Voting is a right

 Kennedy P. Buck | Staff Writer


Fifty-five years ago, the US Congress passed the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which outlawed any discriminatory voting practices. This Act was passed because at the time many Africans Americans couldn’t exercise their right to vote in the southern states without having to answer difficult questions from a literacy test or paying a poll tax that a lot of people could not pay at the time. Many prominent figures, such as Martin Luther King Jr. and John Lewis, fought hard to make sure African Americans gained the right that every citizen should be free to exercise.

Decades later, many African Americans find themselves still fighting for the right to vote. Many find themselves having to deal with unnecessarily long lines, issues with their ballots or the media undermining the importance of voting. Many young Black citizens question the validity of their vote. The answer is yes; your vote does matter. Black voters have always been a major demographic that politicians need in order to truly win an election. Every vote counts, but a Black vote definitely counts.

“African Americans cannot afford not to vote. We must vote for people who have our best interest in mind, heart and soul,” said the Black Voice News reporter Aubry Stone. Stone breaks down why Black citizens should be exercising their right to vote now more than ever in her article Why African Americans Should Vote

“We can’t expect to win with every vote, but if we don’t vote, we can certainly expect to lose,” Stone said. African Americans have had a long history of discrimination, violence and abuse with the judical system. By voting, they can begin to elect people who will truly represent them.

The pandemic has made many people question the purpose of voting even more. Some wonder how safe the polls will be for in-person voting, and some wonder about the accuracy of mail-in voting all together. There are many ways to continue to vote while still being safe. For those who choose to go out to the polls, be sure to sanitize, wear a mask and remain six feet apart when standing in line. For those who simply do not feel safe enough to go out to vote, then mail-in voting and absentee voting is often an option depending on one’s local election laws. 

Before voting, make sure to research who the candidates are and see how they can best serve not only your community but all Americans. This is extremely important because things such as social media have previously influenced which candidate is chosen. If Americans want to see a change, it all begins with voting. If African American votes in this country truly did not matter, they would not make it this hard. Our voices matter, and our votes matter too.

November is more than Thanksgiving

Shirmarie Starks | Staff Writer

The start of November may be important for you because it signifies the soon-to-be arrival of Thanksgiving. However, there are over 122 million reasons to consider November an important month. For 30 days out of the year, there are 122.2 million people living with diabetes or pre-diabetes who are able to bring consistent awareness to a condition that they live with for 365 days a year. Many people know someone who is affected by diabetes, but not many people know the details about this long-lasting condition.

Diabetes, a group of diseases, occurs as a result of the body not being able to properly regulate the levels of glucose (sugar) in the blood. Found in the bloodstream, blood glucose is our main source of energy, and it is directly affected by the foods we eat. Normally, our blood sugar levels rise after we eat, and fall within a few hours because of insulin. Insulin, a hormone produced from the pancreas, is responsible for moving the glucose from the bloodstream into our cells for storage and energy. If insulin is not produced or the cells do not respond to insulin, the blood glucose levels are heightened. When blood sugar levels are abnormally and consistently too high, this can lead to pre-diabetes or one of the three types of diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes occurs when the pancreas produces little to no insulin. This form of diabetes usually appears in children, but it can be diagnosed in adults too. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 5 to10% of people who are diagnosed with diabetes have type 1 diabetes. Currently, there are no treatments available to prevent type 1 diabetes as it is an autoimmune disease. This means that the immune system is attacking the pancreas which results in reduced insulin production. Individuals with type 1 diabetes must take insulin injections every day in order to survive.

Type 2 diabetes is a condition where the pancreas does produce insulin, however, the body’s cells do not react to the insulin effectively. This is commonly referred to as “insulin resistance,” and the CDC notes that between 90 to 95% of diagnosed diabetes cases are type 2. Type 2 diabetics must take insulin injections as needed and this is based on their blood sugar levels. 

