Ibrahim Younis, a 44-year-old Sudanese-born Tucsonan, has worked as a coordinator for Doctors Without Borders since 1997.
“To save a life, to feed people, to be able to make this change, it’s addictive,” Younis said during a Pima Community College presentation that drew students, faculty and community members. “When you’re back home, you’ll want to do it again.”
Younis grew up in the United Kingdom and in Belgium. He holds citizenship with three countries: Sudan, Belgium and the United States.
After obtaining his primary school education in Sudan and attending school in Europe, Younis enrolled at PCC two years ago. He hopes to transfer to the University of Arizona to continue studying political science.
Younis worked in the early ‘90s with a United Nations consortium called Operation Lifeline Sudan, handling and managing the food distribution logistics.
He then moved to Doctors Without Borders, which is also known by its European name of Médecins Sans Frontières.
He started with MSF as a logistician, and later became a logistics coordinator and then a program coordinator. He’s now worked as a manager in MSF’s European headquarters and has also traveled to more than 50 countries.
Much of his early MSF work focused on conflicts in Islamic countries, including Afghanistan, Iran and Somalia. He worked on the front lines in African areas where Boko Haram extremists were active.
His non-medical work with emergency units made him an emergency specialist, so he now concentrates on emergency preparedness and response for both human-caused and natural disasters.
“I find it sad that the kind of work he is doing is necessary, but I appreciate the work that he does,” said Elizabeth Moisin, a PCC nursing student who attended Younis’ presentation.
“I think it’s heartwarming that there are people who have the courage to go out there and do this kind of work,” she said.
Lizette Durazo, another PCC student who attended his talk, said she will consider working with a relief program like MSF in the future.
“To hear that there are people who risk their lives to save lives is miraculous, especially in the face of danger on the front lines,” she said.
Younis said 60 percent of his job involves gaining access and developing strategies. He must deal with politics, security and diplomacy while working with local authorities.
He has seen tragedy and loss throughout his time working with MSF, but said he continues to return because of its potential for good. When patients recover and start smiling, Younis said he knows MSF has made a difference.
“There are a lot of sad and happy memories, but in general the fact that you save lives gives you so much consciousness of the situation and the work you do,” he said. “And we do save lives, especially for children, pregnant women, the elderly and the wounded.”
He supports MSF’s belief in staying neutral, and said aide workers can’t differentiate by color, gender, age, religion or creed.
“Whatever comes on the table, you treat,” he said. “That, for me, is fundamental if you want to provide humanitarian assistance, especially in conflicts.”
Younis met his physician wife about five years ago through MSF. They now both live in Tucson with their two children.
He sees himself doing what is right no matter the danger. “I get to have that pleasure of making a difference in somebody’s life,” he said.
By BRITTNEY YOUNG
The more time spent looking at Gov. Doug Ducey’s educational funding budget, the more it sucks.
Kindergarten through 12th grade spending isn’t the only thing that has been reworked in the governor’s new plan to redefine educational spending.
Community colleges have endured the most in Arizona’s “redefined” state funding.
Rather than rework the numbers in the budget under the guise of changing it, the budget simply cut funding for state community colleges.
Pima Community College students know that better than anyone, as tuition rates have increased in part due to lack of state funding.
The school received nearly $6.5 million from the state in fiscal year 2015, according to the PCC budget report. State funding listed in the 2016 budget report was a big fat $0.
Last year, tuition cost $75.50 per unit for in-state students. This year it cost $78.50. PCC cut tuition rates for out-of-state students, in hopes it would encourage those students to come to our community college.
The 10 Phoenix-area schools in the Maricopa Community Colleges system are also no longer receiving any funding. They and PCC are the largest community colleges in the state.
It won’t stop there either, as plans are being made to cut funding from other community colleges statewide in the future.
The state has already moved to cut funding from Central Arizona College in Pinal County, but CAC was saved by legislation that protected its funding.
The immediate problem these schools face is the hardship the funding cuts create for their students. PCC has had an expenditure limitation in which it needs to reduce costs by $5 million.
Suggestions for ways to do this include tuition increases, department and campus consolidation, hiring freezes, elimination of certain positions and leasing equipment rather than purchasing it.
Another issue that has been created by the state is how dependent PCC has become on federal aid for its students.
The Pell Grant is pretty much the only aid a community college student can receive that isn’t a loan. It’s no wonder admission rates have decreased when no one can afford to attend.
As a nation, more emphasis has been put on community colleges as a starting place for higher education, but in Arizona it seems to be penalized.
At least this doesn’t seem to be a growing trend throughout the country. Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam began the Tennessee Promise program, which focuses on ways to make community colleges essentially tuition-free for graduating high school seniors.
Arizona continues to be the anomaly that baffles educators and students alike.
Brittney Young is a financial aid student and appreciates the opportunity of starting at a community college rather than a university.
I am a person of faith. I believe in a higher power. I believe in God. But I disagree with most of what the church has to say.
Sunday has been church day ever since I was a little kid.
I grew up with a Christian mom who came from a very devoted family. My granddad was a pastor for most of his life and many of my relatives are involved in the church as well.
My dad, on the other hand, was raised Catholic but rarely goes to Mass.
I was taught in church that we must follow the rules to go to heaven. If I did not behave correctly, God would punish me.
But as I started to grow up, things the church said did not make sense to me anymore.
We live in a society that is more liberal than in the past but still people use their religious beliefs to discriminate against others.
Churches are becoming places where you can judge others who don’t agree with you.
Not all churches are bad but not all of them work for all people.
There are so many religions and each has aspects different from the others. One thing they have in common is that each religion feels it is the right one.
A quote in the movie “Spotlight” stuck with me: “The church is an institution of men and that’s passing. My faith is in the eternal. I try to separate the two.”
That made a lot of sense to me. I don’t need to go to church to have a relationship with God or to believe in something.
If you don’t go church or identify yourself with a specific religion, people automatically think you are an atheist.
