by Joshua Hernandez, Editor in Chief and Joaquin Medrano, Managing Editor
The St. John Bosco High School community is one step closer to true normalcy. At the start of 2021, the school opened its doors to students for the first time since its initial shutdown due to COVID-19 in March of 2020, albeit in a much different manner than students and teachers are accustomed to.
Before being allowed to return to campus, students who felt comfortable enough to return to school were subject to showing proof of a negative COVID-19 test as well as agreeing to adhere to the standard protocols set by school officials and local guidelines while on campus.
Amongst the protocols and guidelines those who returned must follow are social distancing, mask-wearing, using sanitizers and following passing period walkways set by the school. Moreover, students are subject to temperature checks upon their arrival to campus.
In addition to this, students who returned to school only go to campus twice a week with specific cohorts, or a designated classroom they must remain in. While the students on campus are doing three of their four classes virtually through Zoom, they are under the supervision of the teacher who is in charge of their specific cohort.
Bosco senior Saul Frausto, who returned to campus to take his period 4 Elementary Statistics class with Mr. Salvador Perez, remains in his cohort with Perez and other students immediately following his arrival to campus in the morning, where he remains and attends his first three classes virtually before the start of his final period, where he is instructed by Perez.
“While there is always that risk of getting COVID, Bosco is following all the right protocols and doing a solid job at taking precautions against any potential outbreak. Of course, things such as following social distancing, wearing masks and extended passing periods with cohort-specific maps and directions to walk help. I definitely feel good going back,” said Frausto.
However, the return to campus is more than just allowing students to feel safe while returning to some semblance of normalcy; it allows some students, such as Senior Ramiro Roque, to be in a space that allows them to focus on their studies and escape the often tough challenge of virtual learning.
“Going back to school in person has been much more engaging than virtual classes for me personally due to the fact that it helps me focus with hands-on learning rather than just staring at a screen for so many hours every day while being tired,” said Roque, who shares a cohort with the aforementioned Frausto.
Without a doubt, St. John Bosco High School is reaping the benefits and bearing the fruit of their labor from the countless investments they have made to ensure the safety of their teachers and students as they return to some sense of normalcy.
The efforts of school officials to execute a flawless reopening plan prompted the local Spectrum News 1 to publicly broadcast and write about how the school has carried out a return to campus in line with local health guidelines. Clearly, the Bosco community has always set a gold standard for surrounding schools and communities, and the reopening plan certainly provides the continuity of excellence.
Furthermore, several changes would have to occur in the next few weeks for reopening to expand at Bosco. For starters, L.A. county has not moved out of the “widespread (purple)” margin in the California tier system. In order for a full reopening to occur, the country should move down to “substantial (red)” tier for at least five days before reopening. The trends in recent weeks, however, project promise.
At the moment, the current cohorts can function in the same manner, as the CDC has declared that small amounts of students can go back for in-person learning with limited staff. Many students at Bosco now have the ability to experience the new garden, lunch options as well as revisiting their favorite places on campus before the school year ends.
News of the COVID-19 vaccine, especially in L.A. county, have allowed for more conversations and acceleration for plans of a safe reopening for the whole student body. Many seniors may have the opportunity to enjoy part of their final moments- prom, graduation, grad night and other activities typical of a normal year.
If numbers start to decrease significantly after the effects of the vaccine start to take place, a pre-COVID era could even be achievable close to the end of the current year. People could return to interact with their peers without the need of an electronic device, while teachers can have the relief of their students learning inside of a classroom, where they can better aid them.
While the coronavirus pandemic left a deep wound in our society, one must never stop holding out hope for a better future where things can go back to “normal.” The school year is not over yet and many changes can happen overnight, even allowing for opportunities such as the full reopening of campus to occur.
“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” – 2 Corinthians 4:17-18.
On Friday, February 12, 2021, the St John Bosco High School community lost a giant, a man who truly embodied everything it meant not just to be a Bosco Brave, but a Salesian man.
The life and service of Mr. Ismael “Ish” Fernandez is a story that may be righteously told to future generations of Brave students and staff.
While Ish served the Bosco Community with boundless love and protected students and staff alike with unlimited devotion, he will be remembered as far more than just his official capacity as the Head Security Guard.
Indubitably, there are a multitude of ways that the Bosco Community will remember Ish – his famous Golf Cart being one of them. The signature image for Ish was riding around campus in the cart to ensure the safety of the premises, thus certifying the protection of the boys he never failed to protect.
“Ish was literally the gatekeeper of Bosco. All the students and staff knew him by name and by voice. Amazingly, he knew so many of their names as well. Just as part of the role of the Good Shepherd (in the bible) is to keep the sheep safe, it was Ish’s vocation to keep the students and staff of Bosco safe from danger. Ish was easily the most visible person on campus and surely one of the most respected,” said Religion Instructor and Football Coach Mr. Joe Griffin.
Yet, while such a memory may be held by so many Bosco students, alumni, faculty and staff, it is not all he’ll be remembered for.
Ish will be remembered for his professionalism, integrity and strong, unmatched character. Ish will be remembered for getting to know students on a personal level and always being willing to engage in conversations at various times throughout the school day. Ish will be remembered not just for his immense love for the Raiders, which he always made sure to bring up as a point of conversation, but also for his love of all things Braves.