In addition to type 1 and type 2 diabetes, there is also another form of diabetes known as “gestational diabetes.” This condition only develops during pregnancy in women who did not have a previous history of diabetes. In the United States, there is an estimated 2-10% of pregnancies that are affected by gestational diabetes. 

Individuals may develop pre-diabetes, which is a condition where the blood sugar levels are high, but not high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. The CDC has stated that 34.5% of the adult US population have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes. With this diagnosis, individuals are advised to change their lifestyle habits in order to prevent type 2 diabetes. Lifestyle changes can include getting regular exercise, eating healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables and losing 5 to 10% of your body weight if you are overweight. 

In the CDC’s 2020 National Diabetes Statistics Report, the data presented an ethnic percentage breakdown of US adults aged 18 and older who were diagnosed with diabetes. In the document, the following percentages were presented: American Indian/Alaska Native (15.1%); Hispanic (12.7%); Black, non-Hispanic (12.1%); Asian (8.0%); and White, non-Hispanic (7.4%). Environmental factors such as the lack of water, stress and unhealthy diets can increase the risk of diabetes. There are also genetic factors that can play a role in diabetes development as some families have a health history of diabetes. Diabetes is known to progress faster in minorities because of these environmental and genetic factors.

According to the Food Drug and Administration, racial and ethnic minorities have a higher burden of diabetes, worse diabetes control, and are more likely to experience complications.

 “I wish that people knew how expensive it is to treat it [diabetes],” said Hampton University student Felicia Davis, a sophomore biology pre-med student. “Medicine is a must when you have diabetes and without it, it could lead to death.” Davis further emphasized how expensive the medication can be, but also how common it is for the medication to be unaffordable for lower class groups. 

People who live with diabetes spend around $16,750 a year on medical expenditures, and about $9,600 of that is causally related to diabetes, as stated by the American Diabetes Association. If the diagnosis is left untreated, more serious complications can occur such as kidney failure, heart-disease and lower-limb amputations. 

As the seventh leading cause of death in the United States, November serves as a reminder to the value of diabetes awareness. Alexandria Witherspoon, a junior psychology pre-med major at Hampton University, says that being aware and supportive of individuals who have diabetes is important, but you should also treat them the same as anyone else. 

“If you have a close friend or family member, educate yourself on the basics of diabetes like signs of high and low blood sugar and how you can help if you notice the symptoms,” said Witherspoon.

It is important to note that although 39.2 million people have diabetes, 7.3 million of those people go undiagnosed and remain untreated, per the CDC. This is common in individuals who have not undergone regular screenings for high blood glucose. During this month, take some time to learn about your personal risk for diabetes or you can sign up to become an advocate for those living with diabetes. Since blue is the color of American Diabetes Awareness Month, one simple advocacy method is wearing a blue shirt to show your solidarity. You could also change your profile pictures to a blue circle which is the official and universal symbol for diabetes. If you do not want to change it for an entire month, consider changing it on November 14 as this is World Diabetes Day. As cases of diabetes rise within the United States and worldwide, make this your November to help make a difference! 

The history and importance of Black horror

Gabrielle Chenault | Lifestyle Section Editor

When most people hear the word “horror movie” they immediately think of paranormal or suspense movies. The horror genre is actually a combination of many subgenres, such as slasher, survival, psychological and comedy horror, which contain a wide range of films. While many of these subgenres house films that are extremely popular, they do foster discriminatory ideas towards African Americans. 

Well-known themes include the African American dying first, sacrificing oneself to save the white protagonist or actually being the villain. Due to wanting to change the position of African Americans in horror, writers like Jordan Peele and Misha Green are helping to recreate Black horror by using magical realism. 

The African American experience in America is like watching a horror film that’s stuck in a loop. The documentary Horror Noire details the history of African Americans in horror films. While younger generations may assume the movie Get Out was the first Black horror film, many writers and actors paved the way for Jordan Peele to have the success that he had. 

