Pierce Pioneer

Looking back at how tensions escalated in the holy land

April 13 is known to the Muslim world as the first day of the holy month of Ramadan. Coincidentally, April 13 is also known as Memorial Day in Israel, as they mourn the deaths of soldiers who fought for the nation. This coinciding date sparked the first attribution to the start of the recent resurgence in the Israel-Palestinian conflict. 

That night, Arabs gathered in worship at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem, a sacred sight of Islam. A muezzin recited the ritual call to prayer over the loudspeakers of the compound, where thousands of Muslims gathered. Below the compound at the Western Wall, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin prepared to give a speech in commemoration of Memorial Day in front of an inn. 

According to officials of the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf, a Jordanian agency that oversees Jerusalem’s holy sites, Israeli police demanded that they shut off their loudspeakers as the Israeli’s wanted quiet for soldiers who were praying at the neighboring Western Wall. The agency refused, and police stormed the compound, broke locks, and cut electrical speaker wires, causing outrage amongst Palestinians, Arabs, and the Jordanian government.

This incident may have rolled over in previous years, but shortly after the first night of Ramadan was interrupted, Israeli forces decided to shut down the compound’s Damascus Gate due to Covid-19 gathering concerns and a rise in protests in the area. This location is popular for young Palestinian men to gather during Ramadan after breaking their fast and is often a site for public demonstrations, furthering the outrage amongst the East Jerusalem residents.

A combination of a long-lasting housing conflict, Israeli treatment of Ramadan, and rising radicals on both sides helped facilitate the recent clash in the holy land. 

In the following weeks, protests sparked amongst the Israeli police, Palestinian protestors, and Nationalist Jewish groups across the West Bank and East Jerusalem. According to The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights, over 1,000 Palestinians have been injured in clashes with Israeli forces, killing dozens of Palestinians and several Jewish Israelis. The majority of the riots and protests occurred near the Al-Aqsa Mosque, where much of the current conflict originated. 

Another contribution to the rise in conflict was the surrounding tension behind the scheduled court rulings of evicting six families in the Sheikh Jarrah district of East Jerusalem. The conflict over land dispute goes back to the 1870s when a Jewish trust purchased land in the district from Arabs in Ottoman-controlled Palestine. After the Arab-Israeli War in 1948, the land was controlled by Jordan and then housed Arab families in the area years after, as Jewish residents were expelled from East Jerusalem. 

However, the control of Sheik Jarrah would change hands once more in 1967 following the Six-Day War between Arabs and Israelis. In the 1970s, Israel passed and exercised laws that allowed for previous landowners before 1948 to reclaim their property rights as rightful owners. Tenants could stay and live in the district if they paid rent to the Israeli owner, but evictions have been issued over the last three decades as housing developments have been proposed and built where Palestinian families currently reside. 

In 2021, the Israeli Supreme Court is set to make its decision on whether to evict these six families on July 20, after being postponed in May. The attempt to evict them after they refused to pay rent and built on the property illegally. Over 1,000 Palestinians currently face eviction in East Jerusalem. 

The third contributing factor in the rise in hostility was the May 7 raid of the Al-Aqsa Mosque once more, which held 70,000 worshipers in attendance. Israeli police cleared the site in preparation for Jerusalem Day, where Jews gather and march through the Old City where historic temples once laid. 

Thousands stayed after worship to protest, using stun grenades and rubber bullets, leaving 136 people wounded and 83 hospitalized. Palestinian protesters threw chairs, shoes, rocks, and waved Hamas flags as violence continued to escalate.

Over the next few days, Hamas would fire over 1,000 rockets, 850 of those crossing into Israel territory, and over 200 misfirings, landing in Gaza. The 11-day conflict took the lives of 242 people in the Gaza Strip and 12 people in Israel, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. This would become the most violent uprising between the two forces in years, leaving thousands homeless and thousands more to mourn the death of loved ones.

Generational Gap between Asian-Americans

Before and after America: A second generation Asian American’s perspective on the generational gap, a history of silence

When it comes to what my parents’ life was like in Vietnam, I sadly know next to nothing. There are photos, homemade videos and letters, but my parents rarely sit down and tell me stories of growing up in a communist regime.

The sudden media popularity of attacks on AAPI has spawned a wave of support across the country. This outpour of love and solidarity comes in the form of empathy, spreading awareness, resources and motivation. I figured hard conversations are better to have sooner rather than later.

I’ve been meaning to ask my parents about what Vietnam was like when they were children. I assume it has shaped their political beliefs and our relationship; I honestly think it will make communication between us much clearer.

