Author Archives: Lupe Hernandez

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issue specific rules that “narrowly defined “sex” as biological gender,” Trump submitted a policy (which has now been withdrawn) that would have allowed taxpayer-funded homeless shelters to turn away transgender people.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

2021 Chabot College Graduation!

Chabot College Graduates will be honored on May 29 in a virtual ceremony. A drive-through reception will also be offered. 

This is Chabot College’s 59th commencement ceremony. The ceremony is for students of the fall 2020 semester, 2021 spring, and students completing requirements for the 2021 summer semester. The virtual ceremony will start at 10 a.m., while a drive-through ceremony will start at 3 p.m.

The drive-through deadline for students to sign up is May 20. Chabot’s website states, “Graduates will drive around the campus for congratulatory greetings, a professional graduation photo will be taken, and grads will receive a special graduation gift.” There are three time slots to sign up for. 

Students can have family/friends in the car or another vehicle behind them as long as everyone remains in the vehicle. They also note that the photo op is ONLY for the students graduating. Guests are to stay in the vehicle. 

For graduates arriving on public transportation, there will be vehicles provided. “Come to the check-in table by the bookstore in parking lot B.” instructed on the website. 

An additional gift will be given to those who signed up for the Alumni Association. For questions, email [email protected] 

The coronavirus brought an immense amount of stress to the college’s faculty and students. This is Chabot’s second virtual graduation, but many students are thankful they’re still able to be honored for all the work they powered through the pandemic. 

Lucia Belloso is graduating this weekend, like many other graduates she’s ready for this day to finally come. “Even though it is online I still want to be able to celebrate this part of the journey in my education along with my family.”

Belloso also stated that she will be the first in her family to graduate and accept a degree. 

Belloso also mentioned that when first attending Chabot, she didn’t really know what to expect out of a community college. Although at first frightening, “ I think that a lot of teachers at Chabot were really understanding and compassionate which improved my experience” However, things changed when COVID-19 came into the states. 

The campus closed last year and the transition to online classes wasn’t an easy one. For Belloso being a music major, the setup of classes was a little tricky. “ I learn the most by being in-person in class where distractions are minimized,” The online classes took some time for many “hands-on” types of classes, and Belloso expressed that after a year, things became a bit easier. 

Belloso was grateful to the Chabot teachers that were more lenient with the work and deadlines, she felt there was lots of encouragement from them to keep going. At one point (2020 Spring semester) she even believed schools were going to cut the semester short due to the intensity of the pandemic.

For upcoming graduates, Bello advises students to try to stay on track as much as possible. “Senioritis is real” As much as you may be anticipating that last day, she emphasizes for them to remember this chapter of their life. 

Tax Season Extended! Hurry Up!

In Jan 2021, the US unemployment rate fell to 6.3% since the pandemic hit the US economy in 2020. With tax season in the mist, many questions are left of how unemployment benefits and stimulus checks will affect their tax returns. 

Students are often new to taxes and not always aware of what’s important to bring along when filing. A few tips on what is important to bring and keep a note of this year, and more down the line, could help benefit them in the long run. 

Important notice from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the due date for filing taxes has been pushed back, “the 2020 tax year will be automatically extended from April 15, 2021, to May 17, 2021.” stated on the official website on Mar. 17. This only applies to federal taxes. 

IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig spoke on the behalf of the extension, “This continues to be a tough time for many people, and the IRS wants to continue to do everything possible to help taxpayers,” Rettig understands the Coronavirus may make tax season more stressful this years, but still stresses the importance of filing your taxes as soon as possible.  

The W2 form is given to employees as a record of their income for the year prior. The W2 lays out how much money you made, how much was taxed, and what dependents are claimed. This is All that is taken into account when filing your tax return as a student.

Physical and electronic versions of the form are to be provided by the employer. 

If a student is not currently employed, an important piece of information to bring is your 1098-T. This record is your official tuition statement. Your tuition, fees billed, grants, scholarships, and 3rd party billing payments are listed on this form. The corresponding tax year to the form will help determine the amount of tax return you are eligible to claim. 

Login into Chabot-Las Positas Class Web, and type “1098-T” into the search bar where you will be able to access your tuition statement for the corresponding tax year. 

One of the simplest things to do as a student is to keep receipts of all expenses related to school. Books, school supplies, and electronics needed in order for a student to proceed in their education have the potential to be written off on. Just as business owners are able to write off purchases as business expenses. 