According to the documentary Horror Noire, African Americans first appeared in horror films in the 1930s as criminals and monsters. The extremely racist film Birth of a Nation, which was even shown on the White House lawn, had a white man in blackface portraying a Black person who rapes a white woman. It wasn’t until the 1960s that audiences saw a Black protagonist who was educated and made it to the end of the movie. Night of the Living Dead starring Duane Jones centered around his character killing white zombies. This film marks the beginning of changing the narrative of Black people in horror. 

In the 1990s we began to see more African Americans appear in revenge and comedy horror. One of the most famous revenge horror movies, Candyman, starring the award winning actor Tony Todd. This movie was based on the Cabrini-Green projects in Chicago. The film followed a young Black painter during the 1800s who had a white girlfriend. Her family found out, tortured and killed him. He then returns from the dead to torture the citizens in the area where his ashes were scattered. Candyman is one of the most well known movies using magical realism in conjunction with the African American experience. This movie focused on poverty, gang violence, interrational relationships and gentrification. 

After Candyman, we begin to see more movies using realistic events and horror comedies surrounding the Black experience. Tales from the Hood is a popular horror comedy series that deals with several issues such as police corruption, domestic violence and racism. There are three movies and each is narrated by popular Black actors. The first was narrated by Clarence Williams III, the second by Keith David and the last by Tony Todd. Another widely popular horror comedy to come out of the 90s is the Scary Movie series by the Wayans brothers. These movies mocked the way African Americans were portrayed in earlier horror films. 

It wasn’t until 2017 that a movie was made of the current political climate that showcased why living in America as a Black person is to exist in a constant state of horror. Get Out, by Jordan Peele, surrounds a character named Chris who goes to visit his white girlfriend’s parents in upstate New York. Throughout the movie we learn that his girlfriend’s parents are extremely racist and attempt to drug Chris in hopes of using his body for a disabled white man. The film rejected popular themes of the white savior complex by highlighting Chris fighting for and eventually protecting his life. In an interview with Vanity Fair, Peele explains why the film had a positive ending. 

“The ending needed to transform into something that gives us a hero, that gives us an escape, that gives us a positive feeling,” Peele said.

In early 2020, Peele announced he was teaming up with writer Misha Green and JJ Abrhams to release a television series, and the result of this collaboration, Lovecraft Country, premiered on Sept. 16. Each week, audiences have been captivated by characters Leti, Tic and Montrose, who are portrayed by Jurnee Smollett, Jonathan Majors and Michael K. Williams. The show takes viewers through an afrofuturistic interpretation of the brutal murder of Emmett Till, the Tulsa Massacre, African Americans being used as test subjects and the existence of sundown towns. Coined by Mark Dery, afrofuturism is a cultural aesthetic, philosophy of science and philosophy of history that explores the developing intersection of African diaspora culture with technology.

As we view horror movies it’s important to examine how African Americans’ roles in this genre have drastically changed. From being used as the element of fear to being the victor, African Americans have changed the face of horror and used real life experiences to educate others about the horrors we face every day.

TELFAR’S rise to prominence

MIA CONCEPCION – STAFF WRITER

Living in a time of crisis and social isolation has paved the way for a resurgence of creativity and innovation amongst Black businesses. More Black entrepreneurs are pushing their products and gaining support for them. This type of success within such unprecedented times has proven the importance of helping our Black businesses to thrive and shine. TELFAR, a major Black-owned company, which started in the streets of New York City, is leaving a global imprint in the fashion industry.

TELFAR, a unisex clothing line best known for its top tier handbags, is located in Queens, New York. Established in 2005, the company has been making international sales that have since skyrocketed. Although the bag has become popularized in both main- stream media and the world of fashion, the road to success had some unforeseen trials and tribulations.