My parents were born in the middle of the Vietnam War. It’s something I don’t think about too often, and they seem content with not telling me more than ‘it was hard working in the fields.’

My mom tells me that she doesn’t like cats or dogs because they were clingy in Vietnam, that she had to take three buses to get to work in America and that she’d only eat one meal a day to pay off the mortgage faster. My dad tells me he knows he had to go up to the mountains to pick leaves, had polio twice when he was a child and is lucky to be alive.

My parents and I are on opposite ends of the political spectrum, and they like to retell what they heard on the news to me. Inevitably, we’ll disagree on something, but I either don’t know how to word my argument in “Vietglish”, or I let my emotions run the debate. Then, we just forget about it.

I think they’re trying to shield me from horrible things they’ve gone through. While I can understand that, I think having open communication is much more important. Perhaps that’s selfish—asking them to relive something that’s probably traumatic—but I don’t want to regret not asking.

Many second generation Asian Americans can attest to having communication problems with their parents. It’s another issue that’s always swept under the rug—one that only we can deal with.

There is no call to action here if you’re not a part of this group. Rather, just know that this cognitive dissonance is something we’re dealing with, and continue to be understanding and educating yourself.

API Heritage Month is over, but there’s a long way to go in dismantling the myth of the model minority among other things. I have faith we’ll tackle that issue someday if #STOPAPIHATE doesn’t die down.

If other people can be brave and rally against AAPI hate, then I can be brave too and start a long overdue conversation. To fellow Asian Americans who can relate, I believe in us.

“Con muốn biết Việt Nam giống gì chừng nào Mẹ với Ba là nít. Nói con được không?”
“Mom, Dad, I want to know what Vietnam was like when you were children. Could you tell me?”

The Meaning Behind Each Pride Flag

The month of Pride is upon us and already you’ve probably seen the beautiful flag colors popping up across towns and on social media. However, if you’re a new ally or a new member of the LGBTQ+ community many of these flags can be confusing. There are a lot of them after all, and each one of them has its own unique meaning. Worry not, for in this listicle we’ll cover each pride flag and the community they represent.

  • The Pride Flag

The rainbow pride flag is symbolic of the LGBTQ+ community as a whole and stemmed from an earlier version of the flag, created by Gilbert Baker, who chose a rainbow for the flag to represent hope and positivity.

  • Lesbian Pride Flag

The original flag for this community was created by Natalie McCray in 2010 and included a kiss mark on the top left corner. However, after facing allegations of transphobia, biphobia and racism in 2018, the community redid the flag. The dark orange represents gender nonconformity; the middle shade of orange represents independence; the light shade of orange represents community; the white is for unique relationships to womanhood; the light pink is for serenity and peace, the middle pink is for love and sex and the dark pink is for femininity.

  • Bisexual Pride Flag

Bisexuality can be described as an attraction to more than one gender, often men and women. Micheal Page created the Bisexual Pride Flag in 1998 to increase the visibility of the bisexual community. The pink represents same-sex attraction, the purple attraction to both sexes and the blue attraction to the opposite sex.

  • Pansexual Pride Flag

The creator of the pansexual flag isn’t known, but this flag gained traction in 2010 and is representative of people attracted to all genders and sexualities. The pink represents people who identify as female, the yellow as nonbinary attraction and the blue as people who identify as male.

  • Transgender Pride Flag

This flag was designed in 1999 by Monica Helms, a transgender activist, author and veteran. Helms designed this flag so that no matter how it was displayed it would always be correct. The pink represents girls, the blue represents boys and the white represents those who are gender neutral or transitioning.

  • Philadelphia’s People of Color Inclusive Flag

In 2017 the city of Philadelphia added black and brown to the traditional pride flag to symbolize and bring awareness to LGBTQ+ people of color. The flag had been created in response to racial discrimination in the city’s gay bars and was donned by Lena Waithe in the 2018 Met Gala.

  • Queer People of Color Flag

During the height of the Black Lives Matter movement, this flag gained traction within the LGBTQ+ community and became symbolic for LGBTQ+ allies of the BLM movement.

  • Asexual Pride Flag[1] 

The asexual spectrum consists of people who feel sexual attraction less than average, varying from none at all, to infrequently, to only after they’ve formed a strong connection with another person. This flag was created in 2010 to bring awareness to the asexual community. 

The black represents the entire asexual spectrum, the gray represents gray asexuality and demisexuals (people who only feel sexual attraction when they have a strong emotional connection with another person), white represents sexuality and the purple represents community.