Ish always kept up with Braves sports, knowing updates on the team, how they were performing, who they’d be playing and what expectations there were year in and year out. Far more than that, he always made sure to keep up with student athletes and general students throughout their respective seasons and the school year, and even long beyond after they graduated from Bosco. It can be said without hyperbole that he was every Brave athlete and student’s number one fan.
While Ish served the Bosco Community for two decades, the impact he made within that time makes it feel like he has been a part of the community much longer. All the same, though, it also feels like he had so much more to give, and was taken away from us way too soon.
Even the most marginal intricacies that made Ish who he was makes his loss all that more immeasurable, personal and tragic.
Amazingly, while Ish was loved, respected and looked up to by many students, his stern look and tough aura made him perfect in his capacity within the community: our protector.
“Don Bosco himself was known to be a man strong and gentle. The same can be said of Ish. Few were tougher than Ish; no stranger to weights and workouts was he. His steely gaze could intimidate most if required. He was also gentle in many ways, always ready to help. One quite appreciated mode of help was transporting many a staff member to the far reaches of our campus in his ubiquitous cart,” said Mr. Griffin.
There is no denying that had a situation ever risen where potential danger was posed to the Bosco community that Ish had the toughness, resilient aura and selfless traits necessary to protect and defend everyone to the best of his ability. Yet, what also made Ish all the more lovable and respectable was the fact that he never projected his powerful, tough aura to students and teachers during conversations or in his general service.
Ish was always warm, gentle, kind and gracious. He was a true pleasure to be around, which is rare nowadays. Undoubtedly, he was a workhorse who was both kind and approachable. It’s no secret that he was strong because he would work out a lot, but the Bosco community always saw him as a kind hearted, calm man who just happened to be strong, tough and protective.
The impact left behind by Ish was felt just as much by longtime colleagues as it was by students. Longtime Brave science teacher Mr. Robert Linares, whose son graduated from Bosco in 2016 and was shaken by the news of Ish’s sudden passing, had a deep appreciation for his longtime colleague who morphed into his friend throughout their two decades of working together.
“When I would leave for the day, every time I’d go to my car, I’d intentionally look to see where Ish was. I’d look for his cart and then for him, to say goodbye, wave goodbye or hopefully have time to talk to him. He was just very easy going, very charismatic. He just had a very easy demeanor about him, a certain peace came from him that allowed you to feel calm when around him,” said Mr. Linares.
Personally, throughout their two decades of working together within the Bosco Community, Mr. Linares noted how much of an impact Ish made over time. Whenever there were moments of uncertainty or danger, Ish had the exact sense of calm that was necessary. In time when others would be anxious or shaken, Ish would be in his element. He was always able to absorb moments of anxiety and frustration and was always reasonable when others may have become flustered.
Thus, the reason we all feel terribly for his loss is because we’ll sorely miss his loss, and it will be felt.
“Ish had longevity, he became a part of our fabric, and we became a part of his. He had a calming influence, an unshakeable demeanor. Being a security guard was just a title. He was a friend, a colleague, a help, a part of the family. Security guards are tasked with looking out for people; but Ish took care of people, got to know people; he followed through with people. Even after correcting kids, he was still respected, because people knew where they stood with Ish. They knew he truly cared and wanted them to learn,” said Mr. Linares.
A graduate from Bell Gardens High School, where he played football, Ish truly did understand Bosco students, alumni, and teachers alike. Everything that it meant to be a Bosco Brave – whether as a student or teacher – and the tremendous responsibilities it bears, Ish understood.
The journey at Bosco began for Ish during the 1999-2000 school year, nearly 21 years ago. This means that every current Bosco student wasn’t even born when Ish began his Salesian service.
Mr. Mario Cordero, a Bosco Alumnus from the class of 1997, graduated before Ish was hired as the Head Security Guard. Before Ish was hired, there was no predecessor as Head of Security; deans, faculty members, or coaches would rotate turns ensuring campus safety. Quite literally, Ish was the first of his kind at Bosco, and his sudden loss leaves behind a gaping hole that will be tough to fill.
Upon Mr. Cordero’s return to Bosco after his university graduation in the Spring of 2002, where he was a Freshman baseball coach, and later becoming a faculty member as a teacher in the Fall of 2003, he noticed the profound impact Ish began to have on the school community.
“Ish was a wonderful Salesian. He was officially the Head of Security, but more than that he was a friend to the youth. It’s glaringly obvious and apparent that was his attribute. I never detected one hint of anything but love, care and concern for the Bosco community,” said Mr. Cordero.
Beyond his service to the Bosco community as a protector, Ish’s mere presence meant so much to so many. It was, of course, nice to know that there was always security and safety, which Ish provided.
Really, though, Ish was always just so present. He was around. If Ish were to be remembered by something, it was that he was present. That’s his legacy – through the good, the bad, the highs, the lows, Ish never failed to be there, even throughout the past year riddled by COVID-19.
“Ish built little tiny characters, about two inches tall. He would get them unpainted, unfinished, and he’d paint them into action figures. In moments of free time I’d see them, and I knew he had attention to detail and patience. There’s a line from the Sopranos that says, ‘if we’re lucky we’ll remember the little things.’ And, I think Ish recognized the little things in his life. He was able to celebrate the little things, from his characters all the way to the Raiders, Dodgers and, of course, Bosco,” said Mr. Cordero.