There is nothing wrong with being an atheist but I disagree with the assumption that anyone who stops attending church is a non-believer.
I don’t need someone to be an intermediary for me. I don’t need an institution to know that I have a relationship with a higher power.
We should believe in whatever we need. Belief is something people look to for comfort.
What may work for you may not work for somebody else.
Maria Angulo is a journalism major at Pima Community College. She hopes to transfer and graduate from one of the three state universities.
By ISABEL FORSMAN
Things that should be illegal: stealing, murder, drug use and prime time on Lyft and Uber rides.
As a college student, I use Lyft and/or Uber when I don’t want to drive on the weekends. Ergo, I always use it.
Prime time happens when potential customers request an excessive number of Lyft or Uber rides within a short period of time. A formula compares the number of Lyft/Uber drivers available to the number of ride requests, and multiplies the price of rides by a multiple.
On Friday and Saturday nights, prime time rates typically go up 50-100 percent. This is a little ridiculous but doable, especially if the party I need to get to is going to be worth it.
Just last weekend, however, I was out with a friend. We were going to request a Lyft to take us home, until we saw it was a 500 percent prime time markup.
Five hundred percent? This outrageous amount would have been roughly $50 for a 15-minute ride. If this isn’t robbery, I don’t know what is.
As a college student with enough to worry about and pay for, I am appalled by Lyft and Uber for putting these prices on their rides.
So why do they do it? They say that at times of high demand, the number of drivers become limited and higher prices encourage other drivers to become available.
With that in mind, I did a survey to determine whether college students (ages 18-24 from Pima Community College) would rather pay the extra $20 or wait an extra 45 minutes for an Uber/Lyft driver to become available.
The results concluded that 39 of 50 students would rather wait than pay. This survey shows that Uber and Lyft should have consulted with their users before raising prices.
Here I am thinking that whoever invented Lyft and Uber had a main goal of helping to provide cheap, easy and reliable rides for people who want to get to where they are going.
In my humble opinion, that person is doing a crummy job. College students should not, under any circumstances, have to pay prime time for services that are supposedly the “best deal” for rides,
Pima Community College sophomore Isabel Forsman is from Hagerstown, Maryland. She is a studying political science and plans to pursue a career in law after completing her education.
By KATELYN ROBERTS
While on Facebook the other day, I received a notification from my friend Mike. His profile picture appeared to the left of his witty comment and I clicked on the thumbnail to get a closer look.
That had been his picture for awhile now, and I could tell it was a childhood portrait. When I clicked to see the full-sized image, a brief thought of how cute he was crossed my mind, but I was quickly overtaken by a deep sadness.
I looked into the child in the photograph’s eyes and compared them to Mike’s eyes now. I started crying.
Mike is not the type of person to make me cry.
I’ve felt this way looking at my own childhood photo albums but I wondered why a friend’s baby picture, especially one as insignificant as an old coworker’s, could also make me sad.
I dug deeper. Why does childhood nostalgia make us sad?
When you’re a kid, you’re not intentionally painting memories to make yourself sad later in life, and that’s the joy of being a child: being able to take every sweet, careless moment for granted.
Well, those fond memories get bundled up and shoved into a treasure chest in your mind.
They later come out to strike you with a bittersweet, wistful sadness.
I asked some Tucson friends what sort of scents, objects, sounds or memories brought them back. Some of their replies included:
- Joop Cologne
- Maltese puppies
- The hour before the sun sets in October
- The smell of citrus blossoms
- Cedar wood
- A-Ha’s “Take on Me”
- The sound of snow crunching
- Root beer floats
- Reading books during the early hours before the sun rises
- Strawberry Shortcake dolls
- Scented pencils
- Grandma’s makeup
- The elementary school library
- Darkroom fixer
- Dove soap
- Freshly-mowed grass
- Little League
- Bath and Body Works Cucumber Melon
- Smoking pipes
- Antibacterial soap
- John Denver’s “Rhymes and Reasons”
- Orange and purple Halloween lights
- A skateboard’s wheels rolling over cracks in the sidewalk
- The New York City subway
Anything can take you back, particularly picturesque objects like fireflies or a sunset.
For me, it’s my mom’s sundresses and the smell of fresh dill.
The duo reminds me of my mom hanging out in the backyard with us, gardening, or calling us inside to try on the matching dresses she sewed us.
I find myself yearning for a past that feels comfortable and normal.
For many of us, being a kid was lonely, even frightening. Why would those with tough childhoods want to go back?
You’ve heard it before: “Things were better back then.”
I always figured people referenced the past as “the good old days” because it had less technology and simpler pleasures. Or, they were blurring out the hardship and remembering the good stuff, as we all do.
In my research, I found many online forums about the topic. A number of people admitted to even having addictions to nostalgia.
Nostalgia is, after all, a concentration of all the good memories we’ve collected. That sounds like a drug to me.
But that is between you and your therapist.
Apparently, if these folks, myself included, were around during the 17th through 19th centuries and fell into a stupor of memories, we’d be diagnosed with a psychopathological disorder.
The Swiss physician Johannes Hofer created the word “nostalgia” in 1688 by combining the Greek word “nostos,” meaning “homecoming,” with “algo,” meaning pain.
It seemed to be most common in soldiers missing their home and children missing their mothers.
In “The Future of Nostalgia” by Svetlana Boym, the first people stricken with the disease were those displaced during the 17th century like “freedom-loving students from the Republic of Berne studying in Basel, domestic help working in France and Germany and Swiss soldiers fighting abroad.”
Boym described nostalgia as a disease of an afflicted imagination.
The melodrama of deeming nostalgia an illness sounds crazy itself, and should be filed away with other ridiculous ailments of the past like “women’s hysteria.”
According to “Dying of the Past,” Michael S. Roth’s study on nostalgia in the 19th century, nostalgia as an illness was considered so serious that some soldiers even faked it.
But there is a helpful lesson in this research.
For me, nostalgia is my biggest kryptonite. As soon as I sense the feeling coming, it cripples me into a somber daydream.
