Saturday, March 12, 2011

Nelson Mandela’s I am Prepared to Die

What defines true love? Is it merely friendship, companionship, or simply a mother-child type of love? What is it? How do we define it or limit it? We can't. It is an over powering spell that deters you from thinking in a rational way thus driving us to do senseless things. Well that makes perfect sense. I love my family and I love my country. It is easy to say but honestly what would you do if your country was under attack by another? Having come from a country just recently under war, it was until my country fell into war that I realized how much love I actually had for it. I felt the drive to rebel and initiate change. Thus, I can relate to a man of historical significance whose undying love for his country was unimaginable.
Born and raised in Mvezo, South Africa, Nelson Mandela had a good childhood. He was well-educated and highly attracted to politics. He was involved in the African National Congress and then helped transform it into a radical mass movement. He played a role in organizing the Freedom Charter which called for democracy and human rights, land reform, labor rights, and nationalization. Having been banned, arrested on many occasions and imprisoned, Mandela took up many disguises in order to continue his work. Along with members of the ANC, Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) was formed with Mandela as commander in chief. It was done in preparation for a war or fight of some sort.  At first, they took action in a non-violent way. It was until he came to a realization as mentioned in his speech that deterred him from being civilized any more, "The time comes in the life of any nation when there remain only two choices-submit or fight. That time has come to South Africa. We shall not submit and we have no choice but to hit back by all means in our power in defense of our people, our future, and our freedom". They went underground and bombed certain governmental areas thus being considered a terrorist group.
In 1963, their headquarters was discovered and they were brought in charged with sabotage. The trial was called "the Rivonia trial" which lasted for about 8 months. It was an opportunity for Mandela and the movement to make their beliefs public. That is when one of the most influential speeches in history was heard.
In his speech I am Prepared to Die, he mentions himself as an African Patriot attracted to the ideals of Marxism and the idea of a classless society and its systems.  "I turn now to my own position, I have denied that I am a communist, and I think that in the circumstances I am obliged to state exactly what my political beliefs are".  First and foremost, as a form of ethos, he mentions the two reasons behind the fight that of abolishing poverty and restoring human dignity to the African people.
In the form of logos, Mandela continues on the subject of poverty and disease providing factual evidence. “South Africa is the richest country in Africa and could be one of the richest countries in the world. It is a land of extremes and remarkable contrasts. The whites enjoy what may well be the highest standard of living in the world, whilst Africans live in poverty and misery. Forty per cent of the Africans live in hopelessly overcrowded and is some cases drown-sicken reserves...” He then goes on to question the educational system, police force and the job force and all of their flaws.
According to pathos, he emphasizes the neglected emotions and feelings of his people and that all they want to do is to live a life where everyone is treated with equal amount of respect. In his speech, Mandela addresses this injustice, "The lack of human dignity experienced by Africans is the direct result of white supremacy....When anything has to be carried or cleaned the white man will look around for an African to do it". In turn he talks about the poor children that wander the streets in poverty and sickness.  From his selection of words, you can tell the sadness and sympathy he feels towards his people and society as a whole.
Mandela reached a point where one goal was in his mind and fought for just that. He believes in social harmony and freedom for all. His love for his people is so strong that he questioned all of its wrongs in hopes of a drastic change. He then comes to the conclusion that this was what the African National Congress was fighting for from the very beginning. Basically a struggle to live. He closed his unforgettable speech by these immortal words:
During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to the struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die. -Nelson Mandela - April 20, 1964

