Is Disney’s and Pixar’s New Movie Coco Culturally Sensitive? by Noelli De La Cruz

Disney and Pixar finally gets it right by being culturally conscious in its new movie Coco, an animated movie about a Mexican boy and his family.

In the past years there has been controversy around Disney’s movies having negative ethnic stereotypes or were culturally inaccurate. When the movie Princess and the Frog released, many people were excited that finally there was going to be a black heroine. However, critics were upset with the transformation of the princess to a frog because it reminded them of the past racism comments that black people were animals. Also, they thought that having a white prince instead of a black prince suggested that black love was not possible.

 Although Disney has made improvement in creating characters of color, they still get many things wrong.

So when it was publicly released that there was going to be a Disney movie about a Mexican family and the traditional Mexican holiday, Day of the Dead, there were many skeptics questioning if Disney was finally going to get it right regarding cultural sensitivity.

I hope that [Disney] will have people who are of Latino descenders to play the character of the movie as well as paying tribute to Dia de Los Muertos in a way that the concept, colors and music was right,” said sophomore at Skyline Marissa Vazquez.

Coco was released on theaters across the United States on November 23, 2017. The setting of the movie takes place in Mexico and is about a young Mexican boy, Miguel Ramirez, who wishes to be a musician. However, his family forbids it, since they think that music cursed their family. Behind his family’s back, he seeks for a guitar to play at a musical festival, and while on his mission to find a guitar he embarks on a journey in the afterlife. While there, he seeks to find his dead great grandfather, a Mariachi, in order to get his blessing to go back home and be able to be a musician.

Many Latinos themselves were surprised that Disney wasn’t patronizing and truthfully portrayed the Mexican holiday and the culture.

I relate to [the movie Coco] because it made me remember my grandfather that passed away a year ago… and remind me that one day I’ll see him again up there,” said senior Fabiola Malfabon.

Pero Like and Mitu, two BuzzFeed’s hubs for U.S. Latinx content, watched and reviewed the movie. They expressed satisfaction towards the film because it is a movie that kids of color can latch onto and see themselves; and believe they can make it on the big screen.

They also said that Coco tells a story they can relate to because Dia de los Muertos is a tradition that is celebrated all across Latin America. The colors, the music and the offerings shown in the movie are very similar to any latin american country during Day of the Dead. As well as the central theme of the movie that family is the most important thing is something latinos can relate too.

I actually really like the movie and I feel like it did show how important family is in the Mexican culture. It made me realize how important [Day of the Dead] is and the significance of it, your family will always be there for you and to never forget about any of them. The movie did a great job with the animations and all the colors it used to represent how dia de los muertos is celebrated,” said senior Erick Mora-Hernandez.

Not only did Disney/Pixar made sure the colors and the music were right for this movie, but they took the extra mile to cast all Latino actors. Famous latino actors such as Gael Garcia, Benjamin Bratt, Edward James Olmos, and Jaime Camil were the voices of the main characters of the movie.

Latios applaud Disney and Pixar for portraying Dia de los Muertos in a realistic and truthful way. Many reviews don’t forget to mention that Miguel’s’ grandmother using her “chancla” (sandlel) to scold is the most authentic Mexican tradition that Mexican families grow up with.In two weeks the movie Coco has made 89.6 million dollars in Box Office, but it will grow now that a spanish version of Coco has been released in theaters and families want to watch that too.

Harry Potter Festivities and More by Jared Ortiz

Who doesn’t love a little Harry Potter? People here at NDNU love it and are the biggest fans of the movies and most of all the books. Bringing it here to NDNU and incorporating different and fun topics involving underage drinking and its effects. The scheduling of this event was one of the best ideas that the school has had in awhile because it brought in many students who were interested in the event and the festivities, but also learned about interesting facts about how they can stay away from alcohol and its effects.

This event took place November 15th in front of the library where tables that were set up with games, drinks, and food caught everybody’s eye when they walked by. You could tell right away that this was a Harry Potter themed event that was going to be a well liked and enjoyed.

Sophomore, Julio Hernandez said, This was a great event that me and my fellow housing staff members put on together, it had a great turnout and many students across the campus had a fun time with the arts and craft stations we had going on. Without the help of my staff members this event would have been a total disaster.

The festivities included the taste testing of butterbeer, making of wands, creating potions, and finding out which Harry Potter character you best matched up with by taking a short little quiz. Each station had a specific purpose that created awareness for alcohol drinking and other hazardous things you could do to your body. The NDNU housing staff teamed up with fellow Psychology professor Hannah Yanow to help spread the word around about such drugs that can harm your body.

