This community relations story focuses on the attitude of members towards the Metro Police Department and Southeast DC metro safety. Check out my final video here.
By Shawna Mizelle
Strides in LGBTQIA rights and recognition have been made in the U.S. over the past several years. Indeed same sex marriage was legalized in June of 2015 by the United States Supreme Court. Despite the progress made some members of the LGBTQIA community still feel discriminated against.
Cali Ferguson, a pre-transition transgender woman is one such individual.
Ferguson who lives in Suitland, Maryland still faces everyday issues as she gets stereotyped by employers and sometimes, family too.
In Washington, D.C. an estimated 7.6% of the population identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersexual, or asexual. This is a higher percentage than the majority of other states in the U.S. who averaged a LGBTQIA population of 3.5%.
One area in which Ferguson said she faced discrimination is in employment. According to Huffington Post 21% of LBGTQIA employees reported workplace discrimination in the U.S.
Ferguson said employers would tell her they needed a woman in the shop, but then told her they’re still figuring things out when she tried to seize the opportunity.
Instead of focusing on the hardships she is looking forward to the end goal to get her through. Ferguson also enjoys being a woman.
“Being able to handle the weight of the world, be deeply in tune with my emotions, all while still being able to possess an allurement & certain beauty that each woman has,” she said.
Another woman Tiara Howard, from Congress Heights has had to deal with being made feel less of a woman because she is male presenting. Male presenting involves behavioral characteristics, and physical appearances of the male sex.
“I know I am a woman. I always taught myself that adversity is an opportunity to learn and grow,” she said.
Howard revealed that having other persons that she can relate to has been reassuring.
“Before coming out I felt like I couldn’t be myself or talk to anyone about what I feel now. It’s assuring knowing that there are many others in the community that you can talk to who will understand your experience,” she continued.
While there is a more accepting attitude towards members of the LGBTQIA community in the U.S., not everyone is as welcoming. A Gallup poll showed 52% of Americans were supportive of homosexual lifestyles, while surveys from 1988 show only 11% approval. United States Vice President Mike Pence has openly spoke out against the community and event went as far to say keeping gays from getting married was a part of “God’s idea.”
While attitudes are shifting, reality has not caught up with this. Organizations such as HIPS offer support. “The community outreach and public education we do is so important. That is the first step toward breaking stereotypes and ending discrimination,” a HIPS representative said.
For those struggling with identity or simply looking for a support group in the Washington, D.C. area are encouraged to use these resources.
By Shawna Mizelle
Many have witnessed the various technological changes in the past few years, but the rise of Uber, a car transportation app, has been a sight to see.
Uber technologies launched their app in Washington D.C in 2011, making it the seventh city with the technology. Some six years later almost everyone in the Metro area is accustomed to the app and it’s features.
Since coming to D.C. Uber has overcome many legal issues, competitors such as Lyft, and taxi cabs. Whether or not Uber has put a dampen on taxi cab business is debatable. In 2016, the San Francisco Yellow Cab company was forced to file for bankruptcy—the rapid change in car service played a role in this.
Mrs. Porter of the Taxi Transportation Service states that they have not seen a direct impact in business due to Uber. Mrs. Porter says, “Business comes and goes. It’s not constant, but it’s not lacking.”
A consumer report compared the two avenues of transportation and their cost noting that although Uber may be better for longer trips over $35 that the taxi cab is a cheaper alternative when Uber’s surge prices are through the roof. Majority of the people using taxi cabs now are older or visiting from another town, while Uber is geared towards tech savvy millennials.
Although Uber is geared specifically towards smartphones, they didn’t stop there. Studies show 77% of Americans own a smartphone, but Uber offers options for the quarter that doesn’t as well. By offering online services that can be obtained by anyone with internet access Uber once again uses technology as an advantage over it’s competitors.
Emmanuel Charles, a Ward 8 resident believes Uber has provided much needed competition.
“Before Uber WMATA was the only major way of transportation around the city. Taxis also played a big part of how commuters got to and from. I always had a feeling something like Uber would come along because public transportation simply can not be trusted. With the ever so constant track work, delays, and buses seem to come when they feel like it; people need something vastly more convenient than WMATA and prices more reasonable than the fare for a taxi,.” he said.
Blessing Marzo who has been in the district for the past six years believes that Uber provides another choice for commuters. She notes the efficiency and convenience of the app, but states “Sometimes Uber can take advantage of the consumers need by adding ridiculous surge prices.”
