Q&A with Gladys Vargas

IMG_9138NAME: Gladys Vargas // she, her, hers

MAJOR: Journalism
MINOR: Visual Arts

Yoni Ki Baat // Tech, Performer

I am a student, writer, and artist! I’ve lived in the Greater Boston area my whole life, born to immigrant parents from Venezuela and Puerto Rico (Caribeños wya??) I got involved with activism through my school, community, and church. Being raised Christian especially motivates my work because though it’s been a challenge to reckon with the violence of the church as an institution, as well as exploring my identity as a queer person, I think that loving unconditionally and serving the most marginalized communities is something that the gospel and true social justice work have in common. The work I do right now is through groups on campus, as well as using school assignments as an excuse to learn more about the causes I’m interested in!

Q: Could you explain what Yoni Ki Baat is and your involvement in it?

Gladys: Yoni Ki Baat was brought to BU last year by Ina Joseph (she is a graduating senior this year) and it’s a part of The Vagina Monologues. It’s like the sister show to The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler. But it’s put on by students who write their own monologues, and specifically, they are students of color and non-binary people. Yoni Ki Baat was made to highlight more issues within sexuality at the cross-section of being a woman or being non-binary or being a person of color, because The Vagina Monologues, while necessary, is like a bit dated in it’s content and it’s very white focused and woman focused. I started out doing Tech for The Vagina Monologues and then wrote a piece for Yoni Ki Baat. I wrote it really fast one night and then I didn’t think that I was gonna share it with anyone, really. Then my friends encouraged me to join Yoni Ki Baat and I just felt like sharing anything. So I chose that piece to audition with. And then I kept editing it and it became a really amazing process of working with this amazing group of people. And then also just like coming into my own and realizing different things about the piece that I hadn’t realized before. It became really empowering and fun. We were supposed to have a performance, but that was canceled because of Coronavirus, so we adapted the episodes into a podcast on Spotify

Q: What are some challenges that you see as a student activist on campus? 

Gladys: One of the things that discourages me the most is when people say that they’re supportive, but then they don’t show up with support or when their support is not where it should be. When people post on their Instagram story in support of something, but then they don’t actually do the work of donating or learning more about a certain community it feels like they don’t actually want to get involved in the work. It feels like they’re more invested in trying to appeal to a group of people that are criticizing them for not being involved. 

Q: How do you think we can encourage people to take action beyond just posting on social media in a way that isn’t performative?

Gladys: People have to open themselves to learning because you can’t force someone to learn if they’re not willing to. I think that a really important part of activism is being willing to know that you don’t know everything, even if it’s about a community that you’re a part of. So it’s just being willing to listen to other people’s perspectives and entertain their ideas. Even if you at first are like, oh, that doesn’t seem right at all. Just be willing to listen to it in its entirety and absorb it and really think through it.

Q: What are some right and wrong ways social media can be used as a tool for activism? 

G: I’ll start with the wrong ways to get the negative out of the way. Social media can be such a time suck and something that can make us really stuck in our own heads. It can make us insecure if we’re not using it smartly. We can become really easily jealous of other people or really shameful about ourselves and just feel guilty. There are a lot of negative feelings you can associate with social media and also the laziness that we acknowledged earlier about people posting and thinking that that’s activism in its entirety, or thinking that they know everything about an issue because they saw a video on it. I love social media as a tool for activism because it’s such a great way to learn about other things that you wouldn’t normally learn about and to be connected to people you wouldn’t normally meet. It’s such a global, international platform that allows you to learn about something going on in a different country and see how it relates to something going on in your community or in a state around you. I love that. I think it’s a beautiful way to network. And I’ve been able to connect with people that I wouldn’t otherwise. 

Q: Do you have any favorite Instagram accounts or recommendations?