Telfar Clemens, the fashion mogul responsible for the well-renowned bag, initially introduced his luxurious purses in 2014 during the Autumn/Winter runway show. The TELFAR handbag was fresh and new, but still needed improvements to increase revenue. Utilizing funds of $400,000 collected from the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Award, Clemens revisited his original design to see what adjustments could be made for profitability and variability. The TELFAR bag was then relaunched and made available in multiple colors and sizes in 2018.

Some may wonder how this particular item became popularized so quickly. First, it started with superstars representing the brand. From singer Solange, to A$AP Rocky, and Kelsey Lu, big names began to publicly support TELFAR through their own outfits. Fans have also seen these fashionable bags appear at grandiose events like the Met Gala, thus showing that it is a legitimate product worth the buy and the wear. Not only is it worth the buy, but many fans also deem it to be affordable compared to other fashion companies demanding way more in money. These bags range in prices from $150 to $275, whereas others exceed the $500 mark. These prices do not make the item exclusive to only a particular bracket of individuals, but all who wish to live life in style. TELFAR’s top-of-the-line bag also became popular due to its circulation on social media. The company further branded itself by making memes of people’s reactions to its latest drop of the shopping bags. Memes circulated on various social media platforms, including the infamous Twitter and Instagram.

Aside from branding, Telfar has ensured that customers will be able to safely purchase products. Due to the unexpected website crash on July 23rd, TELFAR had to find a way to compensate its supporters who lost their money and the items they anticipated purchasing. As a result, the Telfar Bag Security Program allowed customers a full day to purchase any bag they desired. Pre-ordered items are expected to arrive between December 15 and January 15, 2021. Items are always high in demand and tend to run out quickly. However, the company always ensures to restock as soon as possible.

Despite its fashionable look, TELFAR has more to offer than just style. TELFAR offers inclusivity and a community for Black boys and girls to immerse themselves in. Not only is this company representative of African Americans, but also Black queers who do not receive the recognition they are deserving of. TELFAR has proven that it is anti-exclusive and wants all to be a part of their journey and their story.

Vitamin D: The essential vitamin

TIGIST ASHAKA- STAFF WRITER

Unsplash User Jonathan Borba

Vitamin D this, and vitamin D that. Because early research has linked vitamin D deficiency with the probability of more severe COVID-19 symptoms, vitamin D seems to be all the news talks about.

Unfortunately, the National Institutes of Health concludes that “there are in- sufficient data to recommend either for or against the use of vitamin D for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19.”However, NIH does acknowledge a correlation between overrepresented populations of COVID-19 and vitamin D-deficient groups, such as Hispanics and African Americans. Indeed, the AARP reported in 2016
that “41.6 percent of Americans overall were vitamin D deficient, but the deficiency rate was 82.1 percent for African Americans.”

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that African Americans are more likely to develop health problems such as stroke, high blood pressure, and diabetes at a young age due to a lack of vitamin D. With that in mind, if COVID attacks the immune system, and people already have a pre-existing condition, it could potentially result in more severe symptoms or even death. This is one of the many reasons why taking a vitamin D supplement is necessary to protect a person’s health.

Furthermore, African Americans should take vitamin D seriously not only because it builds up people’s immune systems but because it also helps with mood stabilization. Maintaining one’s mental health is crucial during a pandemic, but for many our access to the outdoors—and, thus, an outlet for the natural production of vitamin D—is now often limited.

“I feel sad and unmotivated when it is gloomy outside compared to when it is a sunny day out,” said HU student Imani Porter.

Seasonal Affective Disorder is a seasonal depreciation meaning the less sun there is outside, the more they go into this depression state. Researches Partonen, Vakkuri, Lamberg-Allardt, and Lonnqvist (1996) studied the importance of people exposing themselves to the sun. They found that the people with “one hour of light therapy significantly decreased depressive symptoms more so in the group with SAD than the control group” (Penckofer, Kouba, Byrn, Ferrans). If people think an hour is a not long time compared to the amount of time people spend on their social media. Think again!

