Wednesday, November 14, 2018
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Opinion: Keep walking for HIV and AIDS

In the early 1980s the HIV and AIDS epidemic was at its peak and now as time has passed, being diagnosed is not as discriminatory or as deadly as it has been in the past.

During the peak of the epidemic, the stigma surrounding the illness caused those living with HIV and AIDS from having access to essential resources available. This also created a national stigma that the illness could only be contracted by sexually active gay and bisexual men.

This mentality brought on discrimination not only for the gay community, but for those living with HIV and AIDS seeking medical treatment.

The outlook for those diagnosed has significantly improved. Now an individual can live a longer life when regularly taking an antiretroviral treatment, or a combination of prescribed medication used to fight HIV and prevent the chances of passing it on to others.

Although there have been great advances, including reducing the required medication needed to, the fact that there are still many people that face and deal with this should not be forgotten.

People have become desensitized to the topic of HIV and AIDS in today’s society, however, we need to continue to support those who are still affected.

1.1 million people in the U.S. are living with HIV, while 1 out of 7 who have it are not aware they are infected. African Americans in low income areas continue to show higher rates of HIV with 44% but only representing 12% of the U.S. population, according to HIV.gov.

With all the advancements in technology, we still need to support those living with either illness in any way we can. Either by participating in the Long Beach Aids Walk, and promote sexual health programs throughout our schools nationwide to spread the awareness and help with the initial prevention.

By participating in the walk, people are contributing to inform the community that the epidemic continues to have a big impact in Long Beach.

All proceeds raised go toward support for local business and resources which are available for those infected with HIV.

According to The Long Beach Aids Walk website, the funds raised support HIV prevention services including HIV and STI testing, food pantries, PrEp and PEP counseling, as well as medication and group support.

We need to advocate for prevention drugs to be made more readily available. Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEp) is the drug used towards the HIV prevention strategy on people that are HIV-negative but could be at risk of contracting HIV.

By supporting organizations that aim to offer resources that benefit the population living with either illness, focus on the initial prevention, and regularly discuss these issues the community can be proactive about the future health of Long Beach.  

My journey as a first time poll worker for the midterms

While working as a poll worker, I took a quick photo of our democratic process in action.

On Tuesday, Nov. 6, voters from Los Angeles county, where I worked as a poll worker for the first time, cast their ballots to choose which candidates California should have and which propositions should pass into our new laws.

For poll workers, Election Day lasted from 6 a.m. through 9 p.m., where we stayed the entire time to make sure we served each voter accurately and fairly.

There were seven poll workers that day, including me, but excluding the inspector.

My fellow poll workers and I set up the polling place by displaying the “Polling Place” sign as well as a “Vote Here” sign,  another curbside voting sign, an American Flag, the Voter’s Bill of Rights, the top 2 primary notice from the Secretary of State, a no electioneering sign, and finally, directional arrows.

We also set up the a couple of machines. A precinct ballot reader (PBR), the ballot box, and audio ballot booth (ABB), all which played huge roles in running the voting successfully, so the poll workers’ work would be easier, than having to count all the votes ourselves.

A voting inspector and the poll workers set up their table together and placed all important tools and papers that would serve as equipment to make the Election Day run smoothly and properly.

We, the poll workers, were not allowed to discuss matters about candidates and propositions and the voters had to do the same.  

One of the things I found interesting during my work as a poll worker was the fact that some voters forgot where their precinct was, so they ended up doing a provisional vote in order for their vote to count, without having to go to another location.

According to the California Secretary of State, “Provisional Voting ensures that no properly registered voter is denied his or her right to cast a ballot if that voter’s name does not appear on the Roster of Voters due to computer, processing, clerical, or other error.”

Some voters, who decided to cast their ballot in person, had to surrender their “vote by mail” ballots in order to vote, but they would be considered as provisional voters.

I helped my fellow poll workers by passing each corresponding ballot to each voter who came in.

I also helped the voters by giving them their ballot receipt, then turning in their ballots into the PBR, where I would see if their vote was counted, and when the machine counted it, I then gave the voters their“I Voted” sticker before they left.

