Durham News: Opinion

What you’re saying: Claire Cajka and Veronica Kim

Free STEM fairs for girls

I am working on my Gold Award for Girl Scouts and organizing several free “Be an I.T. Girl with STEM” activity fairs at the libraries in Durham.

There will be STEM-related activities for kids to do such as an egg drop where kids can design a container to protect their egg and then test its strength to learn about engineering, and marshmallow and toothpick bridge building!

The reason I chose to do this for my project is because there is a large disparity of women in STEM fields. Although women hold close to half the jobs in the United States, only 26 percent of STEM workers are female and an even smaller percentage are women of color. The main purpose of these events is to introduce girls to programs and opportunities they might not otherwise know about.

We will be holding events

▪ Saturday, June 25, 1-4 p.m. at East Regional Library, 211 Lick Creek Lane

▪ Saturday, July 9, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Main Library, 300 N. Roxboro St.

▪ Saturday July 16, 1-4 p.m. and The Southwest Library, 3605 Shannon Road

Hope you can join us.

Claire Cajka


18 and losing faith

My mom, when HB2 first passed, urged me to write something. I was unable to put my frustration and confusion into words, into a message coherent and politically savvy enough for an audience.

But this is not about politics. This is about anger and the sheer power of anger, which, when fueled, drives planes into buildings. Bombs into restaurants. Assault rifles into nightclubs.

For my final paper in junior-year American history, I researched school shootings. I learned how anger can murder teenagers, mow down children without a second glance. I learned how quickly we can revert human lives to statistics. Logic, reason, enumeration. The easiest way to forget.

We cannot forget.

I write this for my high school adviser and English teacher, whose label “gay” transcends all others that should be in its place: brilliant, kind, caring, role model, mentor, friend. Who has changed my life. Who sits at his computer, wishing those numbers and death tolls and facts weren’t as real as they are, asking begging pleading that for once we might be capable of learning, of understanding – that for once, it might all just stop.

I – and anyone else – would be lucky to be touched by his humanity and goodness. Yet his blood is deemed unworthy to give.

I write this with the undeniable privilege of being alive, with the fortune of seeing in breaking news photographs what others have seen with their own eyes. I write this because I am 18 and losing faith already—because I want to believe, desperately, in the Lockean philosophy that humanity is inherently good.

And after Orlando, I am struggling to believe that there is anything good left.

We are alive and breathing—we should still be fighting, with everything we have, for that goodness. Our anger breeds hatred. It calls for walls to be built and people to be destroyed. I am young and idealistic, but I know that other lives must be worth more than a number, a headline, another tragedy unaddressed. I write this because heartbeats should matter.

Shouldn’t they?

Veronica Kim

Chapel Hill

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