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YPIE QuaranTimes Volume 19

Updated: May 18, 2021

April 30, 2021

Enchanted Treasury by Amber Morales, YPIE Scholar 2028

In this Issue

  • COVID-19 Vaccines: Facts and Where to Get the Vaccine

  • Paused Vaccines?

  • Vaccine Distribution Inequities: The Difference Between Palestine and Israel

  • U.S. Lawmakers Announce “No Hate Act”

  • Georgia Voting Restrictions--The New Jim Crow?

  • Grunge Fashion and the Alternative Scene in Seattle: An Interview with Zora Rose

  • My Hair, My Crown

  • Go Green!

  • Justice Has Not Been Served

  • Injustice: Students V.S. Institution

  • Yonkers Teens Meet Congressman Jamaal Bowman

YPIE QuaranTimes Staff


Salamatu Lawal, Editor-in-Chief and Pandemic News

Alyssa Lee, Assistant Editor-in-Chief and Our Voices Heard Editor

Catarina Mendes, Politics Editor

Julia Azulay, Entertainment and Lifestyle Editor

Shemar Forbes, Layout Editor and Director of Communications

Yismel Castro, Layout Editor


Julia Azulay

Paola Baizan

Yismel Castro

Khadija Dewan

Benjamin Rodríguez

Shemar Forbes

Vanessa Gentile

Salamatu Lawal

Alyssa Lee

Opeyemi Majiyagbe

Natalie Maldonado

Amber Morales

Catarina Mendes

Anushka Singh


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

COVID-19 Vaccines: Facts and Where to Get the Vaccine

By Paola Baizan, YPIE Scholar 2027

We have been living with COVID-19 for a little over a year now, and you may be thinking about taking the vaccine for the virus soon. There are currently three authorized COVID-19 vaccines in the United States, which are Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson. Here is some information you should know about the vaccines, as well as where you can go to receive the vaccine.

  • Pfizer Vaccine

The Pfizer vaccine is recommended for people aged 16 years or older. Individuals who are allergic to any of the ingredients present in mRNA COVID-19 vaccines have been encouraged to avoid taking the Pfizer vaccine. Patients who have received this vaccine may experience some side effects on the arm that was injected including pain, swelling, and redness. Some other side effects of the Pfizer vaccine are headaches, nausea, fatigue, muscle pain, and fever. This vaccine requires two shots that are around 21 days apart and shows approximately 95% effectiveness in preventing people from becoming infected with the virus.

  • Moderna Vaccine

The Moderna vaccine is recommended for people that are 18 years or older. Similar to the Pfizer vaccine, individuals allergic to the ingredients in mRNA vaccines are discouraged from taking the Moderna vaccine. Patients who have received this vaccine may also experience some side effects on the arm that was injected, including pain, swelling, and redness. Other possible side effects are very similar to the ones caused by the Pfizer vaccine (headaches, nausea, fatigue, muscle pain, and fever). This vaccine requires two shots that are about 28 days apart and shows approximately 94.1% effectiveness in preventing people from developing COVID-19.

  • Johnson & Johnson Vaccine

The CDC and FDA recommended on April 13 of 2021 to halt the distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Six women have experienced a critical blood clot after receiving this vaccine. The pause in the use of this vaccine has given scientists the opportunity to see if the recommendations for individuals who receive the vaccine must be changed. Some symptoms that should not be ignored if you have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are strong headaches, backaches, severe abdominal pain, shortness of breath, leg swelling, bruises, and small red spots on the skin. Before the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was paused, it required only one shot, was recommended to individuals who were 18 years or older, and had an effectiveness of about 66.3% in preventing people from becoming infected with COVID-19.

The people who are currently eligible to receive a vaccine in New York are those who are 16 years or older and reside, study, or work in the state. All the vaccines mentioned are available in health centers, pharmacies, and other locations in New York. Appointments are necessary in order to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. The following link provides a list of local New York state-operated vaccination sites:

Paused Vaccines?

By Raquel Negrón, YPIE Scholar 2026

Recently, the distribution of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine has been paused in order for scientists and health professionals to review and do more research on the vaccine. During the past month or so of this vaccine’s distribution, there have been six reported cases in the United States concerning an unusual side-effect: blood clots. About 7 million people have received the shot thus far, making this side-effect extremely rare.