The age range that voters came in during Election Day was 18-89 years old, based on their appearance and it was a diverse group of voters of all genders, all religious backgrounds, and ethnicities.  

About 297 voters cast their ballot with us that day, while many others dropped off their “vote by mail” ballots, which I happened to be one of.

We spent all day at it, but toward the end of the day, some voters decided to wait until the last minute to vote by coming at 7:40 p.m. before the Election night schedule was over.

At the end of the night, when the clock struck 8:00 p.m., since we didn’t have any voters waiting in line, we were able to collect all of out signs, pack up our machines, and then our time as poll workers, for that day, had ended.

LBCC students engage in the election process for midterms

LBCC students Donavan Womac, Sophie Garcia, and Christain Crawford show off the stickers they got for voting in the midterm elections.

LBCC students and employees wore their “I Voted” stickers proudly on display the day of the midterm elections.

“I feel it’s very important to vote given my ancestors’ history, who weren’t allowed to vote,” said student Christain Crawford speaking of his ancestors who lived in confederate Alabama and weren’t allowed to use their voices for civic engagements or elections..

Some students had voted in previous elections, while others have voted for the first time ever in this election.

Student Sophie Garcia spoke about her decision to vote yes on the city measure WW,  a measure that concerns hotels with 50 or more employees and that they should provide emergency contact devices for in the case of emergencies.

“I felt it was important to vote on because I think woman’s safety is super important,” said Garcia.     

Many of the students used the mail-in ballot to voice their opinions for this year’s midterms.

Some students also took a little time to educate themselves before they voted to make sure they voted correctly.

“Other people encouraged me to vote,” said student Donovan Womack. “I didn’t know what I was voting for so last night I did at much as I could do to look up what i’m voting for instead of just voting.”

LBCC students Kristin Lerner and Ronald Valentin show of their voting stickers after voting in the midterm elections.

Many students voice their support for Governor candidate Gavin Newsom. Student Kristin Lerner said, “I wanted to choose the best person for the job.”

Lerner also voiced her support for proposition 1 and 2. “I think there was a lot of opportunities for us to take care of housing issues for veterans and mentally ill,” she said.

Regarding the gubernatorial race, not every student was supportive of Gavin Newsom, as some students disagreed with his policies.

“I feel like he brought some bad ideas about increasing housing taxes,” said student Ronald Valentin voicing his displeasure.

Women’s Volleyball sweep Cerritos College 3-0 in a conference win

Sophomore Jessica Blakeman and freshman Abigail Hargrove show extreme enthusiasm after Hargrove's spike to give her a kill.

23 kills between freshman Tylie Johnson and sophomore Jessica Blakeman gave the Vikings a 3-0 sweep against Cerritos College, with scores of 25-11, 25-22, and 25-14 in the building Q gym on Wednesday.

With this win, the Vikings improve to an overall record of 19-3 and a conference record of  3-1.

In the first set the Vikings came out aggressive and brought out a lot of energy.

With every point they scored the starters and the players on the bench screamed with enthusiasm and eventually ran away with the set, 25-11.

Head coach Misty May-Treanor talked about the energetic start her team came out with.

“I think we feed off the crowd, it was a good atmosphere in here tonight and we want to have that fast start early on to get us in rhythm for the rest of the game,” Treanor said.

In the second set, the Vikings were in more of a tight battle being down 9-6 but a defensive spark from freshman Abigail Hargrove helped the Vikings regain momentum and eventually went on to win the set, 25-22.

Hargrove spoke about her play and how it effective the team when they needed it the most.

“I just tried to be that defensive anchor for my team block the opponents hits and get some kills for myself when my opportunity is there, but it’s really a team game and I just try to do anything to help my teammates,” Hargrove said.

The third set played out like the first, the Vikings came out real hot sparking an overall sense in the crowd that the Vikings were going to end the game and get the sweep.

The Vikings went on to win the third set 24-15.

Sophomore Jessica Blakeman rises up to get a kill after a set up from her team up on Wednesday against Cerritos College.

Sophomore Jessica Blakeman who had 5 kills in the third set talked about her teams sweep and what the new focus is with regular season almost coming to an end.