If people have not learned any- thing from 2020, it is crucial to slow down and take care of themselves. If a person cannot spend an hour outside, take a supplement so that they won’t be a victim, they can also eat food such as salmon, liver, and oatmeal, since they all contain the vitamin D nutrient. Lastly, vitamin D is essential for bone strength and skeletal integrity. The best way to get vitamin D is from the sun, but now that people are spending so much time in their homes, it might be challenging. If people have the time, they should wear their mask and go outside (six feet apart, of course) to get fresh air. 2020 has been hard for everyone but the big takeaway is the importance of taking care of themselves. Doing what is necessary to be the best person an individual can be and taking vitamin D supplements can help them to become as healthy as possible and live a long life.

Crocs: The transition from past to present

SHIRMARIE STARKS STAFF WRITER

Unsplash User Mihaly Koles

What is your go-to shoe for comfortability? Nike slides? Converse? Those fluffy Ugg slippers? Socks and Birkenstocks? Or do you own a pair of Crocs?

Crocs, Inc. is seen as the go-to brand to find comfy shoes, but the company’s journey to worldwide fame in the shoe industry was not as comfort- able a fit.

Crocs were originally developed as a boating shoe by three avid boaters: Scott Seamans, George Boedecker, Jr., and Lyndon Hanson. Scott Seamans wanted a comfortable, floatable, ventilated and slip-resistant shoe. In particular, Seamans wanted to create an odor-resistant shoe, a feature that other boating shoes lacked. With these re- quirements in mind, Seamans produced a lightweight, thirteen-holed, unique clog to fit his desires.

In an interview with Edison Nation, Hanson recalls the origins
of Crocs, Inc. During a boating trip with Hanson and Boedecker, Seamans decided to bring the design for his colleagues to test out. Like most people today, Lyndon and George quickly told Scott that the shoes were ugly. However, Boedecker and Hanson ultimately agreed with Seamans: although the shoes were ugly, their functionality outweighed the looks. As a like-minded trio, these men quickly shifted their focus to the mass production, investor relations and financial operations of the shoe.

Under the leadership of Ronald R. Snyder, a newly appointed CEO in 2005, the brand went public on February 13, 2006. In 2006, The Wall Street Journal reported that the Initial Public Offering (IPO) plan of Crocs, Inc. consisted of 9.9 million shares with an asking price between $13 and $15. Business was going so well that the brand expanded to other countries including Austria, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. But like Sir Isaac Newton once said, “What goes up must come down,” and Crocs had started to reach the end of their era.

A report done by Money Insider in 2008 shows when the recession hit the economy, much of Croc’s business faded. Many consumers did not need to buy more pairs as they were able to reuse their current pair during the recession and a result, Crocs’s stock dropped more than 68%. For the next few years, the Crocs brand worked behind the scenes as they attempted to reimagine and revamp the brand. Between March 2009 and April 2014, the company went through two CEOs and they both experienced constant fluctuations in sales and net income.

In January 2014, the brand started to gain some serious attention from investors again. Money insider reported that The Blackstone Group, a private equity investment management firm, made a $200 million investment into the Crocs, Inc. company. Alongside this investment, Greg Ribatt, a seasoned shoe vet, was appointed as the Chief Executive Officer in January 2015. The changes seen within Ribatt’s tenure served as a turning point in the Crocs, Inc. brand and helped shape the brand as we know it today.

During the early stages of the current COVID-19 pandemic, Crocs, Inc. decided to donate 10,000 pairs of Crocs per day to healthcare workers until the stock ran out and donated an extra 100,000 pairs of shoes to numerous healthcare facilities.

In 2020, Crocs. Inc reported that there are now over 600 million pairs of Crocs sold in over 90 countries due to the successful continuation of the plan implemented by Ribatt and Rees. Crocs are still considered ugly to some just as they were to co-founders Lyndon Hanson and George Boedecker, Jr. However, with the founders’ vision, “We work hard to make you comfortable in your own shoes,” in mind, Crocs still serve their comfortable, floatable, ventilated, odor-resistant, slip-resistant and unique purpose in 2020.

