ASI RUNOFF ELECTION UPDATE

By Lauren Hunter Staff Writer

This past week the ASI run-off elections came to a close. The run-off election was held because each candidate did not receive the majority number of votes to win in his or her category.

The run-off election was for the positions of president, vice president and treasurer. 

The top two candidates for president are Marvin Flores and Oscar Acevedo. However, the presidential run is now put on hold due to Acevedo allegedly breaking campaigning rules. 

Acevedo gave out gift cards to different places and chips to try and win voters. Flores, who has a seat in the senate, filed a complaint against Acevedo. The ASI Judiciary Panel is now investigating the means in which Acevedo campaigned. The presidential campaign is postponed until further notice. According to the ASI website they will notify the student body when a decision has been made.

The candidates for the run-off election for vice president are Logan Vournas and Novy Savannah Bowman. According to the ASI blast email about voting, Vournas’s platform was for students’ voices to be heard. She wants to add parking lot sensors in the structures, more scholarships for students, a full food pantry and wants to end tuition increases. 

Bowman’s platform was to create a new vibe at CSULB, more student events and more fundraising opportunities. Vournas’s ideas worked because she won the run-off election against Bowman. Vournas took the vice presidential win. 

Gio Smith and Mariam Balogun faced off again in the run-off election for the position of treasurer. Balogun’s platform was to increase the amount of scholarships students can get, keep up on budgets and wanted to showcase that ASI can fund student organization events. 

Unfortunately for her, her stances did not win her the position of treasurer. Smith took the win with his major platform being transparency. The transparency platform came after the incidents regarding safety here on campus. 

Smith’s transparency stance stretches beyond that and into the finances of ASI. He wants to make sure the students know where their ASI fees go and wants to create more scholarships and advantages for students. 

This is an ongoing story and will be updated when the ASI Judiciary Panel makes their decision regarding the presidential campaign.

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TEDX COMES TO CSULB

Discussing topical matters and how to repair them

By Matthew Gozzip Staff Writer

On April 9, the USU ballroom became a platform for advocacy and critical thinkers as the TEDxCSULB event was held for the very first time. The event is closely structured after the TEDTalks of inspirational and educational reputation that have exploded online over the past several years.

For its inaugural run through, TEDxCSULB was able to address a multiplicity of issues. The variety of speaker topics rivaled that of a series of encyclopedias as scientists of international notoriety shared the stage with masters of media arts and social program paladins alike. 

Despite differentiating in their respective campaigns of championing, all the presenters shared a common thread: they are all part of the CSULB family. The speakers were a collection of faculty, alumni and current students at Long Beach State that each had a dedicated issue they wanted to address. 

Compared to the TED talk conference presentations, the roster of speakers at the TEDxCSULB conference may not have appeared as distinguished. That may have been intentionally part of the plan from the very beginning.

TEDx conferences are modeled after the original conference and certain standards must be met by these conferences in order for them to get approved by the TEDTalks governing body but the affiliation pretty much stops there. 

The TEDx conferences are individual events that generally talk about topical matters that are in need of repair. 

Speaker Dale Lendrum, a 52 yearreturning student at CSULB, called for a reformation of the California Correction and Rehabilitations system after being in jail for most of his adult life and recognizing the lack of reintegration of the incarcerated peoples in to society. 

Student speaker Agatha Gucyski tackled the problem with higher education accessibility for students that live in high poverty areas in the state, citing the absence of equal opportunities for more advanced learning and outlining the effects of having these limited options for those in poverty. 

Many of the speakers touched upon regional issues that the audience could relate with and understanding while also informing people of potentially new solutions in their calls to arms. 

Many of the critiques that come with the TED conference talks center around lack of mutuality between the speakers, the audience and the organization itself that seems to be focused on entertainment quality through profits. Even though it was not as extravagant as the TEDTalks of pop culture lore, the inaugural TEDxCSULB event achieved success. 

Familiarity between the speakers and audience created an environment of much more intimate understanding than they would have expected. 

TEDxCSULB was our conference, our people, talking about our culture and our world. 

