All posts by Kimberly Pena

The Blue Devils Go Cold Against Lafayette


by Kimberly Pena

The Central Connecticut State University Women’s Lacrosse team was winded out by Lafayette University, with a 17-6 loss on a cold Saturday afternoon, dropping their record to 0-4.

Six different Blue Devils scored for the team, including senior Jessica Giangarra, who had a goal and two assists to lead the CCSU offense. Sophomore goalkeeper Jackie Branthover posted eight saves for the Blue Devils.

In the first half, the Leopards came storming out to build a 5-1 lead with just about seven minutes into the game. Amanda Case, Emma Novick, Jane Kirby, Kirsten Wilhelmsen and Emily Wingate had a goal a piece for LU.

Junior Kylie Sullivan got the Blue Devils back on the board with an assist by Giangarra to cut the score 5-2.

But, the Leopards did not slow down and were on fire after CCSU’s goal. The Leopards went on a 6-0 goal run, capped off by LU Hannah Davey’s 12th goal of the season giving Lafayette a 10-2 lead, with about 14 minutes left in the half.

“I think we just let them put some balls in the back of the net right away,” said Lacrosse team Head Coach Princess Livingston. “It kind of just deflated our confidence, and so it was hard for us to climb back in it. I think that’s what happened right away.”

The cold did not help the CCSU girls either, according to the players. It disoriented the team for much of the game offensively and defensively.

“I think the weather got to us,” said senior Marissa Soto. “It got to our hands and then let it get to our heads. I think everyone started sinking down and started showing it.”

Soto also posted a goal with 12:19 remaining in the half, cutting the lead 10-3; it was her ninth goal of the season.

The Leopards then went on another 6-0 run to extend their lead 16-3, including three from LU’s Jane Kirby, who posted five goals in the game to lead the Leopards.

“Going into it, Lafayette we knew was a very good team,” said Soto. “I don’t want to say I knew we were going to lose because, I will never say that. But, they are a very good program. I didn’t expect to come out here and shove goals in the back of their net, then stop them right away with defense.”

The second half was pretty quiet for both teams as CCSU scored three goals by Giangarra, freshmen Megan Szawlowski and freshmen Cameron Ruberti. Meanwhile, LU only scored once after a monstrous display in the first half.

“We still have a lot of games left, so we’re going to have to have a good week of practice and get a win on Friday,” said Senior captain Kelsey Murphy. “One game at a time.”

The Blue Devils will play their third straight home game on March 10, hosting St. Mary’s at 1 p.m. on Arute Field.


It’s Discrimination

A Virginia male transgender student is seeking to use a school bathroom that associates with his gender identity. However, the Supreme Court has sent his case back to the lower courts, delaying his search for justice.

Gavin Grimm, the 17-year-old student in the middle of the national debate, is wondering what the huge issue is regarding him using the bathroom that aligns with his male identity.

“People expect me to say that using the boys’ bathroom was super magical and just the best time of my life,” Grimm said in an interview with CNN. “But I was just using the bathroom. I went in and left.”

Grimm wanted to feel comfortable using the boys’ bathroom, but he couldn’t feel further from that at this point.

The decision by the Supreme Court to send the case back down means it will go back to a court of appeals. Then likely removing the chance that the Supreme Court will hear it this term.

Initially, the federal appeals court ruled in favor of Grimm, citing the Obama administration’s support of Title IX as it pertains to transgender rights. However, the Trump administration has since revoked the support of this protection.

In an interview with CNN, Grimm’s attorney, Joshua Block, said of the setback, “This is a detour, not the end of the road, and we’ll continue to fight for Gavin and other transgender people to ensure that they are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.”

The issue is not only about Grimm – it is about giving people who are transgender the rights that they deserve without question.

In situations like Grimm’s, policies should play a supportive role in accommodating the needs of transgender individuals. Across the country, there are people just like Grimm that feel insecure after hearing issues like this.

“Last April, a federal appeals court ruled in favor of Grimm, who fought a school board policy that denied him access to the boys’ bathroom but allowed him the use of recently constructed single-stall unisex restrooms,” reported CNN.

A person who is transgender should not be restricted from using their bathroom that they feel most comfortable in, or only single-stall unisex restrooms. Limiting where people who are transgender can use the restroom is discriminative and simply unethical.

Discriminatory acts seem to be a reoccurring theme in this country, except the victims are always changing. One would think, limiting a particular demographics access to public restrooms is simply bigotry and should not be tolerated in a democratic society.

