Blog Post #3 Lobbying: Street Clean Up
The status of legislature pertaining my
lobbying topic is not necessarily well this year. As for the people in council
that supports the lobbying topic, there has not been much done and said that
supports the issue that apparently is at hand. Honestly, if contacted possibly
that would change because there even is a Committee on Streets & Services
that hold Chair, Vice Chair, and Members that are dedicated to help support the
streets of Philadelphia and also try hard to prevent an unsanitary environment.
The opponents that may thwart the succession of my lobbying topic would of
course be the people of Philadelphia. Sadly, they may be the biggest opponents
that I have although, if more legislation such as founded before (http://legislation.phila.gov/detailreport/?key=9190)
the City of Philadelphia and their Philadelphians would be more submissive to
keeping their city cleaner.
Definitely the skateboarders in this issue would be the people of the Committee on Streets & Services. (http://www.phila.gov/cityCouncil/streets.html) Closer to me would be of course be the Vice Chair (Maria D. Quiñones-Sánchez). She is the councilwoman of the 7th district in which I do reside in. She indeed would be someone that I would and need to move that would be a decision maker. The issue that I do have with the city, I believe is not necessarily a controversial topic. I think it is reasonably fair and agreeable. I do not think I would have many or even at all any allies.
A peer of mine that would definitely be someone I could possibly coordinate in this issue would be a dear friend of mines names Rashaun WIlliams.(http://phreshphiladelphia.org/Phresh_Philly/Phresh_Philadelphia.html) He is one of the founders of Phresh Philadelphia. Phresh Philadelphia is a non-profit organizations which is developed and motivated behind three very important goals; Community Development, Community Clean-Up, and Community Empowerment. Rashaun is someone as well that I do know that is passionate about the similar issues at hand in Philadelphia.
I can and in dire need to influence the people of PHILADELPHIA. With that, some things that I should do is go to the city council meetings and go right to them and get suggestions on what I could possibly do to help with the public contribution of Philadelphia, cleaning wise. Hopefully that may spark some ideas with legislation and help move people in authority engage on my lobbying topic. As of currently there are a City Council Meeting that can be attended on December 7th at 10:00 am that is the meeting of the Whole Council. (http://legislation.phila.gov/calendar/)
There are not any specific time frames, although I know personally I will get some information that I gather and present it thus forth at the meeting of the whole council at their next meeting.
I made the changes to my new slide based on learning from my other classmates presentations. I learned to make my slide as simple, clean, and understanding as possible. My slide was already clean and simple to begin with, but nothing is ever perfect. So, I decided to revise my slide just a little bit more. I took out one of my pictures, because it just wasn’t necessary. I changed the color of my background because just because white goes with everything, doesn’t mean its that attractive. I changed the background to orange because its an appealing color and it stands out. I decided to even delete another picture, because the colors of the picture just weren’t clashing with my background. I enlarged the last picture I had and deleted my name and title. This give my slide a fresh and appealing look. In conclusion, this is how I improved my slide and now it looks great!
On the 17th of November, there was a hearing about the bill. I was able to find the video of the hearing online. Lautenberg opened with remarks about the bill's history. He explained that he'd talked to Republicans about making the bill bipartisan, and talked to Chemical Industry companies about their suggestions, too. He also said that most of the Democrats on the Committee for Environment and Public Works have become cosponsors of the legislation. There are 12 cosponsors in total. In fact, OpenCongress does not list any organizations currently opposing the bill! Despite all this, major chemical companies are not in full support of the bill. In the November 17th hearing, American Chemistry Council President and CEO Cal Dooley talked about his problems with the Safe Chemicals Act. He said that the bill "remains very similar to the bill which was introduced in 2010, which we consider unworkable." Most of his problems with the bill hinged on the tough standards for data and regulation, many of which would be difficult for the EPA and chemical industries to meet. However, he seemed to be willing to work with Lautenberg and other senators to make the bill more workable.
Although there are twelve senators cosponsoring the legislation, none of those senators are from Pennsylvania. I can write to Bob Casey and ask him to cosponsor the bill, or at least to pledge his support. I could also write to Pat Toomey, but I am doubtful that he will support the legislation. I recently saw an advertisement of his that was paid for by the petroleum industry. I was not able to find the ad online, but did find an article about the American Petroleum Institute's advertisements for Toomey and various other candidates. This makes me think that Pat Toomey cares more about big companies and industries than environmental or citizen health. I can still write to him, and explain my position.
When I first started to research the Safe Chemicals Act, I found the website Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families. This site is an effort to pass legislation like the Safe Chemicals Act, and they have a sign-up for interested citizens. I already gave them my email, so I will be receiving updates on the bill's progress and opportunities to help. I also can write a letter to my Senators through their website. The website even has their own celebrity: Jessica Alba is working to push the Safe Chemicals Act through Congress!One of the features on their website allows visitors to send a message to senators Casey and Toomey. I have not decided whether to send the senators a message through the website, or whether to send them one on my own. Either way, I will certainly be adding my voice to the many who call for the Safe Chemicals Act to be passed.
I was not able to find any upcoming dates for meetings, committee hearings, deadlines, or anything like that. However, during the November 17th hearing, Senator Lautenberg said that he would be calling for a vote in the Senate soon. Because of this, I need to act now! At the moment, the only person I can influence in particular is Senator Bob Casey, by asking him to cosponsor the bill. I think that, with enough pressure from Pennsylvanians, Casey would support the bill. Pat Toomey, on the other hand, will probably not. I can still send him a message, to show my beliefs.
