, there could not be government involvement in the woman’s decision on proceeding with pregnancy. 

In the second trimester, the government could regulate but not ban abortion, and in the third trimester, states can interfere with the proceedings of abortions. 

The late Justice Harry Blackmun presented the majority opinion at the ruling, “Our task, of course, is to resolve the issue by constitutional measurement, free of emotion and predilection”

The debate over abortion rights has continued long after Roe v. Wade and before the leak on May 2. Former President Donald Trump feels he may have had some credit for the possible overturn. 

The Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) spoke with Trump in his Florida home on May 4 stating, “Well, a lot of people are very happy about that … So some people maybe say it’s my fault and some people say, ‘Thank you very much.'”

During his presidency, Trump had voted in three Supreme Court Justices, Amy Coney Barrett, Neil Gorsuch, and Brett Kavanaugh. All who stated wouldn’t be opposed to overturning Roe. 

Each Justice was asked about the case of Roe v. Wade at their confirmation hearings, and if they would consider the possibility of an overturn. All three were not completely opposed to the idea. However, all three did deny how they would vote right on the spot, believing it would showcase biased opinions that were not properly settled in court. 

A breakdown of the three Supreme Court Justices’ confirmation hearings was summarized by factcheck.org and published on May 9. 

Justice Amy Coney Barrett was the most outspoken on her Catholic beliefs during her hearing in Oct. 2020, “the sacredness of life from conception to natural death.” Barrett expressed, “I can’t pre-commit or say yes, I’m going in with some agenda, because I’m not.” Barrette answered Sen. Dianne Feinstein. 

Justice Barrett concluded that if Roe v. Wade’s case was presented to the Supreme Court then she would look at the possibilities if it is, “ not a case that everyone has accepted”

Justice Brett Kavanaugh was very persistent in his statement that “Roe v. Wade is an important precedent of the Supreme Court. It has been reaffirmed many times.” In Sept 2018 Sen. Feinstein had asked him about his previous statements on Roe v. Wade during his confirmation. 

“Of course. I listen to all arguments … And some arguments are better than others. Precedent is critically important. It is the foundation of our system.” Justice Kavanaugh answered Senate Feinstein. 

Precedent is by definition something that has been previously decided, in this case, Roe V Wade, and is looked back on when making future decisions. 

Finally in Mar. 2017 Justice Neil Gorsuch also stated Row was a “precedent” but not a “super precedent” during his confirmation. 

The University of North Carolina School of Law defines, “Super precedents are those constitutional decisions in which public institutions have heavily invested, repeatedly relied, and consistently supported over a significant period of time”

“If I were to start telling you which are my favorite precedents or which are my least favorite precedents or if I view precedent in that fashion, I would be tipping my hand and suggesting to litigants that I have already made up my mind about their cases,” Gorsuch explains he would not be a fair judge in showcasing his biases before proper reevaluation of a case decision. 

On May 13, CNN provided a list of which states, plus D.C, will continue to protect abortion rights even if Roe v. Wade is overturned. 

Those sixteen states are; California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and Washington DC.

Gov. Gavin Newsom has announced,​​“California will not stand idly by as extremists roll back our basic constitutional rights,” in a Sacramento news conference held on May 11. If the overturn is finalized, Gov. Newsom wants California to be a “Sanctuary” for those in and out of state. 

“A new health reproductive plan… dedicating an additional $57m to prepare for an influx of people from other states seeking abortions.” as The Guardian summarized on May 12. 

For residents of California, Gov. Newsom has already signed a bill On Mar. 22 into law to make abortions cheaper. “banning private insurance plans from charging co-pays or deductibles for the procedure.” as the Guardian described the

The AP News explained that the bill “will also slightly increase monthly premiums for patients and their employers.” However, the elimination of those fees will be remarkably less than the monthly premiums. 

Listen to Signs of Cancer

“Anyone can get cancer, listen to your body” For Leslie Alejandra Lopez Luna cancer was the farthest thing on her mind. After undergoing treatments, surgeries, and personal struggles, Leslie has found support within the American Cancer Society club here at Chabot College.

