Best Of The Best

Dan Piraro, The “Bizarro” Cartoonist Who Wants Us To Stop Shitting Where We Sleep

Cartoonist Dan Piraro looks up from his drawing monitor: “You mind if I keep working a little bit on the side here while we talk?”

Piraro is a busy man.

His one-panel comic series Bizarro is featured in more than 350 daily and Sunday newspapers, which requires him to churn out a hand-cramping seven cartoons a week.

He maintains a strict routine to keep up with this level of demand so he alternates his attention between his work station and his webcam where he chats with me via Skype.

Piraro is absolutely absorbed by his literal task at hand.

He responds to each of my questions with a laid-back gusto- not dissimilar to the feel of his daily strip, although there are some topics that get him going. Take the environment for example.

“Virtually all animals know not to shit where they sleep,” Piraro said. “They try to defecate as far away from where they live and raise their families. In a local sense we do that but in a larger sense we’re poisoning the one planet that’s inhabitable to us.”

That’s one of the few riffs Piraro goes on during our 28-minute conversation.

He is a man of passion when he feels drawn to a topic.

It was the way he was raised.

His parents were Kennedy Democrats.

Public service was a big deal in their home and they wanted their children, Dan and his sisters, to show the same sense of responsibility their beloved president had.

“I was raised to believe that certain things in life are more important than your job or social standing,” Piraro said. “We were sort of raised with that notion that it’s up to everyone to build and maintain a society worth living in.”

Piraro doesn’t hide his liberal political views in his strip but he said that he doesn’t consider himself much of a political cartoonist either.

He’s different. Hard to pin down. So is his work.

In the world of syndicated cartoons, there are humorous comic strips featuring cute kids or sarcastic animals and then there are political strips that maybe feature cute kids or sarcastic animals who have a bone to pick with a specific politician or political party.

Piraro tries to keep himself within the lines but sometimes his sensibilities get the best of him.

This happened in 2005 when he drew a panel relating to gay marriage and changed it due to concerns that it would not be received well.

Piraro said that sometimes he worries that his panel will be received differently to a general audience that he wants it to be.

“My editor will call me saying that a certain cartoon might upset people in more conservative markets,” Piraro said. “It could result in losing a newspaper client and getting my strip replaced with something that doesn’t make pointed political statements.”

Piraro will sometimes side with his editor.

It’s not worth losing a client over a panel he isn’t 100% invested in.

But most of the time, Piraro said that he will take the risk of getting his point across.

Public service, remember?

“I’m not a balls-to-the-walls political activist but with my strip I have a growing audience and a sense of obligation to address some issues that seemed to me to be social injustices that could be repaired with changes in attitude,” Piraro said.

Despite the reluctance of syndicated strips to go political, Piraro says there’s one figure everyone’s making an exception for.

“When I started doing cartoons on Donald Trump I expected a similar response as to when I was doing George W. Bush cartoons,” Piraro said. “Lose a paper here or there but nothing happened. They didn’t mind I was taking these pot shots at Trump even though I’m technically not allowed to delve into politics.”

Readers don’t seem to mind either.

Dan claims his readership has actually gone up since Trump took office but he’s not allowing for “anti-president” material to dominate his strip any time soon.

He limits himself to one Trump cartoon for every seven panels he produces.

For now, Bizarro is more focused on the patented absurdism that makes it unlike anything else in the funnies.

Whether it’s a crossdresser lamenting the pointlessness of cross dressing in the Middle East or God creating mankind when he was piss drunk over a wild weekend, Bizaroo is the product of Dan Piraro’s hypernormal imagination.

It’s not die-hard political satire but it’s not exactly a cat who for some reason enjoys lasagna.

“My cartoons are an artistic representation of the way I think and imagine things,” Piraro said. “That’s one of the reasons I’m not a millionaire.”

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

“In Venezuela We Don’t Live, We Survive.” A Millennial Fights For His Country While It Falls Apart

Ever since Nicolás Maduro’s rise to Venezuela’s presidency in 2013, the nation’s already unstable political and social situation has continued to deteriorate.

Insecurity, food shortage, a devastated economy and peaceful protests followed by violent repression are part of Venezuela’s daily life.

And millennials in the country are increasingly caught up in the unrest that threatens to tear apart the nation.

“Everyday, I see something that makes me think that we have to find a way out of this,” 19 year old student Juan Simón Ávila said in an interview with RISE NEWS. “There’s no day in Venezuela in which you’re happy or in which you can say that nothing happened in the country. It’s very hard.”

Ávila is a TRX fitness coach, and a musician.

Everyday, he leaves his house at 7 a.m. to go to work and everyday he see’s something dramatic in the streets of Valencia, the nation’s third largest city and the home of University of Carabobo, where Ávila goes to school.

“I see what’s going on,” Ávila said. “There’s people eating from the garbage and long lines of people outside of gas stations and food markets. People have left their jobs and they seek for any activity that may create more income to survive. In Venezuela we don’t live, we survive.”

In the past few years, Venezuela has suffered from a serious shortage not only in staple foods such as milk, chicken, coffee and rice, but also on staple products such as toilet paper and even medicines.

19 year old activist Juan Simón Ávila. Photo Credit: Submitted.

The Venezuelan economy is heavily reliant on global oil forces, and times have been tough in recent years as the price has been driven low.

This shortage of daily stable items is called by some Venezuelans, “Maduro’s Diet”.

“The amount of food has declined and people eat less,” Ávila said. “Not only that, but we’re also worried about not having enough food to get through the week and about insecurity. I go out and I worry about getting robbed, kidnapped or even killed. I want to walk through the streets without being afraid.”

Venezuela’s streets also witness the abusive and violent way in which the army and the police crush the citizens’ pacific protests.

They throw tear gas and shoot lead balls as well as real bullets to Venezuelans who attend protests with nothing but banners, whistles and tambourines.

As protests become a daily occurrence in Venezuela, the importance of the young generations cannot be overstated.

They are forming the core of protests and are pushing for rebuilding their country while forcing their voices to be heard.

