Young Observer: Early April Edition

April is “Celebrate Diversity Month.” In my diverse high school, we recently celebrated an annual event called International Food Fair (IFF) that featured not just cuisines but also dance performances that spotlight the different cultures of the student population. Over 2,000 students flocked to the school gym in three sessions, where they had a glimpse of their schoolmates’ unique cultural background through various performances. The cultural presentation showcased impressive folk-dance numbers presented by members of various school cultural clubs.

(At left) Francine with schoolmate Arum, (Center) Dancers at the Sunny Hills International Food Festival, (At Right) Cloe enjoys the food.

This year’s IFF held so much value to the students since it was the first time after two years of being canceled due to the coronavirus. The excitement must have gone through the roof because the food booths were overwhelmed with a huge turnout of students who had pre-purchased their tickets online. Each of us in my friend group bought tickets worth $15 to $20 in the hopes of sampling as many cuisines as we could. But with the massive lines at each booth representing 12 countries (Korea, Mexico, Philippines, India, England, Japan, Cuba, Sweden, Palestine, Italy, China, and USA), many of my classmates were unable to try and even order any food since many booths sold out fast. All the careful planning we did using the food map and the menu that was made available online, barely helped as the massive lines stretched across the campus.

My first IFF was quite the experience. I found myself running from booth to booth to try to gather as many cultural dishes as I could and had the chance to sample cuisines from Japan (Sushi Rolls), Philippines (Pancit/noodles), Korea (Bulgogi Rice), England (Sausage Rolls), and Italy (Mostaccioli/pasta). While eating the Pancit Bihon from the Philippines, watching the Philippines’ Tinikling Folk Dance, and remembering the precious memories of my visits to my mom’s home country, I am grateful we have school events like IFF that remind me to learn more of my family’s cultural background and appreciate my school’s diverse culture.

This is Juno, the star in this issue. He is a zestful 3-year-old pup who has a grin forever on his snout. While he hasn’t lived with any fellow dogs yet, this playful husky might get along wonderfully with other canines who can match his energetic schedule; (8am—eat food in three gobbles, 10am go on a 25-mile hike, 12pm eat food in two bites, 1 to 4pm explore, 5pm eat food in one gulp, then nap.)

Siberian huskies love exercise; they are the perfect gym partner. And, huskies make great running pals; Juno is no exception. He loves the outdoors and would enjoy a walk any day, rain or shine. Come meet him, and let his bouncy personality put a smile on your face. Call (714) 935-6848 or visit http://www.ocpetinfo.com.

Endangered Animal Trivia

Q: What’s the most critically endangered big cat in the world?

A: The amur leopard. Its population has decreased to a critical population of 70 wild leopards and 200 in captivity. They are endangered due to poaching, habitat loss, indiscriminate logging, forest fires and land conversion for farming. When running, they can reach speeds up to 59.6km/h (37mph). Fun Fact: Amur leopards can also swim. Carnivorous, these leopards feed off on rodents, deer, and boar. Approximately four leopards are poached weekly.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). I’m glad that we have a solid 30 days dedicated to bringing attention to one of the biggest social concerns of the 21st century. According to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network, every 68 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted.

The truth is that 30 days is not nearly enough to tell the stories of the millions. The truth is that these conversations fade with time. Sexual assault cases take the media by storm for a week, and by the next, they become mere whispers in the pool of news headlines and social media posts.

But these discussions aren’t trends, and topics like sexual assault can never go out of season. Be it May, June, or July, there is no time when it is “more” appropriate to speak up and neither is there an end to advocacy. After all, sexual harassment exists in everyday life and will to continue to, until legislative action is taken, and the stories of survivors are examined with weight.

Though an uncomfortable conversation, to prevent any more tragedies, we must confront the uncomfortable. This is an urge to change the way we respond to sexual violence cases and the ways we advocate for social justice. We cannot preach sexual abuse awareness yet move on from the very conversations that affect millions — the stories of sisters, brothers, friends, mothers, fathers, and children. A month doesn’t do justice for the countless sexual assault survivors.

So, it makes a huge difference when we voice our opinions and champion human rights.

The scent of sweet jasmine flowers,

Its delicate petals brush my fingertips,

The blossoms gleam for hours.

Playing under the warm rays,

Skipping on the smooth pavement,

I sing, share, and laugh for days.