The Dangers of Stricter Alcohol and Noise Policy Enforcement

At the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year, St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) announced changes to the enforcement of alcohol policy, raising public outcry both from current and former students who find fault in the protocol. The stricter enforcement changes pertain to open containers, open door parties, and efforts to reduce noise.

The new adjustments were introduced at a Resident Assistant (RA) meeting on Aug. 26, where students and staff were given time to review and discuss the modified policy. The changes in policy state that if a student is found in possession of a clearly labeled alcoholic beverage, such as a can or bottle, the RA must write up the offending student and record the student’s SMCM identification number. In the case of a party that is not being properly contained inside of a residence, the RAs are instructed to break up the situation.

Students are irate over the new enforcement tactics for music, which encourages Public Safety and RAs to document students who project music out of their windows. The consequences for violating this policy include having a noise complaint filed if the noise pollutes surrounding areas.

Students from the College, both current students and alumni, are raising concerns over the justification of the policy changes through social media outlets such as Change.org. Cameron Keyani, ’16, began a petition online to address the faults in the policy, stating that the policy is “diverting institutional resources and focus away from educating young minds, and towards micromanaging campus life.” Keyani also claimed that Public Safety has a “cavalier” attitude when handling situations on campus. “We will not be donating a single cent to our beloved alma mater,” Keyani promises with the support of peers in agreement, “as long as this sorry state of affairs continues.” The petition also chastises the administration for buying an unnecessary squad of Dodge Chargers for the Public Safety office instead of focusing on more important issues such as the safety and well being of the student body.

Another student, senior Hannah Roe, posted a note on her Facebook timeline addressing her concerns to the recently policy changes, recognizing that “Restricting drinking to closed door parties is not harm reduction for binge drinking like the St. Mary’s administration seems to think,” and going on to speak about the discrepancies between what the policy promises and how the actual handling of situations will be affected.

Roe notes that the fear of being written up will threaten the relationship between the students and RAs as well as Public Safety members, saying “pushing people into private parties is a good way to ensure sexual assault with fewer witnesses happens, people don’t seek help from RAs or Public Safety for fear of being written up, and the younger students who will still inevitably wander into random parties will not be as safe as they would be outside in public.”

This statement directly contrasts with the ideals of the policy, but also draws attention away from another pressing issue. Students have speculated that the College’s administration is pushing for a tighter grip on the alcohol and party policy to turn the focus away from the College’s president, Tuajuanda C. Jordan, Ph.D., and her suspected DUIs alleged mismanagement of College funds.

Editor’s Note: As of Tuesday, Sept. 11 speakers projecting music outside of residences are permitted on Friday and Saturday nights as long as notice is given and permission is obtained from neighbors.

InsideSMCM Cuts Down on Emails, but is Inaccessible

Starting this school year, St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) rolled out InsideSMCM, an alternative to AllStudentEmail. At first, I was apprehensive, because change is scary and the College did not make information about the change readily available. The most I saw was an AllStudentEmail about it, and most students did not read those to begin with. So for most students, the new InsideSMCM email change was a fun surprise after summer break.

On one hand, InsideSMCM solves one major complaint about AllStudentEmail, in that students could expect to be barraged with a deluge of emails about things they had no interest in on any average school day. Often, emails would repeat as an event drew closer, and that got annoying. So most students started ignoring these emails altogether (I even sorted them all into their own folder so I could ignore them), especially in the 2015-2016 school year, when students used the platform to report lost items. Imagine endless emails about some pair of glasses or a lost watch. Imagine what that was like after a campus-wide party, like Hallowgreens.