Gladys: I really like following @ndn.o. They are a graffiti artist and activist who often makes stickers and does work that highlights Native issues. They are someone who does research and takes information from what they know from their community and their experience and highlights it on their page publicly. That was one way that I learned a lot about how the US government is still oppressing Indigenous Americans. So that’s one account that I really like and then I think people should support. But also, @queerappalachia is a great account to explore this huge group of white people that’s oppressed, which is the Appalachian people or people who live in that area. We stereotype Southern people as hillbillies who don’t know anything, but there is a real harm in that stereotype and there are real living, breathing people who aren’t super conservative harmful people living in the South and they are disadvantaged by the same people that people of color and low income people are. I like that account because it highlights that issue in its entirety, especially being queer in Appalachia. I also really like @thefatsextherapist. Her name is Sonalee and is a therapist who does trauma and sex informed work. I found her account really eye opening because we struggle as a society with fatphobia. Her work is so unapologetic in that it says what needs to be said. And then you absorb it and you learn it and you think about how it’s influenced other things in your life. I think that’s really powerful. 

Q: What role do you think that student activists can play in terms of making a change? 

Gladys: I think that if anybody is aspiring to be an activist or considers themself an activist, whether they’re a student or not, what it really means to me personally is paying attention to the ways that people are being marginalized in your space and listening to people when they complain about marginalization. Listen to the most vulnerable populations where you are already and learn how you can help them, because that’s what honest to real activism is. It’s paying attention and being real about what people are struggling with and acknowledging that you may have had a role with it in the past and moving on and learning about it. I think activism is a lot of learning. 

Q: What do you think it means to be an activist? 

Gladys: For a profile I was writing, I interviewed Fiona Phee, who is a great organizer in Boston. She’s the executive director for March for Our Lives in Boston. I asked her a similar question. She was really, really smart and said that there’s a difference between being an organizer and being an activist. Her work is organizing work. But anybody really can be an activist, because if you are surviving the system that you are in, if you are going up and going to work every day or providing for your family or taking care of the people around you, then you’re surviving in a system that wasn’t built for you and that is activist work in itself. Especially because we can often gatekeep the word activist and say you’re not an activist if you don’t do these certain things. And then it becomes a source of shame or anxiety, and that’s not what the work is about. It’s about welcoming people and being ready to see how everybody can fit into this new vision that we have for the future.

8 Black, Feminist, Radical, Queer Zines to Add to Your Required Reading


As you further your commitment to the active practice of anti-racism, I hope these resources might offer just a glimpse into all of the nuances and intricacies of the Black identity. All of these issues and publications are linked below and available for free to read on Issuu!

black women matter zineBlack Women Matter Zine

By Underground Sketchbook

Underground Sketchbook Zine - Volume 1: This zine is dedicated to black women. Read the stories of 11 black women who have been killed by law enforcement. Know their names. See their faces. Remember their stories. Anti-copyright.





women and non-binary identities zineWomen & Non-Binary Identities

By Shades of Noir (@shadesofnoir_)

How are women and non-binary folk portrayed in black history? Is this representation fair? What does this mean to the mediatization of black history month? Black History month is celebrated across the nation. However, it seems to mainly focus on the historical achievements of male activists. “The most unprivileged person in America is the Black woman”. Black women and Non-binary folk are thriving and surviving everyday, but their achievements are not celebrated enough. Yes, civil rights may exist, but black lives are taken everyday due to the existence of anti-blackness. Even in movements like #BlackLivesMatter there seems to be a lack of media attention towards women (including trans women) and the non-binary folks’ struggle. Today we want to celebrate women and non-binary identities in black history and remember the diverse activism that paved the way for today’s generation. We shall hear from influential people who are trailblazing a path for the next generation.


a call to negro women zine
A Call to Negro Women: A (Little Known) Black Feminist Manifesto

By MelaNation Zine (@melanation.zine)

“In 1951, the Sojourners for Truth and Justice wrote, “A Call to Negro Women’’ to protest the violence, racism, and sexism that Black women experience. Around 130 Black women joined them in Washington, DC to demand justice, safety, and freedom. In this zine, Mariame Kaba and Ashley Farmer write essays about the significance of the Sojourners for Truth and Justice in the development of Black feminism and the legacy of Black women freedom fighters.”



sister outsider art zineSister Outsider Art: Shotgun Seamstress #4

By Shotgun Seamstress Zine (@potterybyosa)

