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Letter From The Editor: Women’s History Month

Welcome to The Northern Light’s Women’s History Month special edition.

This is not the “feminist” or “angry girl” edition. The purpose of this week’s newspaper is to shine light on topics frequently ignored by mainstream society.

But why women?

Let’s take a look at some current women’s issues.

Last month, the University of North Carolina informed sophomore Landen Gambill that she is being charged with violating the student honor code because of her involvement with a U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights class action complaint against the school.

She takes issue with the fact that the school ignored her claims about being raped and abused by her boyfriend, another student.

The university claims her participation with the class action complaint are “disruptive” and “intimidating” to her alleged rapist.

Because even when women are at their weakest and most vulnerable, our voices about our vaginas are considered “intimidating.”

And let’s not forget the Oscars where the ever-sexist movie industry stayed true to its entire history of degrading women.

Attendees laughed in unison at domestic violence being a punch line in a Chris Brown and Rihanna joke and the claim that the nonfiction film “Zero Dark Thirty” is an example of “a woman’s innate ability to never let anything go.”

Yes, many were laughing hysterically.

But it would actually be funnier if it didn’t reinforce an entire living history of direct oppression and inequality against half the world’s population.

And the sad fact is, we could have chosen to write about nearly any minority group for a special edition.

Because Mississippi’s failure to pass the 13th Amendment for 148 years after the abolition of slavery is nearly as gut wrenching as the fact that nobody noticed.

And because it’s thought that the state of Texas is moving in a liberal direction because it finally made it illegal for Border Patrol Agents to shoot undocumented immigrants from helicopters. I can think of another country that condones shooting boarder crossers. It’s called North Korea and the border is often called the DMZ.

By choosing one of 33 print issues a year we hope to present little-known facts about a historically oppressed group of people.

Maybe it will start a dialogue in the community. Maybe it won’t.

That’s not for us to decide.

But like every story we publish all year, we hope our readers take the facts we’re presenting and make informed decisions based on them.

I can’t guarantee that a special issue, much like this one, will become a TNL tradition because I won’t be the Executive Editor at TNL next spring. But I hope it does — we owe it to ourselves and each other to shine light in the darkest corners of the community.

Written by J. Almendarez

J. Almendarez is a journalism junior who transferred to UAA this fall from San Antonio College, located in South Texas. At SAC, she worked at the national award winning student publication, The Ranger, as a reporter, photographer, Multimedia Editor and Executive Editor. After graduation next fall, she plans to work as a reporter for a daily in South Texas. Eventually, she would like to earn a Master's degree in Media Convergence. After a long career in journalism, she will go back to San Antonio College, teach a reporting class and die while preaching in front of a group of students about the importance of legit journalism and AP Style.