top of page

YPIE QuaranTimes Volume 7

Updated: Nov 22, 2020

Volume 7: August 18, 2020

Rendered by Natalya Buchanan, YPIE Scholar 2024

In this Issue

Pandemic News

Owners of a Party Boat Arrested Over State and Local Social Distancing Regulations

Should Concerts be Thrown Amid a Global Pandemic?



Educating Our Youth on the 2020 Presidential Election

Herman Cain, 74, Dies After Contracting the Coronavirus

Student Interviews Westchester County’s Legislator of the 14th District David Tubiolo

Entertainment and Lifestyle

The TikTok Ban

DeGenerous Facade


Our Voices Heard

Uighur Crisis in China’s Northwestern Region

Uighur and Lebanon Crises Petitions and Other Ways to Help

YPIE QuaranTimes Staff


Salamatu Lawal, Editor-in-Chief

Alyssa Lee, Our Voices Heard Editor

Catarina Mendes, Politics Editor

Julia Azulay, Entertainment and Lifestyle Editor

Shemar Forbes, Layout Editor

Yismel Castro, Layout Editor

Contributors Julia Azulay

Natalya Buchanan

Yismel Castro

Shemar Forbes

Catarina Mendes

Mina Romanowski

Alyssa Lee


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

Owners of a Party Boat Arrested Over State and Local Social Distancing Regulations

By Catarina Mendes, YPIE Scholar 2025

On Saturday, August 1st, Manhattan resident Trever Holland noticed something strange while looking out the window of his 19th-floor apartment. There appeared to be a large group of people gathering at Pier 36 on Manhattan’s East River. They did not seem to be practicing social distancing or wearing masks according to Holland, which is a violation of both state and local COVID-19 related health guidelines.

The group of over 170 guests boarded The Liberty Belle, a well-known party boat that was popular among the affluent for hosting large up-scale events on the water before the pandemic. Before the boat set off, Holland was able to snap a picture of the scene unfolding down below, and tweeted it, catching the attention of Gale A. Brewer, the Manhattan borough president. Brewer then raised the issue to law enforcement. “It’s obviously a threat to the neighborhood and against everything we’re trying to do as a city,” Holland said of the incident.

The owners of the Liberty Bell, operated by Empire Cruises, were arrested after returning to the dock around 11:30 PM that night. Alex Suazo and Ronny Vargas were accused of violating several laws, including operating a bar and bottle club without a license. The boat’s captain also received a summons for not properly displaying the boat’s identification number.

This incident is just one of many where the affluent seem to be able to bend the rules of social distancing. A recent charity event that took place in the Hamptons has gained negative attention for this reason. It appears that the wealthy have mostly been able to avoid the reaches of the pandemic, while the virus has run rampant in poorer communities.

New York State has recently been cracking down on violations of its guidelines, however. Notably, the liquor license of a well-known restaurant where celebrities often can be spotted, Nello’s, has been suspended due to its failure to follow guidelines by serving customers indoors.

Public officials have called out such violations of safety and health guidelines as irresponsible and reckless, as they potentially endanger the lives of not only those involved but also the communities around them, as Holland highlighted. It is important for everyone to adhere to the guidelines put out by officials in order to keep both themselves and those around them safe and healthy.

Should Concerts be Thrown Amid a Global Pandemic?

By Julia Azulay, YPIE Scholar 2026

As many people know, the COVID-19 pandemic is in its improvement stage, where reopenings are occurring and the initial “normal” is resuming. Restaurants, stores, parks, pools, and other public areas that were once affected by the virus’s rampant spreading are back in business. The meaning of “safety” in the context of current events is more flexible now. However, there is a debate as to how flexible it should be. Should crowded events such as concerts be organized? Will they have major effects on the general public?

A recent affair has sparked intense outrage because the organizers and attendees reeked of tone-deafness. On July 25th, a charity concert, featuring performances from the chief executive of Goldman Sachs and the DJ duo the Chainsmokers, was held in the Hamptons. It was labeled by organizers as a “drive-in music experience in the famous summer spot, the Hamptons.” Guests were permitted to sit outside near their parked vehicles in spaced-out areas to view performances. Although the event seemed promising in theory, the media and even New York’s state officials were enraged by its turnout.

