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YPIE QuaranTimes Volume 6

Updated: Nov 23

Volume 6: August 2, 2020



Sun Goddess by Aman Shazad, YPIE Scholar 2025


In this Issue


Pandemic News

Why are COVID-19 Cases Skyrocketing in the United States?

Status of Health Inequality in America

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Politics

President Trump on School Funding

Reflecting on the Life of John Lewis

A Controversial Candidate

YPIE News

YPIE Entrepreneurship Major

XtraC Center

Phlossing With Pharrah

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Entertainment and Lifestyle

The Narcissistic Practice of Cancel Culture

​​

Our Voices Heard

The Yemen Crisis

YPIE QuaranTimes Staff

Editors

Salamatu Lawal, Editor-in-Chief

Alyssa Lee, Prompt Editor

Catarina Mendes, Arts Editor

Julia Azulay, Feature Editor

Shemar Forbes, Layout Editor

Yismel Castro, Layout Editor

Contributors Julia Azulay

Yismel Castro

Swapna Chavara

Shemar Forbes

Vanessa Gentile

Salamatu Lawal

Alyssa Lee

Pharrah Lowe

Catarina Mendes

Aman Shahzad

Jazmine Thomas

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 talent in our community through this publication.



Pandemic News

Why are COVID-19 Cases Skyrocketing in the United States?

By Julia Azulay, YPIE Scholar 2026

After approximately 5 months of the Coronavirus affecting and tainting lives worldwide, specific countries have met certain standards. Some countries have a sense of control over rising cases, due to their leaders making joint negotiations, and others don’t seem to be improving any time soon. Unfortunately, the country we inhabit, the United States, is one of those suffering and is a hotspot for COVID-19 cases.

When data correlating with the virus is viewed on a worldwide scale, one key detail is that the United States has the most cases compiled out of 213 countries and territories. The recorded total as of July 30 is over 4.4 million confirmed cases; even the number of deaths has surpassed the amounts in any other country or territory (145,913 at this time). Thus, a huge question arises: Why? Could the factors causing this be population, strategy in terms of reopening, or even testing? Well, population and testing can certainly be canceled out. If the collected testing data in the U.K. is collated with that of the U.S., it is evident that the U.K. tests citizens in larger amounts, but have less confirmed cases. Likewise, there are several instances of the population having no direct effect on the rising number of cases. For example, the United States has 4 times as many people as Germany yet 98 times more cases. Although all this information combined is overwhelming enough, viewing the data recorded in the U.S. alone elicits more shock.

Notably, the states most affected by cases surging are most likely those who were first to reopen. Locations such as Florida, Georgia, California, and Texas among others were too swift to declare reopening as safe. Subsequently, these states were hit with the curve steepening on a daily basis for a couple of weeks now. The utter fact that the rush to adjust back to “the normal” is raising chaos emphasizes two points: one, this is most likely the main cause instead of aspects such as population or testing for the virus, and two, the methods in which the United States is tackling the virus’ repercussions are far from adequate. Rather than coming together and establishing a master plan to flatten the curve, it appears that this country is divided on the basis of personal bias and several interpretations of improvement.

Since it is determined that a failure to cooperate is what has forced the United States into this dark, uncertain place, those who have had faults in judgment or those who have struggled to listen should be held accountable. To put it in perspective, the stubbornness of “anti-maskers” severs groups of people more than possible and somehow transforms the issue of COVID-19 into a political issue. That occurrence is a problem within itself. In addition, those who run and make decisions for each state even have equivocal stances on where to proceed from here. It’s safe to state that some governors ensure that a reopening process will take as much time as it requires. However, others seemingly rush into reinstituting “daily life” after spotting a drop in cases after a minimal amount of time. This ignorance and simple neglect of the possibility that their plans are inadequate is what’s really damaging. Other countries have experienced smooth sailing reopenings and have not seen their confirmed case numbers rise this high, but the U.S., on the other hand, is not coping well.

Now, another question arises out of the dozens of others; where do we go from this roadblock? Peers and perhaps strangers should absorb their surroundings. Digest what is on track to improvement or what still needs work. If you hold a personal belief that attending a house party wouldn’t be appropriate at this time, follow that instinct. It is vital to prioritize both your health and others’ health. Another piece of advice: WEAR A MASK IN PUBLIC PLACES! This statement holds just as much relevance as it did in March. Doing such is proven to lower the risk of catching or spreading the virus. Continue to stay safe, and demand for others to follow these safety regulations for everyone’s sake.

