#LIABILITYOFTHEMIND | CYBERTERRORISM AT THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO


This is a really important issue that has been affecting so many of us at the University of Chicago, and I do really encourage you to take a minute to read about what is going on. 


CW: Rape, Racism, Mental Health, Hate

The federal government is currently investigating a string of cyber terrorist attacks towards minority students at the University of Chicago, adding yet another incident to the university’s long-standing history of hate attacks towards marginalized students. Campus-wide rape threats, hacking of personal Facebook accounts, and hate-speech directed at minority students have been plaguing the psychological and mental well-being of students across campus, with limited administrative response.

The day after Halloween, photos surfaced of students wearing racist Halloween costumes playing on offensive Mexican stereotypes and poking fun at police brutality—an incident which offended many students on campus (rightly so). When said students were reproached about the questionable costumes on an internet forum, they admitted the play on stereotypes, yet refused to take the matter seriously. And when brought to the attention of the administration, the University too failed to acknowledge the offensive nature of these costumes or those that were insulted by their actions, even after numerous meetings with university officials with concerned students.





Frustrated with the continued lack of response from the University in addressing such incidents, several students came together to put together a petition demanding that the University takes “drastic change” in its failure to take seriously issues of racial diversity, racism, and hate speech—among endless other issues—that is plaguing our campus and proving detrimental to hundreds of students’ lives. The petition aims to address the larger institutional structures present that perpetuate an uncomfortable and toxic environment on campus.  

As the petition was beginning to gain momentum, unknown hacker(s) attacked. While this is not the first time the hacker(s) have terrorized students on campus (last year they publically released the IDs and passwords of hundreds of students’ University emails), the attacks this time were personally victimizing. The Facebook profile of one of the students leading the creation and dissemination of the petition was hacked with a hate-filled message, threatening, by name, another leading voice in the creation of the petition as well as all of us who are working on the campaign.





According to federal law, this constitutes cyberterrorism.
And this time, students at the University of Chicago are not going to be pacified with a simple university statement. The psychological stress and threat of physical violence looms over every marginalized student group on campus. Many of my peers have been unable to go to class and even feel unsafe leaving their homes since the threats have been issued on November 18th, 2014.

So, we responded by launching a Twitter campaign with the hashtag #liabilityofthemind (a mockery of our University’s motto of “life of the mind”) expressing our frustration at the University’s silence—not just in this specific incident but as an overall trend of apathy towards microaggressions towards minorities on our campus. I do encourage you to engage with this hashtag to help us spread our message and stand in solidarity, as well as for you to speak out on your own campuses, as well. Thusfar, the hashtag campaign has been a great way for us to raise awareness of the issue outside of campus.

Faculty from the Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture also issued a statement “in solidarity with our students,” finding “the lack of a serious response by the administration to be problematic,” urging them to address the situation and create a long-term solution for a greater issue that is rooted at the intuitional level. You can read their full statement here 

Finally, after endless emails, our hashtag trending in Chicago (hooray!), press statements, and growing tensions on campus, President Zimmer sent out a vaguely-worded email on November 19th stating that “An investigation is underway with the help of federal law enforcement agencies and third-party website providers to see if we can determine who posted the message,” and that “We are committed to creating a diverse campus environment free from harassment and discrimination.”

Clearly, President Zimmer.

The hacker(s), feeling the threat of viable legal action, quickly tried to clear their name.
Within hours of President Zimmer’s statement, the hacker(s) posted on a Facebook page called “UChicago Secrets” (a space where students are able to anonymously post “secrets” behind the mask of the internet) releasing another statement (also filled with transphobic, racial, slurs and other hate speech, surprise surprise), trying to deny responsibility for the Facebook hacks.

Looks can be deceitful ~ 

While this was the first time that the president of our university issued a statement with some level of sincerity and timeliness, large-scale, institutional-level action must be taken immediately for such an attack not to be repeated. This was not an isolated hate attack against marginalized students on campus. The University of Chicago has an extensive history of discrimination and hate–as well as failures on the administration’s part to take concrete actions condemning such incidents. This includes a fraternity hanging a confederate flag across the Office on Multicultural Student Affairs in 2012, anonymous websites filled with hate speech in 2013, and a homophobic and racist joke played on an African American mailman in 2013, to name just a few.

By taking light of such incidents, the University of Chicago is perpetuating a campus culture of hate, where attacks against marginalized groups are normalized and microaggressions occur daily. We attend a university where incidents of rape are solved by “dialogue” between the assailant and survivor (violating federal law), where students with mental health problems are not taken seriously, and where race-based hate attacks are no longer surprising.

We know that the University of Chicago is not alone in its lack of commitment to creating a healthy and productive space for all students. We urge you to not only stand in solidarity with the marginalized at the University of Chicago but also to take a closer look at your own university as well as the systematic structures within society as a whole that our universities feed into. The United States is not a post-racist country, and like our university, in order to tackle this problem we need to examine and reform the underlying systematic structures producing and perpetuating a culture of intolerance.

