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Winter Edition January 2015
The Chill
Happy New Year!
We hope you all enjoyed your holiday break and are ready to
take on the new-year, 2015. In this winter edition of The
Chill we will discuss and reflect upon aspects of Identity. We
will explore the elements of our environment and life
experiences that make us who we are.
GSP’s Wellness Newsletter
What is Identity?
Identity is a set of characteristics that define a person or a thing.
It’s a distinct personality by which a person is recognized or
known. Our personal identity is defined by the characteristics
and qualities considered essential to our self-awareness.
We are born with some of the things that make us ‘who we are’
such as our eye color, race, gender etc. Others things develop
and change over time such as our personality, interests, and
beliefs. Identities are made up of different characteristics and
multiple layers i.e. religion, nationality, gender etc. There are
lots of things that make us who we are! We are born with some
of these things, but others develop over time.
While we all may share lots of characteristics in common, we
should all be proud of our own unique identities.
Our differences make us unique and special!
Pg. 8
Coming up with a list of new-year resolutions can be tough. So, we’ve put
together a guide to help you start thinking of your goals for 2015 and tips for
success!
In this Winter Edition
of The Chill…
Pg. 2
Pg. 3
Pg. 6
Pg. 7
What’s your Identity?
A letter from a GSP student
expressing her identity & what it
means to be Queer!
“Is it because I’m black?”
Thoughts from Jafari Ross and
Dinzell & Darreus Frazier on their
identity as a young, Black male.
Write your own Identity Poem!
Read and follow example poems
written by the 8th
grade girls group!
Where I’m From…
GSP 9th
& 10th
graders express their
identity and where they come from.
Making resolutions for 2015?
Aye Bruh!
Get advice for tackling life’s
challenges.
Pg. 8
2
The Chill Winter Edition, January 2015
2
Identity
By Whisper Torres, 9th
grade
1
Identity is one of the rare yet beautiful
things in our world of destruction.
There are a lot of us that deprive
someone of his or hers. Others
diminish someone’s. Some are
deprived of their identity because of a
religion, because its different, because f
society it’s self. Identity can’t be made
or bought or written. Many of the
strongest identities that live today are
in the strangest of places. The people
that possess such powerful beauties are
locked in their rooms crying in the
middle of the night because all they
have is their identity and its being
ripped from their hearts and souls.
Those that posses the rare endowments
are afraid to show this to our world.
You do not choose your identity, it
chooses you. Some of the most
2
powerful and beautiful identities are
closed with the chains of our cruel
world. Identity cannot be defined with
words or actions but by people. Our
world complains that the world’s
beauty is beginning to diminish, but we
have set our self to our own doom. We
hit the self destruction button over and
over again each and every time we
judge someone who’s identity isn’t a
reflection of our own.
*10 minutes left*
Each and every time we bully and try
to beat the identity out of them
*8 minutes left*
Each and every time we force someone
to change who they are because of a
religion.
*4 minutes left*
Each and every disdained look
*2 minutes left*
Each and every time we try to make
our world beautiful with having
everyone and everything be the same
*BOOM*
We have extinguished all the natural
beauty in a matter of seconds, in a
matter of words, in a matter of
actions.
The Same way identity has only one
form of expression, destruction does
too, they are the same. People, help
become the fire that ignites our
world’s beauty, or become its
destruction. But remember, whatever
you choose, YOU chose to live in
the world.
“Dear Students at GSP”…by Asia Stanley, 7th
grade
“My name is Asia and as you read this some of you may not know me. I’m
that girl that has the red hair, the red glasses. I’m tall and if you’re wondering,
yes, I’m bisexual. It’s no a crime its life. I’ve been bisexual my whole life. I’ve
told a lot of people starting off with close friends. At first, they took it very
shockingly. Then, some thought I liked them so they stopped talking to me. Then, things
got better and they started talking to me again. The more and more I felt good about letting it out, the
more and more I told people. They were shocked but then they got used to it. Now I’m telling everybody but not my
family. It’s sad how I can’t tell tem but then again it feels kind of good. At first I thought I was confused but then, I knew
who I was. I knew that I was bisexual. I knew that I was probably going to loose all my friends and I knew that some
people were going to bully me for it. But, I don’t care anymore. It doesn’t matter if someone picks on me for it cause that’s
him or her feeling empty inside, not me. I tell people that I’m bisexual for a reason and that reason is to make me feel
better about myself because if I’m keeping it in, I’m basically lying to myself for keeping my real self in. And if you are bi,
lesbian, gay, pansexual etc., you should be proud. If anyone judges you for that, that’s them having problems, not you.
Being Queer is OKAY!!”
3
The Chill Winter Edition, January 2015
3
1
What does identity mean to you? How
do you define yourself?
Dinzell: Identity means how people see you
and how you see yourself. Your race, gender,
background. I define myself as a hardworking
down to earth, hippie-like, fun and laughing,
but also do what I need to, growing person. I
define myself off the assets I have, but my
identity is given to me. I didn’t choose it. I get
to choose what I make out of it.
Jafari: Identity means what you represent
who you are. Like when people are seeing you
presented, what are you presenting for people
to see? I see myself as a leader, but that’s only
because that’s what people tell me. Ever since
I was young in the school system, people been
telling me that I have this potential. I didn’t
start believing it until a year ago. Now I see
myself as a black American. I have a duty to
represent Oakland and the struggle that my
mother went through to get here.
What is your identity?
Dinzell: Black, being raised in poverty.
Single mom. Tall. Athletic, or people see me
as that. And very joking.
How does your identity affect your
life? The way you live?
Dinzell: My identity affects my life because
the identity that was given to me has caused
me to live in poverty and get looked at as a
person that’s not supposed to be successful. I
automatically have a chip on my shoulder.
My momma says every black man is born
with 2 strikes. I feel like if I don’t make it, be
2
successful in college, then I’m a failure, just
another black man.
