Posted in Awards, Education, Published Articles

My Thesis Has Been Published!

I was invited to participate in the Florida State University Honors Thesis program. I researched and wrote Representation of Jews in the Media: An Analysis of Old Hollywood Stereotypes Perpetuated in Modern Television.

It was my honor to have this amazing opportunity.

I wish to thank the following individuals who offered me guidance and encouragement along the way: my thesis director Dr. Andrew Opel, my committee members Dr. Martin Kavka and Dr. Arienne Ferchaud, and Dr. Arthur Rainey and Jeffrey Richman for their invaluable expert insight. A special thanks also to Marjorie Schwartz Nielsen and Lauren Lloyd whose enduring guidance and support I appreciate so very much.

Anti-Semitism in the United States is just as prevalent today as it ever has been. How does this cultural anti-Semitism translate into the media? Through portraying Jews as greedy, neurotic, pushy, money obsessed, cheap, and a myriad other negative stereotypes, the media often perpetuates long-standing anti-Semitic tropes.

This thesis analyzes the prevalence of Jewish stereotypes in modern television through the analysis and discussion of three of the most popular modern television shows consumed by young people and evaluation of the appearance of Jewish stereotypes in each episode.

Posted in Awards, Education, Events, Girl Power, In The News

Minnah Selected to Participate in the Elect Her Training Day

The following is a compilation of two articles written by Running Start and Her Campus.

Women make up half of the population, but less than one in four elected leaders are women. When women run, they win at the same rates as men – the problem is that there aren’t enough women running. 

We know now that countries led by women did better in the face of the pandemic. And though it may feel like progress is being made at home, despite a record number of female presidential candidates this election cycle, still none managed to clinch the nomination.  What’s more, the stakes are at an all-time high to use our voices to effect change–by showing up, by voting… but why not go a step further and become the ones actually doing the decision-making?

Research shows that engaging women in politics in high school and college is key to increasing the number of women in public office. More than 56% of Congresswomen got their start in student government. 

This is why for the first time ever Her Campus teamed up with Running Start, a nonpartisan nonprofit that empowers young women to get involved in politics and transform our world one elected female leader at a time, to launch a 360-degree movement to open college women’s eyes and ears to this possibility so they can start to shake things up.

Only 100 college women from across the globe were selected to participate. During the event held on October 30, 2020, these accomplished and impassioned women learned how to pinpoint the issues they are most passionate about, identify how they can best leverage their networks, and craft and workshop their “run for office elevator pitch,” all while hearing from majorly inspiring female politicians.  The pitches turned into a friendly competition, with the winner taking home a $500 grand prize. Minnah made it into the final round of the top nine candidates.

“I was honored to be selected to participate in the Elect Her program. The speakers were phenomenal, offering us helpful insight from their successes and failures running for a variety of different offices,” reflects Minnah Stein, Founder of EMPOWERU and SSAIS Advisory Board member. “My fellow participants were so inspirational. It was great to be surrounded by so many like-minded women who are driven to transform our communities, our country and our world through their actions.”

Posted in Education, Safety, SSAIS

Title IX Is Under Attack And It’s Students Who Will Suffer The Most

On June 23, 1972, Title IX became law. Forty-eight years later, its letter and spirit are under assault by the Trump administration. I am joining SSAIS in their fight against these harmful changes, and I hope you’ll join me.

SSAIS is determined to uphold K-12 students’ right to an education free from sex discrimination, despite this administration’s latest efforts to erect roadblocks against reporting and investigating sexual harassment. That’s why we’ve joined the ACLU lawsuit challenging harmful provisions of the new Title IX Rule that govern sexual harassment in K-12 schools.

To mark the 48th anniversary of Title IX SSAIS has released these new resources:

Please click on the video below to learn more about the harmful impact the changes that were made to Title IX will have.

More than ever, communities must hold their K-12 schools accountable for providing safe learning spaces free from sexual harassment.

Please use and share the SSAIS resources to ensure students are protected from the devastating impact of sexual harassment and assault on their education. Visit SSAIS.org to learn more or to see how you can join us in our fight.

