WWII vet rejects hero label

“Attending annual reunions has helped Army veteran Frank Mendez learn more about the POWs he helped rescue from a Japanese internment camp as well as cope with his memories.

During the daring rescue at the University of Santo Tomas, Mendez’s small detachment went behind enemy lines in order to save American prisoners facing execution, he said. And considering the odds, Mendez and many others believed they would not get out alive.”

Find the entire Arizona Daily Star article here.

Original publication date, Nov. 6, 2015.


B5: Paris to Beirut, differences in coverage

A street lined with bustling markets in Beirut, Lebanon was rocked by two suicide bombers on Thursday, Nov. 12, killing 42 civilians. The following evening, Paris streets were sieged by three teams of ISIL attackers that left 129 people dead and 352 others wounded.

Regarding the socially scarring human loss, both tragedies were equally horrific but many questioned the difference in coverage.

Paris’ tragedy dominated the front page of The New York Times for three days, and from what I’ve read, for appropriate newsworthy reasons. Firstly, the City of Light was dimmed by an act of terrorism that was strategic and complicated in form. Also, this attack proved that ISIL could strike far outside its stronghold in the Middle East.

Furthermore, since September 11, 2001, the U.S. has struggled with spying on its citizens, waging covert anti-terrorism crusades or simply bolstering national security – so all eyes were on another free society struck by “premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents.”     

David Uberti, of the Columbia Journalism Review, wrote the lopsided coverage last weekend should not be oversimplified, and Western frontpage treatment is ultimately weighted by “surprise, impact and resonance” regarding acts of terrorism.

Frankly, Uberti is quite correct even though I begrudgingly agree with his points.

But, this disproportional attention raises innumerable questions.

Are we still blinded by the cultural ignorances we created with Orientalism? As journalists, how can we make the Middle East more relatable to American or Westernized societies? Can we realistically justify this type of asymmetrical news importance? And dare I ask, are we part of problem or can we, as an industry, become the change we wish to see?

After three days, Beirut was revisited and The Times’ headline read the city felt “forgotten.”

The professional journalists responsible for documenting unbiased history in real time apparently failed Beirut, maybe humanity at large, and further corroborated what’s past is prologue.

B4: Stardunce

According to United Nations sources, there are approximately 150 million street children throughout the world. “Chased from home by violence, drug and alcohol abuse, the death of a parent, family breakdown, war, natural disaster or simply socio-economic collapse,” read the report. “Many destitute children are forced to eke out a living on the streets, scavenging, begging, hawking in the slums and polluted cities of the developing world.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate there are about 780 million people worldwide that don’t have access to clean water or proper sanitation.

As of January last year, on any given night there are about 578,424 homeless people in America, read the report from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The National Sexual Violence Resource Center estimates one in five women will be raped at some point in their lives.

Furthermore the CDC documented in 2010 alone, 4,828 young people between the ages of 10 and 24 were victims of homicide, which is about 13 deaths per day.

And a coffee cup design can potentially ruin your Christmas?

Local artist paints with her heart

Risking Delight

“Risking Delight” by Sheryl Holland. Used with permission.

Abstract painter Sheryl Holland is a local auteur of emotive creation. She mixes paint on large palettes, and continues the visual blends upon the canvas. Holland’s big brushes swirl lakes of acrylic, then her eyes and mood begin working, she said.

“Nothing to guide me but my eye; it’s ‘action painting’” Holland said.

Her technique was derived from the infamous 1950s American expressionist, Jackson Pollock. Like Pollock, her process is emotive, intuitive but very conscience of composition and visual balance, she said.

After graduating with a master’s degree in fine art from the University of Michigan, Holland taught art classes at a local high school. Now, Holland paints every day while enjoying her time in The Old Pueblo, she said.

But Holland’s second career as a full-time artist is quite demanding and extremely rewarding.

“It’s the most challenging and exciting thing I’ve ever done in my life,” Holland said. “It’s like being a jazz improviser.”

Holland will be showcasing her work during the Tucson Pima Arts Council Open Studio Tour on Nov. 14-15, at the Second Street gallery, located at 3025 E. Second St.

The space is Holland’s second home since participating in the event for the past seven years. And the cozy, pop-up museum is housed in a friend’s backyard, she explained, with a warm laugh.

Holland said one of her favorite paintings will be among the 50 pieces she has for sale. “Desert Walk” contains the colors she uses most, it displays a strong visual design and also evokes personal memories of living on the outskirts of town, she said.

“It reminds me of the many walks that I’ve had,” Holland said.

And while it’s great to make money that’s not her only motivation for having a show.

“It’s nice to sell work, but that’s not the major reason,” Holland said. “It’s a chance to just share my art with the public.”

For more information about Holland’s work visit her website here. And information about the Tucson Pima Arts Council Open Studio Tour can be found here.

Tucson poetry, social-justice group moves to La Pilita

“Logan Phillips said reclaiming La Pilita fits Spoken Futures’ mission perfectly and they will strive to further Tucson’s rich cultural narrative.

‘In the space we feel it’s important not only to celebrate the past, and to actively remember, but also to dream the future that we want and that the young people are interested in having,’ Phillips said.”

Find the entire Arizona Daily Star article here.

Original publication date, Oct. 23, 2015. 

Veteran keeps service commitment through disaster relief work

“Some people may be skeptical about the morale and good work being done throughout the country, but retired Marine Sam Brokenshire isn’t one of them.

‘There’s a feeling in America right now that we’re on the decline, but being on these deployments and seeing all these young veterans coming back, I think we’re just at the beginning of our greatness again,’ Brokenshire said.”

Find the entire Arizona Daily Star article here.

Original publication date, Oct. 28, 2015.