“There are no reasons to stay at home, but there’s too many reasons to go out there and fight to recover our country,” Ávila said. “I want to finish my degree and I want to leave, but I want to come back and rebuild Venezuela. How could I come back if I didn´t fight until the last day I was here?”

Now in his third year as a student in the University of Carabobo, Ávila has seen how the country’s fragile economy and growing instability have taken a toll in the education sector.

“Universities are a mirror of Venezuela’s situation, or at least mine is,” Ávila said. “Everything is abandoned. The university is destroyed and my college is falling apart.”

The University of Carabobo, which runs on federal funds, is one of Venezuela’s five autonomous universities.

However, given the state of the country’s economy, the university has not received any federal aid to support itself for over six months.

With no money to maintain the facilities or pay the professors, university authorities are still deliberating whether to declare bankruptcy and suspend the institution’s activities.

“I wouldn’t go to class anyway,” Ávila said. “Venezuela comes first because if we don’t fight for it now, then we won’t do it ever. And how is it useful to me to go to college and attend classes if I won’t have a country to work in?”

With escalating street violence and a repressive and tyrannical government in charge, Venezuelans see no quick solution to the problem that afflicts their country.

“This government has to stop,” Ávila said. “Maduro has to leave. We’ve called for pacts and elections, but they have shown they don’t care about what anyone says. I don’t see any way of solving this conflict in the near future. Maybe we need a big rebellion or a foreign intervention because Venezuela’s situation will not be solved through democracy.”

Ávila said he looks forward to finishing his degree in Fiscal Science and going to Mexico with his sister Rosa María to play music.

“People out there have to know that there’s people here fighting for Venezuela,” Ávila said. “They have to know that Venezuelans’ human rights are being violated, but that we’re still here facing this government. They have to know that there’s people who believe that this country will get through this. Maybe not today or tomorrow, but we will get through this. People out there have to realize and talk about how there’s something going on in Venezuela.”

Read More: While America Closes Up Shop, Mexico Opens Its Arms To Syrian Students

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

Photo Credits: Juan Simón Ávila/ Submitted

Kids, Being An Astronaut Is Boring. You Should Want To Explore The Ocean

For more than a year, my best friend Erin and I have been the two opposing factors in a long-standing argument: Which is more important to explore, the ocean or outer space?

She is a firm believer that escapism is a relevant issue that should be on the forefront of scientists’ agendas, considering our planet is treated like dirt—ha, dirt—and will eventually become unlivable, therefore we must be prepared to leave. I, on the other hand, have faith in our great Earth.

I believe that we can find answers to escapists’ queries right below our feet.

The ocean covers more than 70 percent of our planet, housing and supporting many of our living organisms and life forms over the entire planet.

The ocean affects weather patterns, provides entertainment and impacts human activity in so many ways.

It is the anchor of our very existence, yet we are killing it off each day.

Humans need to be held accountable for their role in global demolition in some way, and righting the wrongs we’ve done by our ocean is a much better option than running off to the stars to kill them too.

Our ocean is depressingly neglected.

Less than 5 percent of the ocean has been explored, leaving 65 percent of our Earth unknown.

We prioritize mapping out completely uninhabitable celestial bodies like Venus and Mercury, but continue to keep our ocean as an afterthought.

According to Larry Mayer, director of the Center for Marine Science and Coastal Engineering at the University of New Hampshire, it is a commitment issue.

Get out of here moon! Photo Credit: Johannes Richter/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

“We could map the entire deep ocean for $3 billion—no more than a single Mars mission,” Mayer said in an interview with BBC.

The sea floor has technically been mapped out, but at a quarter of the resolution of other astronomical objects like Mars.

This information is hardly useful because it is neither detailed nor does it contain any information on the life that inhabits the deep sea.

Amitai Etzioni, a sociologist and director of the Institute for Communitarian Policy Studies at George Washington University, coined the ocean as the “Fruitful Frontier” in a contributing article for Issues in Science and Technology.

With this phrase, Etzioni makes a great point.

The ocean is home to organisms that will help increase medicinary advancements; it is a sink for carbon dioxide, which can be a viable solution to climate change; it is a viable catalyst for developing safer, cleaner energy.

These are only a few items that demonstrate what our ocean has to offer.

The ocean is brimming with potential, yet we refuse to acknowledge its power.

Space is a place for dreamers; the doers look toward the seas.

From Etzioni’s article:

“The ocean has absorbed almost one-third of anthropogenic carbon dioxide emitted since the advent of the industrial revolution and have the potential to continue absorbing a large share of the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere. Researchers are exploring a variety of chemical, biological and physical geoengineering projects to increase the ocean’s capacity to absorb carbon.”

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) made a statement on their website that they are working to increase oceanic research.

However, as actions continue to speak louder than words, space still takes priority.

Whether it be because it seems more mystifying than the seas or because it is a way out of a dying planet, oceanic ignorance will ultimately be the downfall of humanity before anything else.

Mars is cool, we guess. Photo Credit: Kevin Gill/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

So, say this ignorance lasts forever and we eventually obtain the knowledge and technology to venture off to Mars.

Say we find a way to colonize the red planet and live full, healthy lives with little complication.

There is no doubt that we will eventually kill Mars just like we let Earth down.

We will take our vices and keep polluting planets until spaceships are our only options left, and have you seen “WALL-E”?

It does not work.

In no way should we just halt space exploration altogether; that would be ridiculous.

It is just so obvious that the government’s money should be allocated to more necessary and relevant projects.

Even if funding was cut from space exploration, The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) would not go out of business; corners would just have to be cut.

This means humans would most likely be cut from the big picture, for the moment.

But never fear, for we have robots!

Robots do not require the same accommodations like humans do: Food, radiation shields, armor against prolonged weightlessness and airlessness and—most importantly—a return ticket.

On the economic side of things as well, it costs much less money to send a robot into space than it costs to send a human.

Not to mention, it is much safer than throwing a human out into such uncharted territory; we can’t stand to have failed attempts when human lives are taken out of the picture.

Theoretical physicist and Nobel Laureate Steven Weinberg, in an interview for CNN, said manned missions are “an incredible waste of money.”