Culture and Society

The distinction between a culture and society can be confusing but both terms are slightly similar. Both terms are used interchangeably to mean the same thing. In definition, culture is the behaviors and beliefs characteristic of a particular social, ethnic, or age group. Not to mention, the stage of civilization that is highly backed by the arts, manners, and styles of that generation. On the other hand, a society is a community or organization of people that share similar beliefs, class rank, and so on. Both terms are distinct yet similar in various ways and in respect to the reasoning of the formation of such groups.
In the concept of similarity, culture is similar to the meaning of a society in the respect to being adapted and original to a specific group of people. The purpose of both terms is to separate or divide groups of people in accordance to many things which thus leads to confusion. Aside from just associating with defining a group of people, these societal and cultural groups can enforce a set of ideals that people follow. Premarital sex is taboo in some cultures and societies and for example if one performs such a taboo, society/culture will frown upon them or disassociate themselves with them or in extreme cases, punish them. Societies and cultures are made up of many ideals that not everyone follows regularly and normally opposes, but are a part of associating oneself with those groups. 
A culture and society mean two different things in respect to a community. A culture cannot be easily manipulated or changed with time. An integrated pattern of style and lingo, a culture, for example, the American culture, consists of many types of food, slang, and ways of life. A burger and fries to an American is fast food or finger food whereas in other cultures it is not. In ordinary language, a culture is associated with a nationality, language, and ethnic background and all its traditions. In that aspect it has no association to the concept of a society. A society is a group of people despite their ethnicity or background, which are united due to ideals, class rank, and/or religious beliefs. The Christian society is a prime example of a society for its formation is due to a belief in God. Other examples of societies are tribes, chiefdoms, and state societies that have originated due to political power and depend on the cultural geographical and historical environments that these societies must contend with.
Our world is full of different cultures that are fascinating, like the Egyptian culture of mummies and pharaohs, the French culture of Napoleon and escargot, and so forth. Some of the most famous societies have formed for a greater cause for example the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), and the freemasons. Geographically or politically, societies and cultures vary with time and will continue to shape our lives.

Our Social Responsibility to Clones

The ethical treatment of humans among humans should have the same impact when it comes to cloned humans. A human being has a right to have as many children they want. Therefore, if one is to give life to a cloned being, they are playing God and thus, must provide it with similar rights as God has given us. Cloned beings would have feeling and emotions equal to human beings thus one cannot experiment on them or make decisions for them on issues pertaining to their organs which would be a possibility concerning the need of organ donors. We must respect it as a human being like you and me.
Clones deserve to be nurtured as if human beings. With proper ethical treatment and rights, clones can live a peaceful life. The same reasoning falls on in vitro fertilization, simply, we are creating a human being. It is not only a belief of mine but also a well known fact that all living things have a soul or essence. One cannot argue against that because without it, we would exist without feelings and emotions that help us form our individual personalities. Despite the physical resemblance, clones look like fellow humans but do not have their exact personalities. These clones can become our new world leaders and bring change to our corrupt world.
As a technologically advanced society, we have to support our creations we give life to with the same ethical treatment and support we possibly can. Otherwise, we will have to endure the consequences when our creations retaliate or fight for their rights. We must take this initiative with precaution and do what is right for mankind.

The Purpose behind Art

Art has always been an essential part of society from the very beginning. From the cavemen of the past to the new talents of today, art has been a way of transmitting feelings and emotions as well as ideas. As a well-renowned surrealist, Dali was infatuated with creating artwork that is uncommon and different. He poured human feelings of hatred, joy and sadness into his artworks by incorporating strange images of nude humans, animals with elongated legs, and lively objects. Art was a way for him to communicate to the world. Each of his works had a hidden meaning and symbolism to it, not to mention a certain motivation behind it. Nothing ever held him back from portraying his beliefs into paintings. Be it of religion or moralistic beliefs, it was a place where you are free to say whatever you want. That is the wonder of Art. It is where you use your mind, think profusely, and unintentionally gain knowledge and new understanding. Dali knew of the power of art and used it.
 “You have to systematically create confusion, it sets creativity free. Everything that is contradictory creates life”. - Salvador Dali
Man is a curious mammal. People love sticking to their routine and believing in what they were taught. People rarely question their religious beliefs and the society they live in, however messed up it may be. It simply takes an image, no matter how mysterious or frightening it may be, to shake people up and get their attention. It has a way of attracting people to stop whatever they are doing and question it. Art is a way of awakening people from their slumber and telling them to change. There is no better
Claudia Kassab
Orientation in Art
Professor Shea

