Thursday, 27 March 2014

Digital Identities

There are many different digital identities available today; some are restrained than others whereas some reveal a persons personality extremely easily and effectively.

Facebook, for example, is one of the identities that is more restrained in that it now mainly consists of photos and does not reveal much about a persons identity, only what they have been doing. Although, there have been many incidents of 'catfishing' (based on the documentary), where people pretend to be somebody that they are not and therefore create a completely different identity than that of their own, or perhaps it is the identity that they wish they had.

Twitter is similar to Facebook in its ways of communication because it restrains a persons identity more than Tumblr, for example, but reveals it more than Facebook does. Twitter is very clever because it is a medium that allows a person to voice their thoughts and opinions as they would do in real life and are also able to connect with strangers from all over the world. This does not happen as much on Facebook, primarily because it is easier to find other people on Twitter. This move forward shows how the future of communication is based on the virtual world and that good friendships can be forged. (I know many people that have friends on Twitter that they have never actually met in real life.)

Tumblr is the most useful when trying to understand a persons identity or personality because it is such an open and non-judgemental space. Reblogging pictures, quotes and thoughts is the basis of Tumblr but it simply reveals so much about a person. Through Tumblr, communication with strangers is encouraged and because of this, a focus is placed more on the 'freedom of speech', therefore making a person feel that they can voice their thoughts and things that they perhaps cant say in the non-virtual world, with an emphasis again, on connecting with unknown people from all over the world. There are countless stories of couples that have met through Tumblr and this seems to be an extremely good way of communicating and meeting others. I believe that this is the most effective portrayal of identities because through Tumblr you can see into a persons real thoughts and perhaps the things that they are not brave enough to say, showing that this is not a changeable form of 'identity', but a persons real identity and indeed, their personality. As each user has to have a name, it is as if it creates the unrestrained alter ego that you wish you could be in real life.

Tumblr has a userbase of nearly 178 million blogs, showing that it is incredibly popular and what I believe to be the way forward. The way that is focuses on freedom and not having to hide allows you to communicate with others similar and with the same interests as you, creating an instantaneous link. Whereas Facebook is beginning to die out now, Tumblr is still on the rise and I think spaces that allow you to be your real self are the ones that are creating the most effective form of identity and are the future, telling us that Americans don't want to have to hide behind a socially acceptable identity anymore, but want to be able to be themselves and show that identity, proving that it is not in fact creating an identity that is important, but being able to show the one that you already have.


Digital Identity - YouTube

YouTube was created in 2005 by Steve Chen, Chad Hurley and Jawed Karim and bought by Google in 2006 for $1.6 Billion, it is based in California. It is a video sharing website which allows anyone in the world to post a video about anything in the world. The website is mainly used by individuals, but large corporations like BBC and ABC as well as music companies like Vevo also use it for uploading their content to allow users to view it more readily.

YouTube currently has more than 40,000 partners (users who get paid) with many making over $100,000 a year. All YouTube users upload roughly an hours worth of video every second. More than 3 Billion hours of video are watched every month and the majority of site visitors are from outside of the US.

Uniquely to YouTube is that it is able to be linked to other social media like Facebook and Twitter, which links to more than 500 YouTube videos every minute. It is also able to be embedded in websites meaning you don't have to go to its webpage to view its content. This means it is able to keep growing and expanding, meaning it is becoming ever more present in our lives.    

Digital Identity

There are many digital identities that are available to Americans, for example facebook, twitter, tumblr etc. These sites allow you to share personal info about you and your life or can be used as a forum to promote causes in which millions of people can connect and in a sense become your 'virtual friends'. These sites have allowed our world to become interconnected and we can be instantly up to date with the latest news. So in a way social network sites have managed to help America create a 'unified identity' as they are constantly aware with the issues in their society and have more chance of getting the message across.

 For future Americans the increase of technology is extremely important as their world will literally revolve around it. In terms of education there are already arguments that the way the children develop have changed and that education needs to be directed to these new patterns of thinking i.e. games that help you learn. In terms of job prospects everything is moving towards the internet and so the types of jobs could change. Therefore technology has changed Americans lives in the fact its more fast paced and social networking has helped with promoting issues and helping increase support in those - for example gay marriage.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Digital Identities - Twitter

One of the digital identities that are available in America is Twitter. It is a social media website that allows a person to expose their thoughts and what they are doing in their life's. Also the purpose of twitter is to see other peoples point of view. This is made clear by Twitter's slogan "Start a conversation, explore your interests, and be in the know." 

The role of followers and popularity plays a large role on Twitter. The more popular you are and well known you are the more followers you have. This, as a result, leads to some peoples view not being seen as much when compared to someone who is not a celebrity.  These imbalances on Twitter leads to some views being more credited, viewed and discussed when compared to others who may not be popular.
Because this is the case, there does seem to be a sort of fight for popularity. So rather than having writers, philosophers and lecturers having their say on important, interesting matters you are more likely to see a tweet by Justin Bieber saying how much he "loves his fans".

Popular people on Twitter seem to have the responsibility of portraying a certain character and perhaps having to melt down their true views and their personality. Therefore we see a social networking site with the most popular views being the views that are the least offensive or controversial. Because of this the people that go on Twitter are not necessarily "in the know" as Twitter proudly claims; instead the only thing that's known, to a degree, is the biggest superstars tour dates. There is an accidental censorship of controversial views on Twitter because of the importance of popularity on the site.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Heritage Foundation

The Heritage Foundation argues in the opening paragraph of the website that what they are trying to enforce are traditional, American values that for that reason should be supported. So from that it is can be understood that what they believe Obamacare to be is un-American. They also believe that what they are promoting helps conserve old principles, which is likely to be a view that helps gain more support. The website, however, does in fact cover a range of topics and debates but does consider Obamacare a "hot topic".

  The website also has a focus on educating and informing the viewers of the website. They post videos and articles that support their ideas in order to add a perceived validity. Also the use of posting articles on the website helps to highlight the issues that they are informing us about are very much in the publics mind. Because it is shown to be a key issue in America people are more likely to be interested in what the website has to say.

Also the website argues that there is a growing impatience with Obamacsre and that it won't simply work and be accepted by Americans "Obamacare was pushed into law with the hope that the more Americans learned about it, the more they would like it. That has not happened." The website argues that Americans should pay for their own healthcare so they can be empowered. To this the website argues that costs should be reduced to help access be assured "Heritage’s Saving the American Dream proposal, that empowers patients, reduces costs, and ensures access."

