Reading Reflections

Wonder Reflection
The whole solar system in my view revolves around August, my dark-haired, deformed little brother. My mom and dad are Mercury and Venus which are closest to the large burning sun. Black spots shoot across the surface of the sun reminding me of the deformities that August has. August is the sun. The one that is most important and most looked at. I am Mars. Sitting father away from the sun, but still far enough to feel its grasping gravitational pull pulling me inward into a large unfixable situation. Sadly, pulling me in would just cause more trouble. I have been shocked by the way Ella and Miranda appeared today. Transitions between us didn't seem as smooth today. They seemed to hide secrets right below my jaw where I can't see them, but I can feel them. I have been away from home often. Auggie had his big jaw surgery, and I stayed 4 weeks at grandma's house. Nothing is as painful as what Auggie goes through. I have left alone to train myself, to fight fears, to break headaches. Mom and Dad are too concerned about Auggie. My worst headache, worst cut, worst stomachache are nothing compared to Auggie's surgeries. I think Miranda and Ella are beginning to choose popularity over kindness. I think they aren't including me because of my brother. I wan't to be normal again. Everything seems so wrong. The planets are being pulled into a black hole of troubles. Auggie's first day of school, my first day of high school, and my ex-friends have made my life so hard. My brother is the real problem. He is the center of all my troubles and the center of our family solar system. If it comes time to chose between my brother and my regular life, I don't know what decision to make, what I have to give up, how I will be treated after my choice, and my consequences all lie on my shoulders pulling me down farther into the black hole of troubles.

Wonder Reflection
As I enter Mister Tushman's room, a boy with dark hair is looking down, so I cannot see his face. I stand with Charlotte, Julian, and Jack Will. They weren't planning to make me a guide until the fourth guide got sick. The boy looks up, and everyone (including me) was internally shocked by his face. His eyes were too low, his mouth was at an awkward angle, and his nose was crooked. We all kept a smile on our faces though. Julian and Jack greeted August with a quiet, "Hey," and returned back to their places. Charlotte said, "Hi, August," and returned back to her place. I greeted him with a quick, "Hi," still with internal shock inside of me. My human nature was to dodge him and leave his path clear, so I would not be infected with some-type of ugly disease. Inside my emotional center, I felt some pity for the poor boy. What has he been treated like? Why was he born with such an ugly face? How will school affect him? How will Julian, Henry, and the other jerks treat him? I then begin to see that he is scared of himself, scared of his consequences, scared of his face. I think that one more friendly face would be comforting and easier for him. I decide to be nice to August in trade for popularity. I remove my fake smile and put on my real, friendly smile. I walk out of Mr. Tushman's door to begin on a tour for my new so-called friend, August.

Wonder Reflection
When you see someone with a deformity or disability walk into a mall, your eyes begin to drift. The deformed or disabled person won't mind a quick glimpse, but constant staring makes that person feel very uncomfortable or out of place. Many people have been that staring person before, but not many have felt the discomfort of the child being stared at. Have you ever been in a play? Have you ever felt uncomfortable with all those eyes staring at you? If you have, many children experience that on a day to day basis such as Auggie in the book Wonder. Many children cry or scream when faced with the scary truth. R. J. Palacio was an author that experienced this scene with her own little children. Her little one saw someone with Treacher-Collins syndrome, and he began to cry. R.J. Palacio quickly got up, panicked, and quickly moved away from the little girl with the syndrome. On the car ride home, she regretted the decision she had made. She had thoughts colliding in her head fighting over the right actions. Then the song Wonder by Natalie Merchant came on, and it motivated her to write a book called Wonder which was in the eye of the deformed boy named Auggie. She found that her pen was filling her paper without her even thinking. She had a lot to express after that incident. It was like she wrote all the world's sorrow and grief for these deformed kids who want to be normal in a book.
I don't think R.J. Palacio did anything wrong in the long run, but she did do something wrong in the short run. Instead of panicking, she should have calmed down and brought her child over to the bench she was sitting on and talked it all out. If she hadn't panicked and walked quickly away from the deformed girl, Wonder may never have been written. Wonder tells the story of all deformed or disabled children which raises awareness how to treat them. Turning away from an eye-drawer is very difficult. Wonder is the representative of all the deformed children telling their stories which makes it easier to turn away. Once you have read Wonder, you will understand why deformed kids feel so sad and needy. Remember, don't judge a book by its cover, and don't judge a boy by his face.

10/1/14 The Lost Boys
In Peter Pan, the Lost Boys represented boys who ran away, and wander for years before finally deciding that it is time to go to find a family. Salva, a boy from the book, Long Walk to Water, was a boy who ran away from his family to escape the fighting and dangers from the raiding taking place in his village. Salva wanders for at least 10 years from Sudan to Ethiopia refugee camps, to Kenyan refugee camps. At the Kenyan refugee camp, Salva was so excited because there was news that 3000 boys and young men would be sent to America to be with new families. One day, the first list was posted, and Salva's name was not on the list. More lists were posted, and one day Salva's name was on the list. Salva was soon sent to a new country, America. Salva and the other kids that were with him traveling to America can be compared to the lost boys from Peter Pan because they both ran away from home, and then wandered for a few years before going somewhere new to find a home and a family. Salva is a Lost Boy starting a new life with a family in the United States.
Why Is Ferguson Leadership Racially Representative?
external image BN-EG154_fergus_G_20140825101143.jpgPeople attend the Peace Fest music festival in Forest Park on August 24, 2014 in St. Louis, Missouri.Getty Images
Protests in Ferguson, Mo., over the killing of an unarmed African-American teenager by police have highlighted a powerful political dynamic in the working-class suburb: Though Ferguson is heavily African American, its city leaders are nearly all white. Just one of the city’s six council members is black.
Saturday’s Journal looked at how blacks have moved into the city in recent decades while whites have left. In 1970 in Ferguson, there were just a few hundred black residents in the city of about 21,000. Blacks made more than half the population by 2000 and two-thirds by 2010, according to Census figures. Since 2000, the number of whites living in Ferguson has fallen by 40%.
But unlike in other communities, the rising numbers of African American residents hasn't translated into black political power. “It has been majority black for quite a few years, and yet the white minority is very much in control,” said Kenneth Warren, a political science professor at Saint Louis University.
One analysis of local governments, by Jessica Trounstine and the University of California, Merced, found that the racial split between Ferguson’s residents and its elected officials was one of the most extreme in the country.

