There’s a lot going on in the world, so we’re here for the weekly update!
Veterans Skiing at Massanutten? Snow Problem!
On February 16, Therapeutic Adventures hosted their annual Operation Freedom Outdoors Event geared toward veterans with disabilities. This year, the Charlottesville-based nonprofit organization partnered with Massanutten Skin Resort, accepting grants and donations to raise money for the event. The event included accessible equipment, materials, and supplies that could be used by the veterans and active service individuals with a variety of different needs. Additionally, the weekend included all expenses paid lodging, food, and adventures for those involved.
Even though this is such a small story, it’s so nice to see the effort being made to make things accessible for those who need it. Therapeutic Adventures aims to help in the healing process and re-integration of veterans and active service members into society. An organization like this is integral in playing a role in de-stigmatizing what it means to have a physical disability.
Hang Up and Drive? Virginia May Require It!
Yikes! No more texting, calling, snapchatting and driving… THANK GOODNESS! According to local Daily News-Record, Virginia is attempting to pass a bill this summer, regarding hands-free driving. I completely agree. Car crashes are so prevalent, and very dangerous. Since I’m originally from Washington State, we have had this law implemented since I was about 12 years old when I got my first phone. For me, this law hasn’t really affect me too much, as I am used to it… But I pose the question to see how it leaves an effect on Virginians? Anyways, a little more information about this… The original offense was a penalty of $125 regarding texting while driving (Pete Delea, Daily News-Record, 2019). Now, it has a focus on making phone calls while driving, as this can also be a distracting act for drivers. If approved, Virginia will become the 20th state that enables this bill (Pete Delea, Daily News-Record, 2019). If we can make the roads safer, with fewer car crashes, then I’m all for it!
It’s Galentine’s Day in Kansas, Toto!
This year for Valentine’s Day, all girls felt included at a middle school in Olathe, Kansas. Three boys made it their mission to distribute flowers to every single girl and woman who walked through the entrance of the school. Eighth-grader Tristan Valentine, seventh-grader Kyan Rice and sixth-grader Lincoln Holmes all came to school with buckets of carnations to surprise others and spread some happiness.
While this is such a cute story, I also want to ask: does anyone else thinks this perpetuates the idea that girls and women have to have a Valentine (and cannot relish alone in self-love)?
Name-Brand Blackface: Gucci and Diversity Issues
Early in February, Gucci received backlash for releasing a $890 sweater resembling Blackface. In light of the controversy surrounding the clothing article, Gucci pulled it from its stores and online purchases. They are taking accountability by increasing diversity hiring, adding a Global Director for Diversity position, and creating multicultural scholarships.
The sweater was originally intended to pay homage to Leigh Bowery, performance artist, club promoter, and fashion designer. The creative director, Alessandro Michele, has apologized for the garment.
While I’m glad that they’re hiring more diverse individuals to influence decisions and stop offensive designs before it’s too late, I also have to point out that the burden of education is, once again, placed on POC.
Bug Issue Makes Instagram Queens: Ariana Grande, Selena Gomez, and Kylie Jenner LOSE Millions of Followers?
A little pop culture news for your outlet today! Recently, an internet bug has been detected, where it has been attacking Instagram causing malfunction in followers. Three celebrities that have been hit by this are Queen Ariana Grande, Pop singer Selena Gomez, and Lip-Kit Kylie Jenner! These stars lost up to 3 million followers overnight (Ayush Dixit, Zoom, 2019). Now, considering these celebrities have about 40 million followers, each, 3 million deducted may seem like nothing… Yet the world is still buzzing over it. Why? It is interesting to note that as a technological social media culture, we as people, get so involved in others lives even if they’re strangers. I personally care more about if I lose 3 followers over the weekend, than if Ariana Grande lost 3 million followers overnight… Although, here I am updating you guys on the news right now!
“Uber Everywhere” …cuz I Wouldn’t!
This might not be an official news story, but it’s going in here as a PSA. Social media has been blowing up with a recent, terrifying, account of some sketchy activity on the Uber app. Sex traffickers are utilizing the ride-sharing app to pose as drivers and pick up unsuspecting customers. As the warnings go, women are used as bait (since other women tend to trust them more than men) and pick up customers with a similar-looking car to the one they ordered. Once in the car, the drivers refuse to respond to any questions or stop the car.
This tweet is just one of many accounts of this strategy. It’s a dangerous world out there, so use the buddy system and be careful using apps!
Wife-Tracking in Saudi Arabia
Apple and Google are recently under fire in Saudi Arabia for hosting the Absher app in their stores. The official description of the app is “you can safely browse your profile or your family members, or [laborers] working for you, and perform a wide range of eServices online.” In short, this app isn’t created for nefarious purposes. It’s supposed to be used to cut back on bureaucratic error and queuing, making business more efficient. However, human rights activists are concerned that the tracking feature on this app (complete with text notifications) would not only hinder, but further endanger women who attempt to flee abusive situations.
While I can definitely see the malicious alternative use of this app (and I’m not trying to belittle the concerns around it at all), what makes it any different from apps that are widely used in America such as Find My Friends or Snapchat Maps? Those features are solely created to keep track of people and can obviously be awful in the wrong hands with the wrong intentions.
U.K. Teen Who Joined Islamic State has Baby in Syria!
In this international article, a British teenager, who ran away to Syria to join the Islamic State group, has now attempted to come back to the U.K. She has also given birth to a baby boy this past Sunday. Luckily, 19 year-old Shamima Begum, and her baby boy are safe and in good health (Sylvia Hui, AP News, 2019). This has brought about debate in whether or not to let her and her son back into the U.K. due to immigration laws. The extremist group she joined is now in collapse, as she fights to return. This brings about large speculation regarding refugee policy. She was interviewed Sunday, and claims that people should feel sorry for her as she’s been through so much (Sylvia Hui, AP News, 2019). My question is, are we so concerned about terrorism, that we won’t even let a baby in? On the other hand, could that baby grow up being taught extremist views from his mother? The overall issue, though, is that her family is worried about her mental health and is being seen as groomed by the Islamic State Fighters (Sylvia Hui, AP News, 2019). SCARY STUFF. Any thoughts?
Dolly Parton IS NOT a Feminist!
American country singer, Dolly Parton, told SkyNews, that she does not identify herself as a feminist. 73 year-old singer told the magazine that she, “Lives her femininity” (Olivia Petter, Independence, 2019). I am going to just assume that she believes owning her femininity, means she can’t also call herself a feminist. Ugh, hate to break it to you sweetie, but you can be both!! Modern day feminism shouldn’t keep a label that locks you into one category or another. Yet, Dolly Parton claims she takes a lot of pride being a female. She even claims that she would love to see a female president take office (Olivia Petter, Independence, 2019). Funny enough, Dolly Parton isn’t the only female celebrity to stay clear of the label “feminist”, alongside Sarah Jessica Parker and Venus Williams. It’s okay, Dolly, you can be whoever you want to be. But just to let you all know, it’s okay to want to wear nail polish, makeup, cook in the kitchen, and wear pink… And you too, can still call yourself a feminist.
Featured image: news by Adriel Ifland 2007 by Mars Hill Church Seattle is licensed under CC BY 2.0