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Obamacare opposal

The video is produced by a 'grassroots' political activists American for Progress. They believe in a limited government and that the individual states should make laws which reflect the needs of their people. This is why they oppose Obamacare as it is imposed upon people who did not vote for it or want it. The ad features the story of a woman named Tricia who is a cancer survivor and how she explains that having a supportive healthcare is extremely important. She implements the views of republicans that she feels imposed upon and the new system dehumanises people and she feels her family and herself are not in control of their healthcare. However, I feel that the video has an element of bias and hypocrisy as they reiterate that a healthcare system should be supportive, yet they are against making healthcare available for everyone and the finishing line is 'I want you to have the same' in regards to care. I can understand that the costs of insurance have gone up and that they are not able to choose the care that they want but there are Americans who have no access to healthcare and so their needs are not met which is inhumane. Therefore I cannot emphasise with these activists. is a campaign aimed at young people and showing them that alternatives to 'Obamacare' (Affordable Healthcare Act) are available. The scheme is run and paid for by Generation Opportunity, a non-partisan organisation, who describe themselves as a "free thinking, liberty loving, national organization of young people promoting the best of America: opportunity, creativity and freedom."

The campaign is aimed at young people and the website, although basic, has the main video of their message and the reasons why young people should opt out of 'Obamacare'. The advert is fairly short and set in a hospital and has a voice over stating the issues with the Affordable Healthcare Act, asking sarcastically was it the 'botched roll out' or the 'website crashing', the reason they give to the question 'why did our generation decide to opt out of Obamacare' was that they hadn't lost their minds and didn't want to pay an 'arm and a leg for a doomed government program'.

The advert itself is fairly poor, it states the 'botched roll out' and the 'website crashing' as two failures, but they are actually the same thing. Also they presume that 'our generation' has already opted out of 'Obamacare', which if true means there is no need for their campaign. At the end of the advert it states that their are alternatives, without actually giving any alternative suggestions. Overall, it doesn't persuade you to sign the petition below and from the numbers it states (16070) it doesn't seem to have persuaded many others.          

10 Reasons to Not Enroll in Obamacare

The aim of Obamacare (the Affordable Healthcare Act) is to provide affordable health insurance for Americans and to prevent rising health care caosts. Dr Elizabeth Lee Vliet has a very negative view of Obamacare and her top issues note not only how the insurance policies will actually be more expensive, but they will also limit the choice of doctors and hospitals that are available to Americans (with some of the countries leading cancer hospitals being cut off to those under the Act).

The other issues being about that of privacy. Of the pieces that I have read on Obamacare, Dr Vliet was the first to write about the loss of privacy that Americans will face; ranging from medical privacy, the risk of identity theft as most of the 'Obamacare navigators' have criminal backgrounds and how the policy could potentially compromise the Second Amendment right (as everybody is entitled to own a gun) but the database collects information about gun ownership.
Additionally, it is virtually impossible to cancel their plan if a person were to find a better one.

What is interesting is that Dr Vliet seems to be more concerned with the lack of privacy that comes with Obamacare as opposed to the decline in healthcare options that it provides. As a doctor, patient care should be at the top of her priorities and no doubt it is, but by concentrating more on the privacy issues, she seems to skim over the fact that doctors and hospitals are immediately closed off because of Obamacare. I understand how the lack of privacy is of concern to her, but in a world where this is becoming the norm, I don't think having personal information on yet another database is going to make much of a difference. However, I do understand her anger at a large number of doctors and hospitals being closed off because Obamacare is surely fighting for universal healthcare and even if it achieves this, it is still elitist in the doctors and hospitals that it sends people to.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

'The Glass Castle' Presentation

Presentation outline:

  • Beginning by outlining the differences between their poverty stricken life in the desert and their more middle class life in Phoenix and the problems that these two contrasts give them
  • Discussing how Jeannette's Dad always struggles with their easier life in Phoenix and refuses to give in to the conformist society that they have now joined - he believes hard work is the key and perhaps desires it more here

  • Seeing the Dad that thrives in his desert surroundings and is the fun, respectable, caring, affectionate, (mainly) sober father figure that Jeannette needs, but how this shows her mother to be lazy as she has a degree but is failing to work for her family's needs
  • How their lack of success highlights their physical poverty, but they rarely suffer an emotional poverty (i.e. having a lack of something) as they are a happy, close-knit, caring family unit
    But drawing on Jeannette's parents inability to provide them with the stability that they need

  • The physical poverty is absent when they move to their mansion style house in Phoenix but a sense of emotional poverty foregrounds the events
  • Her Dad becomes an alcoholic again because he struggles with his higher position in society and perhaps feels misplaced or as if he is living a lie
  • 'Figuring out how to swim' - the chances that America gives and how her Dad has reached rock bottom (therefore turning to alcoholism and learning to 'swim' without alcohol)
  • The Grand Canyon roadtrip is a mark of their new conventionalist status in society
  • But having to hitchhike with a rich, middle class lady makes him realise how he can take care of his family in his home of the desert (shown by the way that he revels in the freedom of the open road and speeds) but cannot in the new, troubling society
  • Jeannette suffers from an emotional poverty seeing her father turn back to alcohol after he promised her sobriety for her birthday and 'the glass castle' becomes a metaphor for all of his empty promises that he never fulfils (i.e. she can almost see through to the other side but the walls always stop her and her father from getting their better life)
  • Beginning of novel in New York - she can't escape her past as she sees her mother and is using her middle class life to cover her past but even then, still has dysfunctional family ties

  • The novel shows America and Jeannette's story as a family driven place and how material success doesn't always prevent poverty or emotional security

Jocelyn Bartkevicius Review

  The journal/review begins with outlining the horrific circumstances that Walls was put through. How her "familial drawbacks" could have led to having an unbalanced view that would not have depicted the vast, upsetting setbacks that being born into a broken family has had on her. Instead it says how the story "manages to ring true" even though circumstances could have led to a completely different account. It also outlines the confusion that the child would have felt, which makes the honesty and the  balance of the book even more remarkable.

  It too discusses that the horrific burns that young girl suffered came out of hunger, desperation and lack of attention from her parents. We also feel a greater level of empathy due to the girls innocence being discussed, which was said about in the article. The article is keen to argue that it's almost symbolic for how important parents must there to protect or else. 