The FDA and CDC have been undergoing a major review ever since they paused the distribution of the vaccine. According to the Washington Post, the blood clots are also being reviewed by European health authorities.

Many people appreciated the idea of a one-dose vaccine (which was what the J&J option offered), but after hearing of cases resulting in blood clotting in individuals after receiving the vaccine, people have become skeptical of the vaccine's safety. This attention and news coverage surrounding the blood clots might fuel the fire for vaccine hesitancy, even though someone is more likely to develop a blood clot from COVID-19 itself than from the vaccine.

The blood clots appeared in women between the ages 18-48, typically about 12 days after they received the shot. For each case, the women had low levels of blood platelets, which were linked to extreme complications. Medical experts are continuing to investigate these rare cases to definitively identify the reasoning behind these side effects.

On Sunday, April 18th, PIX11 News stated that the J&J vaccine pause might be lifted this following week. In the meantime, doctors and other experts familiar with the vaccine have advised people not to be discouraged from receiving the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine shots.

*Update: As of Friday, April 23, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is now recommending people to continue taking the J&J vaccine.

Vaccine Distribution Inequities: The Difference Between Palestine and Israel

By Julia Azulay, YPIE Scholar 2027

Countries around the globe have surpassed over a year of living amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. This has led to widespread changes, from basic societal rules to scientific breakthroughs. The recent discoveries of vaccine technology have caused an upsurge in vaccine success stories associated with well-developed countries and their objectives to aim for higher vaccination rates.

Among these highly prosperous nations is a success story entangled in both controversy and concern: Israel.

According to data compiled by the Ministry of Health of Israel, approximately 57.4 percent of Israeli citizens have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and about 53.3 percent have received their second dose. As a result of this accomplishment, Israel is recognized and praised as a country that has leaned on its universal public health system to vaccinate as many individuals as possible. Despite this great leap towards progress, the exclusion of Palestinian citizens can not be easily overlooked.

An evident dissimilarity dividing Israelis and Palestinians can be described as a divergence in directions in the struggle with the pandemic. On the Israeli side of the spectrum, a re-opened economy prospers, a vaccination certificate program allows for entry into public spaces, infection and hospitalization rates plummet, and a surplus of vaccines are available for distribution.

On the Palestinian side, minimal vaccines have been distributed to the public, hospitals are overwhelmed by high proportions of infected patients, and their economy is undergoing a crisis. In contrast to over half of the Israeli population being inoculated, Palestinians have been presented with just enough vaccines for a little over four percent of the five million living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Given this data, it is safe to affirm that Palestinian territories are far behind with their vaccination programs and the path to improving public health during the pandemic. However, a continuous debate question is whether or not the leading power of Israel is responsible for vaccinating Palestinian citizens.

Within East Jerusalem, a territory annexed by Israel, all Palestinians have been granted vaccination opportunities, as well as to medics stationed at the six Palestinian hospitals in the general area. Territories such as West Bank and Gaza paint an inconsistent picture, as World Health Organization (WHO) data represents more than 251,600 confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 2,670 deaths among Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem.

Regardless of the efforts made by surrounding nations to deliver vaccines to Palestinian populations, transporting resources into, for instance, an occupied Gaza has proven to be challenging due to restrictions imposed by the Israeli and Egyptian governments. Furthermore, a recent report by the World Bank claims that Palestinians require more financial and logistical assistance to supply 60 percent of the population with vaccinations.

Not long ago, Israel proclaimed it was providing 5,000 doses to the Palestinians, but reports criticizing a lack of contribution to vaccinating Palestinian civilians urge Israel to donate extra vaccinations that are not necessary amongst Israeli citizens, in correlation with the surplus mentioned earlier.

On the other hand, the question pertaining to those who are responsible for vaccinating Palestinians remains unresolved. UN experts state it is Israel’s duty to deliver equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza in accordance with international law beyond borders. Yet, Israeli government officials refer to the outdated Oslo accords, claiming that the struggling populations of Palestinians should supervise public health under the measures of self-determination.

Nonetheless, there comes a time when accountability debates and incredibly prolonged conflicts should be cast aside, especially when populace health and safety is concerned. Palestine and the Palestinians residing under Israeli domination should, at the very least, be equipped with increased accessibility to vaccination opportunities and further assistance with pandemic-related struggles.