In a letter addressed to the supervisor to the Town of Southampton, Jay Schneiderman, New York’s health commissioner, Howard A. Zucker, expressed his astonishment with the failure to follow safety regulations.

He stated that several reports illustrated thousands of guests standing close together and not adhering to social distancing rules. Dr. Zucker wrote, “I am at a loss as to how the Town of Southampton could have issued a permit for such an event, how they believed it was legal and not an obvious public health threat.” There is even video footage to prove the event’s reality was far from how it was initially described.

As for the general public, they criticized the concert for guests seemingly ignoring social distancing rules and expressing apathy toward the pandemic’s effects. That Saturday night was likely representative of disregard among wealthy New Yorkers to the dangers of coronavirus.

A majority of the angered individuals had the impression that the concert’s guests were turning a cold shoulder to the virus and how it disproportionately hurt low-income populations. For instance, if a particular guest was wealthy, they would have little or no concern for their healthcare since it can easily be paid off. On the other hand, low-income communities don’t have these benefits at hand, so they ultimately suffered from COVID-19’s dangers on a larger scale. The fact that the concert’s attendees didn’t consider this factor and the general risks of a heavily populated event is utterly disappointing.

The aftermath of the Hamptons concert was unkempt and disorderly. While dozens of people conveyed their exasperation, organizers and attendees argued that the media painted the concert in a bad light.

In The Know Experiences and Invisible Noise, the event’s organizers claimed that they followed “all proper and current protocols,” noting that guests were advised to remain in their spaced-out areas unless they were to use the restroom. Several people who went to the concert also informed Buzzfeed News that they felt safe and others were socially distancing. Thus, it is observed that the public eye is divided into two spectrums with this situation.

Now, we arrive at the critical question: whether or not these huge events should be permitted. From the perspective of an adolescent who bears basic knowledge of the virus, concerts, whether they’re in closed or open spaces, must be put on hold for longer. There is evidence backing the notion that large scale events are living cesspools for the virus to be spread.

Gatherings, even if they’re spread out in the start, are bound to grow closer and closer as the event progresses. Human beings cannot withstand self-containment in environments that are intended for “up close and personal experiences.” Concert nights are best spent dancing in tightly packed groups of friends or family, so why do some event organizers expect attendees to detach from this mindset suddenly. The safest option for those eager to attend concerts and for those around them is to avoid them altogether until COVID-19 is further contained. To be frank, the United States still has a lot of work to do in this field.

Lastly, it is necessary to recall that the pandemic isn’t over. Even if event promoters promise that social distancing will be practiced, their claims shouldn’t be heavily relied on. For the sake of your and others’ safety, hold off on bustling gatherings for longer. You can survive without squeezing into a venue to see your favorite artists until cases reach their lowest point.


Educating Our Youth on the 2020 Presidential Election

By Mina Romanowski, YPIE Scholar 2025

Though it may seem like a while from now, our next president will be chosen in just a little less than three short months. November third, to be exact. In total, there were thirty-two presidential candidates and after being reduced, only two remain: President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joseph Biden.

President Donald Trump is a member of the Republican Party, and while he achieved a lot, he has said and done things that have led a large number of people to express disdain towards him.

One notable achievement of his was creating a tax policy that allowed the wealthy to collect more money. Although he achieved other things, many people are set on disliking him.

In the past, President Trump restricted and continues to restrict immigration; he began building a wall along the Mexican border to keep immigrants out. There have been multiple accounts when he said or did racist and sexist things. And, he is one of the three presidents of the United States (the others being Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton) who have nearly or have already been impeached. Though the House of Representatives moved to impeach President Trump, the Senate did not approve this decision.

The other potential candidate is the Democrat Joseph Biden. He served as President Barack Obama’s Vice President for eight years. He has run for president twice before but has never won. Moreover, he is known for his “down-to-earth personality and his ability to connect to his working-class workers.” He’s currently working on restoring America’s healthcare with the Affordable Care Act. In it, he includes the works and efforts of the following politicians: President Barack Obama, Representative Bobby Scott, and last but not least Senator Kamala Harris and Representative Pramila Jayapal.

