News & Politics
"In a subtle way, you can shake the world."
― Mohandas Ghandi
― Mohandas Ghandi
Op-Ed: Dear society, we’re not just kids. Sincerely, the future adults of this country.
by Jocelyn Sung '18
These past few weeks have truly been something extraordinary. You see all these different students from schools across the country uniting under a shared cause. You see them transformed into student activists overnight. You see them fighting against the older opposition without basic high school diplomas or fancy college degrees.
It’s genuinely awe-inspiring. A staggering amount of people has always thought of teenagers as these rebellious, hormonal individuals. We’re too young to make important decisions. We’re too unruly to be considered proper members of society. It’s stereotypical. It’s condescending. And frankly? It’s getting old.
Haven’t these student activists proved nothing? Haven’t the innocents who have been unnecessarily slaughtered in these horrifying shootings proved nothing? Why is it that some of the adults of this society—and unfortunately, some of our own peers—keep telling us teenagers to sit down and be quiet? Why are our voices not being taken seriously? There are so many questions and so few answers.
I wanted to be a part of something that mattered. I wanted to do my part in attempting to make a difference. So I did. Or I tried to.
A majority of my classmates think of me as the quiet girl in class. I won’t argue with them. I contribute when I’m called on, but I stay silent otherwise. I do my best on my schoolwork in the hopes that I’ll be able to do my best later on in life. But despite my shy tendencies, I decided gun control was something I wanted—no, needed-- to advocate for. It’s too important for me to just stand back like I usually do.
In a letter I addressed to Principal Romero, I asked for his permission for GHS students to participate in the nationwide protest on March 14th. I wrote this:
“Mr. Romero, we understand that it is ultimately up to the district to decide if they will allow GMCS to participate in this protest or not. We are asking for your permission, and if you are willing to give it, we ask that you help bring our cause up to them. You might have a larger impact from your position as principal of Gallup High.
“We are not simply high school students as of now; we are young adults, respectfully asking to do our part in making a difference in this nation. Please, assist us.”
A week later, and I still hadn’t heard back from Romero. I was walking to my seventh hour after being released from NMSBA testing on Tuesday when I passed him in the hallway. I stopped him and asked what happened to my request, but he looked like he didn’t know what I was talking about. He asked me when it would be, how we would be handling it, who would be participating, and so on. They were all questions I already addressed in my letter.
He nodded after I repeated the information. “Meet me in the office at 10am tomorrow,” he said. “We’ll decide what to do from there.”
I relayed the encounter to a group chat on Snapchat, which was composed of a few of my classmates. While they agreed that it was strange, they said they would meet me in the office a few minutes before ten.
The next morning, the day of the protest, I was waiting in my second hour class. I already asked my English teacher for permission to participate, and she gave me the green light. I was beginning to gather my things when a sudden noise startled me. The fire alarm had unexpectedly gone off.
Everyone in my class shared perplexed expressions. A moment later, a woman spoke through the school announcement system. She confirmed that this wasn’t a drill and asked us to proceed to the exits. People started flooding toward the doors.
For a few minutes, I actually believed that the alarm was a response to something serious. But standing on the sun-warmed asphalt of the track outside the school, I paid a bit more attention to my surroundings. I realized that it wasn’t, for the following reasons:
Across the lot, the students of Chief Manuelito were standing on their football field. If this was something related to our building, Chief was far away enough to where it wouldn’t affect them.
Students were playing football and blasting music on their phones. If this was a serious, life-or-death matter, wouldn’t the teachers be making sure everyone was accounted for? Wouldn’t they be chastising us for messing around?
A teacher was standing a yard or two away from me, so I couldn’t help but overhear a conversation she was having with her students; “Do you guys know why they’re doing this? It’s obviously to stop you guys from marching out.” As the seventeen minutes ticked by, this became more and more apparent. It couldn’t have been a coincidence.
The alarm went off three minutes before the protest began. Everyone started walking back into the building five minutes after it ended.
Later, I would find out that the entire school district went through the same alarm. Chief Manuelito, Central High, Miyamura, etc.
A teacher told me it was because they were investigating a supposed gas leak. If that’s what it was, why would every single school in the district pull the fire alarm at the same time? Would a gas leak at Gallup High really affect Miyamura, which is miles away?
My younger brother, who’s a student at Chief, said that his principal told him the fire alarm went off for the actual protest itself.
The story doesn’t add up. Let’s say I give them the benefit of the doubt and believe that the fire alarm was set off for the sake of the protest. I would still be deeply upset about it either way. That would mean it was most likely a planned event, and the fact that none of us were notified about it is infuriating. We spent those seventeen minutes fuming about it instead of protesting. It was subtly taking away our most fundamental right: using our voices to protest a problem we see in society.
I wish they had told us no. I wish they had threatened us with suspensions. I wish they had outright prevented us from participating. Because then? Then I still would have had a choice. My classmates would have had a choice. We could have stood up for what we believe is important, what we believe is right. Then, it wouldn’t have been so disrespectful to both us, and the hundreds of innocents who have died in mass shootings.
I understand why they might have chosen this route. Perhaps they were trying to allow us to protest without offending the beliefs of other students and faculty members. Perhaps they wanted to make sure no one completely ditched by using the protest as an excuse. There could be a lot of reasons, but what is absolutely infuriating was that they felt like they didn’t have to discuss it with us. Is it because an entire week wasn’t enough time to track us down in class? Or is it because in the eyes of this society, we will always be viewed as nothing more than a bunch of pesky kids?
The Giant Rift In Africa
by Christina Maldonado '19
East Africa is expected to have a piece of land break off from the continent, but that's not expected until ten million years from now. But today, there is an issue regarding the surrounding area of Kenya’s Rift Valley. According to Face2Face Africa, the heavy rains and seismic activity is causing a giant, tearing gap in Kenya's Rift Valley.
The large rearing in the ground appeared on March 19 with the crack measuring at about 50 feet wide and several miles in length; however, the crack is growing more, lengthwise.
The rift has been reported that it was created due to the fact that Africa stands on plate tectonics and the most unstable ground on the continent. Most of Africa is on the African plate while eastern Africa lies on the Somali Plate, and when these two meet, it is known as the Eastern African Rift, which stretches out to 1,800 miles.
Perez Diaz, a postdoctoral researcher at the Fault Dynamics Research Group at Royal Holloway, University of London mentioned that the two plates (commonly known as the Nubian Plate and the Somali Plate) are beginning to split in two due to their tectonic plates.
However, the crack is not fully continuous, because it is filled with “bridges" of soil, there are no signs of clear escarpments, and the land on either side of the crack is flat. This evidence shows that the rift was caused by “sudden erosion”. Also, there has been no reports by the authorities in Kenya regarding earthquakes.
Africa will split at a rate of less than 1cm/year, but the cause is not from newly forming tectonic plates.