XOXO Philly

XOXO Philly

City of Brotherly Love
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The city of brotherly love in all its beauty. Although the sports fans are a little over the top the city itself is so historical and beautiful. Here is a list of things to do if you ever get to visit.

1. Go see the Liberty Bell.

Okay if you are visiting Philly this is one of the obvious things to do. The Liberty Bell is so historic and beautiful. Plus outside of the liberty bell is the constitution center. This museum is full of information on the constitution and has a cool place called signers hall. Signers hall has statues of all the signers of the constitution.

2. Go to Spruce Street.


If you come to the city during the warmer times spruce street is the place to be. It is a little park on the Delaware with lights, hammocks and many other activities. As well as what is listed before this park has roller skating, giant chess, fountains and sometimes even a ferris wheel.

3. See City Hall.

First of all City Hall is beautiful with the statue of William Penn on top. There is a nice courtyard to go sit at during the summer. In the winter they have a giant Christmas tree with ice skating in front of it. In the summer it is just the pretty courtyard.

4. Visit the Betsy Ross House.


Who doesn't want to go to the house where the original flag of the United States was created. Betsy Ross house is a step into the past. With tours inside and just looking at it makes you feel like you are in colonial America.

5. Visit the LOVE sign.


This iconic sign is in a cute little park in center city. You can take a picture or you can sit by the fountain. Whatever you do it will be worth it.

6. Go to the Art Museum and run the Rocky Steps.


This cinematic dream is one of the best runs I have ever been up. Also, the art museum has some very pretty art. Plus you can find the Rocky Statue and take a picture with him.

7. Enjoy some of the best cheesesteaks around.

Throughout Philadelphia you can find cheesesteaks. However, all you need to do is go to Pats, Genos or Steves and have the best Philly Cheesesteak there is

8. Walk down the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

This Parkway is home to a long road of flags from countries all over the world. There is a nice view of city hall and of the art museum. So no matter where you walk you can see the pretty city.

9. Go to the Franklin Institute or one of the other Museums in the area.

These Museums alone have so much to offer and see. They offer looks into all different types of history. The Franklin Institute is so interactive and has different exhibits all the time. While the Museum of Natural Sciences shows you dinosaurs and other cool prehistoric animals.

10. Go to the Philadelphia Zoo and Camden Aquarium (even though Camden is in New Jersey).

The zoo and aquarium are great places to see all the wonderful animals. It is personally one of my favorite spots to visit. With tigers walking over you to standing in a tunnel surrounded by sharks. These sites are some of Phillies best.

11. Last but certainly not least. Go visit the home of the Eagles, Flyers, Phillies, 76ers, Union and Wings.


The stadium area is home to all three stadiums for Philadelphias Sports teams. From the eagles (fly eagles fly), to the phillies, sixers and flyers philadelphia sports fans are some on the most interesting.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia

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If You Give A Girl A Little Brother

You've given her the world.
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I remember back to my childhood, standing at the top of the steps yelling down to my parents "Why did you decide to have another child?" I remember riding in the backseat yelling "Mom, was I not good enough for you?" as my brother threw snow at me .

I remember crying when my mom made us share our first cell phone. I remember playing in a pool at a waterpark, and my dad couldn't play with me because my brother couldn't swim and needed my dad to be with him. I played by myself, thinking "They must have not wanted a girl when they only pay attention to him."

But now, at almost 22, I realized that the best gift God has ever given me was my little brother.

Give a girl a little brother, and you give her a pain in her ass.

Oh, he'll be annoying. He'll get in the shower just because you said you were going to. He'll start talking every time you do. He'll pull stupid pranks, he'll make you listen to bogus music, he'll make you watch stupid tv shows, he'll smell up the bathroom (and probably smell himself.) and boy, I promise there will be day's you will resent him. But he's just training for living with your husband one day.

Give a girl a little brother, and you give her a role.

As a big sister, I had somebody copying all my moves. If I did something, so did he. If I didn't eat something, neither did he. If I didn't like somebody neither did he. He was like a little shadow that did everything I did, so I was always motivated to make good choices and make him proud of me.

Give a girl a little brother, and you give her a rough side.

I wouldn't have done half the things I did if it wasn't for him. Play basketball in the drive way, spend hours on our bikes, spend the summer days in the pool, or down at the park. I wouldn't have learned that it's okay to get in the dirt and have some fun. I wouldn't have played half the made up, imaginary games we played every day. I wouldn't have played with Hot Wheels, or Lincoln Logs, or Leggo's. I would have played with Barbies by myself all day long, and what's the fun in that?

Give a girl a little brother, and you give her the best friend she'll ever have.

In the end, when our parent's both pass away, I won't be alone, because I will have my little brother. When the world gets tough, and everyone turns away from me, he will always be there. No matter where he end's up in life, I know he will drop everything and come running when I'm in need.