Today, Crocs come in an array of styles such as the classic clog, boots, flats, sneakers and wedges. They also come in a wide assortment of colors.To top it off, you can customize your shoes with Jibbitz to really make them your own and express your personality. Crocs, Inc. has truly shifted into one company for all shoe needs. If you are looking for a sign to get a pair of Crocs, this is that sign!

Tips on mental health maintenance during a pandemic

Mia Concepcion- Staff Writer

The world is in a state of emergency. Basketball legend Kobe Bryant died in a fatal helicopter crash. The inspiring Black Panther actor Chadwick Boseman, died after secretly fighting a 4-year long battle with colon cancer. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg succumbed to metastatic cancer just weeks away from the election. Outbreaks of political protests are happening nationwide on behalf of numerous African-Americans who were unjustly killed. “SAY THEIR NAMES” is now one of the most commonly used phrases to remember all who were taken from us prematurely and unfairly. These occurrences have impacted mental health nationwide.

Statistics have shown the dramatic rise in mental health concerns during this pandemic. According to surveys conducted by the CDC, United States adults, youths, and racial minorities have experienced higher levels of anxiety, suicidal ideation, substance abuse, and anxiety/depressive disorders since the outbreak of COVID-19. Target populations at risk for developing these disorders are essential workers, minorities, and adult caregivers. Survey results published in June reveal that Hispanic and Black respondents reported elevated levels in contemplating suicide (18.6% and 15.1%) compared to their white counterparts (7.9%). Seventy-five percent of youths in the age bracket of 18-24 have been accounted for at least one mental health or behavioral health symptom. Given this data, mental health intervention is more than necessary to prevent the downward spiral (or plummeting) of our current cognitive state.

The conditions of this world have caused mental health maintenance to take a backseat for many. However, the mind is an entity that cannot be neglected. Some suggestions to practice mental health preservation include finding stillness, moving your body, avoiding social isolation, and journaling.

Being still is one of the best practices to protect your mental health. Being still means taking part in quiet reflection and examining the root of your thoughts and feelings through journaling, deep breathing, and meditation. Rather than pretending they don’t exist, it’s important to ask yourself, “Why do I feel this way?” Doing so will bring an awareness to what triggers those emotions. and mindful actions to refrain from indulging in them.

Engaging in physical exercise is a beneficial stress reliever during trying times. It does not have to be limited to simply lifting weights or going to the gym. It can be any activity that brings enjoyment and doesn’t feel like exercise, such as dancing, hiking, yoga, bike riding, or roller skating. Physical exercise has also been proven to moderate weight gain, regulate blood pressure and help in developing positive coping skills. Rather than feeling tempted to engage in emotional eating, try counteracting those feelings by moving your body.

Eva, a senior molecular biology major at Hampton University says that exercising has served as a healthy distraction for her. “It’s like my alone time and a chance for me to distract myself from everything else going on.”

Social interaction is recommended during this global crisis. Although social distancing guidelines have been enforced, it is still possible to remain connected to friends and family with technology. “I’ve been trying to combat social isolation during the pandemic by going outside as much as I can and engaging in activities I haven’t done in awhile,” says Arlee Taylor, a senior psychology major from Silver Spring, Maryland.

Technology has given us the privilege to be engaged with one another through social media platforms such as Instagram, Zoom, and Facebook. Rather than wallowing in negative emotions, release it by telling someone. Burdens are not meant to be carried alone, which is why establishing a supportive community is crucial.

Talk therapy: Let’s talk about it

Deja Dodson- Staff Writer

Photo Courtesy of Jonathan Silverberg

In an effort to effectively curb the effects of mental health, more holistic approaches should be considered. Medicine is not the only resort and this is why it is important to analyze the benefits of talk therapists, especially within the African American community.

