SCREENING HIGHLIGHTS LATE POLITICAL ACTIVIST

A documentary full of Grace

By Abraham Alapisco Staff Writer

The documentary, American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs, was screened April 12 at the University Theatre for students and was followed up with a Q&A forum with the director Grace Lee. The documentary is not about the director. It is about another person named Grace Lee, whom she had met while filming a previous documentary, The Grace Lee Project.

A crowd of about 100 people filled the seats as faculty from the Film and Electronic Arts Department introduced the Peabody Award winning documentary and director before the screening began. 

According to the flyer promotion, the screening is part of a series called Quandaries. The series is supported by The Visiting Fellows Grant funded by the California State University Entertainment Industry, which aims to fund similar award winning documentary screenings and director Q&As.

The documentary focused on the life work of Chinese-American Grace Lee Boggs, a philosopher, social activist, and feminist. She is a Marxist influenced by the ideas of Georg Hegel. 

Boggs became involved with the Civil Rights and Black Power Movement after receiving her PHD. Due to limited opportunities, Boggs took a low paying job at the University of Chicago Philosophy Library, which compelled her participation in tenants’ rights activism and led to future participation with the Workers Party.

Lee married James Boggs, an African-American autoworker and activist. They lived in Detroit, where they became involved with the Correspondence Publishing Committee, which was a radical left organization that James Boggs would eventually become a newspaper editor for. During her time in Detroit, Boggs was part of an ongoing dialogue concerning social justice and revolution. 

“Revolution is evolution towards something grander,” said Boggs. An open exchange of ideas is what Boggs promoted. She believed, “being angry does not constitute revolution,” rather a person willing to see the world for what it is and how he or she can change it for the better is when the system can become susceptible to alterations. 

Following the screening, director Grace Lee shared her expertise and knowledge with students who inquired about the medium of documentary filmmaking and reflected on her time spent with the activist.

“I never would have imagined a Chinese American woman was involved with so many things,” said Lee. 

For Lee, a big challenge was finding archival footage of Boggs at past historical events. Director Lee explained that Boggs never wanted personal attention or recognition for her activism. Boggs wanted the focus to be on the revolution and the community. 

Grace Lee Boggs passed away in October 2015. She was 100 years and 100 days old.

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TAKE BACK THE NIGHT

A Sexual Assault Awareness month special event

By Elizabeth Campos Staff Writer

In lieu of Sexual Assault Awareness month, California State University Long Beach’s Women’s and Gender Equity Center is hosting events to shed light on the important issue. 

On April 20, Take Back the Night will be taking place starting at 6 p.m. in front of the Maxson Plaza and transitioning to the USU Beach Auditorium at 7 p.m.

The concept of the event is fighting rape culture in general, but with the idea of defying the stigma that walking alone at night has for people, especially women and gay individuals. 

“We’re going to fight rape culture here at CSULB by marching at night,” said Desire Campusano, graduate student assistant of the Women’s and Gender Equity Center.

The event will begin with a rally in which leaders from different organizations give speeches on sexual assault. Followed by this, a different person is introduced to lead the rally and the march through campus.

Posters and fliers with chants will be passed out participants so they can recite them while marching. 

Campusano’s particular favorite is “Claim our bodies, claim our right, take a stand, take back the night!”

The transition from the first stage of the event, “Take Back the Night,” to the second stage “Speak Out” is characterized by an open space in which victims are welcome to share their stories with the audience present. 

Prior to that, the campus’ InterACT performance troupe will participate in the event as well. 

InterACT is a social justice performance troupe characterized by its interaction with audience members. 

Recalling past events, Campusano says that InterACT will more likely “do a skit about an abusive relationship or friends acting as bystanders to see how it all unfolds.” The interactive part of this is that InterACT members will stop and ask people what they would do in the given problematic scenarios. 

The “Speak Out” is the most emotional part of Take Back the Night as many sexual assault survivors take the courage to share their experiences. This space, however, is not limited for survivors only, those who have been indirectly affected can speak out, too.

“The outcome of the evening is a sense of empowerment, and they also take back the power from ‘that’ night,” said Campusano, who has been present in several Take back the night events. 

The event is scheduled to end at 9:30 p.m., however, depending on the amount of people who share experiences during “Speak Out,” the event may go on regardless of time frame.