What’s behind the dynamic? For one, voter turnout is low in municipal contests. Only around 1,500 voters turned out in the city’s most recent council race last year, or around 10% of the city’s voting-age eligible population. In 2011, one councilman won his seat with just 72 votes.
Amid the low participation in voting, local officials and analysts say, the presence of African Americans in the electorate is especially low.
Whites who have remained in the city tend to be part of families with deep roots in the community and who have been in the area a long time. They also tend to be homeowners, who vote more than renters. The city’s African American population tends to be younger and less established than the city’s older, white homeowners. Some lower-income African Americans tend to live on federal-housing aid and move more often.
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“Those people don’t typically vote because they are more transient,” says Russell Gunn, a former state representative whose district included part of Ferguson. Mr. Gunn is African American.
Political scientists say two key institutional factors have also kept voter turnout low for municipal contests. First, local elections occur in April, apart from state and federal contests that might generate higher turnout. They’re also nonpartisan, which means that get-out-the-vote efforts are less common than in races in which political parties are promoting candidates. That makes younger, more transient residents less likely to vote.
“People don't really realize the extent to which these seemingly neutral decisions change how representation works,” says Sunita Parikh, a political science professor who specializes in racial and ethnic politics at Washington University in St. Louis.
City leaders have been aware for years of the lack of minority representation. In 2007, Ferguson’s council members tapped Dwayne James, an African American who served on a zoning board, to fill a vacant position on the council. The city actively recruited Mr. James for the slot, said Terry Jones, political science professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.
Indeed, one challenge is that few African Americans have filed to run for office. Younger and newer residents are less likely to have ties to traditional civic groups that are politically active—labor unions, school boards, business groups, and fraternal organizations, though they may have ties to churches.
“The usual ways that people start out participating, they are still white-dominated,” said Ms. Parikh.
Mr. Gunn describes a chicken-and-egg problem. African Americans aren't running for office, because they don't have a deep support network, and they don’t have that network because more haven't run for office. “Some people feel so disenfranchised, they wonder what good it is going to do,” he said.
One outcome of the recent police protests is that African Americans could become more engaged in local politics. “What I’m praying for is that there are a number of young people that are out there that are trying to organize and get people registered to vote,” says Mr. Gunn.

There are very many peaceful ways to protest against actions that the government made. In this article above, it says that a teenage boy was killed in Missouri. Many people then started parading through the street saying that the boy was killed unfairly. In the book we are reading, The Long Walk to Water, the Sudanese government wanted the whole country to be muslim. Many different tribes and villages had their own belief and refused to follow the muslim religion. The tribes and villages in Southern Sudan soon rebelled against the Sudanese government in the North. The government took the rebellion as a final push before full-fledged war started. In a couple of months, the rebel or the South were at war with the Sudanese government. In the article above many of the African Americans in Ferguson protested that more African Americans should hold seats in the government. Many other famous men peacefully protested for what they believed. Gandhi, one of India's national heroes, did not eat until the government changed an action or decision Gandhi thought was wrong. Martin Luther King, one of America's most famous people, led protests, marches, boycotts to help change the racial barrier. Nelson Mandela stayed in jail for twenty-seven years until the government changed. Many other famous people have led boycotts, started protests, and start rebellion. There are many different peaceful ways to settle a dispute between two sides in an argument. Protests and Boycotts are much more efficient than starting a full-fledged war with many casualties.

Poaching is a way to earn money illegally but ruin our food chain and ecosystem. To balance population animals can't be overpopulated, but the population can not be almost gone. Lots of poachers do not think what they are doing through. If they did not kill the endangered animal for its fur and when it starts overpopulating, the poachers are now legally killing to try to keep that population down so it does not overpopulate. Poaching has endangered many different species such as the Yangtze Finless Porpoise and the Leatherback turtle. When one species is low in population it could cause other species to overpopulate because their are less threats they're facing. When there is an overpopulation with plants or animals there will be less resources for other animals to live off of. So many poachers only think about money. You could have all the money in the world, but if you do not take care of your environment you will have no planet to live on. Gorillas have been decreasing in number very quickly, and the Democratic Republic of Congo made a park dedicated as a safehaven for gorillas. Poaching has happened on every continent except Antarctica, and people are trying to smuggle it through almost anything. One illegal poacher tried to hide his ivory to look like bars of chocolate. Poaching is a bad way to ruin the food chain and ecosystem just by pulling a trigger. Trying to stop poaching would be a very hard task, but we can prevent from happening more often. Every endangered animal should be provided a safe haven with guards who watch for poachers. Start breeding more of that animal so the population will grow and we can remove it off the endangered list. Every animal we remove off the endangered list is small, but if we keep on removing animals soon no animals will become extinct and every animals will be safe from harm.

Leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) underwater. Kei Islands, Moluccas, Indonesia. 21 November 2009
Leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) underwater. Kei Islands, Moluccas, Indonesia. 21 November 2009

Yangtze Finless Porpoise
Yangtze Finless Porpoise