By Shannon Reardon and Victoria Lavelle
By Shannon Reardon and Victoria Lavelle
By John Kearney
Students and faculty at DCCC’s Marple Campus recently responded to President Donald Trump’s alleged statement identifying African nations and Haiti as “sh-thole countries.”
President Trump met with Senators Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) to discuss a bipartisan immigration proposal made in conjunction with the Congressional Black Caucus on Jan. 11. The proposal aimed to give preference of 50 percent of lottery visas awarded to people from Africa and Temporary Protected Status nations, such as Haiti and El Salvador.
Trump questioned the proposal, saying, “Why do we want more people from sh-thole countries,” according to several lawmakers at the meeting. The Washington Post was the first source to report on the comment.
Tanya Gardner, a communications professor and coordinator of the Intercultural Friendship Program at the college, is worried about the possible negative effects the statement could have on the sustainability and health of the college environment.
“One of the many strengths of our College community is our diversity,” Gardner said. “These comments undermine our College’s international student recruitment efforts.”
Dr. Ife Williams, a DCCC political science professor, said she was not surprised by the president’s statement. “The sad part is that he says this in the middle of the immigration debate,” Williams said. “It is truly sad that the president has this view. He wants to send Haitians back, and Mexicans back, and El Salvadorans back. He favors certain classes and ethnic groups.”
Some DCCC students offered their reactions to Trump’s immigration statements and policies. Mohammed Ziyan Aslam, a 19-year-old immigrant from India, born in Saudi Arabia, said he packs lightly when travelling home.
“I would not bring a computer to and from a place when I travel,” Aslam said. “I will get held in customs for four or five hours.”
Other students said they have taken his comments personally, despite not being from the countries he regarded as “sh-tholes.”
Vitoria Mota, a 22-year-old foreign-exchange student from Brazil, said she felt welcomed by the people of the United States, but not the president.
“He is the major image of the country,” Mota said. “He should not treat people from other countries like this.”
Trump has taken a nationalistic approach to immigration. In his State of the Union address on Jan. 30, he outlined his “Four Pillar Plan” for immigration.
The first pillar is “a path to citizenship for 1.8 million illegal immigrants brought here by their parents,” said Trump in regards to immigrants benefiting from The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), otherwise known as “dreamers.”
The second pillar aims to “fully secure the border” between Central America and the United States by creating the border wall he promised while campaigning for the presidency.
The third pillar aims to end the Visa Lottery, which grants 50,000 immigrants citizenship out of approximately 20,000,000 applicants from across the globe annually.
The fourth pillar seeks to put an end to what Republicans call “chain migration,” the opportunity for immigrants to obtain citizenship through sponsorship by a family member who is currently a citizen.
Congress plans to revisit an immigration bill after approving the budget.
Meanwhile, some faculty and students hope the United States continues to welcome immigrants from around the world.
“The different worldviews and experiences our students, staff, and faculty contribute to our College community should be celebrated instead of threatened.”
Contact John Kearney at firstname.lastname@example.org
By Caroline Sweeney
DCCC EMT instructor and Philadelphia firefighter Lt. Matthew LeTourneau, 42, died on Jan. 6, 2018 after battling a row home fire in North Philadelphia.
LeTourneau was trapped by debris when the building began to collapse in on him according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. LeTourneau was rescued and taken to Temple University Hospital, where he later died of multiple injuries.
LeTourneau began his firefighting career at a young age. As a student at Cardinal O’Hara High School he started volunteering at Springfield Fire Company. While continuing his career as a firefighter for Springfield, LeTourneau became an EMT and joined and the Philadelphia Fire Deparment.
“Matt’s passion for service and firefighting was all that I had ever really known, ” said Luke LeTourneau, Matt’s younger brother. “He joined the fire company at age 16 and never looked back.”
Lifelong friend of LeTourneau and Springfield firefighter Bill Lavery spoke of how fantastic LeTourneau was at his job.“Our fellow firefighters, myself included, felt encouraged and relieved when he was on a call with us,” Lavery said.
Luke LeTourneau also spoke with amazement at his brother’s passion for his work and firefighting. Luke LeTourneau said he would be a “bit jealous” when his brother talked about his work. He remembered Matt saying, “It isn’t work if you are doing something you love.”
“What you didn’t see a lot of in the press was Matt was also an EMT,” said Elaine Remington, director for DCCC Emergency Services Education. “It was one of his many passions, along with firefighting.”
