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YPIE QuaranTimes Volume 12

Updated: Nov 30, 2020

November 25, 2020

Blossom Cherry by Tereza Biswas, YPIE Scholar 2027

In this Issue

Pandemic News

  • A COVID Vaccine May Be Coming Soon, Despite Negative Factors

  • Rising Cases in New York

  • How the Pandemic is Affecting Families in Abusive Households


  • Joe Biden: America’s Silver Lining?

Entertainment and Lifestyle

  • Music Recommendations- 10 Upcoming Artist

  • Movie/Show Recommendations

Our Voices Heard

  • What’s Going on in Belarus?

  • Islamophobia On The Rise In France After Beheading of a Teacher

  • Coronavirus Delivers Yet Another Divisive Pandemic

  • Think Before You Post: Raising “Awareness”

YPIE QuaranTimes Staff


Salamatu Lawal, Editor-in-Chief

Alyssa Lee, Our Voices Heard Editor

Catarina Mendes, Politics Editor

Julia Azulay, Entertainment and Lifestyle Editor

Shemar Forbes, Layout Editor & Director of Communications

Yismel Castro, Layout Editor


Julia Azulay

Tereza Biswas

Paola Baizan

Yismel Castro

Hillary Diaz

Shemar Forbes

Vanessa Gentile

Salamatu Lawal

Alyssa Lee

Natalie Maldonado

Catarina Mendes

Raquel Negrón


Max Silverman

Welcome to the YPIE QuaranTimes

Produced by YPIE’s Journalism major, the YPIE QuaranTimes is a way for YPIE students to connect and share experiences during these unprecedented times. YPIE Scholars are using this time in so many creative, meaningful ways. As such, the YPIE Journalism major hopes to highlight all of the talents in our community through this publication.

Pandemic News

A COVID Vaccine May Be Coming Soon, Despite Negative Factors

By Vanessa Gentile, YPIE Scholar 2027

The prospects of a COVID-19 vaccine continue to grow, with companies like Pfizer announcing that their vaccine is getting close to the finishing line. Although they’re super close, there are still many concerns. This is one of the fastest times taken to complete a vaccine, with predictions from officials like Dr. Fauci, who said we can see a vaccine by April. Even with that reassurance, there are still concerns regarding both distributions of the vaccine and the safety of the vaccine itself.

First, let’s tackle the distribution question. Pfizer, who is looking like rolling out their vaccine soon, needs to keep their vaccine in very cold environments--at negative 70 degrees Celsius to be exact. This may be a problem when distributing vaccines during warmer weather, and especially difficult when distributing the vaccine to warmer states and countries. There will need to be millions of doses of vaccines distributed all around the country at the very least. Additionally, boxes will need to be carefully watched to make sure the doses stay cold, and people will be ordered to not open said boxes more than twice per day. Lastly, the vaccines would have to be stored in freezers or dry ice. However, it doesn't appear to be a big issue, and people at Pfizer are very confident that the vaccine will be distributed properly.

When it comes to safety, Pfizer and BioNTech have not found anything potentially threatening about the vaccine, but there are some major side effects. The vaccine can cause soreness and potential fevers. Dr. William Schaffner says that they are asking us “to take a vaccine that is going to hurt,” and we need to prepare for that. Many people who have taken the vaccine claim to also have headaches days after taking the vaccine. But it’s still a better idea to get vaccinated once it gets released. It will help slow the spread of COVID and we will be rid of this virus sooner.

Rising Cases in New York

By Yismel Castro, YPIE Scholar 2025

New York State has suffered immensely due to the rise of COVID-19 cases. The state is facing the threat of a potential second wave with the emergence of winter. Despite previous restrictions on schools, restaurants, and public office positions, rising infection rates could lead to more stringent confinements.

The threat of a second wave became increasingly near when the number of new infections climbed above 1,000 for five days in a row. This sudden rise pushed Governor Cuomo to tighten restrictions on bars, restaurants, gyms, and even courts. Gyms, bars, and restaurants have been forced to close by 10:00 pm as a safety procedure.

Individuals, especially business owners, are scared of this new approach since businesses are barely standing. They were hoping to make a profit during these few months before January and February, which according to Teresa del Haba, a business owner, “is always slower.”