Leslie was 18 when she was diagnosed with skin cancer, Dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans (DFSP). However, her story began two years prior, at 16, Leslie had felt a lump in her left arm. The reality was these were connective tissue cells in the middle layer of her skin, which grew to the lump she found on the surface layer.

Every six months consists of full body checks, and yearly MRI scans, but every day Leslie performs self-body checks to feel for any possible symptoms.

Before Leslie was admitted to UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in Oakland, she was seeing a dermatologist who would remove the lump, which they believed only to be a cyst at the time. But as they continued to remove the lums, they were still finding bits of the cancer, and suggested that Leslie seek help elsewhere.

“I was kind of left on my own to look for doctors,” Leslie was grateful that she had the support of her family to assist her in finding the right medical treatment, but it did feel a little deserting to be in this position at such a young age.

Although UCSF is a children’s hospital, Leslie (who has now passed 18) is still able to receive treatment. Her doctors are very familiar with DFSP and believe her condition will be stabilized or possibly gone before she reaches 25.

Right now the MRI can’t detect cancer because the tissue build-up is too small, Leslie has to wait to see if it grows more and if it’s still as severe as it was before the beginning of treatment.

Leslie has spent most of her college experience through Zoom, making it easy for her to work around her schedule. She did have one in-person class right before the pandemic.

Leslie felt a bit intimidated at first. After reaching out to her professor about bringing a bag with her that held her medical devices, Leslie felt more comfortable in the environment.

“I noticed some students would look over wondering where the nose was coming from” The students at the time weren’t aware that the little noises were coming from Leslie’s bag.

Her professor assured that there wasn’t anything to worry about. Leslie grew comfortable with the other students, the majority made up of other women, and had a bond with many at the end of the semester.

Leslie has stuck to online classes for the 2022 spring semester, but is hoping to be back to in-person classes as soon as possible.

Leslie found a great sense of support in the American Cancer Society Club (ACS)here on campus. A new club to the school that tries to bring awareness to different kinds of cancer, and possible symptoms, as well as raise money to donate to cancer research and treatments.

Running a new club hasn’t been easy for founder and president, Emily Lou, but she has made the most of what she can through the pandemic. Emily was proud of the fundraisers the club was able to achieve last semester. The club participated in the 2021 Relay for Life of the East Bay and collected over $1900 in donations.

This semester ASC will be hosting a booth once a month that’s dedicated to spreading awareness of specific cancers.

March is kidney cancer awareness month, the ACS club set up in the Cesar Chavez plaza on Mar. 21 with their bright orange ribbons to hand out, as well as to encourage students to have the courage to talk about cancer concerns and not discourage possible symptoms.

“Being part of the club has given me a microphone.”

Leslie has enjoyed her contribution to the club, from spreading awareness to making small gifts to other patients in treatment. One of her most prideful moments on campus was sharing her story with other students and educating them on the realities of treatment and finding support systems.

Frida’s Paint Night at Chabot College

El Centro celebrated Women’s History Month with a paint night on Mar. 24 centered around Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. All donations raised were given to Ruby’s Place in Castro Valley. 

Clubs and organizations at Chabot have been trying to build themselves back up since the start of the in-person semester. El Centro, Chabot’s organization committed to encouraging the Latine community, undocumented and low-income students, announced their paint night to bring students together. 

Monica Olmedo is the current Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) coordinator of El Centro and a part-time English instructor. As the paint night event organizer, Monica wanted to come up with a fun subject to focus on while also tying back to women’s history month. 

Frida Kahlo was an easy pick for El Centro as the painting subject to focus on, a staple in the Mexican artist world and an icon among the Latine Community. On Jul. 6, 1907, Kahlo was born in Coyoacán, Mexico City, Mexico. She married another Mexican artist, Diego Rivera, and most of her work reflects her life. 

“She represents the artist community, but also the LGBTQ+ community. She was disabled … She was a strong person.” Monica knew that Frida would draw people in and get many excited for a fun night. 