Jafari: I feel as if people who get to know me
people may have a preconceived notion . I have
to deal with that. My leadership qualities, I
feel like if I see a person doing something they
shouldn’t be, I try to use my skills to prevent
them from making those same mistakes I was
once making. It’s made me a guide for people,
even though I still need guidance myself.
Why go you think you made some
mistakes?
Jafari: I felt as though I wasn’t as motivated
or as educated until about a year ago. I feel
like learning my history really changed how I
was. Learning about the story of Malcom X
showed me that I can make something of
myself, and people like me can.
How does your identity affect your
goals?
Dinzell: My identity is getting me to want to
go to college. Seeing my mom struggle and my
people struggle motivates me to want to go to
college. I want to change the world and the
only way is through being wise & education.
Jafari: I can’t fail. Put a period on that.
Especially going back to my mother. She has
been through a lot. Having that in my genetic
coding, to work hard, I can’t fail. And I feel
like I have a duty to represent Oakland and
show people that we can produce great things
and it doesn’t necessarily have to be in
classroom, although that’s where I prefer to be.
3
We can produce great things, we can
produce great people. And that’s not
shown.
Do you think that the racism of the
past is still here?
Dinzell: Yes, because of our past, slavery
and segregation I feel that it is here, but
just not blatantly. Yes, of course, I feel like
it’s segregated. There’s a reason a lot of
people don’t live in Lake Merritt.
How do you think people view you
because you are Black? What
expectations do you think they have?
Dinzell: I think they view me as a person
with a different mindset than they have. A
different way of thinking than they have
because of where I come from and my
race’s past. I think they assume that my
only intention is to worry about myself.
They view us as so many different ways at
different ways at different times, basically
based on the situation. Like Obama, they
view him as a person who is trying to help
his race first, not as a president first.
Being a Black Male.
Despite civil rights success throughout history,
African Americans continue to face racial
stigmatization and discrimination. Recent events
have exposed how black men, in particular, are
being marginalized by our justice system. GSP’s
Dinzell Frasier and Jafari Ross got together to
talk about thoughts and feelings about their
identity as a young Black male.
“I live in a constant state of
paranoia knowing that I could
get shot at any moment, not
because of any affiliation I have
but because of wrong place
wrong time.”… -Jafari
4
The Chill Winter Edition, January 2015
4
4
Another example is MLK, Jr. They look at
him as a historic person because he was
able to see what others weren’t because
everyone else was biased. Like Obama, he
is doing what no one expected a black
person to do.
Jafari: Yes, I feel that in general whether it
is because of police goals, objectives to
incarcerate people, or the notion that black
people are more criminal, they get looked at
negatively more often. I feel as though,
even though Latinos are a big part of the
community here, Black people get looked at
more simply because of our history in
America and how we rose from a position
of sub-servantry, a position of being owned,
to where one of us can be president, we still
get thought of as criminal.
Have you ever had an experience
where someone judged you because
of your skin color? What happened?
Dinzell: When I go to work at the rec
center the white people there assume that
I’m there only for the money. There was a
ref at one of the games I was watching and
he kept saying, “Oh, for the money right?
You’re doing this for the money?” I love to
help kids and working with them and
that’s why I do it. He never thought that.
Jafari: For people that know me, there is
more expected of me intellectually. People
expect me to be this great academic student.
They know how smart I am, they expect it
to just translate to the classroom. And it’s
not that easy. The way I am, is that I can’t
really do something that great if my hearts
not in it. I really don’t know how people
who don’t know me feel, people to just
expect something of me because I’m Black.
I really can’t say. People say that I walk
around angry and I look mean. But my
anger is coming from a place of motivation
because I know I have work to do.
Have you ever had an experience at
school where you were treated
differently because of your race?
5
Dinzell: I never encountered an experience
at school where I was judged because of my
race. If one of my friends who is not my
race calls me the n-word, I know it is in a
friendly way.
Jafari: Right now nothing that I can recall
because of my skin color. Strangers might
see me, especially the way I dress, and
think something. Strangers meet me and
ask if I play basketball, but that’s probably
the closest thing I’ve heard. People don’t
judge who I am as a person based on my
skin color, not that I’ve seen. One time a
student was calling me the n-word as a
joke, but it really sounded racist. I don’t
like to be violent, but it bothered me. He’s
coming out of a place of ignorance. He
didn’t feel like he was being racist, but I
really wanted him to know that if it wasn’t
me, if he was on Bart for instance, his life
would have been in danger.
How does it feel to be Black in
Oakland?
Dinzell: It feels like a free for all match on
Call of Duty. Every man for himself. It
feels like you have so many doubters and so
many people who don’t want to see you do
good. Every person I talk to in my
neighborhood has told me that their
teachers and parents have told them to
settle for what they are doing now, and to
not expect more.
Jafari: There are times when it feels nice,
to know the culture that we have. Oakland
is beautiful, but it has more potential. I live
in a constant state of paranoia knowing
that I could get shot at any moment, not
because of any affiliation I have but
because of wrong place wrong time. Or If I
see someone who I don’t know, and I look
at him wrong, and he happened to have a
gun on him, my life could be over.
6
How does it feel to be Black in light
of all of the injustices happening?
Dinzell: I feel like I can get shot by a
White person and it wouldn’t be taken as
heavily. I’m not scared, but I’m paranoid
to make the wrong move. I feel like the
protests are not gonna do anything. I feel
like they’re trying to change things in a fast
manner and I don’t thinks it’s gonna
work. My way is to become the system, so
that you can change the system.
Jafari: Right now I feel this is the person
time to be black because there are certain
civil rights events going on and forcing us
to see injustice. African American,