Sophomore, Monika Bernal said, Spreading awareness throughout the NDNU campus is important because it allows us as students to voice our opinions and knowledge about certain topics that can cause harm to oneself and by adding the Harry Potter theme to this event it gave us an easier and more fun way to spread awareness about important subjects.

By teaming up with one of the psychology professors here at NDNU it gave more of a professional insight on certain topics that many people do not find interesting, but at the same time people should be more aware of because underage alcohol drinking is a big problem at many universities and by letting students know about this in an earlier time it can prevent them from going down this road.

Sophomore Joscelyn Pardo stated, Putting together this event was great fun because I got to help setup the events of a movie that I loved watching, even till this day I still watch Harry Potter movies and it puts me in a great mood because it is such a classic that will never get old in my mind.

NDNU Hosts Voci Musical Arts Show at Taube Hall by Diego Acuna Ortega

The Musical Arts department hosted Voci, a musical show with multiple performances from current students, alumni, and faculty on Saturday, November 18 at 7:30 p.m.

The show included the school’s Fall 2017 vocalists and accompanying piano students who we’re the main performers. They come from the Vocal Performance and Repertoire class here in NDNU, and range from freshmen to senior students and alumni. They performed a number of classics that they have been practicing as part of their vocal curriculum. There also were faculty and MFA students in the performance.

Voci was directed and organized by Debra Lambert, chair of the Department of Music and Vocal Arts as well as the Program Director of Musical Theatre. Lambert has done several leading roles and solo performances with even a few televised roles. She has recently been working to organize the event and prepare the students for the show.

The performances consisted of “lots of different kinds of repertoire, from Mozart opera through contemporary Broadway,” said Lambert. She made sure that “the students are prepared and both being challenged with something new, but also doing the work they are ready for.” The songs that they performed for the show will also be the song that they will perform for their final vocal exams for the semester. This show acts as practice for the students to give them experience on performing in front of a real audience.

The students range from beginner to advanced singers. Although some are more experienced than others, all students will be pushing their skills towards new heights and learning from themselves and each other. The performances for the night are organized in a concert fashion, where each student will sign their song chosen for them by their instructors.

The students performing all have a passion for musical and vocal performance. “It’s about doing what I really want to do in life,” said Sophomore Yesenia Castillo, who was one of the students who performed at the show. “Even though it can be terrifying, it becomes worth it because it’s what I want to do.” Music students are held to high standards on vocal performance and knowledge of music theory, which makes the process difficult but rewarding for those who are passionate about music.

When asked about what it’s like training and performing in this field, Freshmen Pixie Ladd-Barrett said, “It’s a balance of comfortable and uncomfortable. Getting through the nerves is tough but doing what I like is what gets me through it.” Several students in the class agreed that it is scary to perform every time, but they are guided by their vocal director and their peers to ensure that they can sing as best as they can.

Lambert and the vocal students will now start preparing for a Christmas concert at the end of the year, and some students will audition for the spring musical, “Into the Woods” in December. Until their next show, Lambert and her students will continue to build their vocal skills and pursue their career in musical entertainment.

Weinstein; Pervert in Production by Fnu G Balamurali

The first civil law suit has been filed against Harvey Weinstein by actress Dominique Huett on Tuesday, following a slew of sexual assault allegations resulting in the entertainment mogul’s exit from his company.

The Weinstein Company is being sued for negligence by Huett, marking the first legal attention this high-profile case will receive. Some of the more well-known figures that have revealed themselves as victims of Weinstein are Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow, Lena Dunham, Kate Beckinsale, Reese Witherspoon, Rosanna Arquette and Katherine Kendall.

This sudden hike in women coming out on Weinstein, and in-turn bringing harrowing practices that plague the industry to attention was sparked by Alyssa Milano’s Twitter posting. The former Charmed actress rallied more women to share experiences that they had suppressed from the media in fear of losing their status in the entertainment industry.

Harvey Weinstein’s spokeswoman first responded to the allegations with denial and showed effort in publicizing a more family-oriented image for him but his resignation from the board in Weinstein and Co. and removal from any affiliations from Miramax suggest a shift in his positioning on the matters, especially with more women exposing him on social media and now, legally. On October 10, his attorney Patricia Glaser even went on to say others on the board at Weinstein were aware of the happenings and that they too have to come forward and accept blame.