“We played real aggressive tonight and if we play like this every night from start to finish I think we can beat anyone, and our main focus is to finish out the regular season and win out conference and try to make a deep playoff run,” Blakeman said.

The Vikings will be at home against Imperial Valley College today at 4 p.m. at the building Q gym.

The Vikings fall to 4-5 after losing to the undefeated Canyon Cougars 34-7

Running back Mason Bowen runs through the field before being tackled on Saturday against the undefeated Canyons Cougars.

The LBCC Vikings football team fell to the undefeated Canyons College Cougars in their last home game of the season with a score of 34-7. Backup quarterback Jonathan Murphy completed 157 passing yards for the Vikings on Saturday.

Running back Teshawn White scored the first touchdown of the game with a four yard run, putting the Vikings ahead with a lead of 7-0.

The Cougars quickly came back with a touchdown made by Kenny Torance and a extra point from kicker Tanner Brown tying the game 7-7 with 5:35 left in the first quarter.

The Vikings led with a strong 131 rushing yards against the Cougars 71 yards, but the Cougars offense were stronger in their passing yards with 327 and the Vikings at 187.

The Vikings were shut down by the Cougars, keeping them from putting anymore points on the board.

Near the beginning of the second quarter the Cougars recovered a fumble made by Jonathan Murphy at the Vikings’ 48 yard line, which they were able to convert into a touchdown minutes later.

Quarterback coach Sean Flynn spoke highly of the Cougars performance on Saturday, “they’re a good team, they’re number 1 in the state for a reason, they are very well coached and extremely disciplined, taking nothing away from them,” said Flynn.

The Vikings have lost just over 20 players throughout this season due to injury, “I’m not an excuse maker, but we are losing guys left and right just on fluky injuries, but I thought we fought hard tonight,” said Flynn.

Assistant coach Jeff Evans talked about improving during the off-season to be more prepared on the field “We are being physically controlled upfront on the offensive and defensive lines,” said Evans. “Being able to make tackles, pull in passes with the receivers, being able to run through tackles all comes back to what we do in the weight room during the off-season.”

“We’ve had injuries here and there, but these guys aren’t quitting, they show up to practice and work hard everyday, they’re in it to win it. We aren’t getting the winning side of it but we’re getting the effort level and that’s all you can ask for as a coach,” said Evans.

“You win some, you lose some, but the goal is to bounce back harder next week,” said defensive end Pierre Hayes.

The Vikings will travel to Ventura tomorrow for the final game of the season to fight for a spot at a bowl game.

Student club holds taco sale to raise funds

Student in line to buying tacos and help The Order of Thor Club at the taco sale held on November 6th 2018.

The smell of asada and chicken tacos lingered over the E quad at LAC, prompting students to take part in the Order of Thor’s fundraiser on Nov. 6.

LBCC student Miguel Hernandez was intrigued by the smell of tacos in the quad.

“I just came out of class and I smelled the tacos. I was hungry and I just came by,” Hernandez said.

Student Miguel Hernandez helping out The Order of Thor Club by buying tacos at the sale held on Nov. 6th 2018.

The Order of Thor held the fundraiser to raise club funds, mainly to help fund items the club needs, and will also be used for club outings and possibly club apparel.

The club hoped to reach out to the community with the theme “Let’s Taco Bout the Midterms,”  which focused on the 2018 midterm election and the recent school exams.

Even though the Order of Thor is predominantly a male club, women are still recruited and able to join.

Sweetheart representative Isai Solic, who is in charge of recruiting potential women candidates,  hopes the fundraiser will allow members to do more activities with the fall candidates.

“We are focusing more on bringing money so we can  do more bonding events with the candidates that we just had,” Solic said.

The Order of Thor candidates are recently recruited members who are trying to join the club officially.

“This (taco fundraiser) is one of our first actual big fundraiser that we are having at LBCC. We have had other fundraisers outside of LBCC, but this is one of our main ones,” Solic said

Club member Diego Duarte preparing the meat for the The Order of Thor taco sale on Nov 6th 2018 at the LAC campus.

