Art by Peau Porotesano
The election might be over, but as conscientious young adults we cannot lose focus on the controversial issues highlighted during this election cycle. In the past months, a lot of problems were brought to light, including immigration, the refugee crisis, women’s rights, sexual assault and religious tolerance.
Now more than ever, it’s important to give such deep-rooted issues the attention they deserve with the understanding that they are more than just presidential sound bites.
By being informed citizens of our nation and our world, we can truly work to make a difference. The best way to start is to get involved on a smaller scale and being informed.
A lot of attention has fallen on immigration throughout this election, bringing light to a real issue for the country. According to Jens Manuel Krogstad, Jeffrey S. Passel and D’vera Cohn’s article, “5 facts about illegal immigration in the U.S.,” published Nov. 3 by Pew Research Center, there are 11.1 million undocumented immigration currently residing in the U.S., including eight million who are part of the American workforce. For students who would like to learn more, they can choose to take History 420, Colonial America, 1492-1762.
The refugee crisis is another issue that was emphasized during this election cycle. As of last April The United States had only accepted 1,736 refugees, a number much lower than the full capacity it can accept, according to Somni Senguptaon’s article, “U.S. Has Taken In Less Than a Fifth of Pledged Syrian Refugees,” published May 10, by The New York Times.
In order to gain a deeper understanding of the part of the world where refugees are having to flee from, one could take History 390, Modern History of the Middle East.
Another hot button issue that came up this election cycle was the treatment of and respect for women. In Kevin Miller’s study, “The Simple Truth About the Gender Pay Gap (Fall 2016),” published in 2016 by AAUW, it was shared that all throughout the United States, on average, women were paid 64-89 percent of what men were paid working the same full-time hours year-long.
Pepperdine offers a Women’s studies minor that offers classes such as, Women and Politics, Psychology of Women and Topics in the History of Women in the U.S., among others. You can also join the National Organization for Women where you can get informed through different public education projects, sign petitions and donate among other things.
Moreover, sexual assault is an important problem that deserves to be highlighted. According to the Association of American Universities, 23 percent of female college students have experienced unwanted sexual contact. Sexual Assault Awareness Week on Pepperdine’s Campus took place the last week of September. To get involved in the Step Up! against sexual assault initiative, one can contact Title IX Coordinator Lashonda Coleman or the Health and Wellness Education Coordinator Hannah DeWalt.
Lastly, during this election, religious tolerance was put under the spotlight as well. Taking a class such as Religion 526, The Religions of the World, can help you understand more about other religions practices and expand your understanding of them. One can also learn more by taking Religion 544 which is Multicultural Ministry and Cross-Cultural Mission. Pepperdine recently held a Summit for Diversity and Inclusion in Elkins Auditorium that brought people together to discuss cross-cultural relations. The Intercultural Affairs department at Pepperdine is another resource if you would like to get involved in being an intern for them.
All of these issues are serious problems in our world, and there are many ways to contribute to fixing them. Stay informed and updated on new developments that are pertinent to these issues. Get educated and approach them with an open-mind. If you care about an issue, do something. Go out to volunteer and raise awareness. Most importantly, don’t stop talking about it because these issues will still be relevant tomorrow. The election might be over, but unfortunately these issues still have a long way to go.
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