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YPIE QuaranTimes Volume 13

Updated: May 8

December 21, 2020


Winter is Coming by Danielle Yeboah, YPIE Scholar 2027


In this Issue


Pandemic News

  • Rising COVID Cases Break U.S. Records

  • How are Different Countries Handling the Pandemic?

Politics

  • President Trump’s Stance on the November Election in the Air?

  • Is Rahm Emanuel The Right Pick?

Entertainment and Lifestyle

  • A Tribute to Chadwick Boseman

  • 6 Podcast To Start The New Year With

Our Voices Heard

  • The Yonkers High Hybrid Student Experience

  • Demanding Justice for Indian Farmers

  • Violence In India


YPIE QuaranTimes Staff


Editors

Salamatu Lawal, Editor-in-Chief and Pandemic News Editor

Catarina Mendes, Politics Editor

Julia Azulay, Entertainment and Lifestyle Editor

Alyssa Lee, Our Voices Heard Editor

Shemar Forbes, Layout Editor and Director of Communications

Yismel Castro, Layout Editor

Contributors

Jaylene Anderson

Julia Azulay

Paola Baizan

Yismel Castro

Chelsea Deane

Shemar Forbes

Vanessa Gentile

Salamatu Lawal

Alyssa Lee

Natalie Maldonado

Catarina Mendes

Raquel Negrón

Danielle Yeboah


Advisor

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


Rising COVID Cases Break U.S. Records

By Catarina Mendes, YPIE Scholar 2025


As the Coronavirus pandemic continues to rage across the world, it appears that the long-dreaded second wave is upon the U.S., with cases skyrocketing to even higher numbers than they had in the Spring, breaking records. This has caused widespread concern, as more people are being directly impacted by this devastating virus.


After a significant period of steady low numbers, New York State’s COVID cases are once again rising rapidly. Just recently, over the first week of December, cases in NY rose by roughly 40%, meaning it had the 11th highest case growth percentage of U.S. states.


Many across the country traveled for the Thanksgiving holiday, which government officials generally advised against. Due to the increase in gatherings for Thanksgiving, the spread of the virus was predicted to increase significantly in the weeks following the holiday, which it has, with the U.S. recording 1.2 million new cases the week after Thanksgiving, a new record high. Recently, the U.S. has averaged a little over 150,000 new cases per day, along with which will surely come many unfortunate deaths. Officials fear that the same trend will occur again after the Christmas holiday, further increasing the spread of the virus.


As cases continue to rise across the U.S. and people continue to gather for the holidays, we can only wonder just how high they will rise. While the world is now beginning to approve vaccines for use and the U.S. is expected to have roughly 70 million doses available by the end of this year, the COVID-19 pandemic is still far from over. Life won’t go back to normal until we can successfully curb the spread of the virus through widespread vaccination, which will still take more time.


For now, we must still try our best to abide by COVID health and safety guidelines in order to help prevent the spread from getting any worse during this second wave. While this won’t be an easy task, we are already seeing the consequences brought on by gatherings during the Thanksgiving holiday. The spread of this dangerous virus won’t be easily stopped, so every bit of effort counts.


How are Different Countries Handling the Pandemic?

By Paola Baizan, YPIE Scholar 2027


Have you ever wondered how other countries have dealt with the coronavirus compared to the United States? The John Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering chart displays the current number of COVID-19 cases around the world. For example, on November 11, 2020, at 9:45 AM, the chart showed that the United States had a total of 10,262,088 cases, Germany had a total of 716,049 cases, Japan had a total of 111,960 cases, and Egypt had a total of 109,654 coronavirus cases.


Many Americans as well as people from other various countries around the world believe the United States has done a poor job in dealing with the pandemic. According to a Pew Research Center survey, 62% of Americans surveyed believed that the “U.S. response to the coronavirus outbreak has been less effective than that of other wealthy nations.” The United States government, however, is trying to slowly reopen America one step at a time.