Drawing influence from Audre Lorde’s collection of essays and speeches, titled “Sister Outsider,” this zine celebrates art created by Black queers, punks, and feminists. Defining “outsider art” as “the creative work of self-taught artists that exists largely outside of the mainstream art work” the zine pays homage to influential figures of the Black queer punk movement whom it labels “outsider artists,” such as Vaginal Davis and Adee Roberson.


before they kill me first zineBefore They Kill Me First

By Hunter Shackelford (@huntythelion)

Before They Kill Me First is a zine calling out Black cisgender men who seek to kill Black trans folks, Black queer folks, Black women, Black children, and Black people. This zine was written, illustrated, and designed by Hunter Shackelford (@huntythelion).




a strong black lesbian woman zineA Strong Black Lesbian Woman Featuring Jess Guilbeaux

By Chaos and Comrades (@chaosandcomrades)

Our first SCRAPBOOK features Jess Guilbeaux, a Black lesbian woman who appeared on Season 3 of Netflix’s Queer Eye and brought the issue of LGBTQ youth homelessness to audiences around the world. We grapple with three facets of Jess’ identity— Blackness, Queerness and Family— and explore the meaning of rejection and “chosen families” for young LGBTQ people.




By Black, Queer and Intersectional Columbus (@bqic.ohio)

ONYX: On Pride as queer, trans, and intersex people of color. ONYX is the second zine brought to you by Black, Queer and Intersectional Columbus (BQIC). BQIC is a grassroots community organization in Central Ohio that works towards the liberation of Black LGBTQIA+ people from all walks of life through direct action, community organizing, education on our issues, and creating spaces to uplift Black and queer voices.



black joy zineBlack Joy Zine 

By Ayoka and 33 Carats (@33caratswebzine)

The same way that some people have a hard time understanding the concepts of #BlackLivesMatter or #BlackGirlMagic, some won’t understand #BlackJoy: Don’t all people deserve to feel joy? What is so specific about the type of joy felt by Black people? We could go on and on about the wonderful stories shared by our contributors, through their words and art but we prefer you to explore it for yourself. In a world that would rather share stories of Black trauma, we have decided to make this zine a beautiful celebration of Blackness. Help us share the joy by sending this zine to your friends and igniting discussions on what joy means to you, with the tag: #blackjoyzine.

Fight for Social Justice with BU Student Organizations

IMG_8500In light of recent events involving the death of George Floyd, UMOJA: The Black Student Union, Boston University Student Government and 50+ Boston University clubs/organizations are coming together to fight for social justice by donating to the following organizations:

Black Visions Collective
Color of Change
Showing Up for Racial Justice

Our goal is to fundraise $10,000. Any donations are appreciated.



Q&A with Sam Docteur


MAJOR: Sociology

-Jewish Vocational Services (JVS) // English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Classroom Assistant
-BU Students of Caribbean Ancestry (SOCA) // Public Relations Chair and Member

ABOUT: I’m a Haitian-American who wants their voice and actions to be heard regarding issues that are happening to the underrepresented, racial and ethnic minorities in the world. I’m passionate about LGBTQ+ rights, immigration, incarceration, and civil rights issues that people of color, especially Black people, face today.

Q: You’re a part of JVS and SOCA, could you explain how you got involved and why these organizations interest you?

 Sam: Sure! So, I’ll start with JVS. I was in Paris [studying abroad] and I was looking for a legal internship because I want to be an attorney in the near future, and JVS showed up and I thought it sounded really interesting. I feel like the first step [to immigration law] is to start working with immigrants and refugees, so I decided to become an ESOL classroom assistant. I have a little experience teaching English because my parents are immigrants from Haiti. And being in Paris I also realized how hard it is to learn a different language in a different country that you’re new to, that shits hard, and I felt like I could relate to these people [ESOL students], so I interviewed in Paris and they basically gave me the job! I was an intern until COVID-19 when my internship stopped, so now I volunteer on Mondays. I call people from 12 pm to 5 pm and help with homework and interview practice. Same thing on Thursday, I just started last week, I’m in a Zoom classroom helping them with grammar. I joined SOCA freshman year spring semester. At first, I was scared because I’m not used to being around so many Black people because I went to a private white Catholic school from kindergarten to 12th grade in southern New Jersey. I didn’t feel in tune with people when I came to college. I joined SOCA hoping that I could spread awareness for West Indian and Caribbean culture and get to know my culture more, honestly.