example than that of the notoriously famous Marilyn Manson. From wearing fetish clothing to outrageously controversial lyrics, Manson uses a form of art to portray an idea. As a musician, Manson’s goal is to shake up society, and he does so by being overly drastic with his lyrics. “The Beautiful People” is one of the songs he wrote directed to society’s sick infatuation with beauty and body image.  In comparison, Manson isn’t that much different from Dali. Lyrics and artworks make people think and leave them with a message embedded in their minds.
Not all paintings of Dali’s give you a direct message upon first glance. Looking through the artworks that Dali has given us through the years, I find it hard to choose two with more meaning than the others. Each artwork talks about something and has something to offer. Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee around a pomegranate a Second Before Awakening by Dali, 1944. Situated in Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, this artwork was made with oil on canvas and is 15.9 inches long. Of many colors and design, this artwork was made in response to a dream his wife, Gala had. This painting has numerous meanings to it such as it being an interpretation of the Theory of Evolution as well as portraying Sigmund Freud’s sleep paralysis theory. It could basically be about Dali’s personal thoughts on dreams.
Second of the many paintings is The Poetry of America by Dali, 1943. Situated in Fundacion Gala, Spain, this artwork was made with oil on canvas and is 79 cm long. Muliple colors are used but the whole look of the painting is dark and bitter. It is mainly
Claudia Kassab
Orientation in Art
Professor Shea

about black slavery in America. . The suffering of slaves and the thirst for blood were main concepts behind the artwork.  A sort of figurative art, drawn during the WW2 due to the thoughts Dali had of white and black citizens and the difficulties that may arise from it.
In association to the quote, these artworks are of controversial matter. Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee around a pomegranate a Second Before Awakening and  The Poetry of America talked of issues that are the center of many debates and arguments. The theory of evolution has been debated upon since the birth of technology and the study of biology. Thousands of theories have been brought up concerning evolution, and it never ends. Black slavery has been the bulk of American history. It has caused hate and anger that also never fails to end. Who better than Dali to represent his take on these topics by creating distorted artworks? This brings me back to systematic confusion and its benefits. Why would he take controversial topics and overly emphasize them? For no better reason that to initiate change. He wanted to anger those close-minded people out there who oppose those in favor of change.
             Confusion unintentionally makes you think harder. Salvador Dali's paintings allow you to do just that. He painted images that shocked people as well as dumbfounded them. That was his ambition and he felt a certain joy from it. He didn’t believe in ordinary works of art, but rare images that take you in to a world where you are immensely drowned in thought. It is step away from the real world and everything that is
corrupt and unjust in it, and a road into the prospect of change.

