More Stories

18 March 2018

The Shape Of Water: An Allegorical Critique Of Trump


The Shape of Water offers a clever allegory to Donald’s Trump’s presidency, with Michael Shannon’s character (on the left) representing some of the president’s worst qualities
The Shape of Water offers a clever allegory to Donald’s Trump’s presidency, with Michael Shannon’s character (on the left) representing some of the president’s worst qualities. (Kerry Hayes/Fox Searchlight Pictures)
By John Richardson, University of Ottawa

Resistance to Donald Trump’s presidency has taken many forms, including legal challenges, resignations, media criticism, women’s marches, political rebukes and endless rounds of late night mockery. The Best Picture winner at the 90th Academy Awards provides another, less obvious example of resistance. The top film was The Shape of Water, an allegorical love story between a mute woman and a green sea monster.

I am a high school English teacher and an adjunct professor in the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Education with a background in live theatre, critical pedagogy and youth culture. I teach Bachelor of Education students who may one day teach high school English classes.

Part of my course covers the importance of critical literacy, which I believe we can teach by asking teenagers to view film as more than just entertainment but as a vital source of insight on contemporary culture, issues and society.

Many of my classroom discussions focus on the ways in which this year’s top movies, not just Oscar nominees, offer clever responses to the racist, sexist and xenophobic policies and rhetoric that have accompanied Trump’s rise to the top.

Lady Bird argues that the lives of young women are worthy of exploration. Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri offers a flamethrower portrayal of the corruption, racial conflict and violence at the heart of the American dream. Black Panther triumphantly demonstrates that Black actors and filmmakers can produce a Hollywood blockbuster and that African-American culture can yield an exciting, mythological story appealing to all audiences.

But it is The Shape of Water that offers the most detailed, poetic critique of Trump and the hollow promises of his “Make America Great Again” philosophy.

Lives of quiet oppression 
Set in 1962 Baltimore, director Guillermo Del Toro’s film tells the story of Elisa, a young mute woman who works as a cleaner at a mysterious government facility that is home to a recently captured “Amphibian Man.” Zelda is her African-American co-worker and Giles, a gay graphic designer whose work and identity are “ahead of his time,” is her roommate.

These are the Americans who live lives of quiet oppression in the past-tense America that shimmers, mythical and revered, at the heart of the Trump campaign promise. The film both upholds and undermines the old mythologies that can provide comfort and reassurance to people whose lives have been disrupted by global trade, population movements and the emergence of AI in the workplace.

The Shape of Water’ features the lives of Americans facing everyday oppressions.
‘The Shape of Water’ features the lives of Americans facing everyday oppressions. (Kerry Hayes/Fox Searchlight Pictures)

The Cold War is in full swing in the film, and the dichotomy between the United States and Russia, between “good” and “evil,” is both referenced and undermined.

Americans and Russians are in conflict, but it’s a Russian agent who acts ethically. There is a traditional Main Street dessert shop, but the affable server turns out to be a vile racist and homophobe who adopts a southern accent for marketing purposes and is actually from Ottawa.

The pies look appealing, but they are mass-produced and the store is part of a new phenomena, the franchise. The film is poised at the moment when authenticity is being lost to illusion.

A Trump proxy 
Opposing the quiet, marginalized Americans is Strickland, a shadowy government worker upon whose character the filmmakers apply hateful qualities like layers of slime. It becomes evident that Strickland is designed as a bridge to Trump’s present-day political toxicity when a smooth-talking car salesman tells him: “You are the man of the future.”

A further connection to Trump is made when Strickland announces: “The future is bright. You gotta trust in that. This is America.” Here the film has fun with its ironic presentation of the past. As audience members in 2018 watching a film set in a period of time more than half a century ago, we may question whether the future has indeed turned out to be “bright.”

Reading news stories about the Robert Mueller investigation into the Trump campaign’s alleged involvement with Russia, we may feel profoundly uneasy about the relationship between trust and leadership.