Latino, and even White teenagers who
might come from a place of poverty, I hope
it motivates them to see that there is work
to be done. The whole gang sh-- needs to
stop. The only way it’s gonna change, all
of Oakland needs to come together to stop
this. This is the only way we are gonna get
significant change to happen. We have to
get off the freeways in protests and get into
the communities and start changing
amongst ourselves. We need to unite. We
have potential, the Black Panthers were
born here. And that just came from two
dudes at Merritt College reading people
their rights when cops pulled them over.
We gotta come together.
What do you like about being
Black?
Dinzell: I like being unique. I like having
some kind of taste of being who I am. I like
proving people wrong and feeling powerful
because I am not doing what a “typical”
black person does and I’m trying to go to
college and become part of the system to
improve the system.
Jafari: I think I like the challenge. I like
how the reason why even though it sucks
that we aren’t in positions of power, when
one of us succeeds the entire community is
proud. Like if me and Dinzell met Obama,
we’d give him some dap instead of a
handshake.
Being a Black Male Continued…
“My way is to become the
system, so that you can
change the system...” -Dinzell
5
The Chill Winter Edition, January 2015
5
1
How does it feel to be Black at GSP?
Jafari: It’s pretty cool. I feel as though as Black
people we bring a different aspect to the culture.
To have Black people here we are part of the mix
we keep it from being strictly a Latino school, we
add another ethnic group and we help mix
communities together. If this were another school
you probably wouldn’t see the small group of
Black students hanging out with Latinos, there’d
probably be racial tension. Since going here, I’ve
learned Spanish…not just because of class, but
because of my Mexican homies speaking Spanish
to me. And in return, I be myself and be cool.
Dinzell: I feel comfortable. I feel special I guess. I
feel equal as everybody else.
What do you think people should know
about Black people?
Dinzell: I think they should know that we are
only the way that we are because people have
forced us to be the way that we are. In poverty,
They expect us to be normal and happy
interactive with each other when we have to fight
over food and jobs, you know, we don’t have to
fight over, but in our brains we think we have to
do whatever it is to survive. Some people think
money is a way to survive, some people think
females is, etc. To me, it’s all mind games and
brainwash. I’m privileged. I know I am. I don’t
have to think about my mom doing drugs, or
brother hanging out with the wrong people. I can
come to school with a clear mind and really think
and observe society because my mom has carved
my brain into thinking a certain way. She’s a lot
of the reason that I think the way I think, outside
the box. I don’t have to worry about my survival
in the same ways as other Black people might.
Jafari: That Black people are strong. Even if the
individual isn’t, it’s in our genes from our
ancestors to be strong and great people. We have a
duty to our ancestors who worked hard and been
oppressed, to not mess that up. Even if we have
someone in our history who didn’t do as well as
they could, you gotta change that. We owe it to
ourselves. Why not get that degree, take a chance.
Even if you fail, you gave it your best shot, and
you can still try again. The greatest people in the
2
world, like Michael Jordan, he didn’t just wake
up and be great, he was in the gym practicing
every day. Ronaldihno, one of the greatest soccer
players ever, he worked hard and practiced his
skill in order to become one of the best soccer
players in the world. We have to stop idolizing
rappers and start idolizing revolutionaries.
What problems are Black people facing
and how are these issues
impacting/affecting the Black community.
Dinzell: I don’t want to say the typical stuff like
drugs, because it’s more in our mental state. A lot
of black people have to be focused on their
survival. I can think about my future, long-term.
I can think about planning my future for my
daughter and myself.
Jafari: Systemic oppression. After slavery and all
that, the government basically like… well drugs
came into Oakland through the government. The
government put guns in the hood, put drugs in the
hood, just to make money. I think the effects of
that are the biggest problems. I mean think about
it. People are walking around Oakland with AK-
47s. Where do you get that? There are no stores to
buy that. We have to get away from that because
we are better than that.
In ten years, when you’re 27, do you think
the same issues will be impacting Black
people? Do you think things will have
improved/gotten worse?
Dinzell: If we don’t eventually become the
system, it’s gonna get worse. If we don’t become
what we are living---the police, the people in
power---than it’s gonna get worse. If we keep
giving other people money, like companies,
Jordan’s, McDonald’s, it’s keeping us from
putting that money towards our education. They
(some black people) more focused on being the
boss in Oakland (in the streets) instead of a boss
in the United States.
Jafari: I want them to get better, but they won’t
get better unless we get together as a community
and better ourselves. That’s life, you have to work
for it. You have to earn it. And until we do that,
things are gonna be the same. So you gotta work.
Continued…
Dinzell: Why do you say “is it
because I’m black?”
Darreus: Strictly for fun
Dinzell: Why do you think that
Black people get looked at
differently than other ethnicities
and races?
Darreus: Because they was always
looked at us worthless
Dinzell: How do you think people
view because you are Black?
Darreus: People think that all Black
people are talented and have some
type of special ability
Dinzell: Have you ever had an
experience where someone judged
you because of your skin color?
Darreus: Yes, some white dude
blamed me for breaking his
window and yet I never seen him
or his window ever
Dinzell: How does it feel to be
Black in Oakland?
Darreus: I feel pressure and that I
could be killed at any moment.
Dinzell: How does it feel to be
Black at GSP?
Darreus: It feels very prejudice
Dinzell: What do you like about
being Black?
Darreus: The genetics, being tall,
athletic, etc.
Dinzell: What do you think people
should know about Black people?
Darreus: We’re the same as other
races, only difference is the
personality!
Real talk
with the
Fraziers
“Is it
because
I’m
Black?”
An interview with Darreus
Frazier by Dinzell
Frazier.
6
The Chill Winter Edition, January 2015
6
Try it out!
Follow
thisformatandwrite
your ownpoem
to speak
againstthe stereotypes!
JustbecauseI’m____.
Doesn’tmean____.
Doesn’tmean____.
Doesn’tmean___.
Iam___.I
Just because...
Just	
  because	
  I’m	
  black	
  
