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SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI AND JACKIE SPEIER ADVOCATE FOR GUN CONTROL IN LINCOLN HIGH’S AUDITORIUM
By: Michaela Mesler
AJ Santiago speaking on behalf of Day’von Hann and the effects of daily gun violence at Nancy Pelosi’s SF town hall.
Photo By: Veronica Liang
Speaker Nancy Pelosi opened up Tuesday, August 27th’s San Francisco Town Hall meeting on gun control with a quote by Abraham Lincoln about a community’s voice being of utmost importance for change and prosperity, “Public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail. Without it, nothing can succeed.”
Hundreds of concerned community members flooded Lincoln High’s auditorium including local students and teachers, organizations like “Moms Demand Action,” and everyday people who wanted answers as to why gun violence continues to plague our country.
A poster with pictures of 15 year-old Day’von Hann hung on the front seats of the auditorium. The incoming sophomore was shot and killed over the summer due to everyday gun violence. The poster served as a reminder to the public of the heartbreaking reality of our current state of affairs.
Pelosi and Congresswoman Jackie Speier graced Lincoln’s stage by providing a forum for leaders to discuss the pressing issues of gun violence including Surgeon General of California, Doctor Nadine Burke Harris, founder of “Moms Demand Action” Shannon Watts and best friend of Day’von Hann, AJ Santiago. These “five powerful women” commanded the stage to discuss the policies, experiences, and possible reforms of gun control in America.
Pelosi and Speier imparted bold solutions towards rectifying America’s unremitting plight when it comes to gun violence.
“We are going to march on the Capital of the United States to prove to the Senate if they don’t take action on this, they’re going to lose their elections,” asserts Speier.
A prominent theme of the night was enforcing the idea that if legislators don’t take action, the people will vote them out of office. This theme was proclaimed again when Pelosi referenced “H.R.8”, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, which states that legislators “...utilize the current background check process in the United States to ensure individuals prohibited from gun possession are not able to obtain firearms.'' In other words, every firearm sale must require a background check.
Pelosi referred to the self proclaimed “Grim Reaper”--Senate Majority Leader Mitch Mcconell who is blocking the bills put forth by The House of Representatives to enact gun violence protection, including H.R.8. Pelosi asserted that “no was not an acceptable answer.'' To republicans in office who are against gun control, she states “your political survival is totally unimportant compared to the survival of our children…”
Jessica Blitchok, a representative from “Moms Demand Action” (MDA), an organization of 6 million volunteer supporters (larger than the National Rifle Association), discussed their mission to end gun violence.
In an interview with the Lincoln Log, Blitchok states, “Closing loopholes and implementing red flag laws” are just two of the common sense gun laws that MDA is fighting for on a national level.
Blitchok urges all people to call their state senators who just came back from recess, “Calling gives more data and more support for senators to represent the people and work towards gun control laws.”
Santiago, a member of “United Playaz,” an organization focused on violence prevention, shared the story of the night she lost someone she considered her “little brother:” Day’von Hann. Her story was more than reforms and regulations; it spoke to emotional reality.
“He’s really gone. I’m not gonna see his face anymore, I’m not gonna hug him...He was gonna be a sophomore this year. He didn't go through half of high school. He didn't get to go to prom. Nobody said ‘I love you’ one last time to him, and it's all because a bullet went straight through his heart.”
General Surgeon Harris, former pediatrician in San Francisco’s Bayview Hunters Point District and expert in child adversities understands that the more a child is exposed to early adversity, the more likely they are to commit or be the victim of a crime. California’s newly instituted plan will help by providing universal screening for children in primary care for early childhood adversities to put them on track for a more successful and safe future. Adding on to Harris’s point that children must be protected, Watts of MDA states,
“This is a crisis in our country, and yet we have...too many lawmakers, who think that is acceptable to ask children like Day’vonn to stand up to gunmen, because they are too afraid to stand up to gun lobbyists.”
The panel wrapped up the night by answering pre-prepared questions discussing white supremacy, domestic abuse, and hate crimes, all connecting back to gun violence.
However, not all audience members felt that the town hall encouraged authentic solutions. Ella Fino, a senior reporter for the Lincoln Log was surprised and disappointed that answers to questions were practiced and rehearsed ahead of time.
“When [Pelosi] did get to the Q&A portion, I felt that her answers might have been a little disingenuous simply because she wasn't put on the spot and didn't have that extra pressure on her to come up with truthful and honest responses.”
