journalistic work, published writings
inspirational interviews, real life stories
This year, for Dia de Los Muertos, the Mexic-Arte Museum of Texas teamed up with Austin Lowriding to put together a cultural showcase for the Latinx community of Austin. Dawning a violet boa and a vibrant flower crown, born-and-raised Austinite Ginger Rodriguez took the stage to join in the celebration. As an emerging, self-made artist from Austin, Texas, the Live Music Capital of the World, Rodriguez has found herself and a connection with her local community through her indie-pop music. In this interview, she discusses voting rights and mental health access in Texas and explains the relationship between music and social change in marginalized communities.
Following the school shooting in Uvalde, Governor Greg Abbott ignored public cries for gun control, stating that Texas simply needs to do a better job with mental health treatment. Ironically, in April, the Governor cut $211 million from the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC), which oversees mental health services in Texas. All the while, according to Mental Health America, nearly three-quarters of youth with major depression did not receive mental health treatment during the same year. Texas currently ranks last in mental health care accessibility, and a crisis is impending. A representative from Integral Care, Travis county’s public mental health authority, sits down for a discussion on the roles community clinics play in filling all the gaps that the state has left wide open.
Music, dance, and performance has historically served as a platform for social change across the Arab world for centuries. From Egypt to Palestine, many artists find themselves bringing their passion for advocacy with them across America, and specifically across the state of Texas as the Arab Music scene expands. Meanwhile, Arab-Americans have been inflicted by a range of outright discrimination, such as the denying of their identity and political exclusion. According to the Arab American Institute, the largest populations of Arab Texans live in Harris, Dallas and Tarrant counties– and this is rapidly expanding. However, getting exact numbers of Arab Texans is difficult, as there is no official decennial census count. Thus, music artists in Texas serve as the voice for their under-represented community, such as women, refugees, and marginalized ethno-national groups. They are our neighbors and they are representatives of Arab culture in an area that does not often hold space for Arab voices. Through music, Arab-Americans are able to find well-deserved recognition that they have long sought after.
For the past 20 years, living prices near campus continue to rise even as the city works to combat unaffordable housing. In 2004, the City of Austin enacted the University Neighborhood Overlay (UNO) in West Campus in hopes of increasing housing opportunities close to campus. The district prioritizes creating dense and affordable housing for students. Meanwhile, gentrification in Austin, Texas is at an all time high. As a student, I took interest in doing policy research for how my university plays a role in this. This report, written for UT Austin's student think tank, argues that the university could help alleviate this problem of unaffordable housing by allocating funds to develop university housing in West Campus.
In a rapid world of ever changing technology, integrated, global social webs keep us connected. Yet, despite this interactive network being a platform for the sharing of new ideas and solutions, it can also be a sticky web full of modern issues, especially when considering the role that our current economic and political systems play behind the scenes. This development has created a linkage in our social fabric, but under capitalism there must be an analysis of power structures that affect different groups of people, as well as individuals at a micro-level. This literature review will define and assess the globalization of mass media under neoliberalism and critique current and past social theories of globalization. Furthermore, this essay will show the development of globalization theory and how it has changed over time. Throughout, it shall become increasingly clear how our modern understanding of globalization has been developed through a free-market system and how this has had direct consequences on the type of information that gets consumed and digested.
Parasite (2019) directed by Bong Joon-Ho achieved unprecedented international success for a South Korean film. “Parasite” won Best Motion Picture in A Foreign Language at the Golden Globes, “bracketing the film’s much deserved fan-fare since its USA release in October 2019.” It is important to note the reasons as to why this film drew in such a large cult following in the west. The innately political concept of parasite represents the ironically interdependent nature between the poor and the rich who are all embedded in the capitalistic structure. The film can be interpreted as a cinematic parable of global capitalism that employs the effective analogy of the parasite and the host. Through themes such as class inequality, the family unit, and infrastructural collapse, Bong Joon-ho poses larger questions about the state of the world that draws in a western audience disillusioned by late-stage capitalism, relating to the thematic and symbolic content of the film. I argue that the core narrative of Parasite and its concomitant affects effectively showcase these aspects of capitalism, thus becoming a universal parable of contemporary capitalism.