  The article also says how the author does fully immerse herself with the feelings of pain both physically and mentally of living in poverty. Perhaps because of this the article is, to a degree, reserved in proclaiming this book to be an interesting, worthwhile  read into the depiction of poverty, as we not given the full account of the pain and suffering that Walls went through. 

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

The Glass Castle Review

This review was published in the New York Times in March 2005, the same year as the book. It starts off by talking a bit about the book, giving the basic outline of the story and how the title gives the backdrop to the hope and ultimate failure of the characters in the story. Francine Prose, the reviewer, then goes on to talk about the characters, particularly the parents Rex and Rose Mary Walls. Prose talks about Rex's struggles with alcohol and the impact of his inability to hold down a job has on the family and how the nomadic lifestyle means the kids grow up quicker, giving the example of Jeanette being able to handle a gun by the age of 4. Prose chronicles the tragedies beset on the Walls children such as the time Jeanette was severely burnt at the age of 3 to the time Lori was bitten by a scorpion and experienced convulsions and the time Brian was molested in West Virgina by his grandmother.

The reviewer then goes on to reflect on the authors ability to write in such detail and how she seems able to detach herself from the story, giving praise to her for not psycho analysing her situation through reflection. Prose finishes the review off by calling The Glass Castle a 'very good memoir' and saying that Walls describes her literary tastes as being stories of hardship and that The Glass Castle would be a book Jeanette Walls would like to read herself, which is something most writers set out to do. 

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Bria and Chrissy

Bria and Chrissy are an American lesbian couple that also use music to spread the message of LGBT equality and their song 'Too Cute to be Gay' shows the problems that lesbians face with the issue of stereotypes. With femme visibility within the lesbian community on the rise, they show how people often fail to see them as gay because they don't fit the traditional stereotype, which luckily does not really exist anymore. People presume that having a feminine appearance means that they can't be gay but Bria and Chrissy show that this is not true. Although femme visibility helps to defy the stereotype, some hold the opinion that lesbians are trying to use a heterosexual appearance in order to hide their homosexuality, but what it in fact shows is that somebody's sexuality does not have to be at the forefront of their appearance and identity if they choose it not to be.
Something that is also evident from their videos is that they are just an ordinary couple. They show that being a lesbian couple doesn't make them any different from heterosexual couples and this is something that society needs to realise. There is a collection of lesbian couples on youtube, ranging from Cydney and Stacy to Whitney and Megan to Kaelyn and Lucy (the latter two stemming from long distance relationships), and they are feminine lesbians, which not only helps to defy the stereotype more, but all of these couples also demonstrate their normality. Kaelyn and Lucy are so normal in fact (something which society wouldn't necessarily expect because lesbian and gay couples are always pinpointed as different whether the fact is true or not) that they call themselves 'boring' because they're so normal.

Bria and Chrissy

                                              Whitney and Megan and Kaelyn and Lucy

"Support Gay Marriage! Equal Rights!"

The video that I have chosen discusses a range of issues that are the concern of the gay community in America. It is revolved around gaining the right to marriage and what they will mean to the gay community.

The video discusses things such as not feeling ostracised from the community in which they live in if they gain the right to get married and that they will be able to express their own individuality. Also that they will gain a sense of belief and confidence in who they are and should not feel ashamed because of a law that implements what they call "hatred". They are willing to single out the government as there laws imply that being gay is wrong, if the laws they make state marriage is not allowed so makes it normal for gay people to be frowned upon.

There is a sense that the people who made this video recognise the fear of resentment they would get from others who are not open to who they want to be and who they are. Also they are keen to tell the people who are watching the video to be proactive and make an effort to change the laws with a degree of immediacy.

Also once these laws have been passed they will make a change that will last for "eternity". So makes the idea of being proactive, when it comes to changing the gay marriage laws, as being something that would truly change the society Americans live in and therefore the concept could be believed to appear more appealing.

Issues with Identity

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David Hauslaib is an editor of Jossip which is a blog. He teams up with the Big Think youtube to talk about issues facing the gay community. This video was made in 2008 but it appears the issues are the same in 2014. He talks that the main issue is equality, mostly in marriage and the workplace and healthcare. He mentions that a problem with being identified as gay is that you have to be 'tolerated' which in itself is demeaning. This idea of being tolerated is not being treated as equal as the assumption of being equal is that it is a natural and should be accepted. And so this issue of equality and acceptance is still problematic as marriage is legal in 17/50 states and so reflects that there is a long way to go before the equality of marriage is apparent.

This video by, a website formed in 2010 by two gay rights activism groups, shows the reactions of the people gathered at the Stonewall Inn awaiting the decision of the Supreme Court. The gathering was organised by United for Marriage Coalition and was either going to be a celebration or a protest of the Supreme court ruling in June 2013. The ruling came down in favour of gay marriage and this video has people expressing their joy about the ruling and how it has and will affect them. The issues raised in the video are generally about what the decision means for the direction of gay rights activism in America, such as employment, youth issues, transgender rights and poverty and the realisation that the work has not been completed.  

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Who Needs Feminism?

Who Needs Feminism is an organisation based in Duke University, NC. Their work is aimed at challenging claims that feminism is dead and that it is no longer required. They push to dispel the reputation that the word feminism has as a "dirty word" and to lessen negative association of the movement. 
"We aim to challenge existing stereotypes surrounding feminists and assert the importance of feminism today. We feel that until the denigration surrounding feminism and women's issues is alleviated, it will be hard to achieve total gender equality, both statistically and socially."

They take photos of men and women on college campus' with their reasons that they still need the feminist movement. Some are frivolous, "So more men can wear leggings" and some are extremely serious, "Society teaches us "don't get raped" rather than "don't rape"". 
This blog started out on, which is a well known space for young people with strong liberal views, this, from a feminist perspective is proof in itself of the fact that young people still feel the need for the feminist movement and still see aspects of oppression. The image of feminists being older, white, unattractive, man-hating lesbians is clearly dis-proven by the massive diversity of the genders, sexualities and ages of the many people pictured.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Feminists for Life

  The feminists for life organisation is devoted to bringing back what they call a " renaissance". They are devoted to returning the old "pro-life feminists" vision of bring about a life that is equal and fair for women. Their principles are revolved around the empowerment of women and are as such:

*Giving them the chance the fate over their own pregnancy and what they can do with their own bodies "A world in which pregnancy, motherhood, and birthmotherhood are accepted and supported." They are supportive of giving women the right to abortion.

