Our country has had enough of leaders with false promises. In the wake of George Floyd’s murder at the hands of police, Americans everywhere are calling for structural change. In this moment, we must use our power as Democratic voters and young people to put pressure on Joe Biden. While many of the changes to public safety and police departments need to come from within local and state governments, America needs a national leader who will champion civil and human rights.
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Since the murder of George Floyd, protests have erupted not only across all 50 states in America but also in London, Kenya, East Jerusalem, New Zealand, and many other countries around the world. However, the protests are not only about George Floyd and police brutality, they are also about the everyday injustices Black Americans face: they are about systemic racism.
Racism remains a key component of America’s identity. The recent deaths of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd highlight how Black Americans are not only dying from COVID-19, but racism. It fertilizes America’s soil, fuels the mass incarceration system, widens the wage gap, and kills our people. When I learned about racist-fueled murders, I am reminded that the noose is now the gun. Lynching never went away.
Last week, United States Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, released the highly anticipated Title IX regulations update. Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex which also includes cases of sexual misconduct. While the Department of Education has praised the new regulations for supporting survivors, their prediction is far from reality. In fact, Betsy DeVos’s new regulations raise more challenges for survivors to step forward in an already fraught process. The regulations do more harm than good and it is now up to universities like Penn to take action where the federal government has failed to.
COVID-19 has left businesses, families, and private institutions in financial crisis. Now, almost everyone is begging the government for money. When they don’t receive money, they often blame those who do receive it.
Many talk about being sad at Penn, yet not everyone takes action to change their situation. It is no secret that CAPS has a negative perception on campus and has had one for a while. Although I have only attended a few sessions at CAPS, I want to push back on this stereotype that CAPS and more generally, therapy, is ineffective.
I used to have a poster in my dorm room that read “Work Hard, Play Harder” and right next to it, a poster that read “Make Your Mental Health a Priority.” For the longest time, I thought these two phrases went hand-in-hand with one another. But after living by the former motto for some time, I realized that this is far from the case.
At Penn, we are constantly surrounded by people. During class, after class, and even in the dormitory depending on one’s living situation, students are constantly engaging with others and have little time for themselves. With Penn being the social Ivy, being social is often expected of students. The thought of going to a dining hall alone is petrifying, and the thought of spending a significant amount of time by oneself is perceived as odd. Rather than constantly feeling the need to be surrounded by people, Penn students ought to spend more time alone. If spent correctly, time alone can beneficial.
When looking for work-study jobs, my number one criterion was not how well it would pay me, but how well it could hide me. I was worried that people’s perceptions of me would change, and the thought of seeing my friends during work petrified me. I’ll be the first to admit that I was embarrassed. But students should not have to feel embarrassed about their work-study jobs.
Penn President Amy Gutmann has stated that “understanding and appreciating diversity is one of Penn's most important priorities and is fundamental to success in today's world.” Penn advertises itself as diverse. On Penn’s website, a significant number of the pictures represent students from a variety of racial and ethnic backgrounds. Although the pictures tend to be candid, these photos are not an accurate representation of diversity at Penn.
Penn students, especially freshmen, are eager to get involved. With over 450 student-run organizations, club culture at Penn is enormous. And on Aug. 29, desperation was in the air as clubs lined up on Locust Walk for the annual club fair. For many freshmen, the notion of applying to collegiate clubs was new, and the idea of getting rejected was even more foreign. Now in the beginning of October with clubs finalizing their teams, students are reflecting on the clubs which did and did not accept them.