13TH Documentary

Because I believe this should be watched & learned from. Along as this reaches out to anybody…

Youtube Summary:

“The title of Ava DuVernay’s extraordinary and galvanizing documentary 13TH refers to the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which reads “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States.” The progression from that second qualifying clause to the horrors of mass criminalization and the sprawling American prison industry is laid out by DuVernay with bracing lucidity. With a potent mixture of archival footage and testimony from a dazzling array of activists, politicians, historians, and formerly incarcerated women and men, DuVernay creates a work of grand historical synthesis. Now Streaming on Netflix.”


Optimism at its finest…

Now being graduated for almost four years out of high school. I have definitely learned that life is unexpected; the screen breaks on your phone, getting a driving ticket on a bad day or in my case unable to afford going back to college. I guess everyone is different when facing a speed bump in life and how they handle that stress. When finding out that OSAP would not be aiding me as a full-time student this year, I was definitely worried. With my College having no payment plan, and owing almost three thousand dollars each semester it became clear that trying to pay for my education without OSAP is very difficult.

Before I go any further, my lovely mother pays for my education which I am completely grateful for. OSAP aided my education while I attended a year at Humber College and my first year at Sheridan College. However, due to the updates on my parents income including my distance from the school (15km) and that I am the only person in my family attending College right now. OSAP did not accept my application as a full time student for my final year in Broadcast Journalism at Sheridan College. Knowing that they don’t take in consideration that one of my sisters has been running track and field professionally traveling all around Canada doing her SATs and university applications this year. Including my brother’s recent trips to Spain and England for soccer scouting opportunities. I could tell you now there is no financial aid for any of that.

Don’t get me wrong, everyone has their issues or speed bumps in their life. Regardless if they believe it is unfair or not, that’s life. C’est la vie! Yet the first night was the hardest for me to accept that I was so close to the finish line, with only a semester until I graduated. Scared of feeling like a failure and even questioning my passion in what I want to do with my life. It’s either I bask in the fear and continued to be upset, or get up and see the other opportunities in front of me and push for what I want. After watching Kid Cudi on Tedtalks, he really inspired me on how he elaborated on his own life experiences starting in high school to college including his own advice on life in general. “We are all commanders of our own destiny…” he says. Though I may not be going back this semester, I am twenty-one with a lot of time to always go back and get my Diploma when I can. Which leads me to getting more experience and confidence in knowing what I want to do as a life career. My life is in my control even though things don’t turn out the way you wanted.

I always dreamed of working around music and entertainment. With school it opened my mind to the vast opportunities Broadcast Journalism really has to offer. I fell in love with producing, on air work and even editing and graphics while working in the news room. Though I did feel like I learned a lot once having to make my own Job shadow connection with 93.5 flow radio I knew after graduating I would have to start getting more experience and making connections on my own. That is something I definitely have the time for now, pushing to work more hours and make more money.

At this point I really want to focus on my happiness and experiencing many new things. Hopefully I’ll be volunteering for Hip Hop Canada, travel to the Virgin Islands, Nova Scotia and many concerts this year. To write a lot more especially about life experiences, events and meet many amazing people along the road. Either way, life is not perfect and sometimes it even seems silly to plan life out so much or you may drive yourself crazy.

Optimist: Someone who figures that taking a step backward after taking a step forward is not a disaster, it’s more like a CHA-CHA!

I am a very ambitious person, trying to work around the stress by being as positive and optimistic as I can be. I can be very hard on myself sometimes and having many goals and dreams also brings the fear of failure. I know the world will have many amazing things and opportunities for me down the road. I just have to stay confident in who I am and what I want to do with my life. Once I find my true passion, push and love the work I do. This is just the path in my life and I will not let it stop me from getting where I want to be.

A simple colour?

For many years people have been whipped, raped, assaulted, silenced, mistreated and judged by their gender, beliefs, or the color of their skin. The social movements in the United States aimed at outlawing racial discrimination against African Americans and restoring voting rights  called the African-American Civil Rights Movement which lasted almost fifteen years. There has been a countless amount of struggle in many countries for peace and equality due to discrimination. The history of unfair laws and restrictions that were made led to unfortunate violence, riots and disagreements around the world.

From slavery, black people were treated like wild animals by whites being sold, traded and forced to work against their will by the Jim Crow law which was the name of the racial caste system that operated primarily, but not exclusively in southern and border states, for over 20 years. The Bus Boycott that officially started on December 1, 1955. That was the day when the blacks of Montgomery, Alabama, decided that they would boycott the city buses until they could sit anywhere they wanted, instead of being relocated to the back when a white boarded. Even though there was lots of struggle in the past years, there were leaders who led black people to revolution to try to improve and or try to erase discrimination and unfairness between races. Great leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. Rosa Parks, Malcom-X, and Ida b Wells who were all civil rights movement leaders.

As you may have heard the story of Rosa Parks, when she refused to move out of her seat on the bus on December 1, 1955, and soon was later arrested. Rosa Parks is one of the most romanticized personages in the Montgomery cast of characters. While this is true, there is more to the story. Rosa was educated; she had attended the laboratory school at Alabama State College because there was no high school for blacks in Montgomery at that time, but had decided to become a seamstress because she could not find a job to suit her skills. When she was arrested, she had recently completed a workshop on race relations at the Highlander Folk School in Tennessee. And she was a well-respected woman with a spotless record.