The sex a person is classified under should be the defining factor of where an individual should be allowed to use the restroom. All transgender individuals should be allowed to use public accommodations as they see fit for themselves, and no individuals or government power should restrict, limit or have a say in the matter.

The steps back the presidential administration has taken in regards to transgender rights is discriminatory. People who are transgender should be able to feel comfortable with their sex classification at home and in public, and incidents like Grimm’s highlight how the country has regressed.

The Biggest Splashes of the NBA Trade Deadline

by Kyle Flynn

The NBA’s All Star Weekend has come and gone, and the second half of the regular season gets underway again on Thursday. The days that follow the weekend’s slate of activities are dedicated to one thing and one thing only (other than practice of course), TRADE RUMORS.

In this social media age, everyone and their mother has a trade rumor that they’ve “heard”, that will most likely never come true. even has their own “NBA Trade Machine,” where fans can arrange different hypothetical trades that would work within the league’s rules. Though it is a fun thing to fool around with for some time, it does not account for the most important piece: the human element.

Sacramento Kings center Demarcus Cousins, and if you are unfamiliar with him, he is one of the very best centers in the league. Demarcus is considered difficult to handle at times, as he does not have a very great temper and leads the NBA in technical fouls, among a list of other complaints those in basketball hierarchy have about him. Although he may have a troublesome behavior, he could still be the key piece to a potential championship contending team.

Cousins has been rumored in trade talks for quite some time now, and Sunday night he was the first player to be moved before the deadline. “Boogie” as he goes by to many, was dealt to the New Orleans Pelicans to team up with fellow All Star Anthony Davis, in what could be one of the premier duo’s the NBA has to offer. The biggest part of this story is about who he was traded for. The Kings in return got Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans and Langston Galloway, a 2017 first and second round pick. Three players and two picks and still, people are calling this one of the worst deals in history for Sacramento.

Many rumored trades for superstars Paul George (Pacers) and Jimmy Butler (Bulls), but both players stayed in their respective organizations. The Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics were potential landing spots for both players, and the two teams headlined pretty much the entire week. Because the Lakers cleaned house and hired Hall of Famer Magic Johnson as president of basketball operations, and because the Celtics have so many assets, that could be dealt for a player that could give them a chance to make the finals. The Celtics ended up making no trades, but the Lakers picked up Corey Brewer and a 2017 first round pick from the Houston Rockets in exchange for Lou Williams. The Lakers also traded Marcelo Huertas for Tyler Ennis, in a second deal with the Rockets on Magic Johnsons first day as boss.

The biggest winner of the deadline was the Toronto Raptors, adding Serge Ibaka from the Orlando Magic and P.J. Tucker from the Phoenix Suns. In return, the Magic get Terrence Ross and a 2017 first round pick. While the Suns get Jared Sullinger and two future second round picks. Ibaka is a huge addition to a team hoping to make a run at the Eastern Conference title, which they lost to Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016.

Other notable trades were: Philadelphia 76ers Nerlens Noel to the Dallas Mavericks for Andrew Bogut, Justin Anderson and a 2017 first round pick; Chicago Bulls Doug McDermott, Taj Gibson and a 2018 second round pick for Oklahoma City Thunders Cam Payne, Anthony Morrow and Joffrey Lauvergne; Philadelphia 76ers Ersan Ilyasova to the Atlanta Hawks for Tiago Splitter and a 2017 second round pick; and lastly, the Washington Wizards swap Andrew Nicholson, Marcus Thornton and a 2017 first round pick for Brooklyn Nets Chris McCullough and Bogdan Bogdanovic.

Building Future Women Leaders

by Cindy Pena

Elect Her held a training session on campus on Feb. 24, to encourage the women of Central Connecticut State University to run for leadership positions both on and off campus.

Elect Her is a national program that helps build skills through a four-hour session that teaches the importance of networking, creating an elevator speech and building confidence. With the help of the Ruthe Boyea Women Center, CCSU was selected to host the event by the American Association of University Women and Running Start last Friday.

This year’s turnout was a success according to Jacqueline Cobbina-Boivin, director of the Women’s Center.

“Turnout was very good because of the number of students that showed up and the diversity, not just with majors and class standing, but also with race and interest of each young woman,” said Cobbina-Boivin. “So, from what we get from the national Washington D.C. office, it appears that they are pleased with us.”

“The outcome is apparent in this room with all these women who are speaking to each other, trading contacts and making new friends,” said Lauren Foligno, intern and program adviser at Student Activities and Leadership Department.