The seven-day average test positivity rate in New York City is at 2.83%, and if it hits 3%, Mayor Bill de Blasio says schools will close and go fully remote. Students recently began to adapt to their new school environment along with the freshly imposed restrictions, however, if cases continue to increase during this time of winter, they may be forced to start learning remotely.

Cuomo says that restrictions on restaurants may be the beginning of a major shutdown.

Individuals need to be prepared to face reality and note that if cases continue to rise, a second wave will be engendered. But, novel methods are being employed in order to maintain the safety of citizens. For instance, Test and Trace Corps are sending kits to positive case homes to monitor temperatures and oxygen to stop the spread. Additionally, New York City residents may qualify to self-isolate in a hotel for free, up to 14 days, if they do not have a safe place to self-isolate.

Although proper safety procedures are being employed, civilians need to cooperate and act selflessly in order to bolster the health of the state. After all, Winter is flu season, and with COVID cases rising, this could be a major threat to the lives of many.

One of the most fundamental steps is to get a flu vaccine. In times where a second wave is near, individuals need to protect themselves against anything capable of weakening the immune system. Keeping the required distance as well as following safety guidelines can also help contain the virus.

Artwork by Hillary Diaz, YPIE Scholar 2025

How the Pandemic is Affecting Families in Abusive Households

By Natalie Maldonado, YPIE Scholar 2025

COVID-19 has struck people everywhere, devastating many families in its wake. From losing family members to becoming unemployed, this pandemic has negatively affected households across the world. It also affects individuals who suffer in abusive households, by contributing to unhealthy household dynamics and limiting access to mental health resources.

Many families in the U.S. live in abusive households. According to a study by JAMA Pediatrics,12.5 percent of children have experienced at least one episode of abuse or neglect by the age of 18. This number increases even more in minority households, with 21 percent of African-American children, 14.5 percent of Native Americans, and 13 percent of Hispanic children affected (JAMA Pediatrics). These numbers are incredibly alarming and our communities continue to experience high volumes of abuse.

This pandemic has made living in abusive households even more strenuous on its victims. Members of the family who were able to escape their toxic households through their jobs or schools do not have that option. Since many institutions have gone remote, families are spending more time in their turbulent households, enabling more abuse. The stress of lockdown is only adding to the previous stress faced by abuse victims.

This pandemic has also limited access to helpful resources. Going to a therapist or talking to a counselor is now way more challenging. With new COVID-19 restrictions, visiting a help center can be more arduous. Pandemic anxiety has also caused high volumes of appointments and limited capacity. Victims are dealing with their own stressors which makes it rather difficult to visit these places. Receiving this help online at home also proves to be challenging when the household is often where victims experience unhealthy dynamics.

This help might also be financially infeasible for some victims. Mental health resources, like therapy, are very expensive. With unemployment rates at an all-time high and a decrease in household incomes across the country, victims may not have the financial means to get help.

COVID-19 continues to challenge the dynamics of our society causing an increase in stress, anxiety, and heightened reports of abuse across the country.

Despite these difficulties, there are several hotlines available to victims of abuse to contact, access online therapy resources, and escape centers, which are all run by people who are committed to helping victims reach safety. One can receive help through a variety of platforms. Below are some places victims can contact to receive help.

  • National Domestic Abuse Hotline: Call 1.800.799.Safe(7233) TTY 1.800.787.3224 or visit their website to have a live chat at This website offers ways to get help, a confidant, ways to identify abuse, and plans for safety. This site is confidential and operates 24/7. They also provide Spanish translations.

  • National Coalition Against Domestic Violence: This domain offers ways to recognize abuse, safety plans, cosmetic support for victims, and medical attention and financial education webinars for victims.

  • Safe Horizon: Domestic abuse treatment center in the Bronx, New York. (Address: 900 Sheridan Avenue, The Bronx, NY 10451)

  • Pelham Family Center- Family service center (Address: 2250 Holland Ave, The Bronx, NY 10020)

  • PAC Program of the Bronx: Offers help for domestic abuse (Address: 1215 Stratford Ave, The Bronx NY, 10472)

  • Never Alone Again Resource Center- Domestic abuse treatment center in Teaneck, New Jersey. It offers crisis intervention, advocacy, emotional and spiritual support, access to emergency shelters or safe-havens, and discussion of safety plans. (Address: 668 American Legion Dr. Suite 5, Teaneck, NJ, 07666)

  • Victims Assistance Services- Social services in Yonkers, New York (Address: 30 South Broadway, Yonkers, NY 10701)



Flower by Catarina Mendes, YPIE Scholar 2025

Joe Biden: America’s Silver Lining?

