Secretary DeVos: Thank You

Secretary DeVos: Thank You

Maybe you won't do as bad of a job as we thought.
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I never thought I would say this, but I was actually pleased with Betsy DeVos today. She tried to stand up for transgender students against President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Sadly, they prevailed.

President Trump rescinded the protects for transgender students to use the restroom of the gender of which they identified with that was put into place by the Obama administration. DeVos resisted originally to rescinding the protections, fearing the potential harm that it could cause the LGBTQ+ community; but Sessions fought back. When President Trump stepped in to say he sided with Sessions, DeVos had two options. Defy President Trump, or go along with the two of them. Sadly, she backed down.

I have not ever had a positive thought about placing DeVos in the position of Secretary of Education. She is as under qualified for that position as Trump is to be president. But today, today she gave me a bit of hope. Hope that she would stand up for those who were being forgotten and persecuted. Though she backed down, I think that she may eventually be able to stand her ground.

Secretary DeVos, I can't believe I'm saying this, but thank you for trying. I know how intimidating it must have been, and I can see why you backed down. But I offer you this piece of advice: fight. Fight back, and fight hard. If you fight for civil rights, and start to listen to the people who are trying to help you understand our school system and how awful they can be, I promise you they may start to support you. But it's going to take a lot of effort on your part.

Take some time now to enter into public schools across the nation. Big city wide public schools, and small town rural public schools. See what it's like for them to run. Connect with the community you are now overseeing. Betsy, if I may call you that, if you keep doing what you tried to do Wednesday, you could do great things. Putting those students ahead of just an easy "okay" was the start of you being a great Secretary of Education. You brought me a little bit of faith in what you tried to do. Maybe, just maybe, we were wrong. Maybe, just maybe, you will try and truly understand the system that has been placed in your hands. And maybe, just maybe, you will be able to stand up to the men trying to tell you to sit down and shut up one day.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

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'The Farewell' Brings An Asian-American Narrative To Hollywood

I've never imagined that a story like this would make its way to Hollywood, and it's definitely a welcome change.

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The trailer for Lulu Wang's "The Farewell" was recently released. The film, based on Wang's own experience, stars Awkwafina as Billi, a Chinese-American woman who travels to China after learning her grandmother has been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. "The Farewell" initially debuted at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival in January, and currently holds a rating of 100% on Rotten Tomatoes.

"The Farewell" is an exciting film for members of the Asian-American community, as it encompasses many of our own experiences in having family overseas. Having this Asian-American narrative portrayed in Hollywood is especially groundbreaking and important to the community. "Crazy Rich Asians" has received much well-deserved acclaim for its leap in Asian representation, but the film did not necessarily depict a completely relatable experience and was only one story out of many in the Asian-American community. There were aspects of the characters' cultures that allowed the Asian-American audience to connect with much of the film, but the upper-class narrative wasn't quite as accessible to everyone.

While "Crazy Rich Asians" portrays Asians in a way that is very much uncommon in Hollywood and American media in general and had a hand in helping to break stereotypes, "The Farewell" introduces a nearly universal first-generation American or immigrant narrative to Hollywood. In doing so, the film allows many members of the Asian-American community to truly see their own experiences and their own stories on the screen.

For me, the trailer alone was enough to make me tear up, and I've seen many other Asian Americans share a similar experience in seeing the trailer. The film reminds us of our own families, whether it's our grandparents or any other family living overseas. I've never imagined that a story like this would make its way to Hollywood, and it's definitely a welcome change.

"The Farewell," which is scheduled for release on July 12, 2019, depicts a family dynamic in the Asian-American experience that hits home for many, including myself. The initial critical response, especially towards Awkwafina's performance, is certainly promising and will hopefully motivate more Asian-American and other minority filmmakers to bring their own stories to Hollywood.

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