Category Archives: News

Bay Area Playoff Hockey Is BACK

Stockton Heat game on Apr. 22
Stockton Heat game on Apr. 22, 2022

Playoff hockey is returning to the Bay Area! Even with the San Jose Sharks playing out their final stretch of games on the road with no playoff hopes (they were eliminated from playoff contention a month ago) and their minor league team, the San Jose Barracuda finishing at the bottom of their division, the Bay Area will still see May hockey. An hour’s drive northeast of the Bay from San Jose lies the city of Stockton, where the AHL’s Stockton Heat is about to compete in the Calder Cup playoffs.

The AHL, or the American Hockey League, is the league below the NHL. Many NHL players play a handful of games in the AHL over their careers, like current Sharks players Timo Mier and Logan Couture. While the Sharks’ AHL team: the Barracuda, finished last in their division this season, the Stockton Heat finished first. 

The Heat are the Calgary Flames AHL affiliate. They’ve played in the pacific division of the AHL since their inception in 2015 when the Adirondack Flames relocated to Stockton to become the Heat. Before this season, the best season the Heat have had was the 2016-17 season, when the Heat qualified for the playoffs with 77 points but were eliminated by the Barracuda in five games.

The Heat this season, however, quite literally turned up the Heat. They have a record of 45 wins, 15 losses, and seven OT/shootout losses. Matthew Phillips is their leading scorer with 30 goals and 37 assists for 67 points. He’s also ninth in the league for points. Rookie Jakob Pelletier is also playing well with 62 points so far this season. 

The Heat clinched their second-ever playoff spot on Mar. 19 and clinched the pacific division title on Apr. 23.

The Heat have also had good net performances, especially from young netminder: Dustin Wolf. This season, Wolf has 33 wins, eight losses, and four OT/shootout losses under his belt. He’s rocking a .924 save percentage and 2.33 goals-against average. Wolf was born and raised in Gilroy, under two hours away from Stockton. He would go to Sharks games and later play with the L.A. junior Kings when his family moved to southern California.

“From when I started playing, the game has grown tremendously in California,” said Wolf to AHL.com. “It’s huge for guys coming out of here. Kids look up to you. To have them be able to say they live five minutes from where this guy or that guy grew up it’s huge. It creates a ‘Why can’t that be me?’ sort of thing.

Wolf was named a first-team AHL all-star on Feb. 28, the only Heat player ever to do so. 

The Heat’s attendance has been strong ever since their inception. The Heat’s attendance has dipped this season, but it’s mainly been due to COVID. Since the city of Stockton dropped their vaccine requirements, the Heat have had great attendance, including their final home regular-season game on April 22, where the Heat lost in overtime to the Abbotsford Canucks.

“It’s great when we get more fans in the building. It’s always more fun to play in front of an atmosphere…Whenever the building is loud, and there’s energy in the crowd, it makes it a lot more fun to be a part of the game from the player’s standpoint,” leading scorer Matthew Phillips said in an interview.

“It’s actually fun! It’s cool to know there’s another hockey team in my backyard. I would 100% go again,” said Sharks fan Aaron Coviano after attending the last home game of the season.

Due to the team winning their division, the Heat get a first-round bye in the AHL playoffs. They will face whatever team is the lowest seed that gets out of the first round. That could mean a California playoff matchup of the San Diego Gulls or the Bakersfield Condors. 

Even though they need to wait for the first-round matchups to finish for their playoff story to start, the boys are excited for the return of playoff hockey in Stockton.

“I mean, that’s why you train, and that’s what you play for is playoffs, and that’s when hockey is the most fun and when you get the best out of everybody, so we’re all super excited to play playoff hockey,” Phillips said.

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.” 

Justice Jackson Confirmed

In an unprecedented 53-47 vote in the senate, Ketanji Brown Jackson became the first black woman to become a U.S. Supreme Court Justice on Apr. 7. This momentous confirmation came just weeks after president Joe Biden announced her nomination. 

Born in Washington D.C. and raised in Miami, Florida, Jackson graduated from a public high school in 1988 when segregation and racism were prevalent. Brown openly described instances of prejudice and racism that she went through during her education. 

