Lets talk fears

This is not to share my affiliation of which ever side of spectrum I fall on about the 2nd amendment. Its a little over two months since the horrible Las Vegas shooting occurred which took the lives of 58 people and changed the lives for hundreds. This was the deadliest mass shooting event in the history of the United States. The FBI has announced that active shooting incidents have been increasing every year and that the most common areas are places of commerce and education. However, since the locations have been varying, even churches are being prepared for future situations.

Active shooter training events are being held nationwide and for a good reason. People are fearful for the next event to make headlines. This calls for safety precautions of not only the incident and location but also the psychological analysis of detecting a potential active shooter. Back in October, the Ybor city development corporation teamed up with the Tampa police department to host an active shooter training event for the business owners of Ybor city. I was able to participate as a student of journalism looking for a story, yet I found myself learning life lessons I’ll never forget.

I was raised in the world after 9/11, where the words “terrorist” and “attack” make you think foreign. Although now, the most frightening words are “mass” and “shooting” that are also associated with domestic terrorism which occur more frequently. So today, when I walk into a restaurant I never keep my back to the door. Standing in the crowd at a concert I’m aware of every exit around me and I never lose myself in the music completely. My hearing has to stay keen in case I hear screaming or bullets in the distance. I even become concerned when a fellow co-worker is acting out of character because mental illness can trigger switches in people right underneath our noses.

This has become one of my fears. Yet, fears can be controlled therefore I read every headline. I stay updated on the news, statistics, and I involve myself to learn more about what I can do to prepare myself when the time comes. This is our world now, I think it’s important for the public to be aware of these situations. For more information, read “Active shooter training”  on hawkeyenews.net 


“Welcome to hell”

Saturday Night Live comedians Saoirse Ronan, Cecily Strong, Kate McKinnon, Aidy Bryant, Leslie Jones, and Melissa Villaseñor united in a skit last night in a song about sexual harassment. The recent allegations against powerful men have been a trending conversation even for the SNL show. The skit involved a pop song with lyrics about how sexual harassment isn’t something new to women. “Welcome to hell” gives insight to the world of being a woman.

DNA testing

It has been announced by the U.S military that they have finally identified 100 U.S sailors and marines who were killed during the Pearl Harbor attack on December 7, 1941 on the USS Oklahoma. It took 76 years to finally identify the remains of the missing men who are now being honored among their families. Among the closure that this event brings, it also highlights the use of forensic science and what we’re able to do now with this technology.

Image those families finally being able to place their loved one at rest after 76 years. It is because of the DNA samples the military takes that those connections were possible. DNA testing are becoming more popular in everyday occasions too. The attraction of knowing who you’re related to historically is a mind opening idea. For the families of those fallen men, it means a lot more.

Powerful Men

Matt Lauer, co-host of the “Today” show at NBC has been fired in light of recent sexual harassment allegations. This Thursday,  he has issued a public apology which he claims responsibility for his inappropriate behavior. He now joins the infamous list  of reputable men who have been accused of sexual harassment.

This is the fall of powerful men who have used their power to intimidate and belittle women by means of inappropriate sexual behavior. Society is changing for the better as more victims of sexual harassment are feeling encouraged and supported to speak out. The habitual patterns of a women in despair are being broken as the issue spreads awareness. Taking advantage of someone is a powerless act, and powerful women are now standing their ground.

Seminole Heights

Howell Emmanuel Donaldson III has been arrested and charged for the murders Benjamin Mitchell, Monica Hoffa, Anthony Naiboa, and Ronald Felton. Donaldson lived in Town n’ Country, a neighborhood in Tampa, Florida while attending Braulio Alonso high school. I was raised in the same neighborhood and attended the same school just a year after he graduated. It’s startling to know that I was in the presence of someone who was capable of murder. The possibility that I could’ve crossed paths with him at some point in my life haunts me.

Most importantly than anything right now is the closure the families of the victims are receiving through these difficult times. If I’m as shocked as a bystander I can not imagine how the families feel or how the people who knew Donaldson feel.

No, you can’t order weed on Amazon

The headlines all appear the same, “Florida couple finds 65 pounds of marijuana sent from Amazon order”. It’s bizarre, its interesting, its eye catching. Yes, it’s true.  An Orlando couple ordered garbage bins from the retailer online and when they got the mail it was heavier than expected. Fortunately, they did get receive their ordered items but with 65 pounds of packaged marijuana.

The story continues, the couple immediately reported it, Amazon ends up sending them a $150 gift card. The couple actually became fearful that the owner of the drugs would come looking for it in their home.

This story makes me think “what would I do” if that were me. Report it to the police immediately, of course. I don’t blame them for being worried about a mysterious drug lord breaking through their windows looking for the loot.

The photos posted on Twitter by Jeff Deal, a Florida reporter @JDealWFTV, demonstrate two large packages of green saran wrapped marijuana. 65 pounds. That would be worth a lot more than $150 on the streets.


