My last fall semester of my undergraduate career is finally over.
I’ve learned and I’ve lost. This has been the hardest semester of my life from commuting, working at the Sundial and KCSN, trying not to break down in tears every five minutes (after I lost my niece), applying to internships, to enjoying life, and staying on top of my classes.
A few Monday’s ago I got the worst phone call in my life from my sister saying that my niece was dead. I seriously thought it was a joke, I did not believe her. I went on about my day but I was still thinking and wondering why she called like that. I called my mom and she told me the police called and told her. In that moment I lost my best friend, she was only 11 years old.
Was it an accident? Did someone do this to her? Why her? Why wasn’t I there? When’s the last time I saw her or talked to her? Did she need me? Why haven’t I talked to her? Did God really take her away to save her? WHAT HAPPENED?!
My baby, my sunshine, my everything. Only ten years and three days apart, we had a special bond she told me exactly how she felt about me, made me feel like I was the best person in the world, but I wasn’t the only one she did this to. Raven Denyse, full of love and life, little did you know you are the best person are you have a huge part of my heart.
I pray one day you come and tell me what happened. I’m so sorry, I love you so much and I know you’re always watching over me, your mom, Nana, and all your siblings. You always looked up to me and let me know that you wanted to go to college and now I look up to you.
With this degree and my dream job I wanted to conquer the world and go get you and make you feel special. With the New Year right around the corner my goal is to make those around me feel special just like you did, whether it’s a hug, a call, a smile, or a laugh. I’m trying to be strong even though it hurts so bad, I’m trying to finish, and become a better me.
Over the semester here are some of the things I have worked on I am extremely proud of myself for making it through this semester and improving.
NORTHRIDGE, CA — At least 300 people were killed in Somalia Saturday night after two vehicle bombings went off, sources suggest that -Al-Shabaab may be behind the bombings and so far one involved member has been detained.
California State University, Northridge Psychology major Mahad Ali is from Somalia and described the country’s current state.
“The country is developing from scratch right now. New people are being elected… but then we have Al-Shabaab taking over the country,” Ali said. “They not doing what they are supposed to do or what they’re supposed to stand for, they are killing innocent people for no reason.”
When asked about Somalia, many CSUN students shrugged their shoulders and knew little about the bombings in Somalia, but communications major, Kahlil Young, knew more than 200 people died because of the bombings.
“I really feel like Twitter is kinda the only place that I really get unfiltered news. Social media plays a huge role and the media has a duty to give real information about the real stuff that is going on,” Young said.
CSUN Africana studies professor Sheba Lo said students may not be connected to Africa as a continent, but her community is.
“I don’t watch regular news,” Lo said. “I stream Al Jazeera news so I maybe get more of a global perspective but my social media feed has been updating the numbers.”
CNN was one of the first U.S. and international sources that reported more than 30 injured people were air lifted to Turkey by military ambulance after the Turkish minister arrived to the country’s capital on Monday.
Ali said students need to know what is going on around the world especially in countries that are being highlighted in social media.
“Somalia is 75 percent good it’s the 25 percent that the media [highlights] that makes it seem like it is 100 percent bad,” Ali said.
Lo also said Black Hawk Down and how the American perspective and news affects what history our society would know about other countries.
“We don’t have that idea that people have on the continent when they talk about how America invaded Somalia and the kind of damage that they did there, we don’t get that perspective on American news,” Lo said.
Mogadishu is Somalia’s capital and aside from the American invasion in 1993 and attacks from Al-Shaabab this is the deadliest assault in the country’s history. International news sources say dozens are missing and hospitals are running out of beds.
Al-Shaabab is a militant Islamist group but it is not confirmed that they are directly affiliated with these bombings even though they have recently increased their attacks in Somalia. The man detained by Somalia officers was driving a vehicle with explosives into the city on Saturday, according to The Guardian.
As a campus community Lo is upset that students and faculty are not talking about Somalia. In order to be prepared for the real world, Lo believes students need to travel, read and watch international news.
“If we don’t have an international perspective in general and we don’t push for a global perspective for our students we are harming our students,” Lo said.