One thing that isn’t new but perhaps not well known, is that your unemployment benefits are taxable. As a receiver of unemployment benefits, you can choose to be “opt-into as withholding” or you can opt-out, but will have to pay back the specified amount. 

Where and/or how to get your taxes done are big questions to consider, especially for students. 

Sparkpoint is a soon-to-be-open service for students that will be offered at Chabot College. No official date has been posted, this service is stated to be:

1. Income Supports: Access to public benefits, food assistance, and free tax preparation

2. Education & Workforce: Going back to school, career advancement, and job search assistance

3. Financial Empowerment: Budgeting and saving, financial coaching, credit repair, and debt consolidation

Under Chabot’s Student Services page, followed by the student equity page you can find Sparkpoint. 

They state, “SparkPoint Centers operate a variety of models to support the diverse families and households throughout the Bay Area”

The IRS’s official website reads, “you must file a 2020 tax return, even if you aren’t required to file.” It lists that anyone with an annual income of $72,000, or less, can file their taxes for free electronically under the IRS Free File Program.

Many people also use experienced tax filers from chains such as H&R Block or TurboTax. H&R Block has a series of packages that claim free for students, but if needed assistance from an analyst, prices begin at $69 online.

In 2020, many locations followed a strictly “drop off” type of service. Where instead of meeting with an expert, or filing online, a client would bring in all their information and have it saved for an expert to look over in a few days and approve. 

The charges for these services are higher, around $200. 

An Important notice under H&R Block’s Website: 

“Emergency Financial Aid Grants for Students: If you received any emergency financial aid grants as a student, you don’t need to report this on your return. This is true even if you spent it on unexpected food, housing, health care, or child care expenses.”

IRS employer Tina Chavez has been working as a tax examiner for 30 years now. Chavez believes the best thing for new tax fillers, like students, is to go to a professional. 

Throughout 2020, there were two stimulus checks issued out to the public. The first one issued out for up to $1200 and the second $600. This came after the approval of the 2020s Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act which became official on Mar 27, 2020. 

“You’ll be able to file a credit if you didn’t receive the stimulus check,” Chavez stated, when filing for your 2020 taxes, you can be eligible for the 2020 Recovery Rebate Credit. 

For unemployment H&RBlock states, “You’ll report this (unemployment benefits) as income on your return. Thanks to the American Rescue Plan Act, you might be able to exclude up to $10,200 of your unemployment from your taxable income.”

The IRS also states that the fastest way to receive and return or stimulus checks are to have the money directly deposited into your bank account. 

Sooner is always better when it comes to filing taxes, no comments have been made on how the extension will affect the following tax year.

GameStop, AMC, and the Stock Market

GameStop Stock and AMC stocks seemed to skyrocket after a Reddit post began, now apps like Robinhood have set limits on the number of shares available for purchase. Small independent stock buyers are calling this unfair and only beneficial to the one percent. 

Companies such as GameStop and AMC were at a low in the market early in 2020, once the pandemic hit their values dropped. Gamestop locations are to this day closing their doors permanently, and AMC in most areas have not reopened their doors. 

A subreddit began by a group of the name the WallStreetBets, here anyone could discuss any information on stocks and investments. Here traders have been known to take a gamble on stocks and “meme stocks” quickly caught their attention. (Many of these meme stocks were in correlation with failing companies) 

Add the addition of Elon Musk simply tweeting out “Doge” on Feb 3, and “ur welcome” knowing it would gain major value for the cryptocurrency Dogecoin. 

Dogecoin, a cryptocurrency that has mainly been seen as a joke in comparison to its top competitor, Bitcoin, has had a value typically under one penny for most of 2020. 

When the value of Dogecoin reached one penny, purchases skyrocketed. Cryptocurrency is a currency, that when purchased, can rise or fall in value, and can be resold for US currency without the effects of government regulation. (Some countries have banned cryptocurrency) 

Gamestop stocks increased over 400% within the last month according to Robinhood. Musk also tweeted out “Gamestonk!!” on Jan 26 with a direct link to the WallStreetbets. Though AMC has dropped down, most likely due to Robinhood’s (an online brokerage app for buying/selling stocks and cryptocurrency) limits on share buying, there is still talk of it increasing again. 