Jackson was on the speech and debate team at Miami Palmetto Senior High School. She even received a national oratory title after her captivating speeches. Unsurprisingly she also served as student body president. What others may think of as small achievements, Jackson took it and ran with it to Harvard Law School. Prior to attending Harvard, she temporarily worked as a staff reporter and researcher for Time magazine. 

Clerkships allow students to work closely with judges to study and train how to become an attorney. And after graduating from Harvard in 1996, she began a clerkship for Massachusetts District Court Judge Patti B. Saris. About a year later, she began a clerkship for Judge Bruce M. Selya of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. Then, in 1999 she clerked for Supreme Court Judge Stephen Breyer, whose seat she ironically took upon her historical confirmation. 

A sign of her humility came in 2005 in her work as a public defender in Washington, D.C. It was during this time that, according to the Washington Post, she “won uncommon victories against the government that shortened or erased lengthy prison terms.”

Her work as a public defender was questioned, and at many points, Jackson was cut off when speaking during the confirmation hearings by Senators Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Lindsey Graham (RSC). Cotton bombarded her with questions such as “Have you ever represented a terrorist at Guantánamo Bay?”

Her previous work as a public defender and judge was used as a double-edged sword for many Republicans who questioned her work and morality during the hearing. 

In response to Graham’s questioning of previous sentences she imposed for specific cases, Jackson said, “What we’re trying to do is be rational in our dealing with some of the most horrible behavior.” 

A major turning point in Jackson’s legal career came in 2012 when President Obama nominated her as a district court judge for the district court of Columbia. 

In 2021 Jackson went on to serve in the U.S. Court of Appeals after being nominated by President Biden. 

That brings us to April 2022. In its 233-year history, prior to Judge Jackson, there had only been two African Americans who served in the U.S. Supreme Court. Jackson became the first black female nominated and first black female to obtain that position in the highest court in our country. 

To young Americans who watched the confirmation hearing, Jackson had this to say:

“I hope to inspire people to try to follow this path because I love this country. Because I love the law. Because I think that it’s important that we all invest in our future. The young people are the future, and I want them to know that they can do and be anything. I would tell them to persevere.”

Taylor Hawkins on drums for the Foo Fighters

Taylor Hawkins, Dead At 50

Taylor Hawkins on drums for the Foo Fighters
Taylor Hawkins on drums for the Foo Fighters

Taylor Hawkins, the drummer for the Foo Fighters and rock ’n’ roll hall of famer, died unexpectedly on March 25, 2022, while on tour with the Foo Fighters in Columbia. He was 50 years old.

Emergency services were called to Hawkins hotel room on Mar. 25 due to Hawkins suffering from chest pains. Hawkins was declared dead on the scene after unsuccessful attempts at CPR. Although it was later revealed that Hawkins had 10 substances in his system at the time of death (including antidepressants, opioids, and cannabis), Colombian officials said they would keep working to make clear the events of the timeline of Hawkin’s death.

Hawkins was born in Fort Worth, Texas, on Feb. 17 and later moved to Laguna Beach, California. He started his drumming career as the drummer for the Orange County-based band Slyvia and went on to be the drummer for Alanis Morissette on her Jagged Little Pill tour and her Can’t Not tour. This was the first huge claim to fame for the 32-year-old drummer. Hawkins would also provide backing vocals for some of Morissette’s songs and appear in some of her music videos. He would call this time one of the most fun of his life.

Hawkins soon after became the drummer for Foo Fighters after conflicts between Dave Grohl and former drummer William Goldsmith emerged, leading to Goldsmith leaving the band. Grohl, who at that time wasn’t close with Hawkins, called him asking for recommendations for a new drummer for the band. Hawkins surprised Grohl by volunteering himself as the new drummer. Grohl didn’t ask Hawkins because he thought Hawkins wouldn’t leave Morissette and her touring band as they were bigger than the Foo Fighters at the time. Part of Hawkins’ reasoning was his willingness to play in a band rather than a solo act.

Hawkins debuted on the Foo’s “The Colour and the Shape” album, which included hits like “Everlong” and “My Hero.” He would go on to record eight more albums with the band. The band won 15 Grammys and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2021.

Hawkins not only drummed for the band but also provided vocals, guitar, and piano. On the final stretch of touring with the band, Hawkins performed a cover of Somebody To Love by Queen, including in his last show in the Bay Area region up in Sacramento. 