Mogadishu, is Somalia’s capital and this is the deadliest assault in the country’s history. International news sources say dozens are missing and hospitals are running out of beds. Young believes that in order to get international news students need to take it upon themselves to get information.
“Social media apps, looking at newscasts, the NPR series would really help mobilize people and keep them informed,” Young said. “Sometimes it’s hard to get the news if there is nothing for them [outlets] to benefit from, you have to go to other public spaces to really get that unfiltered and unbiased information.”
Here are a few ways the CSUN community can broaden their news perspectives globally:
Reading news from multiple sources
From the ABC, CNN and FOX international sources like Al Jazeera, The Guardian, BBC and The Associated Press have news coverage from around the world.
Talking to multiple people about stories
Talking and hearing other perspectives helps create a better understanding of news stories by engaging with students, friends, professors and family members.
Checking social media and following news accounts
Social media is a huge platform for news only if you check the news aspect, which includes explore pages and hashtags, news account followers can stay updated with livestreams, immediate tweets, Facebook statuses, Instagram posts and now stories.
Interacting with other people on social media about stories
Hashtags are for users to engage, from a retweet or a repost to an actual comment conversations with random social media users allows to build community and develop opinions.
Listening to news instead of music
Headphones are not just for music news sources have apps and web content with audio and television broadcasts for listeners all over the world.
The Need to Know with Lauren has been placed on hold for sometime now.
Since I initially made this blog for class it’s been on the back burner but I am still actively writing, shooting and reporting.
This summer I got to go to the east coast for the first time ever and I fell in love. I was interning with the House Majority PAC in D.C. and learned a plethora of information about congress and super PACs. Being in the office from 9-5 made me realize how much I love journalism, reporting and video editing.
As a young girl I always wanted to go to New York and I managed to do that along with Philly and of course Maryland and Virginia. From D.C. I flew to New Orleans for the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) convention and had the time of my life. Attending the convention only connected me with journalists from everywhere and strengthened my networking skills.
New Orleans is very symbolic to me because my father and grandmother were born in Louisiana. I got to explore my roots and see the damages from Katrina and I met my grandfather for the first time ever.
Now that I am back in California I’m commuting to school which has been rough. I have five classes, two on-campus jobs, and I am vice president of CSUN’s NABJ chapter. I had to let go of the Valley Performing Arts Center sadly and now I am working at KCSN as a student assistant and at the Sundial as news editor. My goals this semester are to rebuild NABJ, find a broadcast internship and an apartment and finish strong in terms of my grades.
I miss D.C. tremendously and can’t wait to go back.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Early this morning a New York police officer of 12 years, was shot and killed in a New York Police Department vehicle in the Bronx.
Mother of three, Miosotis Familia, 48 was finishing up her shift around midnight when a man shot through the window of an NYPD command truck. Familia’s partner was sitting with her in the vehicle and called the dispatch for help.
The NYPD said, Familia was shot in the head and taken to St. Barnabas Hospital, where she died. NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill said Familia was “assassinated in an unprovoked attack on cops.” Police encountered a man who was running a block away from the scene and identified him as the suspect.
Commissioner O’Neill said, Alexander Bonds, 34, allegedly pulled out a revolver as officers confronted him, and he was shot and killed by police. They recovered the revolver at the scene, and reported a bystander also being struck but in stable condition at the hospital.
With an unknown motive, there is no telling what could have been wrong with Bonds to make him shoot at a police car and a bystander. The 34-year-old served eight years for a robbery and had a criminal record for selling controlled substances. The New York Times reported about Bonds’ relationship with the police while in prison.
Situations similar to this add to the many problems the African American/ Black community face. Coming from prison Bonds likely needed help adjusting, the lack of protection in prisons and resources have now lead to two deaths and to a broken family. Familia leaves behind her 12-year-old twins and 20-year-old daughter.
NORTHRIDGE, CA – One tweet from a fan turned into Nicki Minaj paying more than 30 of her fans’ student debt, tuition, and school supplies expenses, last night.
Three days ago Nicki Minaj’s music video for “Regret In Your Tears” was released. Minaj tweeted her fans of #TheKingdom, which is the new name of her fandom. She wanted to see them create their own #RegretInYourTears video with an app called, Musical.ly.