Witnessing the assault on otherness and a turn to American nativism, we may question what it now means to be American, and where a nation that was once so welcoming to immigrants has gone.

The Shape of Water is an unconventional love story between a mute woman and a sea creature
The Shape of Water is an unconventional love story between a mute woman and a sea creature. (Kerry Hayes/Fox Searchlight Pictures)

But then the film also picks up on the way in which truth in the Trump era has been attacked, questioned and undermined. “Bonanza is not violent. It’s real life. The way it was,” Strickland tells his son about the popular Western TV show of the time. A TV show is said to be “true” much in the same way that Trump draws on cable news personalities as experts fit to serve in the White House.

Like Trump, Strickland boasts about his power to sexually assault women when he harasses silent Elisa with the line: “Bet I can make you squawk a little.” He has sex with his wife in a mechanical manner that diminishes and belittles her. His casual vulgarity oozes male privilege. His repellent masculinity crowds out a woman’s agency.

Strickland calls the beautiful South American Amphibian Man an “affront” and takes pleasure in torturing him with his sizzling cattle prod.

How did they get in?” he asks of the Russian agents who infiltrated his facility, the question echoing the current political discourse around “illegals” and “shithole countries” as well as the president’s restrictive immigration policies.

A rebuke to ignorance 
When the mute woman, the Black woman and the gay man act together to free the beautiful “undesirable” from his prison, the film suggests that the creativity and humanism of outsiders can prevail against cruelty and corruption.

Cowardly, vile and literally rotting from having lost fingers earlier in the story, Strickland dies by the same violence he promulgated. He is the real monster. Elisa and Amphibian Man fall in love and slip away to a watery paradise. Breathing underwater, she opens her eyes and looks at him. She is alive.

The ConversationNot everyone can escape to the ocean’s depths to escape the Trump presidency, but we can escape to the movies. The Shape of Water reminds audiences of the humanity of those people who are marginalized and belittled. Its artistry alone is a rebuke to ignorance.

About Today's Contributor:
John Richardson, Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Education, University of Ottawa

This article was originally published on The Conversation

The Trailer:

16 March 2018

Makers of Indie Film "Hex" -- a Satisfying, Surprising Mix of Horror and Skydiving -- Launch Indiegogo Campaign to Fund Post-Production

"Hex" - Poster

"Hex" - Poster

Filming has wrapped on the new indie horror film "Hex," and now the producers are seeking community support to complete post-production and bring the pulse-pounding adventure to audiences everywhere. The team hopes to raise $53,000 via an Indiegogo campaign; the crowdfunding effort has already raised a significant portion of that amount, and with a month left in the campaign, Producer Bethany Baptiste is confident it will reach its target. More information about the film, including a trailer and special message from the film's co-directors, is available at
"The talent, creativity, dedication and passion of this amazing cast and crew have carried us a long way," says Producer Joey Box, whose 30-year career includes stunt work on blockbusters like "Oblivion," "Star Trek" and "I Am Legend," among others. "Now, we're looking to film lovers everywhere to help us realize our dream. The entire team is sincerely thankful for all contributions to our campaign."
"Hex" is a unique addition to the horror genre, combining skydiving action with chilling horror themes. The film follows protagonist Sarah, played by Kayla Adams, as she and five fellow skydivers execute a taboo aerial formation. What happens next defies explanation: Sarah witnesses an inexplicable disappearance during the dive, and the team soon find themselves haunted and fighting for their lives against an unseen, mysterious force. They quickly discover that nothing is what it seems, and the viewer is carried right along with them on the wild ride.
The idea for a film merging horror and skydiving came naturally to the crew, who collectively have over 25,000 dives to their credit and a deep love of horror films. Renowned screenwriter Hans Rodionoff has previously collaborated with the likes of Guillermo del ToroClive Barker and John Carpenter, all revered modern masters of the horror writing craft.
Cinematographers Mike Carpenter and Lloyd Bateman brought professionalism, skill and blockbuster technology to the film. During the filming of each pulse-pounding dive, Carpenter employed the perfect framing and camera moves to communicate the aerial action in ways never seen before. The visceral experience sets a high bar for dynamic cinematography. Every scene was also shot in splendid 4Kresolution, and one of the important post-production duties will be adding the right color grading to each frame, as well as creating the necessary visual effects.
"Our post-production team is ready to go," says Co-director Chris Johnston, "and your contribution will help us complete the visual effects, sound design and color grading — these are some of the necessary finishing touches to what we know is a great film. This production has been an incredible journey for Co-director Andy Malchiodi and I, and we're enormously grateful for any support the community can give us. Even if you can't afford to donate money, you can help up tremendously by sharing this campaign on social media."
Makers of Indie Film “Hex” — a Satisfying, Surprising Mix of Horror and Skydiving — Launch Indiegogo Campaign to Fund Post-Production
⏩ Perks for supporters of the "Hex" crowdfunding campaign start at $15, at which level supporters will see their name listed on the website's "Wall of Fame." For a contribution of $30, campaign backers will also receive a digital poster and digital download of the film; the premier is slated for summer 2018. A Hex fanny pack made of parachute material and a "mystery gift" will greet anyone who contributes $125 to the campaign. At the highest contribution level of $10,000, backers will be credited as executive producers and enjoy a plethora of exciting perks.
The Trailer:

