When Cristiano Ronaldo was a child, he was sharing a room with his three siblings and begging the local McDonald’s for food (Maloney). He later went on to be one of the greatest soccer players of all time. Many of the world’s greatest soccer players from around the world were born into poor families and lived in poverty before their rise to fame; however, in the United States, that is not the case. In 2015, journalist Roger Bennett and University of Chicago professor Greg Kaplan conducted a study on the backgrounds of the players on the US men’s soccer national team, comparing them with the backgrounds of players from other professional sports in the US. They found that the players on the US men’s soccer national team came from communities with higher income, education levels, and white populations than average in the United States, whereas NBA All-Star players and NFL Pro-Bowl players were below the national average in the same categories (Solomon). Why is it that soccer in America is played by athletes that tend to be wealthier and whiter? Well, it all starts at the youth level.
During the lockdown, running became my respite. Every afternoon after my online classes, I would slip into my running shoes and jog through my neighborhood. Eventually I developed a route that I followed religiously: I jogged to Sabin Elementary, turned onto Failing, and headed towards I-5. I’d turn and pass Legacy Emanuel Medical Center and Dawson park, and then follow Stanton Street back to my house. As I ran the route more and more, I began to notice something curious about the scenery: after maybe NE 15th Avenue the houses started to change. They went from well-kept bungalows with trimmed lawns and energy efficient cars in the driveways, to smaller houses with peeling paint and chain link fences. Some lots were even just empty: weedy plots of dirt littered with trash.
79 years ago, in a cataclysmic earthquake of magnitude 8.6 on the Richter scale, 140,000 square miles were impacted, from northern California to Oregon to Washington, all the way to southern British Columbia, Canada.
March 13, 2020 – the President of the United States announced that the COVID-19 outbreak was officially declared a national emergency. With Donald Trump’s announcement also came many remarks about the virus, including calling it the “Chinese Virus” and “Kung Flu.” This announcement planted seeds of doubt, uncertainty, and mistrust into the minds of people all over the world. Flash forward two years, more than 10,000 confirmed anti-Asian incidents have happened, not even counting all the crimes that were not reported. Covid-19 was first found in Wuhan, China, and quickly spread across the world; however, particularly in America, the virus itself has been directly associated with Asian Americans and anti-virus sentiment mixed with political views of China, resulting in a rise in anti-Asian violence. In a survey done by over 5,000 adults of every race, 32% of Asian adults feared threats or physical assault, a greater amount than any other racial and ethnic group (Ruiz et al.). Furthermore, around four out of five people also say that violence against them is increasing, eclipsing the national value of 56%. When asked about the reasons why anti-Asian violence was rising, one in five answered Donald Trump. Due to the media and government’s portrayal of the virus as something inherently tied to Asians, the U.S. mixes its views of countries like China and their hate of the virus.
On May 25, 2020, a police officer kneeled on a man’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds with the belief that the man used a counterfeit $20 bill. Consequently, the man died of asphyxiation from sustained pressure. The man, George Floyd, has since become a symbol to fight against racial injustice and police reform, while the police officer who murdered Floyd, Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin, put a target on the back of every police officer across the country.
Stella (Xingchen) Liu
It was right after spring break. The sleep routine I wrecked during spring break made me listless. The sunny day of the amber bosom seemed to be the only thing that could sustain me through the rest of the day, but I was also anticipating the site visit with nervous excitement. I ran straight to the cab right after school. Sitting in the car, the R&B from my headphones did not smooth my restlessness. I practiced the question I wrote down on a sticky note. The rush hour made the car get stuck in a traffic jam on the way to downtown Portland. After 15 minutes late to the scheduled time, the car finally crawled its way out from the bad traffic. The notification tone from GPS dragged me back from my own world I immersed myself in. The advertising board gave me a sense that the building I was looking at was a church. Passing by that building, my eye were caught by a high yellow building. This was my destination: Asian Health Care Center. The building was enclosed by a citrine steel skeleton with a small proportion of glass unveiled outside. The modern style and the bright color made it stand out from all buildings abreast of it. The office was locked when I tried to push it, and the cleaner inside seemed to be surprised by my arrival. I dialed the number that I contacted a couple of days before. A young lady with shoulder-length cut immediately came down the stairs and opened the door for me. Jennie Shen, the community health worker at Asian Health Care Center. Due to her proficiency in Chinese, English, and Cantonese, she assisted and supported clients in navigating community resources and receiving resources in their native language, mainly Chinese immigrants.
Riding on the back of the Trimet 56 into Beaverton, I scroll through my mind for dishes that I have had in Thailand in an attempt to decide on one that I could order. Walking into the Thai restaurant for the first time after being back in Portland, my mind still slid between a concoction of dishes that I could faintly smell in its sophisticated atmosphere. In Thailand, it is perfectly normal for a restaurant to focus on one dish – and do it really well. The concept of an extended menu still continues to baffle me to this day.
Going to a thrift store is uniquely thrilling in a way shopping at the mall just isn’t. It’s never truly knowing what you’re going to find until you get there, looking at a piece that would be perfect if only it were your size, coming back a few weeks later with completely different clothing on the racks. It hasn’t taken long for “thrifting” – a new verb that signifies the act of purchasing things from a thrift store – to become a cultural phenomenon. Although going to thrift stores has always been fairly common in the United States, especially among lower-income families, in recent years, it has shifted from an act of necessity to an act of leisure, especially among Generation Z. According to ThredUp’s (an online consignment company) 2019 resale report, more than one in three members of my generation will buy secondhand in the next five years – and 51% of all consumers plan to spend more on secondhand clothing. The report also indicated that 74% of 18 to 29 year olds prefer to buy from more sustainable brands. The Internet is overflowing with hours upon hours of video footage of “thrift hauls” – where popular YouTube creators make videos showing off the immense amounts of clothing they’ve bought from thrift stores. In fact, typing in the phrase “thrift haul” on YouTube returns hundreds of thousands, perhaps even millions, of results, with titles such as “I flew 7,000 miles to go THRIFTING”, “MASSIVE thrift haul”, and “Thrift with me for 2022 trends.”
I decided it was time I confronted a question I was scared to find the answer to.
It is the moment when it all clicks. Fat black letters, stacked together like small New York City apartments, form a complicated coded message. This code is words. It is the one time you pick up the bright blue cover of a BOB Book, or whatever early reader series footed your arduous journey of learning to read, and the words on the page are not coming from memory. They are coming from your newfound ability to read. That is the moment when it all clicks.