By Shemar Forbes, YPIE Scholar 2025

During the 2020 August Democratic National Convention, former First Lady Michelle Obama announced, “If we have any hope of ending this chaos, we have got to vote for Joe Biden like our lives depend on it.” Recently, Joe Biden was declared the winner of the 2020 presidential election and is well on his way to becoming America’s 46th U.S. President. But is Michelle Obama right? Will Joe Biden change America for the better?

Let us take a deeper look at Joe Biden’s proposed policies on the pandemic and healthcare, climate change, foreign policy, immigration, the economy, education, abortion, gun rights, racial injustice, and LGBTQ+ rights.

The Pandemic and Healthcare

Joe Biden appears to have the safety and comfort of Americans at the forefront of his plan to combat COVID-19.

Biden plans to have all Americans tested and traced, provide people with science-based treatments and vaccines, and supply everyone with personal protective equipment (PPE). In addition, he plans to give monthly installments of $250 to $300 to support families during the pandemic.

As for healthcare, Biden is opposed to Medicare for All. Instead, he will support a healthcare plan similar to the Affordable Care Act. Furthermore, he wants to decrease the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 60.

Climate Change

During Joe Biden’s time in the Senate, he brought awareness to climate change and tried protecting the environment by passing the Global Climate Protection Act.

As President, Biden plans to continue this momentum by rejoining the Paris Climate Accord and for the next 10 years, spend about $1.7 trillion on green technology, hoping to remove all the U.S. net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Foreign Policy

Given that Joe Biden served as the chairman of the Committee on Foreign relations and advocated for strategic arms limitation with the Soviet Union, promoted peace and stability in the Balkans, expanded NATO to include former Soviet-bloc nations, and opposed the First Gulf War, we can expect Biden to handle foreign affairs wisely.

As of now, Biden plans to repair U.S. relations with NATO allies, support the UAE-Israel peace deal, and reinstate a nuclear deal with Iran. Moreover, he plans to end U.S. support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan, and crackdown on China’s activities.


Joe Biden seems to not only care about Americans but immigrants as well. As president, Biden plans to stall deportation for 100 days, simplify the application process for becoming a citizen, decriminalize illegal border crossings, and restore Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

The Economy

The pandemic has destroyed America’s economy, leaving the nation in desperate need of a new economic plan.

To revitalize the economy, Biden plans to increase the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. He also wants products produced in the country in order to increase the number of manufacturing jobs available.

As for taxes, Biden plans to raise them for Americans whose annual income is $400,000 or greater. Furthermore, he will boost tax relief for middle-class families and increase the corporate tax rate to 28%.

Lastly, Biden supports the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.


As someone who grew up in a middle-class family and worked to help his family afford the tuition for his dream school, Joe Biden understands that paying college tuition can be difficult; therefore, Biden plans to make college tuition-free for families whose annual income is less than $125,000.

In addition, Biden is going to expand student loan debt forgiveness eligibility and support universal preschool access.


When he was a member of the Senate, Joe Biden passed the Violence Against Women Act which criminalized abuse towards women and created resources for survivors of assault. Biden will continue to support women by providing federal funding for abortion.

Gun Rights

As a proponent of gun control, Joe Biden is going to enforce background checks when someone purchases a firearm, and to further ensure that Americans are safe, Biden is also going to reimplement the federal assault weapons ban.

Racial Injustice

In 1994, many Americans were furious when Joe Biden sponsored the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act which dramatically increased the size of the police force and incarcerated people, especially those of color, for minor crimes, including marijuana possession.

Although Biden does not support the legalization of marijuana, he will “decriminalize marijuana use” as well as “expunge prior possession convictions, support legalization of medical marijuana, and allow states to set their own rules about recreational use." However, he does not intend to defund the police.

Besides that, Biden plans to reform immunity and put an end to the federal use of private prisons, cash bail, and the death penalty.

Biden also plans to provide reparations for descendants of enslaved people.