Weinberg continued, “[F]or the cost of putting a few people on a very limited set of locations on Mars we could have dozens of unmanned, robotic missions roving all over Mars.”

A view of the Canary Islands from Space. Photo Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

All in all, robots are disposable machines (sorry, “WALL-E”)  that we can (and do) use as guinea pigs to do the dirty work humans cannot yet do in space.

So it would not even be a big surprise or change; NASA will not lose much.

While NASA will not lose much as far as human exploration, they are losing federal funding that, while it may seem small, will cause a great deal of suffering, especially in the current political climate.

President Donald Trump’s proposed 2018 budget amendment, “America First: a Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again,” takes significant stabs at NASA’s agenda that is ultimately detrimental to the Earth.

Trump wants to allocate $19 billion to NASA, which is a 0.8 percent decrease from former president Barack Obama’s 2016 budget.

Trump wants to prioritize commercial flights and partnerships between private and public corporations to make this happen.

That sounds great and all, but the seemingly harmless decrease is where the problem lies.

The budget states, “The Budget terminates four Earth science missions (PACE, OCO-3, DSCOVR 241-916, Earth-viewing instruments, and CLARREO Pathfinder) and reduces funding for Earth science research grants.”

The budget will also completely defund the Office of Education, a program created by NASA to guide youth to STEM careers and make NASA a more prominent role in science and math education.

If the Office of Education cut is not bad enough, consider the Earth science missions that would die too.

DSCOVR 241-916 would work with the upkeep of solar wind monitoring capabilities, which is critical in detecting space weather alerts and creating forecasts.

According to NOAA, “[w]ithout timely and accurate warnings, space weather events like the geomagnetic storms caused by changes in solar wind have the potential to disrupt nearly every major public infrastructure system, including power grids, telecommunications, aviation and GPS.”

We literally know nothing about the sea floor. Photo Credit: Oregon State University/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

OCO-3 is an asset to the International Space Station that would detect levels of carbon dioxide with the sharpest precision NASA has crafted thus far, and it has been a great opportunity for partnership between NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

The Earth-viewing instruments would give us more developed imaging of the Earth from space.

In addition to these, PACE “will provide unprecedented insight into Earth’s ocean and atmosphere, which impact our everyday lives by regulating climate and making our planet habitable.”

And finally CLARREO Pathfinder “will monitor the pulse of the Earth to better understand climate change.”

Trump wants to cut the few things that NASA has planned to monitor Earth and detect patterns, which means we will miss out on possible significant understandings of climate change and what affects it.

Not to mention, the one mission that solely has to do with oceanic exploration will be cut as well, making Americans (and ultimately all humans) more ignorant to climate change and what it will take to restore the damage done to our planet.

It’s kind of a big deal.

And on top of all that, the Environmental Protection Agency would get a 31 percent decrease if Trump’s budget ever gets enacted.

Aside from economics, pro-space explorers argue that colonizing other planets, and at the very least, gaining traction with getting more humans into space, will bring countries together to work for a common good.

This cannot be more wrong.

Let’s explore that shit! Photo Credit: Josias Caleb Pinedo Silva/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Since the 1960s, getting people to the Moon became a manhood competition between the United States and Russia.

The Space Race tore countries’s relationships down more than they were built up.

Nowadays the United States has worked with Japan on efforts to improve the International Space Station, and in the movie The Martian, U.S. astrophysicists called on China to help bring Matt Damon home from Mars.

But we cannot rely on Hollywood and singular events to fuel hope for global harmony.

Neil deGrasse Tyson, lord of the cosmos, believes that astronauts are inspirations to children.

Many do agree with Tyson: There is at least one moment in every young child’s life that they wish to become an astronaut.

This is not a bad thing by any means; inspiring children to go into science and math fields provides a sense of hope for future generations.

However, the same thing can be done, and can be done more effectively, with ocean exploration.

With the little that we know about the ocean, it means we have so much to discover.

Children should be inspired by what is right here on Earth, rather than something they likely will never reach.

If that sounds insensitive, consider the required qualifications for astronauts, besides a relevant degree:

“[The] ability to pass a NASA space physical, which is similar to a military or civilian flight physical; … 20/20 or better uncorrected [vision], correctable to 20/20 [in] each eye; blood pressure [of] 140/90 measured in a sitting position; height between 58.5 and 76 inches.”

This is all on top of obtaining an impressive enough STEM degree and at least three years of continuing studies or professional experience.

Yet none of this matters at all if there is no money or technology to safely put a human in space.

Aeronautics may sound really cool, but it is not a field for which all our children should strive.

Quite literally, we should really stop teaching kids to shoot for the stars, because getting there can be nearly impossible.

Instead, direct them to the nearest beach and let them imagine all of those possibilities!

We need oceanographers more than ever, so the next generations of scientists should align their priorities properly as soon as they are in grade school.

Space enthusiasts and ocean lovers can agree: There is work to be done in all aspects of science, and it is up to future generations to answer all our questions.

They just need to see where the priorities lie.

Don’t get me wrong, NASA is an amazing program that has done so much for humanity and the advancement of technology.

NASA works as a two-way technology transfer; much of the discoveries NASA makes can be used in other scientific fields.

NASA helped give us personal computers and solar-powered refrigeration.

They even helped show us the beauty of Tang.

However, space should not be our first priority when it comes to scientific research.

There are so many answers in the ocean that are waiting to be found.

There is so much life to discover, so many materials to utilize.

We can make great progress for our entire planet if we just looked down instead of up.

Space may be the Final Frontier, but we should pay attention to the keyword “final.”

We cannot and should not give up on our ocean just because of heavenly possibilities.

We need to preserve and restore what we have and do our planet a service that is long overdue.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: popofatticus/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Could Prince Charles Become A Revolutionary King?

Long Live the King?

Queen Elizabeth II has been the longest reigning monarch of the United Kingdom, but what will the monarchy look like when her son, Prince Charles of Wales, ascends to the throne?

While the monarchy is mostly a symbolic institution for the state and the government, the role of the monarchy within the Unites Kingdom is meant to remain political neutral; showing no favorability of one party over another.

