On April 18 many seniors were seen wearing an “I’m a Georgia Voter” sticker. This is because Georgia held a sixth district special election to replace Republican congressman Tom Price, who stepped down to serve as secretary of Health and Human Services.
Democrat, Jon Ossoff, ran against 11 Republicans for the position and almost gained 50% of the votes—which is what is needed to declare a winner. Ossoff fell short with having 48.1% of the votes while the other candidates roughly shared the other 51%. The Republican with the greatest percent, Karen Handel, garnered nearly 20% of the votes. Because none of the candidates cleared 50%, a runoff will take place June 20.
Ossoff has made himself more accessible through countless rallies for supporters to sign up to volunteer and get the chance to meet him in person. I was lucky enough to attend his first rally in preparing for the runoff. It consisted of signing up for shifts to volunteer at one of his campaign offices. These volunteers are being asked to go door to door and advocate for Ossoff. They will also push “mail-in” voting and make you promise you won’t be out of town on June 20. Currently many of the official members of his campaign are from Gen X.
When I attended the rally this age group made up most of the population in attendance. Ossoff was eager to speak with all attendees of the rally and was much more personable than expected. He gave off a calm and engaging demeanor while making a short speech and greeting the crowd. Ossoff was more than willing to take pictures with supporters (including me) and listen to topics that concerned them.
With such a narrow margin of votes needed, it has become increasingly important for millennials to be involved. This means spreading the word regarding voter registration and voicing their opinions on issues that are important to them. Ossoff’s campaign has an increasing desire for involvement by younger people in the campaign.
Kendrick Lamar has been a voice for those that have been silenced by the silence in America. Frank and anecdotal details have had a major part in his music since day one. Every album is synonymous with the diary of a black man in America, and Lamar’s lyrics come from a place of reflection and not racial partition. He advocates for Black Lives Matter without ever uttering those words.
There is a gap between his listeners though, some fans completely miss Lamar’s agenda. They only claim to admire “the beats and mixing,” but how can you only enjoy the sound behind a movement? They know all the words, but don’t understand the meaning behind them. This is to say that you can’t discredit the Black Lives Matter movement and call Kendrick Lamar the best rapper of all time in the same breath. His racial struggles are not intersectional—so when I hear white boys chanting “N****, we gon’ be alright” I am left dumbfounded. He didn’t write those words for you. This is not to say that non-black people shouldn’t listen or even claim to be fans of him, but they should understand the weight behind his words. It carries the weight of over two-hundred years of racial dissension in America. Kendrick Lamar also speaks of the socio-economic problems he faced growing up in Compton, California, and bluntly explains this influence of the environment he grew up. His newest album “DAMN.” does not disappoint and offers the same authenticity and genuineness.
In the first song off the album, “BLOOD.” Lamar includes Fox News excerpt, “Lamar stated his views on police brutality with that line in the song/ Quote: “And we hate the popo, wanna kill us in the street fo’ sho'”/Oh please, ugh, I don’t like it.” The first track of the album advocates for the Black Lives Matter movement front and center as Lamar narrates himself being shot on the street as an innocent man. It changes the perspective on the loss of an innocent life. Whether he’s your favorite rapper or not, at the end of the day Lamar is a black man that is directly impacted by the slaying of black men in cold blood. Many want to remove the meaning behind his words and not think about his advocation for Black Lives Matter.
The tune “ELEMENT.” offers another blunt look of his home life growing up in Compton: “put the Bible down and go eye for an eye for this s***/D.O.T. my enemy, won’t catch a vibe for this s***, ayy/I been stomped out in front of my mama/My daddy commissary made it to commas”. This lyric speaks volumes about the struggles he faced in his tumultuous environment. To put this into perspective, the national average for violent crimes per 1000 people is 3.8 while Compton’s is 10.12. He has triumphed over so much chaos in his home life. This song is for those that ever doubted his love for rapping and why he writes what he does. He will go to great lengths to continue doing what he loves, and no one will ever come between him and his craft.
“PRIDE.” screams Lamar’s honest hopes for racial reconciliation and an overall peace between people with different cultural or socioeconomic backgrounds. “Promises are broken and more resentment come alive/Race barriers make inferior of you and I/See, in a perfect world, I’ll choose faith over riches/I’ll choose work over b******, I’ll make schools out of prison/I’ll take all the religions and put ’em all in one service.” These lyrics speak volumes and provide a theme to the album as a whole. His album comes from a place of reconciliation and advocacy for peace.
After driving around Downtown Atlanta in search for the new Masquerade, I finally spotted a folded sign scribbled with “Masquerade 3rd Floor” outside a parking garage. The exhausting search was finally over— or so I thought. If you enjoy scavenger hunts, finding this new venue will be right up your alley.
The Masquerade is well known by music lovers across the state and was formerly located at DuPre Excelsior Mill until it was sold in 2006. Recently the venue was moved to the lowest level of The Underground Atlanta. The original locations featured three different stages that were named after three destinations in the afterlife— heaven, hell and purgatory. Heaven was above, hell, go figure and purgatory was off to the side. At the new location each of these stages are all on one floor with three different entrances.