LGBTQ+ Rights

Joe Biden supports the LGBTQ+ community. In fact, Biden supported same-sex marriage before former President Obama legalized it.

Along with supporting same-sex marriage, Biden will allow transgender people to serve in the military as President.

Final Thoughts

From having a reasonable plan to handle COVID-19 to a fairer vision of the criminal justice system, it seems as though Joe Biden will positively transform the nation.

However, it is not guaranteed Biden’s policies will take effect. One of the things to consider is Biden’s age. At 77 years old, Biden is prone to dementia and has already shown signs of mental decline. We must also remember that legislation has to approve Biden’s policies before they can be implemented.

We simply have to wait and see what happens when Joe Biden becomes President.

Entertainment and Lifestyle

Leap by Danielle Yeboah, YPIE Scholar 2026

Music Recommendations- 10 Upcoming Artist

By Hillary Diaz, YPIE Scholar 2025

Sometimes it surprises me how easily I get trapped in the habit of listening to the same five artists, or songs, for weeks. It’s like my brain cannot compute any new music that lies beyond this strange and invisible barrier that I have created. It's frustrating since there is nothing that I enjoy more than finding a new song; the amazement and appreciation that I experience on the first listen cannot be compared to any other (except when it’s four in the morning and I start listening to sad songs because crying seems reasonable.) But I’m lazy, and every time that I want to listen to music I don’t want to spend hours on Spotify searching for something that will catch my attention. And if I do get the inspiration to do so, I tend to not explore out of my comfort zone.

Again, tragedy.

Since I don’t want you to follow in my footsteps, below I have listed some "underground" artists who deserve a spot on your playlist. In addition, there is a link for a collaborative Spotify playlist where you can find their songs. Please feel free to add any song that you felt needed to be on the list.


Better known for writing the viral song “Coffee,” Beatrice Laus is a Filipino songwriter and singer. However, the remix of the song that became popular is not a perfect representation of the sound of the artist. Her music is characterized for following the grunge-rock formula, while also incorporating softer sounds. From my perspective, it’s like listening to an early 2000s soundtrack for a coming of age movie.

Song Recommendations:

  • Care

  • Horren Sarrison

  • If You Want To

  • She Plays Bass

  • Disappear


This Chinese Canadian artist debuted three years ago with the single “Nothing in Return.” Known for his soulful vocals and meaningful lyrics, Scott Zhang has gained recognition for his EP Tradition. Each song on this short compilation has its own personality and specific sound, making it a strong piece of work. Believe me, it’s addictive.

Song Recommendations:

  • Mountain


  • 1998

  • Nothing in Return

  • Cloud

Stella Donelly

From toxic masculinity to personal anecdotes, Stella Donelly is a musician capable of writing songs that reflect her personality and beliefs. This can be better reflected on the debut album “Beware of the Dogs” where the artist explores different aspects of her life through her unapologetic lyrics.

Song Recommendations:

  • Tricks

  • Lunch

  • Boys Will Be Boys

  • Season’s Greetings

  • Beware of the Dogs

The Marias

Listening to The Marias is like an angel whispering to your ear. From the psychedelic-soul sounds to the incredible vocals, this band has the ability of making you feel over the moon. Most of their songs incorporate lyrics in Spanish and English in smooth transitions meant to elaborate on the personality of their music.

Song Recommendations:

  • Ruthless

  • I Don’t Know You

  • Over the Moon

  • Déjate Llevar

  • Cariño

Grant Perez

This Australian bedroom singer started doing covers on YouTube, slowly incorporating his original songs on his channel. In companionship with his acoustic guitar, Grant creates music that can easily put a smile on your face.

Song Recommendations:

  • Love isn’t Easy

  • Confusing Girl

  • Dreams

  • Lost and Found

  • Everybody Here


In an unexpected combination, this Venezuelan singer incorporates sounds from traditional Hispanic songs and indie bedroom pop, engendering a distinct sound that remains present on all of her songs.

Song Recommendations:

  • My Love

  • Moody


Bratty is one of the new voices of the bedroom pop community in Latin America. With her soothing voice, this Mexican artist has developed music that reflects the difficulties of going through a breakup. Even if you don’t speak Spanish, her voice perfectly encapsulates the message of the song.