Hawkins was close with all of his Foo Fighters band members, especially Dave Grohl. Grohl described him in his 2021 memoir as “my brother from another mother, my best friend, a man who’d I take a bullet for.”

Hawkin’s death was announced suddenly that evening on the Foo Fighters’ social media platforms, stating, “his musical spirit and infectious laughter will live on with all of us forever.” The Foo Fighters canceled all of their upcoming shows and tours four days later. 

Miley Cyrus broke down in tears after dedicating her performance of “Angels Like You” to the drummer. Cyrus said, “I would have done anything to hang out with him.” Elton John also dedicated his performance of “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me” to Hawkins. John called Hawkins “one of the nicest people you could ever meet.

Hawkins is survived by his wife: Alison, and their three children: Oliver, Annabelle, and Everleigh. He is also survived by his siblings, Jason and Heather.

No public funeral service has been announced for Hawkins at this time.

U.S. Economic Sanctions Against Russia

In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, President Biden and other western leaders have placed a plethora of sanctions against Russia. Most of which target their financial institutions. 

The U.S. placed a sanction against Russia’s Central bank, preventing Americans from doing business with the bank. This means that any assets that the bank has in the U.S. are frozen. Other countries like the European Union, the U.K., and Canada have since followed suit. 

Russia has over $600 billion in currency reserves, but most of this cannot be accessed because of the sanctions. Over half of it is reliant on the ability to buy rubles (the Russian currency) from western financial institutions. The reserves must be exchanged for the other countries’ currencies in order for Russia to be able to import goods. The ability to access that money could be the key to stabilizing the inflation taking place in the country. 

According to Michale Bernstam, an economist at Stanford’s Hoover institution, $250 billion is unavailable because those are government bonds of western-aligned countries, including the European Union, Japanese, and British bonds. 

“We wanted to put these actions in place before our markets open because we learned over the course of the weekend from our allies and partners that the Russian Central Bank was attempting to move assets,” said an anonymous senior Biden administration official.

The sanctions are an effort to destabilize the Russian economy. 

Russian banks were also banned from SWIFT, the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication. SWIFT is the primary way for global banks to communicate, send and receive orders. Russia’s global banks will have to find an alternative way of communicating with other countries. 

A Biden administrative official described the goal of the sanctions, “We’re committed to fully implementing sanctions and other anti-money-laundering financial and enforcement measures to maximal effect on sanctioned Russian officials and elites close to the Russian government, as well as their families and their enablers, We’re going to identify and freeze the assets they hold in our jurisdictions” said the official. 

As of Mar. 8, the U.S. announced the ban on Russian imports of oil, petroleum, liquefied natural gas, and coal. This is important because crude oil is one of Russia’s top exports. Last year 3% of our imported gasoline came from Russia and the gasoline accounted for about 13% of U.S. exports according to The Hill.

The invasion is part of the reason why U.S. gas prices have been steadily rising. Shell Oil Company recently made headlines after it was discovered that they bought discounted crude oil from Russia in the midst of the invasion. The same day that the U.S. announced the ban, Shell issued an apology and pledged to stop all operations with Russia. 

President Biden told Americans, “Defending freedom is going to cost.”

The deflation of the Russian ruble directly led to inflation. The value of the ruble is down nearly 30%. Inflation has been a nightmare for Russian citizens scrambling to get basic necessities like food which was already expensive. Now it’s even pricier, and people can’t buy as much. Prices also continue to soar for electronics, appliances, and cars in the country. Russians are taking money out of the ATMs and are trying to buy things of lasting value. 

According to ABC news “Mastercard said cards issued by Russian banks will no longer be supported by its network and any Mastercard issued outside the country will not work in Russian stores or ATMs.”

The same is taking place for Visa cards because both American companies decided to suspend their operations in Russia on Mar. 5. 

Before the value of the ruble began to fall, many Russian citizens hurriedly tried to exchange their currency for dollars or euros which currently holds more value than the ruble. Interestingly enough, the Russian central bank put a limit on the amount of foreign currency that citizens can withdraw.

This new reality makes Russian citizens reexamine their finances and urgently protect their money. The economic losses and financial hurdles that many Russians are facing does not compare to the lives lost in the invasion of Ukraine.