15 March 2018

Singer Rayko Steps Up To Fight Abuse With Gender Genocide - An Anthem For Women Today

Rayko speaks up against the abuse of women with her hard-hitting Pop/Rap song, Gender Genocide
Rayko speaks up against the abuse of women with her hard-hitting Pop/Rap song, Gender Genocide
While abuse of women by men in authority positions is both terrifying and hurtful, today more and more of us are emboldened to tell their stories – with their demands for change more powerful than ever. (#MeToo, indeed!) And now that fight has an anthem –  thanks to Rayko, front woman of epic rock band Lolita Dark and Franki K Music, her collaborator and co-writer. Today they announced the release of Gender Genocide, a new single that tackles these issues head-on; the song's cut-to-the-point lyrics and intensity are clearly based not simply on observation, but also on personal experience.
"I'm known as an emotional performer and this topic comes straight from the heart," commented Rayko. "I hope that Gender Genocide will help to boost spirits and empower women to know they don't have to accept mistreatment. And that they can stand up and fight – and win. The world is changing; no one who has been abused needs to remain silent any longer."
Gender Genocide's lyrics explode with energy, anger and passion-for-the-cause: "You mighty moguls/Big men in town/You degraded and hurt us/You bullied and beat us down/Vipers! Parasites! Monsters!/All you do is lie/Soul Suicide/Gender Genocide!"
Gender Genocide is intended as a popular anthem to be used by organizations and individuals committed to empowering women. The song is available for Radio Play, Artist Performance, Film, Television and Commercial Licensing. (DJ Note: "Clean" version - also available.) Published by A-1 Tunz (ASACP).

Rayko makes a strong statement about women's empowerment in Gender Genocide
Rayko is a Tokyo-born, Los Angeles-based composer, bilingual vocalist, and multi-instrumentalist. Noted for her diverse musical styles, she enjoys influences from across the entire musical spectrum. Rayko has not stopped writing since her very first pop piano composition at age five. Today, her library consists of hundreds of songs -- representing styles from ABBA to Zappa.
Franki K Music is a Los Angeles-based songwriter/lyricist creating eclectic musical styles that connect with diverse audiences.
Lolita Dark includes musicians Rain Balen and Joey Felix, and is best known for its unique symphonic rock sound. The group has built a large following both in the US and across Asia, where they are signed to a recording contract with Sparks Japan (distribution via Universal Records). Producer Arif Hodzic rounds out the Gender Genocide team.