Song Recommendations:

  • Honey, No Estás

  • Quédate

  • Cruel

  • Aquí


Tierra Umi Wilson is an Asian-American songwriter and artist. Filled with meaningful lyrics and soothing sounds, her music explores the beauty of youth and the complex shadows of having a relationship. Each song follows a different message that easily encapsulates relatable themes with a lay-back R&B sound.

Song Recommendations:

  • Butterfly

  • Remember me

  • Love Affair

  • Down to Earth

Here is a collaborative playlist to add your own recommendations.

Artwork by Jazmine Thomas, YPIE Scholar 2025

Movie/Show Recommendations

By Raquel Negrón, YPIE Scholar 2026

During the fall and winter season, there is not much to do outside of home, especially during this pandemic. Fortunately, there are many shows to watch on HBO or Netflix. Each service has a variety of different films that you can watch. You can also recommend these films/shows to your friends and family. Here are 10 movies and shows to watch during the quarantine:

We Are Who We Are (Series)

This is based on a story of two American kids who live on a U.S. military base all the way in Italy. The series stars actor Jack Dylan Grazer and actress Jordan Kristine Seamón. It explores identity, first love, and friendship, immersing watchers in the chaotic exhilaration and adventure of being a teenager. So far, the production has 8 episodes and one season.

Can be streamed on HBO *TV-MA*

Cobra Kai (Series)

“Karate Kid” was a very well-known and loved movie. Thus, once people heard there would be a series continuing the beloved film, many fans were excited. It has two seasons so far and expands on the main characters' lives after the big tournament in the original movie. The rivalry between Johnny and Daniel reignites in the sequel.

Can be streamed on Netflix *TV-14*

Ratched (Series)

This suspenseful drama tells you about the original story of an asylum nurse named Mildred Ratched. Mildred first arrived in Northern Carolina in 1947 to seek a job at a leading psychiatric hospital. However, as soon as she gets there, she starts to experience very unsettling and new experiments on the human brain, causing darkness to grow inside her.

Can be streamed on Netflix *TV-MA*

The Old Guard (Film)

“The Old Guard” is centered around four warriors that have lived beyond centuries and have been secretly protecting the world in the shadows. None of them ever die and nobody knows about them or what they do. All four become targeted because of their mysterious powers. Soon, they receive some guidance as they discover another new immortal. The film shows the struggles of training for what they have been fighting all these years.

Can be streamed on Netflix *RATED R*

The Haunting of Hill House (Series)

The plot flashes between the past and present which follows five adults who are siblings. By confronting their haunted childhood memories of the home they stayed at, Hill House, they continue to get cursed in the present day. All their adventures lead up to when they fled from the mansion in 1992. Each of the family members have to confront what happened to them and how that house affected them.

Can be streamed on Netflix *TV-MA*

Unsolved Mysteries (Series)

This documentary involves a different storyline each episode is filled with real cases of perplexing disappearances, shocking killings, and paranormal activity. Including two volumes so far, if you have an interest in investigations and unsolved cases, this is the show for you.

Can be streamed on Netflix *TV-MA*

Dick Johnson Is Dead (Flim)

Kristine Johnson could not bear the fact that one day she might lose her dad, so she decided to make a film about how he dies in many different ways. He enjoyed it so much and was in it for the long run until they found out he has Alzheimer’s. Her dad decided to keep going with the films created for fun, but the behind the scenes show what losing his memory actually means to him and his daughter.

Can be streamed on Netflix *PG-13*

Falling Inn Love (Film)

As Gabriella moves on from San Francisco and her ex-boyfriend, she wins an inn all the way in New Zealand. When she arrives, it’s not as perfect as it seemed on the internet. As a result, she took matters into her own hands and the hands of a guy she met. She completely ditches the city life and remodels a rusty property with the help of her “handsome” friend.

Can be streamed on Netflix *TV-PG*

John Mulaney: Kid Gorgeous (Film)

One of the most loved comedians by kids and adults, John Mulaney, brings you Kid Gorgeous talking about his childhood, times on SNL (Saturday Night Live), and so-called “value time” at college. He once again proves himself to be one of the best stand-up comedians of all ages.