While my sister will patiently listen to me dwell on the past and even interject with her own memories, we eventually cry it out, snap out of it and continue to live our lives.
Just as baby Mike grew up and was replaced by 40-something Croc-wearing Mike, many moments we hold onto from the past will change, age or decay.
And that’s life.
It’s OK to be afraid to face something from the past. It’s OK to miss something from the past.
Luckily, this is the 21st century and we won’t be electrocuted, tortured, shamed or covered in leeches for it.
But too much of it won’t get you anywhere. Living in the past is easy. Facing the unknown is not.
Childhood nostalgia is my fear of the unknown, my apprehension to take steps into my unwritten future, my search for comfort.
After all, we find comfort in the familiar.
By NICK MEYERS
In November, Arizonans will have an opportunity to vote on the first minimum wage initiative since 2006.
Proposition 206 will increase the wage from $8.05 to $10 starting on New Year’s Day, to $10.50 a year after that, to $11 a year after that and to $12 in 2020.
Minimum wage initiatives in Seattle, San Francisco and New York have graciously provided a Petri dish to examine the effects of minimum wage increases on what many call a “living wage.”
The verdict? Not much has changed.
That’s right, fire didn’t fall from the sky and land on every mom n’ pop shop trying to put kids through college. Thousands didn’t lose their jobs, resulting in unprecedented unemployment. Prices didn’t skyrocket, driving poor people out of the market for basic goods.
In Seattle’s case, the rate of employment tripled that of the national average after the city voted to raise the minimum wage in 2014.
A recent study from the University of Washington failed to “find compelling evidence that the minimum wage has caused significant increases in business failure rates.” It explicitly states that any closures were far dominated by business openings.
New York only voted to raise its minimum wage earlier this year, but economic analysts are already chomping at the chance to predict how it will affect the nation’s largest city.
A recent study out of UC-Berkeley speculates the boost in wages will only raise payroll costs by 3.2 percent across the entire city over the next six years. Businesses can absorb this cost by increasing prices .14 percent per year.
It also estimates a .04 percent increase in employment, which would amount to 3,200 jobs by 2021.
The same group concluded a Santa Clara County initiative would increase payroll costs by 1 percent and could account for the cost with a .2 percent increase in prices by 2019.
We’re talking about pennies, here. Pennies to the consumer and thousands in annual earnings to minimum-wage workers. Somehow, the doomsday scenario just isn’t adding up.
But enough of the data.
When it comes down to it, responsibility lies with business owners. When we envision our perfect economy, do we enjoy seeing mega chains and international brands take over our consumption? Not usually.
We like the idea of going to Sally’s hardware shop and Bill’s flower stand, chatting about the latest ball game, asking about the kids and giving our hard-earned cash to people we don’t mind sharing it with.
These small businesses are indeed the backbone of a healthy economy and it isn’t the fault of their employees that they struggle.
It’s the mega chains that offer prices too low to compete with and use cost-benefit analyses that tell them how little they can get away with paying their employees.
The medicine for this sickness is boosting those at the very bottom of our economic ladder. Help them reinvest in their immediate markets.
The goal is to get a majority of Americans to a place where they can start saving money. They’ll put it in a bank, where Sally and Bill can apply for a business loan and become providers in our community.
This isn’t an argument won in Economics 101. The real-world examples speak for themselves and the important thing about the real-world examples is they involve real people with real lives.
Nick Meyers is a former Aztec Press editor who now attends the University of Arizona, where he studies Journalism and Philosophy, Politics, Economics and Law, or PPEL. He actually thinks the minimum wage is a silly argument because robots will end up taking your job.
Berkeley, NY: http://www.irle.berkeley.edu/cwed/briefs/2016-01.pdf
Berkeley, SF: http://irle.berkeley.edu/cwed/briefs/2016-03.html
By NICHOLAS TRUJILLO
No one works at minimum wage in my family except me. I’m the youngest. A proposal on the November ballot would not provide a whole lot of improvement.
Proposition 206 would increase the minimum wage from its dormant state at $8.05 an hour to $10 in 2017, then slowly creep to a ceiling of $12 an hour in 2020.
At first it looks good because that means more money in your pockets if you work at minimum wage. You get to circulate more money into the economy. Go you!
You can now become a contributing member of society to our free market in the US of A.
It’ll start potential job growth in all fields, as shown by the Economic Policy Institute in 2006. The Institute said a wage increase would create 85,000 jobs, and they weren’t wrong.
The unemployment rate for Arizona went from about 4.2 percent to 3.7 percent in 2006-07, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Take a look at what happened next, however. After it dropped, unemployment quickly spiked back up to even higher than it was in 2006, to a little over 11 percent.
Of course this was before the 2008 recession, and I’m not saying that increasing the minimum wage will definitely increase unemployment in 2017.
I am saying the Bureau, and many minimum-wage working Americans, didn’t factor in long-term effects. Those effects include inflation for products they normally buy, and a shortage of popular items.
While the rise in minimum wage may have motivated people to search harder for jobs, it didn’t necessarily mean employers were looking to hire more people.
Of roughly 1,200 business and human resource professionals surveyed by the Congressional Budget Office, 38 percent said they would lay off some employees. Another 54 percent said they would reduce hiring levels in 2006.
So much for the .5 percent decrease in unemployment.
Why don’t we talk about relativity? It is true the minimum wage has not kept up with inflation. It was $6.75 in the new millennium, when rich people were making money faster and the poor were losing it faster. As always, though, there’s a but.
A pay raise won’t make everything else static. We’ll see price jumps in just about everything we buy.
Beef ribeye steak currently costs $5.99 per pound at Frys. After the 67 percent increase in wages, how do we know Frys won’t raise its prices by that much? Prices might get raised even more, because grocery stores have a plethora of employees.
Inflation is very real and it happens very quickly.