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.”

Ukraine, Russia, and Hockey

War, inflation, and refugees are at the top of everyone’s minds, but the ongoing battle between Ukraine and Russia affects even the smallest things in these times, hockey.

On the Ukrainian side of things, a former NHL player is currently in the war torn country. Ukrainian born Dmitri Khristich is on the frontlines fighting for his country. He played 811 games in the NHL scoring 569 points, more than any other Ukraine born player in history but now he and his wife are fighting for their country.

“We just want them to please leave the country, please go away, then we can negotiate or talk. But please go away so we can live in peace,” Khristich pleads.

NHL teams have been backing up Ukraine. In Nashville, Seattle, and San Jose, the Ukrainian national anthem has been sung before the U.S. national anthem to support the country. A Ukraine flag was seen draped over a fan in SAP Center in a game against the Bruins. Controversially, Capital One arena (home of the Washington Capitals) has banned Ukraine and Russian flags from their arena, the only arena to do so.

There are currently around 40 Russian born players in the NHL spread among all 32 teams. That’s around 5% of a league that’s mostly dominated by Canadian born players. With the war looming, people are turning to these 40 Russians for answers or just someone to blame for the war.

Alex Ovehckin is a veteran in the league. He’s considered by many to be the best Russian to play the game and his career proves it. Playing his whole career with the Washington Capitals, he won the Stanley Cup in 2018 but what most people talk about is his career goal totals. He has 764 goals to date, which is fourth all time for most goals scored in a career. He is only two goals behind Jaromir Jagr for third all time and what many are keeping an eye on is he’s on pace to beat Wayne Gretzky’s 894 goals for first in a couple seasons. 

Capitals captain: Alex Ovechkin

However, people’s eyes haven’t been on his accolades recently. They’ve been on his opinion of the war. Ovechkin didn’t come out right away with a statement when the war started leading to many people critiquing him. That soon changed when Ovechkin held a news conference. 

“Please, no more war. It doesn’t matter who is in the war — Russia, Ukraine, different countries — I think we live in a world, like, we have to live in peace and a great world,” Ovechkin pleaded in the interview. 

Ovechkin has been known as a supporter of Russian president Vladimir Putin in the past. Ovechkin has a picture of himself and Putin together as his profile picture on Instagram and has also announced in the past on the platform that he was organizing a movement to support the Russian President.

“Well, he is my president. But how I said, I am not in politics. I am an athlete and you know, how I said, I hope everything is going to be done soon,” the Russian hockey player said when asked about Putin.

Ovechkin came under fire for his lack of action and wording on the issue. MassMutual, a business partner with the NHL, pulled their widely popular commercial that featured Ovechkin, his wife, and teammate Nick Backstrom. Hockey company CCM followed suit in removing Ovechkin commercials as well.

Ovechkin’s critics also included NHL hall of famer and Czechia citizen Domninik Hasek. 

“What!? Not only an ablist, a chickens — t, but also a liar! Every adult in Europe knows well that Putin is a mad killer and that Russia is waging an offensive war against the free country and its people,” Hasek tweeted in response to Ovechkin’s interview.

Hasek also tweeted that Russian NHL players should be banned from the NHL temporarily while also adding he feels bad for those Russian NHL players who condemn Putin.

Ovechkin’s family lives in Russia and many assume that’s why he didn’t say much. We aren’t very far removed from when Artemi Panarin; superstar for the New York Rangers, took a leave of absence from the NHL due to his remarks about Putin.

“The mistake in our society is treating [Putin] like a superhuman … This is nonsense. How many million people live here? No question there is someone better,” Panarin said in 2019.

Panarin’s home country accused him in 2021 of beating up an 18-year-old woman in 2011. Panarin left the Rangers for a couple weeks to deal with the matter and rumor has it, to make sure his family in Russia was safe from the country.

Nikita Zadorov is the only other Russian to really be outspoken about the ongoing issue. The Calgary Flames defenseman took to social media to post a photo with two words on it. “No War.” Zadorov also wrote in the description “stop it.” People commented on his post thanking him for speaking up, some calling him a hero. 

People haven’t been so nice to those who haven’t spoken out however.

