All I ever want in life…

During my summers of college I held a position in Milwaukee’s Journey House. Journey house empowers families in Milwaukee’s near Southside to move out of poverty by offering adult education, youth development, workforce readiness and family engagement. Throughout these last 3 summers I have worked with the youth program, helping students with courses they may need to work on (elementary and middle school). I have also become a mentor to many middle and high school students, to prepare for high school and college.

One of the biggest accomplishments that I have succeeded has been helping these first generation students, become familiar with the value of education. Many of them have questioned me, Ms. Melissa why would I want to go to college, I don’t have the money? My answer is, I know you may not have the money but there are scholarships if you work hard, there are loans and grants. Some of these students don’t understand the value and the importance of education because in their homes they were taught such, in their homes education was more of an obligation rather than a gift.

I have helped various students, look away fro the negatives that they believe there are in a college education and daily I remind them, there is more than just books. There is a sense of commitment, liberty, growth, friendship and success that comes with it.

Sometimes, I think to myself did I chose the wrong career path as a Journalist? Because I honestly don’t want to be on TV, I don’t want to report on deaths and violence, I want to be the voice to students, to underprivileged citizens and to the many people who don’t have the voice to make a change.

I remind my students, I am not a teacher, I am a communicator who is hear to talk to you, to listen to you and to help you. I am the communication that they need, I am the morals that they want and I am the person that they will seek out for help in times of need, and that is all I ever wanted to be. With my journalist background, I can help these students; I can guide and give them better opportunities and changes that perhaps they never expected.

I have managed to become their voice in times of need, personally, economically and even socially. I have become the person they text at 1am asking for help, I am the person they say, Ms. Melissa I haven’t ate and I am their to give them something to eat because maybe their family cant afford more than one meal a day. These student’s are our future, and thanks to people kinder than me many kids throughout the country have fought their ways out of their neighborhood to become someone better, to bring food onto the table or to simply say “I made it”.1504137_1469582353322079_6051929205082721403_n

All I ever want to be for these kids is an inspiration, all I ever want to hear them say is “Thank you Ms. Melissa”, because nothing brings me more joy than seeing one of my kids grow to their full potential.

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There is no excuse

 

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A common topic within the past year has been about race, specifically “white privilege”, at times I don’t fully understand what they means and at other times I understand it and I somewhat see it. Earlier this morning I read the case of Brock Turner, I’ve been keeping up with the media and all that crosses my head is how is this judge saying he will only have a “6-month sentence with an additional probation”.

This is not the first time I see something like this, for my Journalism capstone course, one of our assignments was to go to a courthouse and retrieve a closed case and retrieve all the information from it. I went to Milwaukee’s court house and retrieved a case regarding child pornography and the case regarding a missing women, both cases were for one person, whom after 2 years of trial was only found guilty for ONE count of child pornography, when there were almost 20 counts. Also, he was the last person to see the missing woman, and he was not found guilty. All that he received was probation, house arrest and no Internet access.

After viewing this persons case, I had nightmares, I kept thinking how can someone like this still be out, this person should be in prison this is a crime. I spoke to various classmates, all of different ethnic backgrounds and they thought they same thing, “I’m sure if he was Hispanic or African American he would have been in prison, within less than 6 months after the first trial.” This person was an IT, he had something going for himself like many other statements in the trial said. Well, what if he was Hispanic or African American, would the jury think the same, would the judge think the same? I believe not.

Today’s trial with Brock Turner is the same thing; he sexually assaulted this woman, both under the influence, but without her consult. HE changed is story, this woman is traumatized, this woman has also lost her self and she had a lot going for her. Drinking alcohol is not a crime; sexually assaulting a person is, especially if the person is unconscious.

Is it because he is enrolled in one of the most prestigious schools in the country, in the world? Is it because he is Caucasian, is it because he is a swimmer looking into swimming it the Olympics, or is it because he has a lot going for him? I believe these are all the reasons why he is only sentenced for 6 months; this is why he is only under probation.