U.S. Lawmakers Announce “No Hate Act”

By Shemar Forbes, YPIE Scholar 2025

A huge wave of hate crimes targeting Asian-Americans took place in the U.S. last spring, leaving many Asian communities in fear.

Community leaders blame these incidents on former U.S. President Donald Trump, who often employed racist rhetoric, such as the “Chinese virus,” to refer to the coronavirus pandemic.

While the total number of crimes in 2020 fell by seven percent, those aimed at Asian-Americans have risen by almost 150 percent, with crimes ranging from mild verbal harassment to graphic physical attacks. This percentage is likely even higher, though, as many of the hate crimes perpetrated against Asian-Americans have been undercounted and overlooked by authorities.

As these hate crimes continue to occur, the Asian community remains in danger. This was demonstrated on Tuesday, March 16th, in Atlanta, Georgia, when eight Asian-Americans were killed in a shooting spree targeting several massage parlors. The motives behind the attacks are now under investigation, and the suspect has been charged with murder.

In response to this attack and the several others that have occurred after this incident, Senators Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn. and Jerry Moran, R-Kan.; Reps. Don Beyer, D-Va. and Fred Upton, R-Mich.; Judy Chu, D-Calif. and Vern Buchanan, R-Fla. introduced the No Hate Act to the House of Representatives on Thursday, April 8th, and to the Senate on Monday, April 12th.

According to NBC News, this bill should help stem the recent rise in hate crimes across the country by simplifying the systems law enforcement agencies uses for collecting and reporting data on crimes, training the police force to investigate hate crimes, creating a hate crimes help service, setting up programs to rehabilitate hate crime offenders, and expanding the number of resources and support available for victims of hate crimes.

Though this bill is meant to help reduce hate and violence against Asian-Americans, Senator Blumenthal argues that “Better [news] reporting...[is] absolutely fundamental to understanding and addressing the full scope of the problem.”

Besides the No Hate Act, similar laws, such as the South Carolina Hate Crime Bill, have recently been proposed.

In the end, it all comes down to the U.S. Government, as "...many hate crimes are never documented by local law enforcement and reported to the FBI,” notes Senator Chu, “which is why...[authorities]...still do not have a complete understanding of the problem."

*Update: On Thursday, April 22, 2021, the No Hate Act was passed in the Senate.

Ichigo by Benjamin Rodríguez, YPIE Scholar 2028

Georgia Voting Restrictions--The New Jim Crow?

By Yismel Castro, YPIE Scholar 2025

It all goes back to our previous president. After the 2020 elections, Donald J. Trump’s claims of electoral fraud led several citizens to lose trust in the election process.

Despite the fact that electoral officials rebuffed Mr. Trump and multiple audits reaffirmed the results, Republican legislators held hearings on the election promising to introduce new legislation to help “restore confidence” in the electoral process.

As a result, A 98-page measure was signed into law by Republican Gov. Brian Kemp. This introduced numerous changes to how elections will be administered, including a new photo ID requirement for voting absentees by mail.

This law gives the State Election Board the ability to intervene in county election offices and to also remove or replace local election officials. This has raised the argument that the Republican-controlled state board could have greater influence over the administration of the elections, especially the certification of county results.

Handing food or drinks to people waiting in voting lines could result in government fines. This law makes it a misdemeanor to hand out “any money or gifts, including, but not limited to, food and drinks” to any person standing in line to vote or anyone who is 150 feet from a polling place and 25 feet from any person standing in line.

Polling places, however, would now be able to, but not required to, set up self-serve water dispensers for voters. This way, people can get their own water by getting out their lines.

Proponents of this law claim they are attempting to limit the influence of advocacy groups or political organizations that are trying to influence voters before they cast their ballots. Other commentators think it’s barbaric to penalize individuals for simply handing water to people waiting in long lines.

Democrats and voting rights groups argue that this law is unfairly targeting voters of color, considering that their participation was a pivotal element in President Biden’s victory in Georgia last November as well as the success of Senators Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff in the January runoff elections.

The representative of a majority-minority district in Atlanta, Zulma Lopez said the bill would have an enormous impact on voters of color considering that in her district the number of drop boxes would be reduced to nine from 33, according to her. She mentions that this resulted from the exclusion of Democrats in the discussion to pass this bill into law.