Benefits of going to talk therapy include being able to resolve your personal problems with guidance

and support, reducing psychological problems, return to a healthy status, and more according to Potomac Psychiatry. Think of this analogy, we eat oranges and other citrus fruits to help build our immune systems to fight infections

and diseases. We drink teas and eat vegetables to help supply nutrients and vitamins to our bodies to make it stronger. We workout and intake calcium to support bones before they break. According to sources if we took the time to talk out and exercise our minds we would not need medicines to help with our mental issues because talk therapy should be enough.

Many celebrities are speaking in support of talk therapy. Detroit rapper, Big Sean has recently spoken about the wonders of therapy and how it improved his standard of living. In an interview with Detroit news he said, “I got a good therapist, I was blessed enough to talk to some super spiritual people, and they made me realize what I was missing in my life and one thing I was missing was clarity.”

Another famous celebrity who has spoken about mental health is popular rapper Kid Cudi. He has constantly spoken about his struggles with

substance abuse and how he eventually sought help. As many recall, in 2016 he posted a message that went viral stating “My anxiety and depression have ruled my life for as long as I can remember and I never leave the house because of it … It’s time to fix me. I’m nervous but I’mma get through this.” He has since spoken about his depression and how he tried to use drugs to fix it. He also explained how therapy has helped to get in a better state of mind where he feels free.

Removing the stigma around mental health also means removing the stigma around the ways in which people choose to heal. Medicine is one route, but it may not be the most effective on its own. Talk therapy could be an alternative that, through awareness and education, can be utilized in a more fruitful fashion.

Motivation in Isolation

Kennedy P. Buck- Staff Writer

Photo by by Kathy Willens

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to live inside and some have had to relocate. Some people have lost family members and friends while others lost hope. African Americans have witnessed a lot of black men and women being killed by the police. The result of the sadness and anger being felt swept the country leading to protest and riots. This is a lot to take in as a people, but especially as a nation. To make matters worse, we all must deal with this in isolation.

Even though being in isolation can be incredibly boring, this is the perfect time to try new things. Interested in picking up a new hobby? Wanted to create that business? This is the time for all those things. Take this time of doubt and turn it into motivation and make all your dreams into reality. There are a large variety of platforms that give how-to guides to create or start new projects. Platforms such as YouTube have thousands of videos ranging from how to sew and knit to how to create a four course meal.

To achieve these goals and help to continually boost your motivation, making a plan or step by step checklist is necessary. One of the best ways to do this is to create a SMART list. SMART meaning Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. It’s also important to remember to start off small. For example, don’t set a goal such as getting a 4.0 if you don’t have smaller goals such as doing your homework and studying each week.

Another way to boost your motivation is to switch your routine. During the early days of the COVID outbreak, many sat at home or in their rooms and did nothing. By switching your routine and getting a change of scenery, it can influence you to tackle your goals of the day.

Last and by far most importantly, focus on self care. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) in a survey taken by 1,000 Americans, 51% admit to feeling burnt out. With everyday stressors and the current pandemic the world is in, self care is a priority in boosting your motivation in isolation. Self care should be something that’s relaxing to you and gives you the ability to let your body completely relax. By giving your body a chance to reset, it will be easier for you to motivate yourself in the upcoming days.

As author Zig Ziglar once said, “There is no elevator to success, only stairs.” Motivation does not come over night but in steps. By continuing to work on it and practicing self care, not only will your motivation increase but you’ll be practicing safe and healthy methods to do so. The state of isolation we are all currently in can harm anyone’s motivation but by practicing these tips and trying something new, you’ll be sure to increase your motivation in isolation.

Watch the Yard launches YARDCON

Ayanna Maxwell | Editor In Chief

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Watch the Yard on April 19 launched its first YARDCON, a digital conference for black students who have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. Watch the Yard, known as the most prominent platform for black college students, fraternities and sororities, created the conference to offer resources and network opportunities for black students across the nation. 