The Video:

14 March 2018

New Climate Change Book Offers Inspiration for Urgent Action

"Are We Awakened Yet? How to Save Our Earth" - Cover
There are thousands of books on climate change and taking care of our Earth. "Are We Awakened Yet? How to Save Our Earth" differs by diving deep into explaining how we, the humans of the industrialized world, created this huge problem by ignoring the facts that scientists have been warning us about for the last 40 years, and why we are not putting the health of our Earth on our radar.
"By not acting, we lose lives and go through the horrible pain of destruction in the form of hurricanes, earthquakes, and wildfires," said author Ilka Handsaw, who has won writing awards in Bulgaria for describing the wonders of Mother Earth and on social justice. "We spend a lot more money to repair and restore life in cities, homes, and islands. But - most importantly - we deprive our children of living normal lives in a stable, livable, and healthy planet. As Gandhi said: 'One should care about the world one will not see!' In other words, we should care about the future of our loved ones, kids, and grandkids. And even if you might be someone that doesn't believe in it, what's wrong with making the Earth cleaner and greener?"
Providing credible, well-researched statistics on our current global climate changes from reputable sources, Earth lover Ilka Handshaw passionately inspires readers to awaken to what matters the most: sustain life on our planet, our only home, by:
  • Conserving our precious resources, especially by not wasting food
  • Lowering our carbon footprint
  • Educating and inspiring others to do the same.
Because our dear Earth is in trouble:
  • We need to stop procrastinating
  • We also need to be honest with ourselves and own up to what we need to do for our planet's health as well as for our own lives. We need to take responsibility for everything that happens.
  • We should act now, before is too late.

Book Reviews:
"An easy-to-read book which provides powerful statistics about what we are doing to destroy the planet Earth and ways we can rebuild it. I applaud the author who has researched extensively and sets the scene for current global climate changes, pesticide usage on our food and how we can enlighten ourselves to truly understand how important it is to take a stand against the polluters and those destroying our Mother Earth - our home. I highly recommend this book for all who are ready to become awakened to the gift we have been given with our beautiful environment, plants, lakes, oceans, and air and to begin turning the tide so we may together create a healthy planet. Bravo to Ilka Handshaw," said Linda Ellis Eastman, CEO of The Professional Woman Network.
"I highly recommend this handbook about the state of our planet. I spend a lot of time enjoying the outdoors and traveling to see our natural wonders. I have heard a lot of controversy over "the real facts about the changes our earth is going through" and "Is there a problem or not." I needed a book that would help me understand what is going on with our environment without being overwhelmed. I got lucky with Ilka Handshaw's book on the earth and what's going on. It was fact based and concise and it actually gave ways I can help save our planet on a day to day basis," said Alison Evanzo, an annuity and insurance specialist at a bank in Grand Rapids.
"The more dialogue we have about our responsibility to our planet and each other, the better! This book was well organized, and an easy read. It is something you can read in an afternoon or two, but that will make you think for much longer than that. Lots of interesting facts," said Rivka Kawano, Author of "What to Post."
"Great book to awakening our heart to take care of our planet we were give," said Christine Gross, MMT (Medical Massage Therapist).

About the Author:
Ilka Handshaw
Ilka Handshaw
Ilka Handshaw was born in Bulgaria, studied languages in high school and graduated from a university in Bulgaria. She also loves helping people be healthier and was always learning about the subject since a child.
She always had an amazing affinity for Mother Nature and spent a lot of time hiking, traveling, and enjoying the beaches.
Here, in the USA she wrote articles about health and the benefits of essential oils for well being. She specializes in teaching and coaching others to health.
A few years ago, she got the calling to express her love and concern for the well-being of Mother Earth. This is how her book was born.
SOURCE: Ilka Handshaw