“The government needs to undertake this issue and formulate a plan to regulate these grey areas better, as women deserve the same quality of life as their male counterparts, both paying the same denotations of taxation to the state and central legislations” said sophomore Gio Delgado.

Notably by the 15th of October, a total of 38 women had accused director James Toback of sexual misconduct, showing that the movement against inappropriate behavior at the workplace is gaining traction. Sexual assault is not legally tolerated and citizens feel the notion could extend to office spaces beyond the entertainment industry. Weinstein’s count of shame is at 56 as of the 1st of November.

“Hopefully more victims from other sectors will come forward and unveil more parasites like Weinstein” said Freshman Jesus Mendoza.

The Weinstein Company is not looking for private buyers to take-over the establishment. The industry too has taken damage and male figures in show-biz have expressed their knowledge on the issue. Tom Hanks has said he was aware of the sad truth and Seth McFarlane even joked about it on stage at the 2013 Oscars.

“Congratulations, you five ladies don’t have to pretend to be attracted to Harvey Weinstein anymore!” said comedy-icon McFarlane, referring to the nominees.

Despite inching around the legal tussles, Harvey Weinstein still owns 23% of Weinstein and Co. in shares. Four members of the all-male board have already resigned. This incident happens to evoke questioning the need for government agencies to look into hierarchies established in businesses.

“While regulating such intricacies of a private organization might seem impossible, we have little alternatives. This is an opportunity to bring about new regulations and we must progressively act on it”, said senior Viri Luna.

The public awaits development on this case as court proceedings will reveal how civil reforms might be shaped by this exposé.

Students are proud of NDNU by Almaha Aldosari

Experiences of Students from (NDNU) When Serving Meals during Call to Action Day

Call to action day is an activity where students from NDNU collaborate with other organization to provide various services to the community rather than attending classes.

Activities are planned in different locations such as San Bruno Mountain which is located in Brisbane and the time of visit was from 8:30 to 2 pm. Community services are essential as student benefits emotionally and academically. The primary aim of such activities is to ensure that community is a better place for everyone.

Student Alba Faisal actively participated in community services since she joined the university. She noted that she had gained a lot from these activities since she has learned how other people need such services. She shared her experiences at treasure street shelter which is located at Redwood City and time 8:30 to 2:30 pm. Alba Faisal said that she has learned how to respect others and he has developed awareness of healthy life choices. There is need to have more of these events for the sole reason of helping other disadvantaged people in the community. 

Nwaf Alqahtani a student at NDNU also shared his experiences in community services, he said that this was his first time to participate in this great event and these activities helped in expanding the mission of the organization by motivating young people. He was encouraged when the team visited ecumenical hunger program which is located in East Palo Alto by 10-3pm.The event helped in the cultivation of new generation, creates new partnership, increased public support and visibility in the community and generates new ideas, energy and enthusiasm.

Jenan Alawami was not left out in this exceptional event which has been organized by the university in community service. Academic learning can be significantly improved through service-learning. She shared his experience at O’Donnell Part which is located at Belmont by 9-2pm, and she suggested that there is need to have more of these activities. Community services can help to promote a sense of connectedness to the university and the community.

The activity which was conducted at Second Harvest food bank which is located in San Carlos by 8:30-3pm also gives much insight into community service. Students noticed that service-learning provide an opportunity for civic learning as they are provided with the knowledge to continue supporting the society and community as a whole. Additionally, community service gives the organization a better reputation as the community view the university as resources but not a problem. Similarly, such events help to develop a positive relationship with the community, and a new generation is created as a result.

Catholic Theology Seminar at NDNU by Bala Gunaseelan

A three-part congregation for the Theological Reading of Sacred Texts will be conducted by Notre Dame de Namur University’s professors every Tuesday from October 3rd at the chapel.

The hour-and-a-half long meetings will commence at 5.30 p.m. every week and close on the 17th.

The first lecture titled Mary the Dawn was completed by Prof. Jim McGarry. Attendees discussed the meanings behind the images portrayed on the stained-glass windows at the Cunningham Memorial Chapel.

The second reading was conducted at the Dorothy Stang center, instead of the chapel annex, as there was a clash with another religious event held there. The assembly began after setting aside five minutes of buffer-time for all attendees to gather at the new venue.

Dr. Criscione then started the talk with a humorous, yet relevant exploration into the realm of contemporary politics, relating pressing matters in congress at the moment to teachings from the Holy books. Her portion of the three-part readings is titled Caring for the Lost and the Least: the Works of Mercy in the Catholic Tradition.