Jan 27 AMC stock values were rising, due to subreddits, and the next day was predicted to blow up. Whether a gain or rise in value, traders were ready to buy. But traders quickly realized their orders weren’t submitting on Robinhood, the app was extremely overwhelmed. 

On Jan 28 a message was sent to its users through the app, “Our mission at Robinhood is to democratize finance for all … In light of recent volatility, we restricted transactions for certain securities to the position closing only. We also raised margin requirements for certain securities.” 

The initial message didn’t give direct information on why certain shares (Gamestop and AMC) were taken off and left it’s users in a vague state. The message did state how the app has helped small traders learn about the stock market, “In 2020, more than 3.3 million people read out articles through Robinhood Learn.” Robinhood claims they’re determined to continue their work in making sure everyone has the help “for their long-term financial futures.”

Chris Cuomo of CNN spoke with the CEO of Robinhood, Vlad Tenev, on why they would limit shares on an app that supposedly is to “take from the rich and give to the poor” as Cuomo put it “starve the little guy.” on Jan 29. 

Cuomo’s main criticism surrounded the idea that the limitations only seemed to be placed because it had begun hurting large investors, including one of Robinhood’s main investors. 

Cuomo asks why should people believe Robinhood did this for the right reasons, Tenev responded, “We have no choice, we have to comply with all financial requirements,” Cuomo points out the (SCC) hasn’t declared any of Robinhoods actions as necessary. 

Tenev reinstates that certain brokers have to follow guidelines and regulations and it was in no intention to put anyone down, just necessary precautions. 

Planet Money, a podcast hosted by Nick Fountain and Mary Childs spoke with Annie Masa, an investing reporter at Bloomberg News, on Feb 3. Masa broke down why there are delays whenever purchasing from a brokerage app, and what that means for companies like Robinhood.

Masa starts off by comparing how buying stocks have changed. People would have to call their broker over the phone and place an order for their stock, the broker then would call over to someone who works on the trading floor, New York Stock Exchange for example, who is also making negotiation with yet a third person on the floor who sells the stock, and eventually gets back to the ordinal broker. 

Buyers not only would have to pay for the stock purchase but the broker for the labor. When online brokerage apps became available this cut out having to make calls and prices dropped immensely, but Masa explains that there is still a middleman when you submit an order from Robinhood. 

Robinhood sends your order over to other firms like Citadel Securities, “the company’s in the business of matching people who want to buy stock with people who wants to sell stock,” host Childs summarizes how Robinhood gets paid by Citadel to do this process, and in return, Citadel makes a small profit when there’s a small difference between what buyers are offering and what sellers asking. 

Citadel securities pay Robinhood to make sure that there are smaller traders buying because if there are only big companies selling stocks, Citadel would actually lose money. They need the back and forth trade to make a profit themselves.

Brokerages have to post money (to a clearinghouse) for stock purchases in between the waiting period before you own the stock to guarantee trades, in case buyers decide they want to opt-out. So when hundreds of thousands of people were trying to buy GameStop and AMC, Robinhood would have had to post 3 billion dollars. 

This was a heavy demand for Robinhood, “An order of magnitude,” Tenev stated on social media, one which they did not have. So when the limitations took place on those certain stocks, this was in order to not have to put up the entire 3 billion Robinhood did not have. 

Fountain and Childs make it clear that there is no evidence of market manipulation, however, at this point internet stock traders were wildly upset as they believed they were “pumping up the stock” as Fountain put it. 

On Feb 4, Robinhood had reopened trading for Gamestop and AMC, but the criticism has left a sour taste in most small traders’ mouths, many have now considered other options. 

On Feb 3 Investorjunkie put out its list for its top alternatives to use instead of Robinhood:

  1. Ally Invest 
  2. TD Ameritrade
  3. E* TRADE
  4. Public
  5. Charles Schwab 
  6. WeBull 

While many brokerage apps went through similar approaches like Robinhood, the damage had been done, and although thousands still use the apps, others are starting to gain much more attraction as thousands continue to join the stock market.

Getting Serious About Climate Change

In 2015 more and more Americans began eating poultry than red meat. The question is, can Americans opt-out of eating so much meat for the better of the environment? 

Eleanor Cummins of Popular Science wrote about why Americans eat so much meat in Oct. 2019. Cummins begins before the first 13 states were created, where only kings and royalty were the ones who had the money to feast on animals. When colonists began a new life in America, there was much more land to raise livestock. 