Can be streamed on Netflix *TV-MA*

To All The Boys I've Loved Before (Film)

As Lara Jean enters a new stage in high school, her letters addressing the five boys she liked in the past come back into her life. Nobody has ever seen or read them, except for her. When they “accidentally” get mailed to each of the boys, she thinks her life is over. To stabilize things, she starts “dating” Peter as a way to get the boys jealous, which soon turns into a relationship defined by true love.

Can be streamed on Netflix *TV-14*

Our Voices Heard

What’s Going on in Belarus?

By Catarina Mendes, YPIE Scholar 2025

As the world continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, many across the planet are also battling political unrest. On August 9th, Belarus held a presidential election, which many believe to have been rigged in favor of leader Alexander Lukashenko, who has been called a dictator. Lukashenko has been in power since 1994, Europe’s longest-serving leader. Belarusians are unhappy with his leadership, as poverty and corruption appear prevalent and censorship and police intimidation are being used. People also feel that he has not taken the coronavirus pandemic seriously, causing further dissatisfaction.

Although elections have never been considered fair, people supported Lukashenko because of his strong nationalist position, attempting to keep what he deemed harmful influence from the rest of the world out of the country. With this latest election, however, things finally appear to have come to ahead. The arrest of two opposing candidates and the escape of a third to another country have led to increased suspicions and resentment towards Lukashenko. Three women who were closely involved with the opposing campaigns formed their own coalition in response, with Svetlana Tikhanovsky entering the race as a candidate. Together, the women garnered much support from frustrated Belarusians.

On voting day, it is widely suspected that fraud played a large role in the results. Many irregularities were discovered, and observers were not allowed to do their jobs. An internet blackout later occurred, which lasted many days. The day after the election, results were released showing that Lukashenko had won with 80% of the vote, while Tikhanovsky had only received around 10%. This didn’t seem to make sense, as many were angry with the current administration, and furthermore, Tikhanovsky had argued that in areas where the results had been properly counted, she had won with about 60-70% of the vote.

Many became outraged at the election fraud that seemed to take place in broad daylight. In Minsk, Belarus’s capital city, as well as other cities and towns across the country, large protests have been taking place since the election. Throughout the fourteen straight weeks of protests, it is believed over 25,000 protestors and at least 23 journalists have been arrested, and police took to using new tactics to disperse crowds, including tear gas and rubber bullets.

Svetlana Tikhanovsky has been forced to flee the country to Lithuania, where she had already sent her children. While she felt that she had overestimated herself, she has not stopped pushing for fair democracy in Belarus, and has said she is willing to lead the country once a fair election is held. She has also pleaded with security officers for their support, as well as the U.N.A Coalition which has been formed to help transfer power peacefully.

This new council has been met with hostility, with Lukashenko and his administration questioning and detaining several members rather than agreeing to peaceful discussion.

Police brutality directed at detainees has also been reported, leading to more protests as people demand answers and change. It has become evident that Lukashenko’s government has used intimidation tactics to force opposition leaders to flee the country, has jailed potential opponents, and even barred some from running against him. In a district publicly and outspokenly defending the opposition, it is widely believed that Lukashenko and his forces are responsible for the widespread loss of heating and water during this cold time of year.

Many are still protesting for the justice that has not yet come, leading to even more arrests. Just recently, a 31-year-old protester who was injured by security forces, died in a hospital, causing increased unrest and arrests.

The country’s struggle has caught the attention of Amnesty International, which has stated that Belarusian authorities "must immediately launch a prompt, thorough, impartial and independent investigation". Many are also calling for sanctions against those who support Lukashenko. With seemingly no end in sight, Belarusians are carrying on protesting.

Artwork by Jazmine Thomas, YPIE Scholar 2025

Islamophobia On The Rise In France After Beheading of a Teacher

By Salamatu Lawal, YPIE Scholar 2025

Samuel Patty, a French History teacher, asked the Muslims in his class of 13-year-old students to leave because he was going to show them a photo that would shock them--a Charlie Hebdo cartoon. Some Muslim students refused to leave the class and saw the caricature, reporting the incident to their parents. The teacher apologized for offending his students the next day; however, many were enraged by his actions including 18-year-old Abdoullakh Abouyezidovitch, who barged into the classroom beheading him in front of the students.

