EMPOWERING TALES THROUGH POETRY

Campus event celebrates black female history

Event coordinators, organization representatives, and guest speakers collectively gave speeches and artistic performances touching upon such topics as education, gender, and racial divides (Liz Campos/Union Weekly)

By Liz Campos   Staff Writer

In lieu of Black History Month, the office of Multicultural Affairs of Cal State University, Long Beach put together a series of events as a celebration. 

On Monday, Feb. 15, #BlackHerStories took place in the University Student Union Ballrooms. The event was a collaboration of both the Multicultural Affairs office and the Women’s and Gender Equity center to celebrate and recognize black women.

Under the statement “Because behind every strong movement lies a strong black woman,” the event consisted on an open space in which the performers were able to showcase their experiences through spoken word poetry, essays and stories. 

Event coordinator Jonathan Higgins began by thanking those who attended as well as recognizing the team that helped organized #BlackHerStories. 

Following Higgins, Desiré Campusano, the graduate student assistant of the Women’s and Gender Equity Center explained that this is the first time the university has been able to support this initiative. 

“We can’t celebrate history without ‘her story,’” she said.

As an activist, mother, community organizer and original member of the Black Lives Matter movement, keynote speaker Shamell Bell explained her experiences to the audience. Her stories ranged from her journey as a student as well as an activist and a black woman in general. 

“I theorize through my body,” she said as she explained what she calls “street dance activism” and her involvement in it.

Upon making emphasis on her organizing with the Black Lives Matter movement and how she became radicalized by the experiences that as a black woman she has gone through, she said that her “vision is to viciously attack the detrimental practices and policies that disadvantage the poor and people of color.”

After making a connection with the audience through her stories, Bell then opened up the door for the performances of the night. Eight black women shared fragments of their lives through art in the form of spoken word poetry and story telling. 

First was Alisia Thompson, a current coordinator for the Student Life and Development office at California State University, Long Beach. Prior to reciting her spoken word poetry, Thompson gave the audience an insight of what her passion is; education.

With her experience as a high school biology teacher, Thompson recognized that the way the educational system works is not what it ideally is supposed to be. 

“I’m working for the devil and have no control” she said. The idea of students being dollar signs is something that she finds conflict with and expressed her feelings in her poem “Just a teacher.” In the midst of the controversy created by how the black community is portrayed by the media, white supremacy as well as police brutality were omnipresent topics in some of the artists’ performances. 

Brittany Coleman and Jada Johnson incorporated snippets of her experiences with police brutality leading to the loss of a significant other. As a sensitive topic, the moments in which this was discussed brought tears and emotions to members of the audience Performer Jay Dent shed light on the topic of the Latino culture also being a victim of police brutality. In her poetry, she incorporated Spanish words that made some Latino members of the audience feel more connected to her words. 

Alisia Thompson explained that the diversity in the room as well as the messages transmitted through the work of all the artists that night made her realized that “activism can play so many different roles, in different ways.”

“I hope that events like these continue to happen because I think it really brings the cohesiveness to the campus body in a way that is so necessary,” said Thompson.

Organizers as well as performers are proud and satisfied of the turnout of #BlackHerStories and hope to do it again, not only for Black History month but for cultural awareness as a whole.

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Canceled Classes

Transfer journalism students suffer due to low enrollment

By Katie Cortez   Editor in Chief

 

2014 and 2015 editions of City magazine (Katie Cortez/Union Weekly)

 

After 37 years of production, Long Beach City College’s award-winning City magazine has come to an abrupt halt due to low enrollment in Journalism 1A (Digital Design) and Journalism 86 (Magazine Copy Editors) courses. 

City magazine had been previously designed by a class within LBCC’s art department, but the now canceled issue was going to be the first ever to be designed within the journalism department. The writer’s course for the magazine took place in Fall 2015, and now none of those writers will be able to see their hard work in print.

A meeting to determine the fate of the magazine for the semester was held Tuesday, Feb. 16, and the decision to cancel the courses was made final. 

“I was looking forward to seeing my stuff get done,” City magazine staffer Haley Hart said. “I wrote three stories for the issue and I wanted to see it out there. Get the full experience. I wanted to learn the design side, see the [copy] editing part. See it from start to finish, but both of them get cancelled within hours.”

At the Fall 2015 Journalism Association of Community Colleges Conference, City magazine was recognized as the number one student publication in Southern California. The cancellation of two key magazine courses have put the future of the magazine in jeopardy for future awards. 

Current City magazine Editor-in-Chief Susan Usas hopes that this does not stop the magazine from future production. “But I feel like the writings on the wall,’’ Usas said. “I feel like it’s something that will slowly die away, unfortunately. I mean, look at all the damn awards that they’ve won.”

The few students who were enrolled in the two courses are now being urged to join the Viking newspaper course, but not all of them are able to take the newspaper course due to scheduling conflicts.  The cancellation of these two classes also affects students needing either one of those two classes to graduate or transfer. 

“It has affected me very negatively as both a student and my graduation plans,” Journalism major Omar Reyes said.  “In addition, I thought it would be interesting to learn how to digitally design brochures and websites because my journalism degree emphasizes in Public Relations and I wanted to learn how to design those things. However, since 1A was cancelled, I might not be able to graduate in June as planned.”

 LBCC’s journalism program is encompassed within the English department, and low enrollment has caused the cancellation of 10-12 courses within the department, said Rodney Rodriguez, LBCC English Department Chair. 

“I’d advise students to go immediately to their academic counselor and see if there are any other alternatives,” Rodriguez said. 

Anytime a class gets canceled at any school, students are the ones who suffer. Some need those courses for graduation or certificates, others need it to advance their knowledge in their chosen field. 