After parking on the third floor of a nearly vacant parking garage, more helter-skelter signs are scattered directing me to across a ramp and into The Underground. Right away, visitors are hit with a stench that lets them know they’re in for a good show. I’m almost certain I could have closed my eyes and followed the “aroma” in order to find the venue.
If it weren’t for the two arguing beatnik’s on the stairs, I would have presumed I was walking into a rave in an abandoned building. They explain that at the bottom of the stairs is where I’ll find the entrance.
And there it is! Literally a whole in the wall in the middle of a closed mall. The venue is intimidating at first as the “too cool for school” crowd stumbles outside. I’m barely of age to get in as I look over my ID to check my birthday a few more times. The woman who sells me my ticket couldn’t care less about my age and asks for my wrist. “Purgatory” was then stamped on my wrist, and I feel like I’ve completed gang initiation.
As I take my first steps inside, a mixture of smoke and fog hits my eyes and ears all at once. The stage is small, but intimate. The venue offers great sound and lighting for any up and coming performers in Atlanta.
The 2016 presidential election catalyzed the division of this nation and even more so when Donald Trump won the presidency. Many celebrities chose to speak out against the election of the new president and his policies, while other entertainers chose to remain silent. Through this stems a great debate, should celebrities have a say when it comes to politics, or should they stay out of it?
When it comes to musicians, should they keep quiet in order to protect their record sales in an already divided nation? Self-proclaimed “feminist,” Taylor Swift, has come under fire for this reason and been questioned as to why she stayed silent during the election and aftermath. Should this lead people to believe she is an opportunistic feminist or a shrewd business woman trying to protect her country turned bubblegum pop empire? Those that have an issue with this tight-lipped strategy feel as though Swift should have spoken up because the election of Donal Trump would ultimately threaten the “female empowerment” she stands so unwavering for. The problem wasn’t that she didn’t pick a candidate to endorse, it’s that her silence is hypocritical.
On the other hand some artists were Hillary Clinton’s personal cheerleaders and could not help themselves during the campaign, the #ImWithHer filled social media was led by countless celebrities such as Katy Perry and Lady Gaga. Should these artists that spoke up be deemed more genuine and sincere because they put their beliefs over their record sales? After the election Katy Perry released politically charged “Chained to the Rhythm” which details the pitfalls of removing oneself from social and political issues that do not concern oneself directly.
Other artists have publicly shown their digressions towards the new president in an even more direct way. At the 2016 American Music Awards, Green Day performed song “Troubled Times” featuring the chant “NO TRUMP! NO KKK! NO FASCIST U.S.A.!” They turned heads but were ultimately applauded for their direct act of public protest. These songs advocating for opposition range from genres across the board. East Coast rapper, Joey, voiced his stance in “Land of the Free,” with poignant lyrics, “Sorry America, but I will not be your soldier/ Obama just wasn’t enough, I just need some more closure/ And Donald Trump is not equipped to take this country over.”
The voices of these entertainers can truly make a difference because they have the power to spread their beliefs. This could lead people to relate to them more and think of them as in their corner. On the other hand, the political stances of celebrities could be ostracizing for their fans.
Chattahoochee’s Gender Sexuality Alliance Club has acted as a safe space for students that identify as apart of the LGBTQ community and those that would like to gain a better understanding, but does not necessarily identify within that community. GSA is so much more than an extracurricular to many members—it’s a support system and therapeutic experience. The club highlights the fact that their main issues are not LGBTQ rights, but human rights. President of GSA, Hayley Johnson (JR), has made great strides towards making the club the best it can be. Johnson believes that, “If you are LGBT+ or an ally and you feel like you want to be a part of or/are in need of a support system this is the place for you to be.” Johnson has created many memories with others in the club and within the community. As the club did their introductory “I need GSA because…” posters she “came to the realization that this club wasn’t just a fun place to talk with people,” but rather “a safe haven.” With the help and support of the staff at Chattahoochee, GSA has become an extremely successful club.
Madam Vincelli has been a sponsor for GSA for the past two years and had a great impact on club members. She has created an open environment for students of all sexual orientations and identities. Vincelli chose to sponsor the club after former student, Heath Goldman, “wanted to form the club for himself and his friends dealing with bullying difficulties because of their sexual orientation.” She also believes the club offers “a safe place to talk about the challenges they might face with family and friends.” There is undoubtedly no other club like this one. It encompasses the most diverse array of students. Before last year the club acronym stood for Gay Straight Alliance rather than Gender Sexuality Alliance. With this change came a heightened focus on non-cisgender. Cisgender is when a person identifies with their assigned sex at birth. Vincelli accounts that last year’s biggest goal and achievement was “to get a non-gender specific restroom at school.” The new name advocates for gender fluidity and expression while also getting rid of the division between sexual orientation and gender identity.
