Home Fronts: A Peaceful Protest Prevails

By Wakeelah Bashir, Freelance Writer

Nearly 53 years ago during the 1967 Newark riots, residents protested violently in response to the community's mistreatment by those who were sworn to protect them--the police.

Contrary to the initiative the community is taking to end police brutality today, residents from all over New Jersey rallied together May 30 in Newark, New Jersey's largest city, to protest peacefully and bring awareness to racial injustice and police brutality following the death of George Floyd on May 25 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

After a weekend without any violence or arrests being made, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy praised the city of Newark for its civil approach during the city's protest, considering its reputation of being one of the most dangerous cities in New Jersey.

Eighty-eight-year-old Newark resident Geraldine Little recalled the restless week in July 1967, describing it as a civil war between the Newark police and Newark residents.

Continue reading here...

Home Fronts: ‘Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much’

By Jonathan Scott, Freelance Writer

June has just started and I already find myself at wit's end-- torn between trying to stay abreast of what's happening in the world on social media, and yet trying to distance myself from viewing the world's dueling health and social ills simultaneously.

During my usual virtual scrolling, I came across a quote from American author and activist Helen Keller, in which I found a rather profound meaning, solace, and significance in what's happening with and around me.

Finish reading here...

Home Fronts: Inflamed Tensions

By Carnell White, Freelance Writer

HARLEM, N.Y. – Parts of New York's Brooklyn and The Bronx boroughs burned Tuesday night as demonstrations turned from peaceful to restless and from civil to looting, awakening "the city that never sleeps."

Large, visibly flustered and vocal crowds reacting to the unlawful death of George Floyd on May 25 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, gathered across New York City June 2 to vent and protest the injustice in the midst of COVID-19, according to city officials.

With fresh social media images going viral and media coverage of Floyd's arrest, detainment and ultimate demise, uproar sparked across the nation. What started out as hundreds of people quickly turned into thousands as people came together to have their voices heard in New York City streets.

"The city that never sleeps has been divided in the last three months (because of the coronavirus pandemic)," said social media influencer Lissette Hughes. "In May of 2020 it (Floyd's death) was given a reason to bring life back to the city of New York."

Continue reading here...

Chesapeake Bay Foundation leads Virginia in oyster restoration project

By Lauren Grayson

Outside of Smithfield Station, a popular local seafood restaurant, an employee threw a bucket of empty oyster shells into an already overflowing bin labeled "CAUTION: Oyster Restoration at Work."

"Every day, when the cooks take out the trash, they dispose of the oyster shells in a separate bin," store manager Evan Thomas said.

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation collects the shells and uses them to construct and maintain the oyster reefs.

"The bin is in front of the restaurant so that when customers walk in, they can see the work that's being done," Thomas said. "It makes us feel like we're really making a difference because where we would otherwise just throw the shells away, we're finding a way to repurpose them."

Smithfield Station and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation are trying to increase the number of oysters and slow the rate of species endangerment by increasing the variety of life that exists within freshwater, tidal and marine ecosystems.

Jackie Shannon, manager for the Virginia Oyster Restoration Center, is responsible for gathering volunteers to produce and place man-made clumps of collected oyster shells into the ocean.

"My role is to be a lot more hands-on with the work that we do," Shannon said. "What me and my volunteers do is place clumps of oysters, called hatchery clumps, into the ocean. The goal is that eventually, they'll naturally recruit oyster larvae, producing more baby oysters that will grow to create reef structures. These structures will then eventually serve as a habitat for underwater wildlife."

According to Shannon, these oyster reef structures require years of monitoring. However, if successful, they become self-sustainable and create diverse aquatic ecosystems that have a huge biological impact.

This biological impact includes the preservation of the genetic information of these species, which potentially hold the cure to future diseases and contain overall solutions for survival. As soon as a species goes extinct, all of their genetic information is lost.

According to the Virginia Cooperative Extension, water animals and plants are our legacy to future generations. "Preventing habitat loss is the first important step to take in protecting our native species, and restoring important degraded habitat is the second step."

