2020 is over, but that doesn’t mean 2021 will be better.

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It’s that time of year again when everyone looks back on what they accomplished or fell short on doing. 2020 brought a year of great pain, loss, and a total lack of humanity for one another. COVID-19 ravaged our country in a way none of us have seen in almost a century. We’ve lost an unconscionable number of Americans — over 340,000 with more deaths to come. Understandably, many of us are looking into the new year with the hope that 2021 will bring us something better than what…


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Hundreds of peaceful protestors confronted by police (Taken by Ken Lambert of The Seattle Times)

What on earth is going on in Portland, Oregon? Over 50 days of protests in the city have turned into something out of a dystopian science fiction novel with people being taken off the street and thrown into unmarked vehicles by unidentifiable federal agents. The Trump administration instructed the Department of Homeland Security (D.H.S.) to deploy federal agents, including mobilizing Immigration Customs Enforcement (I.C.E.) and Customs and Border Patrol (C.B.P), to attack protestors demonstrating against police violence brutality.

Despite it being unclear if Trump or the Acting D.H.S. Secretary has the authority to use C.B.P. and I.C.E. officers in Portland…


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(Left to right) Valeria, Samuel, Tania, Melani, Anali, Bambadjan, Jorge

Initially, I was going to write something like this and share it at our very first Define American Gala at Rutgers-Camden, where we would’ve been celebrating the work we have accomplished, the present, and what’s to come in the future. It would have served as the closing of my chapter as part of the Rutgers-Camden family. But, that didn’t happen because of the coronavirus. The University shut down the school and sent students home in the middle of the semester.

It was abrupt and disappointing, to say the least, especially for graduating seniors like myself who had their last semester…


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Artwork Poster for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

No ones ever really gone in this franchise, are they? Emperor Palpatine has returned in terrifying (and weird) fashion. The resistance is struggling to court new allies in the battle against the First Order. General Leia Organa has become Rey’s Jedi master as it is revealed she received and completed Jedi training under the guidance of her brother Luke Skywalker. Finn, Poe, and Chewbacca are now in command of the Millennium Falcon as they seek out information. There’s a mole in the First Order. …


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As the Skywalker trilogy comes to an end this week in The Rise of Skywalker, I rewatched every Star Wars film, excluding the animated ones and T.V. shows in the lead up to the final film. Before I begin my brief reaction to each film, I want to preface all of this with my admiration of Geroge Lucas and the universe he created. Star Wars brought me into science fiction. It was the first film I had ever watched in the genre, and I almost immediately fell in love with the story Lucas told. …


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Brad Pitt as Roy McBride in Ad Astra

Ad Astra follows astronaut Roy McBride (Pitt) as he agrees to a mission across the solar system to uncover the truth about his missing father, Clifford McBride, and his doomed expedition that 30 years later threatens human beings. The film is written and directed by James Gray and stars Brad Pitt, Tommy Lee Jones, Ruth Negga, and Donald Sutherland.

First and foremost, Ad Astra is what science fiction should be; an exploration of the human condition shown through the backdrop of the vastness and emptiness of space. Like science fiction that came before it (i.e., Blade Runner, 2001: A Space…


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Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood Poster

REVIEW: Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood

Quentin Tarantino’s ninth film Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, and Margot Robbie, Dakota Fanning, Luke Perry, Al Pacino, Kurt Russell, Mike Moh and more in his love letter to the “Golden Age” of Hollywood. It has been 25 years since Pulp Fiction revolutionized cinema and cemented Tarantino as someone extraordinary and unique in his storytelling. Since then he’s released Kill Bill Vol. 1 & 2, Inglorious Bastards, Django Unchained, and The Hateful Eight. All of which highlight the best Tarantino has to offer (i.e., …


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The Art of Self-Defense is writer-director, Riley Stearns (Faults), latest feature starring Jesse Eisenberg, Alessandro Nivola, and Imogen Poots. The film follows Casey, played by a charismatic Eisenberg after he is attacked at random on the street and decides to enlist at a local karate dojo to learn how to defend himself. Once he joins, Sensei, played by an extremely talented Nivola, brings him under his wing to mentor him through life’s everyday struggles by having Casey connect with his masculinity.

Before I move further on in this review, I will be discussing different aspects of the story that will…


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Political pressure mounts to install a system of accountability when the actions of the Avengers lead to collateral damage. The new status quo deeply divides members of the team. Captain America (Chris Evans) believes superheroes should remain free to defend humanity without government interference. Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) sharply disagrees and supports oversight. As the debate escalates into an all-out feud, Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), and the rest of the Avengers must choose a side.

Captain America: Civil War may not be just the best Captain America movie, but the best Marvel movie to date. The…


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‘New American Leaders’ Logo

Dear New American Leaders Team,

Starting a new internship can be an arduous task; meeting new coworkers, establishing good first impressions and acclimating oneself into a new work setting, all of it can feel daunting. However, my first day at ‘New American Leaders’ (NAL) was the complete opposite. I was welcomed into your space with open arms and treated as one of your equals.

I have relished the opportunity, no matter how short, to be a part of an organization leading the fight to change how our democracy functions radically. An organization that leads with its ideals and doesn’t compromise…

Samuel M. Tuero

I love politics & movies.

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