And will businesses even provide raises? The other option is to just fire employees
Yes, the minimum wage will have great impact on the economy and on the consumers in the economy. However, the little people will only reap benefits for a short time before prices increase.
In a perfect world, a wage increase means people spend money on items beyond essentials, without causing inflation.
But let’s face it, America isn’t perfect and neither are we. An increase in the minimum wage will only hurt us unless people make big and, more importantly, right decisions.
Nicholas Trujillo believes in both sides for minimum wage but doesn’t trust Americans to make the right decisions with the pay increase.
By BRITTNEY YOUNG
The theory behind trickle-down economics is that tax breaks for the wealthy will in turn benefit the middle class because the extra monetary gain “trickles” down.
The idea is that all members of society benefit from this growth, which comes from those with the resources and skills to increase productive output.
In reality, trickle-down economics is politically influenced and has no scientific backing.
The closest thing to trickle-down is supply-side economics, which argues for creating economic growth by investing in capital and lowering barriers on production of goods and services. The theory says tax cuts support economic growth, whether for business or for employees.
The biggest example of trickle-down economics in action came during the Reagan era in the 1980s. Arthur Laffer, known as “the father of supply-side economics,” was the founding member of the Reagan Executive Advisory Committee in 1980.
He’s the creator of the Laffer Curve, a chart that seeks to explain the benefits of lowering taxes to create monetary output.
At zero, the chart shows that no taxes equal no government income. As taxes increase, so does income. When taxes become too high, however, they don’t create any economic growth.
The problem? Laffer neglected to number the curve, so there really is no way to see the actual increase of revenue based on tax rates.
Now, some would say that innovation spurs progress and creates economic growth in the middle class.
The middle class prospered from the late 1800s to the 1920s with new industries emerging such as electricity and telephones. Henry Ford’s Model T assembly line increased productivity 10 times and he doubled his workers’ wages.
Trickle-down economics seems to work in this scenario, right? The major business prospers, and so then do middle-class workers. Unfortunately, modern businesses haven’t shared the wealth.
Tax breaks were prevalent for the top 10 percent in both the Reagan and Bush administrations. All we have to show for it is a tripling of the national debt and a gap increase between wealthy Americans and the middle class.
It’s a reverse Robin Hood ideology where the rich are supposed to use their money to give to the poor. Instead they keep it for themselves like a regular Prince John.
Brittney Young will graduate from PCC this fall. She hopes to transfer to the University of Arizona to study English and Law.
Future leaders discuss cross-border trade issues
EDITORS’ NOTE: Because this story is international in scope, Aztec Press is offering it in Spanish as well as English.
By KATTA MAPES
For more than 50 years, the Arizona Town Hall group has reached out to its members across the state to involve them in civil discourse on a variety of issues that affect Arizona.
Their website at aztownhall.org states: “Arizona Town Hall’s five decades of work has guided our state’s civic, political, business and community leadership in identifying and implementing policies that have helped to shape, grow and improve. Arizona has been successful because of our members.”
Pima Community College hosted a once-a-semester teleconference for Future Leaders from local high schools, colleges and universities on March 29. The live feed was sent to groups throughout the state.
The focus of this semester’s conference was cross-border economic development between Arizona and Mexico.
Presenter Juan Ciscomani, director of the Southern Arizona and Sonora offices of Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, said Mexico is the primary trade partner for Arizona, with an average of $17 billion in revenue.
Ducey is dedicated to further expanding trade opportunities with Mexico, Ciscomani said. The governor traveled to Mexico City last summer to discuss increasing trade in the public and private sectors.
A group discussion began when the teleconference ended. The discussion leader was Celeste Nunez, a science major in PCC’s Community Campus online program.
She will gather ideas from the local group discussion and send them to Arizona Town Hall President Tara Anderson. Nunez, the only student member of the board of directors for the Arizona Town Hall, was invited to join last year by Anderson after Nunez advocated for a student member.
She attended a similar event for future leaders, and was persistent in requesting student participation.
“I suggested that the board have a student member,” she said. “Because there were none, I offered myself for this.”
She is the first student board member in the 50 years that Arizona Town Hall has existed.
Futuros líderes discuten temasde comercio transfronterizo
Por KATTA MAPES
Durante más de 50 años, el grupo de Arizona Town Hall ha puesto en contacto con sus miembros en todo el estado para que participen en la discusión civilizada sobre una variedad de temas que afectan a Arizona.
Su sitio web en http://aztownhall.org declara “de Arizona Town Hall de cinco décadas de trabajo ha guiado cívica, política, los negocios de nuestro estado y líderes de la comunidad en la identificación y aplicación de las políticas que han ayudado a dar forma, crecer y mejorar Arizona ha tenido éxito porque de nuestros miembros.”
Pima Community College organizó una teleconferencia una vez al semestre para los futuros líderes locales altas escuelas, colegios y universidades el 29 de marzo La transmisión en vivo fue enviado a grupos de todo el estado.
El enfoque de la conferencia de este semestre fue el desarrollo económico transfronterizo entre Arizona y México. Un presentador, Juan Ciscomani, director de las oficinas de Arizona y Sonora meridional de la gobernadora de Arizona, Doug Ducey, dijo que México es el principal socio comercial de Arizona con un promedio de $ 17 mil millones en ingresos.
Ducey se dedica a ampliar aún más las oportunidades comerciales con México, dijo Ciscomani. El gobernador viajó a la Ciudad de México el verano pasado para discutir el aumento del comercio en los sectores públicos y privados.
Una discusión comenzó cuando el grupo terminó teleconferencia. El líder de la discusión fue Celeste Núñez, un comandante de la ciencia en el programa en línea Comunidad Campus del PCC.
Se reunirá a las ideas de la discusión del grupo local y enviarlos al presidente de Arizona Town Hall Tara Anderson. Núñez es el único miembro del estudiante de la junta directiva para el Arizona Town Hall. Ella fue invitado a unirse el año pasado por Anderson después de Núñez abogó por un miembro del estudiante.