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation would be unable to restore degraded aquatic habitats at a steady rate without the community's participation. "Building relationships with the community is essential to progress being made," said Christy Everett, Hampton Roads director for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. "My job is to build important relationships not only with the government, but with community leaders and representatives as well. Partnering with them is crucial to our goal of improving aquatic biodiversity and improve the local water quality as well."

Yancey Powell, manager of education for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's Jenny S. Workboat Education Program, actively educates students and their teachers on the environmental health of the Hampton Roads waterways.

"Maintaining the waterways is crucial to the survival of certain species here," Powell said. "Overfishing is definitely a problem, whether it be because of huge fisheries or individuals who frequently fish in the waterways illegally."

"Either way, they are altering and impacting the environment around them, which is why we then have to come in and make sure that they still have an underwater environment to come back to!"

Meanwhile, one shell at a time, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and Virginia restaurants will continue to do their part to restore oyster reefs and create a more diverse aquatic ecosystem together.

President Trump unveils 2021 budget with massive cuts to assistance programs

By Sara Avery | Hampton University Staff Writer

President Trump unveiled his 2021 budget that makes major cuts to safety net programs like Social Security and food stamps. The $4.8 trillion proposal also will affect certain federal student loan programs, increasing the amount of debt that borrowers will have over their lifetime, USA Today reported.

A program that forgives the remaining student debt of public service workers, such as teachers and firefighters, who have made on time payments for 10 years, will be terminated. This could result in over $52 billion worth of additional payments in the next decade.

The budget also would terminate government payments on the subsides of Stafford loans. These subsidies are the interest the government pays on loans while students are in school. This could result in $18 billion more for borrowers over the next decade.

Additionally, a grant that helped 1.7 million students in 2019 will be axed. The Trump administration believes that the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant replicates the Pell Grant, which helped 8.2 million students in 2019, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

"I believe that Trump's new budget plan is making it impossible for families with harder financial circumstances to send their children to college," HU sophomore Daelin Brown said.

Another change being made is the limit placed on how much parents of undergraduates can borrow from the federal government with the Parent PLUS loan. Currently, parents can borrow the full annual cost of attendance minus other financial aid their student receives per year. Under the 2021 budget, that would be restricted to only $26,500 to pay for their student's entire undergraduate education.

"That's totally reasonable," Sandy Baum, a fellow in the Center for Education, Data and Policy at the Urban Institute, told USA Today. "There's no reason why the federal government should lend such large amounts of money to parents who may have their lives ruined by it because they can't afford to repay it."

The budget also will include modifications of Social Security and Medicaid, even after the president promised several times during campaigning that he would not touch it. The budget plans to cut around $45 billion on Social Security Supplemental Income, a program aimed at helping disabled children and adults. It also plans to cut $844 billion in Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act over the next 10 years.

For more on this story, go to Hampton Script.

Vice President Mike Pence visits Hampton University’s Proton Therapy Institute

By Ayanna Maxwell | Hampton Script Editor-In-Chief

Photo Credit: Glenn Knight

Vice President Mike Pence visited Hampton University's Proton Therapy Institute on Feb. 19 to engage with students, faculty and HUPTI treatment survivors.

According to a news release from HU's Office of University Relations, the visit was arranged with the intentions of "supporting the University's efforts in providing state-of-the-art cancer research and delivering cancer treatment to military veterans and their families."

With it being Black History Month, Pence's visit to such a prestigious historically black university was extremely timely. Vice President Pence has established a fervent relationship with Hampton University President Dr. William R. Harvey and even noted that President Harvey played a major role in the recently signed policy making federal funding for HBCUs permanent.

Photo Credit: Glenn Knight

"President Harvey has been a real champion of this administration, particularly for HBCUs," Pence said.

Vice President Pence and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos participated in a roundtable discussion with various campus leaders: SGA President Jonathan Mack, SGA Vice President Bruce Wilson, Junior Class President Oshae Moore, Student Representative to the Board of Trustees Kenneth Rioland III, Hampton Script Editor-in-Chief Ayanna Maxwell and Miss Student Nursing Association Ebony Johnson. Among students and faculty, Vice President of Administrative Services Dr. Barbara Inman, Senior Vice President Attorney Paul Harris, and Chancellor and Provost Dr. JoAnn Haybsert were present.