13 March 2018

Antiwar Comedy Shorts Concludes Festival Run With 80 Festivals, 11 Awards

"G.I. Hospital" (6 awards in 35 festivals) uses stop-motion animation to tell the story of 6 wounded soldiers who don't mind missing a few limbs because after all, it was "for our country."
"G.I. Hospital" (6 awards in 35 festivals) uses stop-motion animation to tell the story of 6 wounded soldiers who don't mind missing a few limbs because after all, it was "for our country."
Based in Michigan, but shooting their films in Hollywood, Antiwar Comedy Shorts has produced eight films in the last two years. The first two were submitted to festivals. Among the 11 awards won were Best Comedy, Best Social Commentary, Best Short Film, Best Animated Short, and Best Actor Under 18 (for eight-year-old Kobe Humphries). 
Writer/director Jonny Lewis did not submit the other six films: "It's nice to receive awards, but it's not really about any particular film. It's about showing there is a willingness to consider the antiwar point of view, and about using comedy to open people up to serious issues."
"Block This Caller" - An Arab and an American randomly meet in the desert and decide not to fight each other—despite phone calls from “important people higher up” suggesting that they do so.
Lewis has always been antiwar, though he admits to "playing army" when he was a kid, "because that's what society shows us on TV and in movies—that to be a man is to be strong, and help your buddies, and kill the bad guys." He got started writing antiwar comedies when he took to heart the words of Mark Twain: "All war must be just the killing of strangers against whom you feel no personal animosity; strangers whom, in other circumstances, you would help if you found them in trouble, and who would help you if you needed it."
"Gonna Be a Soldier"- 6-year-old Joey’s parents explain that he can’t be a doctor when he grows up because they are raising him to be a soldier, and kill people.
"Gonna Be a Soldier"- 6-year-old Joey’s parents explain that he can’t be a doctor when he grows up because they are raising him to be a soldier, and kill people.
Aside from the award-winners—Gonna Be a Soldier and the animated G.I. Hospital—one of Antiwar Comedy Shorts most popular films on YouTube is Block This Caller, which portrays the scenario Twain describes: An Iraqi and an American meet randomly in the desert and decide not to fight, despite pressure to do so from "the higher-ups" (and perhaps despite viewers' expectations that there must always be conflict between two such characters).
Says Lewis: "Our next step is to make the films available to the antiwar/peace community.
The films are offered free, and are not copyrighted. Lewis is working with Veterans for Peace and other groups to use the films in their outreach programs. (A Google search on "Truth in Recruiting" clicking on the "Video" tab brings up the Antiwar Comedy Shorts film with that title as the first result.)
"Truth in Recruiting" - A recruiter is forced by the new “truth in recruiting” policy to admit to a prospective recruit that yes, he “might die, or might get his arms and legs blown off.”
Antiwar Comedy Shorts is the brainchild of writer/director Jonny Lewis, an Associate Member of Veterans for Peace in Michigan.

The Time is Now for More Women in Science

Dr. Irene Ghobrial
Dr. Irene Ghobrial
As breakthroughs in cancer treatments are occurring at an ever increasing rate, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) is shining a spotlight on the women in science who are helping to lead these advances. 
Through its significant investment in cancer research – more than $1.2 billion since its founding nearly 70 years ago – LLS is committed to funding and recognizing female scientists, physicians, social workers and nurses, and encouraging young women to participate in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education and pursue careers in the sciences.
As part of its efforts to encourage more females to join the ranks of cancer researchers and physicians, LLS, the world's leading nonprofit dedicated to fighting blood cancers, commissioned a survey of 1,000 Americans to learn their views of women's role in cancer research.
Survey responses point to a desire to elevate women in the sciences. For example, eight in 10 adults polled believe women are critical to science discoveries, and seven in 10 adults, and eight in 10 women, believe more women should have leadership roles in science. As well, nearly 70 percent of American men and women surveyed, and 80 percent of women polled, believe the time is now for women to break the glass ceiling in science.