Uber’s algorithms up the prices when there is an increase in demand, thus generating more profit. According to a study Uber is worth almost 70 billion— a number that could not have been obtainable without technology.
By Shawna Mizelle
Ward 8A’s Advisory Neighborhood Commission meeting was last Thursday the 23rd at the Specialty Hospital of Washington covering a Pepco and Exelon merger and many more environmental issues. Attendance included D.C. Ward 8 city councilman, Trayon White and D.C. People’s Counsel Sandra Mattavous-Frye who played a large role in shaping the conversation.
Washington D.C. People’s Counsel exist to advocate, educate, and protect consumers. They also work hand in hand with local forms of government including the Advisory Neighborhood Commission. Office of the People’s Counsel has been advising Ward 8’s ANC on utility issues that all consumers are facing.
The Pepco and Exelon merger was also a topic of interest, but they aren’t the only electric and gas company looking to combine. More attention was drawn to the Canadian company, ALTAGas proposing a merger with Washington Gas. The companies plan to apply for the merger by the end of March or early April through the D.C. Public Service Commission. After that the SCPSC will hold community and evidentiary hearings where companies advocate for why the merger should take place. When these proceedings end the Public Service Commission will make the final decision on whether or not the merger will go through. If the merger passes, ATLAGas plans to keep all DC locations and employees.
The Office of the People’s Counsel advocate said Doxie McCoy, “We must assess whether the impact on the community will be positive or negative.” This would not be first time the Office has had to asses Washington Gas in particular. The Office of the People’s Counsel has been collecting complaints on unusually high Washington Gas bills. A press release on February 24, 2017 stated, “OPC, addressing complaints on a case-by-case basis, has reported the concerns to WGL and is determining if a formal investigation by the DC Public Service Commission is warranted.” Office of the Peoples Counsel representative Lawrence Jones said, “It was normal for gas and electric prices to rise during the winter chill, but there has been an unusually warm winter in DC thus far.” The high on February 23rd was 77 degrees, setting the record for the warmest winter day, and breaking the record from 1985.
Another attendant of the meeting was Graylin Presbury. Presbury is the president of The DC Federation of Civic Associations. Graylin Presbury liked the open discussion, “From being able to ask questions I was able to explore topics I didn’t quite understand before.” Sometimes we all struggle to understand solar power, and mergers—which is why we must ask questios. Now DC residents must ask themselves a question. How is the ever-changing environmental climate effecting us all?
By Shawna Mizelle
#BringBackOurGirls is the hashtag that swept the nation once false reports surfaced that 14 girls went missing in our nation’s capital on March 23, 2017. The reports shaped a much needed discussion and drew attention to Missing White Woman Syndrome. The “Missing White Woman Syndrome” is a term coined by the late PBS news anchor, Gwen Ifill, referring to the media’s deficiency of reporting missing minorities as much as they report upper-class white women.
From March 19th to March 24th Many residents of the Washington, D.C. community expressed their outrage for the media’s lack of coverage in regards to the missing children. So far in 2017, 534 juveniles have been reported missing in DC. Of those juvenile cases, 14 are still currently missing. A lot of the missing children including Leonna Lewis, Heaven Shamte, Shanian Boyd, and Zyaire Flemmings disappeared from the Southeast area of Washington, DC. Although limited resources may play a role in the families’ access to the news, the statistics that drew the attention of LL Cool J, Zendaya, and Eva Marcille on social media were blown out of proportion. Between March 19th and March 24th a dozen children were reported missing in D.C.; however, post claiming that 14 girls went missing in 24 hours went viral after celebrities like Russel Simmons shared it. Although the post was inaccurate, it caused major consequences. The error and outrage highlights a clear disconnect between the news, the police force, and the community. The miscommunication came from the DC’s police department increasing social media post of missing children.
Regardless of the false reports, many have continued to voice their discontent with the police department’s effectiveness. Backlash towards the police department furthered after Chanel Dickerson, the new Youth and Family services commander, advised people trying to avoid human trafficking to just, “Stay home.” while being interviewed on the Joe Clair Morning Show.
The D.C. Police Department said, “MPD takes all of its missing persons cases seriously and is committed to ensuring that each case receives the same level of police service and exposure. We all recognize that when someone is missing, there is a risk that they are in danger and need our help. Juveniles or other critical missing persons may be at risk of victimization or may be in need of vital medication. That is why we are working hard to reunite all missing persons with their loved ones. Our 2017 numbers are similar to 2016 and we hope the increased awareness in the public will get us to a 100% closure rate.”