 Q: How has activism influenced you and in what ways has it affected your future goals?

 Sam: Since becoming an activist, I’ve had more serious and difficult conversations with people, like family members. Before, I used to be quiet about my stances on most everything because being in the neighborhood that I am and being with the people I’m with for mostly my whole life made it difficult to fight for immigration and LGBTQ rights. It’s very difficult, but I realized that just speaking up made me more comfortable with who I am as a person and as an activist. It is hard to have difficult conversations with people you’ve been friends and family with for forever, but I think it’s really important as an activist to have it known that you are here to fight the system, discrimination, everything that’s happening in the world, especially America.

 Q: What role do you think student activists can play in terms of making change?

 Sam: Honestly, having their voice heard. Something that happened fall semester was when Ben Shapiro came to campus. Basically, Black BU and everyone against him was like we are not standing for this, and even though he ended up speaking on campus, even though we didn’t succeed in having him removed from campus, we succeeded in coming together as a community. Realizing that our voices should be heard and that you can’t just ignore us because we are here we are present and that we don’t stand for injustices, especially a person who is denying the racism and discrimination people of color, especially Black people, have faced for hundreds of years, is a real testament to what students can do on campus.

 Q:  What do you think it means to be an activist and how do you define it for yourself?

 Sam: I think being an activist means you fight for a social or political cause that you believe in and you try to take steps that will further better other people’s lives, wherever you are. I’m an activist by being in SOCA and being an ESOL classroom assistant because I want to help the transition from coming from a different country to coming to America be easier for people because I know how hard it was for my parents and I understand how hard it is to learn a different language, to come to a new place not knowing anyone, and to try to figure out your spot in life. I don’t think we should discriminate or be mean to these people who just want a better life and better opportunities than they had before. It’s wrong, honestly, that so many people are in disagreement about how people should have equal, basic human rights in America just for being from a different place.

 Q: How are you feeling about the upcoming election?

 Sam: The system has been broken since the beginning, we’ve known this, and people are surprised that this is happening with Trump against Biden, but I’m not. As a person of color, as a Black person, as a Black queer person you realize that this shit’s been happening since the beginning of time and that people are just now realizing that oh we’re fucked, but no, we’ve been fucked forever, now it’s effecting you and that’s the problem. Hopefully people realize that shit has to change. Keep speaking up because we know that speaking up helps in the long term, we get laws changed, shit happens, but right now the future of America is kind of dim. We’ve got to try and strive on.

Q&A with Bruna D’Amore Giampietro

MAJOR: Public Relations, minoring in Political Science and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies


Man Eater Radio Show // Creator & DJ
The Vagina Monologues // Co-Director
Yoni Ki Baat // Co-Director

I am a student activist from Brazil who is passionate about intersectional feminism and gender equality. I strive to empower womxn and uplift marginalized voices through radio and fundraiser spoken-word performances. Through femme-focused projects, I aim to create safe spaces that highlight womxn while attempting to rebel against patriarchal ideologies.

Q: You’re a part of VAGMO+, could you explain what that is and how you got involved?