Había asistido a un evento similar para los futuros líderes, y fue persistente en el que solicita la participación del estudiante.
“Me sugirió que la Junta tiene un miembro de estudiante,” dijo. “Debido a que no había ninguno, me ofrecí para esto.”
Ella es el primer miembro de la junta de los estudiantes en los 50 años que Arizona Town Hall ha existido.
By AUDRIE FORD
One in five Americans will be affected by a mental condition during their lifetime, according to research by the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the nation’s largest grassroots mental-health organization.
Sixty-seven years ago, the nonprofit Mental Health America set May aside as Mental Health Month. While much has changed in the past six decades regarding mental health treatment in America, there is still work to be done. The group said that last year its educational materials were seen and used by 19 million people.
In Southern Arizona, organizations participating in Mental Health Month include the local chapter of NAMI and Interfaith Community Services.
NAMI Southern Arizona has been around since 1983, and offers services to both Spanish and English speakers. It devotes its efforts to educating, advocating and providing support to all those affected by mental illness.
Interfaith Community Services has helped Pima County residents of many different faiths since 1985. According to ICS, the organization provides more than 73,000 services to over 36,500 people every year.
With the organizations working in Southern Arizona, there are many ways to get involved in Mental Health Month.
NAMI offers pre-made, easy-to-use resources that emphasize community involvement and openness among friends, families and those with a mental health condition.
Its stigma-free pledge is perhaps one of the simplest ways to start a conversation about mental health. The pledge involves three steps that anyone from any walk of life can take to help a cause that impacts millions of Americans.
Step 1. Educate yourself and others.
Mental health advocates emphasize that stigmatization is still a serious issue for the community. Learning that mental health conditions are not derived from weakness, poor character or bad upbringing is an important step for everyone to take.
Tearing down harmful stereotypes about those with mental health conditions is also critical to bringing mental health care into the modern era.
Step 2. See the person, not the illness.
The Mental Illness Research Association estimated that 22 percent of the population has a mental health condition.
Sometimes, it’s easy to forget that this statistic has millions of unique faces with unique stories. Their life story does not end with a diagnosis.
Step 3. Take action on mental health issues.
According to NAMI, 70 to 90 percent of those with a mental health challenge who sought treatment saw improvement in their quality of life.
It is important to remember that mental health crosses party lines, religious affiliations and economic status.
In order to truly make a difference, everyone must do their part to better the lives of those with a mental health condition in the most compassionate way they can.
Get involved in Mental Health Month, but don’t let the work stop at the end of May.Turn Southern Arizona into an opportunity hotspot for help, healing and profound respect for fellow human beings.
By BRYAN OROZCO
In honor of International Women’s Day on March 8, here are 10 women who fought for the rights of gender, people and/or their country.
Their political thoughts and actions revolutionized their own era and set a precedent for today.
Angela Davis (1944- )
Angela Davis was a political activist, a scholar and at one time a most-wanted fugitive from the FBI in the 1960s.
She held membership in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the Black Panther Party for Self Defense and the American Communist Party. That involvement cost her a position as an assistant professor at the University of California-Los Angeles in 1970. Then Gov. Ronald Reagan attempted to have her barred from teaching in California.
Davis was accused in 1970 of supplying the guns in the death of federal judge Harold J. Haley. She fled, which created a national manhunt. She was caught in New York but later acquitted in 1972.
Davis retired as a professor in the History of Consciousness and the Feminist Studies departments at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Vilma Lucila Espín (1930-2007)
Considered “The First Lady of the Cuban Revolution,” Vilma Lucila Espín fought alongside the Castro brothers and later married Raul Castro, Cuba’s current president.
She was born into a wealthy family in Cuba. Her father was a lawyer for the rum company Bacardi. The revolution viewed Bacardi’s business exploits as treating Cuba like a “Yankee playground.”
After becoming one the first chemical engineers from the island, Espín joined the opposition against the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista.
She died on June 18, 2007 at the age of 77.
Janet Jagan (1920-2009)
Born in Chicago, Janet Jagen became the first female president of Guyana and fought for labor rights in the United States and abroad.
After receiving a college degree, she and her husband moved to Guyana in 1923. They founded the People’s Progressive Party, which promoted Marxist ideals
Their campaign to decolonize Guyana from the United Kingdom earned them jail time under the order of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
There were many attempts to remove her from leadership roles, some supported and funded by the U.S. government. However, Jagan became president of Guyana in 1997. By then, the country had gained its independence from the UK.
Jagan died on March 28, 2009 at the age of 88.
Phoolan Devi (1963-2001)
Phoolan Devi was a modern Robin Hood: loved by the poor, despised by the rich. She began a streak of violent robberies across northern and central India in the 1970s, targeting the rich and sharing her bounties with the poor.
In February 1983, Devi surrendered to authorities. She negotiated her sentence with the Indian government and was sentenced to 11 years in prison.
Within two years of her release in 1994, she was elected to India’s Parliament. She continued advocating for the poor, but this time through political action and mobilization of the people.
Three masked gunmen assassinated Devi in her home on July 25, 2001. She was 37.
Petra Herrera (Unknown)
The most well known soldaderas of Mexico’s second revolution, Herrera went into combat with the men by disguising her gender. Her role in the revolution was to blow up bridges, which hindered the oppositions from gaining ground on the revolutionaries. She participated in the second battle of Torreón on May 30, 1914 along with 400 other women. Although she showed great leadership and comradery, Pancho Villa refused to promote her to general.
She left Villa’s battalion to form her own all-woman battalion.
Blanca Canales (1906-1996)
In 1948, a bill known as the Gag Bill, or Law 53, was introduced in Puerto Rico. The bill made it a crime to own or display a Puerto Rican flag, sing a patriotic tune, speak or write of independence, or meet with anyone or hold any assembly in favor of Puerto Rican independence.
Blanca Canales was a member of the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party. On Oct. 30, 1950, the nationalist took up arms that were stored in her home and marched into the small town of Jayuya. They took over the police station and raised the Puerto Rican flag in defiance of the law.