*They also believe that women shouldn't have to compromise the opportunities they are able to receive because of their gender. Issues such as being a mother shouldn't get in the way them being successful. They, therefore, want mothers and other women to gain more support both financially and other means. "Campuses and workplaces that support mothers in practical ways and do not force them to choose between their education or career plans and their children."

*More generally they want parents to be supported no matter what they choose to do. Whether they are keen on going into work or staying at home, they believe that they should be respected and backed. "A culture in which parents are respected, whether they decide to stay at home or return to work."

Women's Issues

Feministing is a blog run by various female writers and many other contributors who seek to promote issues regarding women in America. They encourage activism within society as they promote their causes on college campus talks and events.  Their main aims are to allow feminist writers to share their views on political, social and economic issues which they feel impact women today. For the most part their views are balanced, however issues on abortion and legislating women's bodies are still a main concern for most writers, for example the fear that the Roe v Wade legislature will be overturned. 
A feminist would view this site as helpful towards their causes and will make society see that feminism has not faded away as there are many issues that are impeding on women. They would also encourage more talks around the country so the message will encourage more women to stand up for their rights.   

Contemporary Female Issues

Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett and Holly Baxter run a blog called 'The Vagenda' and have been running their blog since 2011. They discuss issues surrounding women in contemporary America and often have a cynical and negative opinion of the expectations that society places on women.
They have recently written a piece for 'New Statesman' ( about the five issues that make up modern feminism. However, 'The Vagenda' covers everything from body issues, how becoming a mother reduces the possibility of a promotion, how female magazines are actually belittling and the horror of being a bridesmaid. One particularly relevant piece is 'The Power of the Selfie'; the selfie is becoming a vital part of the expectations of women (or female teenagers) because they are almost expected to regularly update their profiles with pictures of themselves in order to be stared at and shallowly adored by those around them. 'Vagenda' writes that abut selfies that 'as a woman, I often feel more innately female, more feminine and more attractive, behind the guise of masculinity'.
Now, as a blog supporting the equality of women and trying to move away from the stereotypical representation of women as suppliers of the 'male gaze', the problem that I have with this article is that this is reverting women straight back to that. By posting selfies, women are deliberately posing and asking for people to objectify them, which surely takes us back to where we have managed to move away from. E! Entertainment presenter Guiliana Rancic even took a selfie with a fellow celebrity on the red carpet before a recent awards ceremony, therefore exemplifying the nature of the selfie; a posed and glamorous photo that is supposed to show you in a 'constructed [way]... of identity and self esteem by showing [your] raw and naked face to strangers' but is instead a deliberately constructed posed photograph.
Although I see 'The Vagenda' as supportive of female equality and I appreciate the ways in which they notice that women are still fighting for this equality in a highly objectified society, I still believe that they are not always right with their comments about this society.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Feminist Majority Foundation

The Feminist Majority Foundation (FMF) was formed in 1987 and is an organization that dedicates itself to women’s equality, reproductive health and non-violence. It is run by co-founder Eleanor Smeal. Its website states that it utilises both research and action to “empower women economically, politically and socially.” The group was formed after a Newsweek/Gallup poll revealed that the majority of women (56%) identified themselves as feminist. Both it and its sister organization, the Feminist Majority, lobby government and pursue equality between both men and women through legislative avenues, as well as organising rallies and conferences.

                Viewing this organization from a feminist viewpoint, I would be encouraged that a group such as this had the power to lobby government and the infrastructure to recruit and train young feminists to lead and advance the cause of the feminist movement. It looks to be both a professional and reliable organization that is able to advance the organization both politically and socially and that can carry the message of the feminist movement forward. It organises events that encourage both men and women to join the cause of things such as abortion, birth control, violence against women and sweatshops. Overall this seems like a good organisation that can be influential and make real change within America, politically, economically and socially. However, it only has two offices, one in Los Angeles and the other in Washington DC, this means there are not many opportunities for women to get involved on a grassroots level. Despite this FMF can reach a large audience through its publication Ms. Magazine, which it purchased in 2001.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Answers in Genesis

Answers in Genesis is a group of Christian Apologetics. Their work is focused upon defending the words of Jesus Christ. They believe in a faction of Christianity known as Young Earth Creationism which dictates that Genesis was a fact as opposed to an analogy and the earth, universe and all life was created by an Abrahamic God between 5000 and 10,000 years ago, they strive to prove the accepted scientific theoretical explanations  of the worlds creation and development (such as the big bang and evolution), describing them as 'Bankrupt'.
This quote from their 'about us' section of their website sums up their attitude to Evolution:
"The Bible—the “history book of the universe”—provides a reliable, eye-witness account of the beginning of all things, and can be trusted to tell the truth in all areas it touches on. Therefore, we are able to use it to help us make sense of this present world. When properly understood, the “evidence” confirms the biblical account."


The American Atheists group are a group that derived from a court case from 1959. Since then they have worked towards receiving support and giving support to those who don't believe in God. The idea that they need to give support to atheists is interesting because it highlights how they are such a small group in the United States, but are a quickly growing.
Another interesting a spect of the website is how they highlight how atheists have the same convictions as a Christian. They explain their equivalent of praying saying that they make their own inner convictions. Also they want a heaven on earth now rather than waiting till you're dead to go to heaven. It is clear to see, from this, the power and substantial force of Christianity in America because even the atheists website believe they have to make reference to prayer and heaven in order for it to resonate with Americans. It also shows how backward America is in terms of Christianities hold on them and how when compared to other western countries it has some way to go in terms of the spread of its faiths.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014


Mennonite Church USA
Mennonites are a Christian faith group that began in the 16th century. They are of Anabaptist faith. Which means they believe in the centrality and inspiration of the Bible and in Jesus Christ as the One sent by God to bring reconciliation between the Creator and a broken world.   Currently there are over one million members world-wide. Mennonite beliefs and practices vary widely, but following Jesus in daily life is a central value, along with peacemaking. They are also apart of relief efforts which help communities such as famine relief. 
The churches main aims are to preach the various ways that Jesus is the center of the faith. Missional churches read scripture in such a way that it helps form them into the image of Jesus Christ. Cultivate Christ-centered unity, and learn to agree and disagree in love.  To dismantle individual and systemic racism, develop intercultural competence, heal racial divisions, and value all the gifts of God’s diverse people. And grow through interaction with other Christian fellowships. This is shown as they have many different churches, one in particular is the Spanish Mennonite Church, which shows the relevancy of the faith in modern day USA as the population is changing due to increased Hispanic immigration. And so this will show a shift in the diversity of the community. 