  • Aromantic Pride Flag[2] 

The aromantic spectrum consists of people who feel no romantic attraction to others or romantic attraction only after they’ve formed a strong emotional connection with another person. The dark green represents aromanticism, the light green represents the aromantic spectrum; white is for platonic and aesthetic attractions, and gray and black represent sexuality.

  • Genderqueer Pride Flag

Genderqueer is a term for people who don’t conform to or act as the gender they were assigned to at birth. The genderqueer flag was made in 2011 by writer and musician Marilyn Roxie. The lavender represents androgyny, the white is for agender identities and the green is for non-binary identities.

  • Non-binary Pride Flag

Non-binary is somewhat of an umbrella term and depending on who you ask it can mean many different things. At its core the definition of non-binary means not adhearing to the traditional male-female binary or identifying outside of it. 

The flag was created in 2014 for people who didn’t feel that they fell under the genderqueer flag. The yellow represents genders outside the gender binary, the white is for people who identify with different genders, the purple is for people that identify as both male and female and the black is for people who identify as agender.

  • Agender Pride Flag

The Agender pride flag was created in 2014 by Salem X and represents people who don’t identify with or connect to any gender. The black and white represent the absence of gender. The gray is for semi-genderlessness and the green is for non-binary genders.

  • Genderfluid Pride Flag

People who identify as genderfluid shift between genders, be it male, female or non-binary. This flag was created in 2012 by JJ Poole to create a flag that was less broad than the genderqueer flag. The pink represents femininity, the white is for all genders, the purple is for both masculinity and femininity, the black is for a lack of gender and the blue is for masculinity.

  • Intersex Pride Flag

Intersex is an umbrella term for people whose bodies do not conform to the male-female binary. This can be having both sets of genitals, a varying combination of chromosomes, or different sets of internal reproductive organs. 

The intersex flag was created by Australia’s co-executive director of Intersex Human Rights Morgan Carpenter in 2013 to create an image intersex people could identify with and join under without depending on stereotypes. The gold represents the reclaimed slur “hermaphrodite” and the purple circle in the middle represents being whole and complete, as well as symbolizing the right for intersex people to make their own decisions about their bodies and genders.

  • Polysexual Pride Flag

The polysexual flag was created in 2012 and lies between both the bisexual and pansexual flags, in being that people who identify as polysexual are attracted to more than two genders but not necessarily all. The pink represents attraction to women, the green is for attraction to non-binary genders and the blue represents attraction to men.

  • Polyamourous Pride Flag

Not to be confused with the polysexual pride flag, the polyamourous pride flag is representative of people in open relationships or in relationships involving more than two people. The original flag was made in 1995 by Jim Evans, who used blue to represent honesty and openness in the relationship, red for love and sexuality, and black for people who had to hide their relationships. 

Evans’ flag also featured a golden pi symbol on the front, the symbol for infinity or infinite partners. Over the years, however, the flag has changed to be both easier on the eyes and less stigmatizing by desaturating the colors and changing the pi symbol to a golden heart with an infinity symbol across it.

  • Straight Ally Pride Flag

The straight ally flag is exactly what it sounds like, for people who don’t identify as LGBTQ+ but support the community. The black and white in the background represents the allies, while the rainbow in front represents the LGBTQ+ community. 

While this is far from all the flags you’re likely to see at Pride this year, as more subsections of the community blossom and grow each year, these are the ones that have gained the most traction within recent history and should be the easiest to identify. If there’s ever a flag you don’t recognize this year, don’t be afraid to ask. You’re likely to learn so much more about the community and how to support it!

A Crisis at the Border

U.S. borders see an increase in migrants following President Joe Biden’s pause on non-citizen deportation

Since President Joe Biden was inaugurated in January 2021, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency has seen a 15 year high in migrant border crossings. According to the CBP, 172,331 migrants went into custody in March. This was up from 101,028 detainees in February. 

In January, the Biden Administration announced that for the first 100 days, it would pause the deportation of non-citizens and discontinue the previous administration’s usage of the “remain in Mexico” policy. Formerly known as the Migrant Protection Protocols policy, it requires asylum seekers to remain in Mexico for an American court hearing.

Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary David Pekoske said that the U.S. faces a significant challenge at the southwest border, while confronting a serious global pandemic in a memorandum release in January. 

“In light of those unique circumstances, the Department must surge resources to the border in order to ensure safe, legal and orderly processing, to rebuild fair and effective asylum procedures that respect human rights and due process, to adopt appropriate public health guidelines and protocols, and to prioritize responding to threats to national security, public safety, and border security,” Pekoske said.