Hosted by Watch the Yard founder Jonathan Rabb, the conference began with a gospel music set performed by DJ Ricovelli and a prayer from Hampton University alum Michael Eley. Journalist Roland Martin followed up with an open conversation among HBCU SGA presidents regarding how their schools are adjusting to their new norms. SGA presidents from Tennessee State, Florida A&M, Clark Atlanta and Norfolk State discussed how they’ve remained connected with their students through social media and emphasized the importance of empathy for college students during this time. 

Hampton University sophomore and Black Lives Matter Greater NY President Nupol Kiazolu led the next segment, which focused on the impact coronavirus has had on communities. Under Kiazolu’s leadership, Black Lives Matter Greater NY crafted a petition to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, urging him to implement more COVID-19 testing facilities in black communities that have been disproportionately affected. 

“If you’re in a community that you know has been hit hard by this pandemic, create a letter, write to your senators or write to your governors,” Kiazlou said. 

TV personality and winner of T.I.’s Grand Hustle Krystal Garner hosted a session titled “Hustling Through Corona,” discussing ways to generate income during the quarantine. This session featured entrepreneur Wavey’s World, wedding and lifestyle photographer Reem Virgo and apparel company Support Black Colleges. 

As if that wasn’t enough, YARDCON attendees also received tips on resume-building and learned how to maneuver LinkedIn. Renee Reid, a staff UX design researcher at LinkedIn, advised students to draft compelling personal summaries that are concise and meaningful, like elevator pitches. 

“Tell a short story about yourself so people are intrigued,” Reid said. 

Reid also gave away a free six-month premium Linkedin package to a special YARDCON guest. 

Resume expert Elizabeth Fletcher described what HR specialists seek in the ideal resume, including a professional email address, professional summary and transferable skills. 

It’s no secret that COVID-19 has taken a major toll on people’s mental health worldwide. Wellness Leader Keith Pough hosted a “Mental Health Check In,” in which he mentioned his three keys to a positive day: gratitude, attitude anIMG_3984IMG_3984d servitude. Also, contrary to the popular belief of social media, he argued that it is OK to come out of this quarantine without a new business venture. 

“I think we should come out of this with more peace, more perspective and more empathy – not more products,” Pough said. 

The Black Mental Health Alliance, also a sponsor of YARDCON, was on standby in the conference’s networking forum for students to interact with therapists one-on-one. The networking forum was also available throughout the conference for attendees to connect with each other. 

In the next session, Regan Farley, senior publicist and CEO of the Regan Farley Agency, shared some insight on how to increase social media following. 

“Protecting your brand is important,” Farley said. “If you’re a member of an organization, that’s still a brand. Keep in mind what you put out, how it’s perceived and who’s going to see it.” 

Rabb introduced Watch the Yard’s #VerifyMyHBCU campaign, targeting HBCUs who are not officially verified on Instagram. 

“Out of 98 HBCUs. only 4 are verified,” Rabb said. 

Being that many notable PWIs are verified on Instagram, Rabb encouraged HBCU students to visit WatchtheYard.com to sign a petition to get their respective HBCUs the recognition they deserve. 

Rapper Dee-1 and founder of ONE Musicfest Steve Canal led an “Inside the Music Industry” segment, followed by special giveaways from Forbes8. Forbes8 introduced eight virtual internship and celebrity mentorship opportunities focused on music, sports, tech, food and beverage, storytelling, influence, fashion, and social impact. 

The conference concluded with a virtual performance of “Swag Surf” by creators @We.R.Fly and @Only1Easton. To top it all off, each speaker represented his/her HBCU or Divine Nine organization by wearing paraphernalia throughout the entire show. 

YARDCON was a major success, to say the least. Attendees left with knowledge, connections and even internship opportunities. For additional information about YARDCON, visit WatchtheYard.com.