'Push' Book Review

A bit late due to illness, but better late than never!

This review of Sapphire's 'Push' by Michiko Kakutani discusses it as a book about the villainisation of women by men, that is perhaps more evident through the review than it is in the actual novel. It is obvious that the rapings, abuse and murder done to Precious and her friends is committed by men, although Kakutani fails to notice that although Precious' abusive father has now left her and her mother (although sometimes still returns), Precious should be safe from harm, but it is her mother that still carries on the vicious cycle of physical and sexual abuse towards her, which although evident in the novel, it does not seem to register as significant in this review or any others. Kakutani says that 'Push' shows men as 'pigs who only think about sex' but what about Precious' mother?

The statement that the novel leaves 'the reader with the feeling that one has abruptly exited the world of the novel and entered the world of a support group' is true, as it is a very absorbing novel that transports the reader to a world perhaps unknown to them, especially with the aid of the authentic language used. However, I do not agree with the final comment that 'in trying to open out her heroine's story and turn it into a more general comment on society, Sapphire has made the tale of Precious decidedly less moving than it might have been' as it is a social commentary (and a very realistic, raw and earnest one at that), but it far from 'less moving than it might have been'. The story of Precious is incredibly moving and heart-wrenching and can surely be called a masterpiece of writing on Sapphire's behalf.

Pennsylvania Amish

The Pennsylvania Amish situated in Lancaster County have a history that dates back to the 18th century and to the time of William Penn's promotion of religious and cultural freedom. A small Amish community from Europe came and settled at this time, and since then, the Amish have stuck with the traditional way of life from 300 years ago, with farming and a simplistic, non-materialistic attitude creating their lifestyle (with electricity being banned as it creates too much of a connection to the outside world). They (as well as the Mennonites and Brethren in Lancaster County) are of the Anabaptist faith which means that they make a conscious choice to accept God and their devotion to God is therefore incredibly evident.
All Amish, not just the Pennsylvania Amish have similarities in their views of humility, family, conservatism, community and therefore live separately from the non-Amish community in order to achieve this effectively. However, an aspect of the Lancaster County Amish is that they are expected to give up their personal aspirations in order to create a 'pure' community.
Their style of dress promotes a sense of group belonging and identity, whilst demonstrating the willingness to give themselves in to group standards. The male clothing of the Pennsylvania Amish is black and consists of a dark suit, suspenders, straight cut trousers, black shoes and a black or straw hat. They wait until marriage to grow beards. Whereas Amish women wear plain, long sleeved dresses, a cape and an apron. They never cut their hair and wear it in a bun covered by a prayer covering.
Pennsylvania Deutsch (a dialect of German) is spoken, therefore limiting outside interaction even further and the children learn English in school but German for worship services.

Saddleback Church

              Saddleback Church was started in 1980 by husband and wife Rick and Kay Warren, since then they have expanded to become the sixth largest church in the United States1 with membership numbers over 22,000. It is based in Lake Forest, California but has a number of other locations throughout California that it also owns and performs ceremonies. As well as these, Saddleback also has a number of overseas ministries in Berlin, Buenos Aries and Hong Kong.
            Saddlebacks leader Rick Warren, affectionately known as ‘Pastor Rick’ believes, the five biblical purposes of the church are: worship, fellowship, discipleship, ministry and evangelism, this he calls ‘purpose driven churches’. He is a best-selling author and also a the founder of a number of other organisations such as The Purpose Driven Network, a global alliance of pastors from over 160 countries and who have been trained to be purpose driven churches. Warren and his wife Kay have three children, Amy, Josh and Mathew, who suffered from depression and as a result, took his own life in April 2013. The family have set up a foundation in Mathews name and also donate 90% of their salary to charitable causes. Along with this, in 1999 they donated all the salary they had earned from the past 20 years back to the church.
Saddleback Church is known as a mega church as its Lake Forest base (pictured) seats 3,500, it and the other locations have over 200 ministries a week and the church proudly states 1 in 9 in the area calls Saddleback their church. As well as its main church it caters to all range of people including singles, children, women and seniors. It also has what is recognised as the leading student ministry facility in the world, which it claims has trained over 200,000 church leaders from around the world in the ‘purpose driven church’ philosophy. It is a Christian Evangelical church and so shares the same religious values as roughly 26% of the US2

1.       <> accessed 18 February 2014
2.       Pew research poll from 2007

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Siletz tribe

  The Siletz tribe was originally located in Alaska. They are a tribe that appear to be very proud of their heritage. They boast how the tribe had up to 11 different languages, which supposedly had incredibly different dialects, making it hard for the different divisions to understand each other, therefore demonstrating its diversity. The different locations of the divisions of the tribe meant that their diets differed too. The inland people ate mainly deer, where as the people on the coast ate fish. So these different factors show how the Siletz tribe had a degree of diversity to it.

  They are also a very well renowned tribal group. There is evidence for this because they were the second Native American tribe to be fully restored to federal recognition. The group has also been self governed since 1992, proving further that they are very well renowned group that has plenty of support. The group also own a tremendously large reservation  "occupy and manage a 3,666 acre reservation located in Lincoln County, Oregon." Not only do they own a large reservation, the group also have set up job opportunities for people who are a part of the tribe "CTSI requires a Tribal Application be completed". They also have a comprehensive healthcare system that is said to be of high quality and provides the people with happy and healthy lives. I believe that because of this it is fair to say that because of the size of the reservation, the fact they are able to offer jobs to those that are of the Siletz tribe and that have a very good healthcare system they are a group that are wealthy when compared to other groups in the United States. They are able to care for their people and provide them with jobs, education and good healthcare.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Seminole Tribe of Florida

The Seminole Tribe of Florida is a tribe that lives and survives in south Florida. The Spanish left the Seminole nation largely alone and it was only when the Spanish ceded Florida to the English in 1763 that the Seminole had to fight for their land. After Jackson rises to power and crosses into Florida in 1816 the Seminole fight to retain their land, eventually signing the Treaty of Moultrie Creek in which the Seminole gave up 28 million acres, retaining only 4 million. About 3,000 Seminole were forced westwards along the trail of tears to Oklahoma. In 1858 after another war the US abandons plans to remove all Seminole from south Florida and since 1890 the Seminoles have been trading peacefully with the whites.