Posted in Education, Her Campus Articles, Published Articles

As Protesters Flood the Streets – It’s Time to Educate Ourselves

This article was just published on Her Campus. You may read it here or on the Her Campus website.

No words I can think of correctly encapsulate the magnitude of the emotions I have felt this past week—how devastated I am, how ashamed I am, and how desperately I want to change our system. A lot of people are feeling helpless right now. Being in the midst of a pandemic does not create the perfect setting for social upheaval. And, as protesters take it to the street to ensure justice for George Floyd, many who are social distancing are wondering what they can do that would make a difference. It turns out there is actually a lot we can do without even leaving our homes. Educating ourselves is a great place to start.

Everything that is going on in our country right now is a symptom of the larger issue of systemic racism, implicit bias, white privilege and ignorance to injustice. It is not enough to just not be racist. It is necessary that we also fight against racism and become actively anti-racist. But we can’t do that if we don’t educate ourselves on the plight of those being oppressed.

It is not the job of black people, and other people of color, to educate white people. It is our job to actively educate ourselves and use that knowledge to be part of the solution.

So what resources are out there for us? Tons.

WHAT TO WATCH

WHAT TO READ

WHAT TO LISTEN TO

  • Pod Save the People, a podcast with DeRay Mckesson​
  • 1619, a podcast about the beginning of slavery in America
  • Code Switch, an NPR podcast tackling race from every angle
  • Intersectionality Matters!, a podcast diving deep into the importance of intersectionality​
  • Pod for the Cause, a podcast expanding the conversation on critical civil and human rights challenges of our day
  • Two Dope Queens, a podcast about two best friends discussing everything from race to romance

This isn’t an all-encompassing list; there are many other resources out there (a more comprehensive list can be found here). However, this carefully curated selection of films, books and podcasts does a masterful job covering the different aspects of the conversations we need to be having. If we are not educated on history, laws, experiences and our own biases, it is impossible to be a good ally.

It is important that white people take the time to understand all the ways our experience is very different from those of minorities. We will never understand, but we can educate ourselves and take a stand. To be a good ally, we have to not only help create space for others but also engage with the living history being created in those spaces. Films, books and podcasts about the oppression people of color experience on a daily basis have been around a long time, begging us to discover them. I am hopeful the events currently unfolding in our country have many of us wanting to do better and seeking ways in which we can accomplish that. I hope this is a wakeup call for white people, and all people wishing to be allies, to use the resources available to learn and then turn that knowledge into action. To think before we speak. To read before we think. Let’s educate ourselves, educate others, donate, protest, speak out and vote for the changes we wish to see.

Posted in Education, Jewish Women's Archive, Webinar

Watch This Webinar: Sexual Assault & Harassment on School Campuses

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetWhen JWA approached me about doing a webinar to educate viewers on the facts of sexual assault and harassment on school campuses, I was so happy to participate. Since 2014, I have been actively working to inform as many students as possible about this threat that no one is talking to students about.

Here’s what you’ll learn about during the webinar, which was originally presented and videotaped on 5/17/20.


I hope this webinar will be viewed and shared by as many people as possible. I believe all students, parents and educators should be informed about the reality that our schools are the breeding grounds for sexual assault and harassment and that this behavior is then perpetuated in the workplace. By starting this important conversation, I hope it will lead to more students staying safe, greater advocacy to bring change, and action by schools to support victims and to stop this behavior. Click on the image below to view the webinar.

If you would like to get involved and be part of the solution toward ending this problem plaguing our schools, please visit the Stop Sexual Assault in Schools website to watch additional educational videos and to learn how you can start this important conversation in your school and your community. Also, please share the webinar!

Posted in Education, Girl Power, Her Campus Articles, Published Articles

Just Like Lizzo, Gotta Blame It on My Juice

This article I wrote was published today on Her Campus. I am very proud of this article because it was a very difficult one for me to write. Before this piece, I tried to hide my Type 1 Diabetes. Now that it’s out there, I feel empowered, and that feels pretty good.