Other conversations have also sparked questioning white feminist’s presence, or lack thereof, during this cause, and the Women’s March on Washington. The Women’s March on Washington drew close to 5 million people of various backgrounds.
Many people shared a photo of a townhall meeting at Excel Academy Public Charter School in Southeast D.C., in regards to the missing girls, which shows a large crowd made up of mostly black people. Longtime community member and DC school teacher, John Wiley, says, “Working in the school system you see missing kids coming to school, just not going home. It is the community’s responsibility to know where our children are and address these issues.”
The police department encourages the community coming together to come together as well to help bring back our children. “The community can continue sharing MPD’s flyers via social media and call 911 or 202-727-9099 immediately if you see an individual you recognize from one of the flyers”, said Aquita Brown the public affairs specialist.
Check out my photagraphy skills with model Rhea, as we made our way around Howard University’s campus.
I had the privilege to sit down with a Southeast DC rapper known as Polo. Check out our conversation and photographs here! I couldn’t figure out how to get rid of the dead noise, but the interview ends at two minutes and 30 seconds.
Above are photos taken of different subjects in various locations. The first photo was taken in a store mirror, it came out blurry and I realized pictures work better when the subject isn’t the photographer. In the photos with the gentlemen I worked on catching a certain perspective, and switching angles. A photo of my younger sister in the car shows how important it is to get good lighting, and the photos of myself highlight the difference in lighting inside versus outside. I think trying different subjects helps me become more versatile, and learn to adapt.
Pictured above are various churches that represent safe-havens for religious practices. Although all of these places are worship centers, that is not the only thing they have in common. All of these churches share a similar purpose as well as architectural structure. The structure is simple and humble compared to Victorian churches. However, these and majority of churches alike all have a pinnacle.
How often during a game of truth or dare do you chicken out on the dare and go with truth? It’s time to stop that, and be bold! What better way to be daring and make a statement than through your makeup? I decided to put my reservations in the hands of a Columbus, Ohio makeup artist Sianna Crowder. As a long time friend of Ms. Crowder’s I trust her with a lot more than my face, and I had no problem being her canvas. During this makeover, we discussed the ins and outs of a makeup guru. Get the details below!
Q: Looking back today what would you say about your younger self when you first started doing makeup?
A: I’d say that my younger self was a color junkie. I just threw random colors together in hopes that it looked good. Even when most of the time it didn’t. Now I’m all about glam, but sometimes the old me come back to play.
Q: When you’re doing makeup for a major event, do you ever get nervous or scared about the clients satisfaction?
A: I mean we all get some “type” of feeling or a search for approval when doing something for someone else. But nervous isn’t the emotion id use, anxious perhaps. Only because I know my quality work. I live by the motto “my next work, is my best work.” I put my all in. So I know they wouldn’t hate it.
Q: Tell me about your most difficult customer encounter and how you handled it?
A: Oh god, working in a customer service based career it’s bound to happen. Honestly I can’t say I’ve had a completely horrid experience but my worst customers are the ones that think they can do my job and do it better than me, or the clients who are too anal about something. But to leave with a good reputation and a happy client you just do what they want and let them leave completely satisfied.
Q: What’s your favorite part about being a makeup artist?
A: Hands down my favorite part about being a makeup artist is the transformations. I LOVE IT. I love seeing the things you can create with makeup. The outcome of it all is so rewarding. Seeing your work on someone’s face. That’s the best part of it all. But my favorite part of doing my makeup is the face. That’s when everything comes together!
Q: It seems like everyone does makeup nowadays, or at least they try. Would you recommend this profession?
A: I would most definitely recommend this to aspiring MUAs. But only to the ones who realize that makeup is a commitment. It’s all fun and games when it’s just yourself you’re doing. It’s a lot deeper than just making someone look nice. You have to learn the science of it, the proper way to sanitize your tools, avoiding bacterias, the structure of faces, eye shapes etc. To all aspiring makeup artist they need to know its a commitment to become a makeup artist ESPECIALLY financially. And if you are willing to start that journey then absolutely I recommend it because I love every bit of what I do.
Q: What’s your favorite part about this look and why?
A: I love the glitter tears, but as if it weren’t already enough I love that it’s holographic glitter. The sultriness of the black lets the glitter take over and I think the look works all around.