Code-switching at its best.

    I’ve been told that my language, and body language reminds people of a rap. That makes a lot of sense because I love to rap. It is my passion, and I am constantly rapping. Language for everyone is different, so mines sounds like a rap or song. To me i think my language is based off of code switching. I can switch between a rapper, a ball player, and a person who needs to sound professional.

“You know you speak as if you bout to spit some bars” she said.

I laughed and said “yoo you too funny.”

“Im serious” she says, “you talk like a real rapper.”

I constantly hear that, I heard it from a teacher, from friends, and from associates. My language is only for me, and makes me who I am. I like to rap, and my movement relates to it. My common slang words are “jawn”, “yeah”, “yoo” “outcheaa”, and there are a lot more slang words. Like when playing basketball with friends.

“Yoo pass the ball, you bout to get trapped in the corner” I say.

“Ardd come get it bro” Zach says.

“ Throw the damn ball.” I say.

He passes it, and i go to the basket and score. After I score, and finish the game the people we are playing talk to us.

“ Good game yall” They say.

“We in return say “Yeah, that was a good game, we’ll see yall later. So we can fry yall again”

They say “Ardd watever, yall niggas is slight.”  

     I have lots of things I say, on different occasions. Sometimes I talk like that, but other times you wouldn’t even think those word could come out of my mouth. I know how to talk when I go for jobs and interviews, and I code switch when it calls for code switching. If you compare my basketball language, and my professional side, no words would be similar. I know how I need speak when going for something that calls to be a little more polite, and chill. Like my high school interview. 

“Hello, how do you pronounce your name?”

“You can call me Jaaz, but it’s pronounced as Jaazaniah.”

“Well you would academically benefit this school, but what other things could we look for from you?”

“Well I am a diverse individual, I like to help others, and I am very energetic.”

     Throughout the interview I answered questions. At the end they say “Thank you for coming today.” I say “It was a pleasure to have an interview, and thank you for the opportunity.” That is a form of code switching between a ball player, a rapper and talking for a purpose. 

     I code switch for a reason. I code switch because it is easy you get my point across. It helps me adapt to situations. Like when I rap, i need to use words that would rhyme with each other, and slang words are easy to rhyme. I code switch for basketball, because it is important to be confident. I code switch for interviews because if I came in speaking slang, then I wouldn’t be fitting the part of sounding professional. Code switching can be effective if you use it right.    

     In the story How to tame a wild tongue by Giona Anzaldua, a quote that I relate to is “ My home tongues are the languages I speak with my sister, brothers and friends.” I relate to that quote because it is basically saying that the author code switches when he gets around his friends and family, but when he is at other places he doesn’t use his home language.

     I like the way I talk, and I like the way I code switch effectively. I think that my rap language is appropriate for having fun with friends and things of that sort. I like the way my basketball language is good when I am doing something competitive. I understand that I need to have a way too slow it down, and sound professional. I like the way I speak, and code switching goes along with my language.

Blog post #2 Gun violence


Hello again. My name is Soledad Alfaro-Allah for english class we have to become agents of change in the world. We had to find a world issue and try to help raise awareness for that issue. If you have been following my blog you will know that my issue is gun violence. I have conducted an interview with my Four year old, 13 year old and 12 year old brothers, and also my 10 year old sister. I talked to them about their daily lives and how they feel about v


iolence, how they handle violence and how they think it should be dealt with.  Urban dictionaries idea of violence says otherwise. The reason I decided to look up the urban dictionary is because even though it is perceived as a sort of satire of how we think it is also true to an extent. While interviewing my siblings they had brought up some very interesting points. Such as I asked my four year old brother “what do you do if you see/experience violence, and he simply told me “I tell the teacher, if she’s not there I put up my hand and say please stop hurting me.” This is his solution to all the troubles of violence. When I asked him about guns he said “Only people with responsibilities should have them” I was shocked to hear this from my four year old brother who can barely spell the word responsibility. I asked him why and he said “because they can keep us safe”. I then proceeded to ask him, who do you think should have this responsibility?

He said “Nice people.” Nice people. It was as simple as that. We should give them to nice people with responsibility. But who do we classify as competent to handle such a hardcore burden? Officers? People who have been trained already? Or should we train new people, like teachers and parents. Or does no one get them all together? These are questions that carry the burden of even bigger questions on top of one another. Obama has recently signed into law 23 which will make it harder to get bullets and limit the number of bullets per clip, and are talking about universal background checks. The biggest obstacle is the opposing views of the massive amounts of republicans that are pro guns in congress. Something that has stuck with me through listening to the radio show was when obama says “ we can only make change if the american people demand it.” and when he said this he was speaking on the fact that we cannot depend on a select number of people to solve our problems for us, and when things don’t turn up our way blame it on the government, because in the end we will end up producing chaos. Many opinion pieces have been launched about this topic. Gun violence is being compared and connected to several issues. Such as health care. In the most recent shooting all the subjects have been established as “mentally ill”. Another popular reasoning in congress for gun violence is depression. Particularly teen depression. Apparently there is an increasing amount of teen suicides and homicides involving firearms. We are looking for something to blame. Personally, I think that we are the ones to blame and the reason for that is we are in denial and fearful of this topic that we choose to ignore the trouble that it is causing in the daily lives of many. We are putting our own comfort selfishly over the necessary closure of dozens of families, and victims.

Click here for my bibliography


The Change Up

​The Change Up

“You need to go get buckets! It’s all about buckets!” I yelled at Jaaz.

“Haneef I get buckets.” Jaaz replied.

“Yea Yea that’s what they all say, I’ll believe it when I see it.” I responded.

 My friends and I create different meanings to words and use slang, to us what we’re saying makes sense, but to a person who doesn’t know the lingo they’ll probably be confused. This is one of my many “languages”. I speak basketball. There are times when knowing different languages is beneficial, like when trying to understand people different people and there also times where this language is not necessary like in the business world or when speaking to adults where this informal language would not be accepted. Being around a language long enough, it’ll begin to become something you’re accustomed to. Outsiders to any language, like people around you may begin to understand the language and maybe begin to use it themselves. My little sister proved this to me. One day when I waked in the house after one of my basketball games my little sister approached me and she said,


“Were you frying today??”

 “Pause, do you even know what frying is?” I responded

“No Haneef.” She said in a sarcastic tone and smirk on her face

“Don’t get smart with me little girl!” I yelled “ And how do you even know what frying is? Where did you learn this, because I know I didn’t teach it to you.”

“I may be six, but I not slow. I heard you nd your friends say it so many times that I jus figured it out.” She said.

“Ehhh whatever I’m going to my room.”

In the book, From the Borderlands, by Glona Anzonldína it was said that,

“Some of the languages we speak are:

1. Standard English

2. Working class and slang English

3. Standard Spanish

4. Standard Mexican Spanish

5. North Mexican Spanish dialect

6. Chicano Spanish (Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California have regional variations)

7. Tex Mex

8. Pachuco (called caló)”

 All of the languages mentioned in the small passage above were learned by first being around them due to the family’s constant movement. Each language learned was the norm of that environment and was imperative to learn in order to succeed in that environment. One of my many languages is the one I use when with my friends. This language sounds completely different than with my parents or at a job interview. It’s code switching. This code switching is necessary in order to be respectful, succeed in the business world, and to hold a good reputation with elders; i.e. teachers and other adults. When speaking with my friends I don’t tend to use “proper English”, mostly because I don’t have to and also because different environments require different things in order to be successful.

A perfect example of this is probably is in the person reading this essay, just think. When with your parents think about how you act compared to when you’re with your friends, and then compare both of those to the you act when with your coworkers or classmates and boss or any figure authority. Slang is something that I grew up around, and so it came naturally. Now that I’m older, in different situations I am able to talk “proper” in order to do what society thinks it the right. Whereas in an informal environment it’s the complete opposite, I can speak “improper” without any consequences.  

Everybody is raised in a different environment than the next. I’m proud of the way I was raised. The area I grew up in may have effect my “language”. But due to societies need for perfection, my language or what society would call a flaw is hidden under the mask of the persona I use in order to succeed in this world. This is Code switching. Everyone does it; whether it’s to try to succeed in this world by doing what society say is good. Or in interest of being respectful to elders because maybe the way you interact with your friends is not acceptable around adults. Either way, code switching is necessary for any person who believes they want to succeed in more than one environment during their adolescent and adult lives. But when code switching the world will never see the real you. So the choice is for you to make. Either code switch to have a chance to make something of your life in this world, or be yourself in every environment, rebel against the norms of society with the risk of not becoming successful in life.



“What are you doing after school tomorrow? Walk me to Liberty Place, please?” I asked my friend one time over video chat.

“Nothing really, but that’s a hike... why?” she answered.

“I know but I need something from there. Pleeeaaasseee? I love you.”

“Nigga... whatchu gotta get?”

“I dunno but I need a gift for my cousin.”

“We don’t got time for that...”

“We do! You just said you weren’t freakin’ doing anything! We can take the trolley.”

“I gueeesssss,” she said, shifting a little.

Right after that, my dad knocked on my door and opened it without me even saying he could come in. When he smiled, I could already tell what he was about to say. It was the typical small talk we had every day.