Doesn’t	
  mean	
  I	
  have	
  short	
  hair	
  
Doesn’t	
  mean	
  I’m	
  ghetto	
  
Doesn’t	
  mean	
  I	
  eat	
  chicken	
  
I	
  am	
  a	
  living	
  human	
  
	
  
Just	
  because	
  I’m	
  a	
  little	
  sister	
  
Doesn’t	
  mean	
  I	
  don’t	
  have	
  responsibility	
  
Doesn’t	
  mean	
  I’m	
  a	
  little	
  kid	
  
Doesn’t	
  mean	
  I’m	
  not	
  as	
  smart	
  as	
  my	
  older	
  siblings	
  
I	
  am	
  a	
  responsible	
  person	
  
	
  
By:	
  Anonymous	
  
	
  
Just	
  because	
  I’m	
  a	
  girl	
  	
  
Doesn’t	
  mean	
  I	
  have	
  to	
  look	
  nice	
  
Doesn’t	
  mean	
  I	
  have	
  to	
  impress	
  anybody	
  
Doesn’t	
  mean	
  have	
  to	
  do	
  girl	
  stuff	
  
I	
  am	
  myself.	
  
	
  
Just	
  because	
  I	
  was	
  raised	
  by	
  an	
  Arab	
  
Doesn’t	
  mean	
  I’m	
  Arab	
  
Doesn’t	
  mean	
  I	
  have	
  to	
  cover	
  up	
  
Doesn’t	
  mean	
  I	
  have	
  to	
  marry	
  at	
  a	
  young	
  age	
  
I	
  am	
  Independent	
  
	
  
Just	
  because	
  I’m	
  quiet	
  	
  
Doesn’t	
  mean	
  I	
  don’t	
  have	
  an	
  opinion	
  	
  
Doesn’t	
  mean	
  I	
  can’t	
  stand	
  up	
  for	
  myself	
  
Doesn’t	
  mean	
  I’m	
  not	
  outgoing	
  
I	
  am	
  my	
  own	
  person.	
  
	
  
Just	
  because	
  I’m	
  honest	
  
Doesn’t	
  mean	
  I’m	
  rude	
  
Doesn’t	
  mean	
  I’m	
  being	
  mean	
  
Doesn’t	
  mean	
  I’m	
  not	
  kind	
  
I’m	
  just	
  being	
  truthful	
  
By:	
  Anonymous	
  
Identity poems by members of the 8th grade
girls group
Just	
  because	
  I’m	
  black	
  
Doesn’t	
  mean	
  I	
  eat	
  fried	
  chicken	
  
Doesn’t	
  mean	
  I	
  have	
  short	
  hair	
  
Doesn’t	
  mean	
  I	
  kill	
  white	
  people	
  
I	
  am	
  a	
  regular	
  person!	
  
	
  
Just	
  because	
  I	
  am	
  a	
  teen	
  mom	
  
Doesn’t	
  mean	
  I	
  am	
  a	
  whore	
  
Doesn’t	
  mean	
  I	
  am	
  rude	
  
Doesn’t	
  mean	
  I	
  am	
  irresponsible	
  
I	
  am	
  a	
  student!	
  
	
  
Just	
  because	
  I	
  am	
  quiet	
  
Doesn’t	
  mean	
  you	
  can	
  push	
  me	
  around	
  
Doesn’t	
  mean	
  I	
  don’t	
  speak	
  my	
  mind	
  
Doesn’t	
  mean	
  I	
  am	
  the	
  nerdy	
  kid	
  
I	
  am	
  a	
  friendly	
  person!	
  
	
  
Just	
  because	
  I	
  am	
  truthful	
  
Doesn’t	
  mean	
  I	
  am	
  mean	
  
Doesn’t	
  mean	
  everybody	
  hates	
  me	
  
Doesn’t	
  mean	
  I	
  am	
  a	
  bully	
  
I	
  am	
  a	
  person	
  of	
  truth!	
  
	
  
By:	
  Anjel-­‐	
  Marie	
  Hale	
  
	
  
Just	
  because	
  I’m	
  a	
  daughter	
  	
  
Doesn’t	
  mean	
  I	
  have	
  to	
  follow	
  in	
  my	
  brother’s	
  steps	
  
Doesn’t	
  mean	
  I’m	
  always	
  going	
  to	
  have	
  good	
  grades	
  
Doesn’t	
  mean	
  I’m	
  always	
  going	
  to	
  be	
  a	
  great	
  example	
  
I’m	
  a	
  human	
  being	
  
	
  
Just	
  because	
  I’m	
  skinny	
  	
  
Doesn’t	
  mean	
  I’m	
  weak	
  
Doesn’t	
  mean	
  I’m	
  always	
  going	
  to	
  be	
  like	
  this	
  
Doesn’t	
  mean	
  you’re	
  better	
  than	
  me	
  
I	
  am	
  Angela	
  Lerma	
  
	
  
Just	
  because	
  I’m	
  a	
  girl	
  	
  
Doesn’t	
  mean	
  I’m	
  going	
  to	
  be	
  a	
  housewife	
  	
  
Doesn’t	
  mean	
  I’m	
  going	
  to	
  let	
  go	
  of	
  myself	
  
I’m	
  always	
  going	
  to	
  be	
  me!	
  
	
  