Daniel Brohoroff, a recently recruited candidate, decided to join the club for its community service aspect.

“I was apart of service clubs in high school and I just wanted to join this one,” Brohoroff said.

The club will host another taco fundraiser in two to four weeks at LAC in the E quad.

Healthy Viking Initiative offers free breakfast to students

Student Edvin Lopez receives a snack from a volunteer, Frank Miller, at the Better Breakfast Day booth on Oct. 30.

Bagels with cream cheese, fruits and beverages were given out to students who stopped by the Better Breakfast Day booth at the PCC quad on Oct. 30.

Healthy Viking Initiative, a program organized by Student Affairs, had a small event where students could come by and get a quick, free breakfast snack.

“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and that’s why we decided to do breakfast events rather than lunch, though that doesn’t mean those won’t happen,” said Student Affairs intern Sergio Grimaldi who volunteered at the booth.

Deborah Miller-Calvert, Director of Student Health and Student Life, shared how these initiatives are important to keep LBCC students active and successful in their academics.

“We know that students often come to school without eating breakfast and we know food is energy and that students are going to have more academic success if they have food and that they’re nourished,” said Calvert. “We don’t want students to be hungry at school.”

Edvin Lopez is one of those students that Calvert had mention who skip breakfast in order to come to school for morning classes.

“This is amazing. I’m pretty happy because I haven’t had breakfast. This is like a gift from the Heavens,” said Lopez while he had a bite of a plain bagel.

Students had the option to choose from bagels with cream cheese, with blueberries or with butter.

They also were able to pick between apples and bananas, which ran out quickly.

Calvert stated how successful this event has been, extending it from the month of September through November.

Besides Better Breakfast Day, Healthy Viking Initiative has been organizing events like Walking Wednesdays and Healthy Life workshops.

Healthy Viking Initiative will also be setting up an afternoon event today called Love Market, where they will distribute canned food while supplies last as well in the quad.

26 years surviving with AIDS

LBCC student Danny Rafferty stops midway of his radio show in the Radio and Television Department to enjoy the music that is playing in the background.

Twenty-six years ago, 65-year-old LBCC student Danny Rafferty and his roommate Andrew decided to get tested for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) after finding out that his coworker Mark was diagnosed with full-blown AIDS.

After the three of them took a trip to the Los Angeles Medical Center, Rafferty and his roommate found out they were both tested positive for HIV.

“When I found out, I kind of knew,” Rafferty said. “Mark had driven and he said ‘Come on, let’s go back to the house and have a drink,’ and then I said, ‘No, I just want to be by myself.’ I started walking from Hollywood and next thing I knew I was almost in Encino. I don’t remember how I got there. So it hit me, I didn’t think it would, but it did.”

Four years later, both of Rafferty’s roommates died in 1996 from the disease.

“I have this picture of the three of us when we lived in the house, it was Christmas time and we were in Santa hats with red long underwear sitting on the porch. I’m the only one still alive in that picture, and every time I see that picture it really hits me hard,” Rafferty said.

A photo of Danny Rafferty and his former roommates in front of their house in Los Angeles. Rafferty, left, Mark and his dog Booker, center, and Andrew, right, wore santa hats on Christmas. In 1996, Rafferty’s roommates died of complications related to AIDS.

In the fall of 1998, Rafferty became extremely sick, near death, with a full-blown AIDS diagnosis. He had to quit his job as a bartender, apply for emergency Medi-Cal, and move back to Long Beach from Los Angeles to move in with his mom and step-dad.

Rafferty is a client at St. Mary Medical Care Center and has been a patient since his diagnosis in 1998. He had to visit the hospital once a month to get his blood drawn and was prescribed to a medication called Sustiva. This drug would give him “vivid nightmares,” as he described it.

“I was not on any medication treatment at the time, so I went on a new drug. It was a test drug, I was like a guinea pig,” Rafferty said. “I had to go up to LA once a month to have blood taken and pick up this bottle that just had a number on it. It turned out to be a drug called Sustiva, which has turned out to be almost a miracle drug.”

He consumed about 12 different medications daily, not including test drugs. Until five years ago, Rafferty’s daily medication had reduced to only three drugs instead of 12.