Along with his firefighting and EMT work, LeTourneau was also an instructor at Delaware County Emergency Services Training Center, a volunteer for the Red Paw Emergency Relief Team, and supporter of the Second Alarmer’s Association and Rescue Squad.
DCCC’s EMT Education Coordinator Chris Millary, described LeTourneau as “supportive, knowledgeable, professional, and always willing to help his colleagues and students.”
“He had a passion for teaching, but also a passion for learning,” Millary added. “Even though he was an instructor he was always a student, wanting to learn and share what he learned.”
According to many who knew him, the loss of LeTourneau was devastating for those involved in the Emergency Services Education.
“He has been with us for 18 years. We knew him when he was just getting into emergency services,” Remington said. “At the end of every semester, I would receive glowing evaluations about him. Students saying how helpful and interactive he is in the classroom, how Matt would really listen to his students and go above and beyond for them. Replacing him is probably not possible.”
Bob Horton, a former EMT coordinator, said that LeTourneau’s impact stretched beyond the college and into the community.
Horton explained that LeTourneau is indirectly impacting young responders by passing on his knowledge and passion.
“The Emergency Services division will miss him, miss his expertise and miss his personality,” said Bruce Egan, Paramedic Education Coordinator.
LeTourneau’s funeral was held on Jan. 12 at the Cathedral Basilica of Peter and Paul in Philadelphia. Hundreds of people, including family, friends, colleagues, and supporters came out to offer their condolences.
The Philadelphia Flyers showed their condolences by having a moment of silence before their home game against the Buffalo Sabers on Jan. 7. The Phillies remembered LeTourneau by broadcasting a photo and message of condolence on their jumbotron outside of Citizens Bank Park.
“The impact Matt left us as a family, on the firefighting brotherhood and every community for which he has been apart, will be everlasting,” Luke LeTourneau said. “Matt is now where we want to be, a place that we want to be and [following] the way Matt lived his life will help us get there.”
Contact Caroline Sweeney at email@example.com. edu
By Joshua Patton
“Our mission is to save as many lives as possible,” said Emily Craft, 21, a customer care associate at Providence Animal Center, located in Media, Pa. “We do our best to help with overpopulation and the breeding of unwanted animals.”
Providence Animal Center is a non-profit, no-kill shelter that hosts a range of cats and dogs for adoption.
The center is run primarily by volunteers, and relies on donations to fund its programs.
“[Volunteers] will come in really early in the morning,” Craft said. “Then [the dogs] get fed, after the kennels are cleaned out.”
Despite the efforts of volunteers, according to Craft, there is still a problem with homeless animals around Delaware County.
“We don’t have an open access shelter in Delaware County,” Craft said. “So there’s really nowhere for them to go.”
Open access shelters, also known as open admission shelters, do not turn away any animals that are brought to their doors.
Experts say that six to eight million cats and dogs enter shelters each year, and about three million of them are euthanized, according to a report by The Humane Society of the United States.
In 2012, Delaware County SPCA underwent a format change and was renamed Providence Animal Center to fulfill its mission of being a no-kill shelter.
The Providence Animal Center’s webpage states, “We made the courageous change to become a lifesaving organization, which means no adoptable animal is put down.”
Craft said that by changing the name of the organization they wanted to break off all stereotypes.
Although Providence Animal Center still accepts surrenders, it no longer houses and euthanizes strays.
After the change in format, Delaware County formed the Animal Protection Board (APB) to handle issues concerning stray animals.
Originally, the goal of the APB was to establish an independent animal shelter, but instead they opted to make a deal with the Brandywine Valley SPCA, (BVSPCA) formerly Chester County SPCA, to handle stray animals.
But the problems were not over.
Delaware County Animal Control contracted with the BVSPCA to deliver strays, but then came under scrutiny for practices such as leaving animals inside strangers’ homes, according to a memorandum issued by the district court for the eastern district of Pennsylvania.
In mid-March, earlier this year, the contract, known as the Stray Animal Agreement, was terminated.
According to a press release on Brandywine Valley SPCA’s website, “On March 15, 2016, the Delaware County Animal Protection Board (APB) announced that it was terminating the Stray Animal Agreement with the Brandywine Valley SPCA because the arrangement was ‘no longer financially feasible for either party.’”
The press release also stated that the BVSPA would still contract with local municipalities.
For someone who finds a stray, options are still limited.
According to Craft, where you go is dependent upon one’s municipality’s and police department’s procedures.
Those with strays can contact 911 and report a lost animal, go to a local veterinarian, or contact the BVSPCA, states the Animal Coalition of Delaware County’s webpage.