Some ways in which government officials are trying to do this safely are contacting tracing the people who have tested positive for COVID-19, rapidly supplying equipment used for protection against the virus and various medical needs, protecting health workers, safety workers, and citizens by providing information regarding safety precautions, and returning to previous coronavirus phases if the number of cases increases excessively.


In contrast to how many Americans generally feel about how the United States has handled the pandemic, many Germans believe that their country has dealt with the coronavirus in a proper and satisfactory manner. Before the pandemic, Germany seemed to be well prepared for a virus like this because their healthcare system is more inclusive than that of the United States. Germany’s healthcare system is available to everyone and the hospitals are better equipped to accommodate many people.


The German government also reacted fairly quickly to the appearance of COVID-19 cases, as they established an internal-ministerial national crisis management group while only having 26 positive cases at the time. Shortly after this, the government began requiring contact tracing from visitors who entered Germany from countries with varying degrees of coronavirus cases, and by March 10th, large social gatherings were prohibited. Germany had also already posted safety precautions and other informational documents about COVID-19 by January 16th and was one of the first countries to initiate antibody studies.


On the other hand, many Japanese have had negative opinions in regard to how their government has reacted to the pandemic. Similar to Germany, Japan has a few key components that may help reduce the number of people that could get infected. Within the Japanese culture, face masks were already widely used, and bowing down is a common type of greeting, thus, no physical touch is necessary. While they did implement some precautionary measures, some additional safety measures were neglected.


Schools in Japan had closed around March, but public transportation remained open for use. Also, some people who had been on the Diamond Princess Cruise ship had left without being tested and returned home, which may have put other residents at risk. Japan also hasn’t done much testing, as they only test the people who they think have severe symptoms because the government claims that constant testing may deplete testing resources as well as take up too much time.


Finally, individuals from other countries believe that Egypt hasn’t adequately responded to the pandemic either. Initially, the Egyptian government denied that COVID-19 existed in Egypt and had a slow response to the pandemic outbreak as a whole. Hospitals were not adequately equipped, doctors were not prepared to respond to the virus, and there was overall neglect when it came to treatment.


The citizens of Egypt also live close to each other, resulting in a greater chance for the coronavirus to spread. However, there have been a few positive safety measures implemented by the Egyptian government. Government officials shut down schools and other public places and implemented a curfew as well. They also cleaned and disinfected streets that were known to be busy.


The United States, Germany, Japan, and Egypt, as well as many other countries, have tried to adapt and find safe solutions to cope with COVID-19 while receiving both positive and negative opinions regarding how they handle the virus.


Politics


Artwork by Chelsea Deane, YPIE Scholar 2025


President Trump’s Stance on the November Election in the Air?

By Vanessa Gentile, YPIE Scholar 2027


It’s December, and it’s also been over a month since the announcement that Joe Biden would become our next president. Even with that, states are recounting votes to ensure that Biden keeps his victory. Lawsuits are popping up left and right, with accusations of fraud in the election. And still, our current president will not concede. President Donald Trump has been criticized for years, and now through comments that have continued to roll in with his claims that he won the recent election. We have seen before that President Trump cannot set his story straight. In the months after the November election, he has flip-flopped from accepting his defeat to immediately taking back what he said.


President Trump said on November 26th that he would leave the White House if the electoral college formalizes Biden’s victory. However, he has also said, “this [the election] has a long way to go.” Yet, at this moment, he still claims there has been “massive fraud” in this election. These claims still appear to be baseless and no true evidence has been provided to the public. He also said that Biden picking a cabinet as president-elect is “not right.”


Though President Trump has agreed to leave, he still believes he won. Mary Trump has said that by her uncle accepting the loss, he would be showing a sign of weakness. She also says that Trump is gaslighting himself. If anything, the closest we’ve gotten to a concession was a tweet. And even then, he says that Biden did not win. It has been confirmed that Joe Biden has won. But until President Trump comes to terms with that, likely not for a while, we will not be hearing him concede.


Is Rahm Emanuel The Right Pick?

By Shemar Forbes, YPIE Scholar 2025


As President-elect Joe Biden continues to select people for his Cabinet, much controversy surrounds former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who is currently in the running to serve as Biden’s transportation secretary.