Bringing the community on campus back together was a key focus of the event, “I think we just really need this,” Monica hoped that students would be excited to come together and start participating in school activities again and rejoice as a community. 

The turnout was a great success, with nearly 50 people and some latecomers also trying to get a seat. Students who worked in El Centro were there to help all the participants hand out supplies and provide complimentary food.   

The other key component of the event was finding a way to reach out to more women. This is where Monica located Ruby’s Place, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping end domestic violence and human trafficking and helping survivors regain stability in their lives.

In Alameda County, there are several counseling services for trauma victims and educational resources and housing services, the closest in Castro Valley. As Monica dropped off the donations collected at paint night, Ruby’s Place reached out to her to hopefully connect potential students through the nonprofit and get them started on their academic path. 

“It’s funny how some things happen,” Monica was more than excited to hear that her event reached out beyond its initial intention. While a lot of coordination will be needed to work on this new project, it’s just the beginning. “I’m happy this turned into a two-way street to help.” 

The Different Sides of Media Surrounding Ukraine and Russia

“It’s never going to be the same. My people are dying.” Diana Osaulenko of Kyiv, Ukraine, knows the damage done to her home can’t be undone.

The Office of the United Nations has confirmed that 596 Ukrainian deaths have been reported as of Mar. 12. However, the numbers have only been collected as soldiers, and fellow civilians bury their loved ones.

Bombing videos show the last few moments before innocent people’s lives were taken. From an elderly couple killed in their car as they tried to escape to the children’s hospital that was destroyed on Mar. 9. Diana can’t pull herself away as terrifying as they are to watch.

Nor will anyone give her a break. Each day she gets tons of messages and videos from family and friends with updates and prayers. The ugly but truthful side is that she receives hateful messages that blame Ukrainians for the restrictions —

“It’s sad that (some) Russians don’t want to believe.”

Diana shared that while she has family who lives in Russia and friends that she’s known for years, a disconnect has grown among those from Russia. Some she calls brainwashed who genuinely believe the words and information given by Putin-

“For 20 years, Putin translated only his channels.”

As the war began, media restrictions tightened in Russia. Twitter, TikTok, and Facebook were among the many platforms that have been banned or heavily monitored to prevent anyone “from publishing anything divergent from the official “party line” of Putin’s government.” as reported by The Nation on Mar 11.

Twitter and Facebook have banned various accounts that have been accused of being Pro-Putin. Some of these accounts belonged to RT (Russian state-controlled international television network) and Sputnik (Russian state media).

Facebook was temporarily allowing political expression for Ukrainians that would typically violate their rules on hate speech policies. These forms of expressions could only be centered around Russian leaders and soldiers, any mention of Russian civilians within a post would be removed,, and accounts could be penalized.

As of Mar. 14, Facebook had narrowed down what is acceptable to post. Their response comes after Russia opened a criminal case. Facebook stated they need to emphasize this was never to endanger the Russians as a whole but rather a means for Ukrainians to showcase the events of the war as it unfolds.

Not everyone in Russia is allowing the bans and censorship to stop them from spreading information about the war. Maya Volf is one of the producers for a popular YouTube channel based in Russia, Varlamov. The content creator has been working around the rules of censorship to continue their videos analyzing Russian politics.

Volf is currently in Amsterdam, with her husband, in turkey. She spoke with The Observers (news content platform) but disclosed she couldn’t give much information about her co-workers who are still in the country for safety reasons.

Volf explains in her interview that you can’t simply say “war,” this could get your video taken down or even the channel suspended. “Situation” is often used to describe the war.

Anyone can land a target on their back, “Even getting information and sharing it with others is dangerous for us and our families,” Volf explains. She points out there’s harm created through censorship in the work she produces, not everyone can read between the lines, but precautions are the only way her team can get any information out.

On Mar 3 the Russian State Duma Committee on State Construction and Legislation passed a law against spreading fake news throughout the country. This entails any information being spread that contradicts the information provided by the Russian government, especially on news about the Russian military. Citizens could face a 15-year prison sentence or a fine equivalent to $14,000.