Love or Logic.
The blood flows in, then out, then in, and out again. It never stops. I’m always here. I support you. I keep you healthy. I keep you...alive!
So why…when I simply try to help the girl along, do you say no? Why must you constantly say no to my ideas/shoot me down?! She loves him! So when I say go ahead, do what I say, I know what’s right…. must you tell her to “stay strong”!?
Your idea of moving on, is turning the other cheek, simple as that.
It’s not that simple though! You don’t know love! The pain to “Keep her head up”, and have every other friend tell her ..:” Well next time it will be better…”, to move on...get over it. It hurts!
(Screaming with anger)
She doesn’t want to! Can’t you feel her crying those tears every night!
(Speaker get’s quieter, calmer)
I can…They’re for him. She loves him. Let her love him...please?
I’m begging you…I rarely do that. you usually are right, but this is different.
It’s love. I know love, I breathe it, feel it, live it.
(Takes a moment, as if they’re listening to someone, rolls eyes after.)
Okay, so yeah you’re the “mother board” ( actually do the quotes sign here), the big commodity around here, I get that. But maybe you don’t know everything! Maybe I’m right this time. Love is my thing, and it’s clear she’s in love with him. Yes, yes, I hear you, I know he hurt her, but maybe he’s changed. Maybe he’s a better person now. People change all the time. What if he’s the one? And your getting in the way of that, your telling her to walk away. You could be ruining it for her!
( stops to listen, as if someone else is talking, then madly replys)
No, Of course I don’t like seeing her get hurt, how could you even say that!
But pain is a part of everything, especially love!
As long as she makes the right decision ….the pain will be worth it.
I think he cares. Maybe I’m wrong, and maybe your right, but look at her, when she hears his name, her eyes light up, even I get excited…
So maybe this one time, I am right, maybe this time she can listen to me, people tell her to listen to her heart, they’re right. So you’re the brain, logic isn’t always right…love isn’t about logic…it’s about so much more than that.
Even if I am wrong, it won’t have happened for nothing, because if she doesn’t go after him now, she’ll always wonder. It’s better to know, and not regret what could’ve happened. If she doesn’t learn this lesson with him, she’ll learn it with another guy. That’s what life’s about…It’s the lessons you learn, and not the things you could have done. It’s everything you did.
“10 seconds that seemed like 10 years”
The screams of the audience, the cries of love ones and family. The burning light above shining down on my body. Sweat and blood dripping off my skin. Gloves colliding with muscle and skin. There I am exchanging punches in the ring. All my months of training, all my dedication, all my time devoted to this fight risking my health and my body all being tested to its maximum limit. A minute and half into the 8th round. I can barley lift my arms, my heart racing and my body swollen from the brutality torture in which I put it through. I grew angry and I lost all since of control all sense of deplaned I went back to the streets I swing a vicious left hook and I missed and the other man landing a titanic blow to my right temple sending me to the floor. The right side of my face is just a loud ring like a land mind that went off and exploded an eardrum. My whole face went dumb and im laying there on the ground as everyone stands and my carrier flashes before me as the ref counts. A million and one thoughts ran my through my destroyed mind. Time seemed to stop and I lay there covered in blood, sweat and tears. My perfect carrier 34 victories and 0 defeats. Was this it? Is this the end of my perfect record? My vision blurring and the loud ring still not allowing me to hear accurate. I try to find the ropes to get back out but the ropes seemed to be a thousand miles away. I start to remember my past fights. My father, mother, brother, family, and wife everything hits me. Like being hit with a thousand jabs aiming right for my face. I start to grow angry with my self because I threw everything that I learn away just because I got angry. The voice of my father begins to fill my mind. Everything else just fades away and im in the ring with my dad in the corner. Im shadowing while my father is telling me what to do. My hands are just a blur with my lighting speed. My body just cuts threw the wind as I move and wave back and fourth. My father tells me that it’s not about winning or losing but about giving it your all. That’s when suddenly, my vision came back to me and I can hear the ref screaming 5. Five, five more seconds are left in order for me to get up and im still lying on my stomach. I grab the 3rd rope and I fight to get up but my body is refusing me to. Seven! The refer says as im only on the second rope. The other guy is in his corner laughing and already giving a victory taunt to the crowd as if he won already. “Nine!” And im on my feet grabbing the ref as im telling him im ok and ready to fight again. The ref stops and gives me the “okay” to fight. The other fighter stands in amazement and disbelief that I got back up after the titanic blow. My eyes rage with fire and determination as my father screams in my corner and I hear my mother and wife screaming my name in the crowd. I banged my gloves together and I walk into the middle like a tank ready to run him over. He hits me a few times but I no longer feel pain. Im a beast, a beast ready to kill. I take a lot of hits not trading back. My father screaming to hit back but I know what im doing. I stand there letting him hit me as he laughs. Then, my mind snap and I duck on one of his hook and I come right off the ground with a furious upper cut sending him back and I connect with a right hook sending him to the ropes and I just unleash hell on his body not giving him not even a second to collect his though to see nothing. I gave him hell in less than mille second I want to kill him I want to finish him off until he falls and the ref holds me back and sends me to my corner. I have won, I had came back from near defeat, I have over come my fears I have proven everyone wrong I have won this amazing fight…
My favorite sport team are: the eagles, sixers and ACMILAN
and i will share some of my favorite quotes and lyrics.Also i will talk about the picture of me in biochem
¡Hola! ¿Soy jian qué tal? Soy mas o menos. Mi cumpleaños es el venti ocho de abril y tengo quince años. Soy de China, pero vivo en Filadelfie por dos años. Me gusta ciencias, videojuegos y escuchar a la música. ¿Qué tipo de musica escucha? No me gusta nada E-mail, la television o de trabajar.