Status of Health Inequality in America

By Shemar Forbes, YPIE Scholar 2025


Health Gap by Shemar Forbes, YPIE Scholar 2025


When we get sick or injured, people often look to healthcare for the help they need. Unfortunately, not everyone has this access due to many factors including race, sexual orientation, gender, socioeconomic status, and geography. This is known as health inequality.


In America, this particular issue is an enduring one. As noted by a 2019 study that analyzed health inequality in America from 1993 to 2017, “...there has been a clear lack of progress on health equity during the past 25 years in the United States.” This problem worsened with the addition of the coronavirus pandemic where many individuals are devastated, especially those of color. In fact, African Americans are dying from coronavirus about 2.5 times the rate of White people. As for other groups, American Indians/Alaskan Natives are dying about 1.3 times the rate of Whites, Hispanic/Latinos are dying about 1.2 times the rate of Whites, and Asians are dying about 1.1 times the rate of Whites.

Fortunately, there are strides made by organizations to alleviate health inequity, including the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Promising efforts have also been made by the people in politics. UPI reported on July 22, 2020, that Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey and Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland introduced the COVID-19 Health Disparities Act. In this bill, the Trump administration would be mandated to conduct contact tracing, target testing, and other forms of support for communities of color. UPI also mentions that this bill would, “require states to revise testing and contact tracing plans to address racial and ethnic minority, rural [,]and other vulnerable populations”. Additionally, contact-tracing funded by the Federal Government would accommodate different races and ethnicities in communities.

As we wait for the final say on the bill, we should continue to take proper health precautions and avoid becoming a statistic through washing our hands, wearing masks, and most importantly, social distancing.

Politics

President Trump on School Funding By Catarina Mendes, YPIE Scholar 2025


As we are now roughly halfway through the Summer, many school districts across the country are trying to decide how exactly to begin the upcoming school year. COVID-19 is still a very real threat, making many wary of reopening schools too quickly. However, others are eager to begin the reopening process, as they feel that the country’s youth has been out of school for too long as it is. Many schools have been closed since early March, forcing over 50 million students and their teachers to endure months of distance learning. Many had a difficult time navigating the new learning style, and hesitant about the idea of continuing to do it in the Fall.


While many people within the school system are nervous about the possible repercussions of reopening U.S. schools in the Fall, many government officials, including President Donald Trump and U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy Devos are encouraging districts to reopen for in-person learning. President Trump has taken a tough stance on the issue, threatening in a tweet that he “May cut off funding if not open”. He also stated in another tweet that he believes CDC guidelines for reopening schools were “very tough and expensive”. This has prompted the CDC to review its guidelines and release new ones. These include safety measures such as increased sanitization, the requirement of masks unless a person is incapacitated or unconscious, discouraging the sharing of items that are difficult to clean, keeping desks six feet apart, and having clearly visible posters promoting the use of effective preventative measures.

Despite the strict guidelines, many parents, educators, and even some students are anxious at the possibility of returning to school. They fear that it will be difficult to truly enforce such strict guidelines, such as requiring masks for an entire seven-hour school day. There is also fear that children and adults working in the schools will needlessly contract and spread COVID-19 from school. However, Betsy Devos has said that she believes schools can reopen safely, and children experience a lower rate of COVID-19 infection. Moreover, both she and President Trump have highlighted the success of other countries in getting their schools safely reopened.

President Trump has also stated that he feels the effort to keep schools closed in the upcoming school year is a ploy by Democrats to garner and maintain support until election day in November, and he will not allow this to happen. As a result, he says “we’re very much going to put pressure on governors and everybody else to open the schools”.


This proclamation, along with Betsy Devos’s support in the effort, has bred fear, resentment, and division, as many across the country don’t feel safe reopening schools, but yet still understand it may be necessary.

The second half of the 2019-2020 school year was a difficult adjustment, and many struggled with it in various ways. Students lacked the guidance and reinforcement they may have needed to excel and reach their full potential, and their social stimulation has been cut down drastically. Some are trapped in poor home environments, and school was a safe haven for them. Parents have also struggled juggling work and teaching one or even multiple children at home. Many families also may lack the resources needed to help their child complete their work to the best of their ability at home, such as computers. So while many fear the potential health consequences of reopening schools, there are also consequences if schools remain closed.

Reflecting on the Life of John Lewis

By Salamatu Lawal, YPIE Scholar 2025

Numerous individuals are mourning the death of civil rights legend and Congressman John Lewis, who passed away on July 17 at the age of 80 after battling pancreatic cancer. John Lewis had spent the majority of his life advocating for Black rights and freedom, from his time organizing sit-ins in the Jim Crow South, to participate in the 1961 Freedom rides, and even his pending demand to restore the voting rights act. His death has not only caused many to reflect upon all he had done, but also highlight a need for change.