You may read the article on Her Campus or below. If you want to share it, please share it from the Her Campus website so it will get more views. Thank you!

The music was blaring as I danced with the new friends I made while studying abroad. Suddenly, I felt light-headed. I stopped dancing and looked at my phone to see what I had expected: double arrows going straight down. I put my phone away and dug around in my bag to find a juice box. So, standing in the middle of a club in London surrounded by people I didn’t know that were giving me quizzical looks; I punched a straw through my Big Bird’s Apple juice box and took a sip.

It has been three years of drinking juice boxes in random places. Three years ago, I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. It went undiagnosed for 5 months, and I almost died. I was about to go off to college and start my adult life when I was thrown a curveball.

Without getting too technical, Type 1 is an autoimmune disease that happened because my immune system attacked my pancreases, making it so my pancreas can’t do its job. And that job is: make insulin to break down sugars in my blood. Since my pancreas can’t do that anymore, I inject insulin into my body or consume sugar any time my pancreas should be maintaining my blood sugar but can’t. There was nothing I did to cause this, but no one knows quite why it happens.

Courtesy: T1 International

 

Out of nowhere, I will feel dizzy and weak, or I will get splitting headaches, blurred vision and feel lethargic. I wear a Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) on my body that has alarms that go off from my phone when my sugar is low or high to prevent sugar levels that could kill me. It is constant and relentless and sometimes I get overwhelmed thinking about how I may never get a break from it for the rest of my life.

Courtesy: Mobi Health News

Instead of embracing the fact my life was different, I just pretended everything was fine. I would excuse myself at restaurants to do insulin injections in the bathroom and I made excuses for why I couldn’t do something instead of just telling my friends I was having a bad sugar day. I didn’t wear bikinis or tight clothes that would reveal I was wearing a medical device, and I would pretend people’s ignorant comments about my new diagnosis didn’t hurt my self-confidence. I felt so much shame and embarrassment surrounding my chronic illness that it made it hard for me to talk to people about it.

Going off to college proved to be a tough transition. My first semester my roommate and I were woken up in the middle of the night by cops knocking on our door. My CGM had been giving false, dangerously low readings. When my parents called me and I didn’t respond, they called the police to make sure I wasn’t dead. But college for me has been all about growing and learning, and that includes in my relationship with diabetes. I have worked on changing my attitude when it comes to incidents caused by Type 1, but it hasn’t been easy.

And as with all learning to love every part of yourself, I had to consult the expert, Lizzo. Her hit song “Juice” has become my Type 1 anthem. And although the juice she is referring to in the song is confidence, I like to think it’s about the juice boxes I sometimes have to drink in public. Every time I feel embarrassed about drinking a juice in class or at work, I think to myself,

It ain’t my fault that I’m out here makin’ news

I’m the pudding in the proof

Gotta blame it on my juice

Ya-ya-ee, ya-ya-ee, ya-ya-ee, ya-ya-ee

I’ve come to this place in my journey with chronic illness where I have juice about my juice. I’m not defined by the juice boxes I drink or the medical devices I wear on my skin, or the needles I stick in my body or the diabetes-induced bad days I have.

Being on a campus with so many other students has shown me I am not alone, and I shouldn’t be afraid that people will judge me because of a disability I can’t control. I see people walking around wearing medical devices and it made me realize, I don’t judge them, so then why would someone judge me? It is because of a guy I saw on campus wearing a CGM on his arm that I started wearing mine in more visible places. His confidence inspired me.

And not every day is perfect. I still get insecure. I still have days that are spent in tears when my Type 1 responsibilities feel draining. And it is still hard for me to not feel embarrassed when talking to people about it. But through people like Lizzo and all those out there at FSU with chronic illnesses, I have learned to embrace our differences and celebrate the person our hardships have turned us into. Because that is what makes life beautiful.

So that’s right. It ain’t my fault I’m out here making news on this dance floor or anywhere with a juice box in my hand. Ya-ya-ee.