The Dog Olympics

         A dog show also known as a conformation show or breed show is an event where people bring forth their dogs and enter them into a prize winning contest where judges vote on which of the many dogs conform to the established breed type for their breed. In other words, how well the dogs look like the perfect dog in association to their breed type. It is like the Olympics of dogs! The dog owners teach and train their dogs for months at a time or as far back as being a little puppy.  They feed them the healthiest type of food and allow them 30 minutes to an hour of physical activity a day. I found this topic to be very amusing thus I decided to attend one of these shows and see for myself what the commotion is all about.
        I purchased my ticket with much excitement and went straight to my seat for the show was about to begin. All the trainers come out with there dogs in full attire suits and walked side by side with their dogs. They get introduced to the public and each one takes a turn with their dogs to walk around the stage. They perform a sort of walk /run so the dogs get to run a bit and show off their muscles I suppose. After the introduction, the competition begins. Each dog must perform a certain number of tricks to prove to the judges that they are worthy of winning.
As I sit and watch the show, you feel a sense of companionship between the owner and the dog. Something more unique and special than just a friendship, they both share a love, partnership and a passion for winning. It is amazing to see how dedicated the owners are to their dogs and how much effort and time spent into making them the best dog in the nation. These championships range from regional, national to even international levels. The show I attended was a national one so about 30 dogs were completing. They performed such acts with their owners/ trainers side by side. I was intrigued on how precise the owner holds the dogs leash and how coordinated their introductory run is. You can tell this took a long time to master.
            The judges or sponsors say a few words of good luck to open the ceremony. You can hear the cheering and the clapping of the audience from a mile away. It was starting to become a very interesting experience for me. The competition begins. I wondered how the dogs win because dogs can be alike or who says how a dog should act or look to be the Champion. I began asking questions to this lady beside me. Her name was Alicia Silvertooth and she has been attending these events for 6 years now. I asked her my question and her response was very simple.  “They earn points”. The dumbfounded expression on my face was an understatement. She continues to say, that “the dogs complete in many shows and if the dog wins then it earns a certain number of points and a prize towards the Championship. The number of points varies depending on what level within a show the win occurs, how many dogs are competing, and whether the show is a major (larger shows) or minor (smaller shows). The exact number of points needed to gain a championship varies depending on the kennel club offering the title.” As she continues to talk, I see how serious and how analytical she talked about this game. More and more I begin to realize how less of a joke this sport really is. This dog show was more than just a hobby; it’s a serious sport.
I realized many cultural aspects while watching the event. How much detail and measurement people put into these dogs. It reminds me of our society and how stereotypical we are when it comes to weight, beauty and rank. I went to the event all happy and excited only to find that I supported an institution that is based on perfection and cruelty. We compete for the best salary, to get into the best school with the perfect grades and to maintain the perfect weight. It’s society’s unending struggle to be perfect that it has to go as low as using their dogs for fortune and prize. It gives man another reason to express their stereotypical views of “perfect”. These dogs are trained to be the perfect dog! The event says to the audience how society has fallen to shreds and has no hope for survival. It will never cease its undying strife to be the best even if they must sacrifice the happiness of their dogs, children or themselves.
            I continued to watch the event with disgust as I see them measure the dog’s height, weight and such. I pity the little beasts and the fact that their only meaning for existence is to compete again and again to show the world that they are the perfect dog when we all know there is no such thing a perfect thing. We are beautiful the way we are and how God created us. Our imperfections should make us special not outcasts. The tasks are done, the rounds eliminated many contestants and they are left with five. The dogs and their owners line up as the judges vote on the winner. The winner is announced and everyone cheers. I see the owner give the dog utmost affection. They give the puppies their prizes and the winner grabs the dogs leash and run/ walks around the stadium so exuberantly happy as if he had won the lottery.

Scepter Newspaper: Professionalism: the Key to Success by Claudia Kassab

This past winter module, KCC welcomed Professor Lela Nargi to teach the Feature Writing and Media course. From the start Nargi made her expectations of the students known.

Nargi grew up in Vermont, New York. Having earned a bachelor’s degree in Journalism at Bennington College, she began working at Manchester Journal on art related topics. Over the years, Nargi has published articles in Regardie’s Magazine, Fortune Magazine and People Magazine. She has even published books on knitting and traveling. Nargi also has a children’s book the released on March 8, 2011.

Her interest in writing began at a young age when her mother bought her a black and white book in first grade. In high school, she wanted to be editor-in chief of the school newspaper. Nargi described her college experience as a “happy accident” since she chose Bennington College by a way of elimination.

It had to be far from home as well as not an artsy school so out of 3 choices, Bennington served her needs. Founded on John Dewey's principles of education, Bennington taught her how to be a autodidactStudents took charge of their own education - no grades, no exams, no core curriculum; no one there to supervise. Overwhelming for a 19-year-old, Nargi loved it.

“But in fact, I took the place and all I learned from it with me. That experience taught me everything I needed to know to be a citizen, in the broadest sense of the word, a journalist and writer and a perpetual learner,” said Nargi.