Though, just as there are those against President Trump, there are people opposed to the thought of having Joe Biden as the president of the U.S.

For instance, on July 17 of 2020, Vice President of the United States Mike Pence personally called Biden out, blatantly stating the following: “When you consider Joe Biden’s agenda and his embrace of the radical left, it’s clear. Joe Biden would be nothing more than an autopen president. A Trojan horse for a radical agenda. So radical, so all-encompassing that it would transform this country into something utterly unrecognizable.”

It is our hope at YPIE QuaranTimes that you use your voices as citizens of the U.S. through actions such as voting. Choose the next president of the United States carefully and educate yourselves.

Herman Cain, 74, Dies After Contracting the Coronavirus

By Catarina Mendes, YPIE Scholar 2025

Herman Cain, a well known Republican politician who ran for President in 2012, succumbed to the coronavirus on July 30, 2020. Cain, the co-chairman for Black Voices for President Donald Trump, attended President Trump’s rally in Tulsa on June 20 without a mask. While it is not definitively known how he contracted COVID-19, many believe his decision to not wear a mask to President Trump’s rally played a role.

While he is most well-known for his failed presidential bid in the 2012 U.S. election, Cain also has numerous other achievements. He was a skilled businessman, the CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, and was credited with helping Burger King gain traction. His first involvement in politics was in 1996 when he served as a senior advisor for the presidential campaign of Bob Doles. After his 2012 election bid, he went on to found T.H.E. New Voice, which advocates for tax reforms as well as focussing on tax reforms and energy policy, and has now become a well-known commentator on news programs. Cain himself also contributed to Fox News for several years. He was also chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.

Cain also survived a 2006 colon cancer diagnosis, having been given a 30% chance of survival. While a testament to his resilience, it is also thought that even many years later, this put him in a high-risk group for COVID-19, along with his age.

While many were optimistic about his recovery, it eventually became clear that the 74-year-old Cain was not making positive progress. His official website went from touting news of “hopeful indicators” of a recovery on the horizon to announcing his death in a statement: “Herman Cain-our boss, our friend, like a father to so many of us-has passed away.” His death will be felt by many across the country.

Student Interviews Westchester County’s Legislator of the 14th District David Tubiolo

By Mina Romanowski, YPIE Scholar 2025

Interviewee: David Tubiolo

Interviewer: Mina Romanowski

Date of Interview: 4:30 PM on Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Location of Interview: Over the phone

Mina: What inspired you to pursue a career in politics?

David: My father and my family, volunteering, helping to make the community better.

Mina: Thank you. Well, you were the youngest person in the 17-member Westchester County Board of Legislators governing body’s history.

David: I’m currently the youngest person. Also, 112 in the history of the Board of Legislatures is 50 years of the Board of Legislature’s existence. I’m probably the third or fourth youngest.

Mina: Oh wow. How do you think you were able to achieve this and how do you think this has affected your work life?

David: Sacrifice, hard work, determination, persistence...choose the path, if not it’ll change the target. If you want something you gotta go for it.

Mina: So, we are aware that you switched political parties.

David: Yes, I have.

Mina: In the first place, why did you pick the Republican Party?

David: My family.

Mina: Now, what led you to switch it?

David: National Politics was frustrating me. There were many reasons. One of the reasons was the national climate. National Republicans were always portrayed as very different from North East Republicans. It got tougher and tougher and more frustrating. We suffered a lot and there was a lot of frustration and anger. A lot of people didn’t care about us and we were kinda like our own little island ‘cause no one helped us.

Mina: Yeah that’s understandable, the frustration.

David: Yeah well-sorry, go ahead.

Mina: I was saying that we’re aware that you faced-we at least believed that you faced backlash. How did you handle it, if you had any?