“Hi Nia,” he said.

“Hey Dad.”

“How was your day?” he asked.


“How are you?”


“You sure?”


“Well, okay then.” He left my room, and I could then finish talking to my friend.

“Ard, I kinda gotta go, stuff to do...”

“Okay, bye,” she smiled and ended the chat.

It was never as easy as that to code switch like that until I hit high school. Filtering curse words and slang just clicks with me now. Quite frankly, being able to talk with other people in what seems to be the most comfortable way for them provides lots of opportunity for me. Before high school in seventh and eighth grade, I went to Friends Select, a private school where mostly everyone was white. Going there straight from a 99.8 percent black school was like putting a drop of oil into a tub of water. I had a quick and easy adjustment, because I never had a very “thick black” accent. By this, I mean I knew what times were appropriate to let all the slang out in the world, and then when to say “like” more than five times in a six-word sentence.

What I did not know was that my tone and usage of words drastically changed in my seventh and eighth grade years. Family noticed, and even told me on the spot that I was “starting to sound like a lil’ white girl.” I’m still told to this day that my cousin and I “just aren’t black.” We usually rolled with it, and took it as a term of endearment that we were, and are, a little different. People at camp told me that I “talked so proper” and I responded with something along the lines of “that’s just how I speak.” But, for me, my newly developed “language” brought more than just words, it brought more conversations. 

“Hey!” one of my friends said.

“Hey, how’s it going? How’s life?” I asked them.

“Tis good, you?”.

“Pretty okay, as usual. What’d you do this weekend?”

“Nothing really, sleep and some homework... you?”

“Same, nothing special... Fuck, I need a life.”

Even when it is not talking with parents and then friends, my use of words still tends to change between people I speak with. In a way, I believe that happens with everyone, to a certain extent. For example, because one person and their friend have spent more time with each other than that person and another friend have spent, the first pair might converse with more ease and flow than the second pair, because there is more to talk about—family, life, old memories, inside jokes, and all that. For me, there is a mixture of length of friendship and also the person’s personality, if I know their personality. Usually it takes a conversation or two to click with the words and tone of voice I want to use with a specific associate, friend, or group of friends. 

When I talk to someone for the very first time, I almost want them to make all the conversation and I just listen. Sometimes, silence can be the best language to go with, because it communicates signals as much as words are able to. However, when trying to make a new friend or just cheer up someone and most of the talking belongs to me, it was best to just go with my gut on a more “standard English plus a bit of slang” tone, and develop the chat with more important things that might want that person to talk to me again. 

It will take more than one time to find that conversation zen, and when it is found, it is marvelous. It all depends on the person and your own personality. However, efforts to make conversation zen happen continue if I decide to talk to that person again, which is almost definite I will. Sometimes a choice of words makes or breaks any talk. Something happens, whether it be a miscommunication or vocabulary differences. And so, there are those times where a discussion does not go so well for me. In a group of friends that was not mine, I felt like Maxine Hong Kingston did in her passage, “Tongue Tied”. She said, “It spoils my day with self-disgust when I hear my broken voice come skittering out into the open. It makes people wince to hear it.” Perhaps my struggles with finding the right words to say did not go as far as people wincing to hear it, but there definitely have been awkward moments when I’ve said something wrong and it just did not have a place to be justified. In those moments I may feel like quitting at a social life altogether. But, the important part was actually to keep trying at it, because sometimes a lack of knowledge of a certain language can make someone feel uncomfortable. It might not even be you, it could always be the person you are speaking with instead. Learn their language and way of words instead sometimes.

For me, doing just that has created so much social gain. Learning and using the languages and dialects of others widens the gates of communication for anyone. Being able to switch from tongue to tongue without getting “tongue tied” gets more of your ideas to more people, and if you have big ideas for the world, being able to code switch and use totally different languages altogether is very beneficial. For me, my social life continues to develop more than it has in middle school. Since then I have gained confidence and comfort with my speech. It’s a gift to be “cool” with everyone, even if it was just a single word or thought.

Animal Cruelty (Blog #2)

      Recently many of you have read my first blog that I posted portioning to my interest and need to help animals who are abused and mistreated. I believe in rights for all animals, no matter the size or the species; they are all living creatures of this world just like us, with no voice needing someone to speak up for them. Since my last blog post, I have expanded my research creating new things to examine how people think and view animal cruelty.

I have created a survey containing questions and suggestions on animal cruelty and how I can impact the lives of many animals. A few of the questions were: do you think animals should have rights? If you saw a sick, beaten up animal would you help, and etc. I have received many interesting results; almost 100% of the people who took the survey said that they do care about animal cruelty. 80% percent said that they think animals should have rights, 15% were unsure. 

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Screen Shot 2013-01-18 at 7.12.58 PM
A screen shot of the Animal Cruelty Survey.

It was very interesting to see that 50% of the people were unsure when they were asked if they thought humans are better then animals, 20% said they were better then animals and 30% said they weren't. I then asked if they saw someone abusing an animal would they say or do something and why? 67% said yes and majority of the people said “some animals don’t have the ability to defend themselves against human beings” and then compared them to humans in a similar situation. I also asked if they think animal abuse was wrong, one response really stuck out to me it said “Depends upon the circumstances. For example say you’re trying to teach your cat not to climb on the table by smacking it whenever it climbs up on the table. Obviously thats aggressive but thats how psychological reinforcement works.” 
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Screen Shot 2013-01-18 at 7.14.28 PM
A screen shot of the Animal Cruelty Results.

I found this statement to shine a light on a new issue, it’s may be a draw-back  to my whole argument but it’s a topic that's not addressed when animal cruelty is approached. When we think of animal abuse do we think of abuse that is used to train our animals? Many Americans think it’s just a traditional way to raise our animals to behave in a proper manner. To get a better understanding, I would like many of you to weigh in: Do you think that physical aggressiveness used to raise our domestic pets is consider to be animal abuse? I have read an article examining wether it’s effective to hit your dog or not.

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Screen Shot 2013-01-18 at 7.21.16 PM
A photo how a pet owner hitting his cat to stop her from climbing up on things.

Most people believe that physical dominance techniques are the best possibility for dog’s with aggressive behavior because dogs are pack animals. By the dog’s having a leader in their packs they best respond to a dominate figure. So the question is “does physical force inflicted on your dog work ?” The article’s response to it was “ it depends on what you mean by work.” Sometimes by hitting your dog it can discontinue aggressive behavior when applied in the proper manner, however it can cause a large amounts of serious injuries, increase stress and in most cases increase the dog’s aggressive behavior. Majority of people claim that these techniques are more effective because we the human become the leader to our dog(s). However just because dogs are pack animals it does not lead to the conclusion that that is the only way that your dog can understand what’s wrong or right. Also that’s not the only way that they can be taught, there are other techniques such as saying “no” and demonstrating the right behavior and rewarding them when they do the correct thing. 

A photo of a pet owner waving a rolled up news paper at his dog to teach him a lesson for misbehaving.

In a way that can be considered animal abuse and it may also be an effective way of training your animal, but one thing for sure  beating, aggressively kicking, stabbing and many other things is in fact animal abuse and it should not be permitted by any means necessarily. This world should be aware that animals are living creatures on the earth just like us. They have emotions and can feel physical pain; it’s time to treat animals with respect and most of all love. Let’s start a movement and END ANIMAL CRUELTY TODAY!!! 

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Screen Shot 2013-01-18 at 7.24.39 PM
A photo of three civilians beating a dog in the middle of the street with sticks. 
​Here in a link to my Annotative Bibliography.

Stay tune for my next and finally blog post containing my "Agent of Change"; it will be something worth waiting for. Thank you!
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Screen Shot 2013-01-21 at 6.03.30 PM

Sweet Talk'n

I sit uncomfortably, my ankles crossed beneath the table, the silk napkin placed carefully over my lap. I keep my legs close together, being sure to tuck the hem of my dress over my knee. 

“Pass the suga’, da’lin.” I hear a sweet coo in my right ear, and turn to smile at my great-aunt. Keeping my lips pressed shut, I reached over and slid the sugar towards her. All around me were the echoes of ‘sweetie’, ‘my gracious!’, and ‘pardon?’. My skin feels hot, and I hear another question aimed in my direction. Passing over the butter this time, I gratefully busy myself with taking sips of my tea. The brightly colored walls are a shock to my system, as are the friendly people sitting at the table next to ours, calling out greetings to complete strangers. The words swirl around me, and I become suddenly aware of how I don’t often call people “darling”, and how I do talk rather quickly. 

“Emalyn, didn’t you go there this summer?” My Nana’s voice is interrupting my sudden realization, and I startle a little bit. But, remembering my formal setting, settle down. 

“Oh, um, yeah. Yes. Yes ma’am.” I stutter, tripping over the words as they come out in a flood of miscommunication. Flustered, I choke up a laugh, ducking my head. “Yes ma’am, I did.” I try again, and the southern ladies around the table nodded. It’s never easy to be the only one in a room that’s different, and it’s even harder when you are distinctly aware that those around you know exactly what makes you different. 