Certainly, the Bosco community will also remember Ish for the little things. His presence, his wisdom, his toughness and most importantly his determination to serve us well and be a true Salesian. Ish always found the beauty in the simple little things throughout his life, and yet what he never knew was that the Bosco community cherished the little things that he did. It is cemented now as part of his legacy.
We can all continue his legacy of finding joy on campus, celebrating the victories and defeats of life and finding the positives within the little things in our daily lives. While Ish’s final ride may not be in his signature golf cart, it is perhaps his greatest ride – the journey he is making to be with the Lord in Heaven after a life full of service, selflessness and responsibility.
In a metaphorical sense, the memory of Ish is now being safeguarded by the community he righteously served and protected with joy and unmatched energy. Perhaps it can be said that God’s larger calling is for Ish to continue to watch over the Bosco community and his loved ones spiritually from Heaven.
Although we may miss his presence with us now and forevermore, our beloved Ish is now being protected by the Lord and in the hands of boundless love, eternal happiness and limitless freedom. Our protector is now being protected in the grandest sense possible, both in the spiritual confines of Heaven and within the memories of all the people whose lives he’s touched through his service.
Mr. Ismael “Ish” Fernandez is survived by his fiance, his daughters and grandchildren. Rest in peace, Ish. The Bosco community loves you.
Historically, the United States has been a beacon of hope and a standard pillar of Democracy around the world, upholding values of freedom and liberty while maintaining peaceful transitions of power between Presidents. While American Democracy has been polarized as of late, it pales in comparison to the autocracies that plague Russia and China, where corruption and genocide are the norm.
After the arrest of Alexei Navalny upon his return to Russia on January 17th, supporters of the opposition leader and anti-corruption activist find themselves in the middle of a battle against their own President Vladimir Putin and his corrupt counterparts, whose autocratic leadership and power has created an endless realm of Russian toxicity. The Russian people’s desire for anti-corrupt leadership is warranted, even palpable. The autocratic leadership of Vladimir Putin has ignited a spark in Russian citizens who are disgruntled with the corruption and injustices that occur within their country daily.
Of course, over the past few years, President Putin has fundamentally changed Russia’s election system to heavily favor himself staying in power – and while Russia was once a country with elections, even dating back to their days as the Soviet Union, they are a full fledged autocracy today where elections are merely for show.
A direct opposition to the United States, President Putin and Russian government officials heavily discourage any sort of vocal opposition to their corrupt leadership, meaning many Russians don’t have a voice. A false, preconceived notion that President Putin has tried to project to the rest of the world is that he is popular within his country.
While that may be true in a certain sense, Alexei Navalny has emerged as a staunch anti-Putin advocate, and as the only man with the courage to vocally oppose the Kremlin. He has become somewhat of a novelty, amassing a huge pool of supporters who are tired of the domestic oppression they combat daily under Putin’s reign of terror.
The immediate arrest of Navalny is specifically what has enraged anti-Putin Russians and the international community. Navalny was in Germany being medically treated following a nerve agent poisoning in August, supposedly an assassination attempt by the Kremlin coordinated by President Putin himself.
In different cities around Russia, where protests have broken out in support of Navalny, the voices of Russian opposition to President Putin are being actively suppressed by the denials of the Kremlin and brute police forces. Any Russian figures who have advocated for organization of legal aid in support of protestors have been detained by Russian authorities; Navalny’s wife, Yuliya, was arrested herself, although she was released from custody just a few hours later. According to the Associated Press, Moscow police also arrested Oleg Navalny, the brother of Alexei, in their continuous efforts to send a message to any Navalny associates and supporters.
While protests have been largely peaceful and full of anti-Putin rhetoric, other protestors in different cities were met with violent police presence. Needless to say, the Russian people are protesting against the corruption and injustice that is plaguing their country. The arrest of Navalny – considered an influential, historically courageous figure among some Russians for his anti-Putin rhetoric – has only amplified those concerns. In Russia, the people are organizing protests against an unjust arrest, President Putin and his Kremlin associates, literal autocrats who run questionable elections that skews heavily in the favor of a sole political party.
While there may be on the surface striking similarities with the domestic tensions faced by the United States and Russia within the past year, it is imperative to remember that Russia is a true Autocracy, and while America’s Democracy may have been vulnerable for just a few hours on January 6th, it was never at risk of serious collapse.
In Russia, the people don’t have the opportunity to hold their leaders accountable. In Russia, accountability is a distant fantasy in a world with a dismal reality. In the United States, accountability is an expectation – a given. In Russia, elections are essentially skewed toward one party, thus keeping one party – that of President Putin – in power.
Meanwhile, just down south of President Putin’s Russia and the civil unrest occurring there, President Xi Jinping of China is leading a genocide of Muslims and is not being held accountable for his actions.
In the Northwestern Region of Xinjiang, China is leading a genocidal campaign against Uighur Muslims and a plethora of other predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities. Plain and simple, there are human rights abuses going on in China – the epicenter of a communist dictatorship – that is largely going unchecked due to Xi Jinping’s willingness to use force against other nations who may intervene. On the final day of the Trump Presidency, the U.S. State Department finally decided to declare China’s attack against the Uighurs as genocide.