The UK is a constitutional monarchy, meaning that the monarchy has some technical state authority; however, it must be in line with the constitution.

The UK gives royal assent to Parliament who then has the power to create and enforce legislation.

Within a Parliamentary system, people vote on a political party who has its own leader.

The leader of the winning political party then becomes the prime minister and is made official by the monarch.

The prime minister meets weekly with the monarch to inform him or her of the current matters of state, but the monarch does not have the ability to set any political policies, at least not officially. 

Queen Elizabeth is well known for her lack of public political views.

But her son is something different.

Prince Charles seems to be challenging the political role of the monarchy by showing a large involvement in politics and voicing his opinions.

Some are worried that he may try to be a political force when he eventually takes the throne. (Queen Elizabeth is 90 years old)

Photo Credit: University of Essex ./ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Prince Charles has been more transparent about his political views after the publishing of his letters to government ministers from 2004-05, also known as the “black spider” memos, about a variety of his political views in 2015.

In the memos, Prince Charles states his political views concerning problems ranging from dairy-farming to the UK’s armed forces in Iraq.

He has also in recent years become a strong supporter of taking aggressive action in combating climate change.

Even though the monarchy is meant to be apolitical, it seems strange that the rulers of a democratic society, where free speech is considered a natural right, are meant to keep opinions concealed.

Monarchs do not even have the ability to vote in this case because of their duty to remain neutral.

Why is this exclusive group meant to remain quiet?

If a monarch were to present opinions regarding matters of state and sway the opinions of citizens to be in favor of one particular political party, the monarch would then have some control within matter of state and forming legislation.

While they are meant to act as figure heads and a symbol of national unity, this could be viewed as undemocratic in the sense that monarchs are not democratically elected by the people, and would be in violation of the constitution.

Geoffrey Wheatcroft, a well-known journalist and strong defender of the monarchy recently launched a campaign to get Charles to step aside and allow his oldest son- Prince William take the throne.

This doesn’t seem to be a real possibility.

However the idea of a King who gets too involved in contemporary politics is a thought that has pierced through the British zeitgeist before.

In 1993, the British version of House of Cards ran a four episode miniseries titled “To Play The King.” In it, Conservative Prime Minister Francis Urquhart has to fend off a popular and strongly liberal King.

(Spoiler alert: Urquhart is able to win in the end because the British public grew uneasy with a King who involved himself so deeply in politics.)

Prince Charles is also considered “revolutionary” in the fact that he was divorced.

While Prince Charles is widely known, his ex-wife, Princess Diana, stole the attention and hearts of millions across the globe acting as an inspirational link between citizens and the monarchy.

Photo Credit: Peter Broster/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Previously, it was frowned upon for monarchs to get a divorce, let alone be in a relationship with a divorcee.

This was the main reason Prince Edward VIII abdicated the throne to marry Wallis Simpson, an American divorcee, causing his brother to take the throne and later his daughter the current queen.

Times have changed, but the perception of monarchs getting a divorce is not looked well upon, nonetheless the scandal surrounding the marriage of Charles and Diana.

Charles is also scandalous in the fact that it is rumored he was having an affair with his current wife, Camilla Parker Bowles, now Duchess of Cornwall, while still married to Princess Diana.

Public opinion of a “King Charles” fell after the divorce and sudden death of Princess Diana.

Would the British public abide a King who tried to push a political agenda?

We might get a chance to find out.


RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: Steenbergs/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

10 Of The Biggest Misconceptions About People Who Live In Rural Areas

The tiny towns that dot the landscape of every rural region in the country provide endless fodder and perpetuate many a myth and misconception, the kind of stuff urban legends are made of.

I can only speak to the Rocky Mountains because I grew up in Wyoming where “men are men and the sheep are scared,” and have spent most of my adult life in Idaho where potato trucks have been known to tip over, spill thousands of pounds of spuds onto highways, and force temporary closures.

I’ll share what I know.

I can also say with 100 percent certainty that the wide open spaces we are known for promise to embrace anyone brave enough to endure the howling wind.


Here are 10 misconceptions about people who live in rural areas:

1) We are all farmers

Photo Credit: Susanne Nilsson/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

As much as I love home-grown food, I wouldn’t know the first thing about tilling the land. Too bad for me.

What’s more unfortunate is the fact that farms and other rural businesses are dwindling, which means the lack of job availability is driving country people into larger cities.

After the recession, deep poverty hit across the board, making rural life unsustainable for a large chunk of the 46 million people who live in rural communities.

But rural tradition is still strong in Idaho, especially during the fall potato harvest, when students in the eastern part of the state get a two-week break for “spud harvest.”

Yep, that’s right.

Kids get to miss school because farmers rely on the extra, strong hands to help with the potato crop, which will eventually be turned into delicious french fries.

2) We tip cows for fun

Photo Credit: Mikel Ortega/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

No, we don’t.

Because it can’t be done.

Cows weigh a thousand pounds or more and don’t sleep standing up.

If you want a good kick to the gut and risk death, go ahead and stand behind or next to a cow while trying to tip it over.

3) We are uneducated

Photo Credit: JACK SPARKS/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Just because the mainstream media attributed Trump’s presidential win to ‘uneducated rural America’ (the people who came out in droves to vote), doesn’t mean it’s true.

Rural areas are filled with all types of yahoos – from Harvard-educated yoga instructors, to small business owners and blue-collar workers, to freelance writers and tech gurus.

4) We are racist rednecks

Photo Credit: Joe Sepielli/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Here’s a stereotype that runs deep and can’t be summed up in one paragraph.

Let’s just say we don’t all accuse Mexico of sending rapists and criminals over the border, or call for a complete halt to Muslims entering the country.

We have been known to drive out white supremacist colonies, however.

5) We don’t know how to use the internet

Photo Credit: Toms Baugis/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

For eight years, I worked for a thriving e-commerce company that is well-known nationwide for its booklets of admission tickets to the most iconic attractions in big cities.

It was/is a highly coveted place of employment in a town of 3,000 people.

Because millions of ticket booklets are sold online, it’s kind of mandatory to know how to use the internets to be employed there.