This is not right, a crime is a crime and each crime has a sentence and no matter who you are, what you are or what you do, everyone needs to pay the same price. This is why so many women, kids, and even men stay quiet when sexually assaulted, because the law never concludes what the law really is.

Many people abuse their power and sexually abuse, many take advantage of their advantages in life to sexually abuse, and it should not matter the melanin in your skin, or the school you attend, the job you obtain, everyone should pay the price because a crime is a crime.

The media has been on top of this news, even Buzzfeed wrote an article regarding this topic. This has become national news, and this will become an international news, this will lead to protests and so much more. As a community and as citizens of this country, we know our rights, but also as citizens we must live up to the consequences of a crime, because this was never a mistake, alcohol didn’t make anyone do anything. The alcohol was not the reason, because like I stated before, drinking is not a crime.

I strongly believe this is where “white privilege” is depicted, very loud and clear. I am a person who sees the best in everyone, but I am very sure if this Brock Turner was Hispanic or African American, this case would have been closed with 20+ years of sentence. This is not fair, to the victim and to other victims around the country.

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Controversial Music

Music is one of history’s largest treasures; music is the culture of many groups and individuals. Throughout the past 50+ years music has become a culture and a way of expression to many people. It has influenced people in good ways, but also in bad ways. In the past decade we have entered this new era of music, here almost half of the lyrics are violent or sexual. It is hard to find a good “new” song that talks about love, stories, humor, friendship, family, etc.

I am not saying that this is something that has only happened in the last decade or so, this is something that has occurred in the past for example “Suicide Solution” by ex-member of Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osborne, or NWA’s “F**k the Police”, Eminem’s “Kim” and “Used to love her” by Guns N’ Roses, and many more. But there has been in increase in sexual and violent topics within music in the past decade.

Ozzy Osborne’s “Suicide Solution” led him to federal court, due to a young boy’s suicide, parents found son dead while listening to the album that contained this song. Music does influence people; music motivates people and sometimes music influences people so much that they decide to act on the song/lyric.

In recent years I have noticed that most of today’s rappers, rap about women (sexually), money, drugs and violence. Most of the audiences to this music are youth; youth that look up to the artists and hope to one day obtain what they do. Different women day-to-day, piles of money on their beds and bathtubs (I noticed this in a few music videos that I watched), drugs (smoking marijuana, injecting, sniffing, other drugs) and brutality/violence within groups and so forth. Many of today’s youth want to implement these acts into their own life, meaning that they will do all that they can to obtain women, meaning that some will act on sexual assault or simply become a “player” and be with different women, without measuring the consequences of a sexual disease or child being brought into the world. Some want money that they look for an easy way to the money, which is stealing from those who work so hard to have what they have. Then we come to the use of drugs, drugs are constantly used and now more because music is empowering the use. Violence has increased, I am not saying that the music there is today is the cause of violence throughout the country, but if there is music implementing violence many people will take it into consideration because an artist that they admire is talking about it in their songs.

This has been a large issue in the Mexican community, with their genre of music called “corridos”. This is a popular narrative song and poetry form, something along the lines of a ballad. In the 1900’s when this genre came about the songs focused on oppression, history, daily life of peasants, and other social relevant topics. The song usually ends to a moral and farewell from the singer.

Also in the past decade, Mexicans in Mexico and the U.S. have encountered a large amount of new artists singing “corridos”, but theses aren’t your typical 1900s corridos these are about, drug trafficking, drug cartels, guns, kidnappings, sex, diminishing women and seeing them as an object (prostitution). These songs have become the songs of my generation, that I can’t stand and all I want to do is stop the music and guide this youth to pick something different and stop supporting this so called “music” that I simply call garbage.

 

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This new era of corridos has definitely flourished, and has influenced many teenagers to want to be like these artists. I will be honest, I have encountered a few people who love this music and that they believe this is music, they love it so much that they become so influenced that they want to do and be exactly what they songs say.

Some of these artists that sing “corridos” have actually been killed, kidnapped or have had something bad happen to them by “actual drug cartels”, because they are depicting something that they aren’t and influencing others to believe that they are something that they aren’t either.