The app allows users to make videos with music and it is the largest and easiest platform for users to share videos. Musical.ly tweeted that Nicki Minaj would pick her favorite videos and pay for the creators’ flights to the Billboard Music Awards to hangout with her. Minaj also tweeted that first place winners may get to hangout in the studio with her and listen to unreleased music. Winners may be picked next week.
In a tweet the singer-rapper expanded the competition to all countries.
Credit, Twitter @NICKIMINAJ and @cjbydesign
After the tweet and reply, Minaj responded to 31 other fans on Twitter. The fans asked her to help them pay off their student loan debt, summer programs, tuition, room and board, meal plans, and class materials. The artist replied to the tweets asking for proof of their debt and grades. She also told them to direct message her their bank information.
Nicki Minaj is known for being an education advocate. She has made comments about young girls staying in school and getting their education in her lyrics, interviews, speeches after getting awards, and during her concerts.
The 34-year-old said she plans on paying more of her fans’ expenses in a month or two. Minaj has won more than 20 awards in the last 7 years. The estimated total of how much she gave to her fans is about $50,000.
CNN reported that 40 million Americans have at least one student loan according to Experian. MarketWatch said $1.2 trillion in student loan debt is stopping Americans from economic growth making them unable to purchase cars, and homes. Forbes said that in December 2016, the unemployment rate for college graduates was only 2.5 percent. Students prefer to work jobs that are not related to their major or dream career in order to pay off their debt and personal expenses. The student debt crisis makes it hard for some students and graduates to continue school.
NORTHRIDGE, CA – In 2018, malaria vaccines will be tested on 360,000 babies and children in Kenya, Ghana, and Malawi.
The World Health Organization (WHO) reported more than 200-million malaria cases worldwide in 2015. Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease, it affects people and animals.
RTS,S also known as, MosquiriX is a vaccine that is said to be injected in four doses. Next year, doctors and WHO officials are hoping the vaccine will work under real-life circumstances.
Africa has the highest number of malaria cases. In 2015, WHO estimated 429,000 deaths globally because of malaria, 92% of those deaths were in Africa. Kenya and Ghana are countries on the edge of Africa, right next to the Indian Ocean and the South Atlantic Ocean. Malawi has a large lake of more than 11-thousand square miles.
Mosquitoes are attracted to sweat and live in water their first days, they need it to reproduce. Once a mosquito bites parasites are released into the bloodstream.
The amount of malaria cases and deaths have both gone down more than 40% but this new vaccine is expected to close the 43% gap of unprotected people. Not having access to nets and bugs spray tests has affected pregnant women and their babies, men, and children.
Malaria is very life-threatening, it can cause: organ failure, swollen brain blood vessels, too much fluid in the lungs, anemia, and low blood sugar. The parasites make treatments and drugs ineffective.
WHO made April 25, 2017, World Malaria Day. The organization asked for serious help to improve the access to life-saving prevention tools.
By Lauren Turner Dunn
Contributions from, The World Health Organization, Malaria Vaccine Initiative, Healthline, BBC, Mega Catch
NORTHRIDGE, CA – Maryland Governor signed bills making it easier to prosecute rapists and an all male panel failed to end the Rape Custody Bill Tuesday morning.
Maryland changed their definition of rape with SB 217. Maryland rape victims do not need to prove how they physically resisted against their attackers. Gov. Larry Hogan signed a new bill in the second signing ceremony at the State House. Before the Rape and Physical Resistance Bill, victims had to show evidence of trying to physically fight off or show lack of consent to charge perpetrators with rape or a sexual offense. Gov. Larry Hogan signed around 11 more bills with the intention of reforming sexual assault investigations.
BuzzFeed News did an investigation last year and found that some detectives were dismissing rape cases before looking into them. Alleged rapists would never know of the accusation because they would not be questioned by officers. BuzzFeed said cases would be ruled as “unfounded,” meaning false or baseless. Maryland reportedly had 42 unfounded cases. BuzzFeed’s analysis shows that this is an issue across the nation.