By:	
  Angela	
  Lerma-­‐Olivera	
  	
  
How you feel about yourself today has partly to do with
the messages you receive from your family, friends, the
media, and even yourself. The way you interpret these
messages help you feel good or bad about who you are.
When you identify, explore, and evaluate these
messages, you can decide which you want to keep and
which you don’t. You can learn ways to talk to yourself
that help you develop healthy self-esteem.
7
The Chill Winter Edition, January 2015
7
Poems by GSP’s
9th and 10th graders
“Where I am
from…”
The Chill Winter Edition, January 2015
Aye Bruh,
I’ve been feeling weird lately. It’s like I
don’t know who I am anymore. I just
want to fit in with my friends but I want
to be my own person too. What do I do?
From,
Lost Bruh
Need Advice? Write down your questions and bring it to Ms. Liz at the front office to put in the
“Aye Bruh” secret folder. REMEMBER- No Names! All letters should be kept anonymous!
Dear Lost Bruh,
You are not alone. Defining who you are can be complicated. There
are difficult and confusing choices at every step of the way, such as
trying to be unique while still being accepted and “fitting in”. First
thing you can do is to ask yourself this: Who do you want to be? How
do you want others to think of you? As an adolescent, you now have
the ability to explore and establish your individual identity. While it
will always feel good to gain approval from others, it is also important
to set one’s own goals and find pleasure and feelings of
accomplishment in reaching them. Think of characteristics, morals,
and values that define you and use them to help guide you through
exploring new opportunities! Have fun and remember: “Today you
are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer
than You”- Dr. Seuss.
Aye Bruh!
Beginning a new year can be a great time for all of us to revisit
our commitments and goals. This is a time where many of us
make resolutions in hopes of getting rid of bad habits and
making positive changes in our lives. Here are some tips to help
you create your own resolutions and how to put them into
action for success!
DETERMINE WHAT YOU WANT TO
ACHIEVE: Evaluate your activities to
determine what you want to accomplish
1.
2.
3.
SET SPECIFIC, REALISTIC, AND
MEASURABLE GOALS: Identify who, what,
when where and why. Setting realistic and
measureable goals will help you work towards
achieving them.
STAY POSITIVE: Changes wont happen
overnight. Maintaining a good attitude while
accomplishing your goals will help you to stay
motivated.
What are your New Year Resolutions?
1
My resolution is to
write notes to my
family and friends
for no reason to let
them know that I
care about them. –
Ms. Sabia
2
1. Dance. I would like to learn a new dance
form/technique this year
2.) 2. Travel. I would like to travel 2 places in the country
and 1 place outside of the country by Dec 31. 2015
3.) 3. SAVE!!! I would like to see growth in my finances
this year.
4.) 4. Love. I expect to love everyone selflessly &
sincerely.
5.) 5. Be the best version of myself possible.
6.) 6. Build my brand Nekki B. styles and a consistent
clientele in California – Ms. Boult
-­‐M	
  
My goal is to follow
through on every
commitment I make,
and to make realistic
plans. I’m late a lot J -
Mr. Nolting

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The Chill: Identity (2nd Ed.)