Kate Farrar, the facilitator of the event, accentuated that the goal was to inspire and motivate more collegiate women to see themselves as leaders and to learn more about being a political leader. She said that, with the success of the event, they achieved their goal.

“We had incredible women in the room who were open to learning from one another and learning that they can make a difference by being involved,” said Farrar, executive director of the Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund.  “When you look at the things at the end of the conference, what the women really did learn, they did not only learn about themselves and their strengths, but how in campus they can make a difference.”

New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart made an appearance that inspired many students. Radeana Hastings, an international studies student participating in Elect Her, was one of them.

“I knew nothing about the mayor, but when I came in here and heard her speak, I felt more confident and felt like just because I don’t know someone who has a political stance like her, I don’t have to do things alone. I can always get help,” said Hastings.

One of the many hands-on activities they participated in was creating an outline for an elevator speech. An elevator speech is a clear and brief introduction about yourself. Afterwards, they shared their speeches with other participants and received feedback on how to improve it. Hastings said that these activities were helpful.

“The group dynamics stuff where it was like sharing our ideas was good because even though we are just writing something down I didn’t think we were going to share it. Sharing it also made me able to hear what other people are thinking,” said Hastings.

According to the Center for American Women and Politics, nationally women make up 19.4 percent of the 535 seats in Congress and 21 percent of the 100 seats in the Senate. In Connecticut, the number rises to 27.3 percent of women making up the state legislature.

Elect Her hopes to change these statistics.

“By making young women aware that they have what it takes to be a politician, they can start running for student government, they can also start by being elected officials at their clubs and organizations,” said Cobbina-Boivin. “But not just stop there, to go on to the next level to be on the school board, be elected to the local government. They have a voice and their voices should be heard.”

Jorge Ramos Is an Activist, Not a Journalist


Image result for jorge ramos

by Kimberly Pena

Since President Donald Trump took his stance on immigration during his campaign, Univision news anchor Jorge Ramos has converted from a journalist into an activist.

There is no doubt that Americans can clearly see what Ramos stands for and what his feelings towards the president are. As a journalist, one of the requirements for the job is to be unbiased and objective. The people who consume your work should not know your opinions when doing your work.

Just recently in Premios Lo Nuestro, a Spanish music award show, Jorge  Ramos was given the platform to give a  vigorous speech for Latinos to come together to take a stand against Trump.

“There are a lot of people who don’t want us here and want to build a wall,” said Ramos. “But this is also our country. It’s not theirs, it’s our country. And we’re not leaving. There are nearly 60 million Latinos in the United States, and thanks to us, the U.S. eats, grows, sings and dances. When they attack us, we’re not going to sit down, we’re not going to shut up and we’re not going to leave.”

I am not saying that his beliefs are wrong, because everyone is entitled to believing and standing up for whatever they would like to. However, Ramos is just not any ordinary American citizen; he has a very powerful position in the Latino community and is a notable figure who is seen on television on a daily basis.

He should not be going on national television crying for a protest against the president and then the next day, expect people to think that he will be doing a fair story about the current administration. Ramos spends his day criticizing Trump on television and sometimes putting his personal biases out there.

His daughter, Paola Ramos, held a working position in Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Although this may not be the reason why Jorge Ramos feels as the way he does, it certainly can be an impact.

As a Latina, I would not turn to Jorge Ramos for a true news story. He has set no limits for himself in what he puts out there about his beliefs and I have no doubt in my mind that his work is biased when it comes to the president.

This is a serious problem because he has a powerful voice in the Latino community. It is left unclear on whether or not he is feeding his viewers the truth or just his own objectiveness. What good does this do the Hispanic community? He certainly has the ability to influence the way the Hispanic community thinks with his personal stance.  Is that real journalism? The answer is no.

No matter how you feel towards an issue or a person, your work as a journalist must be objective and truthful. There is no justification in mixing your personal intentions with your profession, especially if you are a journalist.

If he really wants to protest and be a voice for the Latino community, then he should quit his job as an anchor and go outside and protest with everyone else, not in the newsroom.

Jorge Ramos, you are not a journalist — you are an activist.

New Britain Hosts Its First Annual Snow Day

by Cindy Pena

Sledding, hot chocolate, music, a bonfire and more all contributed to the success of the first annual Snow Day in New Britain.

The city of New Britain’s Parks, Recreation and Community Services department and Mayor Erin Stewart hosted the free event last Friday at Walnut Hill Park from 4 to 8 p.m.