For the last three decades, Emanuel has played a pivotal role in Democratic party politics. Some of his most notable accomplishments include organizing the meeting between Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1993, as well as spearheading the unsuccessful campaign for universal healthcare in 1994 as a senior adviser for the Bill Clinton administration.


Additionally, Emanuel was formerly a member of President Barack Obama’s White House as Chief of Staff, where he continued to make an impact in his wider community.


During Emanuel’s eight years as Chicago’s mayor, he renovated Chicago’s Transit Authority’s “L” system, invested $11 billion in infrastructure, terminals, and airfields to improve the city’s airports, and added over 100 miles of protected bike lanes in Chicago, making it one of the nation’s most bicycle-friendly cities.


“He’s the perfect candidate for the job. You don’t get many candidates that have more experience in how government works. He can start running on day one. He’s not going to be crawling or walking. He’s going to be running,” said Michelle Harris, a Chicago alderman.


While Emanuel has accomplished a lot throughout his career and appears to be qualified to take on the role as Transportation Secretary, progressive leaders, such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Rep. Cori Bush of Missouri, claim that Emanuel and his administration covered up the police involved in the death of Laquan McDonald, a Black teenager who was shot 16 times by a White officer, during the time he was Chicago’s mayor.


However, Emanuel has denied these allegations and has enacted several reforms directed towards the city’s police department, including a federally court-monitored consent decree to ensure that justice is served.


“What is so hard to understand about this? Rahm Emanuel helped cover up the murder of Laquan McDonald. Covering up murder is disqualifying for public leadership...This is not about the ‘visibility’ of a post. It is shameful and concerning that he is even being considered.” tweeted Rep. Ocasio-Cortez last week.


Agreeing with Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s tweet, Rep. Bush added that, “the thing about covering up the murder of Laquan McDonald is that it disqualifies you from holding any type of public office. Forever.”


Despite Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and Rep. Bush’s claims, Rahm Emanuel’s selection ultimately comes down to the Senate’s confirmation. We can only hope that whatever decision the Senate makes is one that is favorable for even those who are often marginalized in the country.


*Update as of 12/20/20: Pete Buttigieg has been selected as Joe Biden's Transportation Secretary.


Entertainment and Lifestyle


Artwork by Chelsea Deane, YPIE Scholar 2025


A Tribute to Chadwick Boseman

By Raquel Negrón, YPIE Scholar 2026


Chadwick Boseman was an American actor that got most famous for his role as King T’Challa (Black Panther) in the Marvel Studios film Black Panther. But he starred in many other films which people also recognize him for, such as 42, 21 Bridges, and Get On Up. He recently passed away on August 28, 2020, from cancer that he had been battling secretly for a few years. After the news broke out, many fans were very heartbroken and posted all over social media in tribute to him. He had many beloved supporters and cast members post about him, writing long essays or just uttering a simple “I love you”.


It was recently the star’s birthday, November 29th, and Marvel Studios has altered the studio’s logo that appears in front of Black Panther on Disney+. It has been on there ever since the start of his birthday and it is not clear when or if it will ever come off. Marvel also took this tribute and posted it on Twitter saying “Long live the King. #WakandaForever.


Boseman had many fellow castmates and friends of his own that also posted for his birthday. They shared heartwarming photos and memories like they did when he had passed. One co-star in particular, Lupita Nyong’o, took to social media to post a picture of the two of them and wrote: “Deeply loved, sorely missed. #ChadwickBoseman.” Everyone is so saddened by his death. However, it’s best to remember the happy and exciting parts of his life, especially the accomplishments he has made in his lifetime.


6 Podcasts To Start The New Year With

By Salamatu Lawal, YPIE Scholar 2025


The year is ending soon and I bet there are a lot of things you still have not done yet, like listening to a podcast. I know you might believe that podcasts are not your cup of tea, but there is a podcast out there for everyone, no matter what your interests are. Here are 6 podcast recommendations to start the new year with.