Sitting around the table at a tea room is not something that I often do in my daily routine. However, when I did, I became aware of small things that made me irreversibly different than the women surrounding me. When I responded to their questions, my voice sounded brash, my words sounded rude, in comparison to the slow, drawn out language of Northern Georgia. No matter how many times I go down South, I’m not sure I’ll ever get used to being the only one in the room who is decidedly Northern. I will also not get used to having to wait patiently as my questions get answered, in a typical drawn out fashion, or being the subject of so many terms of endearment. 

I may have felt out of place in a southern tea room, but feeling different because of an accent is not limited to Northerners going South. My Grandparents come up to visit once a year, around Christmas. Although they would never come out and say it, they are incredibly uncomfortable speaking in front of people, and tend to keep to themselves when faced with the opportunity. Their accents are heavy, and the southern drawl sets them apart from everyone they’re surrounded with. With every word they say, people scrunch up their noses, ask them to repeat themselves, or look mildly amused. It’s disconcerting, to say the least, when people are listening intently to your every word, trying to decipher what you’re saying. 

James Baldwin says this about language in his essay ‘If Black English Isn’t A Language, Then Tell Me, What Is?’: “It reveals the private identity and connects one with, or divorces one from, the large, public, or communal identity.” In this case, I think that language isolates those who are different, and calls them out on those differences. 

More than once, I have heard people talking about Southern accents in a negative light. People have said that they can’t take them seriously, or that they just sound foolish when they speak. To me, the ones saying those things are more foolish simply for saying that. To judge someone’s intelligence based on how they sound, and not on what they say, shows an extreme lack of character. It is absolutely unacceptable for people to say that someone is inferior to them because of race or gender in today’s society, so why is accent any different? Just like gender and race, accents alienate one person from another, and focus on differences, instead of similarities. 

YATW: Teen Depression Blog#2

 Hello my name is Taylor Washington and I am a freshman here in SLA.Teen depression is a big issue going on in the Philadelphia area. I have been researching  more about this topic since my last blog post. Also I have conducted my own piece of research by sending out an survey to my student body. I found this to be a bit helpful to my research. About half of the people in my survey says that they have been though/ are going through depression. All of the people who took this survey are teenagers. In total 16 people took this survey and still counting.On my blue graph Six teens have  said yes that they have been through depression, which is 38% of the teens that took the survey. Five said straight up no (31%), and five also said kind of (31%). Another thing i found very interesting about my research was that half of the kids that took my survey know some one who has depression. Eight have said yes (50%). Three have said no (19%), and five said other (31%). To view my statistics for yourself as they grow click here!


Unspoken Accents: Micah Getz

Unspoken Accents

Accents are the constantly changing linguistic frontier. I have yet to discover if I have one, or to explore where it would have come from. I think I’m in slight denial about that. However there’s something I’m rather sure makes me relatively unique: my ever-present love of reading. While reading didn’t give me an accent, it became both a boon and a bane for me: an extensive vocabulary, but no experience using it with others.
Though I developed excellent grammar and a superb vocabulary, using words that few others knew didn’t benefit conversation, partly because nobody I knew used or said it. However, that wasn’t my main issue (though it was a rather large point in social development). My main issue was pronunciation. Reading hadn’t given me an accent, it had given me an arsenal of words that I could read and write, but never correctly say.
For example, I’d say the word ‘peon’ when trying to say something intellectually, like “So they’re rather like the medieval peons.” Even though I knew I was talking to someone who I knew the word, I still couldn’t get them to understand me until I described it, and there I learned my issue. I said “Pay-own”, which makes more sense than other ways I thought it could be pronounced, except I was wrong. It actually was pronounced “Pee-on”, which makes less sense. After all, why intentionally bring up peeing on someone?
There were, of course, other issues. In similar embarrassing discussions in the middle of class I would proudly flaunt a high-class word “Zealot”, and then in a public rebuttal by a teacher learn that I had said, “Zeal Lot,” when it should be, “Zell Ot,” with the O sounding the same as the O from the word Oz. My word made more sense, because why should I change the sound of the word zeal just because of the three extra letters after it? To which the reply would be that it’s just how the language worked, and that the teacher wasn’t giving a rebuttal but speaking to the contrary.
I was cool with just reading though. In books you don’t have the issue of pronunciation, of trying to pronounce intentionally bizarre words such as “Thu’um”. If you are unlikely enough to say any word you read from a fiction novel aloud, you will hear an instant cry of
“Militia is ‘Milisha’, not ‘Millet-iya’” or "Pseudodragon is ‘Sudo Dragon’, not ‘Swayed-o Dragon’”
I liked reading, even with the word issues. It was the place I felt I belonged, and since there were no accents, there were no dialects, and there was no dreaded pronunciation, that I belonged there linguistically. I had, as James Baldwin wrote in If Black English Isn’t a Language, What Is?, “The price for this is acceptance and achievement of one's temporal identity. I empathize with it in that I had accepted who I am, what I spoke, and what it made me. Which was completely fine, and for a time I rejoiced in the fact that I had an understanding of a world where the way you talk, or look, or your age, or your class, wouldn’t taint your first response.
Then I realized that reading still had the same common signs that speaking often had. There are still ways to tell who you are from the way you write. From the amount of speaking that’s written compared to the descriptions, the times character development happens, you can tell who is writing the story. The times when people interact, whether they act slowly and realistically, whether they just don’t quote them and put them all in paragraph form, or whether they take an intentionally macabre look on the normal; all of these are like little fingerprints that the writers left on it, tiny pieces of themselves that they copy down which show who they are. An easy example for this is this paper, where I rarely show people talking, and instead tried to engage my reader by intentionally psychoanalyzing myself. If you read this paper closely, you’ll even notice how instead of saying him or her, I use the word “they” as an androgynous term, which you can make all sort of strange assumptions about. This overly in-depth reading into texts is possible anywhere.  
Take for example, the writings of the authors Terry Pratchett and Robert Jordans. Both are authors of thousands of pages of literary material, except that they both have different ideas of what they needed to write, as well as the recognition afforded them. Terry Pratchett wrote mostly on fantasy, with dabbling in Sci-Fi and horror, but Robert Jordan wrote on many things, ranging from dancing, to historical fiction, to epic fantasy. The difference in their experience as authors also flavored the way they wrote. Terry Pratchett's way of writing would be best shown by the book Maskerade. “She was light enough on her feet but the inertia of outlying parts meant that bits of Agnes were still trying to work out which direction to face for some time afterwards.”  Two pages later, he writes, “Nanny Ogg thought about Agnes. You needed quite big thoughts to fit all of Agnes in.” He barely references it in these quotes, but what he’s generally trying to build is the idea of Agnes as a fat person in your mind, while having all of the characters act too politely to say it. He alludes to things but rarely actually says it, expecting his readers to be smart enough to figure it out.
Robert Jordan writes in a completely different way. When he introduces characters he waxes poetic on everything to do with them, while still managing to include the character's own opinions. This happens every time anything is introduced, be it a chapter, a place, or a character, but one such time is in the novel New Spring on page 117  “A tall slim women, Kerene looked exactly what she was, her ageless face strong and beautiful, her nearly black eyes pools of serenity. Even here, she wore a riding dress, the divided skirts slashed with emerald green, and her dark hair, lightly touched with white, was cut shorter than either Karile’s or Stepen’s, above her shoulder and into a braid.” He continues of course, not letting himself be limited with constraints such as word limits. The details are entrancing, and they make me realize about the times he must have written of dance, and the amazing detail he must have been used to writing. He writes in an amazingly realistic world of braided hair and divided skirts, reminiscent of his experience writing historical fiction. He writes in detail, because he expects his readers to read it as much for the details as the plot, the world, the characters, and everything else he writes so well. This is completely different to the funny, sarcastic, and intentionally unrealistic way that Terry Pratchett writes of things, such as dwarven flatbread that’s so hard that is has been known, in times of dire need, to stop being used as a weapon, and to actually be eaten.
Which made me realize that I might be wrong. Books have accents, if you know what you’re looking for, even as voices do. They reveal who you are, and where you’ve been, what things you’ve written, who you’ve talked to. Whether you choose to judge someone by that has more to do with your opinion than how they are talking, or as, it turns out, writing. The important part is being understood and conveying your meaning. Why else was language made?

Pratchett, Terry. Maskerade. London: Victor Gollancz, 1995. Print.

Jordan, Robert. New Spring the Novel. Vol. Prelude. N.p.: Bandersnatch Group, 2004. Print. Wheel Of Time.

YATW blogpost #2: Childhood Cancer

After my first blogpost in learning about all of the benefits and foundations that try to help raise money for childhood cancer, I decided to research more about the children themselves and all of their stories. So when looking up new info on my topic I looked up more personal information of the kids’ journeys.

I found an amazing website,Kids’ Stories | Children's Cancer Research Fund, that gives you the personal stories of children struggling with cancer. I recently read an article about a little boy named Jack who, after many trips to the doctors, found out he had a brain tumor. At three months old he began to sleep a lot more often and also began vomiting. The doctor kept reassuring Jack’s parents that it was just a stomach virus, but his parents knew something more serious was wrong. They finally took Jack to the emergency room, where they finally found out the extremely devastating new of Jack’s cancer. Jack’s tumor has began to grow again, but he is getting by with the support of his family and is still a very happy little boy despite his struggles. His parents decided to start a team for Children’s Cancer Research Fund’s annual event, called Jack Attack. This website provides many more inspirational stories of children with cancer and how they contribute to finding a cure. There were also a couple of other websites that I found that provided really inspiring stories too. Those include, Cancer Basics, which gives a basic understanding of cancer, and Cancer Research, Studies & Clinical Trials at CTCA and Cancer Kids Home Page which provide stories.