Snow Day was created and founded in the ideas of the annual Winter Fest which was held previously at Stanley Quarter Park. Erik Barbieri, director of the Parks department, told the New Britain Herald that its inconvenient location and unexpected warm weather led for them to reinvent the festival to Snow Day at Walnut Hill Park.

The big hills in Walnut Hill and the two snow storms the prior weeks made it an ideal location for sledding.

Wendell Mckenney, a student at a local public school, says he enjoyed the sledding the most out of all the activities.

“My mom really likes to go to fun activities, so we thought maybe this would be a good place to go to, to have fun. We actually invited some other people to come here, too,” said Mckenney. “The sledding is very fun.”

A popular attraction at the event was the ice sculptures carved by professional sculptor, Kurt Sato. He says that he enjoys giving back to the community through his art.

“I’ve been donating time to the city of New Britain for 20 years. I do this every year for them like I did in the Winter Fest. I make different things from them, it’s fun and I enjoy it,” said Sato, who took three and a half hours to complete the sculpture.

The goal was to bring families from New Britain and neighboring towns to get out and enjoy the snow. Ronald Black, a physical education major at CCSU and staff member at the Parks and Rec Department, said the city of New Britain accomplished that goal using social media to connect to the people.

Mayor Erin Stewart posted the event on her Facebook page, which got 254 shares, 256 reactions, and 51 comments. The New Britain Parks and Recreation Department also posted the event and got 287 reactions and 327 shares.

“In the past years, we had something called Winter Fest and we didn’t always have the best turnout. Through social media, it’s been a pretty good turnout,” said Black, who has been working with the Parks and Rec Department for 13 years since, he was 16 years old. “Lots of New Britain people and I heard people from Berlin had been coming, and Newington. So, a lot of surrounding areas been coming to something that’s pretty simple.”

Black emphasized that, because there was something for everyone and the overall turnout was high, the event was a success.

“There is sledding for the kids, hot chocolate and a DJ. It’s pretty awesome,” said Black.

For further information on events in New Britain, you can visit the New Britain Parks and Recreation website at or visit them on their Facebook page.

Flying Your Way To A Future

by Alonso Velasquez  & Kimberly Pena

Studying abroad does not only allow students to explore the world, but also helps students to graduate and seek employment after college, according to data from Central Connecticut State University’s Center for International Education. 

According to a CIE PowerPoint presentation, 97 percent of students who study abroad find employment within 12 months of graduation, compared to only 49 percent of those who do not study abroad. 

That is why the CIE found it extremely important to still host its Study Abroad Fair, even after being postponed due to a snowstorm. The CCSU Study Abroad fair took place at the Bellin Gallery from 2-5 p.m. on Feb. 14. Despite the delay, the event went on without major changes or cancellations by presenters.

The goal of the fair according to Erin-Leigh Beecher, Coordinator of International Education, was “to encourage students to have an international experience while they do their undergrad or graduate program at CCSU.”

Jayline Johnson, a CCSU junior, believes studying abroad benefits students in variety of ways, and there is no limit to what one can learn in a new country.

“I think studying abroad is a good opportunity for someone to experience a new culture.” said Johnson. “It is a good opportunity to learn a new language, or if you already know the language, to get better at it.” 

The fair had a variety of options for whatever type of traveler you are, ranging from two week programs to year long ones. For those wanting to stay in a foreign university with language not being a barrier, there is the University of Hertfordshire in England. This is a semester year long program where students can hop on a train and be in London within 20 minutes.

Those who want to travel around a country, there is a two week summer program in Vietnam where students focus on exploring Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, where the economic centers of the rapidly growing Tiger economy.

Also for those seeking an adventure thrill, there is a joint trip to Botswana, Namibia and Zambia, where students will lodge in tents as they explore the center of game in Africa.

There are about over 10 study abroad programs ready to embark their travels this upcoming spring break, such countries include; Spain, Denmark, Peru, South Africa and several others.

In regards to the CIE PowerPoint, students who study abroad develop cross-cultural skills and understanding, and develop the ability to reconcile their own and competing perspectives on global issues.

According to CIE, a student is 19 percent more likely to graduate from college if he/she studies abroad.

“Study abroad increases the six year graduation rate by 19 percent and the four year graduation rate by 15 percent,” said on the PowerPoint.

With that data, CIE enforces the idea that a student should at least study abroad once during their college years to expose themselves to different scenarios, and the ability to build their skills in the work field.

Only one percent of college students in America study abroad. CIE wants Central students to view studying abroad as not as an expense, but as an investment.