As an audience what can we do? I think it is best to not listen and not supports such “music” because; this can lead other people being influenced and possibly help about with this phenomenon of violent music. We can’t change everyone’s mind, but we can change a few ideas so that music like this isn’t sold and then leading normal civilians to pay an act of violence due to this.

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Leon’s Frozen Custard -Milwaukee

Leon’s Frozen Custard Drive-In, in Milwaukee’s Southside was on the new’s spotlight with the last few weeks. When Leon’s owner, changed the rue of language at the drive-in. He said that employee’s were not allowed to speak Spanish to non-English speaking customers. This definitely sparked up a controversy, and Facebook became everyone’s diary/journal.

People were saying “Yay to the change” “this is America speak English” “My grandparents came from such and such country and were forced to speak English”.

First off, America has over 20 countries, less than 5 actually speak English. Secondly, the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA does not have an official language; therefore anyone can speak the language that they want. This country has over 100 languages, and no one has complained since. In college, most careers require that students take on a foreign language, meaning that professionals know that in a professional life you will be interacting with others rather than English speakers. Also, we are not back in time where schools, forced one to speak English. We are now in a country that offers, foreign languages, offers bilingual schools and language immersions. We have foreign doctors who speak the minimum English, yet obtain great positions in great medical institutions.

I read one of the most ridiculous comments that stated, “everyone needs to speak English so I know what they are saying and if they are talking about me, or planning against me.” my first thought was, then why leave your house if you want to know if someone is planning something against you, I mean such planning could also be done in English.

My thoughts to this was heart-breaking, the Southside of Milwaukee is home to so many Hispanics and Polish families, this was a family and friendly place to go and now it has turned into something that I honestly don’t want to step foot near again. Once again, social media was the reason the issue arouse as high as it did, this could have been an issue that could have been solved iwthin the community, rather than showing more hate. Doesn’t the owner understand that this will and has brought the business down?leon-s-frozen-custard

Does social media ruin it for businesses like this? For example if rating sites or comments on businesses didn’t exist would people know the beliefs and thoughts of the owners who run their favorite spot? Is social media becoming more of a way to protest/boycott rather than doing it outside the business or simply finding an organization, like LULAC (Latinos Civil Rights Org) to help them control and fix the issue?

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Common lives vs famous lives

AP_565728563870-676x450 (1)In 2014 my home country encountered what is one of the most controversial moments in in history they disappearance of 43 students from the Ayotinapa Rural Teacher College. These students have been missing for 2 years now, without a trace and without any news from the federal government.

According to official reports the students were on their way to Mexico City to protest against the government back in their state. During the journey, local police stopped the busses and began to shoot, killing various students and leading to the disappearance of 43.

Back home, everyone believes that this was an act of the government that this was something that the government had planned to do to stop these students from protesting. I believe it. The Mexican government is with these crimes that lead to nowhere. There reason for this blog is because, just this past weekend, Mexican professional soccer player Alan Pulido, was kidnapped on the night of Saturday May 29th, he was said to be kidnapped by local drug cartels but early Sunday morning, May 30th, the professional soccer player had been rescued.

If this is not the biggest act of corruption that I have known about then I do not know, what else could be. These are not only my thoughts but these are the thoughts of many Mexicans back in Mexico and many of them throughout the world, how is it that such a beautiful destination country has such corruption.

What I keep questioning myself, how is it that one person was found in less than 24 hours, but it has taken 2 years for a simple response to the disappearance of 43 students. Why has our government put so much more attention to the professional life rather than the common civilian life. I question myself, will my president care for my disappearance or would the disappearance of a famous actress be more important.

These are questions that I ask myself on a daily basis and I question myself as well, how is it that such a situation like this passed weekend was such a big deal, everyone wanted answers and everyone one got their answers. Is the life of a famous person more important, or is the live of everyone important? To this government it all depends, who has more money to give up, who has more money to bring to the table, and who will have larger influence? Someone who is already in the public eye, or someone who isn’t visible to everyone else.