While many have disputed the use of the term “genocide” against China, President Biden’s Secretary of State Antony Blinken carried over similar concerns of President Trump’s Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, stating that he believed forcing individuals into concentration camps was indeed genocide.
A big part of China’s attack on Uighurs in Xinjiang is forcing these groups to attend classes that promote the ideals of China’s Communist Party, Chinese language and job training skills.
Furthermore, since 2017, thousands of religious sites, such as mosques, have been destroyed, and Chinese forces are separating Uighur families from one another, with the children of detained adult Uighurs being sent to boarding schools and orphanages run by the government.
China is forcing Uighurs to conform to the countries values, forcefully assimilate to Chinese culture and ridding them of their own culture. Yet, while the risk of economic sanctions is certainly there for China, almost no other practical actions can be taken.
In China, accountability does not exist. Indoctrination of Chinese culture and full assimilation is expected, not recommended, and collectivist pro-Communist rhetoric is the norm.
President Xi Jinping is an autocratic leader with little to no moral merit in a Communist country that seldom allows its people to have views of dissent. It is a government that allows its leader to purge an entire culture and minority group of their own culture.
It is much like Russia, where any leader or activist who is against corruption, injustice and unchecked leaders are unfairly arrested or, worse, assassinated.
While the United States certainly has its own domestic issues as a country, no Democratically elected American President would lead a Genocide of minority groups within their country. No Democratically elected American President would unfairly arrest an activist for speaking out against injustice.
When Americans protest, they do so with the support of American politicians, even if one political party embraces it more than the other. When Americans dislike their President, they have the power to oust them in a free and fair election. When Americans want to bring new ideas to the table, they can run for political office on their own and make those changes by exercising their First Amendment rights.
In the United States of America, advocacy is encouraged. Peaceful protesting has become the norm. Voting is encouraged, and holding politicians accountable allows our Democracy to maintain integrity.
Due to the tumultuous times the United States has experienced recently, it is often difficult to remember just what makes America so great and truly separates us from our enemies – simple decency and being standard bearers of life, liberty, freedom and power of the people are just a few things.
If it is still hard to see what distinguished the United States of America from our enemies, look no further than the brute abuses of human rights occurring in China and Russia due to true autocratic rule.
The voices of American Democracy are our national hymns, and America’s Democracy will always prevail. Luckily, Americans don’t experience these horrors of autocracy – because we are not one.
At 78 years old, President Joe Biden becomes the oldest man to ever rise to the presidency. After decades of public service as a Senator from Delaware and two terms as Vice President, President Biden finally ascends to the office he has long sought. In a historic election cycle, Vice President Kamala Harris was inaugurated as the first African American and female to hold the Vice Presidency.
The journey to the White House has not been an easy one for President Biden. Despite earning the trust and admiration of many nationally for his public service, President Biden has battled through adversity, personal hardships and loss throughout his political career. The story of President Joe Biden is one that can simply be described as tragic, yet also an emboldening symbol of the power of perseverance, hope and optimism.
In 1972, shortly before he would take his oath of office to become a United States Senator from Delaware, tragedy struck Biden: his wife, Neilia Hunter, and daughter, Naomi, only a year old, were killed in a tragic car accident that also injured his sons Beau and Hunter Biden.
Out of the depths of despair, he was not swayed away from public service. On January 5, 1973, Biden was sworn in as a Senator from Delaware inside Delaware Division of the Wilmington Medical Center, where his two sons were still recovering. After the accident, then Senator Biden took the Amtrak from Delaware to Washington, D.C. daily just to be able to see his sons on a daily basis. The travel took a total of 3 hours and 90 minutes to and from work.
In 1987, Senator Biden kicked off a longshot Presidential Campaign. While a respected and trusted Senator, his campaign failed to gain enough traction after being plagued by accusations of plagiarizing speeches. After just a few months of campaigning, Senator Biden withdrew from the race for the 1988 Democratic Nomination.
In February 1988, just a few months after his tumultuous, failed campaign, Senator Biden suffered two life threatening brain aneurysms, which presented yet another roadblock and long road to recovery.
Decades later, Senator Biden believed that he could once again be the Democratic nominee for the presidency in 2007. However, Biden, the experienced Senator, was no match for the two shining stars he was running against – Senator Barack Obama of Illinois and Senator Hillary Clinton of New York. Biden later dropped out of the race in January of 2008.
Eventually, to-be President Obama chose Senator Biden to be his running mate. The rest is history, with Biden serving as President Obama’s Vice President from 2009-2017.
In 2015, though, tragedy struck then-Vice President Biden once again – his son, Beau Biden, died from Glioblastoma, an aggressive form of cancer, after a long battle. The death of his son devastated Vice President Biden, eventually leading to him believing that his political career was over, a large reason why he did not run for the Democratic Nomination in 2016.
Still, President Biden persevered, choosing to seek the Democratic Nomination in 2020 after his family urged him to take on Incumbent President Donald Trump. Running on a reputation of being a strong Senator, Vice President and generally a decent person, Biden was seen as one of the most likely candidates to win the nomination.
However, in a field of strong, emerging candidates including Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar, Biden stumbled out of the gate. Many believed the former-Vice President to be out of touch with the current generation and unable to pass the torch to the future of the Democratic party.