On the other hand, I found the specific emails to be useful in finding out about clubs I had not signed up for at Involvement Fair, or movies being shown in Cole Cinema. If a particular email interested me, I could even email the sender back and get on a list so I would not have to slog through the AllStudentEmail chain to find out more. Sure, events are still broadcasted through InsideSMCM, and I imagine clubs will soon use it to advertise, but I have no idea how I would even make a post through it, or who has oversight. Even worse, InsideSMCM is connected to the student portal, which means that, if I’m on my phone or a public computer where my browser is not signed in to the student portal, I can’t read much more on an announcement than the initial blurb. Even when I have tried to sign in through my phone, the mobile version is poorly designed, and nearly unusable. But hey, it cuts down on emails. Thanks, I hate it.

As a club leader, I am incredibly anxious about what this chain will do to our ability to advertise events and deadlines. Older students do not understand this new email chain, and it seems like all the kinks are yet to be worked out, so I doubt the first year class understands it much more. At least from a club perspective, I cannot see how this will help declining student involvement. All I can hope for now is that the InsideSMCM is worked out soon, because I just want to know when classes are cancelled.

Spare Surroundings and Sweaty Students: Pitfalls of the ARC Café

It is not exactly old news by now that Residence Life is bringing the cafe experience of the Grind to North Campus (Waring Commons, the Townhouses and Lewis Quadrangle), first with a temporary cafe in the snack bar space of the Michael P. O’Brien Athletics and Recreation Center (The ARC) adjacent to the weight room, followed by a permanent cafe along with our brand new stadium and academic buildings, still to come.

At first, I was excited by this news. I will admit that I can be a lazy person, especially when the weather turns sour, and the idea that I can grab a coffee right after my morning workout sounds nice. There is less travel in that, and once winter arrives, I will not have to battle the cold winds off the lake to get to the Grind. But then I asked myself, why do we need a new cafe at all? What about this fiscal crisis we keep hearing about around fundraising time? Is there a better, more fiscally sound way of bringing a cafe to North Campus?

Think about it. There is already a place for quick food on North Campus, and it is already beloved by most students who call that area home. I am, of course, referring to the Pub, located on the side of Lewis Quadrangle facing the Townhouse Crescents. While this establishment is mostly known for its nachos and new pizza oven, it also serves up snacks and breakfast fare when it functions as the Grab ‘n Go from 7:30am to 2pm. They already have coffee capabilities, something that is not heavily advertised. There is a coffee machine right by the Grab ‘n Go area to the right of the main ordering counter, which I’ve only ever seen a handful of students order from.

Best of all, the Pub has an atmosphere in which I can sit down, enjoy my food and watch whatever is on the television. Where can I relax in the ARC? I do not want to drink a nice cup of espresso next to the weight room, watching classmates sweat and flex. The ARC is also often humid because of the pool, which makes the idea of getting a hot beverage more than a little sickening.  

The ARC cafe is set to open soon, though no specific date has been set. All there is in its designated spot now is a few coffee machines and two fridges, along with a small side counter for milk and sugar. However, not that much has changed in the past few weeks, and there is no sign of any specific atmosphere being given to this area. There is no name, and there are no decorations. Perhaps this will change as the cafe continues to be built and filled out, but there is not a sign of that happening any time soon. Needless to say, my expectations are not high for this addition.

After 150 Years, India’s Supreme Court Decriminalizes Gay Sex

In a historic ruling, India’s Supreme Court has struck down a colonial-era ban on consensual gay sex, a move hailed by gay rights activists across the country. The ruling allows gay Indians to live more freely, without fear of prosecution under the law; though many still worry about the societal repercussions for being openly gay. With the removal of this Victorian-era law from India’s Constitution, gay individuals are afforded the same protections as other members of society making them less subject to systemic oppression.

Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code was established in the 1860s by British colonizers during their oppressive rule. The law banned sex that was “against the order of nature,” a phrase interpreted by many to prosecute gay individuals, both during colonial rule and once India achieved their independence. Many gay rights activists argued that it was just another manifestation of the ongoing impact of colonization. There have been multiple challenges to the law through the Indian High Court, but the matter was referred to the five-member Constitutional Bench of the Supreme Court. It was here, with unanimous support, that the law criminalizing -sex relations was struck down. The Hindu reported that the judges referred to Section 377 as “tyranny,” stating that it was “irrational, indefensible and manifestly arbitrary.”