Phone Calls

One of the most recent stories involving President Donald Trump has caught my interest. Myeshia Johnson is the widow of Sgt La David Johnson, a U.S solider who has been killed in Niger, has opened up about her phone call from the president. They exchanged a phone call where he had expressed his condolences and respects to the fallen solider. But Johnson depicts another conversation.

On ABC’s “Good Morning America” she says the conversation was insensitive. She says he couldn’t remember her husbands name and was upset with the tone of his voice. To her defense,  Democratic Florida Representative Frederica Wilson, also says she heard the phone call. I think the most powerful quote from Johnson was “If my husband is out here fighting for our country and he risks his life for our country, why can’t you remember his name?”, directed toward the president. 

The entire story catches your emotions and if you read further, it may lead you on a “she-said, he-said” chase. However, the most distressing outcome from this news should be the unfortunate deaths of honorable U.S soldiers. 


When immigration becomes more than a headline

My encounters with racism haven’t been so pronounced. Yes, I consider myself Latina. Yes, I’m the first-generation American born, daughter of South American immigrants. My skin is tan, my eyes are brown and my hair grows black. I grew up in a heavily Latino neighborhood, bodegas and Cafe Bustelo. I’ll never forget how to speak Spanish but this isn’t the only culture that I’ve ever known. 

I also consider myself Americanized

I don’t listen to Spanish music, I prefer to eat Vegan, and most of my friends are White. Growing up first-generation can often be confusing because I don’t feel that I belong to either world. I am not Latina enough and I’m not American enough. But then there are situations in my life that remind me where I stand. 

“Are you an illegal immigrant?” they asked me. I said no, swiftly as if I was trained to do so. The other person said “you can’t ask her that, it’s racist”. Then the first person chuckled while they said “it’s not like I’m going to call immigration or the cops on you”. 

I gathered myself and then exited the room.  Who knew telling a retail worker I couldn’t sign up for a credit card because of “legal reasons” was an invitation to be asked about my citizenship. My parents migrated to this country illegally, I was born from undocumented immigrants. They have since become naturalized citizens. I didn’t feel the need to explain myself at this point, it was pure ignorance.  

I kept thinking to myself, if had a different face, they would have never questioned me. I see the headlines about ICE and the racial profiling. In my own family, there’s been stories of being pulled over on the street and being inappropriately asked for proof of citizenship. There’s headlines of criminal immigrants being deported. In contrast, there’s headlines of inaccurate or mistreated deportations of human lives. The severity of the issue is not a joke. 

Regardless of status, my parents remind me that they migrated here for a better future. I am the better future. I am forever grateful for them risking it all, so that I can live freely. Yet, because this is my face, my culture, I will read every headline that contains the word, immigration

Seminole Heights

There’s been three unexplained murders in Tampa,FL recently and the authorities are stating the cases are only related by “proximity and time frame.” This is because all three murders were found in the southeast Seminole Heights area. Just blocks away from N Nebraska Avenue and E Hillsborough Avenue. The victims were routine bus riders and unfortunately, found murdered at or close by a bus stop. The victims were Benjamin Edward Mitchell, 22, Monica Caridad Hoffa, 32, and Anthony Naiboa, 20.

It’s been revealed that the FBI is assisting in the case along side Tampa law enforcement. But that doesn’t take away the fear. Mitchell was majoring in psychology at Hillsborough Community College. He was a student, one of us. This type of terror so close to home is unsettling.

The members of the community have set up memorials and organized marches in respect of the victims.

This is happening so close to home it’s impossible to ignore the terror.

Experiencing workplace harassment

Workplace harassment is a difficult subject to admit to but it does exist. The allegations against Harvey Weinstein are more than enough to showcase how lives are impacted and changed forever. Yet, some people can’t comprehend the delay of the victims accusations, begging the question “why now?”

At first, it makes sense. Why not report the harassment at the current time it happens instead of waiting years to speak up. There’s a multitude of factors that take place in someones ability to decide whether or not to confront the situation. It may take years for an individual to realize the severity of the behavior that took place.

Workplace harassment is tricky. These are people who you work with and see almost every day in a professional setting. Your boss, supervisor, the people in charge of whether you receive a paycheck at the end of the week. Even a friendly co-worker that you have to continuously engage with because this is your team, your job, your career. Any accusations made will permanently alter the relationship between both parties.

At least that is how I experienced it.

When I was harassed at a previous place of employment, I did nothing. Instead I let their voice ring in my ears until it just became noise that I was use to. I had to contemplate whether their behavior was actually harassment or were they just being “too friendly”? But, the fact was that in either situation, I was incredibly uncomfortable. Until today, I still worry about trivial appearances such as a bra strap showing. I said nothing because I was use to it, as a woman, having my body critiqued like a specimen was normal. I doubted myself into thinking I had no power. I convinced myself that reporting it would do nothing but make it more strenuous to go to work the next day.

Things have changed.

The attention the Harvey Weinstein cases are receiving are bringing light to workplace harassment in all fields. Everyday another woman comes forward to tell their story. Actress Lupita Nyong’o has recently come out with her own experiences with Weinstein, while offering hope for the future.  She says “what I am most interested in now is combating the shame we go through that keeps us isolated and allows for harm to continue to be done.”