Thus, Biden took losses in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada, before a huge endorsement by Rep. Jim Clyburn helped him win South Carolina, which saved his campaign. As history would play its course, South Carolina was the turning point the Biden Campaign needed, as it led to victories on Super Tuesday that essentially put his final opponent Bernie Sanders out of the race.
Biden became the Democratic Nominee, chose Kamala Harris as his running mate in August, and defeated Donald Trump in November. Life has come full circle for President Biden – and his story is one of perseverance, hope, optimism and resilience, as famed news anchor Dan Rather stated on twitter:
The rhetoric of unity that President Biden employed throughout his campaign was a highlight in his Inaugural Address, which became even more imperative after the Insurrection at Capitol Hill two weeks ago.
While President Biden made a litany of optimistic statements throughout his address, he ensured to lay out his visions of what a Biden America may look like.
“Today on this January day, my whole soul is in this. Bringing America together. Uniting our people. Uniting our nation. And I ask every American to join me in this cause. Uniting to fight the foes we face: anger, resentment, and hatred, extremism, lawlessness, violence, disease, joblessness and hopelessness. With unity, we can do great things, important things. We can right wrongs. We can put people to work in good jobs. We can teach our children in safe schools. We can overcome the deadly virus,” President Biden said.
After Democracy prevailed once again and a peaceful transfer of power was carried out, President Biden signed 17 executive orders, including a national mask mandate, rejoining the World Health Organization, ending the “Muslim ban,” rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement, stopping the construction of the border wall and extending eviction and foreclosure moratoriums.
by Joshua Hernandez, Editor-In-Chief, and Joaquin Medrano, Managing Editor
The nonviolent civic legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. runs deep, and one of the greatest ways America could honor his memory is by listening to his rhetoric and transforming current politics into an environment that is welcoming for everyone.
With a domestic state of affairs that can simply be described as chaotic, unjust and perilous, the toxicity level between Americans with different social and political opinions has reached an unforeseen height. In turn, it deprives the masses of the ability to unite during times of strife, agony, despair and confusion.
During the battle for Civil Rights between the 1950s and 1960s within the United States, Dr. King emerged as a central voice for African Americans nationally who simply wanted justice and to have a shot at living a life where they weren’t hated or discriminated against solely because of the color of their skin.
In opposition to the segregationist Jim Crow laws in the South as well as oppression in other areas of the country, Dr. King emphasized the need for his people to choose peace and use nonviolent means to reach their just end.
At that point in American history, African Americans had been through indescribable injustice, oppression and marginalization. Why try to resonate and be nonviolent with a group of people and a country that has long oppressed, marginalized and institutionalized you and your people?
Through the use of Biblical references, Dr. King was able to rally the fervor of his listeners, to unite both blacks and whites in America to fight for the same cause. A very devout man who was undeniably devoted to the cause of justice for his people and those oppressed everywhere, he saw no value in violent resistance. Instead, he wanted to appeal to the better half of the oppressor and protest, mobilize, organize and fight in a way that was respectful, defendable and just.
Dr. King preached on the importance of joining the oppressors and the oppressed. He called for the oppressed to be the “bigger person” and show love for their oppressors, while he called the oppressors to be in the shoes of those they oppressed for a second and think of how it feels to be mistreated in a changing society.
However, the incidents of the Insurrection at Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. on January 6th were anything but nonviolent, respectful, defendable or just. Indubitably, it was an act of domestic terrorism – an attack on America’s ever so sacred Democracy. The dream envisioned by Dr. King was much less clear across America that day. People died outside and inside the Capitol, and Confederate flags graced Capitol halls for the first time ever.
Importantly, the rioters committed insurrection and sedition for a cause that has been debunked and is rooted in denial and conspiracy. In comparison, Dr. King and those who supported his battle for Civil Rights never once raided federal property or responded with violence against our Democracy, and there actually was a legitimate reason for them to protest.
As America heads into a new administration and reflects on the good that Dr. King brought to this country, let’s remember his powerful nonviolent rhetoric in the face of mass scrutiny, violent pushback and oppressive discrimination.
In retrospect, Dr. King’s message is not a part of American history that can be left on textbooks as a memory of what America was, but instead a measure of what American should be like. Dr. King left a message for the masses- a message that can be shared with the world full of peace, love and acceptance. Dr. King’s message should be regarded as a message not only for those living in a pre-Civil Rights Movement era, but also in a time where parallels can be drawn between the past and the present.
In the end, a society cannot move forward without recognition of its past and looking for ways to fix what is broken. Dr. King did not die a martyr because he caused a change in the 1960s, but he died a martyr because his vision remains true long after his death, as many people have decided to lead inspired by his work.
A country should never forget the work of social justice martyrs; a country should fight for their work to be completed and for their dreams to be fulfilled.
On Wednesday, President Trump was impeached on the Capitol Hill insurrection’s one week anniversary, becoming the first President in U.S. history to be impeached twice. After already being embroiled in controversy for spreading baseless claims of a “rigged” election after his loss to President-Elect Joe Biden last November, President Trump’s last two weeks in office have been sent into a downward spiral after he incited his supporters to violently storm the U.S. Capitol.