David: I actually called 843 people. So, a lot of people I spoke with before and I called a lot of people to explain why I did. A lot of people didn’t care to be fair. I think with COVID[-19], for example, we were helping people and we were organizing food drives and showing people that we were still us, that we hadn’t changed. There were a few people that I spoke to that were mad. Most of the people that showed cared. A lot of people that cared came and helped me the most were kind of like ‘cool you’ve got my vote’. A lot of people who didn’t come to help or volunteer were somehow invested in me, but they didn’t even vote for me...There’s a lot of reasons I switched and I explained why and I stand by my decision. I feel bad for people who were against my decision, but I find I’m most effective now. All the emails, meetings, text messages, conference calls, and I have more of a say now.

Mina: That’s good. That’s actually really good to hear.

David: And also there’s more. There are certain Republicans, and I can’t blame all of them for my decision, but a [concern] in the future is why no one helped me. A lot of the Republicans in office, I helped them secure votes and protected them and they didn’t protect me. They didn’t give one crap about me...A lot of Republicans like to talk a good game and I’m not saying Democrats are perfect either, but a lot of people who were upset with me never helped me and I helped them and they forgot to help me-come on.

Mina: Yeah. Geez.

David: What’s your take?

Mina: My take on you switching?

David: Yeah

Mina: Personally, I think it’s pretty respectable because, like other people, I feel like there's either three ways they can take it. One, they can be like ‘Oh, it’s just a [political] party’. Two, they could just-they could be really upset about it. Or three, they could be really supportive. I think that you taking that risk, ‘cause although it’s essentially-when it comes down to it, a political party, you could have faced a lot of backlash. Because there are a lot of people who have very ‘special’ things to say. So, I think that, yeah, I think that it’s really commendable that you took that risk.

David: Well, I appreciate that, thank you. And like I said, I always appreciate talking to people if they wonder why. I call them up myself, being proactive. And if people are still upset with me, it’s fine. A lot of people didn’t vote frankly. I mean a lot of people did too, don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to say Democrats are perfect, but a lot of people that made the most noise [are the ones] I invited to volunteer and they never showed up. You can’t be mad at me if you didn’t donate, you didn’t help me, and you didn’t show up. Hey, I’m a man of my word; I own what I did and I don’t run from it. I’m still [finding out] I still wanna help, nothing [has] changed.

Mina: Good. Since you hit on the pandemic, I’d like to hit on that. So, our schools are actually set to open September 8th. What’s your opinion on that?

David: So, it’s not my jurisdiction, but my opinion is that it’s tough because you want kids to go to school, but you don’t want to put their health or their families’ health at risk and the teacher’s health and the administration’s health at risk. So, unfortunately, all you need is one more case in the school and they’re shut down. So, it’s honestly a very tough decision, and it has to go to the school district. I don’t envy any of the principals and the superintendents at all.

Mina: Well, that’s-

David: Well, what do you think?

Mina: What do I think? I think that honestly there’s a lot that ties into reasons why we should or shouldn’t go into school, but to shorten it, I just believe that honestly it shouldn’t be required. I don’t think it will be, but I think it shouldn’t be required that people bring their kids to school -especially the upper grades-they shouldn’t go to school. Because you gotta keep in mind at the end of the day, there are people who are more susceptible [to the virus], more families, and it’s really "touch and go." So I think until we get a set cure or something like that, we shouldn’t really send everyone to school and stuff. But um, yeah.

David: I think-yeah.

Mina: Due to COVID[-19], bus fares have been temporarily waived, but there’s speculation of [the fare] dramatically increasing due to the loss of money. So, if this is a possibility. I don’t know if this is your jurisdiction or not-but we’d like to hear what you have to say.

David: Well buses fall under the county, we contract Bus Liberty lines. So, I’m not really for raising the fares. Reasonably, sure, but too high. no.

Mina: Yeah there was a rumor about it being raised to 9 or 13 [dollars].

David: Yeah, no, that’s really high.

Mina: Now we’re going to hit on unemployment. Obviously, because of COVID[-19], people are out of jobs. What have you either done, or what do you think can be done to combat this?

