Starting in early March, 2020, many countries went into lock-down due to the Coronavirus. Schools closed, people started to work from home, you could not go anywhere without a mask and sanitizer, and takeout became many people’s safest way to shop for food. Then on March 14th, a travel ban was placed on the United States to 26 European Countries. Many businesses and industries were, and are, severely impacted by this pandemic. While online shopping started to be the main source of shopping for many people, one business suffered immensely, and that was the travel industry.
America has been seen as the number one country for immigrants looking for a new home. With the first immigrant wave occurring in 1815 consisting primarily of Irish and Germans, America has been a land of immigrants since its founding. In the book, Common Sense, Thomas Paine wrote about America being an asylum for those facing civil and religious scrutiny. George Washington said, “The bosom of America is open to receive not only the Opulent and respected Stranger, but the oppressed and persecuted of all Nations and Religions whom we shall welcome to a participation of all our rights and privileges…” The men that created the United States of America were immigrants themselves, escaping the tight grip of Great Britain, with high hopes of the opportunity this land held.
On a sunny October 18th in San Francisco, a group of more than forty demonstrators gather near the Joseph Strauss statue off the Golden Gate Bridge. The attendee dress code has two requirements: the color black and face masks. Paper, cardboard, poster board and cork board house the words and messages these members showcase: “Thailand Democracy Now,” “Reform the Monarchy,” and “Free Speech is Not a Crime,” to mention a few.
The crowd groups together for photos to be taken of their efforts, and in between, a woman stands as the head of the group and reads her speech in Thai to the crowd. Demonstrators keep a hold of their signs or they keep up the three-finger salute with a free hand. Passersby would do a double take on any gathering of people, but today that was the goal.
It’s the start of a new relationship,
I get ready for my date, hair in soft spirals,
lips stained red while the color upon my eyes are smoked,
body adorned by a sleek bodycon.
Love took over my mind, the insides of my body filled with floating butterflies,
He’s sophisticated, smart, and charming,
A man that wants to take care of me, wanting what is best for us,
It’s too good to be true.
Cracks start forming, another man emerges,
It’s my fault, I can’t do anything right,
Apologies aren’t enough, thoughts spinning in my head, telling me I’m crazy,
Suddenly, my skin is blemished with bruises, my face stained with tears.
I need to get out, but no one will help me,
After filing several complaints, police won’t help me,
I can’t get out and soon it will be too late for me,
As I will be strangled by the cracked image of a man I thought I loved.
I would be alive today if I was listened to,
Now I am just another number among the women killed before me,
For I have died by femicide, murder committed by my partner,
But there is an outcry for us, activists rallying for a change.
Posters littered amongst the walls under tunnels,
An image of me, the woman I once was,
Displaying the reality of domestic violence,
With the intent of making women before me, victims of femicide, visible.
Written by Taylor Hamilton | Photo by Jean-Luc Mounier
Every morning, Haruka Ogawa would wake up to the sight of string lights above her dorm room bed, an experience so uniquely American for her. As she stepped out into the cold air to get ready for her day, her eyes would catch the memories of her old life hanging on the walls — a group photograph of her dance team, or a snapshot of her graduation ceremony from her high school back in Japan.
Just a few months prior, Ogawa was living in a suburban city outside of Tokyo, visiting the bustling metropolis each weekend with her friends. She was used to the colors, the sights, and the sounds of the place she grew up. Now she was walking through a campus of unfamiliar trees and faces, in a country where everyone spoke an unfamiliar tongue.