"We think Hampton represents the best of HBCUs."

––Vice President Mike Pence

The vice president engaged in a meaningful discussion about the current administration's plans for supporting HBCUs and increasing White House internship and study abroad opportunities for HBCU students.

"[The current administration has] increased HBCU funding by 17% in real dollars...and restored Pell Grants to being year-round," Pence said. "The Department of Education also provided more than $500 million in loans for capital financing."

DeVos also mentioned a new addition to the recent budget proposal, in which there is "a STEM initiative for HBCUs located in opportunity zones."

In regards to expanding White House internship opportunities, Pence plans to continue connecting with HBCUs in order to increase participation in White House internship programs. The current administration also plans to ensure that all students have access to the resources necessary to pursue an education abroad. "We are working to make college more affordable for all students, no matter where they come from," Sec. DeVos said.

For more on this story, go to Hampton Script.

Bahamian student settles in at HU

By Sydney N. Shuler

Krishona Minis glided into the Hampton University cafeteria for Saturday brunch as if she'd been doing it for weeks. She had dressed in a mid-morning brunch outfit that is quite familiar on HU's campus: a sweater over a tank top, casual cotton shorts and hot pink Crocs on her feet.

She started to make her way to the dining room but stopped abruptly to look down at her iPhone. Five seconds later, I received a text:

Can you send me a picture? I forgot how you look.

I responded, Short. Bald. Blonde.

She looked up from the glowing screen and smiled while walking toward me.

"Good morning," she said in a soft, but distinguishable Bahamian accent.

She arrived from the University of the Bahamas-North on September 24 following the destruction of Hurricane Dorian. Eighteen-year-old Minnis is a sophomore business management major from Freeport, Grand Bahama, The Bahamas, and a new student at Hampton University. Over a breakfast burrito and a plate of bacon, eggs and potatoes, we discussed her life's most recent drastic changes.

"I'm not nervous about anything, actually," she said. "I'm really excited about this opportunity. I feel like I belong here because everybody treats me like I'm from here."

It helps that Minnis arrived at Hampton with 46 Bahamian peers. She admits that she did not know all of them.

"I'm meeting new people, too," she said. "I'm getting to know them, which is pretty easy because we went to the same school together; I've probably seen them before and just didn't know their name."

As we talked, Minnis showed me photos of her home country before and after the storm.

"From the plane you could see tha the trees were dry because of the salt water. Usually from high up you can just see green [trees], but when I was on the plane it was brown and I could see the houses that were destroyed."

The Bahamas before and after Hurricane Dorian. Photos by Krishona Minnis.

"I never imagined that I'd be in a situation like this because we normally have hurricanes, but we never flood," she said. "Because of the surges, most of the island got flooded. My area didn't get flooded, but poles and trees still got knocked down, and a few houses had some damage, like broken windows."

She said that, as the hurricane started to pick up speed and force, her mother sent her to stay with a family member farther inland, where she lost contact with family and friends for days.

"It got crowded because my other family's house got flooded, so they had to come there, too," she said. "I didn't see my daddy until four days after... I couldn't check on him at all because the signal was down."

Krishona Minnis hopes that coming to HU will help her return to life before Dorian, where she played high school sports, cooked Caribbean food, traveled with family and friends and worked toward her goal of being an entrepreneur.

I'm hopeful for her, too.

Hampton University's Efforts to Change the Stigmas Around Mental Health

By Alazja Kirk

At a time when people are becoming more aware of the importance of mental health, the fields of psychology and counseling are not meeting the mental health needs of African Americans in the United States. Hampton University's faculty and students are analyzing the problem and preparing to make a difference.

The inner-cultural stigmas that keep people from seeking help include racial stereotypes and a history of abuse by medical providers that breeds mistrust in patients. In some cases, generations of poverty have left a legacy of mental health issues and a lack of ability to determine when to seek help.

Also, only 6.2 percent of psychologists and 12.6 percent of social workers are people of color, according to the National Association of Mental Illness (NAMI). Hampton wants to increase the number of African Americans working in the field.