“Don’t believe the propaganda. They’re lying to you here.” Marina Ovsyannikova, editor for Channel One (Russian Broadcast), burst onto the camera holding out her banner, “Stop the war. No to war.”

Ovsyannikova had run out in front of the news anchor pleading for Russian viewers not to listen to lies being broadcast. Ovsyannikova admitted on screen that she too had played a part in spreading misinformation on the war.

However, not everyone believes this was a legitimate act of protest. Russian news is known to be fabricated, especially now after the ban on “fake news” law, many viewers can’t see how this was an authentic moment.

“It’s fake,” Diana admitted when she initially saw posts surrounding Ovsyannikova. She believed it was an act of selfishness. Soon after, those thoughts changed. She is sure it was all orchestrated.

“It was 20 days of war, and she said nothing. It’s all fake.”

According to The Guardian, Ovsyannikova was detained and what could have been the 15-year sentence turned out to be a $300 fine. “The fact that she has already received a quick punishment indicates that a political decision was made not to persecute her further,” said Pavel Chikov, the head of Agora International Human Rights Group and lawyer, when asked about Ovsyannikova.

Chikov has been a human rights lawyer in Russia since 1999. Some of his work involves helping prosecute more than 250 government officials for human rights abuse, over 50 corrupt police officers, and 17 books on human rights and advocacy for victims.

“I cannot talk to my Russian friends right now” The amount of blame targeted toward Ukrainians for Russian athletes’ inability to participate in sports events, or any of the economic sanctions placed on Russia, are not something that Diana wants to focus on.

Diana’s thoughts are with home and loved ones, their safety, and the well-being of all Ukrainians, “I haven’t seen my family in five years. What if I never see them again?” Even though it’s nearly impossible to understand what the citizens of Ukraine are going through, Diana emphasizes their independence and strives to make sure they are being heard and that Ukrainians will not allow this war, or Putin, to defeat them.

“Don’t give up, Ukrainians.”

Financial Aid for Undocumented Students

California’s community college Chancellor Oakley took the time to assure students that there will be ongoing support for our state’s DACA students.

“This pandemic and the economic fallout continues to impact students on the ground.” Chancellor Oakley stated. He encouraged students to take advantage of all the resources provided by the colleges, he emphasized that DACA students need to get their financial aid and California Dream Act papers submitted on time. 

When asked what resources or plans the chancellor’s office has to help make sure our uncocumeted students are returning Oakley shifted attention to the current plans that need to be re-emphasized, the financial aid applications, federal advocacy, and support a legislative bill that was introduced by senator Limon for revisions of AB 540 to improve aid. 

From Chabot College Student Services webste: “CA Assembly Bill AB 540 is a California law passed in 2001 that exempts students (including undocumented students) who meet eligibility requirements from out-of-state tuition fees.  In 2014, AB 540 was expanded through AB 2000.  It was further expanded in 2017,  through SB 68, to include adult schools and CA Community Colleges (non-credit and credit classes) attendance and other graduation or degree requirements.

Qualifying for AB 540/SB 68 provides students with the ability to pay resident fees and apply for the state-based financial aid through the CA Dream Act, if eligible.” 

More information and services can be located online on the student services page under “Dreamers” 

Immigrants Rising is a group based in San Francisco that’s dedicated to improving the financial aid support system for uncodumeted students, they believe that the application process has many holes and obstacles that discourage many from applying in the first place. 

“Thousands of undocumented immigrants living in California will be unable to move forward with clarity about their ability to be eligible through SB 68/AB 540. This will directly impact their ability to enroll and succeed in higher education.”

According to the California Aid Student Commision in Aug. 2020 although Califorina has over 92,000 undocumented students, over 40% of these students did not appy for the Califorina Dream Act Applcation. 60% of the students that did apply were not offered state financial aid, and 30% of those that were offered aid, did not receive their state aid. 