This incident sparked an increase in hate crimes against Muslims in France. One of them being the stabbing of two Muslim women near the Eifel Tower, who were also referred to as “dirty Arabs”. The two victims, Kenza and Amel, were attacked by other ladies after telling them to control their dog. Kenza was stabbed six times, ending up in the hospital with a punctured leg. Amel was also hospitalized, needing surgery for stab wounds on her hands.

France’s own President, Emmanuel Macron responded to the beheading by inducing multiple actions to combat Islamic Extremism. He has since conducted multiple raids against suspected extremist groups, closing down the Grand Mosque of Pantin, and shutting down Muslim Aide groups.

Macron is known for his strong inclinations towards secularism and freedom of speech. He paid tribute to Patty claiming that the teacher was "killed because he was teaching students freedom of speech, the freedom to believe and not believe." He went as far as defending the display of the Charlie Hebdo Cartoons, claiming it is a form of freedom of speech. These Cartoons are very offensive to the Muslim community. Depictions of the Prophet Mohammed are considered taboo and these cartoons also display the prophet in a disrespectful manner.

Various Islamic nations, enraged by Macron’s behavior, have responded with the boycott of French products. In an Algezira interview, the French President claimed to understand Muslim’s shock over the cartoons; however, he also stated that the “radical Islam” he is combating is detrimental to all people, especially Muslims.

Coronavirus Delivers Yet Another Divisive Pandemic

By Julia Azulay, YPIE Scholar 2027

As COVID-19 continues to sweep across the globe and exacerbate living conditions, especially in areas that are slow to bounce back, another form of disunity reigns. A well-known notion about the United States is that some of its citizens view the pandemic as a political issue and not a matter of public health. This statement can be applied to the discriminatory behavior towards Asians and Asian-Americans trying to lead normal lives.

When cases started to spike in the U.S., so did record hate crimes and prejudice that Asians experience in their time residing here. In the following paragraphs, the faulty judgment of racist perpetrators will be assessed, several examples of mistreatment will be explained in-depth, and I will delve into how we can help the Asian community during this fearful time.

Although the reasoning behind racism towards Asians being on the rise is atrocious to begin with, it may assist others in offering their best help by learning what occurs in a racist perpetrator’s head. When I picture the mindset of someone filled with hatred, I imagine them holding some form of a grudge. In this case, the Coronavirus’ locational origin is what ignites this resentment in the culprit. Since COVID-19 was traced back to Wuhan, China in its early developments, the so-called blame which shouldn’t be placed on any individual is placed on Asian people.

It is unacceptable that society has reached the point of placing liability on a group that has no control over a catastrophic event. However, it seems there’s no turning back unless we move forward.

Another key factor in fully understanding what should be called a race-based pandemic that spreads hate is observing examples in these current conditions. One significant occurrence was that in Washington, D.C. on the morning of November 10th. Security footage caught a man shouting “COVID-19” and “Chinese tea,” as well as using pepper spray to assault the owner of Valley Brook Tea.

This shop in Dupont Circle that brews leaves from China’s Fujian province reported the hate crime as soon as possible. Valley Brook’s owner, Yunhan Zhang, tried to moderate the situation of an enraged man charging into his store, but it was no use as the culprit employed vulgar language and reached into his backpack for the pepper spray canister. In a solemn Twitter thread, Zhang described the aftermath of being sprayed with this harmful substance. He stated, “I got sprayed on my face, arm, cloth. Some got into my mouth. I was choking badly when I called 911. I’m not injured. However, the burning has not stopped for hours.” Zhang additionally told a local CBS affiliate WUSA9 that this is the second time he’s been assaulted in his shop, including an altercation in July when he was slapped in the face and stolen from. Both of these events are assumed to be racially motivated based on words and actions expressed by those who committed the crimes.

An additional racially motivated crime that unfolded recently was one in San Francisco, California on October 22nd, which involved an Asian-American woman being threatened. According to authorities, the perpetrator came back to the woman’s home multiple times, once to throw a water bottle, then an egg, and then to leave the racially motivated letter and a mask that was written on. Subsequently, her home was vandalized and she found a letter that read, “I wear my mask if I want F**CKING ASIAN you create the virus.” Marie, who opted out from revealing her last name due to fear of retaliation, claimed she was walking down the street with her infant twins earlier in the week.