He is currently off Sustiva and instead consumes a drug that has a combination of three drugs, called Genoya.

At the start of the HIV epidemic, the virus was considered to be a death sentence with the number of deaths that were caused by AIDS. Today, if someone is diagnosed with HIV there are medications that will help them live a normal lifespan.

“We now have what’s called PrEp, which is pre-exposure prophylaxis and it is a pill that you can take once a day and the chances of contracting HIV are nill,” Rafferty said. “It’s the upper 90 percent range. If we can get people on PrEp, we can totally eradicate all new cases of HIV and stop it in its path, until they find an antidote to cure it.”

“Back in the 80s and 90s when I was diagnosed, we lost so many people,” Rafferty said. “I mean I had friends and loved ones that were dropping left and right. Today, being diagnosed with HIV is not as discriminatory as it was, but we still have a long way to go.”

This month will mark Rafferty’s 26 years of living with HIV, will be participating in the AIDS walk in Long Beach on Nov. 11 to raise awareness and money toward those in need for treatment. The AIDS Walk Long Beach is sponsored by the CARE center of St. Mary Medical Center.

Executive Director of the CARE center Paul Lovely has known Rafferty since 1999 when he started to receive treatment at the CARE center at St. Mary Medical Center. Rafferty now volunteers every week.

“Danny has a wonderful positive energy and is always committed to helping people with HIV,” Lovely said. “The AIDS walk is important for the Long Beach Community to raise awareness of how HIV affects us and to support those in our area.”

On his free time, when he isn’t at school or live streaming on his own radio show, he volunteers at the St. Mary Medical Center in Los Angeles. For 16 years Rafferty has volunteered to help them by receiving the food, putting the food away, and bagging the food to distribute to patients.

Registered dietician for the CARE center Tammy Basile created a food pantry to distribute healthy food to patients that are in need.

“It’s a huge sacrifice of many people to either those who are positive to get out there and walk or those who are advocates and supporters of HIV,” Basile said. “The stigma is still there and sadly people still think that they’re not going to get it or if you do get it, you just take a pill. It’s just not that easy. So, those people that do walk are still letting people know this is still a problem and to not ignore it.”

Visit centerlb.org/campaign/aidswalklb to register to run on Nov. 11 or donate to centerlb.org/give/dannyrafferty.

LBCC student Danny Rafferty adjusts the volumes during his radio show from 9:00 am to 10:00 am displaying his tattoo, “Long Term Survivor 25”, that he did to honor his 25 years of HIV.

Professors and administrators are troubled by California Online Community College

The California Online Community College has sparked concern with professors and administrators regarding future enrollment.

Initiated by Governor Jerry Brown, the online college will be an asset to those who want to further their careers.

The online college is said to not be a competitive force against community colleges because it is instead aimed towards those who are in the workforce. These are the people who have their high school diplomas and need some certificates that will help them advance or gain new job opportunities.  

“The online college is focused on providing micro-credentials, skills training to workers in the workforce who need some skills beyond  a high school diploma in order for them to keep their jobs or to be promoted into new jobs,” California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley, and current interim CEO of the online college, said in an teleconference with student media representatives.

The online college will receive its accreditation in three years, however, until the online college receives those accreditations, the institution is not financial aid eligible. Students would have to pay out of pocket for the courses offered.

The online college has said it is working towards making the courses offered free for students, but clear details on how have not yet been offered.

Professors and administrators voiced their concerns at the faculty forum held on Monday where they discussed the online college as well as new recent legislation including AB 19, AB 705, and the funding formula.

The event was a collaborative effort by Academic Affairs, Academic Senate, the Faculty Association, and Student Support Services to review recent changes that will affect LBCC.

Vice President of Student Affairs Kathleen Scott is among those concerned about the potential impact the online college might have on online enrollment rates.

“We have 15 computer office system certificates and we really have one of the best programs in the state and that’s the first areas that they’re going for are those computer office IT certificates so it is duplicative,” said Scott.

Some faculty members present urged the rest that until the online community college is up and running, it is too early to determine if it will hurt enrollment at LBCC.