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MAN'S BEST FRIEND DELIVERS

The emotional therapy animals are trained to be excessively petted, reveling in the attention. (Matthew Gozzip/Union Weekly)

Dogs provide stress relief for students

By Matthew Gozzip Staff Writer

Twelve weeks into the spring semester and hope is waning. The once whisk powerwalk to class has now become a dreary drag of the soul. Many tell you the light is at the end of the tunnel but so are finals and projects. The metaphorical ball and chain gets heavier…and fuzzier. Turns out it’s a dog, panting for your love and affection.

On Wednesday, this doggy daydream became a reality for students as Disabled Student Services organized some puppy relief time at the Brotman Hall Fountain in an effort to de-stress students on campus. The event has been a part of an ongoing effort to relieve student apprehension through play therapy with emotional support dogs.

Rachel Mahgerefteh, coordinator of service and emotional support animals for the DSS, created the program a year and a half ago in the hopes of increasing student wellness. 

“So many students were not getting emotional support animals and were going through tough time,” Mahgerefteh said. “The animals today are therapy animals and are here to just provide temporary relief in the middle of hectic academic semesters”.

Bamse the dog enjoys the attention of students while his friend looks on. (Matthew Gozzip/Union Weekly)

The dogs were provided by BARK, an organization that helps enhance reading skills within children by allowing them to read to dogs in a more upbeat atmosphere. Since 2007, Josie and her son, Christopher, have been gathering volunteer dogs to not only assist in schools but also hospitals, veterans facilities, senior centers and college campuses like CSULB. BARK has expanded to over 160 teams in the Greater Los Angeles area and continues to grow today. 

In addition to providing the occasional therapy sessions on, Mahgerefteh and DSS aim to provide therapy animals on a more personal and consistent basis for students with a certain medical diagnosis. More specially trained support animals are provided to students that have an ailment that could be alleviated through contact with a canine. Once they obtain a cleared referral, Maghgerefteh and Support Services gets into contact with the housing offices and professors on campus to allow students to have support animals with them frequently. 

The emotional support dogs will be on campus at the Clothesline Project later this week if you missed the chance to pet and cuddle, and will be on campus again throughout semester. 

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LIVE YOUR LIFE DAY AT THE BEACH

An important event for mental health support

By Miguel-Ángel Orduño Contributor

A resource fair with a sole mission to educate students on various mental health issues and suicide prevention was held on Tuesday on the Speaker’s Lawn. 

On-Campus Emergency Assistance Network, commonly called Project OCEAN held their sixth annual Live Your Life Day. It was a resource fair, which was held in front of the University Bookstore from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. It featured 44 booths that focused on student success, and the well being of your mind, body, and soul. 

Established in 2008, the Live Your Life Day resource fair has been working hard to spread the word about mental health and health in general to the students here on campus. 

“The environment we create at Project OCEAN is to always give a space to allow students to grow, and direct them toward resources,” said Nicole Morales an undergraduate peer advocate and developmental coordinator for Project OCEAN. 

Morales’ herself is a product of Project OCEAN’s continuing support for students dealing with various issues.

Project OCEAN is a student resource provided by Counseling & Psychological Services, or CAPS here on campus. CAPS provides students with resources such as, emergency hotlines, caseworkers, group counseling, and outreach programs. 

One of the main focuses at the resource fair was suicide prevention. There were three booths specializing in the matter. One of these was that of Didi Hirsch Suicide Prevention Center. 

“We helped over 30,000 people throughout Los Angeles and Orange counties,” said Rick Mogil, a program director with Didi Hirsch. 

The suicide prevention center has been open since 1958 and is the first one in the United States. The Didi Hirsch Center’s main office is located in Culver City. It runs a 24-hour suicide prevention crisis line in Spanish and English. 

The Didi Hirsch Center is also very involved with communities across southern California doing outreach presentations. “We do a lot of presentations on suicide prevention and intervention,” said Mogil. 

Live Your Life Day also featured raffles, a photo booth, and a stigma fighters active minds speakers panel, which was held in the USU ballrooms. Students were also invited to take part in stretch yoga, massage therapy, jousting, salsa dancing, and write on a chalk wall.

Project OCEAN also encouraged students to visit booths by collecting stamps on a stamp card to receive free food. 

The resource fair also featured a DJ and performances from Tina Jackson, and Briana Harley. 