Mr. Biden finally broke the silence and claimed that the law is “sick and un-American” during his first news conference in the East Room of the White House. He also says that “This makes Jim Crow look like Jim Eagle,” which is a statement that several Democrats and rights groups agree with considering the fact that Jim Crow established a set of laws that made voting incredibly difficult for people of color.

Other commentators such as Bishop Reginald T. Jackson, who oversees all African Methodist Episcopal churches in the state, expressed their disapproval of this law. He mentions that “these bills are not only voter suppression, but they were in fact racist, and they are an attempt to turn back time to Jim Crow.”

Several voting rights advocates have taken it upon themselves to stand up against this law. They’ve conducted several protests and have been working with Democrats to try to make legal changes to this new law despite Republican opposition.

The great argument being presented is whether this is an attempt to restore confidence in the electoral process or a mere attempt to bring back Jim Crow to America.

The constant pressure from Democratic groups and voting rights organizations will most likely cause this law to be revised, however, as of now, the law stands.

Entertainment and Lifestyle

Grunge Fashion and the Alternative Scene in Seattle: An Interview with Zora Rose

By Vanessa Gentile, YPIE Scholar 2027

Alternative fashion has become extremely popular. In fact, it can be argued that the alternative scene is currently the most popular it has ever been. However, even then, we should still acknowledge the roots and underlying significance of this unique variety of fashions.

Zora Rose, a Yonkers Partners in Education (YPIE) Scholar, has been in Yonkers for only a year now, but she has a strong connection to the grunge scene in Seattle. I had the opportunity to interview her about grunge fashion.

Q: What does grunge mean to you?

A: Grunge, to me, is a lifestyle…Personally, I think it’s less about how I interpret it; it’s more [of] [of] a way of living life and treating people well and your attitudes to the world--and that does incorporate fashion and the music, of course. But that’s the message to me--grunge is kind of rebellious, but respectful; kind of having a bohemian way of looking at things, but also accepting [that] the world is messed up and needs change and not being afraid to say it, but not necessarily as aggressive as someone that’s into, maybe, punk.

Q: How did you get into grunge?

A: I got into grunge through my parents. My mom really loves Nirvana and my dad really loves the Foo Fighters...and one of the members from Nirvana--Dave Grohl--founded the Foo Fighters, so the sound is very similar. And just growing up in Seattle--there’s not many celebrities or any huge entertainment industries, so the people who are famous have really been from that subculture, from rock n’ roll, so the city and a lot of people take a lot of pride and interest in the people that once lived there and the culture that emerged...Seattle is not like New York or LA. Grunge really ingrained Seattle into the culture of America.

Q: How do you feel when you wear grunge?

A: I feel very comfortable...I think it’s because the items themselves are not very form-fitting; they’re kind of loose. There’s not really many rules; the grunge look is kind of carefree. It’s not a look you need to maintain; it’s basic staples like flannel, looser jeans, looser midi skirts. It’s not form-fitting, and that’s a big part of it. You kind of do whatever...You do get a uniform look, but it’s kind of the opposite, if that makes sense. I feel very free in it. I don’t intentionally dress grunge, I just do.

Q: You told me before that the scene in Seattle is very rich. Can you explain what you meant by that?

A: The alternative scene is very rich in Seattle--it’s not just grunge, you have plenty of people that enjoy other subcultures, like pop, punk...A lot of hip-hop-heads in Seattle as well, sub-cultures of rock… With Seattle, you really don’t have much else that’s native to it. [Grunge] was the main thing to come out of Seattle recently, because of the 80’s era, people’s parents that grew up in that era--my mom is 45--they knew how popular grunge was and those clothing staples were. It’s just very important! A lot of people there like rock. Seattle is known for being a very gloomy city, which was what grunge was known for. A lot of grunge culture is tied to Seattle culture, unfortunately. With the breakups of a lot of bands, you see a lot of addiction and mental illness, which are very prevalent issues in the city.

Q: What is the overall reaction from people who don’t wear the fashion? Is it relatively positive or negative?