After reading about Jack’s story and his cancer team, I did some research of my own to add to my original research. As I said in the first blog post, my aunt is very involved in Alex Lemonade Stand and even has her own team for cancer. My uncle’s mother, Theresa, died from cancer and that inspired my aunt and uncle to create Team Theresa. They hold many benefits for their team, including their softball benefit, in which I attend. The softball benefit is an amazing event which includes different softball teams who have a lot of fun competing against one another each year, entertainment, concession stands, and speakers. The benefits are amazing to go to because you really get to see how many people want to make a change. At the softball benefit this year, the speakers who spoke at the end was one of the best parts. They told their stories and how these benefits affect them in such a positive it. What my aunt and uncle do is very inspirational and more people should join in with the benefits and cancer events. The following pictures are from the benefits and events that my aunt has taken part in, a few of which I have also been a part of.

2008 softball benefit
2008 softball benefit
2010 softball benefit 105
2010 softball benefit 105
2010 softball benefit 116
2010 softball benefit 116
2011holiday party
2011holiday party
team theresa n kids
team theresa n kids
sick kids wishes at Alexs Original stand
sick kids wishes at Alexs Original stand

After talking to my aunt about how the benefits that she does are so similar to those of which some of these kids are doing, like Jack, it has really help me with deciding what I will do for my agent of change. Recently, I attended the Alex Lemonade Stand christmas party, in which all of Alex’s surviving families have a party where each of the children and their siblings gets e to sit on santa’s lap and receive 3 presents each. There is also a huge buffet provided and entertainment. This really added to my understanding of my topic because I got to hear, in person, some of their stories. It was really nice to see all of the children receive their presents because you could just tell how happy and appreciative they were.

Some of my personal opinions include that actually getting my original research first hand has helped me relate to my topic so much better, rather than just reading facts and stories online. I have heard so many stories from the children about how many difficult struggles they have come across and it is just so inspiring to see how strong and happy they still are. Something I still wonder about, though, is the things that keep these kids going. In my further research, interviews, and benefits I want to ask the children what it is that keeps them faithful and happy. I would also like to ask the parents and other family members the same question.

For my agent of change I have decided to create a slideshow including quotes, photos, and video clips of the various Alex Lemonade Stand benefits and events that I have and will be attending. So far I have volunteered at the softball benefit and the christmas party, but there are some more coming up that I plan to go to and volunteer. I have also planned an interview with my aunt’s friends. They are one of Alex’s surviving families and their son Cole has suffered with cancer. I will interview cole, his parents, and his siblings on Cole’s battle and how it has affected their lives. Clips and quotes from this interview will also be found in my slideshow. 

This is a link to my bibliography

You and the World: Us and the Art Around Us

​Hello again, readers and listeners! As a freshman at Science Leadership Academy, for a long-running English project, I have been called upon to enact change in my community. I have been called upon to be an agent of this change and to see it through. 

In my first blog post, I came to you with facts. I came to you with the basis of my project; I planned to go into the city and look at the art, the story, that has been captured in murals and paintings, wheat-pastings and sculptures. Now, with a bit of my own research, I have more information and ideas at my benevolent disposal. 

As Philadelphians, many of us are incredibly privileged. With 32 museums, it is one of few American cities with a number as high as this. But, perhaps art isn’t just classical. Perhaps art isn’t just what we find in museums. As I thought and thought, I noticed that most of the art we find in Philadelphia isn’t by Van Gogh or Monet, but it’s been made by the hands of people today; those living and breathing in our city now are those making art the most with the most influence. 

​(above, Van Gogh's infamous Starry Night)

Understand that I don’t mean to disdain or put any blemish on the concept of classical art. Having classical works hanging on my walls and having a middle name with roots in the word Renaissance itself (Reneé...), I have absolutely no reason to believe that urban art and contemporary art has a greater place in this world, this city, than the classics. 

However, it got me to thinking: Is it possible that, in this time, urban art means more? It is my belief that it does mean more. I believe that urban art has a major influence on the children today, and especially on our city. For this research, I conducted a small survey which consisted of 9 questions all referring to the current state of urban art in Philadelphia.

Entitled, “What is Art in Philadelphia,” my survey’s first and second questions referred to the Mural Arts Programs which I had hoped to get in contact with before posting this blog. However, I was not able to contact the MAP for an interview due to run-ins with a lack of time and other responsibilities (I have especially learned in this project that it is a major mistake to bite off more than you can chew!). However, my first two questions did address the idea of the MAP and City Government funding. 

88% of those who took the survey knew about the MAP, though 100% of those surveyed agreed completely that the Program should receive City Government funding. Results corresponded well with my beliefs; I believe this shows the vast influence that urban art has had on our community. Though most of my answers were completely anonymous, for those that I specifically reached out to, the answerers were spread throughout the city; this is a clear representation of how widespread our urban art is- just within the city of Philadelphia. 

Out of 9 questions, I found three particularly interesting. When I spoke with my brother about what questions I should add onto my survey, he shot out “Ask what they think about graffiti!” At that, I typed up the following questions:

  • What is an artist? 
  • Is graffiti a form of art?
  • Can those who graffiti, then, be qualified as artists?

The answers were widespread and the following picture is the results of this question:

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Screen Shot 2013-01-18 at 2.35.50 PM
With this new knowledge and an understanding that isn’t much different from mine, it sparked an idea- multiple, rather- for my ‘Agent of Change’. 

The climax. 

The culmination.

The consummation. 

As an agent of change, I will be sending out another survey to students around the city; college students, high school students, learners of all sorts. I hope to facilitate the beautification of my school, Science Leadership Academy. Being downtown and in the heart of Philadelphia, each advisory will carefully select a wall to decorate and make wondrous with a motif or main topic that is seen in and around Philadelphian culture. I'll be sending out yet another survey across the inter-webs and around my school to prepare for this. With blog #3, I plan to have photographs and news of SLA's beautification!

Again, refer to my first blog for more information!
Here is my annotated bibliography for a reputable record of my sources. 

Below is one final treat; a video of many people who see street art as art and not vandalism from Artist "Banksy" (courtesy of CBS)

You and The World Blog #2

Daniel Ross                                                                                              January 13, 2013


          While I was researching poverty I came across some very intriguing facts. According to the Webster's Dictionary, poverty is the state or condition of having little or no money, goods, or means of support; condition of being poor. Poverty is a really big epidemic. The median household income in the United States is $46,326. In 2011 nearly 50 million Americans, more than 16 percent of the population, are struggling to survive. In 2011, 50.1 million Americans lived in households where food was scarce, 33.5 million adults and 16.7 million children. Each day 10,00 babies are born dead and the same amount of newborns die within a month of birth. Over 1.4 billion people in the developing world live below the poverty line. 

         I found this website which lets you view your neighborhood’s statistics. Here’s a look at my neighborhood. Now to be considered middle class your income must be at least $40,000 a year. To be considered upper class you must pull at least $100,00 a year. As you can see, there is 43% of the residents with income below the poverty line. That’s really high for there only to be 176 houses. That means that 24 residents are living off of less than $26,000 per year. That’s $2,166 a month, and $541 a week. The average American spends $200-$300 a week on groceries. This only leaves about $300 for the rest of the week which may seem a lot not but it’s not enough for a family.

         I decided to research a little more and found someone in my neighborhood to interview. However they are above the poverty line. He does have a job, but it isn't the highest paying job. He also has two children who he deeply cares for. He really is struggling to make ends meet. His electricity is currently off and uses candles for light. Sometimes the only meal his children get is at school. This man’s life may sound very depressing but, he can honestly say that he is blessed. He could be jobless, he could be homeless but he’s not. Sure he’s struggling but at least he can come home to a nice, dry, warm bed every night. 

Animal Cruelty Blog #2

Since my last blog, I came up with new information and a survey on animal cruelty. I made a survey on how people feel about animal cruelty and if they have any knowledge on it as well. Out of the 22 people who took the survey, 18 people  had pets at home. 10 of those people adopted their pets which is good because the animal could have been through tough times with another family or was abused and treated wrong. I then asked if they know what animal do they think is the number 1 animal tested on and mostly all the people said mice. That is a good guess but, there is no number one animal. Dogs, cats, mice, guinea pigs, rabbits, and monkeys are the main test subjects used to benefit us. For example, these animals are tested on by lotion, cosmetics, or anything that will be the newest thing for human skin or to make us look better in some way. Usually, the animals have their body parts amputated such as tails, a leg, arm, or anything else that will get tested on. I asked then is people think that people should test on animals and lots of people said no because they are living creatures like us or that you wouldn't like if someone tested on you so you shouldn't do it to them.My last question was if people would have seen an animal on the street limping, wounded, bleeding or starving, would they stop to help it or see what is going on with it. 11 people said yes which is really good and helpful. The rest of people said it depends, no, or not sure which is ok too but I think  some people think that none of that is their business and  then just walk away from the animal.