After connecting her pious points with a possible parallel, she began delving into the readings and the group analyzed examples in the Bible that denote a sense of mercy amongst a society.

The Gospel of Matthew features the final judgment scene that expresses the good and righteous as sheep while the accursed are denoted as goats.

Jevon Young, Sophomore at Notre Dame de Namur University, also recalls the judgment scene and said “The Lord is seen favoring the needy and ‘discarded’ over the wealthy and powerful, further emphasizing the idea of the cyclical change bringing the oppressed to the top and vice-versa”.

Both these groups of people are not too different, as they are both unaware of identifying Jesus in the form of the needy. It was in their aiding of the helpless with food, drink and/or shelter that they are separated into the “right hand” or “left hand” of the Lord.

NDNU’s own Dr. Mary Criscione further elaborated that early Christian hallmarks included the providing for and tending of the vulnerable and destitute, regardless of their faith (“…be it Pagan”). These codes of “righteous” living are borrowed from the Jewish Torah and thus permeate across geological boundaries.

Freshman Jesus Mendoza said he agrees with this contextual interpretation of the Bible and that “…these teachings are vital for society, especially during a volatile socio-political situation as this”.

Corporal demands of the faith also encompass serving the needy in all aspects of their lives. The idea of remedying a problem for the long-term, rather than stopping short at immediate first-aid is also evidently found in the scriptures. This objective related to the solutions surrounding immigration and Prof. Mary Criscione expressed noble reverberations from the Gospels that point to the necessities of answering those in need with mercy and compassion.

The seminar also took turns to provide insight on feminist angles from inferences in accordance to biblical contexts. Moderating the exchanges, professor Dr. Criscione also integrated humor in a brand that was most apt while including her own perspectives. Although most of the discussion was spent on topics that would be more melancholic, it ended with hope for the future and aspirations for a more conducive nation.

Senior Rene Roque encourages more meetings and said “Religion can not only separate, but it can also bring together”.

The third , and final, installment of the seminar will be held on the 17th of October, conducted by Prof. Enrico Beltramini, also a religious studies professor at Notre Dame de Namur University, titled Baptism: Readings on the Colossians 2. The discussion will explore the baptism story expressed differently in the second two Gospels and all are invited.

NDNU Fraternities or Sororities, A Future Reality or Not? by Cynthia Rinaldo

Notre Dame de Namur University does not have fraternities or sororities on campus, but there are some students who say they are part of a chapter, NDNU refuses to identify them as a club.

Sororities and fraternities are popular in universities all over the country, so why doesn’t NDNU recognize them?

Dean of Students Marsh-Allen Smith mentioned, “that this institution is too small to have a Greek life and because it is too small it would be difficult to include anyone who wants to be a part of it, and that would go against the NDNU hallmarks.”

These social organizations are student run. They are not created by the school but by students who would have to propose to the school and the club headquarters about initiating a chapter at their university. After the chapter headquarters has accepted the proposal, the students would then make sure the university recognizes them.

NDNU senior Yocelyn Mendoza a Communications major said, “I am a sister of Lambba Sigma Gamma. We are a multi-cultural sorority but the school does not allow Greek life because the school is Catholic and it goes against its hallmarks.”

Mendoza expressed her disappointment in why she and her sisters are unable to affiliate their chapter with the school, “personally I think its unfortunate because we are a multi-cultural sorority so we don’t target a specific ethnicity, culture, or sexuality, doesn’t matter who you are we will never exclude anyone. Originally we were a club called, Sisters for Change, once we officially got established as a sorority the school found out and took our club away.”

Even though the school does not recognize them, members would still wear their Greek letters.

“Since then we no longer affiliate our sorority with NDNU,” said Mendoza. Even though Mendoza and her sisters have tried they have not been able to get through to the school.

A well-developed Greek life culture can help NDNU attract more potential students, especially those who have been anticipating this type of culture at universities. Moreover, fraternities and sororities NDNU can benefit by fundraisers for meaningful causes, which in turn create a caring community among students.

Mendoza said, “we give back to the community, campus clean ups, food drives, we are also part of national events where you gain leadership skills.”

NDNU offers some educational Greek life clubs such as Alpha Mu Gamma (language honor society), Delta Epsilon Sigma (Catholic scholastic honor society), Delta Mu Delta, (business administration honor society), Lambda Pi Eta (communication honor society), and Phi Alpha Delta (law fraternity) not any special frats or sorority.

In the “A Guidebook for Student Organizations” on the NDNU website it is possible to have Sororities and Fraternities if guidelines are properly followed.