"If we aren't able to address those pressing problems as mental health care providers, how can we expect minority groups to ask for our help?" said Dr. Kevin Tarlow, a Hampton University professor.

For the past seven years, 10 percent of Hampton University's student population has been psychology students. At least 60 to 70 percent of the students attend graduate school. There are nine faculty members in the Department of Psychology, who partner with the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, which allows students to experience hands-on patients with Post Traumatic Stress Disorders and other conditions.

African American patients tend to feel more comfortable about therapy when seeing African American psychologists. While improved results are challenging to quantify, African Americans report being more comfortable seeing a professional who comes from the same cultural background as they do and say they are more likely to seek help from a black doctor, according to Harvard Business Review.

Theoretically, the color of someone's skin should not determine a psychologist's effectiveness or empathy. However, many students in Tarlow's fall class think there is an implicit feeling of having a connection if they walk into a therapist's office and see that they are also African American. Students agreed that they feel that way themselves.

"When you have someone that looks like you, you can relate to them better," one student said. "You can build a relationship with your therapist and, in turn, that will help you out more."

But that requires getting patients in the door. And, experts say that's where the problem starts. Forty percent of African-Americans are more likely to experience more mental health issues than the general population and are less likely to seek help, according to The Office of Minority Health.

"It's almost as if we're in denial, as if we can't have something wrong with us," said Brianna Robinson, a senior psychology major. Problems that emerge as children, if not dealt with, can get worse and be more detrimental, she said.

African American children and youth in impoverished environments are often exposed to violence, and they are more likely to suffer the loss of a loved one, to be victimized, to attend substandard schools, and suffer from abuse and neglect. In turn, they usually encounter too few opportunities for safe, organized recreation and other constructive outlets, according to The National Research Council.

Mental health issues aren't considered to be medical issues within the African American Community, but are interpreted as character flaws, signs of weakness, or personal problems that can be overcome.

"It can be very much like pray about your problems or pretend they don't exist. Meanwhile, we're just continuing to suffer," said Dr. Kristie Norwood, director of the Counseling Center.

Social stigmas against mental health play a significant role in discouraging African Americans from seeking help. Norwood is working to normalize the idea of seeking mental health treatment. She believes that it isn't something a person should be ashamed or afraid of doing. Norwood's passion for psychology came from wanting to help people who look like her, something the program emphasizes.

"We have to change the stigma to be open to talking about it and get the necessary help," said Autumn Griffin, a senior psychology major. "A lot of people feel that if they have a mental illness, they are crazy. That's not what mental health is."

Dr. Kermit Crawford, psychologist and chair of Hampton University's psychology department, thinks some African Americans are less likely to seek help because they aren't educated about mental health.

"When I was growing up, I didn't think about seeing anyone as a therapist. There weren't any therapists in my community," Crawford said. "I didn't know anyone who would say they are seeing a therapist because they didn't want to be looked on as weak or not fit for what they are doing."

To change the stigma, psychologists have to look at why the stigma exists in the first place.

"Sometimes the outcomes are different, not because the illness is different, but because the health care system can't provide care in a non-discriminatory way," Tarlow said.

In many cases, minority groups aren't able to afford health care options that aren't going to discriminate against them.

"Even when different groups have the same amount of stress or illness, we have to look at what the access to care is like for those groups," Tarlow said. "Can they access affordable, quality mental health care that works for them?"

The cost of mental health resources is not only less accessible in some communities, but it can also be a financial burden. In 2005, Crawford worked with victims and evacuees of Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana. Later, he worked in Massachusetts, where two planeloads of Hurricane Katrina evacuees came.

He remembers speaking to one patient who said: "I first have to get my life together. I have to get my family together. I have to get my housing together. I have to get my employment together. I'll have my mental break down later."

Hampton University's psychology department faculty have science-oriented and diverse backgrounds, Norwood said. As a new member of the faculty, she was thrilled to see how invested the staff is in their students during their undergraduate career and preparing them for graduate school.

As part of that initiative, the faculty is working on project grants that could help students spend time in real-world psychological patient environments.