Since then, everyone in the US wanted to have meat in their diet. Having meat started to be associated with what it meant to be American, it seems almost criminal not to have a turkey at Thanksgiving. 

Cummins quotes Upton Sinclair’s book, The Jungle, in which people couldn’t sustain livestock in the cities in the early 1900s and had to migrate farms away from crowded places. Farms on the outer banks could increase production and be able to sell more at cheaper prices. 

While the consumption of red meat keeps growing, more and more people are choosing poultry, fish, and vegan foods. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), “Over 2015-17, beef had the largest percentage increase in per capita loss-adjusted availability—growing by 6 percent.”  After the 2007-9 recession, Americans began eating more red meat. 

The USDA also explains how poultry started to change the diets of Americans. As health departments started to advise switching to chicken rather than the fatty beef, and the bird becoming much more accessible in a variety of ways, “skinless, boneless breasts and ready-to-eat rotisserie chickens.”  The “Loss-adjusted chicken availability increased from 22.4 pounds per capita in 1970 to 52.3 pounds per capita in 2017.” 

Vegan Bits lists the top 10 most vegan cities in the US, as of Jan 1, 2020, the top being Portland, Los Angeles, and NYC. Certainly, here there’s a stronger normalization of choosing eggplant parmesan over a half slab of pork ribs. 

In a survey conducted by Faunalytics, the top reasons why people are vegan are because of health-69%, animal protection-68%, and concern for the environment-59%.  

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez(AOC), U.S. Representative for New York’s 14th congressional district, has heavily pushed for the Green New Deal, legislation that pushes for climate change and to address economic inequality. The Green New Deal was modeled after the New Deal that took place in the 1930s in order to help recover from the Great Depression. 

In Mar. 2019 AOC spoke in frustration after the senate voted against the Green New Deal, calling it elitist, “This is a quality of life issue. You wanna tell people that their concern and their desire for clean air and clean water is elitist?” AOC stated the poorest people in the cities are the ones experiencing first hand the health effects of climate change. 

“Science should not be partisan,” AOC could not comprehend why so many people turned against helping create legislation for improving the environment, “We are facing a national crisis.” One of the main factors to drive AOC to her frustration was the heavy attention that focused on helping oil companies rather than people’s lives. 

AOC was interviewed over a zoom meeting by Jane Fonda on Oct. 23 on the matter of how the Green New Deal could have been helpful in the heights of the coronavirus pandemic. AOC amplifies how already having the legislation in place would have changed the mindsets of Americans on science-related issues. 

“We would have respected the science early,” AOC refers to the scientists who were warning the population of the pandemic in its early stages. AOC also adds that the Green New deal was also centered around universal healthcare, which is still critical as the COVID-19 cases continue to rise. 

AOC and many Americans have high hopes for climate control as the new year comes along and Joe Biden will be officially inaugurated into office.

Stand With Bre

On Oct. 12, bodycam footage was released of the Breonna Taylor shooting on Mar. 13, in Louisville, Kentucky. Protests have continued to soar through the nation as no officers have been charged for Taylor’s death.

Louisville had called a state of emergency on Sept. 23 as the decision for the Breonna Taylor case was underway. Protests emerged once declared that the former Louisville police detective, Brett Hankison, was charged for potentially harming others with the gunshots that went through Taylor’s apartment.

No officer has been charged for the death of Breonna Taylor. Black Lives Matter protesters emerged throughout the city of Louisville, where armed officers appeared on the scene. The national guard appeared on the scene after two officers were shot. Protests quickly railed in other cities, including Chicago, Los Angles, and New York City. 

An overwhelming amount of pain and injustice has been left in the Black community. Black artists have taken to their social media platforms to express their disappointment in the grand jury’s decision and the frustration of merely being Black under the law in America. 

Alica Keys tweeted, “This is a PRIME example of Rotten to the CORE!!! UnJust!!!! Disrespectful and BLATANT DISREGARD!!!! Infuriated!!!!!!!”

COMMON took to his Twitter to post a video of James Baldwin, author and activist born in 1924, speaking about his experience of being ripped away from his heritage and the reality of being black in the US. “To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a state of rage almost all of the time.” 

Jessica Lussenhop of BBC News broke down “Why it’s hard to charge US police over shootings,” in her article on Breonna Taylor Sep. 24. Lussenhop stated that the main reason for holding officers accountable for shooting a person dead has to do with laws varying from state to state.