Fino agrees that overall the town hall was inspiring and definitely a step in the right direction to bring more knowledge and information to ending gun violence but also feels we need more awareness to gun prevention in the streets.
As the night came to an end, Pelosi shifted the subject from gun control to topics like Russian intrusion on American’s voting, accountability of the president's actions, and medicare for all.
Although the majority of the crowd was in agreement with Pelosi when it came to gun control policies, medicare was a controversial topic that sparked harsh feedback, starting the calling out from audience members. As Pelosi attempted to speak on topics such as immigration and climate change, the audience continued to shout out, quickly wrapping up the town hall.
BAY AREA STUDENTS MARCH DOWN MARKET STREET FOR CLIMATE ACTION
By: Michaela Mesler and Ella Fino
Protestors along market street.
Photo By: Michaela Mesler
On September 20, millions of students across the world marched out of their classrooms and into the streets to protest against our current climate crisis. Thousands of Bay Area students gathered around San Francisco’s City Hall to listen to speeches towards enacting policies that don’t protect politicians but protect the planet.
The group marched along Market Street, making stops along companies like Black Rock and PG&E that negatively contribute to the earth's temperature. Students from San Francisco banged on drums and chanted as ways of voicing their disapproval of our government’s lack of acknowledgement of our worldwide climate issue. Students swarmed the city’s streets with colorful banners, painted posters, and megaphones.
Humongous cardboard cutouts of politicians who had contributed or funded fossil fuel companies cast shadows over the strikers, creating a looming, ominous effect. The figures were scary; they portrayed the politicians at fault as authoritative and cold. Bank of America, along with numerous others, has been charged with funding fossil fuel projects. Students drew eyes on the streets in front of the bank to let them know that they will be watching.
One protester’s poster marked “I’m not showing up for school because adults aren’t showing up for climate change”.
LINCOLN ALUMNUS ACTIVIST SHOT OUTSIDE HIS HOME IN THE PHILIPPINES
By: Yuqing Qiu
Lee Speaks at an activist meeting.
Photo courtesy of rapppler.com
On August 6th, Brandon Lee, a Lincoln High School Alumnus and San Franciscan, was shot multiple times outside his home in the Northern Philippines. After going through many complicated surgeries and a shocking eight cardiac arrests, he is finally in stable condition.
Lee is a Chinese American native to San Francisco, California. He is an activist for human and environmental rights and a volunteer for Cordillera Human Rights Alliance. He attended and graduated from San Francisco State University, where he discovered his passion for human rights and began his journey as an activist.
Lee moved to the Philippines 10 years ago where he became a volunteer with Cordillera Human Rights Alliance, an organization that concentrates on advocating for indigenous people, human rights, and social justice rights in the Philippines, and Ifugao Peasant Movement (IPM), a group dedicated to opposing military presence in the Cordillera region. In addition, Lee is a journalist for the newspaper Northern Dispatch where he wrote articles about his work on advocacy.
Lee now has a wife and daughter, who is eight, living in the Ifugao province with him.
According to reports from his family, Lee was shot at least four times outside his home in Ifugao by what was believed to be government agents attempting to silence him. Before this incident, Lee’s family reports of events of harassment and surveillance from government agents. Even while in the hospital, his family reports of suspicious unknown men asking about Lee and his whereabouts.
His family, extremely concerned about his safety and quality of medical treatment, are striving to raise money through a GoFundMe page to bring Lee back to the United States, where he will be in a more secure environment with improved medical treatment.
Prior to his attack, Lee and many others of IPM were labeled as “enemies of the state” and appeared in many posters around Ifugao. Cordillera Human Rights Alliance states, “We hold accountable the state security forces that the Duterte administration has let loose in the Cordillera region,” in an interview with the Guardian.
In an interview with SF Chronicle, Lee’s cousin, Lauren Quirarte says, “Someone purposefully harmed him. When it’s someone you love and care about, it’s disturbing to know that someone was aiming to take his life away.”
This isn’t the first attack in the Philippines against activists. According to TIME, 30 environmentalists were brutally murdered, making the Philippines the deadliest country in the world for activists.
Sunshine Roque, a staff member at Lincoln, says, “Brandon Lee is actually a really good friend of my partner, they went to college together at SF State, and they organized in the Filipino community together.”
As of now, Lee’s family is still trying to bring Lee to the United States to be in a safer environment.
Roque states, “I think when the family decides what they’ll do, then its open to us [Lincoln staff] to fundraise.” The goal is to bring Lee’s whole family back to the US, which will be very costly. Roque adds, “A lot of Lincoln faculty has been asking questions. I’m just kind of waiting for info before I send another email.”