Hampton University has continuously made strides to help people in the Hampton Roads area who need to talk about their mental health. The first chair of the department was Kenneth Clark, who conducted the Doll Study, which looked at the psychological effects of segregation on African American children. Clark and his wife, Mamie Clark, used four dolls, identical except for color, to test children's racial perceptions.

Some years later, the "father of black psychology," Reginald Jones, became chair of the department.

"We've educated a lot of students over time. We try to encourage students to continue their education in psychology and go to therapy," Crawford said.

Hampton University's psychology students are trained to be graduate students during their time in the program. Students have the option to take a few different avenues; some students go on to become licensed clinical psychologists or enter into a master's degree program. Some students focus more on social work, which allows them to become a licensed clinical social worker.

Psychologists pride themselves on the ability to pay it forward and help those who seek help. For instance, Crawford believes he is doing God's work.

"The gift that I was given, I feel like I'm giving back," he said.


Hampton University is home to many organizations that welcome students who have a passion for psychology in the African American community. The Psychology Club provides many opportunities for its members through social interaction, community service, and panel discussions.

The organization also sponsors a variety of activities throughout the school year, including volunteering at local shelters and nursing homes, fundraising for charities, campus speakers, and interactive movie nights.

Psi Chi is the International Honor Society at Hampton University. The mission of this prestigious organization is to encourage, stimulate and maintain excellence in scholarship in efforts to advance the science of psychology. Members Psi Chi work together to initiate community service projects, host seminars and continuously aim to improve the organization's mission.

Leila Steinberg Highlights 4th Annual Hampton University Film Festival

By By Malcolm Carter

Inspired by managing Tupac, 20 years after his violent death, Leila Steinberg (pictured below with Tupac) is finally trying to make their dreams come true by diverting young black men from the prison pipeline.

Steinberg was part of the Hampton University Film Festival (HUFF), appearing Nov. 12 and 13 on panels about emotional literacy and prison reform.

Using panel discussions, master classes and film screenings, the film festival delved deeply into black identity in America today. Themes included race, social justice, prison reform and the need for more black leadership.

Steinberg, a filmmaker and former manager of Tupac Shakur, highlighted a long list of some of Hollywood's best.

Steinberg is also an educator and founder of AIM4TheHeART, a nonprofit that is committed to aiding at-risk youth in finding their voices by teaching the importance of emotional literacy and proper writing techniques.

Steinberg held a master class Nov. 13, telling the story of how she started in the music industry and eventually become Tupac's manager.

"I met him at one of my poetry classes, and I was immediately struck at how talented and professional he was to only be 17 years old," Steinberg said. "He was able to put his feelings and thoughts on paper in a way that everyone could understand. Black, white, young or old, it didn't matter."

Tupac lived with Steinberg and her family for a short time, and she credits this relationship with becoming a better mother to her own children, who identified more with their's father's African-American heritage than with her Jewish one.

"He taught me about the important job I had in raising black children even though I wasn't black myself," Steinberg said. "He wanted them to embrace their heritage in a world that will judge them solely based on the color of their skin."

Steinberg and Shakur would seem to have nothing in common, but according to Steinberg, they shared the same passion for music, education and racial equality.

With her connections in the film industry coupled with Tupac's unique music style, the two would begin to gain traction across the West Coast.

She managed and mentored Shakur until he outgrew her, she said.

He went on to become one of the most influential rap artists in history and has held onto this title even after his death in 1996. Shakur was gunned down at a red light in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Sept. 13. His death was a shock to the music industry because he was only 25 years old and on his way to becoming one of the greatest artists of his time.

In addition to the great music they created, Steinberg and Shakur started The Microphone Sessions, a writing workshop that focuses on creating a free space for spoken word, poetry, singing and drama.

"The best way to positively impact the minds of youth is to first touch the heart," Steinberg said.

As the program facilitator, Steinberg sees confronting pain as the best way to move past it. She believes self-awareness is key to making better choices.

Weekly gatherings are held worldwide, led by educators trained by Steinberg. Aside from the microphone sessions, arguably some of Steinberg's most important work over the past 25 years has been her teaching inmates at San Quentin prison, through the No More Tears program.