The House of Representatives voted to impeach President Trump for a historical second time in a 232-197 vote. The impeachment comes merely one week after he incited his supporters to commit seditious acts and storm Capitol Hill in a last-ditch attempt to overturn his election loss to President-Elect Joe Biden.
As the votes on impeachment were finalized, it was revealed that 10 Republican Representatives sided with Democrats and voted in favor of impeachment, making President Trump’s second impeachment the most bipartisan impeachment effort in American history. Most notably, Representatives Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Peter Meijer (R-MI) were three of the ten GOP House members to vote in favor of impeachment.
Since the House of Representatives has sped through the impeachment process in record time, President Trump’s fate lies in the hands of the Senate, although a formal Senate vote isn’t expected until after President Trump leaves office on January 20th, according to Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell.
Already, there is speculation that many Republican Senators can join Senate Democrats in formally convicting President Trump. If President Trump is convicted, there is growing belief that the Senate may also vote to ban President Trump from ever running for President again, as he has publicly considered runs in 2024.
The impeachment effort came on the heels of last week’s attack on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. The Orwellian chaos will forever be remembered by not just Americans, but folks around the globe, as a protest-turned-riot dented our nation’s Capital and within an instant became one of the most appalling moments in American history.
Sparked by a rally from President Trump just moments before, his supporters invaded our nation’s capitol as Congress was in the process of certifying the Electoral College results that solidified the victory of President-Elect Joe Biden, who will take office in just a week in a D.C. area now being patrolled by the National Guard.
The United States of America stopped for a few hours, as the country glued themselves to their TVs and screens and watched as Trump supporters raided Capitol Hill and disregarded the rule of law.
The Presidency – as former President Ronald Reagan loved to say – is a bully pulpit. Usually, Presidents use their platform and higher office to provide words of optimism, hope and unity to the American people, while also being sure to speak out and bring awareness to specific domestic and foreign issues that the nation must address. Essentially, the Presidency being a bully pulpit means it’s the highest platform for social awareness and advocacy.
On Wednesday, January 6th, however, the Presidency was anything but a bully pulpit. In lieu of finally conceding his election loss to President-Elect Joe Biden, President Donald Trump used his Presidential position to foment violence and sedition.
Since his election loss to Joe Biden in November, President Trump has continued to repeat baseless accusations of widespread voter fraud, after filing lawsuits that have since been thrown out or lost by the President and his campaign.
As Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) pleaded for their Republican colleagues to rethink their objections to the Electoral College results inside the Senate chamber, Trump supporters stormed Capitol Hill and fought Capitol Hill police as they stormed their way and breached not just federal property, but one of the most important houses of power in the world.
Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) were the two main Republican Senators who objected to Biden’s election victories in the swing states of Arizona and Pennsylvania, amongst others.
As the two Senators presented their cases before Vice President Pence and the rest of the Senate, a mass of Trump supporters began to break into Capitol Hill, damaging federal property, breaking into the offices of Representatives and Senators and striking Capitol Hill police and security guards.
On a day that was supposed to be a day of celebration for Democracy, President-Elect Biden and his supporters as the Senate convened to certify the results of the Electoral College, terror riddled the hearts and minds of Americans nationally.
Merely a day after the Democrats flipped the Senate in the Georgia runoff elections and historically elected a Southern Jewish Millenial in Jon Ossoff and a liberal, black Minister in Reverend Raphael Warnock, sweatshirts bearing “Camp Auschwitz” and T-shirts bearing “6MWE” – which stands for “6 Million Wasn’t Enough” – in reference to the Holocaust – were seen being worn by Trump supporters on Capitol Hill.
Furthermore, as Trump supporters infiltrated the halls of the Capitol, many carried Confederate Flags – the first time in American history that the Confederate Flag was present inside the Capitol halls. Not even during the Civil War was the symbol for the Confederacy present within the Capitol.
The same Capitol that has been roamed throughout American history by various Senators, Representatives and Presidents saw itself being vandalized, looted and invaded with vile words and symbols of hate.
Blood was even spilled in the Capitol, with a woman being shot to death by Capitol Hill police for attempting to get through a barrier.
However, the woman who was shot to death wasn’t the only individual who died – three other individuals died of what was said to be “medical emergencies”, while policeman, Brian Sicknick, was killed by injuries inflicted in the riot.
In the aftermath, Congress returned safely and did their jobs – with Vice President Mike Pence formally announcing the certification of the Electoral College results which saw the Biden-Harris ticket win convincingly.
However, the successes and joys Democrats achieved by flipping the Senate, retaining the House and winning the Presidency were quickly washed away as days passed. As new information was released on the Capitol Hill riots due to pictures, news and CIA investigations, members of Congress on both sides of the aisle were livid at the fact that President Trump’s rhetoric was mostly to blame for inciting such violence – and, thus, the death of six Americans.
Congresswoman Cori Bush of Missouri was among the first Democrat to introduce legislation for Articles of Impeachment against President Trump despite Inauguration Day for President-Elect Biden being on January 20th.
Despite Vice President Pence denying the pleas of Congress to invoke the 25th Amendment against President Trump and become acting President for the remaining weeks of his term, the House of Representatives voted 223-205 on Tuesday, January 12th to call on Vice President Pence to strip President Trump of his power, primarily due to concerns with the President’s dangerous state of mind and uncertainty surrounding what he may do next.