6) We are survivalist nuts

Photo Credit: ▓▒░ TORLEY ░▒▓/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

While possessing canning and freezing techniques are great skills to have, not everyone is that resourceful.

Not everyone stocks their basements with bottled water, cans of beans, Spam, fruit cocktail and powdered Tang.

Maybe we should, though, with the way the world is heading.

7) We all shoot guns

Photo Credit: Peretz Partensky/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

We don’t all shoot and kill animals in the woods for meat.

The hunters I know are very respectful of the animal and the land.

Poachers are considered bad people.

The gun menacingly placed on the rack in the back of the pickup always intimidated me.

Can’t they just buy a handgun and put it in the glove box like everyone else?

8) We don’t have indoor plumbing

Photo Credit: Bill/ Flickr (CC by 2.0)

This is actually partially true.

It’s crazy to think that nearly 63,000 households in this country do not have complete plumbing.

This means 1.6 million people are living without indoor plumbing, including toilet, tub or shower, or running water.

Many Americans can still remember what it’s like to use an outhouse.

Relics of the past, outhouses are now cute little storage sheds with the crescent moon carved neatly into the door.

9) We use to find dates

Photo Credit: Joey Harrison/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

We find our mates like everyone else – in bars, at the gym, and on the internet.

What’s funny is I’ve seen people on Tinder making the joke that they thought they were joining

The joke is on them: They are on Tinder.

10) We ride our horses to the bars

Photo Credit: Jean van der Sluijs/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Ok, this is true.

I’ve seen it in remote, rural towns, places where Butch Cassidy and the Sundance kid used to raise hell.

Although a horse probably isn’t the best designated driver, cowboys have been known to tie their horses to the hitching post in front of the bar.

Why else would a hitching post exist in front of a bar?

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: Robb North/Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain Is The Biggest Badass In American History

The Civil War is inarguably full of badasses.

From generals like Ulysses S. Grant to spies and medics like Harriet Tubman and Clara Barton, they’re spread out all over the battlefields, like coffee cups in a college library during Finals Week.

“Come with me if you want to live.” Photo Credit: Keith Rowley/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

With all these candidates, it’s hard to say any one of them is the bravest or most accomplished.

But this isn’t about any quantifiable accomplishment.

It’s about fancy battle shenanigans that would look awesome if they were adapted into a movie (which they were).

It’s about explosions and bloodshed and battle-lust and glory.

Which brings us to our biggest badass of American history: Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain.

Pictured: Chamberlain’s drink of choice. Photo Credit: Jon Roberts/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

This dude was a college professor from Maine who heard there was a war going on, so he saddled up and volunteered to join the Union army.

Said Union army was only too happy to get him, and made him lieutenant colonel, which is a phrase that usually refers to people who’ve had at least some experience with military strategy, with the exception of our man Joshua.

Luckily, Chamberlain was a fast learner, and after scanning every military work he could get his hands on and going through a steeper-than-Everest learning curve, he was all set to be second-in-command of the 20th Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment.

Fast-forward to the Battle of Gettysburg.

While the Union forces were suffering setbacks, Confederate soldiers attacked their left flank.

The 20th Maine happened to be at the far left, next to a small hill called, appropriately, Little Round Top.

They hold position, and after a period of harsh fighting, Chamberlain orders a bayonet charge on the Confederates.

That mustache tho. Photo Credit: NightThree/ Wikimedia. Photo Credit:

They run down the hill, the entire line swinging nonstop, until finally Chamberlain gets to the guy leading the assault.

He orders the Confederate officer to surrender, and the officer whips out a pistol and shoots him in the face.

And actually misses, but Chamberlain doesn’t even flinch, just puts his sword to the guy’s throat until he gets an official surrender.

They take 101 Confederate soldiers prisoner.

Chamberlain gets a Medal of Honor for this, and goes on to top that at Petersburg.

And that’s saying a lot considering that he probably saved the Union from defeat at Gettysburg and therefore the country from splitting in two.

Unfortunately, there’s no Medal of Superhonor, but if there was, he’d totally have earned it.

If you imagine a storm with bullets instead of raindrops, that might look something like Petersburg – Chamberlain’s directing the action, the bullets are flying, and all of a sudden a Confederate bullet tears through his side, crushing his hipbones and ripping into his bladder and urethra.

So Chamberlain’s suffered what’s basically a mortal wound, by the standards back then (and also, probably, by our standards, just from the sheer pain factor).

Surprisingly, his first thought isn’t “oh, jeez, I’m gonna die,” but, rather, “dying right now would be bad for morale, so I’m just gonna walk it off.”

Which he does.

He uses his saber as a crutch to stay upright, while blood is POURING from his vitals, and continues to direct the assault.

He holds himself up by spit and stamina until he can’t anymore, and he collapses, and when the surgeons get to the field he yells at them to go and save his men instead.

Now that’s badassery.

But, of course, the surgeons don’t take orders from commanding officers, so they go ahead and treat his wounds anyway.

He survives, continues to survive for a bunch of other battles, literally getting his horse shot out from under him a few times, and goes on to preside over the surrender at Appomattox.

Proving that he’s a gallant winner as well as a badass, he orders his men to stand at attention and carry arms in a show of respect for their defeated countrymen.

A general would later call him “one of the knightliest soldiers of the Federal Army.”

Now here’s the part where it gets gross.

The Wikipedia article states that he suffered from complications due to his wounds in the Battle of Petersburg, but that doesn’t even begin to describe how much it just. Sucked.

To get shot in the Civil War era and have to live with a hole in your bladder burning like the fires of hell for decades.

He had to wear a Civil War era catheter, which was like a modern-day catheter except ten times worse.

…not fun. Photo Credit: Wellcome Image/ Wikimedia

Because sanitation at the time was not exactly the greatest, his wounds got infected, and left him in what he described as “unspeakable agony” for almost fifty years.

Still, he kept going, running for governor of Maine and getting elected with the support of the Republican Party – this was back when the Republicans were the guys up north – giving speeches at soldiers’ reunions, and even helping to found the Maine Institution for the Blind.

His later years lacked the glory and excitement of his battlefield, but were at least as commendable, if not more so.