During her college years, she got the opportunity to work for Fortune Magazine. It was there that she had one of the most haunting experiences of her life with the “dragon lady.” The editor-in-chief at the magazine was reluctant towards any of her employees making mistakes. Having had to fact check two paragraphs of an article, an issue happened where her correction did not go through due to another person’s mistake.

Having to face the “dragon lady” was one of the most fearful experiences of her young life as a new journalist. Despite it all, she endured all the obstacles she faced to get to where she is now. It was a taste of real world journalism.

A reliable and honest individual, Nargi has the passion to help students for it is only through hard work that one can truly succeed. After working for multiple magazines and publishing books on various topics, Nargi came to teach at KCC. She simply wants to avoid a life of routine by using this opportunity to pass on her years of knowledge and experience onto aspiring journalists.

“Journalism is constantly changing. If there is one thing [students] take away from this class, is to be professional, ” said Nargi.

Crafting of Middle East Journalism by Claudia Kassab

     International news journalists risk their lives reporting recent on-going developments in the Middle East thus bringing light onto new dangers. Journalists have been a target after the recent attacks in Iraq and amongst the on-going anti-government protests in Egypt. On dangerous territory, many in the field risk their lives being the eyes and ears for millions of people around the world.
             Baghdad suffered a series of bombings in anticipation of upcoming parliamentary elections. Monday, three bombs exploded in the capital minutes apart each at a different hotel known for catering to international journalists and foreigners. With 36 dead and 71 wounded, the attacks were meant to cause fear within the already unstable region. In their article on the event for the New York Times, Anthony Shadid and John Leland quote political analyst, Hazim Al-Nuami: “The attackers wanted to send a message to the world. The message is that Iraq can’t provide security for foreigners.” While this may in fact be true, journalists continue to travel throughout Iraq and other unstable parts of the Middle East.
             Of the latest bombing in Iraq, Leland wrote “The bomb left a crater about 12 feet wide and 6 feet deep about 50 feet from the Hamra Hotel. It destroyed the house in front of the hotel, where rescue workers pulled bodies from the rubble. A woman who gave her name as Um Riyadh emerged from the ruined hulk of a house across the street from the hotel, blood on her head and face.” This artistic imagery helps us to best understand the depth of chaos civilians experience on a daily basis. The in depth details of the events depicts a sense of cruelty and gore, that which many Arabs are used to. Bombers feel no pain or sorrow to those they call their enemies for their purpose behind such cruel attacks is to show the world the lack of progress Iraq in particular is facing. Stirring emotions of fear, it is only evident that no one not even international news personnel are safe within the boundaries of this forbidden territory.
            International journalists continue to depend on their embassies for safety but merely get the protection they need to carry out their work. Information concerning a country’s politics isn’t just handed to you on a silver platter; journalists have to fight for the answers to puzzles in which they wish to convey to the public eye. Known for reporting on issues pertaining to the Middle East, John Leland, who works out of the Times Baghdad Bureau,  is one of many journalists who focus on foreign turmoil. Leland explains, “To these dangers, the government adds constrictions, including nuisance lawsuits that make it impossible for some media to continue their work. These suits constrain the free press. Other than that, I do not think we need more special protections. This is a dangerous place, for everyone here, journalists included.” The government offers no real support to those risking their lives reporting news.
                 Many organizations work to secure the safety of journalists. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is an independent, non profit organization established in 1981. Committed to the freedom of press, the CPJ defends the rights of journalists around the world to report the news without any form of consequences or punishment. The organization conducts surveys, reports any maltreatment and publicly shines a light on the ongoing abuse journalists undergo daily. As of December 1st, 2010, statistics show that there are currently 145 journalists imprisoned worldwide ( HYPERLINK "" ).  The highest in about ten years, Iran and China top the scales with 34 journalists each. These statistics is appalling leaving me hopeless on the control these organizations really have when it comes down to taking care of our people in foreign countries. According to the CPJ, a 140 anti-press attacks on Egyptian news media has occurred thus bringing about a lack of freedom of speech for the most part. The CPJ can do only so much for journalists in unsafe locations around the world.