David: It’s only so much. The best thing we do is [to] try not to tax people and people want free taxes. I don’t think that’s possible, which sucks because the government’s also hurting because the sales tax revenue has plummeted...We’re not firing people. But through attrition, we’re protecting the 250 million dollar budget deficit in the county's 2.19 billion.

Mina: Yeah it’s a rough time for everyone. Finally, we have our last question and this is a bit of a rough one. Recently, as you definitely know, there have been numerous protests to defund the police. What do you think about that?

David: Sure, I’ll give you my answer. Demilitarize the police, yes. Absolutely. Defund the police? I think that’s a poor choice of words. Police protect us, they serve us. Yes, they’re definitely some good police and bad. Just like anything else in life, you have good and bad. If you want to take care of certain aspects of jobs and assignments away from police, that’s fine. Police should be allowed to do their job. You want some more outreach? Fine. More social workers? Fine. More caseworkers? Fine. You want-still need to let the police do their job...I think the meaning and the message behind it is good and well-intended, but not all good intentions are always good. They have some unintended consequences...Demilitarize the police, but defund the officers and their divisions; you’re affecting people’s jobs and lives and affecting their police mobility so at the same time communities of color are being oppressed so this is a very long process that’s not gonna be fixed overnight. I’d say at the end of the day we have to have reason and logic and we can’t just make the decision final. Did you wanna add anything?

Mina: No. Personally, I have some of the same views. ‘Defunding the police’. Like, ‘Getting rid of the police’ is a bit naive, almost exactly what you said. Yes, 100% things need to be reformed, checked, things need to change. But, getting rid of the police as a whole isn’t going to benefit us in the future. So, yeah. Thank you so much we really appreciate this.

David: You’re welcome.

Entertainment and Lifestyle

The TikTok Ban

By Alyssa Lee, YPIE Scholar 2026

TikTok by Shemar Forbes, YPIE Scholar 2025


The popular social media app, ‘TikTok’, is currently facing a potential ban imposed by President Donald Trump himself. President Trump stated that the app poses a national threat to security because of its connections with China, and stressed that to keep the app up and running, it must be bought by a "very American" company. Microsoft is rumored to be one such American company that could keep TikTok on the app store. Although, this continues to remain a theory for a multitude of reasons.

The CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella, has successfully avoided political controversy, and with the purchase of TikTok, his team would be forced to confront it head-on. In addition to this, if the Chinese government did perceive the app as a way to influence the political and social climates of the United States, then it would attempt to place backdoors into the software. The process to remove these viruses could result in the shutting down of TikTok regardless.

Despite the proclamation made by President Trump, many continue to speculate if there are ulterior motives behind the banning of TikTok. The app itself became an easy way for Gen-Z to unite and organize themselves to make a difference.

On June 21, 2020, President Trump held a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and expected to be greeted with over 100,000 people, yet was met with a disappointing 6,200. Before the event, a viral TikTok went around explaining to the app users that they could register for the tickets and then find an excuse to not go. A relatively large portion of the supposed “attendees” happened to be the young adults who saw the video, which resulted in the failed rally.

The thousands of adolescents wanted to emphasize the severity of the current pandemic, and how a large congregation of people would be a detriment to their health as well as the overall well-being of the economy.

The app users have continued to band together to spread awareness on global situations, enlighten their peers, and provide even more ways to combat these issues.

The people wield tremendous power, and the realization of that can be a hazard to any politician. By banning the app, President Trump will successfully silence the people and they will continue to be left in the dark.

DeGenerous Facade

by Yismel Castro, YPIE Scholar 2025

Social media has been roaring with the latest news of Ellen Degeneres, who is an American comedian and television host among other things. Her show revolves around the concept of kindness being the single most important thing one can offer another. As a lesbian, she also served as an inspiration to those who had a dream and felt like their sexuality would confine them. The overall idea that she drove was plain and simple: to love one another.

Ironically, many allegations have surfaced on the internet in which it is stated that her treatment towards workers is amoral; employees have begun to come forward and express their absolute disgust towards the treatment Ellen offers. Among the many allegations, Ellen is being accused of misconduct against her show’s producers, intimidation, racism, harassment, and assault.