Immigrants Rising added, “These efforts are an important first step in ensuring that all eligible students are able to adequately and accurately prepare to pursue a college education in California, regardless of their immigration status”

Avocado Ban Lifted

Millennials are no longer in distress as the U.S. has once again allowed the import of Mexican Avocados as of Feb. 18. 

The initial ban was announced on Feb. 12 after a call to a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspector was threatened by voicemail while in Michoacan, Mexico. 

The USDA worker had been concerned over what looked like “suspicious crops.” The Washington Post reported that these crops were possibly being brought in from another Mexican state, not grown in Michoacan, and sold as if they were. 

The state of Michoacan is widely known for having areas that fall under the control of cartels. Many farmers and ranchers have to do their business under the eyes of these cartels. 

The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced in their statement, “Mexico and the United States will continue working together to fortify the strong bilateral supply chains that promote economic growth and prosperity in both countries.”

Avocados have gone beyond a food trend among hipsters and bloggers. They are an international empire. 

During the U.S.’s winter crop season, Mexico thrives, they recorded in the “2020/2021 season imports at 2.4 billion pounds of avocados,” as reported by the Cision PR Newswire.

However, California is the top avocado-producing state. In 2020 over 188,000 tons of avocados came out of California, as reported by Statista.

Florida is the next state with the largest avocado production. However, their exports reach just below 10% of California’s production in the same year.

Production for avocados is believed to spike back up. The Haas Avocado Board estimated over 61,000,000 lbs. of their fruit by week nine of the year (Feb. 20) in comparison to their actual production of over 24,000,000 lbs. in week seven (Mar. 6).

Welcome Back, Students!

Chabot College’s in-person classes were officially back on Feb. 7. Changes on campus have been to help keep students, staff, and faculty safe. 

The campus originally closed back on Mar. 19, 2020. While most believed the stay-at-home orders would be lifted in a short time, it’s safe to say most couldn’t have imagined the toll that COVID-19 took on the world. 

“I’m Excited!” Juan Pablo Mercado Ph.D. and history professor at Chabot expressed ecstatically, “Just in the classroom you can feel the difference in the energy compared to the zoom sessions” 

When asked if he felt safe, “Safer than last year.” Professor Mercado did mention that if mask mandates were removed right now, then he would be concerned. 

To be eligible for in-person classes, your COVID-19 vaccines must have already been cleared with the school. Emails were sent out last semester to students through Zonemail, although not everyone may have noticed. 

If students still need assistance they can find “How to Submit COVID Vaccination for Students” on the school’s website. These requirements will continue into the Fall 2022 semester until further notice. 

Everyone is still required to wear a mask on campus, the KN95 masks are recommended. Most classes have extras available for students. 

Before entering the building students and all faculty needed to provide proof of vaccination and ID, a sticker is placed on the ID that can be shown at the entryways to staff.

Locations to acquire this sticker include, the cafeteria (2300), the library, (100), and student services (700).

For Nashita Ishaque, this is her first face-to-face semester at Chabot. She’s been to the campus a few times before January, but only to pick up some equipment. 

Ishaque was very excited for this semester as she is working on one of the vaccine confirmation table setups at the bookstore in building 3800. She is paid as a student assistant through student services, positions are still available and more information is under Chabot’s “Student Life” page. 

“This is my first job ever!” Ishaque was excited to get an opportunity that works with her schedule and doesn’t require any experience. She has her school work with her and is still able to check vaccination proof quite easily, all while keeping a safe distance and always wearing the mask. 

The bookstore tries to accommodate everyone and staff members will even step outside if needed and assist you from there. 

Other changes include the number of entrances and exits in a building. The 100 building only has one entrance that students must go through to get to the library located on the second floor. 

The cafeteria has two entry points, both require vaccination proof before entering. The service hours of the cafeteria have been shortened too. What used to be 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. is now 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. The staff is technically hired through Pacific Dining and their hours are based on what that company can afford to pay them. 

Maria Rodriquez, Pacific Dining staff member, is trying her best to adjust to the changes. “We don’t have the Mexican food options or the salad bar,” Rodriquez explained how the menu options are still limited.