 Bruna: I got involved in the Vagina Monologues my sophomore year when one of last year's directors, Ina Joseph, encouraged me to join. I got cast and then three years later I was chosen to direct with Christina Bissereth. Me and Christina co-directed the two performances this year (the Vagina Monologues and Yoni Ki Baat) and it was so wonderful and I'm so proud of it. VAGMO+ is an umbrella term encompassing two feminist productions, the Vagina Monologues and Yoni Ki Baat. The Vagina Monologues was a play written in the nineties by Eve Ensler. It was considered to be a radical piece of feminist literature at the time. But at the same time, since it was really in the nineties, it can be very, very outdated at points and problematic as well. We do acknowledge it's great benefits but also that it is problematic. To make up for the lack of inclusivity and to add another dimension and another layer of perspectives, last year's directors, Ina and Alina added a second performance, a sister performance, called Yoni Ki Baat or commonly known as YKB. This is a platform that attempts to create a space for women of color, queer women and non-binary folks to share their own experiences with intersectionality through storytelling. These performances were a bit like spoken word. This year, even though we didn't have the opportunity to do the in-person performance, we came up with an alternative plan, the YKB podcasts, now available on Spotify. The best part about this whole community and about the performances themselves is that 100 percent of the proceeds go towards nonprofit organizations in the greater Boston community that support women in need. This year we partnered with Women’s Lunch Place, a nonprofit that supports women who are currently facing homelessness, and we were able to donate about $4,000 from fundraising. 

  Q: Can you tell me a little bit more about your feminist radio show and how it has added to your experience at BU?

 Bruna: I co-created Maneater, which is my radio show on WTBU in the fall semester of my sophomore year with Emily Roe. After we interned together freshman year in an alternative rock radio show on the WTBU called Brain Drain, we decided that we both wanted to create a radio show together because we're both minoring in women's studies and we saw that WTBU was oversaturated with Indie and alt-rock radio shows––and there is nothing wrong with that, but a lot of them primarily featured male artists. We saw a real lack of female representation, not only in WTBU but also lack of spotlighting of women artists in the music industry, so together we created what is now Maneater. Maneater became WTBU’s first and only feminist radio show that exclusively highlights women and centers itself around femme-based topics and current events like body positivity, sexuality, sexual empowerment, gender roles, ad stereotypes, politics and abortion. Maneater has also allowed me and the other DJs to dive deeper into the music industry and focus on women artists that don't often get the highlights that they deserve. This is currently Maneater’s sixth semester on WTBU. I'm graduating this year so I will be leaving it, but I'm really, really proud that it will stay at BU as my legacy.

 Q: What was your favorite theme/topic that you have done on Maneater? 

 Bruna: My favorite theme is Black History Month. For the four episodes that compose February, we do it entirely dedicated to different aspects of the Black identity, such as Black love, Black female artists, and Black female rappers. We always like to come up with different things and then we have different discussions. This year, right before the pandemic broke out, we had a cool discussion about Black love, the portrayal of love in the media, why films are always whitewashed, and why content and media are whitewashed but also wealth related. 

 Q: What does inclusive feminism mean to you?

 Bruna: I love intersectional feminism, inclusive feminism, however you would want to call it. I am drawn towards intersectional feminism because I come from a family of predominantly women and a very strong line of women. And that whole narrative that women are meant to be submissive, that women are weak, that women are secondary to men, all these stereotypes that are perpetuated by patriarchal ideals, that are deeply ingrained in our society are honestly just fabricated bullshit that was made to create a hierarchy of genders. I think that it's really important that we work towards flipping that script and advocating for gender equality, advocating for women's rights, advocating for the protection of minority communities. And I think that only through that will we be able to flip the script and make women included and make minorities included in the greater dialogue. I think that work through student activism is really, really important because you're starting from your classroom and then you can dive into the greater world.

 Q: What do you think it means to be an activist or an advocate?

 Bruna: I think that being an activist is very, very crucial. I always liked the phrase if you're not angry, you're not paying attention and if you're not angry, you're not creating change and you're not fighting for things that are negative to then benefit people. So I think that being an activist is someone who actively strives to create change in their environment, not only, or not entirely, or not at all in their benefit, but for the greater good of others and to uplift marginalized voices who don't often get the platform to talk about their experiences and don't often get the rights and the recognition that they need.

Stop Raising Aggressors, So We Can Stop Preparing For Sexual Assault

Why Our Current Interventions May Be Worsening The Problem

By Lul Mohamud

We know college has much more to offer its students than what’s displayed on brochures and websites. Behind their advertisements lies the worst kept secret on America’s college campuses: sexual assault. Sexual violence has not ever been a feature colleges or universities are eager to discuss - and there’s yet to be a school that steps up to become the exception. And waiting any longer will not solve our problem.