You and the World Blog 2 - Gay Marriage

Welcome to blog number two of my You and the World Project on gay rights. My first blog post addressed the statistics of gay marriage supporters in the U.S, and arguments that are held against gay rights, along with evidence supporting and opposing the the correlation of civil rights and gay rights. In this post, I will give an update on some new gay rights happenings since my blog one, share some of my own opinions, and give some new statistics. 

The last few months have been great months for the LGBTQ community. Same-sex marriage was legalized in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington state in November. Gay marriage and adoption is on its way to be legalized in France. The Hobbit, a wonderful success, came out in December, starring openly gay Ian McKellen as Gandalf the Grey. It seems both in America and in the world at large, people are slowly coming to terms with gay marriage.

On the other side, there are still people in the world fighting to protect the young generations from making the “life choice” to be a homosexual as an adult. Do you agree with men like Scott Lively, supporter of the Uganda “Kill the Gays” bill? Or Stacey Campfield and his “Don’t Say Gay” bill? Do you think that the good outcomes these men hope to gain from their campaigns out weigh the good outcomes of the lives of married gay couples?

For my piece of individual research, I created a short simple survey about who the survey taker was and if they supported gay rights. The questions were as follows; 1. Male or Female? 2. How old are you? 3. What is your sexual orientation? 4. Do you support gay marriage? 5. If no, why not? 

Here are a few helpful graphs depicting my results.

Sexual Orienation
Sexual Orienation
Do you support gay marriage
Do you support gay marriage
If no, why
If no, why
The results show, on a whole, that 90% of the participants, majority of them in the 14-16 age range, support gay marriage. The 10% of participants that said they did not support gay marriage answered that religion was the reason they opposed gay rights. When I asked one of the participants why religion gave him a reason to appose gay rights, he replied, “because homosexuality is a sin.” 

Interestingly enough, as a new poll shows, the amount Americans that believe homosexuality is a sin has decreased by 7% in the last year, from 44% to 37%. Even more interesting are the statistics shown from further polling. The amount of people that answer that they do not believe homosexuality is a sin has only increased by 2%. This leaves a surprising amount of people in the “I don’t know” category. Is this good news for the the LGBT community? How will we make “I don’t know” into “yes”?

This change in heart from religious americans can be rooted in many different recent cultural changes, including the support for gay marriage from Barack Obama and the rising popularity of openly gay celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres. I read another article on Huffington Post's Gay Voice's section about evangelical minister Steven Chalke. Chalke has begun "calling on Christians to support the gay community, as well as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights, instead of promoting a policy of 'condemn and exclude'". This new christian way of thinking gives hope for a brighter future for gay marriage and gay rights. Christians like Chalke would not be changing their religion, but rather letting their beliefs evolve with the quickly changing times. 

I hope that this slow increasing trend of accepting gay rights will continue in America, and eventually throughout the rest of the world. Accepting the rights and differences of members of the LGBT community is the next step in the evolution of the human race. But once gay people have rights, will the world already have found a new group of people to discriminate against? Found a new step to overcome? 

For the third and final step of this project, I must become an agent of change and go into the world to make a difference that correlates with my issue. I plan to do a slideshow/video of the definitions of love. People arguing against gay rights have long, rolling arguments, but in the end, it's about whether you are letting people be with the people they love. With a series of pictures, I want to show that no matter who you are or who you are attracted to, you thrive off the same happiness and the same love. I hope it will make people think, reevaluate, and accept every single person's rights as a human being. Live and let live. Love and let love.

Here is a link to my bibliography. Stay tuned for my third and final blog!

If you'd like to see another youtube video giving strong arguments for gay marriage rights - click on this link

You and the World Blogpost 2 by Zoe Schwingel-Sauer

Lately in the news there has been a major uproar about the food industry. In Washington D.C. there is a bill that is trying to be passed that would force food companies to put on the package label if the food product had any trace of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). This is very similar to the bill that was attempted in California, but failed. People all across the country are starting to come together and protest for food labeling! In my first blog post I talked about GMOs and their effect. In this blog post I will be talking about how businesses are successful without using GMOs, but using natural ingredients.

While I was on break recently, I was in Massachusetts. There I went to a restaurant with my family that was called The Farm Table. I had been there once before and had learned a lot about their ingredients and attitude on food in general. All of their ingredients are 100% natural with no GMOs, antibiotics, or added hormones. Also, almost all of their food is grown or raised locally. Since fast food restaurants are so successful, there is doubt that organic restaurants will make a good profit. The Farm Table has had a major triumph with their opening and is continuing to have a constant flow of customers. Next to The Farm Table is a candle store and a Christmas store. All these profits go to to the owner(s) of The Farm Table.

Another success story of going all organic is the Weaver’s Way Co-op. One of their current locations is just around the corner from my house! Weaver’s Way is basically a mini grocery store that sells local and natural food products. The farms that provide the vegetables are very close in distance. One of the farms is even a high school! They have three different stores. What keeps people coming back for more? There are various reasons! Weaver’s Way has many loyal customers.  The stores has a wide variety of organic products. While these items tend to be a bit more expensive than non-organic items, they have the same taste (even better if you ask me), and are way healthier for you! People who live within the vicinity of the co-ops can pay a certain fee, and then OWN a part of the co-op! The owners of the co-ops are the community! The community comes together and collaborates on all kinds of decisions! These co-ops are role models for the food industry, and are the future.

Fast food = Cheap vs. Organic food = Expensive

Which is really more expensive?

Above is a picture showing a dollar meal menu from McDonalds. (source)

One of the main reasons that so many people buy fast food over organic food or even just fruit or vegetables is because of the cost. At McDonald’s you can buy an entire meal for about two or three dollars. At pretty much any store two or three dollars could get you two, maybe three apples. When it comes to mealtime, parents will spend only a little bit of their money on a decent sized meal, rather than spend the same amount on only a few pieces of fruits or vegetables. When you’re comparing the prices, getting fast food seems cheaper, but is it really? In the long run, you will actually have to pay more money in a result from eating fast food compared to eating healthily. How is this possible? McDonald’s while cheaper, is incredibly unhealthy for you. Eating McDonald’s every day or even every week will most likely result in a health condition, probably diabetes. (here is a game to see if you know what's in you food!) Paying for medicinal supplements every month is much more money than paying the extra dollars for a healthy meal. In general, people are “in the moment” thinkers. We don’t always contemplate what will happen in the future when we make a decision, nor do we always care. With food I strongly urge everyone to think about the long term consequences. If you pay the extra money now for the healthy food, later you won’t have to pay the overbearing amount of bills for medicine. To retouch on an earlier topic, the reason that fast food is so immensely unhealthy for you is because of the GMOs that are in the food, hormones and antibiotics given to animals, and that these products are never organic or natural. They get shipped in from all over the country!

Individual Research: Organic Peas vs. Natural Peas (False Advertisement)

To further my research on my topic, I bought a bag of organic peas and a bag of “natural” peas. Many companies will put on the food label that their product is “all natural.” A lot of people mistake natural for organic, however there is a difference. Organic products do not allow GMOs, antibiotics, and hormones. Natural products allow all of these things! While the ingredients look the same, there are MAJOR differences. On the back of the organic peas it said that these peas were certified by Washington State Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Screen Shot 2013-01-18 at 2.29.45 PM
Above is an original picture showing the back of an organic pea bag (the certification)

This proves that the product has been tested and has come back with no results or traces of GMOs, hormones, or antibiotics. On the natural peas, there were only the main ingredients and no certification! It is false advertisement saying that a food product is “natural.” During my research I have gone to a couple of grocery stores, and compared the organic to the natural over and over again. Next time when you’re looking for let’s say GMO free food, always go for organic!
Above is an original picture the back of the organic pea bag (left) and natural pea bag (right) 

For my project to make a change, I am creating a "How-to-Shop" pamphlet on how to find organic foods that have good flavor, quality, and aren't too expensive. I will be putting these pamphlets around school and my neighborhood for anyone to use!

Here is my Bibliography.

Here is blogpost 1.

YATW Blog#2:World Hunger

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Screen Shot 2013-01-17 at 1.11.38 PM
Hello there, I am Dejanyia Johnson and this is Part 2 of my 3 part blog post. If you have not read my last blog post , I am doing this for my English class. I and my classmates were told to pick one of various topics, research about them, and create three blog post where we explained and talked about the issue that we have chosen. In case you are wondering what issue I chose, it’s World Hunger. I chose this issue because there are many solutions to the issue, but there is no one taking any action or being assertive.  After I finished my last blog post, I still had questions that were not answered. So, I took it upon myself to conduct my own research to see how people felt about the issue. I created my own survey asking people certain questions about the issue to see what the results would be like.

While I created and received data, I started to analyze and try to process the data. I found that while most people agree that hunger is an issue, there was still a few people who thought/think that it is not. When I first saw the responses,  I was a bit shocked, but then I began to understand why there were answers there were. I figured that since some,” no”, they most likely have not encountered the issue. I also researched other information on the issue and why were there so many people affected. I found that most individuals affected by hunger are children. This was at StatisticBrain. If you go to this site you can see how they analyze their data as well.