The concerns over President Trump’s worsening mental state were made even more evident after he was banned from a litany of social media sites, most notably Twitter, Snapchat, Youtube, and Google.
As arrests continue to be made for those participating in the Capitol riots and no-fly list travel bans are imposed, Capitol Hill police and Washington, D.C. as a whole are already preparing for the next challenge of quelling any dangers that may arise on Inauguration Day on Wednesday, January 20th.
While President Trump has already announced he will not be in attendance to President-Elect Biden’s Inauguration, with Vice President Pence taking his place, threats were made by Trump supporters and the far-right extremist group “Proud Boys” on the now-defunct conservative social media platform Parler that more violence was to be expected on Inauguration Day.
President Trump becomes the first outgoing President since Woodrow Wilson in 1921 to not attend their successor’s Inauguration, although Wilson remained inside the Capitol Building during Warren G. Harding’s Inauguration due to poor health.
In response, Capitol Hill police is beefening up their procedures and preparing for any scenario possible, in conjunction with the National Guard and Secret Service.
While the Insurrection at Capitol Hill is certainly going down in history books as one of the most shocking moments in American history and an attack against our Democracy by domestic forces, one thing is certain: bright days may very well be ahead.
During the last few weeks, several talks on the matter of a future reopening for schools across Los Angeles County has left many in shock due to the high number of cases in the area. So, what would the reopening of schools be like with such a high number of cases?
According to weekly reports, the cases in LA County have been on the rise, with ICU availability close to zero in many areas, worrying citizens day and night.
Stay at home orders have been in place for weeks, but with such a high number of cases, many wonder whether those restrictions are being respected and treated seriously by the people.
Schools were still allowed to be open over the last few weeks, as long as small cohorts were created. The cohorts resulted to be effective as people were getting a closer experience to a normal school year.
Cases in Los Angeles have increased from last week’s84.4 new cases per 100 thousand, to 63.9 new cases per 100 thousand, positivity rate is at a whopping 11.4 %, compared to 8.4% from last week, and ICU availability is currently at 2%, compared to 13.3% from last week, an all-time high rate of cases since the start of the second wave.
As new reports of vaccines being rushed to those in need increase, the approval from the FDA of the Moderna vaccine, and how it will work along with the Pfizer vaccine, with several doses delivered to LAX, many questions remain unanswered.
How will the new vaccine allow for more doses to be administered? Is there going to be a penalization for those who deny to take the vaccine? And, can life really return to normal after the vaccine starts to immunize the general population?
Even as many of those answers can only be determined by time, many stipulate that the vaccines could never bring life back to normal as the virus created several challenges, not to mention the lives that were lost in the process, and how the general public regarded governments responsible for the containment or general economic support of the virus.
For school, the centers of learning for many, the spaces where concentration can only work, hope to continue campaigns that will allow for small cohorts to be present under safety guidelines stipulated by each state.
Many students and parents will hope to take advantage of the opportunity, after seeing a significant drop in the performance of students in the classroom, and the support system that became difficult for teachers and school officials to really take into consideration.
The virus changed how people view every little aspect of life. Many saying that the virus ruined the start of a new decade, others that the virus was an aid for progress as no vaccine has ever been released so quickly and been approved by so many authorities in the world.
2020 came to change humanity forever, perhaps becoming a turning point in human history, proving how fragile humans really are, and how a small virus can take down so many citizens at once.
Christmas, one of the most anticipated times of the year where the smell of hot chocolate and fresh baked cookies fill any room while cheerful tones invade any radio station for weeks.
It is no surprise that some of the most happy songs play during the Christmas season, a tradition many enjoy around family and friends.
Here is the Brave News Top 10 MUST listen songs to during this season of joy:
#10- White Christmas- Bing Crosby
This song is a classic Christmas song. Every time I hear this song I think of one of the best Christmas movies of all time Home Alone because it was featured. This song was made in 1942 and is one of the more calming and mellow songs.
#9- Let It Snow- Frank Sinatra
I really like this song, whenever I go into a mall during Christmas time I always hear this song playing. This song was released in 1957.
#8- Silver Bells- Bing Crosby
Bing Crosby appears again this time with Silver bells. This song reminds me of going out and looking at Christmas lights, where everyone’s lights are on Christmas Eve.
#7- Santa Claus is Coming to Town- The Jackson 5
This song is very interchangeable and has many different remixes, from Mariah Carey, Bruce Springsteen, the Jackson 5 and many more. The original version of this song is by Bing Crosby who shows himself multiple times on this list. Personally I like The Jackson 5 remixed version.
#6- Feliz Navidad- Jose Feliciano
This is one of my favorite Christmas songs. It just always brings me joy whenever I hear it on the radio. Feliz Navidad means Merry Christmas in Spanish. This is the most famous Spanish Christmas songs made.
#5- The Christmas Song- Nat King Cole
Like many of the other songs this is a classic and had to make the top 10. Nat King Cole is an African American artist and he died 4 years after this song was released in 1965.
#4 Jingle Bell Rock- Bobby Helms
This is one of those songs that you hear in a Christmas party and can’t get enough of it. Bobby Helms released this song in 1957 when he was 24 years old.
#3- Rocking Around the Christmas Tree- Brenda Lee
My favorite part of this song is when they scream “Deck the halls with boughs of holly.” I also like the saxophone solo in the middle of the song. This song was released in 1958 October.