Many politicians have taken to social media to mourn the congressman’s death. Former President Barack Obama mentions, “Not many of us get to live to see our own legacy play out in such a meaningful, remarkable way. John Lewis did” in a written tribute. He wrote about how Lewis was present at his 2009 inauguration and how meaningful and impactful the experience was to him. Many other politicians also recounted their experiences with John Lewis and his influence on America.

John Lewis did not only inspire and resonate with the older generation; he was also a role model for the younger generation. In an article from Teen Vogue, Activist Sade Green writes about an encounter she had with John Lewis and how it inspired her to pursue her dreams. She describes a conversation she had with him and says that Lewis taught her “that the fight for justice demands courage. He spent his entire life being brave so that Black people and all marginalized people could be free.” Lewis, who was present at the Police Reform protest in Washington in early June, never stopped fighting for justice. He continued to fight for everything he believed in and this has motivated individuals, including the youth of America, to follow suit.

John Lewis’s death has caused many to reflect on his commendable efforts for African American rights. It has stirred the need for social justice in our present time period and for the youth to pursue Lewis’ favorite kind of trouble--the good kind.


A Controversial Candidate

By Yismel Castro, YPIE Scholar 2025


What is your ideal president like? Different people have different answers to this question, but usually, it should be a person who you can trust for leadership. People may wish that their favorite celebrity would be their leader because of their views. Celebrities in today’s society are like the gods and goddesses of ancient times because of how much individuals tend to venerate them. Kanye West is one of the venerated celebrities who has had a prominent impact on the lives of individuals; so much so that his leadership is often considered. At first, Kanye West seemed like the perfect presidential candidate, however, his true colors showed shortly after he announced his participation in the race.


Not too long after his announcement, it was revealed that West suffered from a bipolar disorder. As a candidate, it is reasonable to argue whether or not people should settle for someone who doesn’t necessarily possess the mental stability to make reasonable decisions. Presidents are usually placed under a tremendous amount of pressure that requires their novel thinking without any trace of uncertainty. This is a difficult task for a regular person who doesn’t suffer from any disorders, and the addition of this abnormality allows people to question whether or not Kanye is fit for the title.


One of the trending topics that has been greatly discussed is his recent campaign. Several ideas were discussed in which his mental stability was evidently highlighted because of the way he responded to his questions. It’s obvious that his mind is not in the right place due to his several outbursts and inability to control himself during his own campaign. Voters need to take into consideration all of his characteristics and make their choice based on what’s best for their personal interests. Remember, vote for the candidate that is the most beneficial to this country rather than your admiration towards them.

YPIE News

YPIE Entrepreneurship Major

After months of brainstorming and developing their ideas, the students in YPIE’s Entrepreneurship major were challenged to create a virtual 'Pitch Poster’ highlighting their creativity and vision for their business. Check out the amazing clothing style service, Phlossing with Pharoah, by Pharrah Lowe, and the exciting XtraC Center by Swapna Chavara!



Entertainment and Lifestyle

The Narcissistic Practice of Cancel Culture

By Vanessa Gentile, YPIE Scholar 2025

If you have been on social media at any point within the last 2 years, you’ve probably heard about “cancel culture” or have heard about a major public figure or celebrity being “canceled.” A recent incident that can be used is Shane Dawson. Dawson has been on the Youtube platform for around 10 years and has gained a great number of followers--over 20 million at the peak of his career. Recently, he has been under fire for some of his earlier videos. These videos include him in blackface and using racial slurs for comedic effect. He had also made inappropriate jokes about children as a 26-year-old. He had defended himself by saying that these videos and jokes were “shock jokes.” Shock jokes are jokes that heavily rely on shock factor for it to have a comedic effect. Actions that were out of the ordinary or shocking were used. It was a very popular form of comedy, especially in the early Youtube days. But if that was the case, why was he getting criticized for it now? Why are there so many people on board for ending his career for something he no longer does? This is the practice of cancel culture.

As a member of our youth, I have seen cancel culture in its early days. Though not everyone knows how it all began. It was never something seen in news articles--only on Twitter. The hashtag is one of the few traditions of cancel culture that remains today: #____isoverparty. This hashtag was used to indicate that a certain influencer or celebrity is “over.” The term later evolved to “canceled.” But what was the reason these people were “over”? This is another thing that has been preserved: the audience that is canceling. At the beginning of cancel culture, fans of the K-pop group BTS used it to criticize any public figure that had openly said they did not like BTS. This started with people that were racist towards the Korean band and then moved to simply anyone who didn’t like the group. Of course, this did not do much since the reasons for canceling were ridiculous. The whole concept of cancel culture spread out to K-pop fans of all groups but stayed fairly unknown to the general public for a while. That was, until the beauty community drama.