In my survey, I asked individuals did they live in a low income household. I asked that question because most likely the reason to the malnutrition of both children and adults, would be due to the fact that there is a lack of income households receive. I say that because if there is no money coming through, then food can not be afforded. Hunger is a big problem. In fact, this is the main reason as to why hunger is such an epidemic. I say that this is a problem because many people do not view hunger as a crisis, but more as something that is bound to happen. If you look at this site , you would be able to see the statitstics about world hunger. It is a major issue that should be solved. If you view the website, you can see or infer that the reason to hunger is due to lack of income.

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Screen Shot 2013-01-17 at 1.10.45 PM
This is information has helped me add to my understanding in multiple ways. After I have done my research and conducted my own research, I realized that hunger is an even bigger issue than I thought. Although this is true, I now understand how important it is to get the issue recognized because there are still people out there who does not believe this is true. Now that I have added to my research, I feel as though that there should be someone taking action and being assertive about the issue. Since I feel this way, I want to become an agent of change. An agent of change is someone who wants to do something about a certain issue. So, I am going to either volunteer at a soup kitchen or a shelter. This will help me to see up close and personal about what actually goes on and a chance to talk to the people who come there.
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Screen Shot 2013-01-17 at 1.11.55 PM
Click here for bibliography 

#English, #Dunn, #You #and #the #World

YATW Blog 2: Littering and its Effect on the Environment

This is a continuation of my first blog. If you have not read it, I suggest you do and then come back and read this one.

My name is Miles Cruice-Barnett. My stream’s English class at Science Leadership Academy is doing a “You and the World” project. What is a you and the world project? What we do is pick an issue in the world, or nation, or community, or wherever, and we do research on it. We then post a few blogs about it and go out and try to help fix the issue. My issue is about littering in public places and how it can effect the environment.

In my first blog I talk about how littering is bad for the environment. In this blog I will focus on what you can do to help.

For our second blogs we had to conduct original research. For my research I contacted the Executive Director of Keep Philadelphia Beautiful (a sub-branch of Keep America Beautiful) and checked out their websites. I found out that you just need to contact one of the Directors or find the website to to find out how to volunteer. For Philly, you can go to the Unlitter Us page for upcoming events.

If you do not live in Philadelphia, you can go to this link here on the KAB website; just click your state and find your city, town, etc.
Screen Shot 2013-01-18 at 2.21.05 PM
Screen Shot 2013-01-18 at 2.21.05 PM
Find your city

Philadelphia was placed third in Forbes's annual America’s 20 Dirtiest Cities in 2012. That’s not good. I think that everyone should go out and volunteer at least once a month. If you don’t have time for that, next time you are walking down the street and see some trash, pick it up. Next time you are about to throw something on the ground, put it in your pocket until you find a trash can. Next time you see someone else throw something on the ground, ask them to pick it up. The bottom line is that it’s easy not to litter; just wait till you find a trash can.

This is my bibliography for both of my blogs.


You and the World Blog Post #2: Surveys and Gayborhoods

 Taking a step back into present day, homosexuality is now more controversial than ever. But it seems that people are now more open to expressing their opinions about the topic as opposed to prior times. I decided to do my own investigating and wanted to get the opinions of today's youth. The children that will be running the world as we know it when they are adults.

I initiated a majority of my student body to take some time and complete a survey asking them about their beliefs and opinions of homosexuality as a whole. From the results, many of them agreed with one another. And there were some who weren't afraid to express their true feelings. I do appreciate how everyone was very mature about the matter, it seems that they were all eager to get their thoughts out.  

Here are the results from that survey. If you are interested in taking it yourself, click here
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Screen Shot 2013-01-15 at 9.16.09 PM
Instead of just asking them “yes” or “no” questions, I wanted to get an actual response from them (if possible) about what their exact opinions were. And why they made the decisions they did when answering the questions. One of the main questions that was was “What do you think makes people go against/support gay marriage?”. The results were recorded as follows.
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Screen Shot 2013-01-17 at 1.13.35 PM
I then gave them the option to expand on their reasoning...

“God constituted marriage between man and women, not women and women and man and man. Therefore, I don't support homosexuality. But that does not mean I hate them, because as a Christian you are supposed to love everyone. Homosexuality is not a natural God made thing and therefore I don't support it.”

“Fear of something they know nothing about. You fear the unknown so you don't give it a chance.”

These were some of the most interesting responses. Everyone seemed to have their own logical reasoning for their beliefs and it was really impressive. Coming from an unbiased point of view, not many of the responses sway me to either side of the bar.

            A majority also believed that the reason people were against gay relationships were the doings of religion. A common belief, and understandable. Throughout history the Christian bible has been taken out of context, and caused the condemning of race and sexuality. Since homosexuality is such a big phenomena now, a new gay friendly “Queen” James bible has been created. According to sources, the book has corrected the passages from the original bible that seem to have bashed homosexuality. A nice buy for those interested out there.

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Screen Shot 2013-01-17 at 1.36.30 PM
I plan on expanding on this topic. I could possibly interview someone who feels comfortable expressing their opinions on camera. But on the other hand, lets get into the exciting part. I’m from Philly, if you didn’t already realize it. One of the most cultured cities in the States. When deciding what topic I could do my YTW on, I knew it had to be something that I could interact with.  Aside from the popular Rocky statue and cheese steaks, there is a much mesmerizing element. The Gayborhood.
Philadelphia’s gayborhood runs through 7th and 8th in Broad Streets and between Chestnut and South Street. The entire area makes almost a perfect square. Making it almost impossible to get lost, just look for the street signs with a rainbow under them. Within the neighborhood are gay and lesbian businesses, bars and restaurants. It is known for coming alive at night, definitely not a place for kids. However the wide range of restaurants attract people of all shades and sexualities. But aside from the entertainment scene, there are other places that attract different types. Literature. Located at 345 South St, is Gionvanni’s Room. America’s oldest gay lesbian owned bookstore. Giovanni’s book collection caters to those that enjoy bisexual, transexual, gay and lesbian literature and recent reviews say...

“Its very nice must go and try out you will like”


“The biggest, best, and most beautiful lesbian, gay, transgender, and bisexual store in the land. Online and physical. Queer studies a specialty.”

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Screen Shot 2013-01-18 at 2.24.16 PM
The picture above depicts an in depth look inside Giovanni’s. The wide range of books look interesting from a glance.

I hope on my journey through the gayborhood, I can take a stop by and have a little conversation with the owners. Maybe I can even grab a bite to eat in one of the restaurants nearby? One of the main purposes of this journey is to get a feel of the gay lifestyle. Being a person that came into this project with an open and free mind. I don't want to choose between being for gays or not, but to get a better understand of something so controversial and share it with you guys.

Looking back at the survey results, everyone views gayness differently. People have their own beliefs and views, and discriminating against them will do nothing good. I really enjoyed the fact that a lot of people actually volunteered to take the survey, regardless of how uncomfortable the subject might make them. It really opens everyone’s eyes of future. The young faces that we see today will be running the world tomorrow. Will our views change? Are the same people who support gay rights, going to be against it in upcoming years? Conversions maybe? Will gayness be accepted and the discrimination be another thing of civil rights? There are so many unanswered questions.

​Take a look at my bibliography here
And if you'd like to view my previous blog post click here

You and The World Blog #2

Hello my name is Nashay Day, and I attend Science Leadership Academy. In English class we have to complete a ‘You and The World’ project, this allows us to learn on our own outside the classroom, and get a grade for doing it as well. For my project I am helping the homeless, if you have not seen my last blog post, please click here. If you have please continue to read... Over my christmas break I volunteered at the Mercy Hospice Women & Children’s Shelter in downtown Philadelphia. In my time there I loved how thankful they were for the clothes, toys, and food that was given to them. This made me look at the people around me, and as I began to think, I saw how luxurious we live. Even if you aren’t going to Neiman Marcus and buying a pair a Guiseppe Zannotti shoes, the things that we (people who are above the poverty level) find essential, may be truly a luxury item, such as fast food, or even disposable clothing. So how do we help those in need? We don’t change our lifestyles we just know how great our lives are, and give back as much as we possible can.

When my nearing its end, I went to an impoverished area to better my understanding on my issue. Click here to see my interview. As I was the derelict I saw that a lot of them were in fact veterans, and some even had degrees. They were either laid off, had a mental disability, or just had no place to live. Some of the stories brought me to tears. I honestly did not know how bad their lives were. It is so sad that people just like us were in such terrible living conditions.

Giving back can be something as simple as given your local derelict money, or even feeding someone in need. If we all lend a helping hand, we can make a huge difference. I know that some people make a huge speech about giving back because its the right thing, but we should make this essential. If we can make luxury purchases for enjoyment, why can’t we help someone survive just because it is logical thing to do. It is a principle that is suppose to taught early on in life, but I have noticed, when people grow older, and start to deal with the complexity of life, they forget the core values that were taught to them when they were younger, like greeting and helping your fellow man. But I am still left wondering, why people will not lend a helping hand, is it because they don’t feel comfortable or because they really don’t care?