The Seminole Tribe today still resides in south Florida and after gaining federal status in 1957, has turned itself into a multi-million dollar tribe. They became the official mascot of Florida State University in 1947.  After receiving $10 million from the government in 1992, they have benefitted from zero taxation on tobacco sales and have taken advantage of the gambling laws to build casinos and hotels on their reservation in Hollywood, Florida. In 1996 the tribal budget exceeded $100 million. As well as the casinos and Hotels the Seminoles have an Indian school, museum and swamp safari.

The Seminole Tribe of Florida is an example of what can happen when you have good leadership and how the Native American tribes cannot just survive, but prosper within American society. However within the Seminole tribe there is still problems, many refused money from the government in 1992 and are challenging the tribes activities, saying they are no longer true Natives as they have taken to American societies customs and beliefs and that they only hold on to their culture as a tourist attraction.

White Mountain Apache Tribe

The tribe is called the White Mountain Apache Tribe they are located in eastern Arizona. The site where they are located is notable as it surrounds the history of Fort Apache which was a military camp and reservation for Indians. Once the army abandoned the site in 1922 it became the site of Theodore Roosevelt Indian boarding school, which exists as a middle school today.

Their economy is largely based off tourism as they own casino's and have tons of recreational activities for visitors such as fishing and hunting. Therefore, they are quite wealthy and can fund public services such as Hospitals. Alcoholism/ Teenage pregnancy/ Suicide rate is unknown but it can be assumed that since their economy is stable there are few problems with this. The population of the tribe is 15,000 and many of them live on the reservation but many live and work all over the country and most live in the surrounding areas of White river. This means that they assimilate with the rest of the American population and have a more urban lifestyle and may work other jobs. Also many of the tribes youth attend the Arizona State University's which implies that the education they receive on the reservation is sufficient and so the youth can have many opportunities and possibly careers.    

I feel it is good they've had such success and are not in extreme poverty like other tribes and their children's education is important. It is also good they keep the history of their tribe alive and recreate it for guests and is passed onto the youth. This keeps their culture alive even if it is slightly modernised to fit with the society their in.

Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe

The S'Klallam tribe is situated in Sequim (near the bigger town of Port Angeles) in the Seattle area, in Washington. It is a tribe currently consisting of 147 people and is a tight knit community with factors such as their economic status and healthcare status important components within their community.
The Jamestown Economic Development Authority (EDA) aims to help tribe members and their long term financial security and sufficiency by doing things such as: encouraging entrepreneurship within the tribe, strengthening existing tribal businesses and providing employment, as well as their casino, self storage and fireworks businesses which all play a big part in helping with the financial status of the tribe.
The tribe also has a high standard of healthcare, with a family health clinic and dental clinic, in which health insurance is paid by the tribe and the facilities can also be used by non tribe members.

Ten thousand years prior to the tribes creation, a nation (loosely belonging to S'Klallam tribes) of people lived on the lands in Washington and focused on self-sufficiency, leadership and self reliance, whilst creating a creative culture of art, song and spirituality.
From this original collection of people, the more specific S'Klallam tribe was created in 1790 and defined itself from the other tribes that it was connected to by its emphasis on the importance of community and culture, with inter-marriage being one of its features. The Point No Point treaty was signed in 1855.
However, after White settlers came to Washington in 1870, tribes were being pushed out and being forced to relocate to reservations. Some of the S'Klallam's managed to raise enough money to buy 210 acres of land in the Washington territory, therefore beginning the Jamestown S'Klallam community, with the population then being about 100 people.
Up until 1953, the tribe received services from the federal government until it chose to no longer 'recognise' them. Although, in 1981, due to economic hardship, the tribe was able to gain recognition from the government again, and because of this have been able to provide their high standard of health and educational care.
They have been named a 'progressive' Indian community and it is not hard to see why.

It seems to me that the Jamestown S'Klallam tribe is an incredibly fast-moving and caring tribe. It cares about its members (particularly with the high standard of health care and its economic efforts) and is very modern in its style of community. Economic problems no longer seem to be an issue and the S'Klallam tribe definitely does not fit the stereotypical tribe idea with issues such as alcoholism, high suicide rates and economic hardship. Of course, there is a possibility that these are all present within the community, but the success of the tribe and the hardships that it suffered a hundred years ago seem to have paved the way for a happy and successful community for its tribe members today. It seems that it towers high above other, less-fortunate, Native American tribes in America today.


                                                                        Health Centre

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Push Review analysis

The writer begins the review by stating that "Push the novel is pure poetry crafted by Sapphire about a girl who never gets the guy," This is to mean that this is not your ordinary story about a girl in school. This is about a girl who is living proof that bad things happen to good people.
The writer makes reference to Precious' daydreams, in which "she is milky white, cute and has long hair" this shows that in her mind, Precious is sure that life would be a hell of a lot easier if she was pretty and white, this is likely to be true, in urban America in the 1980's, although segregation had been abolished and everyone was supposedly equal, it was just like the pig says in Animal Farm, “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”
By the end of the novel Precious has found some solid ground, as the writer states, "She is slowly learning to grow with the help of Ms. Rains and the other students" I think although this novel is about some extremely dark subject matter the end seems somewhat forward looking, although nothing is properly resolved, it suggests that things could be.

Push, Outline to Presentation

I am going to start my presentation talking about what in the book represents and if this differs from what other races are represented by. I will talk about some of the challenges faced by Precious and also give some statistics from the time in which it was set. I will follow that with what I think the message of Push/Precious is, and who that message is aimed at, and for what reason. I will give a bit of the background of the author and assess whether she can accurately represent the African American community and the issues it faces. I then give my final thoughts on the book in the conclusion and answer whether it is successful in representing the complexity of the African American identity.

Questions I will ask.

1. Do you think the story can represent or relate to other races in America?
2. Who do you think the most important character in the book is?
3. Why do you think the author includes the other kids stories at the end?
4. Can we rely on the author to represent the issues present in the book correctly and accurately?
5. Do you think Push can be seen as a success story?