Me gusta mucho los libros de comico, sin embargo mi usar un poquito. Me gusta leer los libros, de cocinar y surfear la red en estar de vago con amigos. Filadelfia es una ciudad entre la ciudad de Nueva York y la capital DC. Filadelfie es un ciudad increiblemente bonito. Quiero saber mas de ti, ¿como qué música te gusta escuchar? ¿qué te interesa?
¡Responde cuando puedas! ¡adios!
Con cariño, jian
¡Sadie es mi mejor amiga! Los fines de semana me gusta domir también de vez en cuando cocinar. Me gusta platicar con amigas y practico deportes tales como soccer (fútbol). No me gusta nada cantar y leer o sola. ¡Tengo encanta hablar me amigos y amigas! Y como si fuera poca mi habladora y loca y boba y rubia! ¿Qúe te gusta hacer? ¡Yo quiero saber mas sober de ti!
P.S. Añádeme en Facebook (Alyssa Winner) y Twitter (@winalot21).
Mi llamo Wynn Geary. Tengo catorce años. Mi cumpleaños es doce en Febrero y soy de Filadelfia. En Filadelfia es mucho mucho frío y no me gusta nada. Cuando tengo tiempo libre me gusta escuchar música (me enchanta "noah and the whale" aquí aye vidéo), me gusta surfear la red y pasar un rato con amigos y depende del día ir a la escuela donde yo puede estar con mi mejor amigos. No me gusta nada bailar ni escribir. Mi es, sociable también artístico, creativo, Moreno, y muy extraño. me decencia europea, specifically alemáno, irlandéso, italiano y galés. ¿Y tú? ¿cómo eres?
Bueno, me voy porque tengo que completamente me tarea
Chow, Wynn Geary
P.S. Añádeme en facebook (Wynn Geary) y Sígame en twitter @WynnGeary
I am Christopher, a spy on vacation to have the chance of experiencing the life of a high school student. This would be a hard process for me but I love challenges. There is obviously nothing wrong with a 26 year old in a freshmen class. I had the choice to choice between 4 of the grades but I want the whole experience. From the beginning to the end I want to see how it feels.
Shoes tied tight, pants on tight snap back on. I wanted to blend in. The only thing that made me different was this 5 O’clock shadow. But I could just be a early bloomer. The bell rang I got to my first class. All I have to say is wow. I think this will be a good time. First class, was so easy. I mean all we did was talk to my teacher about who I am. It was heard to make up a lie and keep with it for the whole day. I swore today I am like 10 different people to many of my teachers. But they won’t ever find my true Identity. Class went on everything was a breeze. Then lunchtime came. Since I was new to this school I didn’t know anyone. But since I wasn’t the only one that was feeling this way it was easier to make some friends. I saw this kid sitting on the table just staring at his shoes. I decided to go up to him and said “Hey nice shoes”. He responded with a nicely said thank you. After that I decided to start a conversation with him. We basically just talked about video games girls and fighter. It seemed to be that my new friend and I (Rick James) had a lot in common. Besides our dislikes we are very alike. Rick James was from Europe. Melbourne, Australia. I always wanted to go there, but you know being a full time spy I don’t have for those types of vocations. There is actually a good reason why I am being a high school student except for the experience. It seems that there is another spy doing the same I am and is attended the same high school I go to. The current high school is called LHhs (Lion house high school). Pretty small school, but I seem to love it. Lunch ended, and it was time for my next class. All I heard was screaming a chanting. Me being a spy, I get my guard up and hold onto my gun. I was about to pull it out, but I then noticed that I’m still in school, so the only possible thing I could do at this moment is hide. So under the table I went. It was such a awkward moment because I was the only one moving. My teacher then soon told me that it was only a small fight about to break out, but everything is under control now. My school day ended and I decided to go home and do research on this Rick James dude, just in case he is not apart of my mission. My heart started bursting up, loud breather is all I hear. It seems that Rick James is a European spy that was sent to get the files of the government. The files that he is looking for is files about the U.S spy system (USSS). Once he gets a hold of this, he can and will just conquer the untied states and put us in a big war. I knew I couldn’t have a fight with out a good night sleep so sleeping I go.
7:00 out and on my way to school. I went thought my day like usually. I saw Rick James and confronted him. Everything I said was correct. Since this was a high school we took this like high school students. We had a street fight. But this time we will be fighting until the end. We called out bosses over to watch from afar. The goal of this fight is if Rick wins then I have to back down. But if I win he has to back down. The bell rings we being to fight. 2 punches fly on me, but I took it and countered. Once I got a hold of him he was done. And I did. All you saw was a quick jab to the eye and down goes Rick.
Rick has fallen back now, and my high school life continues on because I would still love to have this feeling, also I just solved my case.
(Can immigrants who file a false tax reports be deported)
The Law’s being Challenged
An aggravated felony is when someone lies about over $10,000 and/or when the government losses over $10,000 in tax return money.