  • 1. Winter Edition January 2015 The Chill Happy New Year! We hope you all enjoyed your holiday break and are ready to take on the new-year, 2015. In this winter edition of The Chill we will discuss and reflect upon aspects of Identity. We will explore the elements of our environment and life experiences that make us who we are. GSP’s Wellness Newsletter What is Identity? Identity is a set of characteristics that define a person or a thing. It’s a distinct personality by which a person is recognized or known. Our personal identity is defined by the characteristics and qualities considered essential to our self-awareness. We are born with some of the things that make us ‘who we are’ such as our eye color, race, gender etc. Others things develop and change over time such as our personality, interests, and beliefs. Identities are made up of different characteristics and multiple layers i.e. religion, nationality, gender etc. There are lots of things that make us who we are! We are born with some of these things, but others develop over time. While we all may share lots of characteristics in common, we should all be proud of our own unique identities. Our differences make us unique and special! Pg. 8 Coming up with a list of new-year resolutions can be tough. So, we’ve put together a guide to help you start thinking of your goals for 2015 and tips for success! In this Winter Edition of The Chill… Pg. 2 Pg. 3 Pg. 6 Pg. 7 What’s your Identity? A letter from a GSP student expressing her identity & what it means to be Queer! “Is it because I’m black?” Thoughts from Jafari Ross and Dinzell & Darreus Frazier on their identity as a young, Black male. Write your own Identity Poem! Read and follow example poems written by the 8th grade girls group! Where I’m From… GSP 9th & 10th graders express their identity and where they come from. Making resolutions for 2015? Aye Bruh! Get advice for tackling life’s challenges. Pg. 8
  • 2. 2 The Chill Winter Edition, January 2015 2 Identity By Whisper Torres, 9th grade 1 Identity is one of the rare yet beautiful things in our world of destruction. There are a lot of us that deprive someone of his or hers. Others diminish someone’s. Some are deprived of their identity because of a religion, because its different, because f society it’s self. Identity can’t be made or bought or written. Many of the strongest identities that live today are in the strangest of places. The people that possess such powerful beauties are locked in their rooms crying in the middle of the night because all they have is their identity and its being ripped from their hearts and souls. Those that posses the rare endowments are afraid to show this to our world. You do not choose your identity, it chooses you. Some of the most 2 powerful and beautiful identities are closed with the chains of our cruel world. Identity cannot be defined with words or actions but by people. Our world complains that the world’s beauty is beginning to diminish, but we have set our self to our own doom. We hit the self destruction button over and over again each and every time we judge someone who’s identity isn’t a reflection of our own. *10 minutes left* Each and every time we bully and try to beat the identity out of them *8 minutes left* Each and every time we force someone to change who they are because of a religion. *4 minutes left* Each and every disdained look *2 minutes left* Each and every time we try to make our world beautiful with having everyone and everything be the same *BOOM* We have extinguished all the natural beauty in a matter of seconds, in a matter of words, in a matter of actions. The Same way identity has only one form of expression, destruction does too, they are the same. People, help become the fire that ignites our world’s beauty, or become its destruction. But remember, whatever you choose, YOU chose to live in the world. “Dear Students at GSP”…by Asia Stanley, 7th grade “My name is Asia and as you read this some of you may not know me. I’m that girl that has the red hair, the red glasses. I’m tall and if you’re wondering, yes, I’m bisexual. It’s no a crime its life. I’ve been bisexual my whole life. I’ve told a lot of people starting off with close friends. At first, they took it very shockingly. Then, some thought I liked them so they stopped talking to me. Then, things got better and they started talking to me again. The more and more I felt good about letting it out, the more and more I told people. They were shocked but then they got used to it. Now I’m telling everybody but not my family. It’s sad how I can’t tell tem but then again it feels kind of good. At first I thought I was confused but then, I knew who I was. I knew that I was bisexual. I knew that I was probably going to loose all my friends and I knew that some people were going to bully me for it. But, I don’t care anymore. It doesn’t matter if someone picks on me for it cause that’s him or her feeling empty inside, not me. I tell people that I’m bisexual for a reason and that reason is to make me feel better about myself because if I’m keeping it in, I’m basically lying to myself for keeping my real self in. And if you are bi, lesbian, gay, pansexual etc., you should be proud. If anyone judges you for that, that’s them having problems, not you. Being Queer is OKAY!!”
  • 3. 3 The Chill Winter Edition, January 2015 3 1 What does identity mean to you? How do you define yourself? Dinzell: Identity means how people see you and how you see yourself. Your race, gender, background. I define myself as a hardworking down to earth, hippie-like, fun and laughing, but also do what I need to, growing person. I define myself off the assets I have, but my identity is given to me. I didn’t choose it. I get to choose what I make out of it. Jafari: Identity means what you represent who you are. Like when people are seeing you presented, what are you presenting for people to see? I see myself as a leader, but that’s only because that’s what people tell me. Ever since I was young in the school system, people been telling me that I have this potential. I didn’t start believing it until a year ago. Now I see myself as a black American. I have a duty to represent Oakland and the struggle that my mother went through to get here. What is your identity? Dinzell: Black, being raised in poverty. Single mom. Tall. Athletic, or people see me as that. And very joking. How does your identity affect your life? The way you live? Dinzell: My identity affects my life because the identity that was given to me has caused me to live in poverty and get looked at as a person that’s not supposed to be successful. I automatically have a chip on my shoulder. My momma says every black man is born with 2 strikes. I feel like if I don’t make it, be 2 successful in college, then I’m a failure, just another black man. Jafari: I feel as if people who get to know me people may have a preconceived notion . I have to deal with that. My leadership qualities, I feel like if I see a person doing something they shouldn’t be, I try to use my skills to prevent them from making those same mistakes I was once making. It’s made me a guide for people, even though I still need guidance myself. Why go you think you made some mistakes? Jafari: I felt as though I wasn’t as motivated or as educated until about a year ago. I feel like learning my history really changed how I was. Learning about the story of Malcom X showed me that I can make something of myself, and people like me can. How does your identity affect your goals? Dinzell: My identity is getting me to want to go to college. Seeing my mom struggle and my people struggle motivates me to want to go to college. I want to change the world and the only way is through being wise & education. Jafari: I can’t fail. Put a period on that. Especially going back to my mother. She has been through a lot. Having that in my genetic coding, to work hard, I can’t fail. And I feel like I have a duty to represent Oakland and show people that we can produce great things and it doesn’t necessarily have to be in classroom, although that’s where I prefer to be. 3 We can produce great things, we can produce great people. And that’s not shown. Do you think that the racism of the past is still here? Dinzell: Yes, because of our past, slavery and segregation I feel that it is here, but just not blatantly. Yes, of course, I feel like it’s segregated. There’s a reason a lot of people don’t live in Lake Merritt. How do you think people view you because you are Black? What expectations do you think they have? Dinzell: I think they view me as a person with a different mindset than they have. A different way of thinking than they have because of where I come from and my race’s past. I think they assume that my only intention is to worry about myself. They view us as so many different ways at different ways at different times, basically based on the situation. Like Obama, they view him as a person who is trying to help his race first, not as a president first. Being a Black Male. Despite civil rights success throughout history, African Americans continue to face racial stigmatization and discrimination. Recent events have exposed how black men, in particular, are being marginalized by our justice system. GSP’s Dinzell Frasier and Jafari Ross got together to talk about thoughts and feelings about their identity as a young Black male. “I live in a constant state of paranoia knowing that I could get shot at any moment, not because of any affiliation I have but because of wrong place wrong time.”… -Jafari