Under the overturned law, gay individuals found in violation of Section 377 could be punished with up to 10 years of imprisonment. Although the law was usually used to persecute gay and bisexual men, it applied to gay and bisexual women as well. Besides the threat of prosecution, gay people were subject to blackmail on the basis of their sexuality, as well as extortion and violence.

In some cases, this violence was in the form of corrective rape, a term used to describe rape perpetrated on the basis of hatred for someone’s sexuality. The aim is causing them harm; forcing them to realize they are not gay or just as a violent form of homophobia.

Theoretically, the removal of this law would allow gay Indians to access the judicial system if they still found themselves being discriminated against on the basis of their sexuality.

Though overturning Section 377 is a major victory for gay rights and gay individuals across India, there is still much work to be done, as compulsory heterosexuality is still very much enforced — both socially and religiously.

The New York Times reported that the victory was condemned by conservative Hindu, Christian and Muslim groups across the country, with Swami Chakrapani, president of All India Hindu Mahasabha group saying “We are giving credibility and legitimacy to mentally sick people”.

Menaka Guruswamy, a lead lawyer representing the challengers to Section 377 stated that the decision says, “You are not alone. The court stands with you. The Constitution stands with you. And therefore your country stands with you.”

Cheers echoed across the courtroom, met by bellows of joy as gay Indians and their allies celebrated the ruling with confetti outside the court.

 

“Unite the Right 2” Rally: Alt-Right Groups Outnumbered by Counterprotesters

Just one year after white supremacists and neo-nazis took to the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia for a rally that resulted in the murder of Heather Heyer and the injury of other protesters, they returned for another show of force, this time in Washington, D.C.  Except this more recent protest was anything but a show of force, as estimates put their numbers at around two dozen—a far cry from the 400 people expected according to the permit filed and even further from the initial rally one year ago in Virginia.

The ragtag handful of white supremacists, neo-nazis and other fringe groups marched from Foggy Bottom Metro station, down past the White House, and to Lafayette Square where they were scheduled to have speakers. Instead, they departed soon after arriving, as it began to rain, with chants of “Nazis go home” echoing towards them. Some, like Kessler, wore suits and carried the American flag, while others donned their signature red “Make America Great Again” hats. Most carried phones or cameras to record their march, and many hid their identities with goggles, face masks, and other devices that would make it harder to identify them. This may have been a way to prevent their participation in the march from being outed to employers or family— something that occurred after the previous march, where some lost their jobs, one was kicked out of the Marines and others were ostracized by friends and family.

This year’s rally was organized by Jason Kessler, who also planned the first Unite the Right rally, along with Richard Spencer, another prominent member of the self-proclaimed “Alt-Right.” Spencer was the one who coined the term Alt-Right in 2008. The term is shorthand for “alternative right,” and according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, it refers to “a loose set of far-right ideals centered on ‘white identity’ and the preservation of ‘Western civilization.” Spencer himself explains that the movement is attractive to those who are fed up with mainstream conservatism.

The Alt-Right itself is hugely divided as well, with some identifying with the Ku Klux Klan, others as Nazis and many others simply choosing the label as a more acceptable or politically correct way to explain their beliefs — many of which would be labeled as hate by mainstream groups. There is also discussion among some social justice activists, such as Bustle magazine writer, S.E. Smith,  on whether this term should be used, or if by adapting our language to accommodate groups attempting to sugarcoat their hateful ideals, we are complicit in normalizing their beliefs. Anti-racist and anti-Nazi activists argue that if we popularize such a benign sounding label, we stray from calling out these ideals for what they are, making it harder to combat their spread. Their mission is to unite the various groups that constitute the “right,” channeling that power into legislative and societal change.