CCSU student Johnny Collado, talked about his experience studying abroad for a year in Salamanca. He picked the trip over buying a new car, and he has yet to regret that decision.

In places like Salamanca, students can decide between staying in the university or rooming with others in the city. In Salamanca and Kansai Gaidai, students can choose for how long they want their stay to be for, ranging from a few weeks to a full year.

For further information on how to study abroad, you can contact CIE at (860)-832-2040 or visit them in Barnard Hall, room 123 from Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

A Taste From The Past


by Kimberly Pena

For over a century, Avery’s Beverage has proven to be a soda company that has flourished by using its old manufacturing methods. Sherman F. Avery began making soda in a red barn on Corbin Ave, New Britain, in the summer of 1904. Ever since, Avery’s has continued to produce its organic sodas the same way.

The company starts by making its soda with 750 pounds of real cane sugar mixed with water. It then adds flavoring to the syrup mix, which is poured into the bottles with carbonated water. Shake the bottle and the soda is ready to go.

As simple as this may sound, it is hard labor. All the machines are old-fashioned and manual. Yet, the employees feel it’s an honor to work in such an historic barn.

Manny Ramirez has worked at Avery’s for five years as its soda labeler. In an average day, he labels from 1,440 to 3,000 soda bottles. He loves doing it.

“I love working here,” said Ramirez with a smile. “I can’t really ask for nothing better. Customers come in here asking for you, making you feel right at home. Not many people my age can say they do what I do.”

When you first walk into the business, it does not look like a contemporary store. The lights are dimmed, but the countless colorful soda bottles brighten the room. On the far right side, the company’s machines are laid out, and the bottles clink against one another as they are being sterilized for production use.

The barn’s original appearance has not changed. It seems as if you are entering a store of the past.

“Coming in here is like coming to a time capsule, like whoa, it’s pretty cool,” said Ramirez.

Avery’s Beverage only location is here in New Britain, however, the company sells its soda around the United States and Canada. It typically sells to candy shops, restaurants and retail stores such as, Stew Leonard’s.

According to Rob Metz, the current owner of Avery’s Beverage, the company offers more than 50 flavors ranging from blue raspberry to birch beer.

Customers from all around love the soda and try their best to come buy whenever they can.

“It is the only soda company that has organic soda,” said Anthony Franco, a regular Avery’s customer. “I try to come here four times a week or as much as I can.”

Single soda bottles are sold at one dollar, six-packs are sold for five dollars and a whole case containing 24 bottles is sold at $16.

Every Saturday the company invites children and adults to come into the business and make their own soda. A minimum of five people and a maximum of 20 people can come in and invent their own flavors and name them. Afterward, they bring three soda bottles and their own soda maker’s apron back home. It costs $11.50 per person.

Much of the sodas and names the children have come up with has been used for the business. “Dog Drool” and Toxic Brain-Juice” are a couple of the notable sodas that have come about from this Saturday program.

If you are interested in planning a visit, Avery’s Beverage is located at 520 Corbin Ave, New Britain, CT 06052. To make an appointment to invent your own soda, you can contact them at (860) 224-0830.

It’s a Family Affair

by Kimberly Pena

When President Donald Trump took office, his family was there standing beside him, every step of the way. But now that move seems to backfire on the president’s family. Major retail companies are stepping down from their associations with the First Family as public backlash is starting to heat up.

Nordstrom is one of the latest retail companies to retract their association with the First Family, as they announced that they would be dropping Ivanka’s Trump clothing line. Nordstrom said that they were calling it quits with Ivanka’s clothing line due to the plunging number of sales, while also claiming that it had nothing to do with her being the daughter of the controversial president.

Do we all really buy that? There has been a firestorm going on in social media calling for a boycott on Trump’s merchandise. #Grabyourwallet has been on the rise in social media to propel buyers to boycott retailers that sell merchandise from Trump’s businesses. The boycott’s purpose is to attack the Trump family where the protesters think it hurts them most: their money.

Following Nordstrom’s decision, Kmart and Sears also made known that they will be dropping her line as well. Neiman Marcus Group also announced its decision to stop selling Ivanka Trump’s jewelry line on its website. Belk, Inc. also said it will no longer sell Ivanka Trump items on its website.

This does not include the nonstop public protests that have been going on in the streets against Trump. This alone is a propelling factor in why major retail companies will cut ties with the Trump name.