Rick Mogil of the Didi Hirsch Center put it best when explaining what the resource fair’s main goal is by saying, “Know what’s available for you, there is so much on campus to help students.” He added, “this is a community, and these are the people who support the community, and all the services from student services are represented here.” 

Project OCEAN is located in CAPS main office in Brotman Hall Room 226 open Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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FALAFEL MAKES FRIENDSHIP

The California liberty team: David, Karrie, Conor, Henry, Nick, Kevin (Kerrie Comfort/Contributor)

Tales of a Libertarian in Washington D.C.

By Karrie Comfort Contributor

I cannot sleep on planes, which is not a delightful discovery to make at midnight on a tiny tin can. I arrived in D.C. at 6:30 a.m. local time after having slept a total of maybe 15 minutes. Welcome to the capital.

I arrived in D.C. for a Libertarian political conference, specifically the International Students for Liberty Conference, complete with around 2,000 other liberty-minded individuals. 

Shenanigans were bound to follow. 

Unlike my first trip for the organization back in July to Denver, I was going with a group of my now friends who, just a little under a year ago, had been complete strangers to me. And now here we all were eating mediocre Dunkin Donuts food and overly sweetened coffee. Life is rad.

Most of our time was spent listening to speakers and attending workshops at the Marriot Wardman Hotel which was not a bad hotel. I may or may not have ordered room service tea and chocolate. Spoiling myself occasionally, I have decided, is acceptable since all I am doing is completing the job of my nonexistent beau. I’m just being proactive.

The conference was wonderful. I was exposed to such a wide range of ideas that it truly was a good experience for anyone seeking out a challenge to their worldviews.

There were conservative panels on gun rights, Christianity and liberty. We were even graced with the presence of His Serene Highness Prince Hans-Adam II of Liechtenstein.

But there were also things that might be considered more “liberal” on our current political spectrum. Quite a few marijuana legalization groups were there, and even a Russian anarcho-feminist band called Pussy Riot. It hardly gets more scandalous than that.

But it does get crazier. Vermin Supreme, a satirical presidential candidate as well as local legend, arrived with his usual black boot worn atop his head. His platform? Mandatory teeth brushing to fight the “continued oral decay in America.” 

Mocking socialism, he offered “free ponies,” and when asked how he would pay for these so-called free ponies, he clarified brilliantly: “they’re free ponies. That means they’re free.” Touché Vermin, touché. He also, as he points out, is the only candidate that promises to travel back in time and kill Hitler. Can’t argue with that.

But I, as always, enjoyed the people I met the most. There were a group of student leaders from Hawaii who were so kind and passionate.

One of my personal favorite student groups, Young Americans for Liberty hosted a social at a pizza place called the “Mellow Mushroom.” Not really sure what was mellow about it.

A strong Brazilian contingent, who have seen socialism ravage their country firsthand and are taking it back with freedom. There were a few Haitians too; the international crowd was the most diverse in ideas and some of the most interesting people to talk to. 

There was a whole table of people arguing about whether or not Donald Trump was a liberal frontman, since he had largely funded only liberal candidates, including the Clintons, and was being used to divide the Republican party. 

Did Bernie Sanders stand a chance against the establishment Democrat Hillary Clinton? 

Was Ted Cruz really Count Dracula?

Only the best questions survived, as you can see.

A house known as Casa de Libertad had a house party a little outside of the city limits and, as always, lived up to its name. With a huge American flag gracing the living room’s wall and pictures of renowned liberty-minded figures like Ron Paul decorating the wall behind the staircase, it was a seriously well-decorated house.

The whole night ended with a lovely Uber ride with my favorite people, and we made yet another falafel trip.

If you ever find yourself in D.C., Amsterdam Falafel is a must. It tastes especially incredible at 1 a.m.

We all stumbled completely drained back to our hotel andlike conferences and fun people tend to dosuddenly found the energy to stay awake till 4 a.m. talking.

We talked about everything from the Dark Triad Personality Test and to what extent it predicts psychopathic tendencies to whether or not Asian men are less likely to be ‘date-able’ because they are seen as feminine.

Only the best thoughts were fed by pizza ordered by my friend’s Brazilian roommate.

The conference ended, and we all went our separate ways, taking flights back to our respective homes, with significant exhaustion accompanying everyone.

But we also have some impressive memories now. A worthwhile exchange if you ask me.

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