Tag Archives: CSUN Communication Studies Department

The Sounds of the Rainbow

Music is considered to be the universal language. People listen to music for many different reasons, but it makes an impact on most. Musicians have taken that influence into consideration, and many now use their music as a form of activism.

“It is a really powerful way to get that message across,” said Rudy Vasquez, CSUN alumnus and trumpet player for Mariachi Arcoiris de Los Angeles. “….[We have the ability to] to inform people, because they are not only being informed, they feel what you feel.”

Mariachi Arcoiris de Los Angeles is likely the very first openly LGTBQ mariachi in history. Its members are trying to use their music to break barriers in the music world. The group provides a safe haven for mariachi musicians identifying with the LGTBQ community who want to perform traditional Mexican regional music.

Traditionally mariachis are male dominated and considered to have a machismo identity, with male chauvinistic tendencies. Therefore a mariachi is not a place where someone of the LGTBQ community would feel comfortable or free be themselves.

“We needed a place where we were free from bullying, being made fun of, being talked about behind our backs, and [suffering] discrimination,” said Carlos Samaniego, director of Mariachi Arcoiris, “different type of things that all of us, unfortunately, have suffered.”

“The group also has members who are straight and considered allies,” Vasquez said. “It’s great to see they could play comfortably with us, and know that about us and they are not going to feel that their masculinity is being threatened or anything. It’s like helping out or being a part of any other mariachi. They go in there and play with no reservations.”

Females have been a part of the mariachi world since 1903, when the first documented female mariachi musician, Rosa Quirino, played in a mariachi band, but to some it is still uncommon to think of female mariachis. The first all-female group was the Las Adelitas formed in 1948, which was directed by a male. Today only about thirty all-female mariachi perform in the United States.

Mariachi Arcoiris welcomes women, and is proud to have the first transgender female in mariachi history, Natalia Melendez, as their violinist.

“There were a lot of obstacles I had to go through to be comfortable,” Melendez said. “I never was expecting to be in a leadership role to the world, and I’ve been blessed with that; I’ve been given this kind of responsibility through everything that I’ve done.”

In 2015, gay marriage became legal throughout the United States, demonstrating that times are changing for the LGTBQ community.

“Your generation is more flexible, adaptable and open, and not as concerned about rigid boundaries about sexuality and gender,” CSUN Communication Studies Professor Kathryn Sorrells said. “I think those kind of [musical] performances are shifting [perceptions] for people in ways that I think are really helpful. Not everywhere, not all the time, but certain spaces are more open.”

Despite these advances ,the LGTBQ community is uncertain of its future under the Trump administration, and continues to experience discrimination such as harassment, misgendered pronouns, other forms of hate speech, and exclusion from basic public accommodations and many other areas in society.

But with artists and groups such as Mariachi Arcoiris de Los Angeles, who use music as a tool to advocate for a change, many say there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

“Music and protest are going to continue to come together in really powerful and creative ways in the next decade,” Sorrells said.

Moderator: Julie Nesbitt

Producers: Amber Partida and Abril Preciado

Anchor: Shelby Charlene

Social Media Editors: Malcolm Finney and Curtis Poindexter

Reporters: Yesenia Burgara, Shelby Charlene, Malcolm Finney, Julie Nesbitt, Amber Partida, Curtis Poindexter and Abril Preciado

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Online Privacy: Terms and Conditions May Apply

Passwords, code combinations, and security questions – there are multiple ways in which we try to protect our information online and on our devices today. Yet the reality is that there aren’t any constitutional laws that protect our online privacy.

In this digital age we perform numerous actions on the Internet everyday that require us to share our personal information. It has become such a habit for us to do so that many of us no longer think twice of who this data can be accessed by, and for how long it will be accessible.

“In reality what we’re doing is that we’re all surrendering information, we’re not sharing it,” said CSUN Marketing Professor Kristen Walker. “All we have is faith in our interactions and exchange of information, in particular on our mobile devices.”

The question of who has the right to the information we surrender gained attention this spring as tech company Apple and the FBI got involved in an encryption case. In the aftermath of the fatal terrorist attack in San Bernardino in December 2015, the FBI wanted the iPhone belonging to one of the suspects unlocked. Apple refused to help the FBI in their encryption request, saying it would endanger both personal privacy and national security.

“This is really just two villains facing off each other,” said CSUN Communication Studies Professor Gina Giotta. “Nobody wins, because our rights are being trampled in both cases: on the one hand in the corporate sector, on the other hand in the government sector.”

The Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution protects us from unreasonable searches and seizures by our government, and is seen by many legal scholars as also central to all forms of surveillance and privacy. In today’s era of technology, the Fourth Amendment has also been interpreted by some as a broad protection of our privacy on digital platforms as well.

“Our technology is advancing in an unprecedented pace, and our legal system is not keeping up,” said Guardian reporter Nellie Bowles. “You have these two really separate cultures, moving in two different paces, and we’re starting to see a lot of situations where that is becoming a major problem.”

This tech privacy zeitgeist may be more noticeable for some than for others. Older generations were used to having only their name and contact information in the white pages accessible to others. The amount of personal information that we’re forced to surrender today can be difficult for these generations to accept.

“Technology might be going too fast, according to our mentality,” said Pierce College Computer Science Professor Luis Celada. “If you ask a person born in the last 15 years, there’s no such thing as being careful with their privacy, because they have always been exposed to it. Prior generations see that difference.”

Giotta said the so-called Millennials should be careful with how and what they share about themselves online. This care should also go for popular social networks, where information usually is shared only with users known and trusted.

“To suggest that the mutual or peers surveillance that we do on social networks isn’t a big deal is kind of dangerous,” Giotta said. “When we feel the constant gaze of our friends, co-workers, and parents upon us, we’re much less likely to be concerned when one of those gazes becomes that of the government.”


Moderator: Sofia Levin

Anchor: Mariah Robinson

Producer: Harry Bennett III

Social Media Editors: Harry Bennett III and Mariah Robinson

Reporters: Ajo Adelaja, Harry Bennett III, Jarvis Haren, Valerie Hernandez, Haley Kramer, Sofia Levin and Mariah Robinson


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