At 85, in 1914, he died as he lived – a major badass.

Moment of silence for this BAMF

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: Library of Congress/ Wikimedia Commons

Does An Invitation To A Frat Formal Require You To Have Sex With The Guy?

I have this ring on my right middle finger.

It’s a peace sign that I originally wore on my left ring finger – you know, the finger associated with marriage.

2008 me was convinced that if Nick Jonas, the man I was destined to marry, was going to refrain from being intimate until marriage, so would I.

I held on to the notion that I would remain abstinent until marriage until I was 16.

I had my first real love, and suddenly my opinion of waiting until marriage seemed out of step with reality.

My feelings towards sex radically changed once I realized the importance of another level of intimacy in becoming closer to another individual, and while some choose not to have sex, I didn’t.

In my eyes, God (you betcha I believe in a higher power) created the body to enjoy his other creations, including sex.


I am a 20-year-old woman who has openly expressed on the internet that she is sexually active and takes pride in her ability to make the choice to be.

Is it just me or does it feel like I had a Carrie Bradshaw moment? You know what I mean, when she was typing away on her laptop in Sex and the City?

Carrie Bradshaw typing away. Photo Credit: AlexHerrera/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Psh, why do I even need to have a Carrie Bradshaw moment?

Well, level with me here because I’m not about to tell you about my sexual escapades.

I value the sanctity of physical intimacy, and I would never share details of an experience with a partner to another individual.

Instead, I think it is important for someone to be frank about sex in college because:





I am unable to trace back to where Western college culture changed so that the major aspect of social development was linked to sex.

Maybe it happened when women (rightly) claimed the entitlements back to their bodies; or maybe it happened when the media could openly sexualize relationships.

Whenever it happened, there was a dynamic shift in our understanding and appreciation of sex.

For the most part, the conversation surrounding sex is treated as much like the methods used to study for a test.

While I think it is truly wonderful that we can have open discussions about intimacy, there seems to be a series of unspoken rules about sex on college campuses in the United States, which I didn’t know about.

Have you ever heard the expression: “High school is all about how long can they date before they hook up? But college…college is all about how long can they hook up before they date?”

It is the most accurate depiction of college hook up culture.

Like I want to paint it on a canvas or get it printed on a flyer because it holds that much power over interpersonal relationships in college.

Don’t worry; Monogamy happens still.

I can tell you from personal experience, I am still struggling with my last heart-break.

But the purpose of this piece is not to talk about monogamy.

Rather, I want to bring to attention the issue that everyone is entitled to believe what they do and should be free from pressure to participate in something they find unsettling.

The results of these beliefs may not always host positive outcomes, but nonetheless the individuals will deal with the consequences as they are presented.

There is some beauty in being in a world where there is an understanding that you can sleep with whomever you want.

What is not remotely beautiful is the expectation that everyone participates in this hook up culture.

Allow me to offer a specific example.

If you, my dear reader, are not involved in Greek life, like the American high school homecoming and prom, fraternities and sororities host semi-formals and formals dances.

While sororities are expected to host their events within the city limits of their university, fraternities will go out-of-town for both events.

At least he has a cat. Photo Credit: T U R K A I R O/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Just as sorority women can invite individuals involved and not involved in Greek life, fraternity men may do the same.

The fact that they go out-of-town means they must spend a decent amount of money to secure the hotel room and the nice dinner venue.

Their dates usually will make them a cooler or flask or craft something else catered to the taste of the gentleman.

Basically, the fraternity and its guests are all in for a weekend of all kinds of fun in a city, taking a pseudo-vacation.

Sounds great, right?!

Well, formal season is almost over, but if I hear anything else about fraternity men looking for dates, I will let you know.

There is one catch, though, the frat boy will probably be expecting you to have sex with him or at the very least fool around until he is satisfied.

Yeah, I would be a little taken aback too.

This party is so lit right now bro. Photo Credit: Pedro Ribeiro Simões/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

By no means are all fraternity men expecting this, and I have been fortunate enough to be asked on formals by men that identified with their gender assigned at birth that I was either seeing or very good friends with.

There was no expectation from me to do anything I was not comfortable with.

However, I have had approximately seven girlfriends come and speak to me about how uncomfortable they felt around their date because he seemed to hold this expectation that she would participate in the hook up culture.

Let me be perfectly clear:

It does not matter your gender identity, sexuality or combination of the two spectra.

If you invite an individual on some event, whether it be out of college or while you are in school, you do not have a right to expect something in return for the invitation.

I find it appalling and a reflection of the manipulative nature of our modern culture that the definition has evolved from something that used to mean to request someone’s presence at to a word that offers an incentive or opens the door to the likelihood of an opportunity.


This beautifully masked article has been another approach to aid those who still do not understand the concept of consent the entire time!

While I may choose to be free with my body, I still reserve the right to say no and be uninhibited by the expectation that I will use the pleasure intimacy can create to essentially repay a fraternity member with his choice to bring a date on a pricey event.

Don’t be afraid to go stag!

Or just don’t go!

Or better yet, take someone you may actually like!

So, while there is a definite beauty in an individual’s ability to choose to sleep with as many people as they want, whether they are being safe about it or not (which for the sake of everyone else I hope they are being), not everyone has to participate in this culture shift, especially when they are invited out to an event, like a date or a weekend getaway.

If you are interested in reading more about the hookup culture of today, I highly suggest listening to the Hidden Brain podcast from NPR published on February 14.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: Angie Chung

Why Did Putin Do It?

It is common knowledge that the Russian government attempted to interfere with the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

The success of that interference is, and may always be, up for debate.

The same can be said for understanding the true nature of their motivations behind these actions.

On January 6, 2017, The Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a declassified report, assessing Russian activities and intentions in the most recent U.S. presidential election.

The twenty-three page report, created in union by The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), and The National Security Agency (NSA), makes several, high confidence claims about Russia’s – and the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin’s – motivations and intentions behind their actions.

These actions, as identified by the report, include cyber espionage, the leaking of data collected by Russian Intelligence, interference in state and local electoral boards, and Russian propaganda efforts.