Courtesy: Giphy

Posted in Education, Published Articles, Safety

Where #MeTooK12 Meets #RollRedRoll

This article I wrote reviewing Roll Red Roll – the impactful and important documentary about rape culture and the horrific gang rape that happened in Steubenville, Ohio – was published in Ms. Magazine. You may read the article below or on the Ms. Magazine website

I sat in my college dorm room completely stunned by the film Roll Red Roll. Not only was it masterfully produced, but it also gave an unfiltered and realistic view of what rape culture in high school is really like. It was difficult to see. It is horrifying to watch students act like rape is funny and rapists are cool. But even more horrifying is the fact this behavior isn’t fictional.

Roll Red Roll tells the true story of a horrific gang rape that happened in Steubenville, Ohio—in which members of a high school football team assaulted a teenage girl and bragged about it on social media; the case subsequently garnered national media attention.

Being back on campus for my junior year of college and watching this film has made me think a lot about the safety of students and gender equality on all campuses. One thing most school campuses have in common is that sexual violence is not being handled properly.

Roll Red Roll joins a body of films exploring this issue—It Happened Here, Unslut, Audrie and Daisy and The Hunting Ground all similarly use specific incidents to expose the common problem of sexual violence in our society—with the intent of raising awareness and finding solutions to the epidemic of sexual assault on campus.

It’s also the latest tool for activists looking to do this work on their own.

The national nonprofit Stop Sexual Assault in Schools (SSAIS) provides resources to help students and their allies find out what their schools are doing and should be doing about sexual harassment by providing educational videos, fact sheets, a Title IX checklist and strategies to make positive change in communities. The SSAIS toolkit is a great resource for creating this change in both public and private schools.

Although SSAIS’s #MeTooK12 movement has taken a back seat while gender equity experts have fought over the last year to address Betsy DeVos’s proposed changes to Title IX enforcement, we must focus on moving forward and working together to bring real change to end sexual violence wherever it occurs.

Roll Red Roll shows that the role social media played in Steubenville—both in the showcase of an assault and the online actions those posts inspired in the aftermath, when independent reporters and bloggers used social media to shed light on injustices, and groups like Anonymous organized for justice—is part of a larger community context. Sexual harassment and assault happen in every community, and Roll Red Roll demonstrates that rape culture can have negative and devastating consequences for everyone within one.

A film like Roll Red Roll, which shines a light on systems of sexual violence and ends the story with an action plan, is an extremely powerful tool for educating and creating the change we must have. It will leave you “seeing red”—and hopefully propel more people in every community to join the movement against violence.

Posted in Education, Published Articles, SSAIS

Informative K-12 Sexual Harassment and Title IX Video is a Must-See

notinourschoolscreenshot

This article I wrote was published on jGirls Magazine 11/16/19. It has been republished below.

Film Review: Sexual Harassment: Not in Our School! Video Teaches K–12 Students How to Address Sexual Harassment and Their Title IX Rights

Genre: Educational Video
Release Date: 2016
Director: Esther Warkov and Joel Levin
Producer: Debbie Brubaker
Duration: 1 hour 17 minutes

The #MeToo movement has brought attention to the pervasiveness of sexual harassment in the workforce. But all too often we don’t address the systemic problem of sexual harassment in K–12 schools. Until now. Sexual Harassment: Not in Our School! is the groundbreaking educational video created by national nonprofit Stop Sexual Assault in Schools (SSAIS) to raise awareness about sexual harassment and Title IX rights in K–12 schools. Title IX of the U.S. Education Amendments of 1972 protects against any form of gender-based discrimination, harassment, or violence.

The video deals with gender equality in education and students’ protections under Title IX, a subject that is often misunderstood or completely unknown. Sexual Harassment: Not in Our School! is an empowering video for middle and high school students, parents, K–12 schools, and community organizations. The information it shares is highly valuable and much needed, as schools are failing to properly address this rampant problem that is perpetuated in college and the workplace.

According to a 2015 study by the National Coalition for Women and Girls in Education, nearly half of all middle and high school students report being sexually harassed. According to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey that same year, more than 10 percent of high school girls and 3 percent of boys report having been physically forced to have sexual intercourse. LGBTQ students are at greatest risk. Not addressing the problem with students only makes the problem worse. This video fills an important gap in student education.