On every college website you’ll find an office dedicated to the sexual assault problem, and a few clicks away awaits a bystander program. Bystander interventions remain the weapon of choice utilized by administrators in the battle against sexual assault. Colleges across the United States have been rewording the same message of stepping up to protect your fellow student. This may be an effective effort from an ethical standpoint, but it is not a practical one. However, it has served as an effective mouthpiece to protect these institutions from accusations of an inadequate response - or from the financial or reputational consequences that would result. But this response has had a more detrimental consequence on its most burdened with the task of sexual assault prevention, their students. In the largest survey on Sexual Assault and Misconduct in 2019, the Association of American Universities found a significant increase in the rate of nonconsensual or forced sexual contact amongst all students when compared to their last climate survey in 2015. We owe it to our students to fix what’s broken, and not only readjust the bandage of an under-utilized training or sentimental PR campaign.

Yes, we all agree in common place conversation that sexual violence is wrong and should be stopped. Up to two-thirds of the American public view sexual assault and harassment as a widespread societal issue, and about 74% see this as an important problem in the United States. But no matter how comforting these findings may sound, sexual violence and misconduct remain on the rise, revealing this “we all know better” rhetoric to be a smokescreen we’ve relied on to keep from viewing the true extent of this harrowing crisis. A crisis birthed by our complacency and historic reluctance to fight at the roots of sexual violence - and keep that life-saving fight alive.

Current campus sexual assault prevention programs rely on the assumption that sexual assault is inevitable - an occupational hazard of being a student. It is time to abandon this ineffective reactionary approach that awaits assault. A proper crisis response employs eradicative and preventative measures first. As reported by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, the extent of the American sexual violence problem desperately calls for a new approach - an action plan that addresses its pervasive, widespread, and devastating nature.

That plan must begin with accepting that at the root of sexual violence lies power. Sexual violence is a purposeful violation of physical liberty, gutting its victim of the basic right of agency over their body. And to belittle the gravity of the decision to commit sexual violence to an “indiscretion” or “lapse in judgement”, is to revoke the validity of agency over your body. We, as the American public, are guilty of minimizing the nefarious nature of sexual assault by calling it a “mistake” in defense of perpetrators, and by placing the weight of the assault on the victim. We commit the latter through our cultural colloquialisms regarding sexual assault, and more despicably through indoctrinating ourselves and our children with the belief that only those “at-risk” are responsible for mitigation - and when they are assaulted it is due to their failure to take adequate precautions.

Sexual violence is an abuse of power. Not an accident or misjudgment, but a choice that abusers have been emboldened to make. The solution needed is a strategic intervention that cuts out the decision-making process and removes sociocultural factors that lead to the choice of assault. This strategy begins with reorienting who we define as “at-risk”.

Only with a consensus that identifies those “at risk” to be the people given the choice to perpetrate sexual violence, will we begin to develop and implement successful interventions. With this method we will erode the outer layers, and gain access to the epicenter of this crisis where we then can initiate generational behavior change.

We must develop nationwide educational and accountability campaigns that focus on sexual agency, with the collective goal being to incorporate them into American culture. However, the impact of these campaigns are entirely contingent upon the inclusion of collective action against the abuse of authority and the wrongful bestowal of societal power. Speaking up and fighting against our historically institutionalized white, male, heterosexual, and class supremacies in our homes, schools, workplaces and courts will catalyze the societal change we seek.

It is a change that will alter the lives of our families, friends, and fellow strangers. But, until sexual agency is rightfully woven into the fabric of American liberty and freedom, our sexual violence crisis will no longer remain a problem to solve - but a shameful pillar of American livelihood.

Support Your local Rape Crisis Center and RAINN here.

If you’d like to contact the author, Lul Mohamud is available for comments and questions via Instagram @thelulmohamud.