Please sign our petition here and demand that the university takes large-scale action at the institutional level to address and prevent the climate of hate on campus: http://chn.ge/1xOl9gV

Please check out (and engage with!) our hashtag here: http://bit.ly/11Fp98x

I urge you to spread the word.
Thank you~

<(')


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AN UPDATE + GIVEAWAY WINNER ANNOUNCED



Majesty Palm, Majesty Palm care, palm tree

As sub-zero temperatures and bitter winds eat away at any inch of vulnerable flesh while outdoors, shoots have not been the most tempting thing to do at the moment. Luckily we have still a few shoots left from Morocco (yeah sort of can't believe it myself) and I might toss around a few Persian recipes I've been meaning to post since my travels to le homeland this summer, as well as snipbits of my new apartment as promised and a new little streetstyle section that will be growing, so no doubt that I've been rather busy on this end working on blog-related things (not to mention I'm doing this little thing on the side called university and a job) so this is my little way of copping out and pretending like this post was planned rather than my by-the-time-I-got-home-it-was-too-dark-to-take-photos post (shhh).

The above photo was taken from my Instagram a few days ago as I came to learn that taking care of my over-sized, ridiculously high-maintenance plant I've been neglecting not only helps me take a physical and mental break from the endless responsibilities piling up on my desk, but also somehow helps me cope with the poor weather and incredibly early sunset times.
So, if you are struggling with an overly-long to-do list or suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) (I am thankful that the latter does not apply to me but I have heard that it does help for those who do suffer from it) I highly recommend you get a plant. Or if you are just lonely and need a friend.
Any name suggestions?

Also, CONGRATULATIONS to Vanessa P--the winner of the ethical Peruvian camera strap giveaway from Artful Venture! We'll send you an email shortly c: To everyone else, thank you so much for entering and best of luck in the next giveaway! xx You win the great feeling of supporting a great cause, hooray! c;

Enjoy your day and keep warm for anyone experiencing the bitterness that is the weather!
P.S. Still need help with plant names. This is important. 

<(')


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THIS IS NOT WHAT FEMINISM LOOKS LIKE | THE FEMINIST SHIRT CONTROVERSY


As if feminism itself is not already (somehow) a controversial issue, creating "This is What a Feminist Looks Like" tshirts using (predominantly female) sweatshop labor and distributing to large male icons like Joseph Gordon-Levitt (my personal celebrity crush), Tom Hiddleston, and Benedict Cumberbatch, was not exactly a foot in the right direction.

Benedict Cumberbatch feminist, Benedict Cumberbatch, feminist shirt cumberbatch
Source: ELLEUK Twitter
Feminism, quite simply, is the "radical" view that women and men should have equality--no double standards in societal perspectives, no glass ceiling, no objectification and commercialization--the list goes on. In the United States (and in most of the world), it is not difficult to see the male-centric perspective that dominates and governs society, politics, the judicial system, and the workplace (in fact Sweden has dramatically benefited from seeing things from a more gender-balanced perspective). From receiving a smaller paycheck for the same career (devaluing the potential or work of a woman) to the widespread lack of justice for rape victims and victim-blaming, the existing system in most of the rest of the world lays testament to the strong need of a feminist movement--one which both men and women need to be a part of in order to succeed.

Enter the "This is What A Feminist Looks Like" shirts that you might have seen on the chests of some of the most in-demand men in Hollywood to raise awareness for this movement (in the guise of consumerism, of course, but we can save capitalist holidays/agendas for another post ;) ). In theory, the idea of getting influential men to spread the word about, and trying to normalize, feminism, sounds like a great way to attract more men to join the cause, which unfortunately is not the easiest task to do. Not to mention that these roughly $70-$80 tshirts are also raising money for charity. Sounds like a potentially decent plan?

feminism, feminist shirt controversy, sweatshop labor
Source: Daily Mail
Well, except for the teensy little part about the whole "these-shirts-were-made-in-a-sweatshop" thing. Which, I suppose, is slightly important and relevant to the discussion of feminism, given that most garment workers are marginalized women trying their best to make ends meet for their families and are taken heavily advantage of. It's amazing how easy it is, as consumers, to not think twice about where our products come from. Scratch that. It's incredibly frightening. The conditions in sweatshops are fairly widely known but also mentioned quite frequently here on JooJoo Azad (exhibit A, exhibit B), so it would not be necessary to again go through what these horrid conditions would entail here, but rather to understand the difficulty in reconciling the production of "feminist" shirts by exploited women.