Dan Milstein is a player agent in the NHL. He represents more than a dozen Russian players currently playing in the NHL. This includes two time Stanley Cup champions Nikita Kucherov and Andrei Vaseilevsky. His clients recently have been harassed with the war going on and even sent death threats. Milstein himself who was born in Ukraine has been getting the same threats.

“It has been difficult for some (players). Some guys find refuge by stepping on the ice and playing the game. … But could you imagine stepping on the ice and playing a competitive game thinking that your wife and your newborn child are at home unprotected?” Milstein told ESPN.

Milstein also added when speaking to ESPN he hasn’t slept for six days due to the difficult times. 

“People are picking on the wrong crowd. I can speak on behalf of my clients: They want world peace like everybody else. They’re not being treated like that,” said Milstein

In the Bay Area, one of Milstein’s players plays with the San Jose Sharks. Russian forward Alexander Barabanov was acquired last trade deadline from Toronto and made an immediate impact on the team with seven points in nine games. This season he has 27 points in 48 games in his first full NHL season.

Sharks head coach Bob Boughner when asked about Barabanov and Milstein’s quote said “Within our four walls of our room, we have a family kind of atmosphere and we treat each other that way. We’re all by Barbie’s side.”

Milstein has three other Russian players under contract in the Sharks organization. 

Forward Alex Barabanov
Sharks forward Alex Barabanov

“I just think in general, I know it’s crazy times, and there’s a lot of guys over here playing in our league from Russia,” Boughner added. “To hold anything against those guys, they’re over here doing something they love to do. I don’t think that should be compared to what’s going on in the rest of the world.”

The NHL put out a statement on Feb. 28 condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and suspending any Russian affiliated partnership and Russia NHL websites/social media pages indefinitely. The NHL also stated the following on behalf of their Russian players.

“We also remain concerned about the well-being of the players from Russia, who play in the NHL on behalf of their NHL Clubs, and not on behalf of Russia. We understand they and their families are being placed in an extremely difficult position.”

Other hockey related leagues and companies started to condemn Russia as well. EA Sports who produce the NHL video games series tweeted that they would be removing the Russian national team from the rosters of the game. The IIHF (International Ice Hockey Federation) announced the suspension of all Russian national hockey teams from any form of competition including the decision to change the location of the 2023 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships from Russia.

It’s not looking good for the Russians and Ukrainians in the NHL who are just trying to safely live their dreams playing professional hockey. Any action will enrage someone and could potentially harm their family. They are stuck. It’s a situation that no one would want to be in. The only thing they can do is wait.

The Mental Health Stigma in Minority Communities

The stigma around mental health in the black and minority communities remains. Perhaps if we acknowledge that mental health struggles exist, we may eventually feel comfortable enough to implement techniques and utilize our resources to help in a healthy way.

How do you feel? 

This can be a loaded question for more than 50 million Americans who have experienced mental illness in recent years. Mental illness is any health condition involving changes in emotion, thinking, or behavior (or a combination of these). From multiple personality disorder to common anxiety, even if you feel like you cannot relate, one day you might, and chances are you know someone who does. 

According to a 2020 poll done by the Kaiser Family Foundation and The Undefeated, “Across the country, only 6 out of 10 Black adults said they trust doctors to do what is right most of the time, compared with 8 out of 10 white people.”

Growing up, I’ve seen this distrust first hand. My grandfather was hesitant to take medicine prescribed to him by doctors. My father, a military veteran, only trusts his black doctor due to past instances of discrimination.

Charles Bracy described his experience with his black health care provider: “He went through me like a fine-tooth comb. He’s a little more personal than other doctors I’ve had in the past since he follows up with me about testing and results.”

Everyone should have a health care provider who treats them in a caring manner, unaccompanied by dismissiveness so that they feel comfortable enough to seek health care.

If I explored why a large percentage of black people don’t trust doctors, I would be here all day listing historical accounts of racism and unfair treatment of black people in America’s health system. I would go into detail about the terrifying atrocities committed by the U.S. Public Health Service in 1932 during the Tuskegee Experiment, where doctors injected Syphilis disease into 600 black men after offering them free health care resulting in over 128 related deaths.