           Journalists sacrifice their own safety to discover a story that has both its brutal aspects and rewards. Leaving their lives and families behind, journalists courageously live in war stricken countries taking accounts of day to day occurrences. It is about being the first one there to report any new dangers. A well-known CNN news journalist, Christianne Annapour has been one to witness such dangers. Recently reporting from Egypt, she was confronted by angry civilians on the lack of aid from American. The video was posted online where she blatantly interviews people in the street, she finds herself surrounded by anti-American people. You can sense the hopeless fear in her eyes as she backs away.
          A new generation of journalists has sprouted to the Middle East with a passion for the torn nation. It is time for parts of the world to fight for democracy and against tyranny and dictatorship. The closure from the outside world in Egypt has the world spinning. The cut off of communication and physical force against Egyptians by its current president has the residents all in the streets protesting angrily for their freedom. This is the time for change. With the strongest tool known to mankind, the internet forms as the easiest form of access to every individual worldwide. From blogs to articles, people are able to gain knowledge as well as spread it from all four corners. The disturbing Iraqi bombs and the struggle of the people in that region surfaced many articles in newspapers and the internet. Some were even published within the Middle East by actual eye witnesses to the event.  The truth will be known as look as we have fresh youthful journalists edging for the resources and facts.
       Whether it has to do with personal interests or the undying loyalty to their allies, the US media has become less of a reliable source especially when it comes to international politics. The Institute for Middle East Understanding (IMEU) has realized this and thus taken the initiative to report accurate information about the Middle East, especially Palestine. The IMEU is one of many non-profit organizations continuously providing journalists in the US with insightful information and a sense of public understanding on the Middle East, mostly pertaining to Palestine though its website and staff members. A speaker at the Arab American Association of New York (AAANY), Yasmin Hamidi, is among the staff members at the IMEU dedicated to enlightening many on Palestinian politics and current events. As PR of the IMEU, Mrs. Hamidi contacts journalists situated in Middle Eastern regions reporting on current events providing her with pictures, information and description of events. Having had previous experience as a PR worker for a corporation, Mrs. Hamidi dedicated her time to the non-profit organization working around the clock in contact with many people from all over the regions for news never sleeps. The organization files up data on their website being a reliable source to journalists in America working for newspapers and media.
           It is not only words that matter but the emotions and detailed descriptions that provide readers with the image of a corrupt region. It is not only the adrenaline rush that fuels people into reporting current events but also the passion to better the people of disturbed politics and unfortunate events. It is also vital to be open-minded to both aspects of a conflict. In the article for Business Day (South Africa), Journalists should shoot for understanding first, Wyndham Hartley coveys the naivety of youthful journalists: “So there are passionate young Arab journalists telling only one side of the story and an Israeli media that is uninterested unless there is a massive body count. Not exactly a recipe for conflict resolution.”
           A danger and a vice, journalism is not only a profession but also a craft. It’s not about finding what happened, writing it down and publishing it. It’s an art, an exquisite choice of words to better dictate the scenario. It’s about living the situation and helping your audience live it too fascinating their curiosity keeping them informed. From instances of self-emulation to street protests, the Middle Eastern people want their lives to be known to the world.
         The articles, photographs, interviews, are all aspects in finding out the truth behind foreign people and their ways of life within governments. Iraq will continue to have corruption as part of their daily lives, but reporting it is a benefactor to help the cause against tyranny and abusive regimes. The Middle Eastern people are in desperate need of world aid and must not be left alone in solitude. We need not history repeat itself but for change to be the outcome of many sacrifices, turmoil and deaths.