For Christmas this year, I bought my brother his first tattoo. We got matching tattoo's on our sides. Our lives our different now, because we're grown up and live on opposite sides of the state. But no matter where we go in life, if we look up, we will be looking at the same sun and moon. We are made up of the same matter, 'made' by the same people, and love each other more than I think we'd like to admit.

Alex is my true other-half.

Give a girl a little brother, and you made her whole.

Cover Image Credit: Abby Engel

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Last Time I Checked Asylum Is Not Illegal, Mr. President

Turning away these people is fundamentally unAmerican, unjust, and utterly wrong.

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Trump states that we will not allow anyone into our country that is not here legally. That if they want to come and be a part of our "great" nation they need to do it the right way. He claims these people are an invasion. The caravan of Central American migrants who are coming to seek asylum is, in fact, doing it the right way according to our laws regarding asylum seeking. So why are they being tear gassed?

US officers fire teargas at migrant caravan www.youtube.com


What are the current laws? According to the AIC (American Immigration Council) the definition of a refugee is as follows, "a person who is unable or unwilling to return to his or her home country, and cannot obtain protection in that country, due to past persecution or a well-founded fear of being persecuted in the future on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion." Congress decided to incorporate this definition in the Refugee Act of 1980 and is now a part of US immigration law. According to the 1967 Protocol, and U.S. immigration law, the United States has legal obligations to provide protection to those who qualify as refugees.

Our laws indicate there are two paths to obtain refugee status. Either abroad as a resettled refugee or in the United States as what the caravan is attempting to do, as asylum seekers. As the AIC puts it this can be done by "the affirmative process and the defensive process. Asylum seekers who arrive at a U.S. port of entry or enter the United States without inspection generally must apply through the asylum process. Both processes require the asylum seeker to be physically present in the United States."

The difference between the two processes is the current status of removal proceedings. If you are not yet in removal proceeding you can apply via affirmative but "If the USCIS asylum officer does not grant the asylum application and the applicant does not have a lawful immigration status, he or she is referred to the immigration court for removal proceedings," where the asylum seeker can request for asylum through the defensive process. So basically once you are being threatened for removal you can go through the defensive process and if you apply through the affirmative process you are likely to also have to apply through the defensive process.

After filing for the process (which can and likely will take years) an asylum seeker must prove that he or she meets the definition of a refugee with or without counsel. Often providing substantial evidence throughout the processes demonstrating either past persecution or that they have a "well-founded fear" of future persecution in their home country, the individual's own testimony is critical to this determination. Certain factors can legally bar individuals from asylum. With limited exceptions, individuals who fail to apply for asylum within the one-year time limit of entering the United States and those who are found to pose a danger to the United States will be barred from receiving asylum.

The caravan person so far has yet to meet either reason for banning. So, therefore, these people who are in fact seeking asylum are attempting to follow our laws and areas such being violently and wrongfully treated by our own government for trying to follow a tricky confusing set of laws.

"Poor, miserable people, families, mothers, children, fleeing from terror and repression, for which we are responsible, and in reaction, they're sending thousands of troops to the border. The troops being sent to the border outnumber the children who are fleeing," says Noam Chomsky, a linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, historian, political scientist, and social critic. The reason is that they are fleeing from persecution, poverty, and violence in their home countries of Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador.

The as of 2015 in Honduras was 60 per 100,000 which decreased only by a little and then El Salvador nearby increased to 100 per 100,000 people. Making El Salvador the most deadly country outside of a war zone this is due to gang-related violence which in percentage the homicide rate was 103 per hundred thousand only falling by thirty percent since 2015.

Their countries, which form a region known as the Northern Triangle, or "Troika of tyranny" were rocked by civil wars in the 1980s, leaving legacies of violence, poverty, fragile institutions, military coups, etc. In a 2015 investigation founded by La Presena, a local newspaper reported that Salvadorans and Hondurans pay an estimated $390 million, $200 million, and $61 million in extortion fees to organized crime groups. Which many of the asylum seekers have claimed as a dominant reason for leaving along with the fear of their children grow up with the pressure to join or be killed.

As many fear, and rightfully so as the report claims many attacks are on people who do not pay contribute to the violence. Meaning that the choice is to continue feed into the violence and anarchy, stay and likely be murdered, see your children fall into these organizations, or take a chance and flee. Once you flee, you cannot go back.

In short, there is a legal obligation to hear asylum claims from migrants who have arrived in the United States if they say they fear violence in their home countries. If an asylum seeker enters the US illegally, they are still entitled to a hearing of their claims. These people have rights even though they are not from our country. They are human. Scared and fearful for their lives and the lives of their families they have come to us, seeking hope and safety, greeting by their hope tear gassing them and saying hello with military force. This is wrong. It is not American justice and rightfulness. Let's fix it now.

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