Since January 2019, 60,000 migrants have been sent back across the border under the MPP policy. Now they are eligible to be housed or remain in the U.S. while waiting for a court hearing.

With the rise in illegal crossings, many have critiqued the administration’s border policies. According to Rep. French Hill (R), who visited the border this month, the Biden administration rescinded former president Trump’s policies and took a lighter stance at the border. 

“Despite what the Biden administration says, the administration’s policies, words, and actions have created the current public health, humanitarian, and security crisis at the border, and its refusal to take the crisis seriously is having a negative impact on our country,” Hill said.

Last March, $86 million was allocated to house 1,200 migrant family members in hotel rooms. This was completed with government contracts between hotels near the Mexico border in both Arizona and Texas. 

A growing influx in illegal crossings and asylum seekers created a strain on border facility capacities. With the strain of COVID-19 protocols, the administration has to deal with the daunting task of where to hold so many people.

A major difficulty for the Biden administration has been finding housing space for an influx in unaccompanied minors. In March, CBP encountered 18,890 unaccompanied minors, which was a 100% increase from February. Once minors are detained, Border patrol is required to transfer them to the Department of Health and Human Services, who then designates housing space or works to reunite children with family members. 

Although, due to COVID-19 restrictions, HHS was working under reduced capacity, and there was limited space to house the increase in migrant children. This required HHS to open up previous housing facilities or build more primarily in Texas to support more children and still attempt to follow COVID-19 guidelines.

Children are not to be held in border patrol custody for more than 72 hours, but the high number of children and lack of bed space in HHS facilities left children in CBP possession for 122 hours on average. Border Patrol facilities then became crowded with minors as the transfer process became backlogged. A Border Patrol facility in Donna, Texas was reported to be over 700% capacity with 1,800 people in an area designed for 250 migrants. 

Additionally, the number of unaccompanied children in CBP facilities peaked at 6,000 children in March. During the last administration, the height of unaccompanied minors was 2,600. This has more than doubled and now matters remain increasingly difficult with more health restrictions and less housing space.

An influx in migrant border crossing has been attributed to both relaxed policies of deportation and the toll of the COVID-19 pandemic. Most children are fleeing economic hardship and violence from Central American countries such as Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. Yet, along the way migrants face more violence and harm. It is estimated that 1/3 of women are sexually assaulted along the journey to the U.S. border.

Moving to April, CBP still saw a slight increase in migrant crossings with 178,622 border encounters. Yet, the amount of unaccompanied minors decreased compared to April while the number of single adults rose. 

A poll published in May by Associated Press-NORC at the University of Chicago found that 43% of adults approve of how President Joe Biden is handling the crisis at the border. On the other hand, 54% do not approve of his administration’s actions since January.

The Biden administration still faces a daunting task of resolving a near 20 year high of border crossings with no end in sight.

Coronavirus Situation During Quarantine

Going Back Home During a Pandemic

Joy Kim, a videographer for the Pioneer, went back to home due to COVID-19. She talks about how Korean government operate a measures for returnees to South Korea.

Videographer: Joy Kim
Editor: Joy Kim
Future Image: Ciara William
Logo Intro: Jesus Contreras, Kyla Roygor

Music provided by YouTube Audio Library
Music: https://www.youtube.com/audiolibrary/music?nv=1
Music used: Playdate - The Great North Sound Society, Natural - Endless Love

 

Happy Mother’s Day Form All Over The World

Editor: Kotone Ochiai

Music provided by Royalty Free Music from Bensound
Music: https://www.bensound.com
Music used: TENDERNESS
https://www.bensound.com/royalty-free-music/track/tenderness

COVID-19 situation at Sea-Tac International Airport

Kicking it with Q – Episode 5 – The Struggle in Hong Kong

Quintin Mattson-Hayward talks about the struggles in her home, her transition to the United States and Coronavirus.

 

Editor: Quintin Mattson-Hayward

Guests: Kay Li, Emma Li, Kitty Hui

Logo: Jesus Contreras

The Drop – Episode 4 – Hong Kong

Daniel So interviews students from Hong Kong about the protest back home and how it has affected them, their families and the community.

Host: Daniel So

Guest: William Liu, Kay Li, David Wong Gutierrez

Tyler’s Tea – Episode 1 – BushFire

Tyler talks about the Australian Bushfire with guest Jesus Contreras.

Host: Tyler Grover

Guest: Jesus Contreras

Editor: Quintin Mattson-Hayward

Cultural Exchange

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