Why I Hate the Rice Purity Test

By Riya Gopal

A few days ago, one of the girls in my group chat suggested we all take the Rice Purity Test. For those unfamiliar, it is an online test created by Rice University designed to evaluate one’s “innocence” on worldly matters, mostly involving sex, drugs, or criminal activity. After taking the test, you are provided with a number between 0 and 100, with a lower number being indicative of impurity. I had taken the test before, but wanted to take it again to see if my number had changed. So, I pulled up the test and began.

What’s crazy to me is what happened next. After seeing my score, my stomach dropped. I had lowered a few points since previously taking the test, and I felt this wave of shame overcome me. I felt dirty. I went onto the group chat and saw my friends sharing their numbers, all of them equally embarrassed. While scrolling through the chat, I realized something. The girls were experiencing shame regardless of if their numbers were low or high. One girl was ashamed of her 30. Another girl was ashamed of her 80. There was no number that felt right. There was no winning.

The implications of this test are deleterious to self-image. As human beings, our experiences do not have to define us. Carrying around a number that signifies past experiences in relation to our purity is an intangible but heavy burden. These labels of being a “prude” or “slutty” are subliminal byproducts of how we perceive ourselves after taking this test. Why are we making sexual activity, something that is supposed to be a natural and enjoyable act, a contamination to our being? Why should a criminal past define those who have changed and grown since?

Purity should not be defined by your past, but rather by the philanthropic and kindhearted measures you take in your day-to-day life. It does not matter how much sex you have had or how many drugs you have taken (as long as you are safe and healthy!!). What matters is the present moment, and how you use the goodness in your heart to impact those around you. That is what a pure being is.

9 feel-good songs to (you guessed it) help you feel good in quarantine

By Thea Gay

During this time of tension, uncertainty, and stress here are nine feel-good songs that you can dance, sing, chill or relax to! Enjoy this small playlist, be safe, and take care of yourself.

  1. Keep It Gold / Surfaces
  2. Daydream / The Aces
  3. Valentine / COIN
  4. Levitating / Dua Lipa
  5. Glitter / Benee
  6. My Dude / Litany
  7. Sweet / Bren Joy, Landon Sears
  8. Golden / Harry Styles
  9. Juicy / Doja Cat


Featured image: Benee (Source: Isolated Nation)

Practicing Self-Care at Home

By Avery Serven

 Over the past month, social distancing and working from home have become the norm across the country. In times like these, it’s normal for everyone to have a lot on their mind. Therefore, practicing self-care at home is essential. And no, this doesn’t mean just taking a bubble bath every now and then; it’s about actively practicing self-care. Staying home all day can take a toll on your mental health, but there are a few things you can do to put yourself first. Here are some of my best tips for actively practicing self-care at home!

1- Keep doing the things you love

When we have unprecedented times like these, it’s easy to keep your activities to the bare minimum, whether they involve doing schoolwork or working from home. Remember to continue doing the things that you are passionate about (as long as they don’t put you or anyone else in harm’s way). This can be anything from running to gardening to doing yoga. And it doesn’t always have to be something that is physically active––it can also mean watching a favorite childhood movie, reading a new book, or listening to an interesting podcast. You can also take the opportunity to try something new! Whatever it is, make sure you keep it up so that you’re continuing to make time for yourself outside of work or school. Even just ten minutes a day of an activity will serve as a much-needed break from your regular routine.

2- Take time to relieve stress and anxiety

Since everything has shifted online, it may be a hard adjustment to not have in-person mental health resources. Luckily, there are a ton of apps out there that are really great for helping with meditation and mental health. One of my favorites is Stop, Breathe & Think. This meditation app is personalized, greeting you with a check-in page upon opening the app. It asks how you’re feeling physically, mentally, and emotionally, and then recommends meditations for you. Most of the meditations are under ten minutes, so they’re easy to squeeze into your day. Headspace is another great one that can serve as a relaxing escape from your daily routine. The app has group meditations, as well as exercise-focused meditations to get you moving in a mindful way. Similar to Breathe, there are a ton of different topics on Headspace, so you’re sure to find something you’re interested in.