California has one of the stricter laws to hold officers accountable. A recent change in the wording of the law was made in August. In the state, an officer must believe that shooting is absolutely “necessary,” no longer just “reasonable.”

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the legislation, Assembly Bill 392, into law on Aug. 17, “I’m ready to sign this damn thing,” Newsom stated at a ceremony held in Sacramento along with advocates for the law change standing beside him.

The bill goes into effect on Jan. 1, and Gov. Newsom hopes this sets an example for other states. 

The author of the bill, California State Assemblymember Shirley Weber, believes AB 392 is necessary to protect people and human rights. Weber spoke alongside Gov. Newsom in Sacramento.

Weber spoke proudly at the ceremony, “Far too many days have gone by with far too many deaths because of the inactions of those who have the power to enact change.” She ends her speech by embracing the change AB 392 will have around the world.

Stand With Bre is the current campaign that is dedicated to bringing Breonna Taylor justice. The campaign welcomes people to sign the petition for:

  • The Department of Justice must take immediate action to bring charges against all LMPD officers involved in Breonna’s murder.
  • Full transparency from the grand jury and an independent overhaul of its findings, including a release of the transcripts from the proceedings as requested by Breonna’s family. 
  • Commonwealth’s Attorney Tom Wine, who originally presided over Breonna’s case, must step down for his gross mishandling of the Louisville Police Department and the subsequent investigation of Breonna Taylor’s murder.
  • We must pass Breonna’s Law to ban no-knock warrants in cities across the country to prevent more murders like Breonna Taylor’s.
  • Support a new Commonwealth’s Attorney candidate for Louisville and for prosecutors’ offices across the country who can stand up for civilians against our criminal legal system’s brutality.

Stand with Bre will continue to fight not just for Breonna Taylor but also for the equality of all black lives under the law. They ask if anyone is able to give a donation at standwithbre.com.

TikTok Broadcasting Racism

On Aug. 23 in Kenosha, WI 29 Black male Jacob Blake was shot seven times in the back by police officers. A video of the scene has gone viral showcasing Blake walking into a car as the officers pull out their weapons. Social media has opened opportunities for people to speak out on the Black Lives Matter movement. 

Once the video was posted and had begun gaining attraction, within hours protests began through the city. Blake’s shooting added more to the injustice of the Black Lives Matter movement that has been occurring over the summer since the killing of Geroge Floyd. 

Twitter and Facebook have created a source for people to express their frustration with the lack of justice done in the US. With more people joining in on social media outlets, calls to action for the Black Lives Matter movement have reached people all over the world. 

TikTok is a relatively new app compared to its competitors but downloaded over 7.5 million times in the US within the month of June. Viral videos include people going out to peaceful protests, as well as discouraging acts of racism against black people. 

Sammy Hager lives from Meridian, ID. She’s a journalist and a civil rights activist. She has taken some of her work on her TikTok account @sammyhager2020. She has over 45k followers and continues to spread the reality of injustice done to marginalized groups in the US. 

When asked how social media has affected the  injustices in the US Hager said, “You can’t give people the ‘benefit of the doubt’ anymore and assume the white cop is telling the truth as a white privileged person when the videos clearly show otherwise.” Hager notes that it has become much easier to showcase systemic racism. 

Hagger grew up in Covina, CA. The settings from the two states are incredibly different. She notes that she has always been aware of racism but wasn’t as blatant as it is in Idaho. Hager describes racism as, “alive, unapologetic, and vile.” She adds that even in more progressive towns like Bosie, ID you still see Nazi flags and hear the N-word regularly. 

Hager started her account not really thinking anyone would notice or care. She was working on the Bernie Sanders campaign and calling out corruption in politics. Hager eventually gained the attention of Idaho Republicans and even police officers. 

All forms of threats have been made on her, from blackmail to guns being pulled out to her, to even political figures threatening her. The police have even been to Hager’s home. Articles have been written throughout the state comparing her to a terrorist. 

On Jul. 7 Hager shared in a TikTok video that she would never purposely harm herself, that’s she’s not depressed or would hurt anyone, “If any of those things happen to me, you know what happened to me,” referring to the fact that someone else must have been the reason for any physical harm done to her. 

Hager is running for election to the Idaho House of Representatives to represent District 20B under the Democratic party. Hager isn’t running for the sake of winning, but the message she wants to send out to her heavily red state. She wants the politicians of Idaho to know that their positions aren’t permanent, nor are they untouchable. 

