‘Queen of the Sun: What Are Bees Telling Us?’ begs an important question

By Shane Soderland


Associate Professor of English Liz Gray held a screening at the Marple Campus on Nov. 20 for “Queen of the Sun: What Are the Bees Telling Us?”

The film screening was inspired by Gray’s personal beekeeping and involvement with the college-wide reading program. “Queen of the Sun” features commentary from the writer of this year’s recommended reading material “Stuffed And Starved” by Raj Patel.

Directed by Taggart Siegel and released in 2010, the documentary film explores the harmonious codependence between man and nature, showcased through the effects mankind has on honeybee colonies.

According to the “Queen of the Sun” website, the film has received considerable recognition, garnering several awards from film festivals, including the Nashville Film Festival, Indiememphis Film Festival, and Planet in Focus Film Festival.

Students gathered in the small auditorium to partake in honey sampling before the film began. The spread consisted of a bear-shaped bottle of natural honey, artificially flavored honey sticks, and plain crackers — as to not take away from the natural honey flavor.

“We have some pasteurized honey and some local honey here for you guys to sample, when you get a chance,” Gray explained to the 12 student attendees. “The pasteurized [honey] has been [modified] before being sold to the public, whereas the local honey is a natural product of the bees.”

The documentary explores the disappearance of honeybee colonies and examines several root causes leading to their exodus. The film touches on how industrialization, climate change, and potent pesticides have prompted bees to die out in drastic numbers.

The film is engaging from start to finish. With an 88-minute run time, it gives a perfect amount of attention to each subject matter examined by Siegel.

Siegel employs several techniques to make the material entertaining for the viewer. Although it’s not beholden to a definitive style, the film’s use of animated sequences and breathtaking imagery allow the content to leap off the screen.

Featuring a myriad of bee experts, “Queen of the Sun: What Are the Bees Telling Us?” never loses focus on the subject of colony collapse disorder.

In a spectacular execution, the film’s subjects lend sympathy to what many consider pests. A scene in which a hive is forcefully removed is sure to make audience members flinch at the sight and sympathize with the affected bees.

A notable character featured is eccentric French bee historian Yvon Archard. His quirky personality and passion for bees stands out as a great juxtaposition to drier commentators, like Gunther Hauk. Shirtless, Archard brushes his handlebar mustache in a display that encompasses his unorthodox affinity for his bees.

The audience was particularly fond of Archard’s presence whenever he was on screen and frequently chuckled at his antics.

Gray spoke on the cause of colony collapse disorder following the film’s conclusion.

“Neonicotinoids,” Gray said. “Since this movie’s release, we’ve come to find that chemicals such as these are significantly harmful to bee colonies and directly relate to colony collapse disorder.”

In how this film is able to relay its message to the audience, “Queen of the Sun: What Are the Bees Telling Us?” is fantastic and worth a watch for anyone who’s interested in the environment.

Contact Shane Soderland at communitarian@mail.dccc. edu

Around the world at DCCC

Photos by Valerie Battaglia

Traditional German pretzels served by the Social Work Club at the Multicultural Festival on Marple Campus Nov. 15
A posterboard presentation on Germany accompanies the Social Work Club’s pretzels.
Students enjoy traditional Latin and Arabian music.
Philadelphia’s Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture performs traditional Latin and Arabian music.
tater salad
Vegetarian Russian Potato Salad is served by the Political Science Club.

Congressional candidates face off for district seats

By Alexia Davis

kim v scan

The League for Women Voters (LWV) and National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) hosted a debate for the 5th (and 7th) U.S. Congressional District on Oct. 25 in the Large Auditorium at Marple Campus.

The candidates are the first to run in an election for the 5th District, which was established after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court redrew district lines for the congressional map.

The 5th District includes Delaware County and part of Montgomery and Philadelphia counties.

The debate between Republican Pearl Kim and Democrat Mary Gay Scanlon drew a large crowd. The room was packed with people, all sitting or standing in aisles and along the back wall.

“I just want to hear what both candidates have to say,” said Kadin Bard, a Delaware County resident. “My main thing is the economy, and I hope that one of them is able to keep taxes low.”

The 7th District will be listed as a special election on the ballot. Kim or Scanlon will be elected to complete the term for the U.S. House seat left vacant after the resignation of U.S. Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-7) in April of this year.

Scanlon, 59, is pro bono counsel for Ballard Spahr. She oversees approximately 600 lawyers in 15 offices across the country who provide pro bono legal services to low-income clients and nonprofit organizations.

Scanlon has been a civil rights lawyer for more than 35 years and has addressed issues including immigration, child advocacy, and voting rights. She explained her motivation for running for office.

“The administration is telling us not to believe what we can see in front of our faces,” Scanlon said. “And Congress isn’t listening.”

Kim, 39, a former special victims’ prosecutor, has led the attorney general’s campus security initiative before leaving to campaign full-time.