It is astonishing to me how such a situation has been brought up, and has not been controlled. Everyone on social media, was praying for Pulido’s freedom, but no one besides civil rights organizations were the one’s who still are fighting for the return of not only these 43 students but of the many innocent people that have been kidnapped and possibly killed by now. It takes a cold hart to do such a thing, it takes a lack of comprehension and lots of ignorance, my country seems to be going down rather than increasing in its government. As the people, we should be able to receive answers, not just small ideas.

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My reaction to a racist encounter

Many people say “racism doesn’t exist” or “there is no such thing as racism”, the seventeen years I have been in this country I have never experienced direct “racism”, never have I been called out of my name or stereotyped. Until this summer, this summer where people have begun to drag my race around and step on it like a piece of !@#$. It was a local Wal-Mart in Milwaukee..

I went to Wal-Mart to buy some Anti-freeze, and well you know Wal-Mart has about 30 register’s but usually 5 are open. Well, I was in line 4 people ahead of me, a young couple paying, a younger lady with about two items and an older woman, who had half of of her items already on the conveyor belt. Behind me was a woman with her husbad and a few other people behind them.

A minute later the register next to the one I was at, opened. The cashier came to the line I was standing in and said “I can take the next person in line.” I assumed it was me, since the older woman in front of me had some of her items on the conveyor belt already. The couple behind me followed, as the cashier was getting her register ready, the lady says to her husband and to the older woman who at one point was in front of me “I can’t believe how someone can be so mean and skip an older lady just to get in line”, I didn’t pay attention as who she was talking about. (Let me just say if the older woman in front of me hadn’t had her items on the conveyor belt, I would have let her go before me.) Then she says, “These kind of people are so mean, that’s why we must vote Trump and get them out of here.”

There I knew whom she was talking about, I turn look at her and let me tell you when I looked she put her head down; her husband looks at me with embarrassment. I turn back to the cashier, give her the money for my item and once again she says something, in a much lower tone. “I bet she doesn’t even know English, what dumbasses.” At this point I felt my blood heat up, but I controlled myself and turned to her and said, “I am bilingual in English and Spanish, also a recent college graduate.” I stood there for a few more seconds, her skin turned bright red, didn’t say a word. Her husband, looks at me and says,” I am sorry, she’s had a rough day.”

 

Living in this country everyone has the “freedom of speech”, but what I think to myself, I will use my freedom of speech to innovate, to gather people and to create something, not to verbally abuse of someone. How can someone be so cruel, yes I understand racism isn’t like it used to be, but is it something we want to go back to again?

As a person who is constantly on social media, I have seen cruel comments not just towards someone’s skin, but language, heritage; culture even someone’s sexuality. We live in a world where there is not such thing as everyone being the same, everyone is different, and everyone has different ideas. If as a Mexican-American I am able to accept the beliefs of others, why can’t others accept my beliefs?=

I have came to a conclusion that social media has a lot to do with this expanding, people now post videos of, cops shooting young boys, or young girls being raped, mothers killing their children, we all now have the ability to view anything and everything. Instead of stopping this phenomenon we are making it bigger we are constantly making it seem like something normal. This shouldn’t be something normal, no type of violence should be seen as a normality to anyone’s life, therefore as students, teachers and citizens of this country we should take a stand to avoid watching these videos, interacting with violence physical, mental and verbal. This is creating people to be more violent. I strongly believe if I was a person with bad intentions or bad feelings I would have turned around and slapped that woman or maybe call her out of her name, she didn’t deserve an explanation from me but I stood up as a well educated woman with good morals.

It is important to teach our youth these things, that violence doesn’t answer violence and as society as a community in order to remove the violence that exists within our country we need to begin teaching this at home, no one is born racist, no one is born violent, this is taught and now-a-days with YouTube videos and so much more everyone thinks that is alright to do such.

racism handsIf I were in charge of social media, the change I would make would be to filter out these things, violent acts, comments, pictures and so forth, that way people will stop seeing this as something common and instead want to be part of a change to their community.