Hager will proudly continue her videos,  “This is the largest protest (BLM) in American history and I only see it growing thanks to these videos of protestors being unjustly injured and BIPOC being discriminated against.” Hager believes apps like TikTok are key to the revolution she sees coming. 

Social Media Is Helping Bring Light to the Black Lives Matter Movement

On Aug. 23 in Kenosha, WI 29 Black male Jacob Blake was shot seven times in the back by police officers. A video of the scene has gone viral showcasing Blake walking into a car as the officers pull out their weapons. Social media has opened opportunities for people to speak out on the Black Lives Matter movement. 

Once the video was posted and had begun gaining attraction, within hours protests began through the city. Blake’s shooting added more to the injustice of the Black Lives Matter movement that has been occurring over the summer since the killing of Geroge Floyd. 

Twitter and Facebook have created a source for people to express their frustration with the lack of justice done in the US. With more people joining in on social media outlets, calls to action for the Black Lives Matter movement have reached people all over the world. 

TikTok is a relatively new app compared to its competitors but downloaded over 7.5 million times in the US within the month of June. Viral videos include people going out to peaceful protests, as well as discouraging acts of racism against black people. 

Sammy Hager lives from Meridian, ID. She’s a journalist and a civil rights activist. She has taken some of her work on her TikTok account @sammyhager2020. She has over 45k followers and continues to spread the reality of injustice done to marginalized groups in the US. 

When asked how social media has affected the  injustices in the US Hager said, “You can’t give people the ‘benefit of the doubt’ anymore and assume the white cop is telling the truth as a white privileged person when the videos clearly show otherwise.” Hager notes that it has become much easier to showcase systemic racism. 

Hagger grew up in Covina, CA. The settings from the two states are incredibly different. She notes that she has always been aware of racism but wasn’t as blatant as it is in Idaho. Hager describes racism as, “alive, unapologetic, and vile.” She adds that even in more progressive towns like Bosie, ID you still see Nazi flags and hear the N-word regularly. 

Hager started her account not really thinking anyone would notice or care. She was working on the Bernie Sanders campaign and calling out corruption in politics. Hager eventually gained the attention of Idaho Republicans and even police officers. 

All forms of threats have been made on her, from blackmail to guns being pulled out to her, to even political figures threatening her. The police have even been to Hager’s home. Articles have been written throughout the state comparing her to a terrorist. 

On Jul. 7 Hager shared in a TikTok video that she would never purposely harm herself, that’s she’s not depressed or would hurt anyone, “If any of those things happen to me, you know what happened to me,” referring to the fact that someone else must have been the reason for any physical harm done to her. 

Hager is running for election to the Idaho House of Representatives to represent District 20B under the Democratic party. Hager isn’t running for the sake of winning, but the message she wants to send out to her heavily red state. She wants the politicians of Idaho to know that their positions aren’t permanent, nor are they untouchable. 

Hager will proudly continue her videos,  “This is the largest protest (BLM) in American history and I only see it growing thanks to these videos of protestors being unjustly injured and BIPOC being discriminated against.” Hager believes apps like TikTok are key to the revolution she sees coming. 

Joe Biden Speaks Alongside Hispanic Influencers to Rally the Us Hispanic Community to Vote

On Sep.15 Joe Biden spoke at a live broadcasted Hispanic Heritage Month event in Kissimmee, FL. Highly influential Hispanic artists joined Biden to reach out to the LatinX community for their support to the Democratic presidential party. 

Joe Biden was trending on twitter when viewers at home watched as Joe Biden took out his phone and began playing the popular song “Despacito” by Latin artist, Luis Fonsi, and Daddy Yankee. Though some saw it as cringy, it was an attempt of many to connect with all ranges of the Hispanic community. 

One thing that most people migrating to the United States has is, “Hope, and in so many ways that’s what makes us American.” as Biden stated. He wanted to connect the matter that everyone can connect to their ancestors, whether American or Hispanic, they’ve intertwined and flourished. 

Biden highlighted the importance of the Hispanic people during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the role they have taken in the working class, “for the first time recognized for what they truly are, essential.” He also mentions it’s not a matter of just thanking these people, but to pay them.

From the grocery store clerks to the nurses, the US is powered by working Hispanic people. Biden quotes his father, “A job is a lot more than a paycheck. It’s about your dignity.”

