Life Academy Perspectives: The Way We Want the World to Be

By Khawlah Al-Olefi, Sophomore

To listen to the audio: A Voice for the Voiceless KONY 2012

A Voice for the voiceless KONY 2012

What does justice mean to you?

In the dictionary justice is defined as a just behavior or treatment, or the quality of being fair and reasonable. In my opinion the KONY 2012 campaign is a real example of justice.

KONY 2012 is a campaign with the goal of making Joseph Kony, head of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) from Uganda famous, so awareness for his arrest can spread. He has abducted 30,000 children, turning young boys into child soldiers and young girls into sex slaves for his officers.

Kony has brainwashed children with his lies and manipulated them with claims of divine powers. He has forced children to kill their parents or siblings. Kony has been committing these acts for 26 years and nothing had been done to stop him except unsuccessful peace talks.

If we all support this campaign we can get him arrested and that is justice for the children who have been in constant fear of being abducted to the point where they travel miles from their homes to sleep in school houses or churches. We, the youth of America, can use social media to be part of change and make a difference in a 3rd world country that is million and millions of miles away, and where crimes are being committed in silence.

Our ability to banish Kony from power could prove that we don’t need adults to make the change; we can do it for ourselves. We can recognize evil acts that hurt people, especially children, and be the voice for them. Kony 2012 is the answer to these ongoing war crimes committed by the LRA.

I strongly believe in the campaign of gaining awareness about this ongoing crime and by making him famous it will lead to his arrest. I am happy that my generation is doing something so that other evil humans like Kony will know that their crimes are recognized, and that they can be stopped.

Once Joseph Kony is arrested, many people will be informed of what he has done and we will know that we have the power to use our voice so that crimes like Kony’s are not kept silent anymore.

With a perspective, I’m Khawlah Al-Olefi


By Maribel Carrazco, Sophomore

To listen to the audio: Forget the 0.1%

Forget the 0.1%

Here’s an interesting fact. Did you know that race is a man made concept? Studies have proven that race doesn’t exist in humans.

Our genes are actually colorblind. All humans are 99.9% identical to one another. Race is just used as an excuse to make it okay for us to think of each other as different. Which is, in turn, another excuse for people to discriminate.

People have come along way since the civil rights movement. But we’re still not very accepting as a whole. We still find ways to point out each other’s differences and categorize each other as “normal” or not.

Today we find our differences through sexual orientation. To justify this, people turn to the bible. According to Leviticus, “You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination” (18:22).

Fine. But the bible also says that you shouldn’t get tattoos, eat pork, eat shellfish, get round haircuts, wear polyester, or play football. If you’ve done any of the things I just said, you’re living in sin. So what gives you the right to say that homosexuality isn’t okay because the bible says so?

Leaving religion aside, there are those who say homosexuality is a lifestyle choice. That it’s up to each individual to chose whether or not they are gay. And that if you are gay, you can go to therapy to be cured.

To say that homosexuality can be cured, as if it were a disease is implying that 10% of the population is suffering from an illness simply because they found love with someone of the same sex.  Scientists have proven that there is a gay gene, meaning people are born being gay.  You can’t change that, fix it, or cure it. That’s who they are and there’s no need to treat it like an illness.

Setting aside religion, science, race, color, or sexual orientation, can’t people just accept others for who they are? Stop focusing on the 0.1% of differences among one another, and focus instead the on 99.9% of our similarities. Because like racism, homophobia is a man made concept and we can do without it.

With a perspective, I’m Maribel Carrazco.


By Norma Barragan, Sophomore

To listen to the audio: The Cage We Resign to Live in

The Cage We Resign to Live in

Giant glass buildings standing tall, blocking sunlight from our sight, giant shadows spreading across towns and cities. Cars stuck in traffic, making noise early in the day. There is no one that’s relaxed, everyone is a stressed, eager to get thing done; they’re always busy, always in a rush.

Feeling trapped like a bird in a cage not given enough space to grow or fly. When we try to escape, we fail every time. Growing up in a different place, the opposite of the city, I feel strange like I don’t belong and can’t adapt.

I was raised on a ranch in Mexico where I woke up to the bird’s song that echoed through the valleys and small hills. Their soft cheerful songs woke me up to the smell of fresh air. The quite, lazy days made it easy to enjoy nature’s melodies. Wild animals and plants were my playground while the singing birds were my sound track.

Now, I live in Oakland, where the only thing that wakes me up are the cars honking in the streets.  I awake each morning feeling tire, and rushed. The only animals I see are loud dogs in their owners’ yards and the miserable birds in cages trapped like prisoners.  I also see the occasional stray cat, wild squirrel, and ant in the garden or flowers that have been cheated and sprayed with chemicals to make them artificially bright and perky.

But it has taken me six years to actually notice that, yes; those things are part of Mother Nature too. Even the plants we get rid of, like the dandelions that grow up through the cracks of the sidewalk are part of nature.  There is nature to be found in the middle of the city, yet we take it for granted and fail to notice it because we are always in such a rush to do our jobs, go to school or deal with our daily routines. There was nature in Oakland but I was looking in all the wrong places.

Sometimes I fell miserable and dead because I felt isolated from nature, trapped in a city where not much grows. But I have found ways to notice the beauty of nature. Even in the city, look closely, do you see the old proud pine tree hidden behind tall buildings living centuries in the city yet no notices his beauty or existence. Stop and listen. Behind all the noise of the streets and honking cars there are birds singing their melody, waiting to be heard. You just have to listen.

With a perspective, I’m Norma Barragan


By Jocelyn Olivares, Sophomore

To listen to the audio: A Lifestyle-Not a Diet

A Lifestyle- Not a Diet

“Whoever called you fat must be crazy!”

When I became a vegetarian, people failed to see why I became one. I received- and still receive- thousands of concerns from people who assume my decision is based on body image. It was NOT for my weight- I’m not as self conscious as the average girl can be about her body.

But I did do it to save all the animals I could possibly save. That doesn’t mean that I just stopped eating meat so a few hundred animals could be saved. I go out of my way to save all animals I can when I get the opportunity to. I feed stray cats and dogs, and rescue spiders and flies instead of killing them. Once I even got free ducklings off of Craigslist to ensure that someone else wouldn’t get them and make them their meal.

Being a vegetarian isn’t easy, especially when you have to face a handful of arguments from meat eaters.

One of the most common arguments I receive about meat is that there’s no point in abstaining – the animals are already dead and there is nothing to be done about it.

What some people may not realize is that the less meat that is bought, the less demand there will be for more animals to be slaughtered. The meat industry obviously doesn’t want to lose money due to people like me. So, they use propaganda to glamorize the supposed health benefits of meat. When meat is not bought and is left to rot, the company loses money. Now, the company won’t provide as much meat as before. Hence, not eating meat could save more than simply the animal that is on your plate. According to PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), the average vegetarian saves more than 100 animals a year.

When confronted with the apathy of my peers, I would love to reply with the reality- could you imagine the painful cries of animals as they plea for their life? But I respect their opinions and just keep quiet to myself, in attempt to make them realize that what I’m doing is a thoughtful action for all animal life and that’s all that should matter.

Ever since I became a vegetarian, my point of view has changed. I’m a happier person knowing that my actions don’t account for the animals being slaughtered and prepped with growth hormones and carbon monoxide, which is poisonous to humans. Becoming a vegetarian wasn’t for a diet; it was for a new lifestyle.

With a perspective, I’m Jocelyn Olivares

Edited by Yuvitza Rivera, Sophomore


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