ON LOCATION: St. Louis Hispanic Heritage Festival

By
F. Kenneth Taylor

Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated each year from September 15th to October 15th .  Much like Black History Month, Hispanic Heritage Month was created to acknowledge and honor the contributions Hispanics have made in the United States.  As of 2010, according to a PEW study, the Hispanic population in the U.S. had grown to approximately 50 million.  During this month; Hispanic history, culture, and traditions are also recognized.

Photographer Unk. Title Unk. http://www.STLToday.com. Oct. 8th, 2017

‘Hispanic(s)’ gives reference to natives and descendants of any of the 22 Spanish speaking countries including; Cuba, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and many others.  Alongside their native language of ‘Spanish’, which one-fifth of the world now speaks. Hispanic influence can be seen most evident in United States from city and state names to politics. Nevada, Colorado, San Diego, Florida, San Antonio, are just a few U.S cities and states with Hispanic titles.

Prominent Hispanics in American politics include; Jorge Ramos, a Mexican-American Journalist and News Anchor who has been hailed as “The Walter Cronkite of Latin America.”  Justice Sonia Sotomayor was appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2009 by former President, Barrack Obama. Senators Ted Cruz and Marc Rubio, both emigrated from Cuba and became most known as Republican Presidential Candidates in the 2016 Presidential Election. Eva Longoria, who many know as an actress, has a Masters in Chicano Studies, and founded The Eva Longoria Foundation, which aids in STEM funding, and focuses on Latino Entrepreneurship. Finally, Antonia C. Novello, is not only the first female Surgeon General, but also the first Hispanic to hold the position.

Photographer Unk. Title Unk. http://www.constitutioncenter.org. Oct. 8th, 2017

For slightly over 2 decades, St. Louis has presented a Hispanic Heritage Festival for its Hispanic population and city residents. In a YouTube video, Festival Board Member, Elisa Bender, tells us how the event grew from a single-day function in Chesterfield, with a $500 budget to a major, 3-day event in Downtown St. Louis.

Photographer Unk. Title Unk. http://www.stlmag.com. Oct. 8th, 2017

This year, the festival was held in St. Louis’ Historic Soulard District, at Soulard Park. During the weekend, the festival highlights Hispanic/Latina music with live bands, vocalists, and dancers from Panama, Mexico, Venezuela, and Bolivia.  The dancers and dances are most recognized for their vibrant and elegantly sewn dresses, colors, amazing choreography, and story-telling routines. The festival’s food vendors are also from various countries as well like; Argentina, Columbia, and Peru, just to name a few. Other booths and vendors display crafts such as the Children’s Pavilion, which allows kids a more interactive, hands-on learning experience.

Farm animals which included; a camel, goats, pigs, and chickens, were on-site at the festival for kids and festival-goers to see. Jump-houses, kiddie-train rides, rock climbing, and mechanical bull rides for all ages, were also available. There’s plenty to see and do at The St. Louis Hispanic Heritage Festival.

 

Sources:
  • Wikipedia.com
  • YouTube.com
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“The Leaders Need To Come Together”: African Nationals Speak Out

By
Sa’ad Ahmed Shaikh

Attacks earlier this year (2017), on African nationals in Greater Noida, has again raised the issue of the unwarranted racism on foreigners in India. In March 2017, African nationals were targeted when a 19 year old student, Manish Khari, reportedly died of a drug overdose. From beating African students mercilessly with steel chairs in shopping mallsto dragging a Kenyan woman out of a cab and assaulting her; the attacks have re-ignited the bitter animosity harboured by misguided Indians towards those with a darker skin tone than their own. Some’n Unique Magazine spoke to African nationals living in India.

Endurance Amarawa, a victim of the mob attack recuperating in a hospital. || Image courtesy: Narendra Kaushik, Firstpost.com, April 2017, Web.

Their replies echoed the message of love and peace for all. This is what Jorge, an Arts student from Mozambique, had to say:

“It is shameful and sad when instead of unifying ourselves, we are discriminating against each other. Racial discrimination destroys nations, families, culture and basically the identity of one country. I cannot feel indifferent towards this situation; there is no superior race than another, we all share the same environment and the colour of our skin should not engender struggles. . . Let’s stand together against racism, let’s stop destroying nations.”

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Indian policemen and onlookers surround African nationals in a shopping mall in Greater Noida, India. || Image courtesy: AFP, scmp.com, Web, April 2017.

