Thursday, October 26, 2017

Stand or Kneel: It’s Your Choice

By: Alexa Tironi

I have never cared much about football. To be honest I’d rather watch paint dry than sit through an entire game of 200-pound men running into each other, over and over again. But when Colin Kaepernick, the quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, took a knee during the National Anthem and the twitterverse exploded, my interest was piqued. Kaepernick first knelt for the anthem back in August during a preseason game; however the effect of his actions didn’t reach full scale until the President decided to weigh in. On September 24th, 2017, Donald Trump tweeted, “If NFL fans refuse to go to games until players stop disrespecting our Flag & Country, you will see change take place fast. Fire or suspend!”

It seems the President is also unfamiliar with the NFL handbook, because nowhere in those pages does it say anything about the conduct required during the playing of the Anthem; so to fire or suspend these players for kneeling would be without cause. Later that day, Trump also tweeted, “NFL attendance and ratings are WAY DOWN. Boring games yes, but many stay away because they love our country. League should back U.S.”...Looks like CNN isn’t the only one with plummeting ratings, apparently the most watched sport in America is also suffering. This was not the end of the President’s rant. At a rally in Alabama, Trump continued his comments saying  “wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, get that son of a b---- off the field right now. He’s fired. He’s fired!” That’s right. The President had to be bleeped. After this statement, the situation was really set ablaze.

In response to Trump’s comments, many more NFL players began to kneel during the anthem. The public turned to Kaepernick looking for an explanation for his actions. This is what he said: "I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder." This statement led to extreme backlash from some Americans. Many claim that as a man of wealth and high social standing, he has no right to speak of oppression. To these people: you have missed the whole point. Kaepernick does not kneel for a personal oppression or the racism he faces. He kneels to represent those who have no voice. He kneels for the people who society ignores. Colin Kaepernick has been gifted with a platform to which he can use to raise awareness. That is what he is doing, and guess what? It’s his constitutional right.

Because we live in a country where we have the freedom to speak our minds and believe what we want, this means that nobody must stand for the pledge. It is our first amendment right to assemble freely- which leads to the right to peaceful protest. Kaepernick and any of his fellow kneelers are not breaking any laws, just merely exercising their rights as Americans. To address those who feel that refusing to stand for the flag means disrespecting the country and our troops: those brave men and women who fight for America are fighting for our rights. In summation, they are fighting for the Constitution and the principles it enforces. These people are fighting for the American people’s right to choose whether they stand or sit.

A majority of America (it seems) think that to kneel before the flag is disrespectful. That may be so, but do you know what else is disrespectful? The fact that 210 black people have been killed by police in 2017. The fact that black women and women of color make 59 cents to the white male dollar. And the fact that people in KKK uniforms stormed the streets of Charlottesville, barely three months ago, and were called “very fine people” by the President. These people have been told not to march, told not to yell, told not to fight back, and now, told not to kneel.

To stand or kneel, it is your choice. And that’s the thing about America and this country. We claim to be the country with all of these unalienable rights. And if that’s true, then these players who kneel, and any American who chooses to do so, have broken no law, and should not receive any punishment. It’s time we start proving the last line of the anthem that we hold so dearly. We are the land of the free. So let’s act like it.


Monday, October 16, 2017

The Cookies and Milk Column

Egg-less Cookie Dough
By: Sam Liegner

Summer has come and gone but the temperature is still raging on. If you have a sweet tooth but don’t want to use the hot oven, then this recipe is for you! It’s a small, simple recipe to share with a friend or to keep a generous helping for yourself. Everyone loves cookie dough, but it’s unsafe to consume raw egg. So here’s a crowd favorite EDIBLE cookie dough, free of egg products! Just pour yourself a glass of cold milk and treat yourself to an awesome after-school snack or dessert treat!

  • ¼ c brown sugar (firmly packed)
  • 2 T. butter (softened)
  • ⅛ t. of salt
  • ⅛ t. vanilla
  • 1 T. milk (substitute with almond or soy if needed)
  • 5 T. all purpose flour
  • 2 T. Chocolate chips

  • Medium-sized bowl
  • Measuring spoons (tablespoons and teaspoons)
  • Spoon
  • Reusable tupperware container

  1. Cream brown sugar and butter together in bowl until soft.
  2. Add vanilla and salt to the mixture and combine well. Then add milk or milk substitute.
  3. Slowly combine flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, and mix well. Repeat until all flour is thoroughly incorporated.
  4. Finally, add the chocolate chips and you have an easy made snack!

* Friendly tip: Put the dough in the tupperware to save the sweet snack for a later day. Dough should be consumed within 3 days. *

The Exchange Column: Who is Fred?