“I don’t know when we will be able to open fully again.”

While the Mexican food bar, the salad bar, and Starbucks cafe are currently closed, there are a few upsides. 

Free handcrafted lunch bowls were offered for the spring semester every Thursday until Mar. 31, However free breakfast is still available every morning. Rodriquez also notes that she doesn’t know if this offer will be taken off the table anytime soon, but encourages everyone to come and enjoy it while they can. 

“Try coming in at 11 a.m.!” Rodriguez emphasizes that most of their best food items tend to run out quickly. “After 12 to 12:30, it’s just leftovers.”

While most classes are back on campus there are still plenty of classes available online. For some students, there’s nothing like face-to-face education. 

“Everyone learns differently” Andrew Chavez, a soon-to-be graduating Chabot student stated. “I’m a hands-on type of learner.”

Chavez explains that having the ability to use on campus facilities is extremely helpful. Being able to come to school, use a computer, and have a space for students to focus on themselves is important to him. 

If students need COVID-19 testing the Student Health Center is located in building 2300 on the second floor. They also have a table set up outside the center. COVID-19 vaccines and booster shots are also available but appointments might be needed. More information can be located on the school’s website under “Student Health Center”

There will still be a continuation of school events on Zoom. (mixers, guest speakers, meetings, etc.) However, in person events have already started to pop up and more will continue as regulations change.

Hamilton Is Back!

Hamilton has returned to the stage. 

Hamilton, the musical production has returned to the stage after the 2019 pandemic surfaced. CVID-19 left Broadway as a whole shook as live showings are the key component. 

A recorded version of Hamilton was released on Disney Plus in 2020 with the original cast. Lin Manuel Miranda, the creator and lead role of Alexander Hamilton extended his vision for an at-home experience for all to see. 

Hamilton isn’t the first production to be released as a “movie.” Cats the Musical is one of the more famously known shows that has been recorded for the small screen back in 1998. 

One key aspect of any Broadway show is the set, and it doesn’t change much during a performance. The story works around the stage and part of Hamilton’s stage literally spins clockwise. Nothing compares to watching the show live!

San Jose was more than excited to be hosting the show at the San Jose Center for The Performing Arts. 

Three requirements were needed to get in. A ticket of course. Along with proof of vaccination and ID with the matching information. The lines were quite fast and the staff worked diligently. 

The show doesn’t slow down for latecomers, so be sure to get there on time, plus it/s quite distracting when people are crouching to the seats. 

The Northern American tour casting of Hamilton is currently made up of three different crews. The shows that were featured in the Bay Area were made up by the “ And Peggy” cast named after the third Schuyler sister. 

Julius Thomas III starred as the lead Alexander Hamilton and Donald Weber Junior as Aaron Burr. The cast is diverse and has been prevalent in a mostly POC cast. The casting director, “Bernie Telsey” has spoken to IndieWire on why that is. 

“It was created with the idea that anyone can do anything. . . it’s much more about consciously making a choice to do something, being seen for the color you are”

 Another unique approach, but not unseen, is the dialect. 

The songs are influenced by hip-hop and rap although taking place in 1776. A comparison could be made to the modern adaptation of Romeo and Juliet released in 1996 starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Romeo Montague. The setting is in modern times with the dialect and story being the same.  

While the show is titled Hamilton, the story is told by Aaron Burr as he is the one to open up the show with the famous line;

“How does a bastard, orphan, son of a whore

And a Scotsman dropped in the middle of a forgotten spot

In the Caribbean by providence impoverished

In squalor, grow up to be a hero and a scholar?”

Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton Essentially want the same thing, to be someone important. Their means of achieving success are very different. Where Burr prefers to play by the rules and take the most logical choice, Hamilton is impatient and lets it be known what he wants. 

This becomes both men’s downfall. Hamilton’s pride ends up killing his image, marriage, and his life. Burr was the man to pull the trigger.

“I’m the damn fool who shot him,” Burr’s lyric speaks to his life after killing Hamilton. 