NEW OFF-CAMPUS LUNCHTIME POLICY MEANT TO ADDRESS TARDINESS
By: Zixuan Zhang (Andrea)
Map of boundaries that Lincoln issued for off-campus lunchtime.
By: Zixuan Zhang
On August 23rd, Lincoln issued boundaries for off-campus lunchtime. The restrictions state that students must stay within Quintara on the North, Taraval on the South, 26th Avenue on the West, and 19th Avenue on the East.
Lincoln has had off-campus lunch for more than 20 years, the only exception being one semester around 2002-2003 when the campus was closed. The main reason for that instance and now is that students did not and are not making it back on time to their next class after lunch.
Even though a few students trespass on the neighborhood’s properties and litter on the street, this is not why the boundaries were set. Twenty five percent of Lincoln students eat lunch off-campus and about ten percent of that population are usually late.
“What we are trying to do is to create a reasonable boundary that helps students not make decisions that are going to lead to them being late. So our goal, the only thing we are trying to accomplish, was not to let people be late,” says Joel Balzer, dean at Lincoln for 21 years.
Lance Tagomori, administrator and dean who stands at 19th Avenue and Taraval to stop students, says, “There were a lot of students trying to violate the boundary in the beginning; I would explain the boundary to them and try to let them know why we are doing this. Tardy is not only tardy, if you’re late for five minutes, you might need ten to 20 minutes to catch up. Sometimes, if students are really late, they might choose to be absent so it really influenced students’ grades.”
Tagomori adds, “Once students started to notice there’s boundaries, they have really done a good job, I do notice there’s less tardy than before.”
“I’m really happy that we have open campus, and I think the vast majority of students proved they are trustworthy,” says Balzer.
School officials discussed where the boundaries should be placed for a long time. At first, they wanted 21st Avenue as the east-side boundary because “Most students who go to Taraval do not go anywhere beyond 21st and 26th.” Balzer says, ”The reason that we allowed students to go to 19th Avenue is that many students are very lazy; they would want to take bus to get back to school.”
Senior Ella Fino, who used to eat lunch off-campus but always managed to return to school on time says, “I definitely don’t agree with the new policy, it’s really restricting. We used to have this freedom but it’s just suddenly being taken from us. Also, it’s unfair to punish students who go off boundaries but are back to school on time; school should only punish those who’re late.”
Tagomori answers,” Setting up boundary is not only for tardiness but also for students’ safety. School is responsible for students’ safety even during off-campus lunchtime, so if students go to stonestown and get into trouble, it’s still school’s liability. The boundary also makes it easier for school to supervise students’ safety.”
There are still some complaints about the new policy, but, just like Tagomori said, “ The new policy is only one small positive step which is going to be a part of culture in Lincoln.”
GENDER NEUTRAL BATHROOM HAS RETURNED TO LINCOLN IN TWO NEW LOCATIONS
By: Alisa Romagnoli
Room 119’s door is visible after entering from initial hallway access.
Photo By: Alisa Romagnoli
The original gender neutral bathroom was first introduced in the spring of the 2016 school year as it went on to (unfortunately) become terminated by the end of the 2019 school year. The decision was made after the occurrence of several, marked “inappropriate”, incidences including smoking, sex, and a recorded video of the act and school admin thought it best to take it away. However, Lincoln has rebounded with two new gender neutral bathroom locations, which have existed since the end of last school year.
The two restrooms are rooms 119 as well as the door located directly on the left side of the boy’s bathroom across from the main office. Both doors lead to a room, and then a gender neutral bathroom within the room. The restroom within 119 is also used as a meeting space and when occupied for that reason, the other restroom will be the designated one to use.
Currently, no visible outside hallway signs indicate the restrooms, but school principal, Shari Balisi says she hopes to get those soon.
Both restrooms are single-stalled, one having the previous gender neutral sign on its outside. The restrooms are open publicly to all students as well as staff.
According to Balisi, she recalls the announcements of the bathrooms during freshman and sophomore auditorium advisories at the start of the school year. Balisi says she cannot confirm if they were mentioned during junior and senior advisories since she was not there. School dean, Joe Balzer, states that he had only heard the news a few weeks ago.
Regarding the change in location, Balisi notes safety concerns referring to, “Things that were happening in the restroom when there was no student supervision.”
Balisi addresses concerns of wanting all students to be safe when a gender neutral bathroom is present on campus and of the facility not being abused. The new locations, directly across from the main office, are supervised where there are security guards.