Unlike last year’s rally, there was no large scale violence, and the Unite the Right rally goers and counter-protestors were kept apart at all times, with counter protestors chanting things like “no Nazis, no KKK, no fascist U.S.A.” or shouting mocking comments like “where are all your friends?” Shouts of “shame, shame, shame” carried through the air, drifting down Pennsylvania Avenue, reflecting the majority view of the D.C. residents and filling the city with calls to stand against hate. One group nearby took to pointing and laughing, something many others began to do, effectively creating a crowd of hecklers taunting their sparse turnout.

ANTIFA, short for anti-fascist, also had a large presence, mobilizing in their typical black bloc attire. They advocate the use of direct action, including violence to counter violence should it be deemed necessary. They held a banner with the words “It takes a bullet to bash a fash,” referring to their belief that violence is acceptable to stop hate groups and fascists alike. There is much disagreement among counter-protestors in relation to support of ANTIFA, as their tactics are out of line and hurtful to the movement against hate for many. They are also inherently anti-police, whereas not all counter-protestors took issue with the large police presence.

Not only were their numbers miniscule in comparison to the crowds of anti-fascist and anti-racist counter-demonstrators, but they were dwarfed by a notably large police presence, especially outside of the White House. The New York Times reported that D.C. Chief of Police Peter Newsham had prepared the District’s police department for the worst, taking note of the tragedy that struck Charlottesville only a year before. This preparation included signs around the White House stating “All Firearms Prohibited Within 1,000 Feet of This Sign,” as well as use of metal barricades and formation of police forces on motorcycles to make a physical blockade between the Unite the Right rally goers and the counter-protestors.

On top of more conventional violence prevention tactics, there was also discussion of the Metro running separate trains just for the white supremacists and neo-nazis. After The Washington Post first reported on this, there was massive outrage on the liberal left who saw the plan as catering to groups that espouse hateful sentiments and sometimes condone violence. The Metro’s largest union, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689, quickly responded with outrage that special treatment might be given to the group, stating that they are “proud to provide transit to everyone for the many events we have in D.C. including the March for Life, the Women’s March and Black Lives Matter,” but that they “draw the line at giving special accomodation to hate groups and hate speech.” To drive their point home, they released another statement saying, “More than 80 percent of Local 689’s membership is people of color, the very people that the Ku Klux Klan and other white nationalist groups have killed, harassed, and violated.”  

As The New York Times noted, the rally was over almost before it begun. The months of hype and publicity the white supremacists and neo-nazi groups had been drumming up, with assistance from the mainstream media, quickly diffused as it became apparent that barely anyone was going to show up. Kessler cited multiple reasons for the abysmal turnout, including an “atmosphere of intimidation” as well as possible attendees in a group chat on the app Discord having their personal information released online. Infighting among the self-proclaimed alt-right was also a major source of trouble, as Spencer himself commented about Kessler saying “He is not the person to follow.” Spencer also referenced the mainstream reaction to the movement stating “We are facing so much pushback that people are not in the mood to celebrate.”

President Trump addressed the upcoming rally by tweeting “The riots in Charlottesville a year ago resulted in senseless death and division. We must come together as a nation. I condemn all types of racism and acts of violence. Peace to ALL Americans!” This was a change from last year, when the president responded by saying “I think there is blame on both sides,” a comment that landed him in hot water politically for the equation of counter-protestors and neo-nazis.

Kelsey Joyce, a St. Mary’s College of Maryland senior attended the counter-protests, cited her wish to demonstrate that “hate is not welcome here.” When asked why she spent her Sunday protesting she explained the need to show up, stating “I went because it is my duty not only as an American but as a human being to stand up against injustice and always keep us moving forward.” Joyce echoed the courage of those in the Civil Rights movement, explaining that each generation has tests, and it is how we respond to those tests that demonstrate our ability to grow as a society. “The time is now,” she said. “This is the time to stand up. I am a body that helps the mass change and grow.” When asked if she felt scared attending the march, knowing last year a woman was murdered for taking a stand against hate, she responded that she “couldn’t help but shake this feeling that something terrible was going to happen.” Overall Joyce felt the counter-protests were empowering and a good way to “show the Nazi scum that we outnumber them.” She ended by saying “Heather Heyer never should have died. I march for her and all of those brave souls who have been stolen from us. Rest in power.”

