Before Central Park: The Cost Of A Free Park

Before Central Park: The Cost Of A Free Park

No, I'm not talking about money.
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The bright lofty trees and perfectly trimmed grass of Central Park help paint a serene sanctuary in the middle of the bustling city of New York. But, have you ever wondered what Central Park was like before it became Central Park? There is no way there was just a massive, untouched forest in the middle of this concrete jungle, and there wasn’t, at least not all of it was.

The section near the 85th Street entrance was in fact apart of the concrete jungle. From the 1820s to the 1850s, there was a small community of African Americans and white working-class families that made up this area known as Seneca Village. What’s even more is they owned their own homes.

Owning your own property was a big deal during the 19th century. It was an even bigger deal when you were considered property by some of your white counterparts. Property owning was also a significant marker of a citizen. They were not just any landowners. The ownership for the residents in Seneca was five times the average of the rest of the city.

So, why is this ghost town pertinent?

First of all, pushing out African American homeowners to create a park is akin to modern-day gentrification. Moreover, the records of what happened to the residents of Seneca Village and their descendants are relatively sparse. The lack of information about the residents of Seneca Village reflects a common theme throughout American history, the erasure of African American achievements and culture.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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I Might Have Aborted My Fetus When I Was 18, But Looking Back, I Saved A Child’s Life

It may have been one of the hardest decisions of my life, but I wouldn't be where I am today if I hadn't had done it.

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Due to recent political strife happening in the world today, I have decided to write on a very touchy, difficult subject for me that only a handful of people truly know.

When I was 18 years old, I had an abortion.

I was fresh out of high school, and deferring college for a year or two — I wanted to get all of my immature fun out so I was prepared to focus and work in the future. I was going through my hardcore party stage, and I had a boyfriend at the time that truly was a work of art (I mean truly).

Needless to say, I was extremely misinformed on sex education, and I never really thought it could happen to me. I actually thought I was invincible to getting pregnant, and it never really registered to me that if I had unprotected sex, I could actually get pregnant (I was 18, I never said I was smart).

I remember being at my desk job and for weeks, I just felt so nauseous and overly tired. I was late for my period, but it never really registered to me something could be wrong besides just getting the flu — it was November, which is the peak of flu season.

The first person I told was my best friend, and she came with me to get three pregnancy tests at Target. The first one came negative, however, the second two came positive.

I truly believe this was when my anxiety disorder started because I haven't been the same ever since.

Growing up in a conservative, Catholic Italian household, teen pregnancy and especially abortion is 150% frowned upon. So when I went to Planned Parenthood and got the actual lab test done that came out positive, I was heartbroken.

I felt like I was stuck between two roads: Follow how I was raised and have the child, or terminate it and ultimately save myself AND the child from a hard future.

My boyfriend at the time and I were beyond not ready. That same week, I found out he had cheated on me with his ex and finances weren't looking so great, and I was starting to go through the hardest depression of my life. Because of our relationship, I had lost so many friends and family, that I was left to decide the fate of both myself and this fetus. I could barely take care of myself — I was drinking, overcoming drug addictions, slightly suicidal and living with a man who didn't love me.

As selfish as you may think this was, I terminated the fetus and had the abortion.

I knew that if I had the child, I would be continuing the cycle in which my family has created. My goal since I was young was to break the cycle and breakaway from the toxicity in how generations of children in my family were raised. If I had this child, I can assure you my life would be far from how it is now.

If I had carried to term, I would have had a six-year old, and God knows where I would've been.

Now, I am fulfilling my future by getting a BA in Politics, Philosophy and Economics, having several student leadership roles, and looking into law schools for the future.

Although it still haunts me, and the thought of having another abortion truly upsets me, it was the best thing to ever happen to me. I get asked constantly "Do you think it's just to kill a valuable future of a child?" and my response to that is this:

It's in the hands of the woman. She is giving away her valuable future to an unwanted pregnancy, which then resentment could cause horror to both the child and the woman.

As horrible as it was for me in my personal experience, I would not be where I am today: a strong woman, who had overcome addiction, her partying stage, and ultimately got her life in order. If I would have had the child, I can assure you that I would have followed the footsteps of my own childhood, and the child would not have had an easy life.

Because of this, I saved both my life and the child's life.

And if you don't agree or you dislike this decision, tough stuff because this is my body, my decision, my choice — no one else.

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I'm A 20-Year-Old, Pro-Life Woman Saying 'To Hell With Alabama's Abortion Law!'

Alabama passed one of the most controversial abortion laws in the country.

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I am 20-year-old woman saying "to Hell with Alabama banning abortions!" Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed the state law that makes any case of abortion a felony.

Now, I am a huge believer in having abortion banned, but not in all cases.

For instance, I truly believe that if a woman was raped she should be able to get an abortion. That woman, who is a victim of an unlawful and sinful act should not have to be reminded of the terror of her rape for the nine months to follow to bring her rapist's child into the world.

To make a victim of rape carry that child to term and then go through the pain of childbirth is unethical.

Now, I do agree with this law when it comes to having an abortion be lawful when the mother's well-being is at stake. However, I do not see how we can live in a country where we are given so many freedoms but yet are told and forced by the government to tell us when we can or cannot abort.

In many cases, women get abortions because it's an unexpected pregnancy, but if that woman is not a victim of a crime and of the legal age to make her own decisions then I personally feel like putting that child up for adoption is the brighter alternative. Although there is an abundance of children in foster homes and put up for adoption each year, by putting that child up for adoption you are allowing that child to potentially have a better life than they would if you simply killed them before they even had the chance to come into this world. By aborting that human being, you are not simply ending that potential life, but ending the actual life of that child that could have so much potential in life.

There are numerous girls who get pregnant at a young age, but I see it as if you are in high school or college and you are able to know right from wrong and make your own decisions regarding your own life then you should have any say in what occurs with your unborn child. I have numerous friends from high school and college that are mothers at the young ages of 16-20. They say that bringing their child into the world was the best thing they have ever done. They took responsibility for their actions. Regardless of being young, they knew that getting pregnant even if not planned was the result of their actions with their partner.

Getting raped no matter what your age and being a child under 16 is when abortion should be allowed.

Being reckless and getting pregnant on accident when you are aware of your actions is when you as woman need to either take responsibility of that child that you have created or put that child up for adoption to give them the opportunity to have a great life.

When it comes to the argument saying that women should have the rights over what occurs to their body, they are absolutely right as everyone in the world should have that right. But, what about that child's father. What about the cases where the mother simply just does not what to have the child, but the father does? That father should still have the right to care for that child and have custody of that child once it is brought into this world. That unborn child was made equally between that man and woman together.

There are so many arguments that could be made about this law and many debates made. Will the law go into immediate effect, well we will have to just wait and see.

Although there are many opinions circulating around this ban, I simply just shed my own opinions and thoughts on the matter, what are yours?

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