Why Representation Matters

If you are a straight, white, cisgender, able-bodied man or woman, it is likely that you have never given diversity much thought because you have always been represented. You have always shopped in a store, turned on the TV, or read a book wherein the names and faces match what you see when you look in the mirror. For many people, this is not reality. Occasionally LGBT and non-white people are given a bone – as if to say, “here, now stop complaining” – but the amount of times in…

The Problem with the Phrase “The Movie We Need Right Now”

If you’ve been paying attention to the film industry in the past few years, odds are that you’ve noticed the increasing political nature of the types of films released, as well as the critical reactions released alongside them. I take no issue with films having political messages, as I believe any form of art should be a form of expression for its creator. If a director feels passionate about telling a particular story or delivering a certain message, then not only is it well within his or her right to…

The Legacy of Robert Moses

Robert Moses’ legacy has survived long past his death. It is seen in every corner of New York City, from his highways, to his private and public housing projects, to his contributions to major New York landmarks. Moses is accountable for the extravagant building projects of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the United Nations headquarters building, Shea Stadium, campus buildings for the Pratt Institute and Fordham University, and the since demolished New York Coliseum. Along with these projects, Moses ensured the construction of parks and playgrounds around the city…

Right-Wing Extremism is the Most Dangerous Threat to American Democracy

“First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out, because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out, because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out, because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.” – Pastor Martin Niemoller, Holocaust survivor (1955) On October 27th, 11 people were murdered and six were injured in the…

Khashoggi, Trump, and Threats to the Press

Few would call President Donald Trump a “friend of the press.” From the advent of the phrase “fake news” to yelling at reporters in press conferences, the president has fostered one of the tensest relationships with the media that America has ever seen. However, this painful association was taken to a new level in the past month with the disappearance and death of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. Khashoggi was a native Saudi, who left his country in 2017 to continue writing in DC and to avoid the suppression of…

Pink, White, and Blue: The Most Recent Transgender Fight

The LGBT community has made great strides in the past few years with the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage, as well as the growing visibility and awareness of LGBT issues.  However, the community does still face discrimination and ignorance, and the latest example of this is the reckless fervor with which the Trump administration is attempting to roll back rights.  The Department of Health and Human Services is currently trying to establish an “explicit and uniform” definition of gender.  According to a memo obtained by the New York Times that…

The Personal is Political: The Power of Local Activism

Our current state of hyper-connectivity through social media allows us to stay connected to socio-political movements on the national level—#MeToo, Black Lives Matter, etc.—and to remain informed, within seconds, of the latest domestic and international news. Interestingly, our use of social media encourages us to take the personal and make it political—by hashtagging, tweeting our own story, sharing a thought-provoking picture, and so on. At the same time, however, it fools us into thinking that we should prioritize change at a national level, rather than at a local level. In…

Overworked and Underpaid: America’s Public Defender Crisis

“Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country,” John Fitzgerald Kennedy famously uttered in his inaugural address. This is a valid statement. Beyond citizens’ responsibility to provide for themselves and their families, there is a need for people to work for the common good. Someone must serve on the front lines of combat, while others must attend to those who are starving. However, Kennedy’s call can be difficult to heed. Consider, for example, the legal field. Imagine being a third-year law…