However, it is not only the struggle of black people but also for all races, who have all struggled in their own way to try and find peace and fight for equality. For many years there have been conflicts between different races causing riots, and violence wanting for equality and better future to come. Its discrimination and stereotyping that keeps us apart, it may not be as extreme as slavery but we still have the problems of racism today. I have been living in Oakville for 12 years and have been called a “Nigger” countless amount of times, and always been 1 out of 2 or 3 black people in my class. To this I thought it wouldn’t matter, because I went to school for the same reasons as everyone else; to get my education, make friends, and have a good time at school. However, I had some difficulty at first with the many name calling and stereotyping faced to me at such a young age. Where I began to wonder if my skin color is what defined me.

The novel “The Help.” In, Jackson, Mississippi in the 1960s, all a woman was ever supposed to be was a wife. Aibileen is a black maid who is in the process of raising her seventeenth white child. She never dreamt of being anything other than a maid, but she is tired of the poor treatment she has dealt with her whole life.

Us as humans are one, and should not be treating each other like separate beings. Even till this today there’s hate, discrimination, racism being passed down by generation to generation. In 2012, 17 year old boy named Trayvon Martin who was shot and killed for being racially profiled in a “white neighbourhood”. It’s upsets me that after all this time that still everyone doesn’t fully accept each other for who they are. In some cultures and time periods, many people’s ethnicity or gender has weighed on the value of their voice in relations to others.

Considering this, voice is a privilege earned through struggle. What is the difference between you and me? I have parents, loved ones and friends. I have two eyes, arms and legs, a heart and a name. But based on our past and the tragic news of Trayvon and others like him, I am afraid I will never be seen as myself but yet just a colour. Is that what I am? A simple colour? And because of this I will be mistreated, put down and not aloud the same rights as others? We are all humans, and I believe if we continue to pass down hate we will never change, and peace will never fully come. Is this is what you want for the future of our children? Hate and separation?

The world is full of so many beautiful and unique things. Experiencing many different cultures, languages and sceneries. I want people in the future to be able to see more than just “black and white.” My name is Shanice Armstrong; I am 21 years old and will not let my colour define who I am nor how I portray other people I meet along the way.

Will you?

Shut up and Drive

Have you ever been easily tempted to answer a text message, pick up the phone, read emails or seek a radio station while driving from one place to another? People on a daily basis break the law by driving while distracted. Canadians seem to be unaware of the actual facts of texting and driving. Almost quadrupling the risk of being in a car accident just by simply getting distracted by anything inside or outside of a vehicle. Regardless of the pace in traffic, if your car is moving or in break at a red light distracted driving has led to many serious and or fatal accidents.

Insurance rates for cars can rise a lot depending on how serious of an accident you cause by texting and driving, which is considered to be careless driving.” says RGM insurance adjuster, Ross Macdonald.

Recent Canadian polls have collected votes for Ontario’s distracted driving fines to be increased by more than $100. With young adults admitting to becoming easily distracted while on the roads from cellphones, applying make-up to even the radio. Lately Canada has been focusing on getting distracted driving accidents rates down as they notice tremendous incline with young adults. Driver distraction is responsible for up to 80% of car collisions, and cell phone use is becoming one of the largest reasons for being distracted. Due to the increase in accidents caused by distracted driving, Canada has all 10 provinces under a hands-free legislation.Screen Shot 2015-04-12 at 11.44.35 AMStill with legislation frequently being updated based on accident rates of distracted driving per year. Young adults are now being strongly targeted for awareness and tips that can achieve safer roads in Canada. Sheridan Visual Merchandising student Jamie is a young adult who has his G2, he admits to occasionally being distracted while driving with changing music with his iPod, and receiving/outgoing calls and texting.

“I usually put my cellphone on vibrate when I’m driving to and from home, but I still get tempted to pick up my phone if I believe I have a chance to do so…” 

Jamie has also witnessed his parents using hand-held free electronics while driving and never seemed to be aware of the potentially dangerous outcomes.

“Even if I hear my cellphone vibrate while I’m driving, it’s still in the back of my mind that I have to answer my phone. I feel like I can get easily distracted regardless.”

34% of young drivers in crashes over the past five years were said to be distracted says ICBC. Distracted driving does not only apply to smartphones, DVD players and radio, but also applying make-up, drinking/eating, reading, passenger/infant distractions, laptops, GPS and even pets. Driver distraction is a factor in about 4 million motor vehicle crashes in North America each year.

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With the lack of awareness when it come to distracted driving, many foundations and websites have made up to provide clever tips to avoid distraction. The goal for public education is not only to raise awareness about this problem but also to persuade people to change their driving habits.

Tips to avoid distraction

  • Use your cell phone only when you’re parked, or have a passenger take the call.
  • Let calls go to voicemail; you can listen and call back once you are free.
  • Turn off or put your cell phone on silent before you start driving.
  • Preset your vehicle’s climate control, radio and or CD player before driving.
  • Plan your route and set your GPS before you leave.

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