I could also discuss how the American health system was not built for black people therefore even with health insurance, blacks tend to receive lower-quality health care, but that would be a different article. 

This is about mental health. The American Psychological Association notes that just 4% of therapists and mental health professionals in the U.S. are black. Also, 5% are Hispanic, and another 5% are Asian. Perhaps if there were more therapists of color that minorities could identify with, more would seek a mental health professional. 

I prefer to discuss healing, support and cures. I’m not going to pretend I don’t know people or have people in my family who are dealing with mental health issues. Nor am I going to pretend I haven’t had my own mental struggles. Like many, I do believe that you shouldn’t have to hit rock bottom to work on yourself. 

“The thing that was sent that I thought was going to be there to break me, actually was the thing that could strengthen me and take me even further than I could even fathom for my entire life,” said Tyler Campbell. 

Campbell, a San Diego State graduate turned motivational speaker, guest hosted Chabot College’s President’s Speaker Series for February. Campbell was dealt his fair share of battles as a college student. He was one of the first people to play Division 1 college football while suffering from multiple sclerosis. Campbell received mental health care and despite this diagnosis, overcame his adversities to become an author, radio show host, MS Ambassador and father.

Since the start of the COVID pandemic there has been an increase in conversations about mental health. It’s interesting that many more people are comfortable enough to talk about their struggles with anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, etc. We can talk on the phone and explore alternate scenarios but please do consider solutions. Typically things don’t change overnight but take a step. The sources for this story emphasized therapy, counseling, meditation. They suggested that healthy ways to cope such as working out, changing your diet and journaling can be a good place to start. Take the good and implement it, leave the rest. 

“The average person takes about 11 years before they go into therapy. The onset of a mental health disorder generally happens around the adolescent time frame.”

– Valerie Doyle, black therapist and founder of Matters of the Heart Counseling Centers in San Leandro CA

Doyle went on to mention, “Many African Americans go into therapy much later than they should. So many of their symptoms are more severe than if they would’ve gone in when they were having a crisis or they were feeling a little uncomfortable.” Even so, Doyle feels like millennials are more accepting than older generations of therapy as a form of healing.

If you’d rather find a therapist of color that you relate to in order to live to your fullest potential, that’s commendable. If you’d like to make some changes before 11 years of struggling, please do. You never know how implementing those changes could help you in six months, one year, or 10 years from now. 

Dr. Porscha Moore, who oversees the Black Mental Wellness group at Chabot College, has noticed an increase in mental health awareness since the pandemic. Dr. Moore co-facilitated a nationwide Black Mental Wellness space via zoom for Black/African diaspora professionals to connect and be seen. 

Dr. Moore describes, “The Black Mental Wellness group’s primary objective is to build community by strengthening health and wellness strategies to support African/Black diaspora participants as they navigate the effects of systemic oppression, and ongoing institutionalized race-based violence at the intersections of race, gender, socioeconomic status, and other important identity factors.”

Participants in the group engage in thoughtful dialogue and observation to increase connection, empowerment, and self-awareness. 

For all Chabot College students, Dr. Moore highlighted the CARES team: “The CARES Mental health student is one of the resources available to support the mental wellness of students. The CARES team is predominantly staff of color who are fully licensed & trained mental health professionals.”

The CARES department is located in building 2300 on the 2nd floor. The therapy sessions are provided Monday to Saturday at varying times in-person and online. Students can find the schedule for walk-in virtual and in-person sessions on the Chabot College website under mental health services. 

We are capable of breaking generational curses of substance abuse, anger, violence, and depression. Take a step in the right direction. Whether you’re doing it for your family, friends, or most importantly, yourself, explore your options no matter what you’re going through.

Uncharted Review

Super Mario Bros in 1993 scored a 28% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Warcraft in 2016, this one also scored a 28% on the website. Assassin’s Creed also in 2016, an 18% rating. Movies based on video games haven’t done well with critics or fans. Now, Sony brings in Tom Holland, who’s riding high after the critically acclaimed Spider-Man No Way Home to make their video game Uncharted a commercially successful hit movie. Sony’s gamble pays off with a fun blockbuster adventure with fantastic acting and comedy.

Uncharted is based on a video game series that has released nine different games since 2007. I’ve never played any of these video games, so coming into the movie theater, I judged this film from that perspective.