Another African student requesting anonymity for security purposes implored that the leaders of the African nations and India address this issue as a priority. She says:

“The attack in Noida is just absolutely terrifying and sad because it’s not the first attack in India against Africans. This is my third year in India and over the years I’ve seen many such assaults. . . I think this needs to go out there to the leaders, our diplomats, all those repre-sentatives in Delhi; those representing the unions and the relationship between India and Africa, they need to stand together with the leaders from India to spread the message that truly there is beauty in diversity. . .I just want to say that the leaders need to come together and inform and educate everyone because that’s an essential need of the hour. Because awareness is better than silence.

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2016, African students holding a protest against the racial assault on a Tanzanian woman. || Image courtesy: AP, livemint.com, Web, April 2017.

Edgar, a Zimbabwean student, adds, “I haven’t been attacked physically but I have been on the receiving end of insults and derogatory terms whilst in and around the city. My message to the Indians who engage in such acts of violence is that; do to others as you would want them to do unto you. We live in a global village and such mindless actions should be avoided because it will only reflect a biased outlook of the psyche of the Indian people.”

One thing is clear. This irrational fear and hatred needs to stop now. This can only be achieved by properly educating the masses and with the help of Indian leaders addressing the matter on a national level. Some Unique Magazine, LLC stands in solidarity with all those suffering from racial abuse around the world. Peace and understanding is the way forward.

Foreign students protest in Jalandhar
Students in Jalandhar, India, holding a peaceful protest against the recent racial attacks. || Image Courtesy: PTI, Web, April 2017, indianexpress.com

 

Power of Meditation

By
Sourav “Teddy” Biswas

calming-mind-brain-waves
“Effects of meditation on human brain”. Sources: <https://blog.bufferapp.com&gt;. Dated: 21 Aug 2013

Meditation is the simple practice of mind control which has enormous benefits to us. Over the years, various studies have shown, and scientists have proven that meditation does actually stimulates our brain. Meditation dates back to the Prehistoric Era, approximately, 1500 BCE in Hindu tradition. The technique of meditation includes a person focusing on one specific thing; it could be breathing, a sensation in our body, or an object. The point of this type of meditation is to focus strongly on one point and continually bring our attention back to that focal point when it wanders away.

Changes In The Brain:

Using modern techniques such as MRI scans, allows scientists to visually witness and inspect the changes that take place during and after meditation. The most significant difference is that our brain stops processing information as it normally would. The beta waves, which indicates how much our brain processes information, reduces considerably during meditation. This becomes evident even after a 20 minute meditation session.

Increased Focus & Reduced Anxiety:

Because meditation is a practice in focusing our attention and being aware of when it drifts, this actually improves our focus when we’re not meditating, as well. It’s a lasting effect that comes from regular bouts of meditation.

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“A Buddhist Monk meditating”. Sources:  < https://en.wikipedia.org> Dated: 01 Jan 2009Reduced Anxiety:

There is a part in our brain known as the “Me Center,” technically, the Medial Prefontal Cortex The “Me Center” processes information related to fear and body sensation. The neural pathway is pretty strong here. When we meditate, we weaken this neural connection. This means we don’t react abruptly to strong sensations. So when we experience scary or upsetting sensation, we can rationalize them more easily.

Better Memory:

One of the things meditation has been linked to is improving rapid memory reminiscence. Catherine Kerr, a researcher at the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging and the Osher Research Center, found that people who practiced mindful meditation were able to adjust the brain wave that screens out distractions and increase their productivity more quickly that those that did not meditate.

More Gray Matter & Heightened Creativity:

Meditation has been linked to larger amounts of Gray Matter in the hippocampal and frontal areas of the brain. More gray matter means more positive emotions, long lasting emotional stability and increased focusing power during our day-to-day work.

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“Brain sync illustration”. Sources: <http://www.social-consciousness.com/&gt; Dated: 09 Oct 2011Heightened Creativity:

Researchers at Leiden University in the Netherlands studied both, Focused-Attention and Open-Monitoring mediation to discover the possibility of a heightened sense of creativity after meditation. They found that people who practiced Focused-Attention meditation did not show any obvious signs of improvement in the creativity task following their meditation. For those who did Open-Monitoring meditation, however, they performed better displayed significantly more creativity in completing their assigned tasks. Thus meditation can lead us to a much better lifestyle. With all the benefits combined, no doubt meditation can enhance efficiency of a human to a whole new level.

 

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