(Section 7201 of title 26 explains this)
The Law’s History
Immigration law allows the US government to deport anyone who has committed an “aggravated felony.” At first it only applied to crimes such as murder and drug trafficking, but congress has expanded the definition overtime.
Akio and Fusako Kawashima, a Japanese couple falsely reported their income taxes. They’ve been citizens of the US since 1984 (27 years). In 1997, Mr. Kawashima filled a false corporate tax return and his wife helped him. It made them seem as though they made less money then they actually did which illegally exempted them from paying government of owed tax money. They lied, and it cost the government over $10,000 in tax revenue. Section 7206 of the tax code was violated due to these actions.
Kawashimas were convicted of a violation under Section 7206, the tax code, not tax evasion which violates Section 7201. Because of this, they weren’t deported. The government still started to deport them which would relate to Section 7206.
The Question to the Supreme Court
Do the Kawashimas fall under Section 7201 even though they violated Section 7206.
At 1st, I thought they were a lost cause, but they have an awesome lawyers, so now I think they might actually win and stay in America, but still face consequences for disobeying the laws under Section 7201.
Next pitch, I put down four fingers telling him to throw the change. I really wanted to fool the hitter here. Pitch was right on the inside corner. I remember the loud yell from the ump.
I looked over at the batter. He was kind of shot and pretty skinny. I knew he was one of his team’s fastest players. He could hit too according the scouting report all though he was in a slump during the series. I looked over at their base runners, then back at the pitcher.
The ballpark was silent. I put down two fingers signaling for him to throw his breaking ball. He wound up, with the season on the line. Nervous fans were on their feet, one strike away. The atmosphere was electric. The pitch was on its way. It was coming in at about 74 mph, yet it felt like it was coming towards me slower.
The ball curved sharply downward into the dirt. The ump called it low and outside. I had to leave the crouch to block the ball. I looked the base runner back to third.
One ball, and two strikes was the count on the batter. I threw down one finger for the fastball once again. I just wanted the kid to throw a strike so maybe we could get a groundball or something.
“Come on kid.” I kept thinking.
The pitch came in. It was a ball way inside. The batter did an overly dramatic jump out of the box, to show the ump how inside it was.
Two balls, two strikes on the hitter. Opposing fans started getting a little bit more rowdy. I wasn’t sure what I wanted him to throw. I ended up putting down two fingers yet again, signaling another breaking ball. My heart was pumping a mile a minute. The pitch crossed the plate. The hitter checked his swing.
It was a full count and I couldn’t believe the ump called that just outside.
I ask the ump for time. I could sense the nervousness in the kid. I ran out to the mound, our Skipper right behind me.
Skipper was asking us “What do you feel comfortable throwing him right now?”
The kid told him he thought his fastball or changeup could work. It was also a shock to hear him talk because he had such a thick Dominican accent. Skipper looked over at me for my point of view. I told him that I liked the changeup in this situation. The hitter had to be expecting the heat with a full count, so why not give him the slow stuff to fool him. The ump ran out behind us. He told us to finish up our meeting.
Everyone went back to their positions. I threw down my four fingers, which told him to throw the changeup. He went into the stretch. The runners took off.
The pitch was a hard hit grounder, towards the shortstop. The runner sprinted out of the batter’s box there was almost no chance to get him at first. I knew the throw was coming towards me. I touched the plate with my foot, knowing that there was a force at any base.
I heard people on both sides yelling, “Home, home, throw it home.”
It all came down to this. The runner was barreling towards me. I was so scared yet so focused on what would be the outcome of the play. He stuck his head down toward my chest. The ball was almost in my glove. As the ball hit my glove, I felt as if a freight train had just hit me. I fell back, as the runner fell forward. The wind was beyond knocked out of me. I heard the ump yell something, but the call just blurred out. And then the rest just blacked out. I don’t know how many hours have passed by since all this. I’m really anxious. Can you please tell me what happened?
Ms. Brown, now I know that you said I couldn’t come back to your motel, but I have nowhere else to go. (Sigh) If you turn me away I will freeze, it’s 12:00 in the morning and it’s cold outside. It’s not even my fault that I got kicked out of the house this time. Someone, which is my brother, set me up I just know it. If I tell you what happened will you then let me stay? (Pause)
(Walk back and forth) Ok, so I was in my room dancing and singing to my favorite song by Chris Brown, until my mom came in my room. “Joesy, I’m out with a couple of friends so look after your brother until I get back. Oh, and make sure that nothing happens to my crystal my mom gave to me.” When she left I continued to dance and sing. My little brother Joshua came to me saying that he was hungry so I went downstairs with him. He was in a playful mood that he almost knocked over the crystal so I yelled and told him to sit down. After I got him something to eat I went back upstairs. I was minding my own business, when Joshua came to my room again. “ Josey I want a twinkie. Give me a twinkie!” I told him that we didn’t have anymore but he kept saying that we did because the box was on top of the refrigerator. I told him that there was nothing in the box so he got mad. Twenty minutes later I hear a crash downstairs, so I run down to the living room to see what it was. And I see that mom’s crystal was on the floor broken into a million pieces. I panicked and started to pick the pieces up when my mom came through the door. “AAHH!! Why would you do this to me? I told you to make sure that nothing happens to my crystal and I come back and see this.” “But mom, I didn’t do this, Jousha did.” “I can’t believe that you would blame your little brother for something you’ve done.” “But mom I…” “Stop no more excuses. I can’t take this anymore with you arguing with me or getting into trouble. I’m just done! Get out of my house.” “Mom, you’re going to kick me out because your crystal is broken?” ”No, I’m kicking you out because I’m tired of your drama. You’re always getting into fights, arguing with people, and getting put away. So get out my house.”