I’ve done a lot of work in high schools to educate students on this subject. The biggest lesson I learned is that our educational approach needs to be comprehensive, uniting students, parents, schools, and communities to help take action on this devastating problem. We have to start this important conversation. This video helps do that.

The video is effective because it uses high school students along with subject experts to simulate real-life scenarios. The video opens with high school students planning for their new gender equality group. Over the course of the video, the students interview nationally recognized education, legal, and LGBTQ experts and learn from counselors, advocates, and students. These different vantage points make the video especially impactful and ensure there’s something for everyone to learn.

Viewers leave having learned about Title IX rights and some powerful yet simple ways to help make schools safe and free from sex discrimination, encouraging student advocacy, which can be a powerful catalyst for change. SSAIS also offers a FREE Action Guide and Presentation Guide to accompany the video.

You may view Sexual Harassment: Not in Our School! online for free anytime, or organize a screening at your organization by visiting the SSAIS website. And don’t miss Part 2 of the video where a teenage victim learns about her right to privacy and mandated reporting when she speaks with a victim’s advocate.

If you or someone you know is a survivor of sexual violence, please visit [jGirls’] our Resources section for links to organizations that can help.

You may view Sexual Harassment: Not in Our School! here.

Posted in Education, Events, In The News

‘It Happened Here’: A Documentary About Sexual Assault on College Campuses Comes to FSU

I am excited to announce that I finally got approval from Florida State University (FSU) to hold a screening of the college sexual assault documentary It Happened Here. A great degree of effort has been made by the university to make FSU a top college, and it’s meeting this challenge with outstanding success. The approval to show It Happened Here is a sign that the school recognizes part of what makes a university great is how it takes care of its students. This screening is a big step in that direction.

Below is an article Her Campus FSU staff writer Hannah Masten wrote regarding tonight’s screening. You may read it here or on the Her Campus FSU website.

On Tuesday night, Oct. 8, at 7:30-9:30 pm, The Student Life Cinema and kNOw More are partnering up to present It Happened Here, a film about victims of sexual assault on college campuses. This powerful film highlights survivors that struggled to be understood or cared for by their universities. Ultimately, five college-aged women get personal and share their stories with hopes to create change on college campuses nationwide.

It Happened Here was directed by Lisa F. Jackson and produced by Marjorie Schwartz Nielsen who sat down with victims from large universities like Amherst, Uconn and Vanderbilt to learn about the extensive steps these women had to take for justice. These particular women they spoke to, have chosen to take their terrible circumstances and use them to not only make themselves stronger but help others do the same. One of the steps they took was to file a Clery, Title IX and civil lawsuit against UConn. They have also written newspapers and open letters and hosted events such as Take Back the Night and The Clothesline Project to create awareness and push universities to revise their policies.

In recent years, the subject of sexual assault and domestic violence has been in conversation more than ever. With significant movements like the “Me Too” movement and the revisions under the Title IX law, the U.S. has had no excuse but to face this horrific reality of how frequently these events occur. We can celebrate the progress that has been made but also move forward to build upon this progress. By bringing this documentary to FSU, the team at kNOw More intends to do just that.

Our team at kNOw More was created as a resource for students to help educate them on how to get help when they need it. One of the dedicated kNOw More members, Events Chair Minnah Stein, has put a lot of work into bringing It Happened Here to campus because of its educational value. In high school, Minnah realized that no one was preparing students on how to deal with this kind of violence in college. “I felt like all my friends and I were statistics and had no idea,” she explained. This frustration drove her to educate students in her county through the film It Happened Here. Now, she brings it to FSU for the same purpose. Minnah thinks it’s especially valuable because this documentary “focuses so much on the process: how to file a Title IX complaint, how to go to the police, how to approach your school and how your school should respond.” Because of this, she hopes it can educate a lot of students on how they can receive help when they need it.