To help me better my research and data please click here to take my survey on homelessness and remember if we all lend a helping we can make a big difference, I know it!

You and the World Blog Post 2

Sattera Mark                                                     You and the World Blog post Two

Here's a link to my first You and the World blog post

     I’m doing a project in my English class called “You and the World”. For the project me and my classmates had to think about an issue in the world that we cared about and seek to change it. I thought about it for a while and decided to work with Teen Haven. Teen Haven is a Christian camp in Brogue Pa. There, three different cities meet. Those cities are Philadelphia, Lancaster, and York Pa. Being at that camp for four years, I heard numerous of stories from some of the kids that come there. Many of them are foster kids and come from broken homes with no father in their life. Knowing this I was excited in getting an opportunity to volunteer there.

   A field director, Chanea Whitinginton asked me if I felt ready to take a leadership roll as a junior counselor. I immediately said yes. I also got involved in a leadership group at camp called Restore. The theme of Restore is to Restore, Rebuild, and Renew. It’s for kids who are already apart of Teen Haven and want to take their leadership up to the next level. At restore meetings we discuss how to become better at what we do. We go over how me can improve and also what were doing well. It’s also a chance to make new friendships with other leaders and learn from each other. 

   The last Restore meeting I attended was very recent. It was January 11-13. I had a wonderful time spending the weekend with other leaders and getting to know each other. During that weekend we had five meetings. In the meetings we discussed these topics., Trust, Lifestyle, and Conflict Management. In some meetings we were asked questions. We wrote our answers on index card without our names on it. Two of the questions were who do you think you are and the second one was who do people say that you are. After listening to everyone’s answers I realized that sometimes people think better of ourselves than we even do. Those questions made of learn more about each other and we are much closer. After the meeting people started opening up to each other and sharing things that they hid. 

    After last weekend I feel like I’m ready to serve this winter/spring camp session. I now know that I can trust the other leaders. I can’t wait to do my job and to help in any possible way that I can.


Why Abortion is Wrong - Blog 2: New Research

Hello to my new readers, and welcome back to my previous ones!  If you missed my last blog, you can see it here.

I have done quite a bit of new research since my last post.  It is surprising how much news there is related to the subject of abortion.  I was able to read several articles on the subject.

The New York Times published an article about how pregnancy centers are greatly influencing the pro-life movement on January 4th.  These centers, which are mostly operated by Christian organizations, especially Care Net, offer free ultrasounds and pregnancy tests, and a friendly environment, in an attempt to discourage women from abortion.  They have been largely successful, partly because they tend to be located near Planned Parenthood clinics.  In fact, the Waco, TX pregnancy center said that 94% of women, when they see an ultrasound, decide against abortion.  This article was, however, heavily biased, though not an editorial, highlighting more of the faults of pregnancy centers than the strengths.  You can read that article here.

The Putnam County, Indiana Care Net Pregnancy Center

The second article is from World Magazine, a Christian news magazine.  It is from a special issue on abortion about the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the case which gave women the right of abortion.  It was about how many abortion clinics are still aborting babies even after the legal limit (from 20-26 weeks).  These limits have been changing lately because of a study that found out that a fetus can actually feel pain after 20-22 weeks, and can feel the pain of an abortion.  These people, such as James Scott Pendergraft, an abortionist, whom this article focused on, still abort babies after the limit.  The price for a late abortion is actually much more than an early one, making more profit for Mr. Pendergraft; a first-trimester abortion is around $400 while a late-term abortion can be as much as $1,000.  These babies can feel the pain of a blade cutting them apart, but it is still legal to do so in some states.  Fortunately, as I said earlier, the limits are being lowered in light of this new information.  You can see that article here.   

A map and key of states’ restrictions on abortion based on the period of pregnancy.

After I wrote my first blog, I thought to myself, “What makes a person think abortion is right?”  I thought that maybe the public was not aware of how early a fetus has human characteristics (such as heartbeat, intelligence, etc.).  So I conducted a survey.  I asked eight questions (you can see the actual survey here).  I not only wanted to collect information, but I also wanted to provoke thought in those who took the survey.  The questions were:  “What makes a human being a human being?”  “When does a fetus have a heartbeat?”  

A fetus at 4 weeks, when its heart begins to beat.

When does a fetus first show intelligence (specifically sentience, which is awareness, or consciousness)?”  “When can a fetus feel pain?”  “When does a fetus start kicking?” and “When does a fetus become a human being?”  At the end I asked if the taker was pro-choice or pro-life, and why.

You may have noticed that the survey seemed like a test.  Yes, it, in a way, was.  I was trying to understand what people knew to find out why some people are for abortion.  

The complete results of my survey are here (please read this as I will be referring to it throughout the blog).  Before discussing the results, let us first assume that the killing of anything considered a human being is murder.   

I first asked “What makes a human being a human being?”  The majority of survey takers said human DNA.  If everything with human DNA is human, then all abortion is murder!  Yet most said that they were pro-choice.  Most people got the “test” questions right (though there was a fair amount who didn’t).  I then asked “When does a fetus become a human being?”  The most popular answer was at conception.  So, from those two questions, it can be said that most people believe that a fetus is always a human being, and therefore all abortion is murder.  Yet 47% said they were pro-choice on the next question!  

My only conclusion is this: most people who are pro-choice value a woman’s right to choose over a baby’s right to life.  I leave you, my readers, with one question:  Which is worth more: a person’s convenience or the life of a budding human being?

Watch for my next blog, in which I will create a piece of original media, possibly a video!



Hurricane Sandy Relief Blog 2 by: Serge Mass

Hello Everyone!

Last time I had made a blog post was last year. It’s crazy to say it’s 2013! So far the Hurricane Sandy clean up is coming along well. One of Mom’s co-workers helped out with the clean up in Red Bank New Jersey which is right next to Asbury Park. She also had helped out with Hurricane Katrina. I had an interview with her and this is what happened....

Q: What was it like to help out everyone effected by Sandy?

A: It made me feel really good and I felt like I made people’s day. I felt like a hero in a way .

Q: What did you do to help?

A: I went and cleaned up debris all over the place. In Red Bank it wasn’t as bad as other  beach towns, but it was pretty bad. I helped people find their belongings and got them into a temporary housing unit.

Q: Is there any other things that were interesting?

A: Well when I was there I met a family that their house floated away literally and it was crazy that it happened. 

Lately there has been a ton of relief efforts made by celebrities, but the biggest one had of been the 12.12.12 concert held in Madison Square Garden in New York City. The concert was to collect monetary donations for the victim’s effected by Super Storm Sandy. Some of the biggest musicians of the century were there. Including the Rolling Stones, The Who, Bob Dylan, Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen, Adam Sandler, Eric Clapton, Billy Joel, Paul McCartney, and the one and only Kanye West. It raised over $400 million dollars for the great cause. (source) 

The U.S. congress has just passed that gives $9.7 billion to insurance companies to help with flood insurance claims for the ones effected by Sandy. It lets the people that had their homes and businesses dusted by Sandy get back on their feet and try to get their normal live’s back. (source)

I really want to help this issue and I will be in a few ways. One will be in a saltwater fishing tournament in June at my dads yacht club and the money will go to sandy relief in Belmar, NJ. Another way I will help is do a donation jar system in local businesses around my neighborhood and I will donate the money directly to Red Cross. 

The pictures below are before and afters of Hurricane Sandy and pictures of the clean up and what happened  (source)  (source)


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Poverty In Philadelphia Part 2

Jamie Turner

1-18-13       Orange Stream

    The Causes of Poverty

Since my last post I have done a lot of research.  I did a survey to see what people’s views are on Poverty in Philadelphia.  I got a lot of feed back and a lot of different answers.  I also got to see a few different point of views.  My results will most likely determine what my agent of change.  It all depends on what people think we can do to help prevent poverty.

In my survey I asked people the questions that I wanted answered in my first blog.  First I asked if they thought poverty was a major problem in Philadelphia.  91% said yes they thought Poverty was a major problem.  My first thoughts when I saw that 9% said Poverty wasn’t a problem was “ What are they Thinking?”  But when you think bout it they have a point.  Philadelphia has so many other problems.  I know multiple people died on New Years Eve this year.  As a matter of fact my dad’s cousin was killed in a hit and run on City Line ave.  So I can see that we do have other major problems besides Poverty.

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The second Question I asked was “What is the main cause of Poverty in Philadelphia?”.  The reader had a choice between Unemployment, Drugs, The Economy,  Or they could put their own answer.  The answers were pretty evenly balanced but most people voted that the economy was the biggest reason why people are living in poverty.  I personally thought that drugs were the biggest reason why people were living in poverty but now I can see that it may be the economy.  The country is in trillions of dollars of debt.  So I can totally understand why that was the most popular reason.  So I think that this answer is a lot easier to understand than the first answer.
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The last question I asked was the question that will influence my agent of change.  The question is “What can we do to prevent poverty?”.  I only gave the person the option of saying it’s up to the economy or their own answer.  More people said their own answer in this last question.  I was actually very surprised to see that a majority of these answers were about the country’s education problems.  I actually never really thought that education and poverty went together until I saw these answers.  This totally changed my thoughts on this question.  I thought the solution was more homeless shelters and soup kitchens.  But know I think education is the key to prevent people from living in poverty.