3- Get outside (while practicing social distancing)

Obviously, social distancing is very important to remember. However, since it’s springtime and many places are closed, you might use this as an opportunity to go for a hike or a walk. I’ve already explored some new areas around my house, and I’m so glad I did. Spending alone time in nature can have many unintended benefits. Whenever I spend time outside, I find that I’m usually able to clear my head of any anxiety and stress that I may be feeling. Just the other day I went for a run in a new area, and it was a great way to get out of the house and unplug. If you live in an area that allows you to explore the outdoors, I would definitely recommend taking the time to do so!

4- Try to stay active

As I mentioned before, your choice of activity doesn’t have to involve doing something physically active––but it also can’t hurt to keep up with exercising! Exercise is a great way to keep yourself busy while you’re at home, and you won’t regret it once you’re done 🙂 Since there are countless videos online that cater to any and all of your fitness needs, it’s easily accessible, especially if you don’t have equipment. Staying active and healthy is an essential part of self-care; luckily, it’s very accessible while staying home.

5- Maintain a routine

In addition to trying new things and taking breaks throughout your day, try to stick to some kind of daily routine. For me, keeping a routine is essential for maintaining my mental health, especially in a time like this. Maintaining a routine doesn’t necessarily mean doing the same exact thing every day, but rather trying to keep a few things in daily life constant. This can be something very small or something big. Personally, I have been trying to start my day the same every morning: waking up, making my bed, getting dressed, and making breakfast. While these things seem like a given, the consistency of having the same steps every morning helps to keep me on track. This way, I’ll have the same productive mindset that I had when I was back on campus. It doesn’t have to be big, but some version of a daily routine might be helpful!

I hope you found these tips for practicing self-care at home useful. In these unsteady times, remember to make time for your mental health. The most important thing right now is keeping yourself and your loved ones healthy and happy!

Boston University Reproductive Bill of Rights

 By Riya Gopal

Currently, Boston University has no language in any of its policies guaranteeing easy access to sexual health services. In contemporary society, such language is crucial in creating an environment that serves to educate others on the importance of sexual health and improve upon conditions that may lead to sexual misconceptions. I am a part of a Reproductive Bill of Rights Task Force that is in the process of drafting a bill to create advancements in BU’s policies regarding reproductive healthcare. Listed below are our current propositions.

1. Plan B should be available for all students at Student Health Services without an appointment.

2. Free condoms should be available via dispensers in all bathrooms of the first floor of every Boston University Charles River campus residence hall. This includes both internal and external condoms.

3. Menstrual hygiene products should be available via free dispensers in all student-facing restrooms across Boston University’s Charles River campus. 
4. There should be gender-neutral bathrooms in all Charles River campus residence halls, a minimum of one on every floor. Other Boston University buildings including schools, FitRec, student centers, and dining halls should also have one clearly labeled gender-neutral bathroom per floor. 
5. Wellness & Prevention Services and Student Health Services must regularly collaborate and host free STI testing clinics available for all Boston University students. At a minimum, there should be two clinics per academic year. 
6. All written statements, policies, regulations, and other literature published by Boston University and its schools must consistently contain gender-neutral language. If the literature is highlighting or referencing any gender identity in particular, an accurate and comprehensive explanation of said identity will also be included. 
7. A Boston University-affiliated website will be built and be a central source of reproductive and sexual health information for all Boston University students, faculty, and staff, as well as the general public. This website will include statistics, lists of on- and off-campus health resources, fast facts regarding sexual health, and LGBTQIA+ affirming education. This website will also have quick links for confidential and non-confidential resources for disclosing or reporting all forms of gender-based violence.
8. All first-year undergraduate students are required to complete the Sexual Assault Response & Prevention center’s “Step Up Step In BU” bystander intervention training. This should also be required of all transfer students, regardless of year. Students who do not attend and receive credit should be unable to register for courses for the following semester. 


If you want to become a part of this incredible task force, there are many ways to get involved! Sign our petition using this link http://chng.it/htF6sMnvB4, or email bubortf@gmail.com if you want to contribute to this petition and become a part of the task force. Together, we can make a difference.

a feminist media project