Prior to that, Kim served in the Special Victims and Domestic Violence Division at the Delaware County District Attorney’s Office. She explained to the audience why she is running for office.

“I was frustrated with the current climate of Washington, …and politicians [who] could not work across the aisle for the common good,” Kim said.

Regardless of the results on Nov. 6, history will be made when, for the first time, a woman is elected to represent the Delaware County region in the U.S. Congress.

The debate started with each candidate delivering her opening statement. The moderator then asked questions which were created by audience members and screened for relevance by the LWV prior to the start of the event.

Delaware County residents Sara Arnold and Jonathon Wilson wanted to hear where the candidates stood on climate change and the environment, as well as how immigrants are treated in this country.

Dawn Maxfield, a copy editor and Delaware County resident, said her primary concern is healthcare.

“I have a son with a pre-exiting condition, so that’s what’s important to me,” Maxfield said.

The candidates covered a range of issues, including healthcare, the national deficit, gun control, education and the opioid crisis.

Toward the middle of the debate, the exchange between Kim and Scanlon on the topic of campaign finance reform drew “oohs” from the audience.

Kim spoke to the importance of campaign finance reform so that qualified individuals have the means to run for political office.

According to Kim, majority of her campaign funding comes from herself, family and friends.

“[While] we do agree that we need significant campaign finance reform, I didn’t know Senator [Patrick] Toomey (R-Pa.) was one of your family, friends, or an immigrant.” Scanlon told Kim.

Kim responded by expressing her appreciation for the campaign support she has received from local Republicans and Sen. Toomey.

“But let’s be very real,” Kim retorted. “This is Pearl Kim versus Ballard Spahr.”

The debate lasted about an hour and ended with closing statements.

Both candidates thanked the LWV and NAACP for organizing the event and told the audience why each of them deserves the vote in the midterm election.

“Congress is not doing its job,” Scanlon said when describing what she hopes to change if elected. “It’s not legislating in a way to help the people in this district, and it’s not acting as a check on the worst impulses of the Trump administration.”

Kim spoke last, and stepped out from behind the podium to deliver her final statement.

“I am running to change the narrative,” Kim told the audience. “I am running to shake up both establishments, both Republicans and Democrats, and to remind everyone that the government is supposed to work for us!”

As this newspaper goes to press, Scanlon has a significant lead in District 5 and District 7.

Contact Alexia Davis at communitarian@mail.dccc. edu

‘They Call me Q’: one woman’s journey to self-discovery

By Dominique Smack




The multi-talented Qurrat Ann Kadwani brought her unique one-woman show to the DCCC stage on Oct. 30 in a charismatic performance that kept the audience intrigued, laughing, and craving more.

“They Call Me Q” is an off-Broadway stage play about how one woman seeks balance between her own cultural identity and acceptance in the American culture.

Kadwani, who wrote and produced the play, takes a comical and relatable approach to capturing her personal journey as a Hindu American woman growing up in Brooklyn, NY.

Through a multitude of characters, and sometimes prop changes, Kadwani swiftly transitions from her cultural stricken mother to her countless classmates in a unique way that allows us to get so engulfed in the performance that we tend to overlook the idea that there is only one woman adorning the stage.

The first south Asian female to have a solo play, Kadwani has won several awards, including Best Actress, Best Play, NYS Assemblyman and a plethora of others.

Her performances have occurred in more than 35 states, as well as colleges campuses worldwide.

Kadwani may look familiar to some, as she is not a stranger to television. She has starred in familiar shows, such as “Law and Order,” “The Blacklist,” and “Luke Cage.” Kadwani also teaches private lessons in Brooklyn for aspiring students in many areas of film and production.

The story of her name is the opening dialogue of “They Call me Q,” wherein Q explains as a child the struggles of having a Hindu name in America, while concealing her full name till the very end.

The play begins with Kadwani jumping right into dialogue, her boisterous tone revealing her story from birth and how their family migrated to America, ultimately residing in Bronx, NY, where she learns to call the “ghetto” home.

With her family being Islamic and originating from India, Kadwani incorporates the Islamic and Hindu language into the performance, attaching a detailed glossary for those who weren’t familiar with the terms.

Through the hour-long show, Kadwani touches on issues and experiences that have shaped her, providing new insight for anyone that may be experiencing the cultural pressure to stay true to oneself while adapting to the ways of the world.

Kadwani takes us on an extensively detailed dialogue from her grade school days where she suffered with not being accepted by her peers, to her strongly wanting to be included in the Latin American culture by adorning herself in gaudy gold jewelry, to the high school days where she’s taunted and ridiculed for being the “poor” Indian girl with the “red dot” on her head. All the while, she struggled to fight the desire for social acceptance.

Kadwani’s performance highlights some of the issues a college student could face today, including her first run-in with police while using a fake ID bar hopping, and one of her best friends committing suicide shortly after what seemed to be the time of their lives.