  • 4. 4 The Chill Winter Edition, January 2015 4 4 Another example is MLK, Jr. They look at him as a historic person because he was able to see what others weren’t because everyone else was biased. Like Obama, he is doing what no one expected a black person to do. Jafari: Yes, I feel that in general whether it is because of police goals, objectives to incarcerate people, or the notion that black people are more criminal, they get looked at negatively more often. I feel as though, even though Latinos are a big part of the community here, Black people get looked at more simply because of our history in America and how we rose from a position of sub-servantry, a position of being owned, to where one of us can be president, we still get thought of as criminal. Have you ever had an experience where someone judged you because of your skin color? What happened? Dinzell: When I go to work at the rec center the white people there assume that I’m there only for the money. There was a ref at one of the games I was watching and he kept saying, “Oh, for the money right? You’re doing this for the money?” I love to help kids and working with them and that’s why I do it. He never thought that. Jafari: For people that know me, there is more expected of me intellectually. People expect me to be this great academic student. They know how smart I am, they expect it to just translate to the classroom. And it’s not that easy. The way I am, is that I can’t really do something that great if my hearts not in it. I really don’t know how people who don’t know me feel, people to just expect something of me because I’m Black. I really can’t say. People say that I walk around angry and I look mean. But my anger is coming from a place of motivation because I know I have work to do. Have you ever had an experience at school where you were treated differently because of your race? 5 Dinzell: I never encountered an experience at school where I was judged because of my race. If one of my friends who is not my race calls me the n-word, I know it is in a friendly way. Jafari: Right now nothing that I can recall because of my skin color. Strangers might see me, especially the way I dress, and think something. Strangers meet me and ask if I play basketball, but that’s probably the closest thing I’ve heard. People don’t judge who I am as a person based on my skin color, not that I’ve seen. One time a student was calling me the n-word as a joke, but it really sounded racist. I don’t like to be violent, but it bothered me. He’s coming out of a place of ignorance. He didn’t feel like he was being racist, but I really wanted him to know that if it wasn’t me, if he was on Bart for instance, his life would have been in danger. How does it feel to be Black in Oakland? Dinzell: It feels like a free for all match on Call of Duty. Every man for himself. It feels like you have so many doubters and so many people who don’t want to see you do good. Every person I talk to in my neighborhood has told me that their teachers and parents have told them to settle for what they are doing now, and to not expect more. Jafari: There are times when it feels nice, to know the culture that we have. Oakland is beautiful, but it has more potential. I live in a constant state of paranoia knowing that I could get shot at any moment, not because of any affiliation I have but because of wrong place wrong time. Or If I see someone who I don’t know, and I look at him wrong, and he happened to have a gun on him, my life could be over. 6 How does it feel to be Black in light of all of the injustices happening? Dinzell: I feel like I can get shot by a White person and it wouldn’t be taken as heavily. I’m not scared, but I’m paranoid to make the wrong move. I feel like the protests are not gonna do anything. I feel like they’re trying to change things in a fast manner and I don’t thinks it’s gonna work. My way is to become the system, so that you can change the system. Jafari: Right now I feel this is the person time to be black because there are certain civil rights events going on and forcing us to see injustice. African American, Latino, and even White teenagers who might come from a place of poverty, I hope it motivates them to see that there is work to be done. The whole gang sh-- needs to stop. The only way it’s gonna change, all of Oakland needs to come together to stop this. This is the only way we are gonna get significant change to happen. We have to get off the freeways in protests and get into the communities and start changing amongst ourselves. We need to unite. We have potential, the Black Panthers were born here. And that just came from two dudes at Merritt College reading people their rights when cops pulled them over. We gotta come together. What do you like about being Black? Dinzell: I like being unique. I like having some kind of taste of being who I am. I like proving people wrong and feeling powerful because I am not doing what a “typical” black person does and I’m trying to go to college and become part of the system to improve the system. Jafari: I think I like the challenge. I like how the reason why even though it sucks that we aren’t in positions of power, when one of us succeeds the entire community is proud. Like if me and Dinzell met Obama, we’d give him some dap instead of a handshake. Being a Black Male Continued… “My way is to become the system, so that you can change the system...” -Dinzell
  • 5. 5 The Chill Winter Edition, January 2015 5 1 How does it feel to be Black at GSP? Jafari: It’s pretty cool. I feel as though as Black people we bring a different aspect to the culture. To have Black people here we are part of the mix we keep it from being strictly a Latino school, we add another ethnic group and we help mix communities together. If this were another school you probably wouldn’t see the small group of Black students hanging out with Latinos, there’d probably be racial tension. Since going here, I’ve learned Spanish…not just because of class, but because of my Mexican homies speaking Spanish to me. And in return, I be myself and be cool. Dinzell: I feel comfortable. I feel special I guess. I feel equal as everybody else. What do you think people should know about Black people? Dinzell: I think they should know that we are only the way that we are because people have forced us to be the way that we are. In poverty, They expect us to be normal and happy interactive with each other when we have to fight over food and jobs, you know, we don’t have to fight over, but in our brains we think we have to do whatever it is to survive. Some people think money is a way to survive, some people think females is, etc. To me, it’s all mind games and brainwash. I’m privileged. I know I am. I don’t have to think about my mom doing drugs, or brother hanging out with the wrong people. I can come to school with a clear mind and really think and observe society because my mom has carved my brain into thinking a certain way. She’s a lot of the reason that I think the way I think, outside the box. I don’t have to worry about my survival in the same ways as other Black people might. Jafari: That Black people are strong. Even if the individual isn’t, it’s in our genes from our ancestors to be strong and great people. We have a duty to our ancestors who worked hard and been oppressed, to not mess that up. Even if we have someone in our history who didn’t do as well as they could, you gotta change that. We owe it to ourselves. Why not get that degree, take a chance. Even if you fail, you gave it your best shot, and you can still try again. The greatest people in the 2 world, like Michael Jordan, he didn’t just wake up and be great, he was in the gym practicing every day. Ronaldihno, one of the greatest soccer players ever, he worked hard and practiced his skill in order to become one of the best soccer players in the world. We have to stop idolizing rappers and start idolizing revolutionaries. What problems are