By: Fred Amorim

Frederico Amorim is a 17-year-old guy who loves soccer and DJ-ing. He is also an exchange student sponsored by Rotary International, and is originally from Sorocaba, a big city right next to Sao Paulo in Brazil.

I’m Fred. Nice to meet you!

From this moment on, I would like to share with you a little bit about myself, how life is in my home country, and tell you about my experiences in the US during this year while I spend time among all of you here at North Warren.

To have the opportunity to come to this country for a year, I had to fight very hard. It all began when a 4-year-old boy discovered that he had cousins that lived here in the US. This boy was blown away when he realized that the world was not just the city that he was born in. That boy was me. From that moment on, I knew that I wanted to live in the United States. This became not just my biggest objective, but my deepest dream.

Growing up, I was never rich. My family couldn’t really afford a regular exchange program, but in 2015, a very special organization came into my life. Rotary was the only way that my family and I could afford to keep on dreaming. But to be accepted by Rotary in my city is a very tough process. Around 90 high school students go through many interviews and tests that the elder Rotarians review to determine the 25 best students who deserve to be sponsored.

I originally began this process in 2015, and passed the tests, coming in 9th place. The chance to come here became a very big possibility. But in March of 2016, I experienced one of the saddest moments of my entire life. The day to choose a country for my exchange year had come, and I found out, specifically in that year, the US didn’t have a spot for anyone from my Rotary district. I could have gone to any other country, but my heart had already chosen the US, and I felt like this country had also chosen me.

I still had one more year to try and go through the Rotary process again, and so I did. Last November, I found out that I had passed the Rotary test again, this time in 8th place, and in late February of this year, my dream finally became a reality. I was chosen to pick the first of four spots for the United States. I spent 13 years of my life dreaming, and that was the best thing that I could have ever done.

To all of you at North Warren, I would like to thank you for accepting me in your country, especially the ones who have been extremely supportive of me so far and I could not be more thankful. You are the ones responsible for my adaptation process to a new school and a new life in a different country. You are really making a huge difference in my life and helping the dream of a 4-year-old Brazilian boy become a very happy reality. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

I will see you next time for more facts about my exchange life!

Editor's Note:

As Fred embarks on a new journey in his life, as a student in America, he will be sharing with you his cultural background, stories, and experiences. Fred's enthusiasm to be here in America is a reminder to us all, the opportunities we have here in the U.S. As much as Fred is grateful to have the American experience, we are just as lucky to have the opportunity to learn about Fred and his culture. His next article will feature the geography of Brazil. I know I am looking forward to seeing the world through Fred's eyes, and I hope you too will enjoy learning about him through his column.

Unnatural Disasters

By: Sydney Janeiro

Good human nature seems to come out best during natural disasters. This hurricane season has been a true testament to this. When people are in need, people step up, and it is inspirational.  A local store owner nicknamed “Mattress Mack” invited 400 evacuees into his furniture store after Hurricane Harvey caused catastrophic flooding in eastern Texas. People turned to Facebook to plead for help, and complete strangers replied and came to the rescue; not to mention the selfless response of our National Guard, saving countless humans and their beloved pets. Helping others in times of crisis is the American way, it is what we do.
I do wonder though, what would happen if we also put this desire to be a part of something bigger than ourselves into the prevention of disaster. Although it has not yet been proven that global warming caused this series of hurricanes, the evidence shows that it added to their enormity. The fact that Hurricane Irma, born from warm ocean temperatures, became record-breaking in magnitude, has to make you wonder… is it us? Everything that we do on land has an effect on our oceans. You don’t have to be a NASA scientist (I never will be) to realize that the ocean absorbs heat from the atmosphere. If the atmosphere’s temperature rises, so does the ocean’s. So have we caused this clearly detectable increase in Atlantic hurricanes that wreaked havoc this season? Scientists predict that global warming will cause future hurricanes to grow even more in intensity. So now what?
We all know by now that burning fossil fuels for the last century has not been good for our environment. We also know that our oceans clean up our air by removing this extra Co2 emitted from the fuels we constantly burn. In return, the oceans grow warmer (Again, no rocket science here). So how do we slow this process? Maybe we need to think about what we already know and begin to collect our own data.
I never really thought about our part in the severity of these storms; not until these recent storms erupted, making September of 2017, the record-breaking month for most hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean. We were still talking about Harvey when the news broke about Irma. Then Jose was born from a tropical storm, followed by Katia, and soon after, Maria broke the headlines. It will take countless humanitarians and many years to clean up the aftermath. We all should take a closer look at what scientists, not politicians, are saying about the natural disasters occurring in the United States and throughout the world. The argument that “we always had hurricanes” holds true, but never before like the month we just lived through. The data is changing, and so must we.