Organizations like Animal Care & Control Team of Philadelphia (ACCT Philly) house strays, but are also forced to euthanize.
According to an animal care data sheet put out by ACCT Philly, as of September 2016, they have taken in 17,913 animals and have live-released 13,362, resulting in 4,634 dead or missing animals.
For these shelters, and for people like Emily Craft, the problem is ongoing.
“There’s always a constant need for volunteers,” Craft said. “Even walking a dog for 20 minutes and putting him back in the kennel helps in a big way.”
Shelters are combating the problem by hosting events, adoption specials, and fundraisers.
“Bark in the Park” was one such event hosted by Providence Animal Shelter in Rose Tree Park on Oct. 29.
Attendees and their dogs could participate in a 5k run, along with a host of smaller contests, such as best ears, best tail wager, and best costume.
Other activities included music, face painting, animal microchipping and nail trimming.
“It’s one of the biggest fundraisers of the year,” Craft said.
Thomas Marchand, 29, ran the 5k with his dog Bailey during “Bark in the Park.”
“It goes for a good cause,” Marchand said. “It’s my dog’s exercise.”
During November, Providence Animal Center offers 50 percent off adoption fees for kittens and dogs over six months old.
“We’re not government funded by any means,” Craft said. “We’re all donation based.”
Nevertheless, because of fundraising efforts, Providence Animal Shelter is adding on a new wing.
“The shelter is really small and really outdated,” Craft said. “We’re expanding and making everything brand new.”
For animal rights activists like Craft, the fight continues.
“There’s definitely a problem,” Craft said. “I’m definitely passionate about it.”
Contact Joshua Patton at firstname.lastname@example.org
By Justice Colmon
On Oct. 20 at the Marple campus, Valerie Johnson, assistant director of development at Valley Youth House and co-founder of “Couches Don’t Count” campaign held the “Valley Youth House” event.
The event, which focused on Valley Youth House, as well as the homeless LGBTQ population in Pennsylvania, was attended by more than 13 people.
According to Johnson, the organization’s mission is to “empower and strengthen the lives of children, youth, and families through inclusive programming that builds resilience and fosters growth and independence.”
Valley Youth House is located in 11 counties: Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Dauphin, Delaware, Lancaster, Lehigh, Luzerne, Montgomery, Northampton and Philadelphia.
“Sometimes what you can do to help someone is to accept them for who they are, no matter their situation or background,” Johnson said while reflecting on their mission. “Acception and emotional support is the best you can do to help these people.”
Johnson explained that the school districts of Philadelphia did a study two years ago when they revealed that 4,000 of their students have experienced homelessness and almost 2,000 youth identified as LGBTQ are possibly living on the street.
“So Valley Youth House decided to start our own ‘Youth Count’ by searching during the afternoon, with some of our youth guiding us to places that they know their counterparts may be,” Johnson said. “By doing this we discovered that at least 50 percent of the youth we surveyed during the youth count are not living on the street. They’re couch surfing.”
To raise awareness of this situation, Valley Youth House created a campaign called “Couches Don’t Count” because couch surfing is not stable housing.
Johnson explains that the “Couches Don’t Count” campaign communicates with others by going to areas frequented by homeless people and positioning a couch outside with someone who looks homeless sitting on it. Doing so grabs people’s attention, thereby starting a conversation on homeless LGBTQ issues.
Along with the “Couches Don’t Count” campaign, there is also a “Pride Program,” a running program for LGBTQ youth in Philadelphia.
According to Valley Youth House’s website, “sheltering Pride is a giving program that supports the Pride Program by connecting donors oneon-one to youth experiencing homelessness. For as little as $5,600, you can provide rental support, life skills counseling and move-in essentials for a young person in need for six months.”
She explained that housing is one of the top needs for homeless LGBTQ, because “to have a job they need to have a house, and to have a house they need to have a job.”
“We have a lot of landlords that we work with, and they tell us when there are available apartments,” Johnson said.
Counselors go with youth to inspect the apartment and explain to them the things they are looking for, such as testing the heat, water, lighting and electricity.
Johnson explained that once they were employed and are able to pay their own rent, the youth are taught life skills, budgeting, opening bank accounts, writing a check and shopping so that they are able to take care of themselves when Valley Youth House rental assistance ends.
“I know that last year 100 percent of youth who transitioned out of our program transitioned to a stable living space, 90 percent of them chose to remain in the program, and 10 percent moved in with family members,” Johnson said.
Johnson invited attendees to look at the Valley Youth House website if they were interested in learning more.
Contact Justice Colmon at email@example.com