Each year GSA attends the Pride Parade in Atlanta, and this year was no different. Pride 2016 was full of great jubilation and celebration of identity and self-expression, “It’s a freeing experience for LGBT+ kids to feel not only unashamed of who they love, but celebrated for it. ” Johnson affirms that every member should experience the parade first hand because it’s important to “see adults who are LGBT+ and happy; it reminds us that this isn’t just a phase, and that we aren’t alone.” The event is so much more than a parade, but a “celebration of love.”
“If you are someone who needs a place to get help, or want to help someone else, come to a meeting,” Johnson goes on to say although the help offered isn’t “professional” it comes from “people who have been in similar situations and want to offer some words of encouragement. The Gender Sexuality Alliance is absolutely key to the Hooch family and is the glue that holds much of the school’s diversity together.
Like most of the world, waking up to the election results may have been shocking, depending on your political stance. I found out that morning when my mother tiptoed into my room and hugged me in tears. Over and over she repeated, “He won. I am so sorry,” as if she was trying to wake herself up from a nightmare. This replayed in my head like a mantra: “He won. He won. He won. He won.”
After setting my clock back by decades the night of the election, I was left extremely sluggish the next day. The school halls were silent but also full of screams—that was the first day I have ever considered sitting down during the pledge of allegiance, but I stood. I wanted to remain seated as the final nail in the coffin of my lack of patriotism.
It’s not the fact that Donald Trump won the presidency through the electoral college vote. The most disheartening thing is that there were enough people that voted for a man that ran on hate. Sure, people wanted change, but the popular vote stated otherwise. Most people that voted for him are not misogynistic, Islamophobic, racist or xenophobic as shown by the abundant posts on social media by Trump supporters and surrogates. Many are quick to jump on the defense, but their candidate won. What is there to defend?
My issue with these voters is that they looked past his hateful platform that ran on these ugly principles. How privileged they must be to not feel the way I feel—dispensable. For those that feel so far removed from the implications of his campaign, explain that you needed a change to the Muslim women getting their hijabs torn off as a result of his win. Try to convince the LGBT+ community that they are safe and sound with a vice president that supports conversion therapy. Reassure rape victims that it was never proven that their new president raped a thirteen-year-old girl. Look at your daughter and tell her that her body does not actually belong to her, but rather to straight white men. Tell me Donald Trump is fighting for me when his supporters joke about my boat ride back to Africa. His win has given the green light for hate to spread and further divide the nation.
Do not try and defend your vote if you can’t defend these aspects of his campaign. I’ve never been more sickened when logging onto Facebook and seeing his supporters tell minorities to “suck it up” and “quit crying.” Trump supporters cannot tell me how afraid I am allowed to be. Posts ridiculing Clinton voters for their emotional reactions are nauseating. Calling us sore losers because we don’t want to watch our country revert to a time of even greater social injustice is immature. I won’t speak for every Clinton supporter, but I voted for her because I saw no other rational choice. It had nothing to do with her being a woman and everything to do with her being qualified for the position. It wasn’t because she was a magnificent candidate, but if she had won, minorities would not feel like they have an X on their backs.
As my mother cried, I realized America has a long way to go and that hate sometimes does win.
Dee Thai stands tucked between Subway and a Palm Beach Tan. You’ve most likely driven by this “hole in the wall” but never gone inside.
At first glance, the restaurant looks like any other mediocre American-twinged Asian restaurant. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
My waiter is gracious and seemingly refills whatever I’m drinking after every sip. With the numerous delicious options for appetizers, I can’t resist ordering fried calamari and coconut soup. The calamari comes first and is a soft representation of what will follow it. It has the perfect amount of crunch, and the sauce it’s paired with is sweet. Their flavors foil each other nicely and leave me quite satisfied. The coconut soup soon follows it and coats my senses in smooth richness. It goes down easily and is sure to make you feel warm inside and out.
After the delicious appetizers, I have to push past the full feeling that sneaks up on me bite after bite. I refuse to give up now, not before I try their main entrees. My patient waiter advises me on the best dishes they have to offer: their rice and pad Thai The menu offers countless dishes and makes it nearly impossible to decide what I want in an appropriate amount of time. After twisting my leg, I finally oblige to his advice. I order Chicken Panang Curry, Spicy Seafood Noodles and Basil Chicken Fried Rice, and at that moment I couldn’t have been more excited for awaited me.
After a short period of time, all three dishes were paraded out and set in front of me. I was hit with pure ecstasy as the abundant aromas danced around me. The Chicken Panang Curry was sweet but had a slight kick. Coconut milk created the perfect amount of sweetness to counteract the spicy Thai seasoning. The chicken melted in my mouth and terrific over the white rice that comes with it.
As I move to Spicy Seafood Noodles, I find myself eyeing the bountiful amounts of seafood including shrimp, clams, shallots and mussels. The tender seafood makes me forget I’m not next to the coast. The small amount of soy sauce balances well with the sweetness of the cabbage and bell peppers. Chicken Basil Fried Rice is simple, but full of Thai flavor. One tip—don’t order this dish if you don’t absolutely love basil. For the most part it’s all I could taste. This wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, but just the only memorable feature of the dish.
Dee Thai is so much more than a hole in the wall and is definitely worth a visit. My only advice is to come hungry and with an open-mind.