Dr. Rayne Rouce
Dr. Rayne Rouce
Leading by Example 
According to LLS's own glass ceiling breaker, Chief Medical Officer Gwen Nichols, M.D.: "I am keenly aware of the opportunities and obstacles that exist, and look for every opportunity to encourage women in this field. There are so many outstanding women who support LLS in our goal to cure blood cancers, including leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma. We are honored to shine a spotlight on just a few who represent the amazing work being done."
Nichols' career has spanned high-level positions in academic research and teaching, pharmaceutical development and the nonprofit cancer space. As former director of the Hematologic Malignancies Program at Columbia University, and past head of the Roche Translational Clinical Research Center, she is determined to lead the charge for more women scientists to play a larger role in conducting groundbreaking research in blood cancers supported by LLS, including transformational immunotherapies and precision medicine.

Women Making their Mark in Science 
LLS's Nichols recognizes that many women who have pursued careers to advance cancer research point to the importance of LLS funding, including a range of research grant programs that foster early careers, and help scientists accelerate their discoveries from the lab to clinical trials. LLS celebrates some of the women scientists who are assuming pivotal roles in advances that are dramatically improving outcomes for patients with blood cancers as well as other cancers and chronic diseases:
  • Selina Chen-Kiang, Ph.D., a renowned professor of pathology and laboratory medicine, and immunology at Weill Cornell Medicine, has received multiple LLS grants over the past 17 years, enabling her seminal work on a therapy that targets enzymes that play vital roles in cell division and are implicated in multiple cancers. While her work is focused on myeloma and lymphoma, her discoveries helped lead the way to the therapy being FDA approved in 2015 for certain types of breast cancer. Chen-Kiang says she tells young women: "Follow your passion and be fearless."
  • Wendy Stock, M.D., University of Chicago Medicine, is a clinician scientist who designs and conducts clinical trials for patients with acute leukemias, translating individual patient characteristics, including the unique leukemia biology, into ways to optimize their treatments. Stock says that the biggest challenge for women scientists is the work/life balance. "Trying to create and sustain a rich personal and family life while building one's career is a struggle that I believe we all face."
  • Catriona Jamieson, M.D., Ph.D., of University of California San Diego, is focused on eradication of cancer stem cells, which fuel relapse after treatment. Jamieson's advice to young women pursuing STEM careers: "Surround yourself with people who support you, be strategic with your time and work effectively." 
  • Tamara Ouspenskaia, Ph.D., Broad Institute of MIT, is pursuing approaches to cancer therapy harnessing the body's immune system. She says that her mentor in graduate school was a passionate advocate for women in science, and the head of her post-doctoral lab leads by example, managing the diverse group of researchers while making time for her family. But she also encountered colleagues whose attitudes were disappointing.  Her advice: "Grow thick skin and do not let disparaging comments discourage you."
  • Katherine Borden, Ph.D., University of Montreal, studies the biological pathways that drive leukemia. She tells young students interested in pursuing science: "You can be the first person in the entire world to discover some new molecular pathway and that discovery might change how patients are treated." 
  • Rayne Rouce, M.D., Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children's Cancer Center, part of a team advancing immunotherapy approaches for leukemia and lymphoma patients, says, "I truly believe that I love mentoring others because I realize that I would not have achieved what I have if it wasn't for my mentors." 
Dr. Wendy Stock
Dr. Wendy Stock
More Highlights of the LLS-commissioned Survey:
  • Despite the fact that women make up 50% of medical school applicants, data show that women are not attaining the highest levels of leadership positions at the same pace as men (Association of American Medical Colleges). According to the LLS survey, Americans believe that women are critical to science because they bring a unique perspective to scientific inquiry that can lead to breakthrough discoveries, and more women in STEM can inspire a new generation to break the glass ceiling. 
  • Respondents, particularly women, recognize the obstacles; for example, eight in 10 American women polled say more needs to be done to encourage women to pursue STEM careers. 
  • Four in 10 women say that they did not have enough opportunities to pursue science in school. 
  • Nearly eight in 10 adults agree that successful women in science are one of the most influential factors in encouraging young girls to become interested in science.