From iHeartRadio comes a podcast discussing topics that you most likely are not familiar with. The subjects discussed here range from the history of assassins, government conspiracies to exorcisms. If you enjoy exploring unconventional topics, then this is just the podcast for you.


Have you been feeling alone with your struggles as a teenager lately? If so, you should definitely check out this podcast where 5 teenagers discuss the everyday problems they struggle with. It is both an entertaining and insightful listen. These teens discuss school, personal, and societal issues teens are currently faced with.


This podcast is perfect for anyone who wants to become more motivated and has a desire for success. Host Tom Bilyeu, an entrepreneur and co-founder of the billion-dollar company Quest Nutrition, interviews individuals while delving into very useful information that can be incorporated into your everyday life. Each episode will leave you with advice helping you to become a better person both physically and mentally.


Women of Impact is hosted by Lisa Bilyea, the co-founder of Quest Nutrition and president of Impact theory. This show interviews an array of successful women, discussing the hardships they face and provides listeners with advice on how they have dealt with obstacles in their journey. The mission of this podcast is “to empower you and all women to recognize you can really become the hero of your own life.”


The Humanity Archive contradicts and elaborates on a substantial amount of history we have learned in school. Jermaine Fowler provides a different perspective on historical stories and even discusses individuals you may not have known about. This is a podcast for all you history lovers. Fowler covers brutally honest and captivating narratives, from the real story of Pochahontas to Mansa Musa.


Buckle up and get ready to be transported to the small desert town of Night Vale, where every conspiracy theory is true. Each episode is a continuation of the peculiar events occurring in this town. This extremely creative and well-written podcast will leave you yearning for more.


Why You Should Shop Sustainably for the Holidays

By Natalie Maldonado, YPIE Scholar 2025


Clothing is necessary for everyday human life. Without clothes, humans would face several difficulties. They serve both practical and personal needs.


Coats and sweaters keep us warm in the winter, and lightweight pieces keep us cool in the summer. Garments can also protect us from any external situation we might have to face.


Clothing can offer a fashionable aspect. Chic pieces can keep you stylish and trendy. Overall, clothes can also empower you and make you feel confident.


According to data published by Market Research Provider Euromonitor International in 2017, 40 billion apparel units were purchased in China, 17 billion in the USA, 6 billion in India, and 3.3 in Japan. That is a ton of clothing, but where do the clothes that aren't purchased go?


A portion of the clothing that is not purchased ends up in landfills. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Americans alone produced 15.1 million tons of textile waste in 2013, and around 85 percent ended up in landfills. This surplus amount of clothes is very harmful to the environment. Excess clothing becomes waste that pollutes our planet. The chemicals in many clothing articles can be very toxic which adds to the pollution of our planet.


Another problem within the clothing industry is its unethical practices. In efforts to receive the most profit, fast fashion companies turn to immoral practices, including child labor and horrendous pay.


There are people in third world countries currently being paid less than a dollar for their craft. Children are working in factories creating the clothing we are wearing for way less than what we are paying.


These employees are working in harsh conditions and are being treated horribly. According to The Huffington Post, labor standards in Colombian mines, Bangladeshi factories, and Vietnam textile mills are so low that 2% of working women earn a living wage, despite apparel being the largest employer of women globally.


Factory workers are being paid unlivable wages. This inhumane treatment needs to be stopped.


Both sustainability and ethics are important issues within the clothing industry. As affordable and stylish as an item maybe, if it was not created ethically or sustainably the item isn’t for the greater good. It is very tempting to purchase from these fast fashion websites with their extremely low prices and trendy pieces, but you must resist the urge


Not everyone has the means to buy from sustainable stores, which can be pretty pricey. But when buying from these fast fashion places we must think about the people who made the pieces.


If an article of clothing is extremely cheap, how much do you think they are paying the person who made it?


Think about the conditions the person had to endure while making that article of clothing. Think about the wearability of that piece. Is it going to last you a long time? Did you only buy it because it was trendy? How many times are you going to wear that piece?


All of these factors come into play when shopping. Buying a piece that will never be worn will only contribute to the pollutants plaguing our atmosphere.


