Dear Gen Z, AAVE is not “Internet Slang.”

“It’s the AAVE for me,” “Chile, anyways,” “We been knew,” “Finna,” “Periodt, “No cap,” Well, aside from being ingrained in “Internet culture” and often incorrectly referred to as “Gen Z slang,” “internet lingo” or “stan language,” they’re all rooted in AAVE – African American Ventricular English. AAVE is an established, recognized system of linguistics and a dialect of English natively spoken by Black communities, notably in the United States and Canada.

WRITTEN BY: Cil

Register for the Women of Color Conference!

2021 is finally here and #ItsOurYear! The Women of Color Conference is giving girls the tools to live up to this claim. Through career panels, grants, and mentorship programs, we aim to inspire young women to never limit themselves, but instead to reach for the stars and land among them. Through our conference community, we’ll remind them that no matter what they’ve gone through in 2020, they can use their voice to illuminate a brighter future. 2021 is the year of the black and brown girl; it’s the year for us all to be loud, make change, and thrive.

A Simple Guide to Sexual and Gender identity

We are now living in a world that is transcending beyond the former understanding that Sexuality and Gender identity are purely binary. Now, we live in a world where Sex and Gender lie on a far more complex spectrum than in the past. To many, their Sexual and Gender identity holds a pivotal role in shaping who they are. However, many struggle with their Sexual and Gender Identity at some point in their lives, including those we love. Contrary to what many of us may understand, Sex and Gender is not binary. Our biological sex is what chromosomes, hormones, genes, sex organs, and secondary sex characteristics we have, whereas our gender refers to how we think of our identity in the context of how norms function in our culture. Yet just like how gender falls within a more complex spectrum, our biology isn’t binary either. Students are often inaccurately taught that all babies inherit either XX or XY sex chromosomes and that having XX chromosomes makes you female, while XY makes you male. In reality, people can have XXY, XYY, X, XXX, or other combinations of chromosomes — all of which can result in a variety of sex characteristics. People with intersex traits can usually identify themselves as either Male, Female, or Intersex.

WRITTEN BY: Jia Xuan

Diversity in Disney: A Tale as Old as Time

Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, and The Little Mermaid. These are all classic stories that were brought to life by the Walt Disney Studios. For almost a century, they have dazzled audiences old and young with these tales of fantasy. But what do they all have in common? Their stories are centered on thin white beauties. This is not to claim there is an issue with that, but when you look at the expanseous vault of Disney movies, you can easily deduce that characters of color are painfully absent.

WRITTEN BY: Evie Fitzpatrick

Black History Month

Black History Month started at a Chicago festival celebrating the 50th anniversary of the emancipation of enslaved people. Carter Woodson observed this festival, and opened up a Black history booth during the 3 week duration of the celebration. Soon after the festival ended, he decided to form the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (Now changed to Association for the Study of African American Life and History).

AI, Racism, and Society

In a fiery spoken-word piece performed by Joy Buolamwini, she asks artificial intelligence a simple question: “Often forgetting to deal with// Gender, race, and class, again I ask Ain’t I a Woman?” This sentiment rings true as visuals play of multiple high profile black women, such as Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, and Serena Williams, being misidentified by various facial recognition software. The AI jumps to the conclusion that they are all men. This situation is evidence of underlying racial bias, and it’s not an isolated incident; racial bias is persistent in AI.
WRITTEN BY: Lucy Damachi

Why Mental Health Issues Disproportionately Affect the LGBTQIA+ Community

4.5% of adults in the US identify as LGBTQIA+ as of 2017. 39% of those people suffer from mental health issues – that is 5.8 million people. It is really important to know that identifying as LGBTQIA+ is NOT a mental illness or disorder. Everyone has a sexual orientation and gender identity. People who identify differently than the majority of the population fall under the term LGBTQIA+. Although being LGBTQIA+ is absolutely not a mental illness, more LGBTQIA+ people experience mental health problems than their “straight” counterparts. This is mostly due to the shame, fear, discimination, and traumatic events they have to face due to how they identify. Discrimination against LGBTQ+ persons has been associated with high rates of psychiatric disorders, substance abuse, and suicide. Many people who identify as LGBTQIA+ are also part of other marginalized communities. This adds the potential for xenophobia, racism, ableism, ageism, sexism, and much more to homophobia or transphobia they already have to face.

WRITTEN BY: Eliza Cline

Let’s Talk About: Gaming

Video games have been around since 1958, and as the years go by with improved technology, playing video games has become a very popular hobby or leisure activity amongst everybody, no matter the age or generation. As of October 2020, there have been 3.07 billion active video gamers worldwide on many different platforms such as computers, consoles, mobile phones, TVs and others.

WRITTEN BY: Emily Yeap

Intersectionality in Activism: The Need to Support Black Transgender People

Social movements are increasingly realizing the importance of intersectionality – the understanding that every person’s different identities (their race, gender, class, sexuality, etc.) work together to define their unique experience in society. Until the importance of intersectionality was acknowledged, activists believed that a win for a marginalized group meant a win for everyone in that group, regardless of their other identities that might work against them gaining equal benefits. However, despite increasingly intersectional discourse, even current social movements fail to include all identities successfully.
WRITTEN BY: Elisabeth Mahilini Hoole

Quarantine Love Story Playlist

During quarantine, Generation Z has turned to social media to communicate and interact with one another. With nothing to do during the beginning and summer of the pandemic, many new friendships and bonds were made, with connections with different people from all over the world.
A huge part of the way we relate to music is the lyrics and the story that they tell. Music is powerful and can evoke an array of heartfelt emotions. Our team put together the “queer quarantine love story,” and used an arrangement of songs to tell the story of two lovers who met during quarantine and the ups and downs of their relationship. Many young people also came out during quarantine, and this playlist highlights both the positives and negatives of that journey.
Immerse yourself into this audible and visual experience by listening to the Spotify playlist in its specifically curated order, reading the descriptions according to each ‘scene’, and using your imagination to follow the two lovers through the early stages of falling in love, the loneliness that comes through distance, and finally the happy ending.