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Push review

This review was published in 1996 the same time the novel was published and so is helpful in finding out what the reaction of the novel was to the society of that time. The reviewer picks up on the fact that 'Push is not the story of a helpless or self-loathing victim. It's meant to be a story of female empowerment and triumph.' this refers to the title of the novel and its symbolism i.e. the repetition of 'Push' throughout the novel as it indicates that Precious has to keep fighting until she gets what she deserves. This is friendship and a decent education.  The writer also makes references to the influences that inspired the writer, Sapphire, by the similarities of Precious's story to Celie's story in 'The Color Purple' and how that novel influenced Precious and  inspires female empowerment and reflects how coloured women are treated. However, the writer suggests that 'In trying to open out her heroine's story and turn it into a more general comment on society, Sapphire has made the tale of Precious decidedly less moving than it might have been.' I believe this is false as writing a story which deals with abuse in such detail, making it more difficult to read is moving, and you can sympathise with her struggles and the story line definitely stays with the reader.    

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Fair Immigration vs Latino's United


The Latino's United organisation believes in making the gaining of citizenship for latino's more available. It has 6 key principles which mainly are focused around the improvement of civil rights and citizenship rules. However, there are some principles which it discusses that are rather contrary to what we would expect from a website that from an organisation that discusses the reuniting and preservation of unity in families. It states how current law restrictions don't allow Latinos to unite with their "nuclear family" and these restrictions should be uplifted. This includes allowing people who already have citizenship into the country to be with their family "immigrants waiting in line should have their admission expedited". The website appears to be reluctant to address issues such as the growing population of Latinos of the United States and the loss of identity they may cause. This may seem obvious to leave this but proves there is.


The fair immigration organisation are very focused on what they deem to be fair laws for immigrants who enter the United States. They also think of themselves as a group that are very pro active in helping the people of America aware what is taking place in terms of immigration. Also they are willing to help those people have a voice and an influence in their community "provide tools, information and strategic assistance to local organizations to make positive policy changes at the local, state and national levels.". It interesting how they talk about making "positive" changes. They are potentially being purposely ambiguous in order to attract more people to supporting their organisation and as a result by not being so concise in their messages they appear more welcoming and agreable. 

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Hispanic Immigration Issues

Pro -

Hispanic Coalition for Comprehensive Immigration Reform are an organisation that has been active since 2009 in order to promote reforms for immigration in particular to make it 'humane, just and reasonable'. 
Their framework for their legislation is that while they support immigration they think it should be controlled more and increase Border Patrol.  However they believe undocumented immigrants should be able to safely apply for citizenship, and states that it 'requires those who came or remained in the United States without our permission to register with the government. This will include passing a background check and settling their debt to society by paying a fine and back taxes, in order to earn probationary legal status, which will allow them to live and work legally in the United States.' After this probationary legal status is granted they are required to 'pass an additional background check, pay taxes, learn English and civics, demonstrate a history of work in the United States, and current employment, among other requirements, in order to earn the opportunity to apply for lawful permanent residency'. 
I believe the way they are proposing to handle immigration is more sustainable especially for the economy and society as they are willing to help the immigrants, in many cases the language barrier is a problem and is addressed in Huntington's work as he fears a 'balkanisation' of America, but having the immigrants learn English and pass tests helps them assimilate into the new culture and language this could reduce hostilities by local communities towards them. It also provides for them a chance to be more educated/ better jobs which will help keep the American economy growing. 
The Federation for American Immigration Reform formed in 1979 is a large organisation with 250,000 members and supporters - many of whom are conservative or liberal. And has regularly testified on immigration reforms in Congress.  The organisation believes in reducing the amount of immigrants each year - 300,000 is preferred. And of course want to stop illegal immigration and improve border security. They are also of the view to stop amnesty for the millions undocumented as this is unfair. It is easy to understand their views as immigration does mean a strain on jobs/ healthcare/ education etc. And it may be in the best interests of the American nation to restrict large scale immigration, however many illegal immigrants already in the country may have worked for months and years which helps the US economy and so restricting their rights to become legal citizens is unfair.

Anti and Pro Immigration Websites

anti immigration -
This website for the California Coalition for Immigration Reform (CCIR) is anti-immigration and focuses on the problems caused by the influx of the Latino immigrants. It was founded by Barbara Coe in 1994 and has lobbied the government in California, unsuccessfully, to crack down on both legal and illegal immigration. They regularly hold rallies with other organisations to protest immigration and these have been the focus of media attention and occasionally clashes with immigration supporters. Recently they claimed they had uncovered a Mexican conspiracy to reclaim the southwest United States using edited comments by Latino leaders as proof. The group is often charged with racism and hate speech, which the leaders dispute. The group has lost prominence recently with Coe dying in 2013, which has meant it has had to reorganise. The website calls for people to wake up before, “the Mexicans, self-serving politicians and cheap labour advocates ruin the United States and its way of life.”

pro immigration - 
This website is for a bipartisan group founded by business leaders, with the goal of supporting policies which will keep the economy of the US competitive. The main policies it supports are ones that call for immigration reform and also education reform which they believe are two areas that are vital to the US economy. It calls for the government to allow immigrants into the US and support them through education, which will allow for companies to have a stronger labour force. The website states its four goals which are: to secure the border, strengthen immigrant families, provide a pathway to citizenship for the illegal immigrants living and working in America and develop a simple way to verify employment. The group doesn’t focus on Latino immigration but all immigrants and it also supports securing the border, which shows that they don’t want open borders where anyone can come in but a controlled system which allows for workforce needs to be met.

Pro and Against Latino/Hispanic Immigration

This website is pro Latino/Hispanic immigration and discusses the integration of Latinos and Hispanics as one that will benefit the American community. As an organisation, they aim to get Latinos involved with all areas of decision making, to get them on an equal level with others in their area of expertise (eg jobs), close the gap between American achievement and Latino achievement in schools, to give them the security and safety of an affordable house, and finally, for the advocation of fair immigration and integration within society.
I think that as a premise, their organisation is an extremely effective and  has the ability to change ideas about Latino and Hispanic immigration, as it focuses on the ways in which they can contribute to American society and proves that they are actually willing to do this.
However, in regards to the education aims, because of the sheer amount of immigration and therefore, bilingual children in schools, there is always the danger that Huntington discusses of situations such as 'The schools of Los Angeles are becoming Mexican' and as a country that should keep its roots as an English speaking country, I believe that this transformation of schools is not necessarily right.