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American Dream

Throughout the years in college I have met people from the entire world, speaking to them I have realized I am actually from another country as well. (Not that I never knew that, but it was very nice to say I am Mexican, I was born and raised in Mexico.)

Within the years in college I have been asked multiple times, why did you leave Mexico? My answer has always been “my parents wanted a better life for my family.” That was the truth, but that never was the whole truth. My parents decided to leave our homeland and start a new life away from our family and friends, because of the poverty we suffered. There were days where my parents went without earing to simply give my brother and I three meals, there were days where the water didn’t work, or the electricity was down. There were also days where we weren’t sure if we would have a roof over our heads. These are things I don’t fully remember, but here and there my father reminds us so we appreciate everything that we have today.

It is simple my country is possibly the most corrupt country in the world, due to our government that is involved within the drug cartels, killings, kidnappings and disappearances of people and not to mention money. The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer, and that is why my parents left. They knew that staying in Mexico wasn’t going to get us anywhere, my brother and I weren’t going to be able to succeed educationally and that was their biggest fear.

I don’t want to talk politics because that is one of the topics I despise the most, but in recent presidential campaigns (in the U.S.) throughout the years, the main topic of interest has been “immigration”, not just recently with Donald Trump’s comments and campaign, but there have been other circumstances when immigration has been a topic of interest to the voters of the United States.

I have heard and seen (social media) comments like, “Mexicans need to go back to their country” “All Mexicans are illegal” “If you want to come to our country to it legally” I will be honest, comments like these really irk me and they make me question, “Do you know this country’s history?” This country was built on immigrants, on immigrants who fled their homeland because of the government, wars, liberty and so much more. Due to uncomfortable comments like these I have felt the need to confront people and teach them the reasons why not just Mexicans but Salvadorians, Nicaraguans, Panamanians, Ecuadorians etc. leave their country. The same reason your European ancestors left their country, to begin a new life to have freedom and to leave the government that controlled them, that abused the or to be safe.

The United States of America is known to be the country of opportunity and freedom, and since this day, it is almost every foreigner’s dream to step foot on this land. Yes, there are laws, there are many laws on how things should be, but it is important to understand why immigration happens… Because honestly it is not that we want to leave our homeland, it is the fact that there are not any opportunities there and we search for the place that will give us those opportunities, for example to receive higher education, to buy a car, to own a home to have a family and know exactly where they are and if they will be home at night.

Donald Trump has said, “Mexican’s are rapists, Mexican’s are illegal, Mexican’s are not paying taxes, Mexican’s are using our public help, Mexican’s are taking American jobs” I would like an explanation to this, how does he know Mexican’s are rapists? How are Mexican’s illegal, that they are in a country without proper documentation, does not mean a person is illegal, no one is illegal. Taxes, I am not an economist but it is common sense as an employer in this country, taxes are withheld from your wage/salary, therefore taxes are paid through this, also when purchasing something, taxes are automatically withheld. Not to mention, I have family that has been here over 40 years (undocumented) and every tax season, they pay their taxes, even if the government knows where they are residing, and where these taxes are being paid and by whom. The one that honestly heats up my blood is the “Mexican’s are taking American jobs”, if that were so I am 100% sure that my father would have taken a history teachers job or he would have been a soccer coach at a school or a professional team, unfortunately since the day my dad step foot in this country he has been a machine operator in shipping and receiving, at Cargill Meat Solutions. It is important to understand; that Latinos, Mexicans and so forth are taking the jobs not average American will take. I could walk down the busiest street in Milwaukee and question an 18 year old if he would like a dish washer position and he would say know, I could as a 35 year old man this same question and I am sure that he would say no.

As a Mexican-American in this country I want to inform and be the voice of millions of Latinos that have fled their country due to domestic violence, drug cartel violence, government violence and corruption, poverty. I don’t want people to change their minds or their beliefs; I would for people to try to understand and possibly become the voice, but not to judge without knowing the truth behind their “American Dream.”