A: There really is no negative or positive’ll get more of a reaction if you don’t know what grunge is, living in Washington, or if you don’t know the staple bands. In terms of the fashion, I wouldn’t say it’s dead because grunge is such a loose kind of way of clothing that it doesn’t really ever die. People never really stop wearing those pieces. No one’s gonna call you out. People will call you out if you’re trying to dress grunge and not understanding why--if you try too hard with the grunge look to the point it’s obvious.

Q: Why do you think the aesthetic and the music of grunge is going “out of style”? Do you think there’s more than one reason?

A: Most people would say it went out of style with the death of Kurt Cobain, the leader of Nirvana. And that is true--I think, nationally, that’s when the grunge era died off. That was the biggest grunge band to really ever exist, and the other ones…they were still mainstream, but they were a shadow compared to how big Kurt Cobain and Nirvana were. Most of those bands did not survive past 1997, and the music is tied to, of course, the culture. There’s not going to be people following it if there are new things coming out in that era, like metal and pop-punk; people are going to go to that. Many people I know would say the aesthetic is coming back--Doc Martens, Converse, looser baggy jeans, flannels, loose skirts, messy hair, low natural makeup--those are things you do see coming back, at least in my perspective, in 2020 and 2021. It did definitely die, I don’t think it will ever come back in full force.

Q: How easily accessible is the fashion? Is it very expensive or fairly affordable?

A: The fashion is easily accessible; that’s kind of the point. The fashion staples are flannel, naturally dirty jeans, big jeans. Those clothes are so important because most of these bands came from eastern Washington, so not the Seattle area, and Washington state had a big lumberjacking industry, so flannel and jeans. It’s a colder city with a mild climate, so that’s the staple people have, very durable clothing and very cheap. The whole point is that it’s fairly affordable and an effortless look. Jeans, any type of cheap wouldn’t style a grunge outfit and put on a pair of Air Jordans, but white air forces that are beat up could fit the aesthetic. It’s gender-neutral--if I put on a grunge outfit and a guy put on the same outfit, it would work on both of us; it’s made to signify it’s not made for my body or my gender...these clothes represent something to me.

Q: What’s your advice for anyone that may be interested in wearing alternative fashion?

A: I’d advise build your own wardrobe and not worry too much about the rules or what people you see are wearing. A lot of these subcultures were born out of poverty, were born out of some type of group that wanted to express themselves, and I think the best way to become a part of that group or whatever genre you want to be attached to is to express yourself. You may be goth and not like the color black, maybe dark gray is your thing, and that’s completely valid. And don’t worry about having the best Demonias or the new leather coat. Just wear what you want to wear, and trust me, you will find your own taste and fit and still find your place in that sub-culture. Subcultures are way more than just fashion pieces; they are a lifestyle for some people; some people just like the philosophy or the music, and that’s completely valid, too. Just be true to you, because nobody likes a poser, and you can always tell when someone is trying to do something that they’re not, and trying to be something they don’t understand.

My Hair, My Crown

By Opeyemi Majiyagbe, YPIE Fellow 2025

How pretty you would be if you had good hair!

How pretty you would be if your hair was shown better care!

How pretty you would be if you could get rid of those tangles!

How pretty you would be if your hair wasn’t so mangled!

Don't show your hair, it's humid outside.

Don't show your hair, its ends are fried.

Don't show your hair, it's too thick.

Don't show your hair, it's as rough as sticks.

Perms and relaxers will fix that head.

Straighten your hair, it looks dead.

No time to deal with your hair, put on a wig.

Put on a hat; your hair looks too big.

Your hair looks different; can I feel?

Your hair is pretty; is it real?

Your hair is long; are you mixed?

Your hair can’t be your hair; am I being tricked?

My hair is good hair.

My hair has sufficient care.

My hair is curly, not tangled.

My hair is kinky, not mangled.

I will wear my hair when I please,

Despite how much you bully and tease.

My hair is not too thick; it's thick enough.

My hair is not nappy or too rough.

I will not alter my hair to make you happy.

I will not stop wearing my hair because you think it's “nappy.”

I will not put on a wig!

My hair is not too big!

You cannot touch my hair.

I don't care if you don't think it’s fair.

My hair is healthy and very real.

There will be no length reveal.

My hair is my crown!

Sparkly and shiny all around!

My hair is my crown!

Striking and golden, never worn with a frown!

Say what you want about my hair.

Touch it again, if you dare.