It’s community college courses like these that allow students to transfer to four-year colleges as juniors with the knowledge of their chosen field that senior students might have. Courses like Magazine Editing and Digital Design allow journalism transfer students to gain the knowledge they need to keep up with other juniors at four-year colleges. These courses are the keys to success for students who are transferring into programs that require first-hand experience before or during their junior year of college. 

“I can say from experience that seeing a hard copy of a story or photo, be it in the magazine or newspaper, brings on an amazing sense of accomplishment, especially for new writers and photographers,” former City magazine Editor-in-Chief Brandon Richardson wrote in an email to Rodriguez, on Monday, Feb. 15.

“This is what City magazine does, but last semester’s students have had that opportunity taken away from them.”

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OBITUARY: ROSE CHELSEA LUBANG

Nursing student succumbed to unknown causes

Lubang was a freshman starting her college career in the nursing proram before her untimely death (Rose Lubang/Facebook)

By Jordan Daniels   Staff Writer

Everyone will remember the way she smiled. 

Rose Chelsea Lubang. It’s a name that some never knew and many will never forget. The freshman nursing student at California State University, Long Beach, died Wednesday of unknown causes after being in the hospital for severe chest pains.

Lubang had graduated from Long Beach Polytechnic High as part of the class of 2015 and was 18 years old when she died.

“I remember Rose as a conscientious student and very respectful,” said Lubang’s high school history teacher Christine Tram. 

Friends and teachers remember Lubang as being easy to work with and was often sought out to be a project partner. She’s remembered as being kind-hearted and never speaking bad about others, as if she was the epitome of altruism. People who knew Lubang say that it was her smile that drew them in, often times hanging around her just to feel the light of her radiance.

“She just had this way of brightening your day with her smile and the way she spoke to you,” said japanese teacher Susan Watson.  “She was one of the kindest students I have ever had the privilege to teach.”

Loved by family and friends, Rose will be missed. In the words of her Japanese sensei, “The world is going to be a sadder place without her in it.”

A GoFundMe has been created to help cover the expenses for Rose’s service. To donate, go to https://www.gofundme.com/2mn6qqbs

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WRITING FOR "PEACE IN DIVERSITY"

Essay contest open to CSULB students

By Richard Mejia   Managing Editor

The MLK Celebration Planning Committee has extended the deadline for their MLK essay content to Tuesday, Feb. 16.

The contest is open to current Cal State, Long Beach students and is focused around personal experiences or observations that embody or are influenced from Dr. King’s message of justice, change, peace, and doing for others.

The 17th annual MLK Celebration will be held in the USU Ballrooms on Friday, Feb. 19 at noon. The event will feature poets, singers, dancers, speakers and others as they promote Dr. King’s message of “Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal.”

The winner will receive a plaque from the committee, a CSULB sweatshirt, and will read the essay as part of the event program. In addition to these awards, the winning essay will be published in the Union Weekly.

With the campus being filled with numerous events in honor of Black History Month, this contest provides an opportunity to continue the tradition of Dr. King’s vision by spreading personal and heartfelt stories to potentially change the lives of students on campus.

“Entering the contest allows students to think critically about what it means to have peace in diversity,” said committee member Kaila- Marie Hardaway. “With all of the speakers and performers weare bringing from the community, students who attend will hopefully leave with a better understanding of Dr. Kings legacy, how his ideals are still present in todays society, and how we are still striving to achieve peace in diversity.”

All original essays are to require to be a minimum of 500 words, double spaced and at 12-point font in Times New Roman.

Submissions must be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. along with all contact information and student id number. 

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BLACK STUDENT UNION PREACH EQUALITY, COLLABORATE WITH NATION OF ISLAM

Leaders from both organizations speak on timely issues on campus

Words and Photos by Amanda Del Cid   Social Media Manager

The Black Student Union was host to many outside of the black community for its Feb.11 open meeting.

“We have the Muslim¬ student association and interfaith here at the black student union meeting, announced a member. The group hosted Nation of Islam speaker Salih Muhammad, who was said to be “a profound speaker” in the BSUs introduction of him.

The announcer also claimed that the reasoning behind having Muhammad speak at the BSU meeting came from the San Bernardino incident stating that the media demonized the “riots” for the #BlackLivesMatter incidents and the same has happened with the reputation of Islam “First they called it a murder mission then they changed... the frame to Muslim killers.” He said of the media.

 “Why demonized the name of Islam or Muslims based off the couple that carried out this act.” unifying the struggles of the black and Muslim people’s.

As a graduate from UC Berkeley, Salih now travels as a representative of the Nation of Islam and is also the dxecutive director of the African Black Coalition.

“I really want to help us understand,” said Muhammad. “We live in a world where black lives obviously do not matter, we live in a world where a concept of power is retweets on Twitter...how do we make sense of this reality.”

Muhammad not only refers to the Qur’an but the Bible to bring in ideas and call to action to “end the oppression” that the black American faces. 

Muhammad refers to the “Light of Islam” and the means of the proper knowledge we can illuminate the darkness of this society.”

Muhammad also states that during the slave trade into America, one-third of the slaves identified as Muslim. 

Yeasmin Ema, health care administration majorand Muslim student said “I felt that he was more about the oppression of the black people than Islam.”

 Ema feels that although he represented the Nation of Islam he said things that aren’t entirely cohesive to her beliefs.

Her biggest concern was his use of “an eye for an eye” stating that in Islam “if the enemy wants to reconcile with peace than we want peace.”

Muhammad, unwilling to give a full interview merely stated that “the black youth must organize.” A theme that was apparent throughout his speech. 

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