 

Right-Wing Swedish Democrats Gain Influence in Riksdag Election

The results of Sweden’s general election are in, with the Swedish Democrats gaining even more power. Their wins allow them to maintain their place as the third-largest party in Sweden. Though possibly confusing in name, the Swedish Democrats are a far-right party with populist, nationalist tendencies and roots in Nazism. They were able to garner an impressive 17.6 percent of the vote, less than some pundits had predicted. However, it is still a sizeable victory for a party that only came to prominence in 2010 when they were first able to secure 5.7 percent of the votes — enough to gain representation in the Riksdag, Swedish parliament, according to NPR.

Sweden operates with a multi-party system, with 8 major parties vying for power. Because of this form of government, no one party rules alone, since they are generally unable to reach the threshold needed to hold full control over parliament. Instead, they must work together to form a coalition government, where one or more parties agree to work together to govern; a compromise so-to-speak. The Riksdag is composed of 349 political representatives, each from the 8 parties attempting to gain entry into the ruling coalition.

The Social Democrats currently make up the largest political party and are part of the coalition government running the country, along with their partners, the Green Party. This coalition was formed during the 2014-2018 electoral period. The Social Democrats polled best among the eight parties, winning 28.4 percent of the votes. The Moderate Party got 19.8 percent, placing them at second best. The Swedish Democrats increased their total by approximately 4.5 points from the 12.9 percent they won in 2014, reported NPR.

Since there was no clear majority, the government is thrown into jeopardy, as they must work to re-establish a coalition. The current center-left coalition is still possible, but the standing of the Social Democrats has been diminished, and the effectiveness of Stefan Löfven as leader of the party and Prime Minister has been questioned.

This election is the latest example of European voters embracing far-right parties, a trend that began amid the international refugee crisis among other issues, such as skepticism of the European Union, slow economic growth, perceived threat from immigration and a general discontent with the status quo. As NPR noted, the far-right, anti-immigrant rhetoric was on display prominently during the campaign of the Swedish Democrats; with party leader Jimmie Akesson attributing the country’s rising crime rate with the influx of migrants Sweden had received due to their welcoming “open-door” policy.

Both major party blocs, center-left and center-right, have thus far refused to consider forming a coalition group with the far-right Swedish Democrats, effectively blocking them from attaining major power in the country. Löfven commented on the election results, stating that the Swedish Democrats had nothing to offer except for “hatred.”

Brazilian Workers’ Party Incumbent Barred from Election

In a controversial move, Brazil’s highest electoral court has blocked former President Lula Da Silva, commonly called Lula, from running for President again on the Workers Party (PT) ticket, according to Bloomberg.

The Washington Post reported that Da Silva governed the country from 2003 to 2012 and left office with an 87% approval rating. Accordingly, he was a favorite in the upcoming Brazilian election, which will be held on Oct. 7, leading in the last Poder360 poll in which he was included, by 15 percentage points.

Despite his popularity, ABC reported that Da Silva was convicted of corruption in 2017 and is currently serving a 12-year prison sentence. He, as well as hundreds of other politicians and businesspeople, was indicted in a massive corruption investigation that began five years ago.

In Da Silva’s case, prosecutors charged him for “steer[ing] contracts to [the] construction company Grupo OAS” in exchange for a $1.1 million apartment as reported by ABC. Da Silva argues that he never took possession of the apartment and therefore the action isn’t illegal, while the judge ruled that the intent was unlawful.