The actions prompted the United States to declare martial law. Officials ordered the U.S. Army and Air Force to engage the revolutionaries.
The Nationalists held on against the Americans for three days, but were later arrested and sentenced to life in prison.
After 17 years in prison, Canales was granted a full pardon and released in 1967. She died on July 25, 1996 at the age of 90.
Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906)
During the campaign season, it is sometimes hard to remember that U.S. women were not allowed to vote for almost 180 years after the country gained its independence.
Susan B. Anthony met Elizabeth Cady Stanton in 1851 and the two toured the country arguing the case for women’s suffrage, the right to vote.
Many attempted to stop her efforts. In 1872, she was arrested for voting illegally in the presidential election and a judge later fined her $100. She refused to pay and never did.
Her efforts pressured Congress to pass the 19th Amendment, which prohibits any U.S. citizen from being denied the right to vote based on gender.
Anthony died on March 13, 1906 at the age of 86.
Rasmea Odeh (1948- )
Rasmea Odeh is a Palestinian women who was convicted in 1969 for her membership in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and for her alleged involvement in a grocery store bombing in Jerusalem. She was sentenced to life in prison and was tortured while incarcerated in Israeli prison.
She was released after 10 years and migrated in 1995 to the United States from Jordan. She became a naturalized citizen and works as associate director of the Arab American Action Network in Chicago.
Odeh was convicted of immigration fraud on Nov. 10, 2014. She was sentenced in March 2015 to 18 months in federal prison and stripped of her U.S. citizenship. She will be deported to Jordan once she finishes serving her time.
Malala Yousafzai (1997-)
Age is but a number, even for a revolutionary. Malala Yousafzai began advocaying at age 12 for women’s rights, particularly the right to an education in Pakistan.
Her advocacy resulted in the Taliban sporadically closing schools by force and in death threats against her.
A gunman shot Yousafzai in the head on Oct. 9, 2012 while she was traveling home from school. She survived despite the serious injury.
In 2014, she won the Nobel Peace Prize, becoming the youngest person to receive it. She continues to speak out on the importance of education for all.
Comandante Ramona (1959-2006)
Using a nom de guerre, Comandante Ramona was a Tzotzil guerilla and activist who led the rebels of the Zapatista National Liberation Army into the Mexican town of San Cristobal de las Casas on New Year’s Day 1994.
The activists sought land, jobs, housing, food, healthcare, justice and democracy. In addition to protesting the North American Free Trade Agreement, Ramona demanded an end to hundreds of years of exploitation and marginalization of indigenous peoples of Mexico.
She died on Jan.6, 2006 from kidney cancer.
Her real name and details of her pre-revolutionary life remain unknown.
By BRYAN OROZCO
The topic of immigration is most evident within the American cultural pool. When put against the backdrop of the current presidential campaign, it is clear that it is a useful topic for gaining political support and, in a broader sense, political power.
Yet when it comes to immigration, the tone from the candidates is brash and adverse, particularly from the right.
It is safe to say that the mainstream media has beaten a dead horse over the comments Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump made about legal and undocumented Mexicans in the U.S. and on his plans to combat this “threat” to the United States.
There is a more stringent initiative on immigration that has been supported by 13 of the 17 initial Republican candidates: the political position of ending birthright citizenship and, in essence, striking the 14th Amendment from the Constitution. That position came into play in August 2015.
The Library of Congress defines the 14th Amendment as having “granted citizenship to ‘all persons born or naturalized in the United States,’” which included former slaves recently freed. In addition, it forbids states from denying any person “life, liberty or property, without due process of law” or to “deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” 1
The amendment’s main focus in recent months has shifted from the 3.9 million Afro-American slaves that were freed by 1860 2 to the 55 million Latinos living in the U.S, with American citizenship in 2015. 3
Some Republican presidential candidates have been lukewarm when it comes to the 14th Amendment. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has said we should re-examine the amendment. 4
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) was quoted saying that he doesn’t “think the 14th Amendment was meant to apply to illegal aliens. It was meant to apply to the children of slaves.” 5
Other candidates are hotter when it comes to the 14th Amendment. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal tweeted on Aug. 17, 2015 that “we need to end birthright citizenship for illegal immigrants.” 6 Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has said there needs be a change in the amendment because undocumented immigrants will simply “drop and leave” their kids. 7
The right has picked their side on this issue. Their stance is that the 14th Amendment and birthright citizenship is long due for a re-examination or, in an effort to stop the increase of undocumented immigrants coming into the country, the amendment must be abolished so that those granted citizenship and those seeking out citizenship are deterred.
However, an agreement between two countries that granted citizenship to a mass of people, 20 years before the 14th Amendment was added to the Constitution.
Feb. 2 marked the 168-year anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Peace, Friendship, Limits and Settlement between the United States and Mexico, better known as the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which ended the Mexican-American War.
The biggest takeaway from the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was the cession of Mexican land to the United States. Almost 55 percent of Mexico’s land, including Arizona, Texas, New Mexico, California, Nevada, Utah and parts of Colorado, was given to the United States.
There are some caveats in the treaty that are not discussed as openly today. Article 9 of the treaty states that “The Mexicans who … shall not preserve the character of citizens of the Mexican Republic … shall be incorporated into the Union of the United States and be admitted at the proper time to the enjoyment of all the rights of citizens of the United States..” 8
Mexican people had a choice to make. We either go back to what is left of Mexico or we stay on the land that we’ve been on for hundreds of years. The collective choice was clear, as more than 90 percent of Mexicans chose American citizenship.
Article 10 of the treaty would honor and validate all land grants made to Mexicans either by the Mexican government or Spain in the new territories that belong to the United States. This granted the newfound citizens land to live on and work on as U.S. citizens free of harassment.
However this was not honored as the United States Senate eliminated Article 10 from the treaty without consulting Mexico and, most importantly, its new citizens. 9
There is a difference between this treaty and the talks on the 14th Amendment. That difference, however, revolves on one issue: the right to citizenship for a mass of Latin Americans.