The success of Hamilton boomed in the mid-2010s, and although Lin-Manuel Miranda had already been working in the music and Broadway industry, this opened a door to more opportunities for Miranda. 

Miranda wrote music for the popular film Moana, released in 2016. He even features some of his vocals in the background of some songs. “In the Heights” was another musical that Miranda was able to bring to movie production. Miranda’s Hamilton castmate, Anthony Ramos, starred as the lead in the role that Miranda once played. 

The shows plan to continue well into 2022 so there’s still time to see when Hamilton will return to a city near you. 

Dining in Experiences; San Francisco

San Francisco requires proof of a COVID-19 vaccine for patrons to dine indoors. As of Aug. 12, businesses have had to adapt to more changes as the pandemic continues. 

The City and County of San Francisco (CCOSF) announced that this health order” [has been] designed to protect against the continued spread of COVID-19, particularly among the unvaccinated, while keeping businesses open and helping to ensure schools remain open.” 

Over 94,000 small businesses (corner stores/restaurants/shops) operate out of the city, according to the CCSOF. Some have had better experiences adjusting to the mandate. The common opinion among several businesses is to do the best they can to keep doors open and employees safe. 

Imperial Tea Court is a famous restaurant that opened in the early 90s located in The Ferry Building on Embarcadero. 

Another location is set in Northern Berkeley where the city requires proof of vaccination before entry. The City of Berkeley emphasizes how restaurant environments hold high risks, “airborne droplets or particles containing the virus spread easily”

One of the employees oF Imperial Tea Court, who wishes to remain unnamed, has worked at the Embarcadero location since its opening in 2005. 

He emphasized that he feels safe in his work environment and will continue to follow any guidelines presented by the city. He stated that he’s always been in favor of a vaccine, whether or not it was required to go to work. 

According to the unnamed employee, there are more residents and businesses who are willing to follow guidelines than those who are not, “I haven’t heard of a business not wanting to comply. In San Francisco, people are very pro-vaccination.”

He also noted that although the business has picked back up again, it is not as busy as it used to be. The employee believes it’s due to the end of summer and there aren’t as many tourists. Johnson said visitors from all around the world come to Embarcadero, and he’s had several patrons who didn’t want to comply. 

“Sometimes I’m kind of fearful that a customer could be an anti-vaxxer and be volatile,” responded the employee when asked about those who don’t want to show vaccination proof. Thankfully nothing worrisome has occurred at the Tea Court. 

Locations with outdoor dining have the advantage, as they’re able to serve those who do not wish to show proof or have yet to get the vaccine. 

A popular location located right above the BART stop on Powell St. is the Westfield Mall. Thousands of people stop here to get to work or to enjoy the 170+ shops. The food court serves desserts, smoothie shops, and various Asian cuisines. However, to dine in, you must present your vaccine proof to a security guard before entering the dining area. 

One factor that some may not be aware of is that the mall has a terrace on the ninth floor where people can eat outdoors if they don’t have proof. There are plenty of tables and chairs, all with a delightful view of the Theater District. 

Jose Hernandez is a security guard for the mall and has worked in this location for about six months. According to Hernandez, for the most part, people are on board and comply with the rules.

“I haven’t had to remove anyone who didn’t want to comply.”

Hernandez has only worked as a security guard and is very used to the changing CDC guidelines. He, like Johnson, does believe the city is very used to the changes and comply. 

“There are a few ways that people can show proof, which makes it easier.” Hernandez refers to the physical vaccine card and apps (depending on where you got the vaccine) with the QR code you can download to your smartphone that holds your information. 

If you don’t have the vaccine card, you can download an online version of the verification through Digital COVID-19 Vaccine Record. (https://myvaccinerecord.cdph.ca.gov/ ) A QR code appears with your name and the dates you received the vaccine(s). 

Seeing the Rights of the Transgender Community

June is Pride Month. As the Democrats retake office, many hope to see advances and support for the LGBTQ+ community. Though there have been setbacks, State and House officials have been more publicly open surrounding the community’s rights this year. 