After we argued I went to my room to pack my things when Joshua came back in my room smiling and laughing. And before I left I tried to tell my mom that it wasn’t me but she didn’t want to hear it. I went to some of my other friends’ houses but their mom don’t like me but I know that you do so that’s why I’m here now. Hoping that you will help me.
So can I please stay, I promise that I won’t bother your costumers. I won’t even be here in the daytime; only at night to go to sleep. (Pause) Ok…fine (gets mad) let me go out in the cold to freeze. No shelter, no heat, no food. I thought you would be different from the others but I see that you’re exactly the same. (turns around goes to door then stops)
(speaks to herself) Why don’t people like me? I try to do everything for them and they treat me like this. I feel alone, like no one cares. And here I am trying to get help from someone, who I thought I could trust but looks like I can’t. I might as well just steal a key to get a room. That’s it! Why stay outside in the cold when I can just steal a key and be warm. Wait…No… I can’t… she trust me and so does her daughter. We’ve been best friends since 1st grade. I can’t do this to her, to them. What am I going to do? I try to do everything right but it always seems to come back to bite me. (Cries a little)
(turns around to see if she’s still there) You’re really going to send me out there in the cold? What kind of an adult are you? And out of all people, out of the whole world, I thought that at least you would see where I’m coming from. (Mrs. Brown holds up a key) Are you serious? You are giving me a key to a room? (hugs) Oh thank you, thank you, thank you! I’m sorry about what I said earlier, I didn’t mean I, I was just mad that’s all. I promise that I’ll pay you for the all the time I stay. Matter of fact (gets money and hands to Ms. Brown) here is some money for this week.
(walks away to room)
As I stand here in a supermarket, seeing this food is like a golden piece of heaven, handed to me for free. Running up and down each isle, ripping and grabbing every piece of junk food putting it into my Jansport. (Stop and Stare) A small open buffet style food cart with Chicken, Mac n’ Cheese, Cabbage, Rice and Mash Potatoes. The thought of this being my first hot meal in two months, drinking my favorite soda, forgetting about the life of hell I would be going back too. (Sigh of relief) (Flashback)
Do you remember the first time you and dad took me to the zoo? Seeing the smile on my face as I ran after the birds. Do you remember seeing me cry over, the thought that, the animals were getting hurt in the cage’s? Do you? Because I know I don’t remember.
Panicking, frustrated, realizing the play money from monopoly that once filled my pocket, is now gone. Walking and Walking, getting closer to the line, I shoved my hand inside my pocket, pulling out lint and stolen chips. I realize that 10 minutes of heaven is now a lifetime of hell.
Do you remember you and mom teaching me how to ride my bike. Do you remember at night when I thought that the boogieman would get me and how you stayed up all night so that I would know I was safe. Do you? Because I know I don’t remember.
Mom and Dad
Do you remember when I said you guys are my hero’s? Do you remember when you asked me what I want for Christmas and I said a brother or a sister. Do you? Because that seems like the only thing I remember about us being together as a family.
I lost my mom and my dad all in the same month. I know I’m 18 but I have 3 siblings, who need somewhere to continue on living. But I promised to be my brother and sisters keeper. Signs of stress, Tiara and Tiana failing school, Isaiah getting into trouble with the law.
Are you out there? If so I need help, I’m tired, I want to give up, send me help please!
Lord please, Mom and Dad, you guys are missed everyday and we love, we will see you guys again one day. (Walk off crying)
¿Qué mas? Mi nombre es Leah. Vivo en Filadelfia. Se conoce como "La Ciudad de Amor Fraternal." Tengo catorce años. Cuándo es tú cumple? Mi cumpleaños es el once de junio. Está mucho nublado y bastante frio en Filadelfia. ¿Qué tiempo hace hoy en Venezuela? Yo tengo dos hermanos. Los amo. Aquí son dos fotos. Aquí es mi y mi hermano, Joel.
Soy es morena y más o menos baja. Soy deportista, boba, y por lo general inteligente. Depende del día, soy habladora. ¿Y tú? ¿Cómo eres? ¿Hablas un poquito inglés?
Bueno, me voy porque tengo que estudiar.
“What the HELL is wrong with you! It was an accident! You didn’t have to beat him to death! Fear was no longer a registered word in my vocabulary. Seeing my friend, my diary, the man I told everything too, my mentor dead at my feet, that overfilled the cup of hate I had towards the guards.
If I hadn’t looked at him, I wouldn’t of saw the sheer fright in his eyes. He knew what he did was wrong, but he tried to keep his composure. Standing on a large boulder in the middle of the yard, the Death Valley sun beaming at my forehead, I did what I hadn’t done since my trial: spoke my mind. “My brothers, and that’s exactly what we are now. Not by blood, but by bond and hardship. We can no longer allow these oppressive tyrants to slaughter our souls! We can no longer stand back and watch one of our brothers get the leather belt across his face. The day for revolution has come, and this damn sure will not be televised! We pray to be delivered from evil every night, today YOU HAVE THAT CHOICE! MAKE IT!” Silence washed over the entire yard while I awaited the fist of these human devils.