There are ways you could shop more sustainably and ethically for this upcoming holiday season.


Buying second hand is the most affordable option. Websites like Thredup, eBay, Depop, Poshmark, and Mercari offer second-hand pieces for affordable prices. This option prevents clothes from being wasted impeding the possibility of ending up in a landfill. Buying second hand can also ensure better quality pieces.


When buying fast fashion, pieces can be very poorly made and cheap, but buying second-hand offers gently used pieces at a lower cost. These pieces can range from designer to your favorite clothing brand. The possibilities are endless.


Thankfully, there are many thrift and consignment stores available.


You can buy a loved one a special piece from one of these places and not break the bank or contribute to non-sustainable or unethical companies. By being more conscious of where you shop you are helping the environment and the clothing industry become more ethical and sustainable.


Our Voices Heard


Artwork by Chelsea Deane, YPIE Scholar 2025


The Yonkers High Hybrid Student Experience

By Alyssa Lee, YPIE Scholar 2026


Schooling has completely changed in the age of COVID-19. Teachers, students, and administrations alike are facing unprecedented times. And where there is uncharted territory, there are bound to be a few problems along the way.


Yonkers Middle High School, like many other schools in the district, has opted for a joint hybrid and completely online school experience.


Students have chosen whether or not they would like to go to school by filling out an online form before commencing the school year.


Track A students attend school Mondays and Tuesdays and Track B students attend school Thursdays and Fridays. Those who are Track D remain online for the entire school week.


The hybrid experience differs from student to student. Where some have a few complaints, others have countered with praises.


According to one Track B student, hybrid learning makes it easier to get in touch with teachers. Despite being able to email or message teachers any concerns, there is not a 100% guarantee that they will respond. Face to face discussion, 6-feet apart, of course, makes it easier to create a connection and carry a conversation.


Going to school is a social outlet for many, including this student. Although they have to practice social distancing, the feeling of seeing people in person again was unmatched.


After many months of isolation, nothing beats saying hi to your best friend at school, even if you have to shout it across the hallway.


However, this positive experience has still had its fair share of complications.


Students are let into the building a little at a time for safety reasons. This is completely understandable, but most of the time students end up being quite late for their first-period class.


Perhaps one solution to this problem is to open up more regulated entrances. That way students get to class on time and remain safe while doing so.


Another hybrid student, however, has raised many concerns over the cleanliness and safety precautions taken in the school.


At the start of the hybrid instruction, social distancing was heavily enforced. But as the months passed by, many students have been able to get away with walking in close proximity to each other in the hallways.


The custodial staff could often be seen walking in the corridors, but as the school year has continued, their sightings have dropped.


According to this individual, some teachers do not ask students to clean off their desks before and after class.


This raises some speculation as to how seriously precautions are being taken in the school. This includes sanitizing doorknobs, classrooms, and as mentioned above, desks.


Yet, despite these difficulties, this student still prefers hybrid learning to fully remote.


For juniors, this year is critical, and home harbors all the distractions that can keep them from obtaining good grades and retaining all necessary information.


Yonkers Middle High School is known for its International Baccalaureate program.

In it, students have to complete exams for their IB level classes and those who choose to take solely IB classes have to complete 150 Community Activity Service (CAS) hours.


Both the students and administration are unsure of the future of this program and the corresponding exams this year.


Many are left in the dark as to how to obtain these hours and if and how they should prepare for the examinations.


We can only hope that as the year goes on the concerns of the students will be addressed, questions will be answered, and the students will come out on top.


Artwork by Jaylene Anderson, YPIE Scholar 2025


Demanding Justice for Indian Farmers

By Julia Azulay, YPIE Scholar 2027


In today’s political and social climate, it is fundamental to be cognizant of the importance protesting holds.


Movements that employ certain methods of protest truly have one ultimate goal: to amplify the voices of the people loud enough so change can be reinforced.


Shifting our attention to these outcries is crucial, as well. Protesters’ voices being heard can affect their livelihoods. A prime example of such an occurrence that needs to be addressed is the string of protests happening in India, led by farmworkers.