#2- Last Christmas- Wham
RIP to George Michael who wrote one of the best Christmas songs of all time. George Michael died on December 25, 2016 which is pretty ironic. Last Christmas release date was 15th December 1984.
#1- All I Want For Christmas is You- Mariah Carey
In my opinion this is undoubtedly the best Christmas song ever made. It is one of the most popular Christmas songs and for good reason. Every year this song hits number one on the charts during the holiday season. It is Mariah Carey’s most popular song and it was released in 1994.
Despite the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic having tremendous ramifications on the way people have lived, the joyous spirits of the Christmas season are still present to shed some light on people’s lives in what has been an otherwise grim, dark year.
This past weekend I took a ride around parts of LA County and Orange County to look at Christmas lights. With Covid-19 keeping us mostly in lock-down, I wondered if many homes would decorate their houses and yards with Christmas lights and decorations. I also wondered if Covid had killed the Christmas spirit, or if it made people want to decorate their homes to bring some joy back into their lives.
What I found this weekend was a mixed bag.
I noticed that there were lots of businesses that normally would decorate their properties for the holidays not putting out any decorations this year. However, I also noticed that most people were still decorating their homes, and in some cases, full streets or neighborhoods were getting things decorated to celebrate the season. If you like driving around looking at Christmas lights, here are my top 5 picks for you to choose from.
1. Hastings Ranch in Pasadena, CA.
Within the borders of Sierra Madre Blvds, Rivera Dr, and Michillinda Ave, Hastings Ranch lights run from Dec. 12th – Jan 2, 2021, 6pm to 10pm nightly. Although there were some homes in the Hastings Ranch area that have not gotten their decorations out, there were still plenty of homes to drive by and enjoy the lights. Each street had a theme from snowman to penguins. Setting up Christmas lights and decorations have been a tradition in Hastings Ranch since 1952. You’ll see everything from blow-up Santas and snowmen, to nativities, to simple light icicles hanging under the eaves of homes.
Not far off from Pasadena is Altadena. Here, I found a mile long stretch of avenue lined with cedar trees that were decorated with lights. According to socalfieldtrips.com, this is “the oldest large-scale Christmas lighting spectacle in the United States.” There are over 10,000 lights decorating these trees, making it look like you were going through a tunnel of lights. Because the street is so heavily lit by the lights, you should be able to drive down the street with your car lights off. The cars get backed up a bit so don’t expect to get in and out of there in a few minutes. Along with the lit trees, many of the homes were also decorated, so there’s a lot to look at.
3. Northwestern Way, Westminster, CA. Major intersection of Bolsa Chica & Westminster Blvd.
Not to be outdone by LA County, Orange County has some spectacular lighting as well. My first stop was in Westminster, CA, right off the 405 on Bolsa Chica St. There is a little enclave that has been decorating their street and homes with lights. Northwestern Way is the major street that has the most lights. Here, you’ll see homes decked out with lights and an assortment of decorations such as a ferris wheels with stuffed animals going around and around, and a projection of Santa in one of the windows of a house. There are even a couple of houses that have snippets of Christmas movies projecting onto the garage doors.
4. Fountain Valley near Mile Square Park (Brookhurst between Heil & Endinger;Tract behind Denny’s).
Not far off from Westminster is the city of Fountain Valley. Right across of Mile Square Park is a little neighborhood with Christmas lights to see. The lights are truly a sight to see, and truly give off a sense of the joyous holiday spirit.
5. Eagle Hills, Brea, CA, on Primrose Ave off of E Birch Street and S. Starflower st.
Eagle Hills is another little neighborhood that has a tradition of decorating with lights. The major street is Primrose Ave, but the other adjoining streets have as much Christmas spirit. Another great option in the Orange County area, the friendly environment also gives off a huge christmas spirit vibe while having a beautiful display of christmas lights.
In striving to keep tradition going, St. John Bosco’s annual tree lighting goes virtual.
St. John Bosco is staying busy during the Christmas season. The unusual circumstances that we all are facing have definitely put a damper on the year, yet Bosco is not letting that get the best of them.
For obvious reasons, in-person events this year must be kept to a minimum. Because of this, the annual tree lighting that we are typically used to cannot happen on campus. Yet this is a minor issue to overcome for the Braves.
This year, the annual tree lighting is going virtual. Premiering Tuesday, December 15th on YouTube, it will feature the same Christmas cheer we are all used to. Hosted by Student Leadership, the online event will feature the music, entertainment, and good tidings that have occurred in the past events.
Normally, the event would include food, hot cocoa, music performances, and camaraderie within the Bosco community. While the inability to meet together on campus does not allow for all this to happen, the virtual event will be just as entertaining.
The tree lighting will be a great way to finish off the infamous year of 2020. This year has been a first for many things that have occurred within the Bosco community. For the first time ever, Bosco has gone entirely virtual, and has had to adapt to totally unpredictable circumstances.
This event will be a great opportunity for us as a community to come together (as much as possible) before the end of the year and to be grateful for all that we have been blessed with.
You can watch the tree lighting event live at Brave Communications on YouTube. A recording of the event will be available for anyone to watch at any time. Hope everyone enjoys the tree lighting!