“Miguel, wake up! It’s snowing!” My baby sister scared the heck out me, but in doing so, she got me up and running towards a nearby window. Pull the blinds up in a flash. It’s no lie. Snow was falling from the gray clouds in the sky above. Falling, falling beautifully. A smile appeared on my face. It was my first time seeing snow. Seeing snow reminds me what happened about a year ago.
I go back to Puerto Rico. It’s a place where you would never see snow down there. You’d see the beauty of the Tropics, the white sandy beaches, the crystal clear Caribbean Sea, palm trees swaying in the warm tropical wind that would flow over us. My community was a great community. My family and I knew everyone around us, and everyone knew my family and me. We would walk into stores for buying food, clothing, etc, and they would say hello or wave to us, and then we’d get into conversations about how has our day been, what’s been going in your life, the latest gossip, chats like that. (The gossip refers to my Mom.) My community was a community I loved. So if it was a good community, why did I leave Puerto Rico? It turns out I had no choice. Like all good things, they must come to an end. We struggled financially for a certain time. I knew it. We couldn’t make payments on our home. It wasn’t looking good.
We had to move out, but where? The answer was kind of obvious. The United States. We packed up what we needed, clothing, food, merchandise that mattered to us. Stuff like that. We made sure we didn’t forget the papers and passports. My Mom kept nagging Dad about it. One more of those, and Dad was ready to flip out. I was ready to flip out as well. I mean, I know she’s want to make sure we don’t forget anything we need, but it’s like she pokes us about it. She’s like “Hey, hey. You get the papers and passports. Did you? We can’t forget them.” Okay, we won’t the damn thing! I ready to here from Dad, but he never said it. Even when we got into the country, he stayed cool.
Speaking of coming into the country, America was a new experience for us. We entered JFK International Airport. That’s in New York City. We saw buildings reach up high in the sky, many automobiles, so many people in suits. There were so many things in New York City. However, there are some bad things in America I heard of. Lots of violence, an obesity problem (which was kind of obvious), and “party hooters.” The first night in our new American home, and the party hooters I told you about, yeah… it was a rough night for our family. At first I didn’t think this could work.
5 days being in our new home, I told Mom, “I don’t this could work.” She asked what I meant. I told her, “We moving to America. I mean it’s been rough these past few weeks.” Mom gave me a solution that she thought right off the top of her. “Give it time.”
With that, I think about these past months of being here, and well… she was right. Aren’t all moms right? Anyway, Mom finds a job at the New York Times headquarters. She works in a normal cubical like any other person in office. She just checks and edits a person’s article. Sounds boring. Here this, because of her work on, she got promoted to being the editor’s secretary. Dad has a job on art. I must have forgotten to mention that Dad is an artist. Loves to draw, paint, anything to make his art pop out, to inspire, to… make you feel. Apparently, what happen to start of Dad’s new art career. He made an art store on corner of where we live now, and a contractor comes into his store (I’m saying it from him), he said the contractor loved his art. Every art piece in the store had a theme to it. He offered him a deal that Dad could not refuse. He would sell his art around the world, to art museums, galleries, etc. He would supply him with his own art materials. Hearing all this from Mom and Dad, I’m like, “Wow.” I’m just amazed that we have come Puerto Rico in a financial crisis, and here we are. School is working out for me, too. I made good friends during these past months. I even showed them one of Dad’s paintings, I hear ooh’s and aah’s. One of my teachers said, “It’s remarkable. Your Dad must have an incredible mind to make such fantastic imagery.”
So yeah, I miss Puerto Rico, my old friends, my old community, but I have a new community that I like now. It’s my new home, have new friends, and I experience a weather change up here as well. I’m so use to warmth of Puerto Rico. Now I have to get used to cold winters, but at least I see a new kind of precipitation. And I can do cool activities in it as well. So I guess that wraps up my internal monologue. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going sledding.
I find myself silent, black hoodie up, lying down, arms covered over my eyes blocking the sun, what I see is the grass. The grass. And then-flashback.
I remember it was summer and this entire mini prairie that I crouch on now was alive with sunflowers, and various tall plants, like lavender. I didn’t know much about plants then (don’t know much about the now),but I knew there was something beautiful about this area that made me subconsciously venture there at my spare time, accompanied with my dog. The grass that I lay on now, was bright green and smooth then, and I always thought, this is here to stay, they-can-not-touch-it. As worn down and small fraction of what’s left of nature, it was still monumental to me, surpassing the awe of any skyscraper or city landscape you could see, To this day it is like a dying paradise. The grass passage way, always polished with dew, and the tall plants diverse with sunflowers, rabbits, spiders, hidden animals of all sorts, buzzing and moving with life. It was easy to get lost, and ignore the suburban wasteland on the other side of the creek.
So my spirit is back to the present now, in the same position, at birds eye view, I look as if I had fallen down and shielding myself from a bomb above. And then the grass I glimpse at, the grass of the now, the entire pathway, scarred by the tracks of construction machines. I’m still shielding myself, but I look away from the gruesome grass, and I try to look up ahead at the rest of the pathway. I always knew the pathway was finite. And at the end was more houses, but this time, the lovely trees that used to shelter the lost animals in it, were moving in the distance. I found this scary at first, for the fact that they were moving, but then I realized that their actually being commanded to move by the construction workers- and I’m scared at that fact even more. I sit up, and something is in my stomach. It’s the deer. The deer I saw a couple of weeks ago, there were so many that time. They were hidden, untouchable. But you saw them prancing so closely all along the half wood. Half wood, I should say nearly wood. And then they just disappeared.