The Rape Custody Bill remains the same. Five male legislators failed to pass the Rape Survivor Family Protection Act on the last day of the State’s General Assembly session. The Rape Survivor Family Protection Act was introduced by Maryland Delegate Kathleen Dumais. If the act would have passed, women who were raped would be allowed to block rapists’ parental rights. The panel reportedly ran out of time. Dumais has been working on this issue for the last 10 years.
“About 5% of women of reproductive age who are raped become pregnant,” according to The Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault. The assembly will not meet to discuss the proposal until next year in January.
By Lauren Turner Dunn
Contributions from, BuzzFeed, Time, CNN, Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault
LANCASTER, CA – Metropolitan police were called this afternoon when some say they heard an explosive set off and shots were fired outside Parliament.
According to police, a car jumped the curb, struck, and injured pedestrians and three police officers on the Westminster Bridge. The car then crashed into a fence around the Houses of Parliament.
Reports show the number of injured people went from 20-40. London ambulance arrived six minutes after they received a call. Then an air ambulance landed in Parliament Square.
Bystanders immediately tweeted what they saw and heard.
BBC reported that there were about three shots fired outside of the Palace of Westminster. Then a man ran through the gates of the parliamentary compound onto the front yard, allegedly waving a knife.
The attacker stabbed and killed an officer who was guarding the parliament. Officers then shot and killed the attacker, and said it’s likely that there was only one attacker. Police declared the attack as a terrorist incident and told CNN they believe the attack is “Islamist-related”.
After the attack the Parliament building was on lockdown, but staff members have now left.
Queen Elizabeth was scheduled to open the new police headquarters at New Scotland Yard on Thursday, but she is now delaying the ceremonial event.
The mayor of Paris said that the Eiffel Tower will go dark to show solidarity to London and honor the victims.
Prime Minister Theresa May, described the terror attack as “sick and depraved”. She also shared her condolences to those affected. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to all who have been affected,” the Prime Minister said. “To the victims themselves, and their family and friends who waved their loved ones off, but will not now be welcoming them home.”
There will be extra police officers on the streets of London for the next few days.
Here are some of the signs protestors held to show support to the people who were detained on their way home.
People of all ages, religions, ethnicities, and genders gathered at LAX to stand against President Trump’s Ban. According to The New York Times, the refugee/ immigration/ travel ban’s focus is to keep people from the seven nations out of America for 90-120 days.
I captured these moments to document how other people felt about Trump’s executive order.
Imagine if you were in another country on vacation or visiting family.
You had just gotten off your flight and security decides to hold you in a room, and asks you questions for hours.
Your family is waiting.
You are extremely tired, now confused. Thinking what is going to happen will I ever see my family?
Finally, they let you go and you see your family.
When you walk outside people are chanting and clapping because the joy of you, being reunited with your family.
No one should have to go through that.
You could hear demonstrators chanting: “No Ban No Wall Equal Rights For All” from the parking lot.
Marches and protests are great, whenever you are upset about something most likely there is someone else who is upset about the same thing. Passion goes along way.
I am thankful to the many people who brought the protesters together to stand up for what they believe in.
If you missed this one always know that there will be a anotherone and try not to miss it.
Flint, MI is about to bounce back with help from Big Sean
While most of us forgot about the water crisis in Flint, Big Sean hasn’t. The rapper raised about $100,000 through his foundation to help his home state. The money is going towards proper care and water for families and residents affected.
Ever since the city changed its water source in 2014, Flint, Michigan has had bad water flowing through their faucets. The city decided to stop getting the water pre-treated in order to cut costs and managed to use the water from the Flint River.
According to CNN, the water in the Flint River is 19 times more corrosive than the water from the original water source. Residents have suffered tremendously from getting lead-poisoning, and being in danger, in their own homes.
Big Sean’s foundation the Sean Anderson Foundation is inspired by his mom and grandmother who always influenced him to give back. His mother who resides in Michigan was also affected by the lead-poisoning but it took care and remedies that most residents don’t have to reverse the poisoning.
While the city’s governor and head of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), believe the water quality has improved over the past year. The damage has already been done and residents still worry about the safety and cleanliness of the water.