According to Bloomberg, Da Silva and his supporters assert that the corruption sentence and the separate six to one court decision, made on Aug. 31, striking him from the ballot amount to a right-wing coup. Da Silva’s detractors counter by stating that the investigation is about cleaning up the systemic corruption within Brazil, according to The Washington Post.

The move to block Da Silva from the election has drawn international criticism according to The Washington Post. The most vocal protest from The United States came when 29 members of the United States Congress including Bernie Sanders (I-VT) signed a letter criticising Da Silva’s exclusion from the election as well as the murder of several left-wing activists and politicians in Brazil.   

Despite their loss in court, the PT says that they will continue to fight to put Lula on the ballot, but it seems increasingly likely that his running mate, Fernando Hadad, will have to replace Da Silva on the ticket, reports Bloomberg.

It is unclear whether Da Silva’s popularity will transfer to Hadad, but according to Bloomberg Hadad is ahead in the polls if Da Silva endorses him.

Whomever the PT picks, one of their primary opponents will be Jair Bolsonaro, a member of the far-right social liberal party (PSL). The Wall Street Journal reported that Bolsonaro, a former officer in the military, is running on a law and order message that may appeal to voters who are sick of the widespread violence and corruption that plagues Brazil.  

In a surprising turn of events on Sept. 6, Bolsonaro was stabbed by a left-wing assailant; this injury has left him in the hospital and Bolsonaro is expected to undergo major surgery according to The Wall Street Journal.

Despite Bolsonaro’s disparaging comments towards minorities and women within Brazil, the stabbing appears to have boosted his electoral odds according to The Wall Street Journal.

Whoever wins this election, it is clear that the result will be contentious with one of the major candidates jailed and the other stabbed nearly to death.

Saudi-Led Coalition Strikes Yemeni School Bus with US Bomb

On Aug. 9 the Saudi-led Coalition dropped an American-made bomb on a school bus in Yemen; in the aftermath, first-responders recovered 55 bodies, 44 of which were children. The bomb also injured 79 people, the majority of whom were also children, according to The Guardian.

The attack on the school bus is yet another incidence of children and innocents caught in the crossfire of the Yemeni Civil war which has raged since 2014.

According to The New York Times, the conflict began in 2014 when Ali Saleh, who had previously been president of Yemen from 1990 to 2012, overthrew his successor, President Hadi, forcing him into exile in Saudi Arabia. Saleh was supported in his coup by a loyalist and Houthi coalition (Houthis are the Shiite religious minority living in Yemen, a majority Sunni country).

The New York Times reported that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates intervened in 2015 on the side of Hadi, because they believed that Iran backed Saleh.

Since the Saudi involvement, the situation on the ground has become even more complicated. The New York Times reported that on Dec. 4, 2017, Saleh was assassinated by his former Houthi allies when he seemed to distance himself from the Houthis and tried to make peace with the Saudis. The death of Saleh has caused a fracturing of the Houthi-loyalist coalition which has increased the level of violence in Yemen.

In addition to the assassination of Saleh, The New York Times reported that ISIS also has a presence in Yemen and claims responsibility for some bombings.

The bitter divisions and fighting in the civil war have caused a humanitarian disaster in Yemen. According to the United Nations Human Rights Office of the Commissioner, there have been 13,893 civilian casualties in Yemen between March 2015 and August 2017.

In addition to the deaths that have already occurred, there is potential for many more. The UN Human Rights Office also reports that since 2017, there have been 500,000 suspected cases of cholera due to unsafe water caused by the destruction of infrastructure during the civil war, and that 7.3 million people are on the brink of famine.

The humanitarian situation in Yemen is so bad that the charity group, Save The Children published an article stating that “an estimated 130 children in Yemen die every day from extreme hunger and disease.” The article went on to claim that most of these deaths are due to the blockade and airstrikes imposed by the Saudi Coalition.