‘ Oh yes I remember the deer, yes they’re shooting them off now because they are so overpopulated and lost out of their natural habitat.’ Said Justine Pierce.
Justine Pierce was a middle class, woman of bold age and bold wrinkles. She works at the Cobbs Creek Environmental Branch in Yeadon. She’s seen the same things I’ve seen. And cried the same tears, when the water department destroyed the land around the creek, last summer. I met her a last month, those were words she told me.
I watched a documentary a couple days ago called “End-Civ”, I remember a clip where an anonymous Earth First! Member talks about how they mark the trees they will leave during clear cuts. I thought about how those trees were scarred forever, as the WWII Jewish holocaust survivors were scarred for life with tattoos. Clear cuts are a holocaust. The Jews were devoured for profit, and the trees are devoured for profit.
Bears, I hear the sound of bears. Loud grizzly bears screaming, I want them to be bears. But I know they are the sounds of chainsaws and machines. And then there’s the laughter of the big bellied construction workers. They leave their coffee cups, Dunkin Donut wrappers, and gasoline tanks in on the soil. But I know I can’t be angry at them, because I know that they are just trying to make a livin’.I know they need to eat.
I walk to where there was once a beautiful landscape of trees, and I see a broken trashed up grave. And the trees, the trees, all of them piled up, past my head. Then I remember how in war they pile up the dead bodies, without proper burials. The soldiers get proper burials. I saw only a couple trees left, they were all scarred with the X’s, I saw a black cat run up the trees as my dog Poncho went after it. Then I remember all the animals that make these trees their homes. The nests these trees provide, the oxygen, they shelter the tops soil so that life can grow.
Between the sound of the construction workers laughing as they tore down trees on the other side of creek, the loud industrial roars of the chainsaws, why do I not feel shame. Why do I not feel the tears? I’m afraid to feel, but I’m even more afraid not to.
If pain is the only thing I can feel, than let me have the most miserable life I can. I don’t see the rationality in destroying your planet in the name of human progress.The earth is a finite resource, in fact it's not a resource it's a living thing. It’s not sanity to kill everything, in the requirements of a technological God? You can’t pay for the air you pollute, the water you blacken, the animals and land that we gobble up and replace with these deserts we call cities. We’re all guilty for when the time comes when we realize that our children can not eat money.
I love ice cream, well, loved ice cream. You and I were one, but now you’ve fallen. Now I’m sad. Now I can only think about your cool choclatelly-ness on my lips. I loved you, and now you left me. Looking at you not in my cone, made me cry. I thought it was only you and I, but now your cheating. Cheating on me with the ground? I was good to you; I even made sure you were paid for. You were going to be the highlight of my day, but now I cant think about it because it will only make me feel worst. I could go get another one, but I only wanted you. The next ice cream cone will only be yet another failed relationship, after I eat it of course. I only wanted you to be with me, and you left. Because of my clumsy pink church shoes, I tripped and you left me. We could have gotten thought it together, but you flipped and fell. You lay beneath my shoes, even with a little of your chocolate on my ruffle socks.
And now I just have to cry. Just sit here and cry. How could a 4 year old child, ever be so lonely. Well without you I feel just that, lonely. Looking at you melt on my shoe soles, now changing my shoes a different color, I just cry. Tasting the complete opposite of you, hot, salty tears only make me break down. I wish I had you to be sweet and cold on my taste buds. But now I’m too upset, I don’t know what to do anymore. You’re still melting and I’m still standing here with a blank and salty face, wishing you could make it better.
Before you melt completely and run down the sidewalk of the ice cream shop, do you remember that time we were on the swings, and I was so over excited that you and I were at the park on that lovely day. What about that time when we were at the amusement park, and you were running all down my hands, or even the time that you made my hands all sticky. Or do you even remember my love for you as a child? Being an adult now I have to think about many-failed relationship as being that day you fell off my cone. You taught me something; you taught me that all relationships end. Either someone gets left hopelessly, or it ends sweet and abruptly.
The bigger picture is that it could be sweet every time, but no matter what, it has to end. Ice cream now that your almost gone, I would like to tell you that you and I were meant for each other, just like the rest of my favorite desserts, who managed to terminate the relationship. I will understand, and even as an adult I will understand how things work out. The first lick is the sweetest, but the first cut is the deepest.
Welcome to the jungle. Where people here usually end up in jail, where they actually do look like animals inside of a cage. Welcome to Hell on Earth. Some days you feel as though Hell is a wonderful alternative then being in this place. Drug addicts and dealers are on every corner like clockwork. Welcome to the place that will make you or break you. Where if you do live past 21 then you will not accomplish anything. Either you are making babies or making drugs, there are no other options. Here we have no real mothers. Instead we have women who had to give up their childhood and dreams to raise their own children. Here babies have babies. Women who repeated the dreaded cycle of nothingness. Bitterness and regret run through their veins instead of blood. And fathers? Half the people here don’t even know the definition of this word. All they know is that 9 months before their birth dates their mothers had sex with some man. And the ones who do know their father only know him by a tombstone or an inmate number.