Although this is not a website focusing on anti Latino/Hispanic immigration, it does focus on the 'hate' that immigrants are facing. It seems to be stereotypical ideas of immigrants that are the fuel behind these fires and many people blame them for problems that are caused in society. It has also become apparent that the media is a breeding ground for violence against Latinos and Hispanics and public figures seem to be advocating these hate crimes publically.
Perhaps people are angry at the extent to which immigration has risen and perhaps they feel threatened by their new neighbours, however, I believe that it is never acceptable to voice hate crime, especially from members of the public eye and the use of stereotypes to distinguish Latinos and Hispanics is an outdated and incorrect way of labelling them.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

This project from an Ohio high school prompts the students to pretend to be modern illegal immigrants from Latino communities entering the United States in search of opportunity. Erica Vieyra's project is unusual as most K-12 projects on immigration focus on the legal immigration of Western Europeans and treat it as a historical phenomena. This project however treats immigration as an ongoing issue facing the United States government and particularly focuses on the humanitarian and political issues involved. 
The students quote of :
“I can’t begin to fathom how they can survive here,” said Yana Lyon, 17. “Everywhere you turn if you try to become legal or help yourself, there’s a roadblock.” 
Shows that they are considering a salad bowl image of American immigration as it shows immigrants as different, other, compared to established American citizens. The project is intended to show the students the reality of the separation between legal citizens and illegal immigrants.

The civil rights project

The civil rights projects is very much focused on the bringing together of all races without a particular focus on any race. They very much believe in the "no child left behind" policy that was established in 2002. The way they want this to be done is to bring together people of all races in order to provide children with an understanding of people of different ethnicity. They are also keen on teaching civil rights in schools. Again, this is probably more for the education and the promoting of tolerance of others. They therefore have also a strong belief in equal opportunities for all. As a result, I believe that this project would represent the "salad bowl" hypotheses.  They seem the believe the dressing that brings them together is the premise, use and value of education.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Immigration Project

This website has an Immigration project for grades 3 - 5 to complete over a few weeks. It is mostly researched based and involves looking into the Ellis Island website and Angel Island to get more information and understanding about the immigration process into the US.

The children will get a vast understanding for the history of immigration into the US and how it still continues today. I believe that the project helps the children understand their origins and culture whether their ancestors came in earlier times of immigration or they are recent immigrants today, as this will impact how they view their society. And have an impact on the culture of America. I think the task of making a quilt to show their origin, shows them they all come from different backgrounds but it also demonstrates the 'tapestry' or 'mosaic' of American society and so presents the children with the understanding that even though they are from different groups shows them that when put together they are all under one society.

High School Immigration Project

Robert Cox from Pearland High School in Texas has set up the project for his high school students to write a historical fiction book for children about immigration into America. It is useful not only when considering the factors that faced those immigrating into America, but also how different nationalities and types of people were facing the same situation.

Therefore, it can be said that Cox's project for his students highlights the idea of both the Melting Pot and the Salad Bowl. The Melting Pot is a metaphor for the 'melting' or integrating of nationalities into the American identity, so that there is essentially just the identity of 'the American', no matter of a person's actual identity or country of origin. Whereas the Salad Bowl embraces difference and demonstrates how different people, nationalities, personalities or groups join together to create 'the American'.
The research links at the bottom of the page that have been given highlight both of these factors. The fact that topics such as 'German Immigration to America', 'French Immigration', 'Swedish Immigration' and 'Becoming an American: The Chinese Experience' are all covered, make the concept of the Salad Bowl clear as their nationalities are at the forefront of the discussion. Additionally, when Cox poses the question 'what did your immigrants contribute to our country?', the idea of individualism and each country or group of people having their own contributing factors to America, sees immigration as a more accepting and integrating process as opposed to the idea of the Melting Pot.
Whereas the 'Chinese Experience' of 'Becoming an American' refers more to the Melting Pot because the Chinese are almost having to change their identities to become American, hence the 'melting' into a particular type that suits the American identity.

K12 Immigration Project

I have chosen a detailed 4-5 week project aimed at 4th - 8th grade students. It is a guide that teachers can use to organise the project which they can follow over the course of the 4-5 weeks. The guide/lesson plan is put together by the American Immigration Law Foundation.

It starts with the pupils finding out about their ancestors, by interviewing their families, and experiencing what it was like getting to Ellis Island. Using this information they then create an "immigration profile" which they use to gather information, such as why they are leaving their homeland and trying to get into the United States. The pupils then have to go through the Ellis Island process and face the inspectors from the various departments, with some being denied entry. They then have to discuss the way they felt during the inspections and what it was like to be told to return to their homeland. Pupils then pick a country to research and discover what it was like for people living there and why they would choose to leave, looking at clothing, traditions, climate and economy. They wold then look at what was lost in leaving and what was brought to American culture. They will gather their research together and present it in class on display boards. The final part of the project is to present in class the impact of the immigrants from their country on the United States.

 The stated objective of the project is “to make the study of immigration a meaningful experience for students and to give them the opportunity to discover how important the immigrants have been to our (Untied States) culture.”

I think this lesson plan and project is a fun and interactive way for children to learn about immigration and by using their own personal family ancestry adds a personal interest to it. I think the objective is good and the lesson plan is clear and helpful.  

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Emma's Wk1 post copied to new blog National Council of Negro Women

African American Women

This organisation is called the National Council of Negro Women. It was established by Mary McLeod Bethune in 1935. It main aims were to provide women of African descent to be able to have equal rights and opportunities to be able to make a better United States.
It provides the resources needed to support young girls through their schooling and lead them into higher education and college and have a career. This is especially important as research shown by has suggested that African american communities are likely to be in poverty, as 45% of black children are reported to be in poverty. According to Janice Ferebee, BPDC Director, “Girls of African descent in the 21st century are faced with challenges that threaten their future including poverty, low academic achievement, poor self-esteem, teen pregnancy, high drop-out rates, media exploitation, sophisticated cyber bullying, and lack of positive leadership and mentoring.”  and so the program is very important in helping these girls out of these situations. It has indeed successfully managed to provide girls with education and information about their health, as it addresses obesity rates within poverty ridden communities where it is most highest - for example in the state of Mississippi where it is the poorest and obese st state.   
Organisations like these show that there is a long way to go to enhance equality or even equal opportunities in the USA, as even though there have been civil rights from the 1950's and women's rights from the 70's these seem to not reflect the lives of many African American women. This shows their identity is more than being an 'American' as they are mostly seen as 'African American Women' and this is important as the ideals of having an American identity or what is defined as one, i e being free/equal opportunities is not naturally applied to them as it is to other 'Americans'.