The recent bus bombing in Yemen which Human Rights Watch has called an “apparent war crime” led journalists to look further into how involved the United States is in these airstrikes. According to The New York Times, the United States claims that it does not give “direct or indirect approval” on bombing sites and instead gives suggestions on targets.

When being interviewed by The New York Times General Harrigian, the former commander of American air operations in the Middle East,  stated that “clearly, we’re concerned about civilian casualties.”

The Saudi bombings of civilians at weddings, markets, and funerals have garnered increasing criticism from U.S. generals and officials according to The New York Times. NPR reports that this tension between the Saudis and the U.S. is spilling over into Congress where the $716 billion defense bill, that President Trump signed on Sep. 2, included a provision requiring Secretary Pompeo to certify that the Saudi Coalition is seeking a diplomatic solution to the civil war and that the coalition is respecting the humanitarian needs of civilians before the U.S. refuels coalition jets while in flight.

Eleventh TFMS Film Series Preview

“This year we have Neil Diamond— not the singer! A filmmaker!” said Argelia Gonzalez Hurtado, PhD, Assistant Professor of Spanish and co-curator of the 2018 Theater, Film, and Media Studies (TFMS) Film Series, titled “Visions and Voices: Indigenous Media from the Americas.” This program, held almost every year by TFMS, offers several screenings of films along with lectures from their respective filmmakers.

This year, the theme is “Indigenous Media from the Americas.” The series is dedicated to indigenous filmmakers and films about their experiences as native people. “It is well known that the history and stories of indigenous people around the world have been forgotten, ignored, or erased from the national narrative,” Hurtado told The Point News. “These native filmmakers are recovering the traditions, the history and the stories of their communities through videos and films.”

The series will kick off with a lecture by renowned scholar Amalia Córdova, PhD, digital curator of the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage in Washington, D.C., on Monday, Sept. 17. Córdova will provide a general context for these films and filmmakers roles in the indigenous communities movements of self determination, decolonization, political and cultural activism.

The next part of the series, showing on Sept. 24, will feature Neil Diamond, a Cree-Canadian director and writer. Diamond will showcase his award winning documentary, “Reel Injun.” This film deconstructs the Hollywood-determined mythology of the stereotypical indigenous person, what Diamond refers to as “the Injun.” The film explores how this character has shaped our understanding of Native peoples. Beyond filmmaking, Diamond is also a founder and editorial board member for The Nation, a northern Cree news magazine.

In October, Lisa Jackson, an Anishinaabe filmmaker, will be showcasing a program of short films from indigenous people across the Americas. According to the Film Series brochure, Jackson is “known for her cross-genre projects, including VR, animation, performance art film and the musical.” The short films being showcased are created by indigenous filmmakers such as Amanda Strong, Teresa Jiménez, Edgar Sajcabún, Juan Manuel Costa and Caroline Monnet.

Finally, on Oct. 22, brothers Álvaro and Diego Sarmiento of Peru will show the visually stunning “Green River: The Time of the Yakurunas,” a “poetic journey into the depths of the Amazon.” The brothers will also show “Sonia’s Dream,” a film about an indigenous woman in Peru who teaches indigenous communities cooking as a way to overcome poverty.

This year’s TFMS Film Series follows a one year hiatus following the death of Professor of TFMS Joanne Klein, PhD, in late 2016. The latest TFMS Film Series was held in fall of 2016, and was titled “Black Films Matter: The L.A. Rebellion.”

Representation of Asian Individuals in Film

August was the month when two of the most popular romance movies of the summer premiered. Both “Crazy Rich Asians” and “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before” came out within days of each other and garnered audience praise. Not only do these movies deliver fresh and exciting plotlines to viewers while still holding true to some classic romance movie tropes, but both feature Asian prominent casts, something Hollywood lacks and something the masses couldn’t wait to see on the big screen.