There are no houses on the hill in this place. Instead, we have houses so closed to each other that you can smell what your neighbors are cooking through your walls. No one here lives in a condo, instead they have apartment buildings whose hallways are filled with filth and urine and elevators are never in operation. Nope, there are no backyards here, alleyways are what we have. And in these alleyways there are no Mercedes or BMW cars with the top down.
The streets are covered in nothing but filthy trash, so much people can’t even tell you what color the concrete on the ground is. There is a foul smell here also, not so much an actual stinky smell; but the smell of failure. A smell that once you’re here you are here forever.
College? The kids here can’t even spell that word. Most people dropout by age 15 or 16, or just stop going. You see education means absolutely nothing. The only “higher learning” that gets done here is the high people get from smoking drugs. Only a few people have gotten out of here and got an education and better life. And the ones that did get out? Oh trust me, they have no thought of coming back. Quite honestly I don’t blame them. I mean why come back? People here think of you as a sellout or snobby, because you did what they never could.
Welcome to the place where the sun don’t shine. Only good days here are the days when no gunshots are heard. And the funniest thing of all is that this is never going to change. Poverty is always going to be the driving force that keeps people here. Something that this place never had and never will is hope.
You see I am what causes all of this, I am the reason why these people will never know or do any better. I am what keeps these people from living a better life. I am Ignorance.
I wake up, I’m still on my bed, I think about people and how they think I revolve around this quote: “Life sucks and then you die.” People think my way of being, is based on this idea. If you ask me why I always look unhappy and dress the way I do, I will probably tell you what people assume: that I really think life sucks. In a way people’s assumptions are right, but the part where they are wrong is the part where they single me out. They judge me and when they do, they also think that they are so much better and smarter than me with their “normal” clothes and behavior. People go by stereotypes. They give into society’s labels to try to fit in. Not me. Ha! Ironically, that’s what makes me better than them.
I get up and pick out my edgy clothes that people like to hate on and insult. “Shady” and “coarse” are what they call my style, and what they call me. How do I know what goes through people’s minds? I don’t. It doesn’t take a mind reader to know the judgments people make about you. You just need to have your ears and eyes open and vigilant. Once I was aware of the noises and looks about me and around me, it became obvious how people view me. It became clear simply by the looks they give me. You know, the looks that say: “I’m better than you.” What triggers those looks? I call it hatred based on an objectification. In other words, this hatred is a type of narcissism.
People let society degrade them because they’re too vulnerable, they are narcissistic to the point where they need other people’s approval to make themselves feel better. When I hear girls my age fish for compliments, all I do is think to myself: that’s one difference I will always have with most people, because sadly most people are narcissistic.
My point about people’s narcissism is that when people judge my style as “dark” and “coarse”, it’s based on their own narcissism, their own disparity to be normal, because they can’t accept that I am not narcissistic like them, and so they hate my style.
Thinking about my life and society makes my head spin. I process everything for the upcoming day, and finally get up. When I’m done getting ready, and about to head out the door, my body freezes after I head out. I hear glass shattering against the floor, and someone yelling in the background. “Great!” I think, “I’m starting off the morning just great! Worried, annoyed and tired.” Of course my dad chooses now to get angry. Yesterday he was too busy not caring about anything other than T.V. and that cheap beer bottle of his. He gets like that whenever he’s upset. It was all because of me, like it always is. I’m the reason why they fought yesterday night, and many nights before. My dad was really looking forward to going to my stupid parent/teacher conference meeting, but my mom couldn’t make it just like she can’t make it to almost anything because of her new job as a real-estate agent. “I told you yesterday that I had a meeting with a very important client. Don’t say I embarrassed you by not showing up, when I already informed you that I couldn’t go!” my mom yelled. “B.S. Miranda! You sent me a lousy text like you always do. And it’s always an important client for you! This is just always an excuse for you not to deal with our daughter. Well congratulations for being the greatest wife and mom, and leaving me with the dirt to handle!” my dad retorted frustratingly.
After this dramatic scene for me, my mom rapidly walks out through the backdoor. And I just stand there watching my dad in agony at what he’d just said. “So I’m like dirt, that you have to deal with now?” I say. I slam the door behind me, not caring that my dad is running after me, yelling “I didn’t mean it like that, honey, but you know your mom always runs away from problems. I had to say something!”
I know I shouldn’t have been hard on my dad, especially since my mom pretty much did that, but I couldn’t just let go of the fact that he was addressing me as dirt that needs to be handled.
With my “strange” style and “depressed” expression, I finally arrive at school. And like any other regular school day I barge into class late. As if my day wasn’t already miserable I realize that my first class is math. I hate math. It’s just a game with a bunch of numbers, what’s the point? It doesn’t matter at all. I mean I have an F in math and for what? For being who I am, and not liking numbers or homework? Honestly why would I do my homework when math is stupid.
I sit and drop my book bag on the floor, our teacher asks the class this complicated question. I raise my hand giving her a complicated answer. Apparently “complicated” means “smart” to my crowd of classmates, because everyone’s head turned around. They all just stare at me, astounded.
My parents can join the crowd and be astounded by my knowledge. I’m not dirt like my father said I was he made me seem like a total bimbo. I remember this one time, when I sat in math class knowing that no one believed in me just like other days in my life. Just sitting in class, with no hint of sadness in my face, because the sadness simply bled into originality. That is what my original expression looks like. It doesn’t mean I am sad, it just means I am different. That I simply grew up very fast waking up one day to realize that the world is sad.