“The ones that we are more at risk of losing are those far away ones who aren’t really connected to the campus in any way and that’s not really our online students,” said LBCC data scientist Andrew Fuenmayor. “90% of our online enrollments are by students that have taken or are currently taking an in-person course, we have very few pure online students.”

Fuenmayor explains that for some students, there may be barriers that prevent the student from getting to a traditional college, but also acknowledges the challenges of an online college.

“Anyone that teaches an online section here will tell you about the challenges of working entirely virtual, so having students like ours that are hybrid and they’re taking advantage of the in-person services while working through our online course is a pretty ideal situation,” said Fuenmayor.

The courses offered on the online college are to begin during Fall 2019.

 

Long Beach City College host first annual Father-Con

Patrick Ehrlandson who was introduced as "father of Father-Con” opened and influenced him to start the event.

Keynote speaker, Dr. Timothy Rarick, stood on stage giving a lecture on the bond between fathers and daughters, standing seemingly confident until he said what his daughter told him before leaving for his flight to Long Beach, “Daddy, I just wanted to call you and tell you I love you.” Rarick then began to cry.

LBCC hosted its first annual Father-Con at LAC on Saturday, discussing the obstacles of fatherhood, tips on being a better father, and helping them be aware of the threats their children face from human trafficking.

Patrick Ehrlandson who was introduced as the “father of Father-Con” set up the event partnered with Dr. Claudia Garcia of the LBCC Foster and Kinship Care Education Program. They aimed to get numerous speakers that were experts in how to mold men into becoming fathers and have experience with human trafficking or have been a human trafficker.

The event began at 9 a.m. and ended at 3 p.m. with the first portion of the event being a different variety of workshops from 10 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

Donald Ray Parish Jr. who came all the way from Dallas, Texas is best known for his role in having 600 men show up for his “Breakfast with Dads” event.

The workshop on Saturday was titled Why I Should Give a Damn. Parish Jr. discussed how Ehrlandson sold him on the idea of Father-con and how he loved his vision.

“I’m a pastor so I deeply believe in faith and that God makes everything happen, so when I ran into Patrick while he was in Dallas and he told me about this event he had in mind, I told him wherever it’s at I don’t care if I have to fly myself out I will be there,” Parish Jr. said.

Guest speaker Tika Thornton, who was kidnapped and sold as a trafficker at the early age of 12, referred to herself not as a victim but as a survivor.

Thornton discussed how she grew up without her father in her life and felt resentment toward him until she realized it wasn’t her fault, but that he was dealing with his own issues.

“It took almost until my late 30s to realize that it wasn’t the burden of having to raise me or take care of me, but it was that he was going through his own personal problems in his life he had to deal with,” said Thornton.

Thornton works with a program called Journey Out, that helps set up stings to catch human traffickers and helps women to get out of that situation.

“I have an amazing team around me and we help these females and let them know that they are not victims, but are merely survivors, we give them an identity,” Thornton said.

Rarick discussed how daughters first real experience with how a man should be towards a woman is from their fathers.

“These daughters don’t need dads, anybody can be a dad, they need a father, a father that shows them affection and show them what real love looks like,” Rarick said.

Rarick discussed his interaction with his daughters and how his methods are making them more aware of the kind of men they would want to date or eventually marry when they get older.

“My daughter told me I want boyfriend that treats me the way you treat mom, and I’m no perfect dad I yell and raise my voice but I’m glad my daughters have an idea of what real love is,” Rarick said.

Ehrlandson described the outcome of the first annual Father-Con at LBCC.

“We hoped for more people to come but we also knew this was the first one, we got a lot more attention from the media about this it’s something that needs to be brought to the attention of people and we got the conversation started,” Ehrlandson said.

Ehrlandson talked about what’s next for this event and what is coming up in the future.

“We’re hoping the next one will be in June, El Camino College is really excited to have us they invited us and we have to keep moving the venue and keep the energy flowing, when you’re on your deathbed you’re not thinking about how much money you’ve made or how dedicated you were to your job, you’re thinking about your kids, your wife, and your family,” Ehrlandson said.