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Newsflash! January 24 – 29

Pixar to release a short film featuring Filipino characters

Last year, Pixar’s short film Bao was the first Pixar short to be female-directed, as well as the first to feature Asian culture. However, it won’t be holding that title alone anymore—Pixar recently announced that their newest short film, headed by Bobby Rubio, would depict Filipino characters, making it the first to do so in the history of CGI animation. Float, as the film is entitled, has already been teased through Rubio’s Twitter, but won’t be out in full until sometime in February.

Crazy Rich Asians and To All The Boys I’d Loved Before were both heralded as a win in Asian media representation, but, in my opinion, not rightly so. By labelling the films as a win for the entire Asian community, we fail to acknowledge that the characters at the heart of both of these stories were East Asian, and play exactly into the beauty standards that are so prevalent in Asian society: they were all light-skinned.

Pinoy, most of whom are somewhat darker-skinned, have yet to truly achieve their own proper, accurate media representation on screen, but that’s what Float is here for. As the world becomes more and more receptive to seeing Asian stories told through the screen, we need to consistently ensure that the people they see on TV represent all of Asia, and not just three countries.

 

Kamala Harris officially declares her presidential candidacy

Last week Tulsi Gabbard, a House representative from Hawaii, announced that she planned to run for office in 2020. This week, Kamala Harris threw her hat into the ring as well: on January 21st, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, she confirmed the rumors that she had set her sights on a presidential run.

Harris, a Democratic senator from California, was born to an Indian mother and a Jamaican father. She holds both of these identities close to her, as evidenced by the fact that she grew up attending both a Hindu temple and Baptist church. Before becoming involved in politics, she pursued a career in law—quite successfully, as in 2003 she was elected district attorney and became the first black woman to be elected district attorney in California. She broke more records in 2010, when she was elected to the position of attorney general of California: California’s first female attorney general, first African American attorney general, and first Asian-American attorney general.

Similarly to Gabbard, Harris’ past has come under fire in the short time that she’s announced her candidacy. During her legal career, Harris focused on human rights cases involving such topics as protecting America’s capitalistic economy and fighting against sexual trafficking. But those same cases caused a significant amount of backlash because of how she harsh her stances on criminal justice had been. Previously, she defended the death penalty on numerous occasions even as late as 2015.

Additionally, a couple of lawsuits also contributed to her notoriety. Allegedly one of her advisors left a year before the campaign started due to sexual assault allegations and the issue was settled quietly for $400,000.

However, in the speech that she gave on Good Morning America where she confirmed the news, she stressed that her campaign focused on the people—in her eyes, “nobody is living their life through the lens of one issue. I think what people want is, they want leadership that sees them through the complexity of each of our lives and pays equal attention to their needs,” she said.

In her campaign slogan, she’s stated that she’s “for the people.” Are you?

 

City in India embarks on quest to provide guaranteed income

Recently, a tiny Indian state by the name of Sikkim garnered national attention for preparing to implement an extraordinary experiment: basic income.

For those unaware, basic income, also known as universal basic income, is a guaranteed, periodic cash payment to all citizens in the region that administers it, without any kinds of qualifying guidelines. This social welfare system is usually put in place to mitigate the disastrous effects that widespread poverty can have on a community, both economically and socially.

Sikkim, who announced their idea on January 18 and plan to have it rolled out by 2021, has a relatively low population at just over 600,000 and a small geographic area. These two characteristics are reason to believe that their plan could work, as they not only have a 98 percent literacy rate, but also only 8 percent of people living below the poverty line. As the member of the Indian Parliament hailing from Sikkim said, “If there is one chance of it happening anywhere, it is Sikkim.”

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