“To all the transgender Americans watching at home, especially the young people who are so brave, I want you to know that your president has your back,” President Biden stated in an address to a joint session of Congress on Apr. 29. 

Transgender Visibility Day was on Mar. 31, and the Biden administration has made progress to ensure that there is a push for protecting and respecting the community’s rights. 

On May 10, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HSS) released the following statement:

“The Office for Civil Rights will interpret and enforce Section 1557 and Title IX’s prohibitions on discrimination based on sex to include: (1) discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation; and (2) discrimination on the basis of gender identity. Section 1557 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability in covered health programs or activities.”

“It is the position of the Department of Health and Human Services that everyone — including LGBTQ people — should be able to access health care, free from discrimination or interference, period.” as stated by HHS Secretary Xavier Barreca. 

Cases can now be investigated again in which individuals have been discriminated against due to sexual orientation and gender identity. 

Ricardo Alonzo-Zaldivar of LA Times described it as an act by the Biden administration to “strengthen and protect the rights of gay and transgender people across society, in such areas as military service, housing, and employment opportunities.” 

Alonzo Zaldivar’s article posted on Monday, “Biden Administration Restores Healthcare Protections for Transgender People,” refers back to when the Trump administration had tried to block protection against transgender people in health care, military aid programs, and homeless housing. 

The Trump administration tried to issue specific rules that “narrowly defined “sex” as biological gender,” Trump submitted a policy (which has now been withdrawn) that would have allowed taxpayer-funded homeless shelters to turn away transgender people. 

As Alonzo-Zaldiva put it, “(Biden) officials (will) unwind the actions taken in the Trump years.”

On Mar. 23, 2016, North Carolina signed House Bill 2, stating transgender people are banned from using public restrooms with the gender they identify with. The bill came to a compromise the following year, but it’s just the beginning. 

A video went viral back in Mar. 3 of a Missouri citizen, Brandon Boulware, speaking on behalf of his transgender daughter and the rights she deserves as a human being. Boulware was present at a hearing surrounding whether or not to ban transgender students from participating in girl’s sports. 

“I had a child who did not smile, “Boulware stated in front of Missouri Lawmakers, expressing the pain his daughter went through when having to be someone she wasn’t.

Boulware’s daughter was compromising her identity to be treated like any other kid, “I was teaching her to deny who she is.” Boulware stated that wearing boy’s clothes was the only way she was allowed to interact with other kids. 

“Let them have their childhoods. Let them be who they are.” 

Boulware admits that while trying to protect his daughter and family, he was also trying to protect himself from dealing with others’ judgment. Boulware showed up to court on his daughter’s birthday to ask that she and many other girls be allowed to continue to play on their school’s sports teams. 

That day Missouri House representatives, in a 100-51 vote, proceeded with adding this provision to a bill prohibiting transgender girls from participating in girl’s high school sports teams. This doesn’t make it official until 2022, when Missouri voters decide this issue.

Representatives, House officials, and many other members of Congress are speaking out on the relationships of their loved ones and the injustice they faced due to their sexual orientation and gender identity. 

Pushbacks cannot stop people from expressing who they truly are.

In Dec. 2020, award-winning actor Elliot Page came out on his Instagram page as a transgender male. Page was overwhelmingly happy to express himself and grateful for those who have supported him along the way.

“I can’t begin to express how remarkable it feels to finally love who I am enough to pursue my authentic self.” Page commented.

Oprah Winfrey sat down with Page to discuss his journey in an interview presented by Apple TV last month. Page described his time in isolation during the pandemic as an opportunity to separate himself from the world’s views and allow himself to come to his acceptance of his true identity. 

Page emphasized the importance to many, including himself, the ability to undergo top surgery as being lifesaving. He calls out the current state of transgender health care and the Missouri case taking away transgender girls’ right to play school sports. He calls lawmakers liars for their portrayal of health care for the trans community. 

“Children will die,” Page stated simply as a result of denying a generation their right to be who they know they are.