Getting inside the head of Vladimir Putin is impossible. Photo Credit: Lazopoulos George/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

The goals behind these actions were also laid out in the report.

“Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency,” the report reads. “We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump.”

But while understanding these actions is important and necessary, maybe even more important, is to understand the motivations behind them.

“The motivation, if we can guess it, was just to disrupt, and to create doubts, and weaken the integrity of the process,” William Wohlforth, a Dartmouth professor who studies, among other areas, international relations and Russian foreign policy said in an interview with RISE NEWS.

Robert Jervis, the Adlai E. Stevenson Professor of International Politics at Columbia University, takes a similar view.

“It was a general attempt to discredit American democracy here and abroad,” Jervis said in an interview.

These attempts are not necessarily unusual – during the Cold War, the Soviet Union engaged in similar “active measures.”

In fact, the tactics used in 2016 are eerily similar to those used throughout much of the Cold War – primarily, the spreading of false information in an attempt to delegitimize or scandalize a perceived political opponent.

This horse really wanted Trump to win so Putin just went with it- probably. Ok not really. Photo Credit: Jedimentat44/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Mark Kramer recently wrote about this history on WBUR’s Cognoscenti website:

“[The KGB’s] Service A, formed in the 1950s, almost immediately set to work spreading disinformation, producing forgeries, transmitting propaganda, and disrupting U.S. and Western public diplomacy.”

Some of the misinformation spread by the KGB includes rumors that FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover was a “gay transvestite” and that Martin Luther King Jr. and President Lyndon B. Johnson were colluding to continue black suppression.

During the Cold War- now seen as a more conventional battle between capitalism and communism, all behaviors stemmed from a fairly defined ideological starting point.

But in a post-Cold War era, these ideologies have become less defined, leaving the motivations behind these active measures more mysterious.

“Now, all bets are off, they don’t need to be particularly consistent with any political ideology,” Wohlforth said. “As long as it has the potential to weaken the cohesiveness of the block of states that they perceive to be against them.”

One of the more popular speculations is that Putin saw interference in the U.S. election as payback.

Russian President Vladimir Putin believes that the United States was secretly active in orchestrating the Color Revolutions of the early 2000s – a set of revolutions and protests in former Soviet republics.

Putin believes that the U.S. interfered so as to create a new geopolitical order.

Putin may also view his active measures as payback for his belief that the U.S. – and Secretary Clinton – was behind the massive protests in Moscow over his election in December 2011.

In 2014, Putin likened protests in his own country to the Color Revolutions.

“In the modern world, extremism is being used as a geopolitical instrument and for remaking spheres of influence,” Putin said in 2014. “We see what tragic consequences the wave of so-called color revolutions led to.”

“I really love this boat. Also, I like interfering with American elections.” Photo Credit: Jedimentat44/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

By interfering in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Putin attempted to ruin the chances of victory for his perceived nemesis, Secretary Clinton, while also attempting to avoid any chance that he may have to interact with her as President of the U.S.

Also a popular speculation about Russia’s motivation is that Putin was actively hoping to change the outcome of the election – although there is little to no evidence to support this claim.

“I suspect that by some time in the fall that was one of the objectives,” Jervis said. “But the evidence for that is much weaker.”

When polls began to show Clinton as weaker than conventionally believed, Moscow may have seen an opportunity to test the ability of their active measures.

What is interesting about this possible motivation is that there is little evidence to suggest that any time Soviet/Russian active measures favored a candidate, the candidate ended up favoring the Kremlin.

In 1968, the Soviet Union was worried that if Richard Nixon won the presidential election, Soviet-U.S. relations would suffer even more than if the Democratic candidate Hubert Humphrey won.

Instead, Nixon acted somewhat favorably towards the Soviet state after being elected.

Even in painting form, Putin looks unhappy. Photo Credit: Nikolay Volnov/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

“The candidate that they often seek to undermine may not be so bad for Russian relations,” Wohlforth said.

The opposite can be said as well – it may have been easier for Secretary Clinton to act more favorably towards Russia than President Trump, who has received a mass of scrutiny for even just speaking favorably about Putin or Russia.

The true motivations behind Russia’s most recent active measures may never be known – needless to say, it is impossible to get inside the head of Putin.

Russia’s current posture towards the United States is not new – and the medium through which they acted is – and in truth, this behavior is not limited to Russia.

These actions are unlikely to stop anytime soon.

America is under siege.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: michael kooiman/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

I Went To The Actual “Gossip Girl” School. Here’s What I Learned

Gossip Girl.

Not just a set of novels or a television series that shows an exaggerated interpretation of “Manhattan’s elite” at an all-girls’ independent school on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.

Truth be told, the fictional Constance-Billard School for Girls is based on my real all-girls’ independent K-12 school on the Upper East Side (but its name is “a secret I’ll never tell” – unless you can figure out the clues I sprinkle throughout the piece).

While some of the women I called my classmates had been at the school since kindergarten and had mothers who attended the school as well, I entered in the 7th grade as a financial aid student through an academic program that targets high academically-achieving students of color in New York City public schools.

My dream school as a 12-year-old applying to these independent schools was co-ed and on a campus that housed huge fields for their sports team, exactly what you would see on Friday Night Lights.

However, the program required all students to apply to a single-sex school, something my father was truly ecstatic about and something I cried about (I was very boy crazy at 12).

Due to my birthday being in September and my mother signing me up for pre-kindergarten at the age of 3, most schools wanted me to repeat the 6th grade so that my age could align with my future classmates.

However, the all-girls’ school that I did not want to apply to was the only one that decided to take a chance on me and allowed me to continue onto the 7th grade.

The months leading up to my entrance through the blue doors of the famed school felt like a crash course: having to pick up books that I never imagined having access to, preparing for the academic differences between the public school I was so used to and the independent school that housed women whose worlds I would not understand at first (and at times still do not), and buying a uniform that was beyond any clothing budget I could imagine.

However, by the time I graduated from the school, I wore my plaid blue, white, and grey skirt that always would just make the length cut-off with my head held high (each all-girls’ school had their own unique skirt).

As the co-head of tour guides my senior year, I received many questions from admitted students regarding my experience, many of which oozed with confusion and concerns.