The program was founded by inmates at San Quentin in 2002 to combat the rise of violent crime in Oakland and to reduce the recidivism rates of black men.

Like the AIM program, No More Tears provides a safe space for inmates to talk about their feelings.

The prison system nationwide has failed to provide avenues for inmates to express themselves and to work on becoming better citizens once they return to society, Steinberg said.

Steinberg is also working on a short documentary on the program.

"The goal of this documentary is to promote what people of color in America are going through," Steinberg said. "It's about reaching those people who don't go through these struggles to help bridge the gap."

Since 2004, more than 1,000 men have completed the program.

Steinberg would like to see the entire prison industrial complex abolished, she said.

"Prison is supposed to be a place where you learn from your mistakes and get help to become a functioning citizen in society, but instead, prisoners are left in cages for years to rot," Steinberg said. "This cycle needs to be broken."

Is the Smoke Worth It?

By Calyx Stover

At least three out of every ten Hampton University students use some type of vaping device, the same kind that has killed dozens of users in the United States and sickened hundreds of others.

Vaping has become one of the biggest health concerns involving teens and young adults, and Hampton health care workers are determined to protect students.

"We have to look at how the use of e cigarettes among young adults has sky rocketed," says Megan Hill, a health education specialist at Hampton University.

Hill urged students to call help hotlines, contact the Ex program on campus which helps smokers quit, or call her directly.

Vaping companies have made their product enticing to students, Hill said.

The appeal includes the small amount of odorless smoke the vaping device emits, making it easy to use in public without public knowledge. Vapes are also small and easy to conceal because they appear to be a flash drive or other school supply. They are often thin, flat, long and wrapped in metal.

At a cost of $35 to $50, devices provide high doses of nicotine in flavors appealing to young people including bubblegum, mango, mint and watermelon. One JUUL pod is equivalent to a pack of cigarettes and one THC oil cartridge used for dab vapes is equivalent to a gram of weed.

Photo courtesy of www.juul.com

Students on campus say vape devices are easy to obtain from smoke shops. Students older than the required minimum age of 21 will buy them and resell cartridges and pods to classmates as a small business.

"Vaping is super easy and convenient. Most people on campus hear about it from a friend who helps them get the vape and the cartridges or pods," said Jayla Poindexter, a junior psychology student.

A side-by-side comparison shows that cigarette and JUUL ads send similar messages about the portability, taste, appearance and "cool factor" of the products. JUUL's ads are nearly identical to tobacco companies, according to research by Stanford University.

A small study, conducted at Hampton University, showed that two out of every four vape users were not smokers before they began vaping indicating that many students are forming new unhealthy habits with vapes.

"Vaping is being marketed as an alternative smoking sensation to help customers quit, but research is showing that people partaking in vaping were not smokers before," Hill said.

While JUUL Labs insists that their products are marketed toward and meant to be used by adults, Stanford's study of the company's marketing campaign between JUUL's launch in 2015 and fall 2018 indicates that the startup was intentionally targeting youth.

"These vapes are advertised everywhere that young people go," said Hill.

Most gas stations near Hampton University's campus sell everything needed for a JUUL. There are also three smoke shops within a five-mile radius of the campus, so dab pen devices are easily accessible to students as well. Several lawsuits have been filed against JUUL claiming the product marketing has caused use to skyrocket in minors. In one, plaintiffs allege the company's use of social media targeted minors with visually appealing ads, according to The Washington Post.

The company is being investigated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for similar reasons.

"I found out about vapes on Instagram because I would constantly see ads. Next thing I knew, I would always see people smoking them on campus and at parties," one student said."

JUUL acknowledges there is a problem.

"The numbers tell us underage use of e-cigarette products is a problem. We must solve it," CEO Kevin Burns said in a post to the company's website.

The FDA's investigation has resulted in restrictions on the sale of flavored e-cigarettes and an age verification process for those who visit e-cigarette websites, both of which have been implemented in the state of Virginia.

"It's kind of hard to tell if the new bans and initiatives will work, but they are a start and it takes time to see change," said Hill.

More Entries