Social media became outraged and started searching for the perfect replacement due to the severity of the case. Other public figures were being venerated and praised to replace Ellen in her talk show. One of these celebrities was Tiffany Hadish who is a person that holds a prominent amount of love from the community.

One of the many things that is so upsetting is that Ellen is getting canceled for her mistreatment of workers when she was known as someone who offered love, respect, and equality. She addressed a fraction of the allegations involving the show by sending a letter to her workers where she expressed her contrition because she relied on others to make sure the work-place was a “happy place” instead of something so cynical.

She expressed how sorry she felt for trusting other individuals to maintain the show in the way she constantly advocated instead of making sure that it was being done on her own. As viewers, individuals need to ask themselves whether or not they trust that Ellen DeGeneres is a sincere person surrounded by virulent accusations or whether she's simply guilty of allowing these things to take place.

Our Voices Heard

Uighur Crisis in China’s Northwestern Region

By Shemar Forbes, YPIE Scholar 2025

In Xinjiang, China, there lies a population of Uighurs. For many years, this Muslim minority was under suspicion from the Chinese government who viewed them as Islamic extremists and a threat to security due to attacks in 2013 and 2014.

Then in April 2018, a satellite revealed what appeared to be internment camps. Around one million Uighurs were estimated to be in those camps; since then, that estimate has grown to a staggering two to three million.

The suspected internment camps, or “re-education centers” as phrased by the Chinese government, are supposed to have been removed; however, evidence strongly indicates that these camps still exist.

One source comes from the detainee Merdan Ghappar, a former Uighur model. Ghappar released messages from his phone, detailing what he witnessed in an internment camp. After the messages were translated and analyzed, they revealed that detained Uighurs were crammed in tiny, unsanitary rooms while handcuffed, shackled, and sacked. Furthermore, they were strictly monitored and anyone who disobeyed was beaten. Ghappar also recorded a video of himself inside one of the camp’s rooms; he is depicted isolated and chained to a bed. As of now, communication from Ghappar has stopped.

While Uighur men are usually the ones sent to these internment camps, Uighur women still bear the brunt of the situation. They are advertised for marriage to attract Han Chinese men to the Xinjiang region. Due to this, Uighur women are, “...vulnerable to sexual abuse,” says Rushan Abbas, the head of Campaign for Uyghurs.

Even more disturbing, thousands of Uighur women are forced to undergo sterilization or abortion. Additionally, research conducted by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation suggested that the rate of population growth declined more than 80 percent between 2013 and 2018 in Xinjiang’s largest prefectures.

The measures taken to limit Uighur birth rates, coupled with drastic drops in the Uighur population cause many to believe that the Chinese government is intentionally eliminating the Uighurs. One individual named Joanne Smith Finley, a China expert, remarks, “It’s genocide, full stop. It’s not immediate, shocking, mass-killing on the spot type genocide, but it’s slow, painful creeping genocide.”

As these issues in Xinjiang persist, the U.S. took action. Last month, the U.S. sanctioned people who play an integral role in the Uighur crisis including Chinese officials Chen Quango, Zhu Hailun, Wang Mingshan, and Huo Liujun; however, the U.S. did not officially address the issue as genocide.

The UN, which is responsible for handling these situations, has not made an official statement towards the mounting evidence of internment camps in Xinjiang.

Whatever course of action is taken, it must be swift before the Uighur people are successfully launched into extinction.

Petitions and Other Helpful Links

The Uighur Cause

The Lebanon Cause

On August 4, 2020, two devastating explosions rocked the Lebanese capital city of Beirut. Over 150 people died and thousands more were injured and displaced. This latest disaster is just one of many issues the country is currently facing, including famine and the coronavirus pandemic. Below are ways in which you can show support for the people of Lebanon during this difficult time.

For those who are unable to donate, there are YouTube videos posted in order to gain ad revenue that is then donated directly to the cause. Linked below are a few of these videos where you can watch to donate:

Learn more about the YPIE QuaranTimes.

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

56 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page