Well, now is as a good a time as ever to pass along the advice that came from these conversations.

Here’s what’s it really like to go to an all girls prep school:

1. Yes, you will interact with males.

You do not move to another planet.

I will admit that my heart did flutter whenever I saw someone of the opposite sex; however, I think that happens whenever you are going through your first set of crushes.
2. Going off of that, take advantage of the opportunities given to interact with your brother school(s).

It is nice to have friends from there when you are forced to do plays and community service together.

3. You will not feel uncomfortable if and when you decide to go to a co-ed college.

If anything, I felt more confident.

I had strengthened my voice during my 6 years at my school.

I knew how to speak up and to speak with confidence.

Just because some testosterone was added to the mix when I started college did not mean I forgot how to raise my hand and share my opinion.

4. You will get many questions asking if you are now an uber feminist.

Always say, “Hell yeah. We never shave our legs, burn bras, never wear make-up, and you don’t even want to know what happens at school.”

You won’t get the dumb question again. Only a face of mixed emotions.

5. Be grateful that you are in a place that knows the importance of women in this world.

Faculty and staff go above and beyond to ensure your success because they know how much you are needed.

6. Also be grateful that you can shout about needing a tampon or pad without the confused, horrified, or joking reaction of men.

Be free, and happily catch that tampon that is thrown across the room.

7. You will become attached to your uniform skirt.

You will never want to throw it out.

You will take it with you to college and most likely use it as part of a costume.

8. I graduated with a class of 38 other women, and with such a small group, you are bound to know A LOT about each other.

You all may be at very different stages of our personal lives.

Do not feel as though you are lagging or are way ahead.

Everyone goes at their own pace, and it just may intensified because you see the same small group every day.

9. Almost everyone at your school will become a familiar face.

Be happy about it, especially when the cute little kindergarten student waves every time she sees you.

10. There are many moments when you will feel a lot of love accompanied by hugs.

11. Remember the moment you enter the blue doors (or whatever color your school’s doors are) as well as the moment you leave them behind. The experience you gain at an all-girls’ school is a very unique one that can never be replicated.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: William Murphy/Flickr (CC by-SA 2.0)

While America Closes Up Shop, Mexico Opens Its Arms To Syrian Students

Mexico has a long and historic tradition of welcoming refugees from all over the world and unlike its closest neighbor to the north, it is still living true to that tradition.

As a gesture of support to reinforce the international community’s confidence in Mexico’s advocacy for peace, the country welcomes Syrian refugee students through its “Project Habesha“.

Project Habesha is a humanitarian initiative with the main goal of welcoming 30 Syrian students to Mexico for the purpose of providing them with a college education.

Welcoming Syrian students also provides Mexico with the opportunity of promoting intercultural dialogue as an inspiration for development and creating an atmosphere of understanding and sympathy within Mexican society.

Habesha has already brought 10 students to Mexico.

With the support of private universities and organizations, these students will receive a full scholarship as well as medical insurance and a monthly allowance for their personal expenses.

Last week, after a long flight and a rigorous selection process, Silva Namo and Jackdar Mohammed arrived to Mexico City.

“Thanks to Habesha, we have hope again and something real for the future,” Mohammed said, two days after arriving to Mexico City. “Habesha has helped us and, just as Habesha has helped us, I want to help countries that are in war. There is nothing impossible.”

Since 2011, millions of people have fled from the country as a direct result of the conflict in Syria and its neighbouring regions.

This has led to the greatest humanitarian crisis in decades.

Namo, a 22 year old student from the Syrian province of Malikiyah, reflected in an interview with RISE NEWS how the war in her homeland has affected her life.

“In the beginning, it was really difficult to live in refugee camps,” Namo said. “We were forced into another way of life with people we didn´t know. You lose everything. You lose direction and you don’t know what you’re going to do with your future; you walk around without thinking or knowing what the next step is.”

Jackdar Mohammed (L) and Silva Namo (R) are two Syrian students a Mexican organization is helping go to college. Photo Credit: Jimena Pacheli/ RISE NEWS

In only two days after Namo and Mohammed’s arrival in Mexico, they said that they felt big and positive changes in their lives after experiencing Mexico’s culture.

“A big change for me is the food,” Mohammed said. “In two days I have eaten a lot of things. The food is really good and spicy. I like it.”

Before attending college in Mexico, Namo, Mohammed and the other Syrian students will spend six months studying Spanish in the state of Aguascalientes.

“This is our chance to learn and to do as much as we can to be stronger and provide something in the future,” Namo said.

Mohammed’s studies were interrupted due to the increasing violence and development of the war in the Syrian capital, Damascus.

Today, he looks forward to starting his economy degree again.

“[The] Economy can help me and my country,” Mohammed about the field he is interested in pursuing. “It can have a great impact in Syria’s future. [The] Economy will be needed for rebuilding the country, creating factories and jobs and working on development.”

Namo’s goal is to make an impact not only in Mexican communities, but also in Syrian communities too.

To achieve this, she will study Business Administration.

“Everything is developing so quickly. Syria will need technology and development,” she told RISE NEWS.

For Namo and Mohammed, coming to Mexico is not only a personal achievement.

They plan to use their studies to aid Syria in its uncertain future.

“Syria needs us,” Mohammed said. “We are the generation that has a chance to complete their studies outside of the country. That’s the people Syria needs right now for its future. We, as students, are the hope for Syria’s future.”

It’s part of Mohammed and Namo’s goal to return to Syria.

Read More: Meet Daniela Núñez, The 23 Year Old Mexican Who Wants To Change The Way We Bury People

“This education is not just for me, it’s for all Syrians,” Mohammed said, “I want to learn and have new experiences so I can go back and transmit it to those who may not have a chance to complete their studies.”

Project Habesha is providing Syrian youth with an opportunity to receive a college education.

Mexico is providing these Syrians with a place to call home.

“It’s an amazing feeling to come into these people who are really nice and friendly,”  Namo said. “People have welcomed us and have let us know that this can be our home too. I’m away from my country but I feel safe and I feel at peace.”

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

Scroll to top