Tag Archives: Zoe Griffin

Hampton residents want two schools to remove Confederate names

Zoe Griffin | Staff Writer

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Courtesy of Hampton University

Dozens of Hampton citizens gathered together in the auditorium of Benjamin Syms Middle School Thursday evening, October 26, to express their concerns before the Hampton school board.

The purpose of this public hearing was to decide whether the Confederate soldiers’ names on Jefferson Davis Middle school and the campus at Lee, formerly Robert E. Lee, Elementary school should be taken down from school buildings.

The Hampton chapter of the NAACP and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference requested that the two middle schools be renamed following the events in Charlottesville.

During the white nationalist rally on August 11, protesters and neo-Nazi’s had altercations which eventually brought issues involving confederate monuments to light.

The public hearing is one of two being held by the school board to get the opinions of citizens on renaming the schools. They are currently named after Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee, who were both Confederate leaders in the Civil War.

The public hearing followed the format of an open-panel discussion.

Before each citizen stood up to speak before the panel, they had to state their full names and home addresses. They were given only two minutes each to express their concerns.

The auditorium was completely diverse in both race and age.

A group of Hampton University students made up a majority of supporters for the middle schools’ names being changed.

There were also several teachers, professors, and citizens who had opinions that they wanted to be considered by the Hampton school board.

A similar public hearing occurred last year as well following requests to rename Davis Middle School and Campus after Lee, but the school board decided to leave the names of the school untouched.

The majority of the community wanted to leave the names of the confederate soldiers on the schools last year.

Some citizens still take that stance today.

During this public hearing, those in support of renaming the schools largely outnumbered those who were against the names being removed.Activists and supporters of the name change brought new arguments and perspectives to the hearing this year.

Many came to the hearing specifically in support of Heather Heyer, a woman who was killed during the riots in Charlottesville.

“We have a voice in this day and age. We are a special class of people and we deserve respect. If the name of that school doesn’t change, the name of the people on this school board may change because we’re going to vote,” said Hampton resident Michael Bullock as the audience erupted in applause.

The second hearing will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 8 at Hampton High School.

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Republican lawmakers wave the white flag yet again on health care

Zoe Griffin | Contributing Writer

The GOP’s latest attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, has not fared well with Republican lawmakers.

The goal of Republican lawmakers was to meet the Oct. 1 deadline of passing the American Health Care Act before the current fiscal year ended, but they were unsuccessful yet again.

Now that the deadline passed, the bill can’t be passed with a simple majority.

It now requires the cooperation of the Democratic Party.

On Jan. 10, just days before President Trump’s inauguration, he told The New York Times that Republicans would have Obamacare repealed “probably sometime next week.”

Now, as October starts, Obamacare is still the law of the land, and Republicans are no closer to overhauling their health care law than they were when Trump took office.

“I try to look at both sides and kind of create a parallel between Obamacare and the GOP plan,” Hampton University sophomore journalism major Jordyn Brown said. “It’s important to be aware of the extreme differences and goals of each health care plan. These plans are both targeted to affect specific groups of people. Watching the attempts at altering health care is scary but necessary.”

Approximately 18 million Americans would be without health care coverage in the first year if the GOP Healthcare bill passed, replacing the Affordable Care Act. By the year of 2026, approximately 32 million Americans would lose health care coverage.

“We haven’t given up on changing the American health care system. We are not going to be able to do that this week, but it still lies ahead of us, and we haven’t given up on that,” Senator McConnell told CNN reporters Tuesday.

Democrats and Republicans that voted against the GOP healthcare bill can exhale and wait for the next attempts at repealing Obama Care.

“Republicans are ignoring the problems that Congress found within the bill,” second-year political science major Corei Flowers said. “The best thing for us is for both sides to throw away their pride and come up with a compromise. Republicans are never going to agree with Obamacare, and Democrats are never going to agree with the GOP bill.”

One Hampton University student was relieved when news reports revealed that the GOP bill failed.

“I feel like people don’t really understand how important Obamacare is for some people,” sophomore journalism major Brandi Hutchinson said. “There are people of all ethnicities and backgrounds [who] are only alive and well because of Obamacare. How is taking this away humane at all? I don’t understand how someone’s life and well-being can mean absolutely nothing to certain individuals.”

Hampton student’s family survives close call in Las Vegas

Zoe Griffin | Contributing Writer

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The Peterson Family | Courtesy of Carrington Peterson

Las Vegas native Carrington Peterson was awakened Monday by 59 messages and notifications from family members.

“My parents decided to go on a ‘staycation’ [Sunday] night and got a hotel room,” Peterson said.

They stayed at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, where a gunman on the 32nd floor that night would kill 59 people, the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

Stephen Paddock, a 64-year-old man from Mesquite, Nevada, was identified as the

sniper suspect by police. His room contained 16 rifles, one handgun, 18 firearms, explosives and thousands of rounds of bullets, according to law enforcement personnel.

Shots red Sunday night from the Mandalay Bay down to the Route 91 Harvest country music festival sent thousands frantically scrambling for cover. As of Wednesday, the injured total was 527 people.

Not only were Peterson’s parents in the hotel Sunday night, her sibling was in the vicinity.

“It was also my brother’s birthday, so he was out celebrating on the strip,” she said.

Peterson was one of thousands of concerned family members unsure Monday about the whereabouts of their loved ones in Vegas. Her racing thoughts worsened as she worried about the well-being of her family.

 

“I cried, and I’m not one to show emotion immediately or at all, honestly,” Peterson said. “But waking up to those notifications was nerve-racking.”

Peterson’s parents, fortunately, were safe.

“By the grace of God, they checked out of the Mandalay room an hour before the shooting occurred,” she said. Peterson was relieved when she discovered her brother also had not been harmed.

 

However, despite her family members not being physically affected by the tragedy, the massacre has taken a toll on them mentally.

Peterson had always been aware of terrible tragedies that occur in America, but this tragedy in particular affected her in a different way because the area was all too familiar.

“Things have been happening so much in this country lately, and it has gotten to be the norm,” Peterson said. “But to have something happen in your town, where you come from, is an entirely different feeling.”

The motive behind the shooting remains unknown. Paddock reportedly committed suicide moments before police entered his hotel room.

Peterson is among those who suspected mental illness played a big role. She thinks this disaster should bring awareness to the issue.

“I hope that this tragedy raises awareness of mental illness because it does not get enough recognition,” Peterson said. “It is a life-challenging disease that isn’t taken seriously.”