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This survey really interested me in a few different ways.  One way is that I got to find an understanding for other people’s points of view on Poverty in our city.  Another way is that it totally changed my point of view on how poverty could be prevented.  I think These things are the exact reason I did a survey.  I think the next time I do a survey I would try to get more people to take it because I didn’t have too many people take my survey other than that I think this was very successful.

Click here to see my first blog post on Poverty In Philadelphia.

Click here to see my bibliography.

Blog Post #2 (YATW)

     Hello everyone! This is my second blog post for; You And The World. As you may know my issue is teen suicide due to bullying. In my first blog post, I informed you everything you need to know about teen suicide due to bullying. For those of you who didn’t view it, you can view my first blog post here. Ever since my last post I’ve found new research that relates to teen suicide. I also decided to do my own research by creating a survey with various questions for teens. 

    I decided to explore more about teen suicide, that isn’t due to bullying. According the Wexner Medical Center, suicide risk factors vary with age, gender, and cultural and social influences and may change over time. Risk factors for suicide frequently occur in combination with each other. The following are some suicide risk factors that may be present:

  • one or more diagnosable mental or substance abuse disorders
  • impulsive behaviors
  • undesirable life events or recent losses (parental divorce)
  • family history of mental or substance abuse disorder
  • family history of suicide
  • family violence, including physical, sexual, or verbal/ emotional abuse
  • prior suicide attempt
  • firearm in the home
  • incarceration or the detention of a person in prison
  • exposure to the suicidal behavior of others, including family, peers, in the news, or in fiction stories. 

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    Research after research, I’ve became more curious. I wanted to find out about teen suicides before the year 2,000. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (nami), here are some of the few facts I found:


  • In 1996, more teenagers and young adults died of suicide than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia and influenza, and chronic lung disease combined.
  • In 1996, suicide was the second-leading cause of death among college students, the third-leading cause of death among those aged 15 to 24 years, and the fourth- leading cause of death among those aged 10 to 14 years.
  • From 1980 to 1996, the rate of suicide among African-American males aged 15 to 19 years increased by 105 percent.

     It is a hopeful sign that while the incidence of suicide among adolescents and young adults nearly tripled from 1965 to 1987, teen suicide rates in the past ten years have actually been declining, possibly due to increased recognition and treatment. 

       Taking research into my own hands, I’ve created a survey called “Teen Suicide.” This survey was answered by 59 teens. According to the survey 48 people out of 59 didn’t know anyone who died from committing suicide and didn’t help to prevent it. Which was awesome! In the other hand, 42 people out of 59 are unaware of the frequency of teen suicide in the United States. Also, 46 people out of 59 said that they were once bullied in their life. It’s unbelievable! Fortunately when asked “ What do you do when you see a person getting bullied? “ 38 people out of 59 answered, “ Tell an adult.” Seventeen people out of 59 answered “ Watch, and keep it to yourself." Only 12 people answered “ Participate in the action.” 

        Some of the responses on this survey affected me. They were quite confusing. For example, I couldn’t believe that amount of people who took the survey were bullied. It was more than half! I didn’t expect this. Also, I thought it was very surprising that some  people would actually answer “ Participate it the action “ when asked, “ What do you do when you see a person get bullied? “ That was quite unexpected. 

    Next time, I would be writing the last and final blog post. Action will be taken. I’m planning to do volunteer work for my agent of change. 

Click here for the story of one the most popular, but saddest teen suicides due to bullying, Amanda Todd.                               

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Click here for my bibliography. :)

You And The World Blog Post #2: LGBT Equality

Hi, I’m Morgan Caswell-Warnick. I am a part of the freshman class of 2016 here at Science Leadership Academy. This is my second blog post for my You and the World project for freshman English. I am dealing with the topic of LGBT equality in modern day. If you haven’t already, you should read my first blog post from earlier on in this project.

But this time, instead of just researching about the issue, I decided to do my own research on this topic. I conducted a survey amongst my peers here at SLA to see about who supports LGBT rights. Out of this survey, with everyone under the age of 18, 71% percent of people said that they supported gay rights because everyone should be able to love who they want without being judged. 7% said they didn’t know what they believed, and 7% said they didn’t support LGBT rights.

The main reason for supporting LGBT rights was because they felt you should be able to love who you want without being judged for it. The main reason for not supporting LGBT rights was because they believed that supporting homosexuality conflicted with their personal religious beliefs. Also, 71% of people said they also knew someone who identified as a member of the LGBT community.

However, this survey was conducted among SLA students. SLA is a community in which everyone accepts you and loves you, no matter who you are. SLA also has a Gay/Straight Alliance. This is an organization all over the country that the chapters are run from high schools. This organization gives high school students the chance to work within the community of their school to make school a more LGBT friendly place. Also, more and more cities are having citywide GSA clubs. This gives the kids involved the chance to get involved in the city and making hometowns more friendly.

I see this a good thing, most people support LGBT rights, Some people said no due to religion, but we can’t all agree. These stats are higher than they have been in the past. America is moving forward and making this great country a more inclusive place for everyone.

Lost Identity

Lost Identity

When I was a little girl, I only remember my mother having been extremely controlling. We were hers and if we didn’t do as she said, we had broken a law, no matter how minuscule it might have been. There was no room for our opinions. Even in my education. She would have wanted me to be smarter. There wasn’t time for me to become better at my writing, I simply should have just been able to do it. There wasn’t anything natural about writing for me. 

She took my papers. She took them and crumpled them up. All my hard work. I was 10 years old. She didn’t think I was smart enough to write a decent paper. 

“Give me the fact list that you have on the woman,” my mother demanded. 

She wrote the entire paper. I could barely read her handwriting but she made me rewrite everything she did and turn it in as my own. I wasn’t allowed to voice my opinion. It wasn’t right, I knew that when I turned it in, but she would be upset with me if I didn’t do as she said. She was the boss.

I was always afraid when turning in my papers. They weren’t mine. I was little, and didn’t really care how intelligent they sounded, as long as I felt honest. The guilt of dishonesty that never went away. With the lies you must tell to please your parents. 

Getting sick didn’t end her tyranny. It was all that kept her from “being hyperaware of the pain.” My mistakes in language kept her mind moving. She thought that the idea of intertwining her expectations into mine would be helpful to me.

As this process continued I realized that what she was doing was beneficial to only her. My mother was living through me. I knew nothing different and so I simply went along. You don’t say no to a parent who is losing hair and is nauseous all day, every day. 

The constant revision of my papers did not end. Her sickness progressed and made her interest in my education dissipate. She was forced into not overseeing and reading all of my work before it was turned in. She got too sick to know I existed.

One of the main points from the essay “How to Tame A Wild Tongue” by Gloria Anzaldía. “So, if you really want to hurt me, talk badly about my language. Ethnic identity is twin skin to linguistic identity- I am my language. Until I can take pride in my language, I cannot take pride in myself.” Language is the representation of experience, ethnicity, and family, all together to create the final melody. A perfect combination of sounds and a back story, that can all become known from a few simple words.

If language is your identity, who are we until we find our own? My identity was lost. As if mine were the clone of my mothers.

“A child cannot be taught by anyone who despises him. And a child cannot afford to be fooled.” This quote, taken from James Baldwin’s essay, “If Black English Isn’t A Language, Then Tell Me What Is?” This states that any teacher who in fact dislikes children will not teach the child effectively. I connected this to my own experience because I learned from my brothers about the world and language. Much to their dismay. They saw I would never be taught by my mother who had taken the time to teach them. They must have been loved in a different way. I only learned from my own mistakes, and those of my siblings, when chastised for misuse of language.

I was forced to whine into a jar when I was young. I complained often I guess, but when I did, everything was gibberish. Nobody wants to hear words they can’t comprehend. The jar stayed on the kitchen counter until I was seven and a half years old. The way I spoke disgusted my family.

While my mother was sick, she ran a blog. She hated the term, so it was simply, her online journal. She began it the day after she was diagnosed. Wanting to be able to tell her story in the beautiful way that she knew how. Her writing was her everything. She touched people across the country. They read every post she ever wrote. So many people that didn’t know anything about us except what she wrote. I was 9 years old when her news crushed me. This was when I learned what a story could do. A person’s words were power. They moved mountains and could touch the heart of another without a physical contact needed. Even in Layman’s terms, her words sounded so honest. Despite the cliché, I find their overuse, very powerful and truthful.

“Dying is very inconvenient,” she wrote. Three days before her death, she knew it was coming. It isn’t about whether the language “intersects” with identity or not, but rather your identity is kept locked in your mind and soul. The only key to open it is your language. Whether writing the truest of true, or speaking, it’s poetry. She apologized to the people she never met, for leaving them. Her parting words made strangers burst into tears. Her story was public. But it was also over.

Language in my experience, is the power that kept my mother alive for longer than a year. It encouraged prayers from coast to coast. And it kept her mine for a little while longer, even if I believed she wanted to leave me. Language is identity. It also creates connection, whether healthy or not, the power of language is something to be worked on, not cloned.