Tom Holland plays the main character: Nathan Drake. Holland does a great job in this film and adds another chapter to his successful career. He worked hard for this film. He even worked undercover at a bar to practice his drink-making skills for this movie. Holland’s character progresses from an obsessive treasure thief to a young Indiana Jones.

Mark Wahlberg, known for films like The Departed and Ted, plays Victor Sullivan. Wahlberg’s character is intriguing as he first shows up on the screen as an untrustworthy, charming, and secretive treasure hunter. He compels Drake to go on an adventure with him. His character is explored much deeper throughout the film, and the ending is a payoff in his character arc that can’t be explained without spoilers.

Other characters in this movie include Chloe Frazer (played by Sophia Ali), who accompanies Nathan Drake and Victor Sullivan. Braddock is a former companion of Sullivan who goes after our heroes and the treasure (played by Tati Gabrielle), and Santiago Moncada is the mustache-twirling villain in this movie that is going after the treasure for greed (played by Antonio Banderas). 

Uncharted starts as Sullivan recruits Drake to find the long-lost treasure of Cortez. However, the wealthy Santiago Moncada is right behind them and will do whatever it takes to get the treasure, including hiring Sullivan’s old companion, Braddock, to chase after the duo. Drake and Sullivan learn to trust each other and work together and possibly find Drake’s older brother, who went missing looking for the same treasure. 

Mark Wahlberg stars as Victor “Sully” Sullivan and Tom Holland stars as Nathan Drake in Columbia Pictures’ UNCHARTED. Photo by: Clay Enos

Uncharted’s storyline is a little too fast-paced for my liking. In the beginning, we get straight into Drake being recruited by Sullivan. We get to know a couple of things about Drake mostly, not really Sullivan, as the action starts not too long after that. However, after that first action scene, the movie starts to find its natural pace as Holland and Wahlberg begin to find their chemistry. This great acting duo made me laugh and feel compelled to follow these characters. The late addition of Sophia Ali’s Chloe Frazer into the group adds more layers into both aforementioned characters and makes the movie more enjoyable.

I thought the humor was well done, which is an issue that I believe is popping up in more films. Not everything needs humor, and not every joke lands in movies. Take a look at some of the MCU and the DC movies, which sometimes become awkward with a dark, gritty tone or emotional moment just to have some joke ruin it like when Joss Wheadon’s Justice League has an uncomfortable joke with the Flash falling onto Wonder Woman awkwardly into her chest. Uncharted’s humor is well placed, timed, and actually made me laugh. There is a long-running joke that goes all the way into the end credits that was very enjoyable. Uncharted nailed the humor aspect of the movie.

There are a lot of twists in the movie. I won’t go into spoilers, but a couple are obvious. The major one in my eyes comes right before the popular scene in the trailer where Tom Holland is being sent flying out of an airplane. That twist was a bit weird and sudden. However, I personally believe it pays off to help better some of the major characters. It’s one I didn’t see coming, and I like it when movies pull twists that audiences would never see coming. I think Uncharted does a great job doing that.

The finale is something I have to talk about. Again, no spoilers, but there is footage of helicopters flying pirate ships out of a cave in the trailer, and yes, that is the finale. I thought that the whole final act of the showdown between Drake and Sullivan and the villains on the flying pirate ships was well filmed and entertaining. There is a major character-building moment for Sullivan during this scene, making all the action and fighting on flying pirate ships over the tropical ocean even more pleasing. I think it could be one of the most memorable action scenes of the year.

Uncharted is one of the first major blockbuster movies of the year behind Scream (which came out in January), and boy, does it ever pay off. While huge fans of the video game series might critique the film for not being like the video game, coming in as a movie fan or a person who just wants to have a fun time at the movies with friends, family, or significant others, this is a great film to go to. It has fantastic acting from Holland and Whalberg, who play characters that really draw viewers into the story. The epic story of the movie will keep the audience entertained, and the humor will have everyone laughing. 

Overall Uncharted, although it starts kind of weird with its unusual pacing, it ends up being an excellent and humorous movie that is one to remember. This movie is a solid eight out of ten for me.

Sophia Taylor Ali, Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg star in Columbia Pictures’ UNCHARTED. photo by: Clay Enos

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”