The talk and behavior from the Republican Party, in wanting to get rid of the 14th Amendment and birthright citizenship, has never taken the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo into consideration.
It is lost context because it contradicts the whole political point they are trying to make.
They cannot take away the citizenship of almost 64 percent of the population by eliminating an amendment, because there’s a treaty to back up the citizenship of those people. 10
Put aside the politics of it all. The Southwest is historically, culturally and geographically indigenous and mestizo—a fusion of indigenous and European.
Mexican-Americans of the Chicano Movement have used this land seceded by the United States and have reclaimed it for themselves as Aztlán, the ancestral home of the Aztec people.
The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo works as the constitution of the Chicano people, granting them right to this land and all the civil rights that come with it.
Context is everything. Without it, many phrases or situations can become awkward or false.
In discussing the 14th Amendment and the elimination of birthright citizenship, the lost context of this treaty between Mexico and the United States is important, because without that context it is what Mexicans like to call “Una pendejada!” which translates into someone saying or doing something real stupid.
by NICK MEYERS
With all the excitement over presidential debates, campaign rallies and whatever came out of Donald Trump’s mouth this week, it can be difficult to remember that we have local elections this year.
Pima County voters will head to the voting booths on Nov. 3 to vote in our local elections, which is arguably much more important than selecting our future president. However, due to the media monopolization of the presidential race, local elections often get over looked.
This year, Tucson has the opportunity to approve or deny more than $800 million infrastructure and economic stimulus packages. Nearly a billion dollars could be spent improving our roads, parks, neighborhoods and businesses, but only if voters approve.
Members of the Pima County community have spent the last nine years developing seven distinct proposals worth nearly $100 million apiece to be paid for with general obligation bonds.
A 25-member committee has held more than 100 hearings to gather public insight as to what specific projects comprise each bond and these seven propositions are the culmination of nearly a decade of debate and compromise.
Bonds are similar to loans from private investors, except these loans are payed for by taxpayers. Over the next 15 years, property taxes will increase to fund these projects.
But worry not, for the average property owner tax will increase by a mere $17.54 per year while the highest valued properties ($250,000 or more for 13 percent of primary residences) will increase by $28.75 per year.
While it seems the vast majority of the public supports these propositions, there are some who disagree with the justification of spending $800 million of taxpayers’ money. One group, Taxpayers Against Pima Bonds, has even created a website (that belongs in 1996) to persuade voters against voting for the bonds.
The main argument against the bonds is that businesses will experience a much higher tax increase than homeowners. This is partially due to the fact that average commercial property is valued at roughly six times that of residential property. The average business owner can expect a tax increase of about $200 per year.
As compelling an argument as it may be, the life of a business depends on the lives of its customers and these packages not only stimulate economic development and tourism, but transportation and public health as well; all of which are beneficial to businesses as well as citizens.
Additionally, Pima County has an exemplary history with bonds and currently holds a AA credit rating, the second highest possible. Since 1974, Pima County voters have passed 54 bonds worth $2.03 billion in 12 elections. Only four have ever been denied.
The decision is ultimately left to the voter. So to help you decide here is a brief summary of each of the seven propositions. For more information, head to pima.gov/bonds2015.
Proposition 425: Road and Highway Improvements
Total: $200 million
This is the largest proposal this cycle with the majority of the spending designated to road repair and pavement preservation to be completed over the next 12 years. It’s no secret that Tucson’s roads are in desperate need of repair and in tandem with Prop 431 for flood control and drainage, this $200 million will go further than funds for repairs in the past.
Proposition 426: Economic Development, Libraries and Workforce Training
Total: $91.4 million
What else does Tucson need? Business! This package is aimed at helping the unemployed prepare for and land a job as well as help out existing businesses. The largest parts of the package are the $20 million going to the University of Arizona Tech Park for a new building; $18 million for the new Southern Arizona Regional Orientation Center, a tourist resource for learning more about the Southwest; and $15 million for the Oro Valley Business Accelerator, a center for industry and academia to collaborate on research.
Proposition 427: Tourism Promotion
Total: $98.6 million
While the proposition sounds like it’s aimed towards tourists, much of this package goes towards places Tucsonans love to visit as well. The Music Hall and Leo Rich theaters are the big winners of this proposition, as both are slated to receive renovations. The rest of the funding will go towards many of Tucson’s museums and the zoo.
Proposition 428: Parks and Recreation Facilities
Total: $191.5 million
The second largest proposal on the ballot, Proposition 428 will funnel money into several of Tucson’s parks for renovations and expansions. Kino Sports Complex would receive $25 million for a new indoor sports complex and new fields and $3.5 million for a velodrome.
About $77 million will go towards various recreational facilities like YMCA, municipal golf courses and swimming pools and the remaining $85 million will be spent improving more than 20 parks in Pima County.
Proposition 429: Public Health, Welfare, Safety, Neighborhoods and Housing
Total: $105 million
Nearly a quarter of this package will go towards improvements in Pima County’s most “stressed” neighborhoods for improvements such as street lamps, sidewalks, parks and community in the interest of reducing many negative societal impacts such as crime and drug abuse.
Other funding will go towards the Pima County Affordable Housing Program ($20 million), Pima County Medical Examiner ($15 million) and the Sahuarita Food Bank ($300,000).
Proposition 430: Natural Area Conservation and Historic Preservation
Total: $112 million
This one is interesting as nearly the entire proposition aims to spend $95 million on a land acquisitions. The proposal would allow the county to purchase up to 450,000 acres of private and state land in order to maintain and facilitate wildlife and environmental preservation.
Though the county may not necessarily purchase all the eligible land, the land it does purchase becomes public and open to hiking, biking and horseback riding. The county will place new trails and trailheads that will be open to the public.