While Fawcett claims to have launched an investigation into the suspicions on unethical practices which has concluded that such assertions are not accurate, (because a brand would definitely want to admit to hypocrisy?) the Daily Mail seems to have reached a different conclusion: women in their factories are being treated in a way counter-productive to the clothing's suggested message. Earning less than the minimum wage is not only violating the basic human rights of these women, but it also directly contradicts the goals and purposes of feminism as a means of empowering and encouraging women. And this raises important questions for the feminist movement rooted in such consumer-based societies: Does feminism, as a movement, only extend to white, American women? As a feminist, is it not your responsibility to take into consideration the message your money is sending to fashion companies' mass exploitation of marginalized women around the world? 

<(')

P.S. Truly care about the empowerment of women, world-wide? Today is the last day to enter to win the ethical Peruvian camera strap from Artful Venture, handmade by Peruvian women working to support their children's education and preserve their traditional crafts! Enter today and support women, their work, and social-responsible brands.  



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Enjoyed this post? Please spread the word! 

STREETSTYLE | ANASTASIA CHATZKA OPENING IN CHICAGO


I've been wanted to start a little street-style section on JooJoo Azad for quite some time, but never got the opportunity to just walk around with a camera in my hand, exploring the city through its fashion. I do believe that clothing can be a pretty strong indicator of personality, and I think capturing a city this way is always so interesting. I'm lucky enough to finally live in a city where people can definitely dress themselves quite well (no offense, Oklahoma), and when local designer Anastasia Chatzka threw an opening party to celebrate her new pop-up store in Hyde Park, I knew that it would be a great place to start this section (while also supporting local designers)! I also wanted to get this section before going to Morocco in January, as I think it would be a great place to photograph streetstyle!

Anyway, I hope you enjoy this little documentation of the opening of Anastasia Chatzka on 53rd and the people celebrating ~


chicago fashion, local chicago designer, chicago streetstyle, chicago designer,
 Bloggers in black (from left to right): Mehar and Olga

chicago fashion, local chicago designer, chicago streetstyle, chicago designer,
Tamil, Tina, and Chai | rocking patterns and layers

chicago fashion, local chicago designer, chicago streetstyle, chicago designer,
Stephanie | Shonda, Tiffany

chicago fashion, local chicago designer, chicago streetstyle, chicago designer,
Emilia | Blogger Dani, Kelly

chicago fashion, local chicago designer, anastasia chatzka, chicago designer

chicago fashion, local chicago designer, anastasia chatzka, chicago designer
Anastasia Chatzka herself, looking majestic in purple (I have a feeling it's one of her favorite colors)

chicago fashion, local chicago designer, anastasia chatzka, chicago designer


If you haven't already, I encourage you to check out Anastasia's new website (here!) with all of her unique, quirky designs that really exude her personal style. I had a lovely time meeting so many interesting and beautiful people, bloggers, and designers! Hope we cross paths again!

Also, yay/nay on the streetsyle? Is this something that you'd like to see more of? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

<(')

P.S. T-3 days until the ethical Peruvian camera strap giveaway ends! Enter today and support socially-responsible fashion!

~ l e a v e  a  r e p l y ~

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JOOJOO AZAD X 9TH & ELM | DOUBLE SCARVES AND HAND CHAINS



hand chain, chicago fashion, hijab fashion 2014, double scarves





 If you remember my Back-To-School Wishlist post, then you know that I've been on the hunt for a very specific type of hand chain--something delicate and minimal. Maybe it's my middle-eastern roots (hand-chains are basically a culturally appropriated version of the slave chain originating in India (okay technically not middle-eastern)...wait actually cultural appropriation in fashion would be a great next Social Action post...stay tuned!) that draw me to this sort of jewelry, or maybe my fascination with dramatic jewelry past the standard set of rings (like the necklace 9th & Elm also sent me here). Regardless, it's not as frustrating or distracting as one would think a chain connecting your fingers to your wrist would be.

These photos were taken basically right after a week of incredibly endless mid-terms and sleepless nights, so I think you might be able to tell that I was rather gleeful (and maybe not as tired as I should be? I may or may not have tried to jump the fence of my neighbors)--but I mean how could you not when you basically had a pair of scarf-wings to play with the wind. But oh how the weather has deteriorated since then...anyone else living in Chicago and making stockpiles of soup and blankets for the upcoming polar vortex this week?! (don't say I didn't warn you)

 Photos: Alex (edits: myself) | Location: 54th Street, Chicago | Hand Chain: c/o 9th & Elm | Scar(ves): Iran | Pants: H&M | Boots: c/o Zappos


Also this is the final post in the collaboration series with 9th & Elm, an online curatorial website of handmade and independent designers, so hooray for supporting small and ethical alternatives to brands on le Boycott List! To see the rest of the series in this collaboration, click here and here

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P.S. Only a few more days left to enter the giveaway to win a pair of beautiful, socially-responsible camera straps!


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