Black people facing and how are these issues impacting/affecting the Black community. Dinzell: I don’t want to say the typical stuff like drugs, because it’s more in our mental state. A lot of black people have to be focused on their survival. I can think about my future, long-term. I can think about planning my future for my daughter and myself. Jafari: Systemic oppression. After slavery and all that, the government basically like… well drugs came into Oakland through the government. The government put guns in the hood, put drugs in the hood, just to make money. I think the effects of that are the biggest problems. I mean think about it. People are walking around Oakland with AK- 47s. Where do you get that? There are no stores to buy that. We have to get away from that because we are better than that. In ten years, when you’re 27, do you think the same issues will be impacting Black people? Do you think things will have improved/gotten worse? Dinzell: If we don’t eventually become the system, it’s gonna get worse. If we don’t become what we are living---the police, the people in power---than it’s gonna get worse. If we keep giving other people money, like companies, Jordan’s, McDonald’s, it’s keeping us from putting that money towards our education. They (some black people) more focused on being the boss in Oakland (in the streets) instead of a boss in the United States. Jafari: I want them to get better, but they won’t get better unless we get together as a community and better ourselves. That’s life, you have to work for it. You have to earn it. And until we do that, things are gonna be the same. So you gotta work. Continued… Dinzell: Why do you say “is it because I’m black?” Darreus: Strictly for fun Dinzell: Why do you think that Black people get looked at differently than other ethnicities and races? Darreus: Because they was always looked at us worthless Dinzell: How do you think people view because you are Black? Darreus: People think that all Black people are talented and have some type of special ability Dinzell: Have you ever had an experience where someone judged you because of your skin color? Darreus: Yes, some white dude blamed me for breaking his window and yet I never seen him or his window ever Dinzell: How does it feel to be Black in Oakland? Darreus: I feel pressure and that I could be killed at any moment. Dinzell: How does it feel to be Black at GSP? Darreus: It feels very prejudice Dinzell: What do you like about being Black? Darreus: The genetics, being tall, athletic, etc. Dinzell: What do you think people should know about Black people? Darreus: We’re the same as other races, only difference is the personality! Real talk with the Fraziers “Is it because I’m Black?” An interview with Darreus Frazier by Dinzell Frazier.
  • 6. 6 The Chill Winter Edition, January 2015 6 Try it out! Follow thisformatandwrite your ownpoem to speak againstthe stereotypes! JustbecauseI’m____. Doesn’tmean____. Doesn’tmean____. Doesn’tmean___. Iam___.I Just because... Just  because  I’m  black   Doesn’t  mean  I  have  short  hair   Doesn’t  mean  I’m  ghetto   Doesn’t  mean  I  eat  chicken   I  am  a  living  human     Just  because  I’m  a  little  sister   Doesn’t  mean  I  don’t  have  responsibility   Doesn’t  mean  I’m  a  little  kid   Doesn’t  mean  I’m  not  as  smart  as  my  older  siblings   I  am  a  responsible  person     By:  Anonymous     Just  because  I’m  a  girl     Doesn’t  mean  I  have  to  look  nice   Doesn’t  mean  I  have  to  impress  anybody   Doesn’t  mean  have  to  do  girl  stuff   I  am  myself.     Just  because  I  was  raised  by  an  Arab   Doesn’t  mean  I’m  Arab   Doesn’t  mean  I  have  to  cover  up   Doesn’t  mean  I  have  to  marry  at  a  young  age   I  am  Independent     Just  because  I’m  quiet     Doesn’t  mean  I  don’t  have  an  opinion     Doesn’t  mean  I  can’t  stand  up  for  myself   Doesn’t  mean  I’m  not  outgoing   I  am  my  own  person.     Just  because  I’m  honest   Doesn’t  mean  I’m  rude   Doesn’t  mean  I’m  being  mean   Doesn’t  mean  I’m  not  kind   I’m  just  being  truthful   By:  Anonymous   Identity poems by members of the 8th grade girls group Just  because  I’m  black   Doesn’t  mean  I  eat  fried  chicken   Doesn’t  mean  I  have  short  hair   Doesn’t  mean  I  kill  white  people   I  am  a  regular  person!     Just  because  I  am  a  teen  mom   Doesn’t  mean  I  am  a  whore   Doesn’t  mean  I  am  rude   Doesn’t  mean  I  am  irresponsible   I  am  a  student!     Just  because  I  am  quiet   Doesn’t  mean  you  can  push  me  around   Doesn’t  mean  I  don’t  speak  my  mind   Doesn’t  mean  I  am  the  nerdy  kid   I  am  a  friendly  person!     Just  because  I  am  truthful   Doesn’t  mean  I  am  mean   Doesn’t  mean  everybody  hates  me   Doesn’t  mean  I  am  a  bully   I  am  a  person  of  truth!     By:  Anjel-­‐  Marie  Hale     Just  because  I’m  a  daughter     Doesn’t  mean  I  have  to  follow  in  my  brother’s  steps   Doesn’t  mean  I’m  always  going  to  have  good  grades   Doesn’t  mean  I’m  always  going  to  be  a  great  example   I’m  a  human  being     Just  because  I’m  skinny     Doesn’t  mean  I’m  weak   Doesn’t  mean  I’m  always  going  to  be  like  this   Doesn’t  mean  you’re  better  than  me   I  am  Angela  Lerma     Just  because  I’m  a  girl     Doesn’t  mean  I’m  going  to  be  a  housewife     Doesn’t  mean  I’m  going  to  let  go  of  myself   I’m  always  going  to  be  me!     By:  Angela  Lerma-­‐Olivera     How you feel about yourself today has partly to do with the messages you receive from your family, friends, the media, and even yourself. The way you interpret these messages help you feel good or bad about who you are. When you identify, explore, and evaluate these messages, you can decide which you want to keep and which you don’t. You can learn ways to talk to yourself that help you develop healthy self-esteem.
  • 7. 7 The Chill Winter Edition, January 2015 7 Poems by GSP’s 9th and 10th graders “Where I am from…”
  • 8. The Chill Winter Edition, January 2015 Aye Bruh, I’ve been feeling weird lately. It’s like I don’t know who I am anymore. I just want to fit in with my friends but I want to be my own person too. What do I do? From, Lost Bruh Need Advice? Write down your questions and bring it to Ms. Liz at the front office to put in the “Aye Bruh” secret folder. REMEMBER- No Names! All letters should be kept anonymous! Dear Lost Bruh, You are not alone. Defining who you are can be complicated. There are difficult and confusing choices at every step of the way, such as trying to be unique while still being accepted and “fitting in”. First thing you can do is to ask yourself this: Who do you want to be? How do you want others to think of you? As an adolescent, you now have the ability to explore and establish your individual identity. While it will always feel good to gain approval from others, it is also important to set one’s own goals and find pleasure and feelings of accomplishment in reaching them. Think of characteristics, morals, and values that define you and use them to help guide you through exploring new opportunities! Have fun and remember: “Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You”- Dr. Seuss. Aye Bruh! Beginning a new year can be a great time for all of us to revisit our commitments and goals. This is a time where many of us make resolutions in hopes of getting rid of bad habits and making positive changes in our lives. Here are some tips to help you create your own resolutions and how to put them into action for success! DETERMINE WHAT YOU WANT TO ACHIEVE: Evaluate your activities to determine what you want to accomplish 1. 2. 3. SET SPECIFIC, REALISTIC, AND MEASURABLE GOALS: Identify who, what, when where and why. Setting realistic and measureable goals will help you work towards achieving them. STAY POSITIVE: Changes wont happen overnight. Maintaining a good attitude while accomplishing your goals will help you to stay motivated. What are your New Year Resolutions? 1 My resolution is to write notes to my family and friends for no reason to let them know that I care about them. – Ms. Sabia 2 1. Dance. I would like to learn a new dance form/technique this year 2.) 2. Travel. I would like to travel 2 places in the country and 1 place outside of the country by Dec 31. 2015 3.) 3. SAVE!!! I would like to see growth in my finances this year. 4.) 4. Love. I expect to love everyone selflessly & sincerely. 5.) 5. Be the best version of myself possible. 6.) 6. Build my brand Nekki B. styles and a consistent clientele in California – Ms. Boult -­‐M   My goal is to follow through on every commitment I make, and to make realistic plans. I’m late a lot J - Mr. Nolting