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Hispanic share of the labor force is projected to grow from 17.5% in 2017 to 20.9% by 2028. 

Biden goes into exactly how he plans on helping the Hispanic community and how to integrate them better into the country. “We have to change our attitudes,”

Eva Longoria, an American actress of Mexican descent who opened the event, directly calls out President Trump in the racism, inhumanity, and stereotypes that Trump has continuously stated towards Mexican immigrants, “at the border he has ripped kids from the arms of their parents and has locked them in cages.” 

On Aug. 3, 2019, Patrick Crusius, a white man, walked into a Walmart in El Paso, TX shooting 22 people dead. Anthony Rivas of ABC News reported, the El Paso Police Department was told by Crusius that he wanted to kill as many Mexicans as possible. Far-right violence against minorities has been growing in the US since President Trump took office. 

Rivas states that although the President denies his effects in any form of violence, “ an ABC News investigation in November 2018 [found] multiple criminal cases involving mostly white men where Trump’s name or rhetoric was invoked in direct connection with violent acts, threats of violence or allegations of assault.”

On Aug. 16, 2019, Longoria and fellow American-Hispanic actress, America Ferrera led a group for a letter of solitary to US Latinos. The group was made up of more than 150 artists, including Doreles Huerta, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ricky Martin, and many more. 

Longoria tweeted that day, “We will not be broken. We will not be silenced. We will continue to denounce any hateful and inhumane treatment of our community. We will demand dignity and justice.” Along with Ferrera, to ask the Hispanic community to bind together.

Biden wraps the speech up by describing the strength he carried during times of grief (the loss of his wife, son, and daughter), “Faith and family, it seems to me that the same strength that’s always animated the Hispanic community.” Biden encourages viewers that the Hispanic community holds so much power in shaping the future of the US, he encourages everyone to vote.

The Health of Small Businesses: Frodo Joe’s Follow Up

Frodo Joe’s, a cafe located in San Lorenzo, CA, though COVID-19 pandemic is still amongst the community, the small business is trying to preservice through the hardships. 

In March, Frodo Joes had to close its doors to indoor dining, just as many businesses had to across the country. In late June, the business opened up outdoor dining in their parking lot. A new experience for the cafe. 

Frodo Joe’s is a family-owned business with two locations, one in San Lorenzo and the other in Fremont. The business is most known for their delicious savory and dessert crepes. Togo orders continue, but now patrons can sit down for coffee and a fresh crepe.

The San Lorenzo location is managed by Emily, daughter of the owners, along with her staff behind her, young college students from the community. 

Emily expresses that the brightest side of the whole situation is the support from the community especially online, “A lot of my customers are posting to go and support Frodo Joe’s,” People have been posting to San Lorenzo’s Facebook to help keep business booming. 

New obstacles have popped up as the cafe tries to manage social distance guidelines outside. The landlord of the building granted the cafe four parking spaces for tables and chairs, all six feet apart from each other. “We can’t do parties more than six,” Emily expresses that she can move tables together, but has to stick to guidelines. 

Frodo Joe’s has always been a rather small space, and a seat at a table has always been a tricky task. However, Emily set new rules, “The customers have to pay for their food before they can get a table.” She understands that customers were used to saving their seats, “This way there won’t be any conflicts between customers.”

For the most part, people have been understanding as Emily puts it. Their business depends on being able to keep up with health and safety regulations, “We try to work as efficiently as possible. Inspectors do come to make sure tables are six feet apart, we sanitize all the tables and chairs.” 

Business overall is better, but there are setbacks that are unavoidable. Due to the wildfires that began early September, outside seating hasn’t been easy. On Sep. 9 the Bay Area skies were dark orange with a thick layer of smoke. The days following the air quality index (AQI) spiked over 200 categorized as very unhealthy. 

As of Sep. 21, the AQI is at 42 in San Lorenzo, categorized as Good. Emily says that slowly but surely business is building back up as the weather has improved. She expressed that the cafe is in a better position than before, “It’s better than nothing. At least right now I do have my supportive customers in the area.” 

Frodo Joe’s is located at 17665 Hesperian Blvd, San Lorenzo. The cafe opens at 6 am-5 pm Monday to Saturday and 8 am to 2 pm on Sunday. Emily and her staff are more than happy to see kind faces come by, with face masks while going inside.