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BREAKING THE SILENCE

Amita Swadhin (Sylvana Uribe/Union Weekly)

Sheding light on sexual abuse involving children

By Sylvana Uribe Staff Writer

Activist and educator Amita Swadhin navigated through the topic of sexual assault by reminding people that in addition to survivors’ wounds, there are also sources of joy and resilience that make each day bearable. 

As part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, the film “Secret Survivors: Using Theater to Break the Silence” and Q&A session with Swadhin were hosted in the Beach Auditorium on Apr. 7. 

Swadhin has worked with survivors in schools and connected with people by sharing her story as a genderqueer, femme queer woman of color and as a survivor of sexual abuse. 

“I happen to have a life that I’ve created where my wounds are very public at this point, but that’s not most people’s reality,” Swadhin said. “I also experience so much beauty in being able to share that with the world and… realize that maybe my experience is actually much more common than what I was led to believe as a child.”

Swadhin was a participant in the 2012 film, which features the narratives of others who were abused as children. According to the documentary, the sexual abuse of a child affects 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys. The documentary intentionally omitted specific details of each abuse incident, but did identify the perpetrators and how survivors grappled with healing afterwards.

Dr. Kar is a professor in the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program and hosted the event. She wrote to grant committees and connected with groups like the Department of Asian and Asian American studies to screen the film to the campus community, intending for it to be an aid in destigmatizing notions about survivors of assault.

“I’m hopeful that [attendees are] going to be able to think through how to have these conversations in a public space because this is not an open conversation,” Dr. Kar said. “It’s not something that’s discussed, but yet we all know someone who has been assaulted or who has survived assault, and who lives with that trauma everyday.”

Piecing together a broken spirit following trauma takes time and with regards to those experiences Swadhin said, “We might have to carry them for the rest of our lives, but maybe we can actually get to a point in our healing where we are wearing our wounds instead of them wearing us.”

Swadhin led willing audience members in a grounding meditation after the documentary was shown since its content was of a sensitive and triggering nature. As the evening wound down, the strength in voicing trauma for oneself and others was stressed as was maintaining the hope that healing is a possibility within reach for survivors. 

“All of us as human beings have the capacity to commit great acts of harm and also really wonderful acts of love,” Swadhin said. “If we’re struggling to live in that language of love and we’re more accustomed to the language of violence, I would say that’s some level of societal responsibility that we have to help people retrain ourselves.”

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GROUPS CLASH ON CAMPUS

(Jordan Daniels/Union Weekly)

Pro-Palestinian and Israeli students preach equality

By Jordan Daniels Staff Writer

In popular media, the conflict between Israel and Palestine is seen as long-standing and destructive. On several college campuses, there is a climate of anti-Israel sentiment, which has been seen through efforts of organizations, such as Students for Justice in Palestine. 

The 49ers for Israel organization on California State University, Long Beach’s, campus, a Pro-Israel organization, hosted their Israel Week last week in attempts to highlight Israel, despite the sentiments. However, during a discussion they held Wednesday which featured Palestinian human rights activist, Bassem Eid, Students for Justice in Palestine staged a sit in and walk out in protest of the event.

“We are here to advocate for the full state of Palestine liberation,” said Sarah Suliem, a representative of the SJP organization. “We do not believe in the two-state solution as a successful and plausible idea for our Palestine people.” 

The two-state solution refers to the idea of separate the State of Palestine and the State of Israel to achieve equality. However, boundaries and borders of the two states are constantly under dispute, which deepens the conflict. There have been several Israeli-Palestinian peace talks throughout the years, yet none of successfully reached an agreement.

“I feel that our campus has not heard diverse voices,” said Tali Shaddaei, President of 49ers for Israel. “As a Jew, my narrative is not as a strong, so I figured what better way to increase unity and diversity than by inviting a Palestinian and hear what he has to say and listen to his personal accounts [of the conflict]. I thought it would be a really valuable opportunity for the campus.”

According to Shaddaei, 49ers for Israel was not aware that SJP was going to protest the event, but wishes they would have stayed and listened to Eid speak.

