Keegan Elder (center)

It was curiosity that led 21-year-old Keegan Elder to google “LGBTQ Soul Cityone cold, February night in Chicago. Keegan had already been attending and volunteering at Soul City Church for three years, and just signed on as their marketing intern.

That is when he learned about former congregant Johnny Santiago’s experience with discrimination at Soul City. It took years for Johnny and several other former members of the church to decode Soul City’s definitions of equality and its leadership’s preemptive gaslighting.

The problem revolves around Soul City’s stance on affirmation. Affirmation is loosely defined as a church allowing the…

Photo by PartTime Portraits on Unsplash

In elementary school — you hear about slavery — but not that it was bad. Sometime or somewhere else, whether it be another grade, from your parents, or the internet if you’re young enough, you learn slavery was a form of evil by entitled people who got away with it as long as they could.

If you’re a decent human — you learned of it and thought: “Wow — people were sh*t back then. How could they let that happen?”

But someday — A few generations from now (at least), there will be a people who say that about us…


A Woman Vice President? What the…

I’m trying to remember being 9 years old, equipped with my used 3rd grade history textbook. Flipped to the right page, there were portraits of 40~ white men displayed side-by-side like an unnecessary yearbook. They were the United States’ presidents. I never questioned the monotonous race or sex as I stared at ugly faces and pre-trend contoured cheekbones. At the time, I likely reasoned that white and male 40 times in a row is normal. I am not white, but unquestioningly, I must have thought my immigrant parents just rented space in this country…

Photo by frank mckenna on Unsplash

How can this moment feel as monumental as it does regular, dull, and Monday evening? Is it even Monday? The ceiling fan above slowly turns, suddenly bothering me. The roof is splitting by gushed Brooklyn winds. What about the ticking clock in the room? It only seems to tick when I notice it’s there.

I’m in Bed-Stuy, and the 2020 presidential election is tomorrow. I’m alone, eating bad food, unable to concentrate. I was supposed to get work done. Yesterday, I spent 10 hours on my iPhone (it was daylight saving, so that makes it a little okay, right?! 25…

NBC News

I imagine Chris Wallace was in his dressing room before the first Presidential Debate prepping himself in front of the mirror, similar to this bunny (below) embarks on his own professional obligations — obligations which I can’t presume to know.

Major events remind me I have too many badge notifications for apps on my phone turned ‘on.’ I grab my phone annoyed, awaiting which politician or celebrity broke news in today’s cancel culture. But this time, each notification is necessary. The NYT, NPR, CNN, The New Yorker, Bloomberg, WaPo; each stack over the other on my lock screen announcing the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. It takes that many notifications, each sinking my heart further down my body, to believe this is real and that the sewing of progress could be undone.

The immediacy in which politicians and Americans…

The documented brutalities against innocent black people should be proof enough that the Black Lives Matter movement is justified. 2020 has forced us to pull the weeds rooted in America —lasering in on non-violent racism, because the protests over the year haven’t been enough, and because the silent forms of racism breed loud ones. And it’s brought us to today — coming to terms that perpetrators believe they can get away with treating black people like scum. To many, it’s a no-brainer. Society (we) treat black people worse than any other race. …

Photo by Rafael Leão on Unsplash

A day after watching the Mr. Rogers biographical film starring Tom Hanks, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” I woke up to a stuffed Twitter feed denouncing the racism in the United States.

This is not unusual. If you watch the news, you likely need more than ten fingers to count the number of innocent black men killed by white civilians or police officers in recent years. But there was something off about this breadth of racism compared to recent days. It’s come during a pandemic, where COVID and quarantine fill our minds and headlines, most recently how we must act…

Over 6 years, he loosened the church’s tight fabric — finding weaved within a hypocrisy they were committed to keep hidden: that his church doesn’t deem a gay man equal to others.

I’m talking about Johnny Santiago. He’s an Interior Designer, an aspiring rich Interior Designer…oh and he’s gay…and loves God.

This story is about the last two parts.

It’s the last days of 2019. I’m with Johnny at The Robey Hotel’s second floor lounge in Wicker Park, Chicago. Flecks of snow drift in the Wicker Park air through the surrounding window, overlooking Milwaukee Ave.

It’s coincidental ending the decade…


It’s 4:36pm PST, February 22nd, at the time I’m writing this. Nevada will go to Bernie. America seems to like recognizable names. Bernie, Hilary, Donald, George. There are 6 strong candidates heading into 47 more states (+territories) that will pass around delegates to decide the Democratic nominee for the 2020 presidential election.

[Update 4:39pm PST — Vox projects Nevada goes to Bernie]

I still can’t tell you why Trump won the electoral college in 2016, and now I’m confused at how Bernie Sanders managed to score the first three caucuses for this primary. But there’s no coincidence that both are…

Nisha Mathur

Current Events, Well-being, and Social Science

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