My hair is mine and only mine.

My hair is black, beautiful, and divine.

Enchanted Treasury by Amber Morales, YPIE Scholar 2028

Go Green!

By Natalie Maldonado Smith, YPIE Scholar 2025

Going green creates a sense of resourcefulness in others. It breeds creativity and appreciation for the Earth. It also saves money and reduces waste. As the world declines into a state of uncertainty regarding the environment, civilians are finding innovative ways to help preserve our planet.

The excessive use of plastic brings an inevitable surplus of waste. Environmentalists and everyday folk are not only finding alternatives to plastic but also reusing it in positive, eco-friendly ways. Environmentally-conscious individuals have been reducing waste in all aspects of life, one issue being animal cruelty.

The most common solution is to stop buying clothing made from animals, but these groups are taking it a step further. They are not purchasing from companies that engage in animal cruelty and are instead finding cruelty-free alternatives for their household favorites.

Plastic is one of our Earth’s main polluters. It inhabits many of our favorite locations,, such as parks and beaches, and it even ends up on the streets we walk on daily. Although plastic can be very harmful to the environment, it can also be helpful in its recycled and re-used forms.

One simple switch you can make to lessen your plastic consumption is by substituting plastic produce bags with mesh produce bags. Whereas plastic bags often turn up in oceans and harm aquatic life, mesh bags are reusable, stylish, and harmless.

Another common tip is to ditch plastic bags when grocery shopping and to opt for reusable ones. Most stores are adopting paper bags or selling their own reusable bags to reinforce this eco-friendly approach. Not to mention, having your own reusable bag can save you a few extra dollars on your next shopping trip.

You can even use plastic in your favor without harming the Earth while grocery shopping by reusing old pill bottles and small containers when buying food in bulk, such as legumes, nuts, or any other individualized foods. This not only encourages you to recycle but also prevents you from buying items with excessive plastic packaging through using your own materials.

Buying food in bulk when visiting supermarkets is a very smart way to create less waste. When shopping with this method, you refrain from taking more than you need. This tends to be a more affordable option.

Another sustainable initiative that you can take incorporates dental hygiene. Instead of using toothpaste with plastic packaging, you can switch over to toothpaste tablets. These tablets come in reusable packaging and are individualized so you get the exact quantity you need. Many times, when we run out of toothpaste, we try to squeeze the remaining toothpaste out of the tube, which is a solution that does not always work. With individualized tablets, this issue does not occur, as you avoid wasting toothpaste and get the best value for your money

There is even mouthwash in tablet form that you can mix with water. Not only are these solutions sustainable, but they are also ethical.

Many of our favorite household brands contribute to animal cruelty. Arm & Hammer, Crest, Colgate, and Sensodyne all have a hand in the mistreatment of animals. Purchasing from brands like By Humankind, who pride themselves on delivering sustainable and ethical goods to their consumers, is a much more reliable path to take, for example

The brand By Humankind also sells cruelty-free deodorant, shampoo and conditioner bars, and body wash, and much more. Their main focus is to eliminate as much waste as they can. In addition, websites like Crueltyfreekitty educate others on unethical companies and their positive alternatives.

A final step you can take to be more sustainable involves food. Food is another daily necessity that is wasted frequently; however, food waste does not always have to be the final solution. We can actually re-use food for several different purposes.

One method that is most commonly known is composting. This technique involves reusing food waste to fertilize the soil to create more plant life. Instead of throwing out food, one can just give it back to the Earth.

Another method involves vegetables. Rather than discarding your vegetable scraps, you can create vegetable broth from those same scraps. Moreover, you can use vegetables to dye clothing. For example, beets have a very potent pigment, that when boiled can be used to dye. You can also use fruits and vegetables for hair masks and face masks.

The most fascinating solution I found, however, involved lemon peels. Instead of discarding your lemon peels, you can mix them with water and vinegar in order to create your own household cleaner. This alternative route saves money and packaging.

It may seem difficult at first, but starting small is the key. We all have the capability of being conscious individuals in our own homes without paying a dime. Below I have listed some resources to get informed on how you can help make the world a greener place:

Our Voices Heard

Justice Has Not Been Served

By Alyssa Lee, YPIE Scholar 2026

April 11, 2021, Daunte Demetrius Wright was shot and killed by a police officer in Brooklyn Center, Wisconsin.