On Aug. 15, “Crazy Rich Asians” premiered after a much-awaited anticipation. Based off of Kevin Kwan’s first novel of the same name, this international best-selling novel-turned-movie follows the life of young economic academic, Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) as she is introduced to her boyfriend, Nicholas Young’s (Henry Golding) world of wealth, luxury and old family traditions. After being whisked away to Singapore for the wedding of Nick’s longtime friend, Rachel quickly discovers the complexity that is brought along with dating one of the most eligible bachelors in Singapore: dealing with families who refuse to approve of you and “friends” who want to ruin your happiness.

This movie shows not only the growth and progression of a romantic relationship, but it also shines a light on self-growth and acceptance. This is shown in Rachel’s character throughout the movie after she realizes that she is good enough for Nick, she just has to get past the harsh stereotypes that his family has against her. The relationship between a mother and her children is also a background plot line; the friend-like relationship that Rachel and her mother share juxtaposes the more traditional, but still loving, relationship that Nick and his mother hold.

This movie’s beautiful cinematography correlates perfectly with how the story choses to represent a real, adult relationship. Finding “your person” is something that many people wonder about; finding that person and dealing with the reality of losing them is something most do not even begin to consider. The colors and vibrant scenes in this movie parallel the colors and vibrancy of love and fighting for your person that this movie conveys with ease.

Then, on Aug. 17, the world was gifted with what I believe is becoming one of the most beloved teen romantic comedy films of our era. “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before” follows the hopeless and helpless love live of protagonist Lara Jean (Lana Condor) during her junior year of high school. After her younger sister, Kitty (Anna Cathcart), finds a box in Lara Jean’s closet filled with five love letters her sister has written to past crushes, she mails them out and Lara Jean’s life is subsequently turned upside down.

Throughout the movie we get to see Lara Jean’s character blossom into a young woman who instead of running away from her fears runs towards them. In doing so she gains a friend, a boyfriend and the ability to drive a car. The ultimate teenager trifecta.

This Netflix produced movie was an instant hit.t is based off of the book with the same name published in 2014 by author Jenny Han. The book had a dedicated following and made it to the New York Times Best Sellers List, along with being recognized with 11 other awards such as making it in the IRA Young Adults’ Choices 2015 Reading List, along with receiving a starred review in the 2014 School Library Journal. The success of this first book not only lead to the creation of a movie based off of it, but also two more books in the series; “P.S. I Still Love You” (published in 2015) and “Always and Forever, Lara Jean” (published in 2017).

This movie shows a truth in teenage romance; it enables the viewers to connect with the insecurity and vulnerability that Lara Jean experiences being young and in love for the first time. No matter what your age is and how many or how little times you’ve been in love, you are able to imagine yourself as Lara Jean, knowing exactly how she feels; falling in love is a tidal wave, the rises and the crashes never failing to exhilarate and terrify those experiencing love. The movie also places a strong emphasis on sister to sister relationships and the cliché, but never overdone, notion that family comes first, and family will always love you.

Both of these movies generated lots of public notoriety due to the fact that their casts were more diverse than what has come to be the norm for Hollywood. The star of “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before,” Lana Condor is of Vietnamese descent, and “Crazy Rich Asians” was the first major Hollywood motion picture to feature an all Asian cast since the 1997 movie, “Joy Luck Club.” Social media erupted with praise for these movies and the representation that they are putting in mainstream and film media.

One of the many responses to this movie came from an Instagram caption that Chrissy Teigen posted on Aug. 26. Teigen, who is half Thai, often uses her social media presence to use her influence in pop culture to shed light on issues that she is passionate about. Teigen wrote “Luna, asides from being blown away by the general movie-going experience looked up at Constance Wu’s mother and yelled “yāy!” (“Grandma” in Thai) because she saw someone who looked like her yāy. Someone beautiful and aspirational. It was something that made my heart just…warm. You never know how much you miss being represented on screen until you actually see what it’s like to be represented.” It is evident that these movies not only found success because of their cherished plotlines but also because of what they represent when it comes to progress for the film and media world.