James Charles. Jeffree Star. Tati Westbrook. These three beauty gurus are only a few of the most popular people in the beauty community. They also used to be friends. But soon, everything changed...over a shoutout and a thank you. The Tati Westbrook and Jeffree Star vs James Charles feud was big for a few months and has even resurfaced recently. You can learn more from this video in this is for Eilene. The beauty community is known for always getting into drama, and they had soon adopted cancel culture as well.


Cancel culture hasn’t died down yet, especially with the Black Lives Matter movement. People have been calling out people in power and influencers for being racist, whether it has been recent or a long time ago. There have been problems with what they’re being called out for, however. Some people argue that the past is in the past and that people change, so they shouldn’t have their careers ruined because of something they did a long time ago. Others believe that racism is racism, and people should at least be held accountable for their actions.

As well as the craze to cancel racist people, TikTok is also a big fan of cancel culture. If you have been on TikTok or have at least heard of it, you know that the most popular creators get in tons of drama. It’s always a race to the top, trying to find reasons that other creators are problematic and that they aren’t, so they should be the most popular. People are getting canceled, double-canceled, even triple-canceled, for their actions. The problem is that none take it seriously. They don’t hold themselves accountable most of the time, and everyone forgets about it in a week.

There are multiple actions performed that can be pointed out as part of cancel culture. The first thing that people notice right away is the hashtag, #___isoverparty. When you search up that hashtag, you will get a lot of information as to why this person is canceled, as well as the occasional K-pop fan posting videos of their groups (usually called “fancams”). Another staple of cancel culture is hate comments. These can range from fairy comments to just full-blown hate. This is why cancel culture is seen as narcissistic. People harass and send loads of hate towards a person that allegedly did something wrong. In cancel culture, people are guilty until proven innocent, not the other way around.

Big platforms have seen the cracks and problems with cancel culture, and have spoken out about it. The majority of people with bigger platforms are against cancel culture. Take PewDiePie, for example. He has spoken about cancel culture a lot in the past, but he has recently made a full video voicing his opinions and reacting to a video by Jubilee.


Cancel culture sounds great in theory, but when you give this power to a large number of mostly teenagers, they’re going to take advantage of it. This doesn’t mean that we can’t educate people and show them how to properly handle situations like this, as well as educate the person being canceled. People change, and they should have the opportunity to redeem themselves. Of course, this all lies in the hands of the people that cancel. If they can’t change the practice of cancel culture, this problematic cycle will continue.

Artwork by Jazmine Thomas, YPIE Scholar 2025


Our Voices Heard

The Yemen Crisis

By Alyssa Lee, YPIE Scholar 2025


Yemen is currently suffering the largest and worst humanitarian crisis in the world. The Yemeni people are fighting a pandemic, Cholera epidemic, famine, and war all simultaneously. The residents of this country are currently on the verge of extinction. Approximately 80% of the country, which translates to roughly 24 million people need humanitarian assistance. 18 million people do not have access to clean water, 2 million children are malnourished, and every 10 minutes a child dies.

Responsibility has been appointed to Britain, the United States, and France who all seemingly have a hand in the current Yemen conflict by supplying the Saudi-led coalition with weapons and intelligence. This coalition has been bombing Yemen since the beginnings of 2015 and has continued well into 2020. Five years of extensive territorial damage, as well as sickness and starvation, can take a massive toll on a population, and if action is not taken quickly, it will be nearly impossible to turn back. The conflict has already devastated the economy, destroyed civilian infrastructure, nearly collapsed the distribution of basic services, and bombed many hospitals leaving only half the country’s health facilities fully functioning.


What Can You Do to Help?

The first step to activism in ANY movement is to sign petitions. Linked below are a handful of petitions to work in Yemen’s favor:

Donations are also a wonderful way to directly support the cause and ensure that action is being taken.


For those who are unable to donate, many YouTube videos are posted in order to gain ad revenue that is then donated to the cause. Linked below are some videos where you can watch to donate as well as a few organizations that are open to contributions.

Donate by watching these videos!

Organizations!

In addition to donating and signing petitions, the FreeRice website is a multiple choice quiz game, in which through ads, donates 10 grains of rice to people in need for every question you get right via the UN’s World Food Programme. FreeRice also has an app available for download on the app store for easier access.


Learn more about the YPIE QuaranTimes.

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

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