But is that right? Just because Ivanka is the daughter of one of the most controversial figures in U.S. history, it is not justifiable for companies to cut ties with her. She is her own person and has nothing to do with the decisions that her father makes. It is unfair treatment to hurt her name because she stands by her father; it is her dad, after all.

It is undeniable that some Americans do not understand how to differentiate Trump’s political influence from his family affairs. His political decisions should not negatively damage his family businesses. Yet it is fair to say companies do have the right to make decisions for and determine what is best for their corporations.

It is just disheartening to see how politics have come to affect every aspect of American life and the negativity that has come out of this wild presidential election. Only time will tell the long term effects Trump as president will do to not only this country, but to his family.

Protest Turned Riot Deepens the Divide

by Christopher Caceres

In an effort to end racial segregation and discrimination against African Americans and to secure legal recognition and federal protection of the citizenship rights stated in the Constitution, Martin Luther King Jr. established a non negotiable set of rules for protesters eager to join the movement. Predicated on the ideals of nonviolence, protesters had to refrain from violence, abstain from instigating violence and, above all, promote a message of tolerance and love.

“Nonviolence is power, but it is the right and good use of power,” said Dr. King.

Last Wednesday night, students and local residents gathered at the University of California, Berkeley to oppose the scheduled on-campus appearance of a Breitbart News editor and infamous right-wing provocateur, Milo Yiannopoulos. The group threw rocks at police, assaulted fellow protesters, setoff “commercial grade fireworks,” smashed windows and threw Molotov cocktails.

From Washington, to Portland, to Oakland, protests have been outlets for a minority of radicals looking to perpetuate hate and violence under the belief that the end justifies the means.

The rioters were so consumed with hate that they attacked individuals with similar ideologies but different methodologies, forgoing progress for intolerance. What started as a peaceful protest became a riot, undermining the protesters message and putting an already vulnerable community of minorities at risk to backlash.

“When you use violence, two things happen,” said Pamela Oliver, a University of Wisconsin-Madison sociology professor who studies protests. “One is it justifies repression; and two, there’s many people who are kind of moderates who might be sympathetic, but who tend to turn against a movement if it becomes violent.”

Ironically, by preventing Mr. Yiannopoulos from speaking, they stripped him of his first amendment right, and by doing so became no better than the government and ideologies they so adamantly reject. As posed in a New York Times article, “What does this campus [UC Berkeley] represent if it doesn’t respect the rights of people with whom many of us disagree?”

Regardless of where you stand on the political spectrum, if you cross the line into a place where conflict and violence become an acceptable means of achieving your objectives, you lose credibility and commit to a world no better than the one you are in now.

What if a Trump supporter dressed as a Nazi had been killed? Would that have been acceptable? And if one is acceptable, what about two? If it is acceptable to take the lives of two people on the basis that they are intolerant racists, and it’s ultimately for the greater good, is it okay if a stray civilian gets killed in the process? And if losing one civilian life is okay, is three? There is a great distance between protesting for your beliefs and actively putting lives at risk to bring visibility to a cause. Martin Luther King understood that. Violence begets violence. Once you decide to step into a world where conflict and violence are an acceptable means to an end, there is no progress, only regression.

Civil disobedience is fundamental to a country’s growth. By peacefully challenging the status quo, you force citizens to view the world through an empathic lens. It defies the establishment while maintaining respect, which preserves the dignity and truth of a cause. To deviate from this principle is counterproductive and small.

To the Berkeley rioters and like-minded individuals, there’s a name for those who, through the use of violence, terror and fear attempt to achieve political, religious or ideological aims: terrorists.

Instead, look towards the Women’s Rights protesters and the Standing Rock protesters. They let their courage speak for them and for the merit of their cause. They are choosing to do what’s right over what’s easy. They are implementing a nonviolent approach established by their predecessors. There is an undervalued bravery in choosing peace over the instant gratification of rage and aggression.

When Rosa Parks refused to move from her seat on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama; when Martin Luther King was beaten and unjustly arrested; when John Lewis had his head bashed in on the Selma bridge; when the Freedom Riders were assaulted almost to death in the South, they didn’t attack their attackers. They let what is right speak for itself, and by doing so changed the world. Their fundamental ideals captured the attention of the nation and brought about positive radical change.

“The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral; begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. So it goes,” said Dr. King.

The courage not to fight is harder and less satisfying than provoking an opponent. It takes an inner strength few of us possess. The Berkeley rioters may have achieved their immediate goal, but the means by which the rioters went about accomplishing that end deepens our divide by strengthening the notion of “us” and “them” and compromises the ideals this country was founded upon.