Scepter Newspaper: Envisioning Justice: the Journey of a Transgendered Woman by Claudia Kassab

“I’m such an agitator.” – Pauline Park

Activist Pauline Park visits Kingsborough community college with the intent to inspire and inform students about her life as well as her passion for improving transgender awareness and rights within society.
    Of Chinese decent, Pauline Park grew up in a household filled with customs and morals. She never really felt herself, as a boy. She valued education and thus pursued a PH.D in political science. She had a good career but gave it all up to live the life she always wanted to live. The hardest thing she ever had to do in her life was confronting her family and friends about her sexuality in a culture filled with honor and pride. She embraced her sexuality and survived the mockery and disdain from her family and acquaintances.
      Miss. Park moved to New York City and dedicated her time and patience to informing others about understanding transexuality and embracing their inner selves. Along with many publications, she also co-founded many associations such as The New York Association for Gender Rights Advocacy (NYAGRA) and the Queens Pride House (a Center for the LGBT Communities of Queens).  She is clearly passionate about her quest and continues to hold lectures throughout colleges within the nation.
     At Kingsborough, Miss. Park held a presentation called, “Envisioning Justice: the Journey of a Transgendered Woman”.  A good number of students gathered to watch this detailed presentation. A small screen was placed in the middle alongside two bouquets of rainbow colored balloons on each side. Pauline Park was featured in the documentary in which she was also the narrator. Her life story is depicted from when she was a youthful child until her older years as an activist. It was a very clear and organized pursuit, filled with images from her past and visited places from her present. It also showed parts of a stage performance where she along with other teenagers narrated her story probably from a prior lecture. It showed her participation in New York’s annual Gay Pride Parade.
     It was an informative yet enlightening presentation that helped her audience interpret her life and how she came across and understood her sexuality. It was very clear and precise mostly due to her articulate and formal way of speaking. I later experienced that first hand having the opportunity to interview her.
       Her purpose was clearly to show people how she embraced her sexuality and faced it with much understanding and strength giving others the strength to be able to do so to. She didn’t deny the fact that she felt more like a woman. She never resorted to plastic surgery or genital configuration to make herself seem more like a woman. She is against it and thus, I quote her, “For me being a trans gender identity is radically different from sex which is true for some, not others. One mustn’t have to identify as “transsexual” so undergoing surgery is unnecessary.” One must learn to love oneself and not change oneself to embody an image set out by society as either male or female.
        She hopes that by tell people her life story they can relate and possibly imitate because no one really knows how to face these kind of situations. What does one do when one realizes one’s sexuality? It’s a rarity to find people or family members who one can talk to about these issues. Most resort to lying to themselves to fit society’s standards or drowning in a depressive state. Many occasions recently have occurred where one can’t express their true sexuality in fear of being teased, bullied or hurt. Some commit suicide or end up running away from home at a young age. Other factors people face include unemployment for they either face discrimination or underwent constant harassment.  Pauline Park, I feel, is one of those people who commit to spreading the word and help to those who need it in order to prevent more unfortunate cases.
      In conclusion to her presentation, Ms. Park took the stand to answer any possible questions and comments from her audience. Many questions were relevant and informative, one particular individual however, I believe had nothing better to say and decided to run his mouth with nonsense. On the other corner, a group of male students laughed the whole presentation through and with that said, I pity her yet find her courageous. I believe that Ms. Park encounters close-minded individuals almost all the time to the point where she is forced to receive it with a collective polite tone. People fear change or laugh at what they don’t understand. Getting society to accept other sexuality apart from the norm will take time and hard work.
      As the room began to empty I remained behind in an attempt to gather more information as to her future goals and aspirations along with new projects. She accepted me with kindness and poise that I felt gave her such a charisma, I can’t seem to explain.
     She remains active in her many associations and wishes to hold more lectures. One endeavor she has been working on is getting a bill passed for healthcare for transsexuals who have problems when proving sexuality to receive a legal identification card to provide health insurance companies. When asked if she would be inspired to write a book, she giggles and responds to it being a possibility in the far future.  She left me with wise words for Kingsborough students, “Everyone probably knows a transsexual, bisexual, gay, or lesbian person with or without realizing it, and one should come to terms with it. Give them the opportunity to speak. This is not an issue only for TBLG people, but for all of us and how we view gender. Everyone has a story.”