During the event, Eid spoke about issues in the West Bank and on the Gaza Strips being a consequence of influences by the Islamic State and the Hamas, a Palestinian-Islamic fundamentalist organization. He made a point to explain that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not as deep on a citizen-level between a majority of Palestinian and Israeli population. According to Eid, the anti-Israel protests are a result of misinformation.

“[Anti-Israel protesters] are disconnected from the realities,” Eid said. “They have never been in the West Bank or in the Gaza Strip. They have no idea what is the conflict. They have no idea how the Palestinians are surviving. They have no idea who is feeding us. They have no idea that we are the builders of the settlements.”

The conflict between Israel and Palestine continues to grow in the middle east, but there has not been much dialogue between the groups at CSULB.

“There have been efforts,” Suliem said on the topic of a dialogue between 49ers for Israel & SJP. “However, members are openly against dialoguing and normalizing their oppression.”

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A LOOK INTO DESPERATE TIMES

Different perspectives of the Syrian refugee crisis

By Elizabeth Campos Staff Writer

Hannah Ghazal translates Omar Wawieh’s words from Arabic to English (Elizabeth Campos/Union Weekly)

International Studies Student Association offers a look at the Syrian refugee crisis through a different lens. 

The International Studies Student Association, in collaboration with organizations such as Future Underrepresented Educated Leaders, Muslim Student Association, Chicano Latino Studies, La Raza Student Association and Black Student Union, put together California State University Long Beach’s Humanitarian Week. This weeklong event is meant to bring awareness to the campus on issues that the community encounters. 

On April 5 the International Studies Student Association presented “Uprooting: the Syrian refugee crisis,” an event where people shared their experiences as refugees, family members of refugees and volunteers in refugee camps. 

The event that took place in LA2-109 began with Richard Garcia, executive chair of ISSTA, defining terms common to immigration conversations. Words such as “asylum seeker,” “diaspora,” “integration” and “uprooting” were discussed to give the audience a better understanding of the discussed topics. 

Hannah Ghazel gave the audience a closer look into what Syria refugees go through, using her family’s journey from their homeland to Sweden as an example.

“It was about 22 days from Syria to Lebanon, from Lebanon to Turkey,” Ghazal said. The methods of transportation during this period of time consisted of approximately 15 buses, four boats, two trains and the rest of the journey was by foot. 

While telling the trials and tribulations that her family members went through, Ghazal shared that they also went through a lot of injustices, Ghazal said. Life vests were given to them at the beginning of a boat trip, that were initially supposed to be a cruise ship, and were later taken away from them. When arriving in Europe, the life vests were given back to them to give the impression that they had been worn all along. 

Jordan Hattar, international studies CSULB Alumni and creator of help4refugees.org, discussed his life changing experience helping refugees in the Zaatri refugee camp in the Arab nation of Jordan. 

Hattar on witnessing the conditions in which the refugees live, as well as how they cope with the everyday struggles that they face. 

He elaborated on the fact that even when bombs destroy the camps and kill individuals of all ages, the coping mechanism that the refugees rely the most on is smiling. 

“There’s hurt right under the surface,” Hattar said. 

To conclude the event, Omar Wawieh, a 20-year-old Syrian refugee shared his journey to America.

Wawieh only speaks Arabic and Ghazal, who carefully explained comments and questions of both Wawieh and the audience, translated his words. 

Wawieh came to the United States six months ago and that living has not been easy. With his parents and siblings, he has struggled to find a job, obtain welfare and adapting to the American lifestyle.

He and his younger siblings have experienced racial discrimination since moving to the U.S. His siblings have been accused of causing unrest and possibly planning acts of terrorism. 

When the audience asked what type of help Wawieh needed, the 20-year-old with dreams of a law degree answered that they [the audience] can go to his house to meet his family. 

“Omar told us about his struggles and it made realize how little ‘the land of opportunities’ is doing for refugees like him,” Gaby Hernandez, anthropology major, said. “We should have programs where they are taught how to navigate simple things like obtaining a job or renting a house. Overall, these types of events motivate me to keep looking for ways to help people.”

The event was followed by FUEL’s “Undocumented” event and Humanitarian Week continued with the Black Student Union hosting a talk with a member of the Black Lives Matter Long Beach chapter. 

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