April 20, 2021, Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted and charged with the murder of George Perry Floyd Jr. on May 25, 2020.

About 30 minutes before Chauvin’s conviction, 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant was shot four times and ultimately killed by the police.

April 21, 2021, Andrew Brown was shot eight times and killed by a sheriff’s deputy in Elizabeth City, North Carolina.

Hit, after hit, after hit--it never ceases. Whenever an inch of progress is made, we get pushed back another twenty miles.

Many people have taken to social media to celebrate the jury’s verdict in the case of George Floyd’s murder, stating that “Justice has been served.”

While many rejoice in this decision, at the same time the Black Community mourns the loss of four.

It seems as though Black people can never take a moment to breathe, to process, to relish in the “wins,” or celebrate the same way their allies do because tragic events always find a way to repeat themselves.

Just like the mythological Hydra, you cut off one head, and two more grow back in its place.

The murderer of one Black man has been convicted, but now three more have been brought to the light. How many others are concealed safely in the shadows? How many other Black bodies are caked in dust, decorated in cobwebs, and waiting to be discovered?

How many more Black people must die before the need to dismantle the system is realized?

Reform has become obsolete. There can be no “justice” in a system founded on principles of injustice.

The system is corrupt down to its very core. Discrimination and hate circulate throughout our society the way blood does in a body, working to keep it alive.

Hate, the only force that keeps our planet spinning.

Black death has become a societal norm. Black lives have been rendered disposable, only of use when the media can exploit, and then set aside to be villainized when they no longer have a purpose.

Justice has not been served.

Justice will be served when it is no longer a crime to be Black, when Black people can simply exist, where they can walk across the threshold and never worry if they will walk back in again.

We are a great distance from justice, but this will never rest until we arrive at our final destination.

Injustice: Students V.S. Institution

By Khadija Dewan, YPIE Scholar 2028

A tiresome year, a demanding situation

A deadly virus, blazing through the nation.

Struggling students, toiling and strained,

Not a thing from their classes, in their minds, being retained.

These children are overwhelmed, overworked, have lost their smile

But always, they are asked to go the extra mile.

It’s as if their needs are in vain and unrespected,

And as if their mental state is repeatedly neglected.

They’ve learned from homes filled with distractions and commotion,

And yet they’ve still tried, exerted energy and devotion.

They still set out to do their very best,

And, in turn, they receive a standardized test.

It’s injustice, unfairness, tyranny, and oppression,

That students are expected to put their feelings to suppression.

That students will be graded on information they haven’t learned,

And by this, the institution is still so unconcerned.

Students are struggling as they try to prepare,

For these exams which are daunting and the farthest from fair,

For these exams which are insensitive, beyond what words can say,

And these exams which are a game of predator versus prey.

Yonkers Teens Meet Congressman Jamaal Bowman

By Alyssa Lee, YPIE Scholar 2026

On Friday, April 8th, Congressman Jamaal Bowman met with YPIE students from 9th-12th grade to talk about their experiences with both YPIE and online school.

The Congressman said himself that it is of the utmost importance to meet with and get a chance to establish relationships with the people in the district he represents.

A seat in Congress is a hands-on experience. One cannot speak on behalf of the people without first getting to know the people, a concept Bowman is a passionate supporter of.

He gave students a raw, unfiltered account of his past, passions, and his reasoning for running for Congressman.

The atmosphere created in the room can only be described as inviting. Bowman’s background in education gave him the ability to engage in comfortable conversation with the students. He successfully deflated the formality by opening the session into a roundtable discussion.

Bowman embodies many of the characteristics that students look to see in an official. Many of the attendees found it refreshing to see someone in a position of high authority pushing for policies and reform that they also advocate for.

A main component of the Congressman’s platform is founded on the principles of exterminating all forms of discrimination and rectifying the system that thrives on such ideas.

He made it a point to let students know that he is just a regular man, not a saint to be revered. He is doing what any moral human being would do, and so he should not be considered as “special” in comparison to everyone else.

He even established an open line of communication with students, giving them the option of either his office number or social media handles, and letting them know that he is always around to talk.

Jamaal Bowman may be a man, but he is also a man of the people.

Learn more about the YPIE QuaranTimes.

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

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