Now, questions such as, “What’s happening to Indian farmers?” and, “How will this alter their futures?” arise. To further elaborate, it should be mentioned that farmers from states like Punjab and Haryana are exceedingly concerned about how their livelihoods will be destroyed due to the central government's direct action.


They detected serious deficiencies in three agriculture laws devised with the intention of providing farmers more autonomy and breaking partisan monopolies.


The Farmers (Empowerment & Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, the Essential Commodities Act (Amendment) Bill, and the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill are described by the government as catalysts for the transformation of the agriculture sector through increased private investment.


Although modernizing agricultural production is a necessary next step in India’s primarily rural farming economy, utilizing these laws to facilitate change is purely unreasonable.


In reality, such laws strip Indian farmers of their rights to their crops and allow them to be exploited by big corporations. Given the growing debt, poor harvests, and drought in recent years, 28 people who depend on farming died to suicide every day in 2019.


This detrimental occurrence connects back to how the mistreatment of farming communities is no small-scale matter in India. The agriculture sector recruits half of the country’s 1.35 billion people and supplies nearly 15 percent of its $2.7 trillion economy. Thus, if laws are created that can potentially harm India’s agricultural economy and cause a tremendous disadvantage for farmers, actions need to be taken to dodge the catastrophic aftermath.


A present-day instance of farmers, the betrayed backbone of India’s wealth, taking action was a march on Delhi in protest of these illogical agriculture laws.


More than 300,000 farm workers marched from the states of Punjab and Haryana the weekend of November 27th to make contact with the Indian capital. Few individuals managed to enter, while a majority were stopped by obstacles such as barricades assembled by police forces.


However, the protesters set up camps along five substantial roads, constructing makeshift tents and starting personal fires to accommodate for their passion being clouded by barbed wires.


Their peaceful protesting could be viewed as a disruption to the existing commotion on roads, but police manipulating the power of tear gas and water cannons against marchers was a far too violent approach.


Even if these farmers were met with attempts to tear down the march’s momentum, they seem prepared to resist turbulent conditions for up to three months.


The survival of farming communities’ income and the Indian economy’s stability depends on the prevention of these disadvantageous laws being instituted; protesters will remain persistent for the time being.


One of the more difficult aspects in addressing this issue is questioning what can be done to help the cause. An undeniable first step is staying updated on the series of protests led by the Indian farmers, whether it be by reading published articles or credible social media posts.


According to my personal philosophy, “It is of the essence to remain informed on events that can heavily influence human lives or humanity as we know it.”


Another initiative to consider is spreading awareness on public platforms, even if there are already posts about the protests circulating on these platforms.


The final advice I’ll provide, which isn’t as feasible as the previous advice, is to donate to several organizations designed to help the hard-working humans in need. Khalsa Aid, Sahaita, and Save Indian Farmers are organizations worth checking out in the process of contributing to this cause. It is of the utmost importance to recognize how effective a single step in the right direction can be, despite not living in the center of this specific problem.


Violence In India

By Yismel Castro, YPIE Scholar 2025


The fight for gender equality is ongoing. Female oppression exists in several parts of the world on distinctive levels. India is one of the many places which virulently inhibits the basic human rights of women, enabling domestic abuse and unequal treatment.


India’s social structure is designed so that females are dependent on their male counterparts. Due to egregious conditions and outdated cultural traditions, women are typically treated as beings who are less efficient and valuable than men.


Among the variables that prevent women from being independent, the wage gap, as well as illiteracy, play a major role. Indian men earn 25% more than women in the same kind of work. The gender gap in India is as high as 67%. This means that in order to live a life with basic comforts, a woman is better off living with a man thanks to his advantage in wages. India also has one of the lowest female literacy rates in Asia which limits women’s intellectual enrichment and allows men to claim superiority.


India’s patriarchal nature and its cultural and religious norms have normalized violence against women. Females are often faced with brutality and rarely receive justice. The story of Gulnaz Khatoon is a perfect example of these flagrant conditions.