Administrative chair Jenna Hurst added that “this conversation is something that’s not always talked about, many times women are swept under the rug or the allegations are mishandled and it’s important students know the proper reporting process and where they can find these resources.” It’s for this reason, following the showing of the documentary, kNOw More has put together a panel for FSU students to ask questions about how FSU specifically handles these events. All are welcome to attend the showing and the panel, or just the panel, that will begin at 8:45 pm. The panel will be comprised of a variety of viewpoints on the subject, such as Ryan Masotti from Beta Theta Pi, Hannah Llende from PRIDE, Ahmad Daraldik from SGA, Sarah Castillo from the Victim Advocate Program as well as Terri Brown, the FSU Chief of Police.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month so your attendance is a powerful way to get the month going in the right direction and learn more about how you can make a difference. Throughout the month, kNOw More will continue raising awareness through Healthy Relationships Week (October 21-25) and other events with partners such as SGA and Green Dot. You can also join them in support on Oct. 24 for Purple Thursday.

Check out the trailer here. And if you can’t make it to the showing, It Happened Here is also available on Netflix, Google Play, Amazon and iTunes.

If you or someone you know has experienced sexual misconduct, FSU is here for you. You can file a report or speak to someone at any time, who can help both on and off-campus. For more information on these resources, visit kNOw More.

 

Posted in Education, Published Articles, Safety

Five Survivors Speak Out in the Sexual Assault Documentary “It Happened Here”

This article I wrote reviewing It Happened Here – the powerful sexual assault documentary I use for screenings to educate high school and college students – was published in jGirls Magazine. You may read the article below or on the jGirls website.

It-Happened-Here

Genre: Documentary
Release Date: 2014
Director: Lisa F. Jackson
Producer: Marjorie Schwartz Nielsen
Duration: 1 hour 16 minutes

I was 14 years old when my mom and I first watched It Happened Here, a documentary on sexual assault on college campuses. It opens powerfully, with college boys at Yale chanting, “No means yes! Yes means anal!” We both visibly cringed and wondered what we had gotten ourselves into. My mom sat perched on the edge of the couch with the remote control aimed at the TV, ready to “edit” the film for me should that be necessary. It wasn’t. It turns out the film is impactful without being too graphic.

The opening shocked us, which I think was likely intentional. It illustrates how pervasive rape on campus is and hints to the rape culture that we are about to learn about in the rest of the film. This is where It Happened Here really shines, letting us hear firsthand about the alarming pervasiveness of sexual assault on college campuses, the prevalence of institutional cover-ups, and most importantly what happens after the sexual assault. But, I believe the film goes an important step further by also featuring mental-health and legal experts, administrators, and educators. This approach provides invaluable education for all viewers and inspires others to join the movement of student survivors who are boldly coming forward to take action on their college campuses and in federal court.

It Happened Here tackles the questions Why is sexual assault happening? and How can we prevent campus assault? A diverse panel of experts provides answers to these important questions. Woven throughout are the intimate stories of the five survivors from Amherst College, University of Connecticut, and Vanderbilt University. Each survivor shares what happened to her, how she has fought for her school and her perpetrator to be held accountable, and how she is working to bring change on campuses and in our court systems.

An especially poignant scene in It Happened Here, is when survivor Erica Daniels’s parents talk about how sexual assault changed their daughter, how that changed them in turn, as well as Erica and her relationships. Viewers see that this isn’t a problem that just affects the survivors. It also affects the survivors’ families, friends, and communities.

Lisa F. Jackson, the film’s director, shared this, “I hope that It Happened Here will catalyze discussion and change on college campuses. For our main characters, telling their stories and confronting their schools was an enormously empowering experience. Sexual violence is a topic that people turn away from. It is a subject fraught with misconceptions and veiled in myths; a crime that is denied, belittled and misunderstood; and an assault that leaves debilitating scars on its victims. Our characters shared with us a great gift, trusting us with their stories and allowing us to follow their brave journeys out of the shadows in the hopes that they will inspire others to do the same.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.

You may view It Happened Here or schedule a screening at your organization by visiting the film’s website.