Woven throughout the performance are important life lessons. Most notably is the scene when Q visits her cousin in India in her adult life. Her cousin says to her, “You can start over if you want. People will notice and embrace.”

In this scene, Kadwani is assuring her audience that everyone can start over and transform.

This lesson was particularly valuable to me, being a college student and identifying with the ability to shift into a different life at any moment.

In short, Kadwani finds a way to make us feel her story, live it through her in a sense.

We laugh as she takes us on her highs, and we fall silent with empathy as she shares her lows.

Toward the end of her performance, Kadwani lures the audience back to her name, pronouncing her full name in a confident, proud tone as lights dim, and the audience celebrates this amazing performance.

Contact Dominique Smack at communitarian@mail.dccc.edu

EPA employee inspires students

By Keona Bonamy

Delaware County Community College’s Marple campus held an event titled “Movin’ on up: Living the African American Dream” on Oct. 26, from 11 a.m. to noon in the STEM building.

The event, which featured EPA program analyst Ryan Maxwell, was sponsored by the Black and Latino Male Empowerment Initiative.

A dozen people attended, including faculty and staff, to hear Maxwell speak on her journey, successes, and difficulties as an African American woman, from her college years to her position as a program analyst for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

During the event, Maxwell contrasted the “American dream” and the “African American dream.”

“The typical American dream is a house, a car, two kids, dog, and a white picket fence,” she said. “[However], many of us do not live in neighborhoods where we can have white picket fences.”

Maxwell received her Bachelor of Science from Pennsylvania State University and her Master of Public Policy from the University of Maryland.

As a wife, mother, landlord and program analyst for the U.S. EPA for over nine years, Maxwell had many life lessons and experiences to share.

One significant experience was being the only African American woman on the board of directors of the Harrisburg International Airport.

“People don’t realize or understand how much diversity really just adds to the conversation,” she said.

Although this job was completely voluntary, Maxwell believed this was an avenue for change in her community.

She decided to take this opportunity to be a “voice for [her] people, at the table,” adding that money cannot always be the motive for doing things.

This mindset was present when Maxwell served as councilwoman for her small hometown of Steelton, Pa.

When Steelton’s mayor stepped down, Maxwell reviewed all the application letters wherein people described what they would do for the community if given the opportunity to serve as a council member.

Maxwell said she then realized none of the letters included why they were not doing anything for the community presently.

With that in mind, Maxwell agreed to serve as councilwoman for seven months. She described the experience as a “short, but a worthwhile experience” because it allowed her to get to know her neighbors and serve her community in a capacity she never imagined.

Maxwell explained what the African American dream means to her.

“I wanted to be college educated,” she said. “At one point that means having a PHD…something about ‘Dr. Ryan’ sounded good. That wasn’t in the cards for me, mainly because of student loans.”

Maxwell said she feels that the students at the college are already on the right path.

“College can be one of the biggest financial decision that you will ever make,” Maxwell said, elaborating on the financial benefits of community college.

Maxwell began her lecture by posing the question “What is the African American dream?” She followed up by asking each student to share their 10-year goals.

A student member of the Black and Latino Male Empowerment Initiative, who preferred to be known only as “Freddy,” shared his goals.

“Ten years, God willing, I start a motivational speaking company,” Freddy said. “My goal is to grow my business to the point where I can create generational opportunities for my family.”

Maxwell said that she understood and respected what Freddy said about creating a legacy. She described the first step to a legacy, life insurance and a will. Maxwell said in the African American community life insurance and wills are overlooked.

“When I look back at my time at Penn State and my Caucasian classmates, then I look to where I am at today, the difference between me and my friends is a will and life insurance,” she added.

Next, Maxwell discussed her voluntary position at Harrisburg International Airport, which led to another voluntary position as councilwoman for her hometown of Steelton.

According to Maxwell, her councilwoman position allowed her to have a “seat at the table” and offer an African American presence at meetings attended by majority white committees.

During the candid lecture, Maxwell emphasized that she does not want students’ goals to be something they turn away from.

“You never know which opportunity is going to build on something else,” Maxwell added.

Later, Maxwell explained that 10 years ago, she was unsure of what she wanted to do with her life, and that taking opportunities and stepping outside of her comfort zone helped her achieve her goals.

Maxwell’s said that her African American dream was to be married to a black man that would love her, care for her and understand her struggles and experiences. She also wanted a six figure income and a college education.

Afterwards, Maxwell discussed her experience as a student at a predominantly white institution.

At the time, Penn State had an African American population that was less than three percent. She visited her alma mater recently for a black alumni reunion and learned that the population has grown to about six percent.

Maxwell concluded her presentation by offering advice to the students. She encouraged them to not be embarrassed for who they are.

“As young black people, you will face so many issues,” Maxwell said. “It is very important to live your life above the fold. To live in a way where you make people proud to say they know you.”

Contact Keona Bonamy at communitarian@dccc.edu