Proposition 431: Flood Control and Drainage
Total: $16.9 million
This one is sure to be a favorite among voters, as it aims to better prepare Tucson’s rivers for the monsoon season. Almost half of the bond ($7 million) will be spent to reinforce the banks of the Santa Cruz and Rillito rivers and Canada del Oro, connecting river parks, bike paths and trails along both banks.
Other parts of the proposition will go to the Tohono O’odham San Xavier District ($2 million) for drainage improvements and acquiring flood-prone land for the county ($5 million) to relocate residents who may be at risk.
I want to emphasize that I love Pima Community College. I’ve always felt so lucky to work in higher education. Not everyone has the opportunity to make a living doing something that they love and feel passionately about. I love our mission of “providing educational pathways that ensure student success and enhance the academic, economic and cultural vitality of our students and diverse community,” and work hard to promote it every day through my words and actions.
The new media policy, which I learned about from the Arizona Daily Star over the weekend, appears to conflict with our institutional mission, although I’m sure that was not the intent. However, when priorities shift from “students first” to preservation of our reputation (i.e. “present[ing] the College in the best light”), we lose sight of our North Star, our guiding principle. Our College Values, which “characterize the way in which we accomplish our mission,” mention “evidence-based continuous improvement practices,” “accountability and transparency,” and “open and honest communication.” A policy that only authorizes certain people within the College (“Marketing and Communication” and “on occasion, other College personnel”) to communicate specific and predetermined information does not support any of these ideals.
A truly student-centric approach would welcome constructive criticism as an opportunity to pinpoint problems within our institution in the interests of the student, and by extension, the community. Employees at all levels, even those who are considered “rank and file,” are stakeholders in our organization. Without the ability to engage in truly open dialogue and provide candid feedback, we undermine the importance of critical thinking, which is an essential component of the caliber of education we strive to provide to our community.
The volume of critical (and often deserved) press we’ve received in the past due to lack of openness and transparency under previous leadership has understandably left us feeling a bit wary of media attention. However, it was precisely such media attention that led us to make many necessary changes in how we conduct ourselves as an institution. In the spirit of “continuous improvement,” it’s in our best interests to foster authentic dialogue. We certainly risk potential embarrassment by allowing forthcoming, candid communication with which we might not always agree. However, appearing to stifle free speech or engage candidly with the public that we both support and are supported by is guaranteed to be far more embarrassing.
Editor’s Note: The author of this op-ed asked to remain anonymous.
By JAMIE VERWYS
In college, completing assignments and making it to class are hard enough. When students manage all of that and end up receiving praise for their work, it is an example of how hard work can pay off.
Pima Community College student, Andrew Paxton, will be remembered as an involved, passionate academic who has worked hard to make his time at PCC count.
He began classes in Fall 2012 and since then has served as an officer for Pima’s Phi Theta Kappa chapter, Alpha Beta Chi, and is president of the Journalism Club. He was editor-in-chief of the Aztec Press for more than a year.
On March 23, Paxton received a prestigious national honor when he was named a 2015 Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team Gold Scholar.
“It was pretty surprising,” Paxton says. “Even more surprising was the reaction I got after the award. I guess I didn’t realize how prestigious the award actually is. I didn’t have much of a social life the last few years. So they didn’t just hand me the scholarships by any means.”
Paxton was one of 50 community college students nationwide to receive top honors from PTK and will receive a $1,500 scholarship and special medallion.
A former president of PTK, Kyra Harris, says her friendship with Paxton was instant and she saw him as her right-hand man.
“I cannot think of anyone who deserves that scholarship more,” she says. “Andrew is ambitious, dedicated and compassionate. Many people are like crabs in a barrel, constantly trying to pull themselves up while they pull others down. Andrew is nothing like that. He understands the value of true collaboration and I would stand beside him for anything.”
In February, Paxton was one of four PCC students named as All-Arizona Academic First Team, earning him a scholarship and two-year Arizona Board of Regents tuition waiver to the University of Arizona.
When Paxton first began his experience at Pima, it was a major turning point in his life.
“I was involved in a road rage incident in 2007,” he says. “I nearly died as a result, and during my convalesce, I realized I wasn’t really living, just existing. I had received a second chance at life and I decided to make the most of it.
“Pima has opened more doors, windows and avenues for me than I could have ever imagined.”
Of Paxton’s many achievements, he says his time at the Aztec Press is his proudest.
“I have been able to meet countless people, and share their stories and experiences,” he said. “Those interactions have shaped me in ways that will influence my life for the rest of my days.”
At the helm of the student newspaper, he led the way to statewide and national awards, increased coverage and reported on Pima news topics with unwavering commitment to the truth.
More important than accolades, Paxton inspired and led student reporters in their own journeys.
“I was able to help train the next wave of journalists on staff,” he said. “Working with a reporter to develop a story and seeing the impact, on the author and the audience, is a very satisfying feeling and one I hope to replicate in the future.”
Harris witnessed the progress Paxton has captained for the organizations he was involved in.
“Pima has been very lucky to have Andrew,” she said. “I know for a fact both PTK and the Aztec Press wouldn’t have done as well without his leadership and guidance. He has put both of them on the national stage which is good for all of Pima.”
He retains his humility.
“I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy the success I have had so far were it not for my support network of my girlfriend, mother, friends, family, advisors and cat,” he said. “I believe those that stand by us throughout good times and bad are critical to finding not only success, but inner happiness and peace as well.”
Paxton will graduate from Pima on May 21 to pursue a bachelor’s degree in journalism at UA. His plan after college is “world domination.”
“I will be an editor somewhere, probably for my own publication, so I can be my own boss,” he said. “I also will write some books, and probably teach someday. Maybe sell out and go into public relations, but only if I need the money to support my Fabergé egg addiction.”
Paxton hopes to merge his political science interests with his love of journalism.
While he was surprised to receive PTK’s scholarship, he is well aware of the fact that he earned this recognition.
His story of success at Pima just goes to show that the college experience is worth all the long hours and struggles.
Paxton will remain on West Campus as the advertisement manager of the Aztec Press.