LLS Fosters Women Addressing Barriers to Cancer Care 

New and better therapies can't help patients who can't access them. In addition to funding groundbreaking research, LLS provides free information and support for patients, caregivers and healthcare professionals. Elisa Weiss, Ph.D., LLS senior vice president, patient access and outcomes, leads an all-women team of master's trained health professionals with expertise in the blood cancers who help patients understand their diagnosis, find treatment options, find clinical trials and navigate the financial burdens of healthcare. Weiss, a medical sociologist by training, works with other leading experts, some funded by LLS, to design and conduct health research to understand the impact of the cost of care on cancer patients, including the cost effectiveness of treatment and quality of life issues.

Dr. Catriona Jamieson
Dr. Catriona Jamieson
From the School Hallways to the Halls of Congress
LLS's efforts to promote women in science begin in the classroom. LLS's Student Series fundraising campaign reaches more than 14.5 million students in approximately 27,000 schools across the country with its set of science-based philanthropy programs. The campaign has developed a new STEM curriculum to inspire the next generation of scientists, both girls and boys. The proprietary curriculum gives K-5 students an in-depth look at LLS-funded science, covers key Common Core skills and allows students to learn how the money they raise makes an impact.
Rounding out its efforts is LLS's small but mighty Office of Public Policy, based in Washington, D.C., led by Bernadette O'Donoghue, vice president of public policy. She and her team focus on accelerating cures and ensuring access to treatment by working with national and state legislators to advocate for laws and policies that remove barriers to therapies and care. 

LLS's Female Researchers are Moving Mountains! 
Irene Ghobrial, M.D., of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, has received numerous LLS grants during her career to support her research to find ways to prevent early stage blood disorders from progressing to more serious cancers such as myeloma and leukemia. Ghobrial also gives back by fundraising through LLS's Team In Training and Light The Night campaigns, and has run two half marathons and even climbed Mount Kilimanjaro to support LLS's mission.
"I always do whatever I can for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society," says Ghobrial. "I can't say enough good things about LLS's research, patient care and fundraising campaigns. Whenever there is an LLS event in Boston I always try to volunteer." And her advice to young women: "Never think you cannot do it because you are a woman. Don't hold yourself back. You can achieve anything you want to do. Dream Big!"
The Video:

12 March 2018

National Geographic Publishes "The Race Issue", a Special Edition Single-Topic Issue Exploring Race and Diversity in the 21st Century

National Geographic Magazine April 2018, The Race Issue
National Geographic Magazine April 2018, The Race Issue (
National Geographic has published a single-topic issue exploring the subject of race in the lead up to the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination this April. The April edition of the magazine, The Race Issue, features a pair of black and white fraternal twin sisters from the United KingdomMarcia and Millie Biggs, on the cover (more here). The Biggs twins on the cover are a catalyst for readers to rethink what they know about race. The full issue is available now at
The Race Issue, which is accompanied by a discussion guide aimed at parents and educators (here), includes the latest research, powerful anecdotes and unparalleled visual storytelling to explore the human journey through the lens of labels that define, separate and unite us. Select features include:
National Geographic Magazine April 2018, The Race Issue
National Geographic Magazine April 2018, The Race Issue
The Race Issue kicks off the magazine's "Diversity in America" series. Throughout the rest of 2018, the series looks at racial, ethnic and religious groups in the United States, including Muslims, Latinos, Asian Americans and Native Americans, and examines their changing roles in 21st-century life.
National Geographic Magazine April 2018, The Race Issue
National Geographic Magazine April 2018, The Race Issue
In conjunction with the publication of the issue, National Geographic has also launched a social media campaign, #IDefineMe, calling on individuals to share their experience with race and what it means to them. Through photos, videos or text across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, the online community is encouraged to respond to the call-to-action: Science defines you by your DNA. Society defines you by the color of your skin. How do you define yourself? #IDefineMe
⏩ Additionally, "America Inside Out with Katie Couric," a documentary television series covering some of the most complicated and consequential questions in American culture today, premieres April 11 on National Geographic.
The Race Issue is available online now at and on print newsstands March 27th.

Extra News