When she stopped outside her home to push them in a figure-eight shape to ease their crying, a young man approached her without wearing a mask. She insisted he should wear a mask, which resulted in him rushing away back and forth shouting. Despite Marie’s husband scaring off the young man, surveillance footage caught someone who is most likely connected to the incident vandalizing. To top it all off, Marie read, “It says keep America without Asians” as she examined the mask the man left. Some words of wisdom from the victim consisted of, “It’s really natural to be fearful but if we don’t speak out no one is going to know this is happening and no one can do anything about it.”

Marie’s statement from the previous paragraph provides a fitting segway into the immense difficulty that comes with resolving these issues: normalization and terror forcing victims to remain silent. One observation about racism targeting the Asian community is that it’s institutionalized to the point where it goes unnoticed. Even microaggressions referring to an Asian’s facial features and stereotypes such as “the nail lady” or the “the model minority” are barely denounced. Yet another finding on the broader human race is that induced fear often results in an inability to speak out. Given these factors, it can be recognized that lending a hand to the community in a period of escalated struggle will be a challenge. On the other hand, there are simple mechanisms that can make a drastic difference.

In order to assist the Asian populace in this disunited country, a noteworthy “first step” is to consistently confront those who contribute to the normalization of racism towards Asians. When a backhanded or spiteful comment has little or no replies calling out that person, explain and specify everything incorrect about their assertions. The more clarity, the fewer individuals will determine this behavior as acceptable. An alternative method of being a helping hand is to enlighten yourself on struggles that Asian people endured in their past and present. I would highly recommend staying updated on news related to this issue or reading up on information surrounding it to ultimately be exposed to its severity.

My final piece of advice, which is easier said than done for some individuals, is to express support for the community through advocation and promotion of their creations. It has become more apparent that other communities of color are at fault for not being empathetic towards Asian-Americans, which is mainly unfortunate because these groups share corresponding strife. Thus, shining positive light onto the people being unjustifiably blamed for the taxing pandemic is highly important.

Shifting Gears by Shemar Forbes, YPIE Scholar 2025

Think Before You Post: Raising “Awareness”

By Alyssa Lee, YPIE Scholar 2026

Nowadays, many people take to social media to promote their activism. However, oftentimes this “activism” becomes mindless to the masses who take part in it.

Rather than taking the time to dissect and reflect on each post, many just hit send. The deaths of countless individuals have turned into a way for the uneducated public to virtue signal and garner “woke points.”

On Friday, October 30, 2020, a 15-year old boy by the name of Quawan Charles was lynched.

A 15-year old boy was lynched in 2020. That speaks volumes.

Quawan Charles has become the modern-day Emmet Till. His death will forever be remembered by us, wrenching hearts and angering minds.

His story is monumental, yet has been swept under the rug, successfully shoving another skeleton into the closet. To combat this, thousands of people are speaking out on social media platforms such as Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter to tell Quawan Charles’ truth.

The best and most effective way to bring attention to this situation and others like it is to tell the story, not post the autopsy pictures.

While scrolling through my apps one day, I came across numerous pictures of this little boy’s mangled body. I was staring at his corpse and he was looking right back at me.

We as a society have become completely desensitized to death, and that is a problem.

It’s a problem when seeing dead bodies plastered over social media is normal. It’s a problem when no one bats an eye and instead takes a screenshot to repost for themselves.

Before acting, take a moment to think. Ask yourself: How does this help you? Why are you doing it? How does it help other people?

How does posting the lifeless body of a little boy explain what happened to him? How does it help other people understand what happened to him?

Not only is it plain wrong, but it is disrespectful to the life lost and disrespectful to the families mourning. If you wouldn't like to see the corpse of your family members on social media, extend that same courtesy to others.

If one wants to bring awareness to a situation, especially revolving around (brutal) murder, it is more beneficial to post an explanation. It not only educates you, but also the people you open your platform to.

No matter how often we come across death, it still takes a mental toll on us, no matter if we realize it or not.

And it is especially exhausting for members of the Black community to see the dead bodies of their own getting reposted over and over knowing that one day it could be them.

Take into consideration what you are posting before you do so. Not only for your sake, but the sake of others.

Learn more about the YPIE QuaranTimes.

Interested in contributing?  Email or Max Silverman, YPIE QuaranTimes Advisor and Director, College Readiness.

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