 

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Fight the New Drug

1463570_10154054990381756_657053506007704914_nA co-worker of mine introduced me to this new private organization called “Fight the New Drug” and organization fighting against the use of Porn. I very delicate topic to speak on behalf, something that I have known about but never really interested me. Two years ago I watched a movie called Don Jon, honestly a movie that opened my eyes to something I never really was aware of, porn. This movie was about a man, whom was more aroused by porn than actual skin-to-skin contact, in the movie he is said to be religious man, and I must say that this brought lots of confusion to me. Because within my religious culture, porn would be a sin, and to this man (in the movie) it wasn’t, because he wasn’t hurting anyone.

Recently I watched a Tedx Talk video with Ran Gavrieli, lives in Israel and studies gender at Tel Aviv University. He works with youth throughout the country regarding sex and gender studies.

Growing up with technology at hand, I encountered classmates watching pornographic videos, I have seen people post videos or images on social media and every single time I became disgusted. I thought to myself, why? Why do people watch this, I believe that such thing was offensive and violent. I thought is this how people learn intimacy, is this what we are all supposed to do before our first time of intimacy with someone? As I spoke to my mom, and questioned her these things she always said “your body is a temple”, I never understood this when I was young, and today I am blessed to understand what such saying meant, because intimacy isn’t taught, love isn’t taught this is all something that the heart begins to feel and the body begins to know.

Everyone’s body is different, everyone’s dreams are different and like that everyone’s desires are different. But it is important to teach our youth, teach our kids (future), that porn doesn’t portray a true relationship, doesn’t portray an actual moment of intimacy with your significant other. It is important to teach that, intimacy is an important part of one’s life but that such should be taken serious and to understand that this isn’t like opening a soda can, and throwing it away. There needs to be safety, there needs to be respect and care. Gavrieli says “I stopped watching porn because it brought anger and violence into my sexual fantasies that were not there originally”, because of porn sites, channels, books, movies, magazines, etc. more people are being exposed to such and this creates a dark and violent culture.

Now many think that because they have watched porn, they know everything that there is to know about sexual intercourse. But this leads to high expectations, or to desires that may not be able to be granted, this can lead to a person feeling alone, or that no one understands and then the person can become sexually violent in order to grant that desire.

I ask this to many of the youth I have worked with, can an image or a video teach you about love?

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Changes

Everyone needs change, and so does a blog site. I didn’t do much changes to mine because I thought it was an appropriate design at first, but then looking closely I decided maybe that I did need to make some changes.

Professional. I think that when it comes to blogging one must be professional in order to have a better audience and in order to have the same readers come back. For example if my blog was cluttered and full of information, some people would probably not even want to stop and read, due to the idea that it is to much or there is to much going on.

For example when I read any site, or go to a site, I make sure there is lots of information but not to the point where I will be very confused. It is important to know that as a person who is creating something for an audience that one must add a bit of what the audience wants, and I think a clean website with less clutter or mess is a lot easier and will make the audience come back, and possibly even recommend more people.

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Every talent needs an audience

Audience is a big issue for me, and that usually brings me down a bit. I feel as if no one is entertained by my information, stories, jokes and sometimes that makes me want to not keep writing.

I still have this issue, but not as much anymore I have found ways to interact with the people I want to become my audience.  Usually my audience is Facebook, the reason for this is this is where I post my “thoughts”. The weather, personal inspiring stories and even news stories (usually opinionated). When people begin to like, I meant that is enjoyable but when they comment.

That’s where the fun begins.

I enjoy when people comment, when they agree or disagree, or they add their opinions or inform me of some facts. That right there keeps a conversation going and that is exactly what brings and keeps an audience.

As a Journalist, I believe it is important to have an audience because that is whom will keep your career going. Being able to connect to an audience is the most important part. People look for interactions, but they look for distinctive ways of interaction. Maybe something that isn’t often done is something that helps keep and increase an audience.

Once an audience is established it is important, to keep the audience intrigued. To keep them on the edge of their seat and to give them something to talk about, if there isn’t something to talk about then is is hard to keep the audience you began with.

Journalists, athletes, teachers, promoters dancers, etc, everyone needs an audience in order to keep working hard, and most importantly in order to keep feeling unstoppable and important.

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