Northstar: February

NorthStar: February

Northern California, JSA

Home is where the heart is

JSA members will spend a day debating and discussing bills in the State Capitol in Sacramento, California

At Winter Congress, JSA members spend a day debating and discussing bills in the State Capitol in Sacramento, California

“As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.”  – Henry David Thoreau

Winter Congress: Change is in the Air

by Jesus Tellitud

               This is not a drill. Winter Congress is here! As the follow up to the very successful Fall State back in November, Winter Congress has been highly anticipated and will surely cure NorCal JSAer’s convention thirst. In preparation for Winter Congress on February 4th and 5th, why not go over what actually goes down in Sacramento. Similar to Fall State, students dress formally and practically be politicians for a weekend, but only this time at the capitol of California, Sacramento. This unique setting is the perfect backdrop for JSAers to come and debate with their fellow peers that come from all over Northern California. Winter Congress builds upon those connections and friendships started at Fall State and furthers the bond many have for JSA.

              What goes on at Winter Congress? Bills! Unlike Fall State, Winter Congress’s main focus is delegates creating bills and having them pass in both the House and Senate. The bills are written and submitted weeks before Winter Congress. They can range from serious topics such as legalizing prostitution to putting DJ Khaled on the one hundred dollar bill. Everyone’s voice and opinion is crucial to the whole process of passing bills. Delegates can choose to side with a bill or oppose it. Either way, Winter Congress gives everyone the platform to voice their ideas.

               Students will be divided into the House and Senate. This is to recreate how a bill actually passes in government. Two people, one in the House and the other in the Senate, will represent their bill in the capitol building and try to convince people that the bill should pass. People will debate the flaws in the bill and try to fix them, if possible, through amendments. In the end, a vote will determine if the bill passes in a result of a majority. If the bill is fortunate to pass then it will go through the same process on Sunday, the last day of the convention, on a more small and focused scale. At the end of the long road and heated debates, the two representing the bill will receive a gavel, an honor not many JSAers get.

             Ever wanted to be a congressman? Well now is your chance! The atmosphere is surreal and like no other convention. As delegates roam the capitol building and talk about bills, one just realizes that they’re part of the generation that will make change for the better. Hate or love the new president, there is no better time to come together and discuss how to have an impact on the future. Many fear the future and what it may hold for us. As a result, Winter Congress seems to be more than a convention this time around. It gives delegates the chance to voice their concerns, make a difference, and debate for change.


by Jesse Kireyev

            As President Trump took office on Friday, the 20th, he immediately moved forward with promises he made during the campaign trail. Signing 14 different executive orders and presidential memoranda in his first week in office, Trump made his agenda clear for the next four years of his term.

           Presidential memos and executive orders in the first week of office are nothing new, but most presidents don’t issue as many as Trump has so far. President Obama only signed 13 order and memoranda in the first week of his term, and before him President Bush did not sign any orders at all.

          These new executive orders are a departure from common Republican rhetoric. During Obama’s presidency, his executive orders were condemned as authoritarian and tyrannical. Jeff Sessions referred to Obama as “emperor,” implying Obama was overstepping his bounds and using too much power, while the House Judiciary Committee created a taskforce focusing on whether or not executive actions Obama had taken were, in effect, “legislating from the Oval Office.”

          Despite that, Trump’s recent executive actions were praised by Republican leaders. “This is about keeping Americans safe.” Ryan said in a statement on Wednesday. “I applaud President Trump for keeping his promise to make this a national priority.” Sen. Ron Johnson from Wisconsin, who has previously stated Obama had “exceeded his executive authority,” released a statement of support Wednesday for Trump’s executive orders.

          Saturday, Trump signed two executive orders: One directs government agencies to begin issuing rollbacks on the Affordable Care Act (otherwise known as Obamacare), and the other put a freeze on any new federal regulations “until further notice.” He also signed an executive memo banning the National Parks Service from using social media or communicating with the public, later signing another one that imposed similar measures on the EPA.

         On Monday, he signed three more executive actions. A memo was issued restricting funds for international organizations that provide or otherwise advertise abortion services. Another one was issued directing the US to pull out of the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership, and a last one that froze any hiring of federal employees, with the exception of military personnel.

          In the following days, he went on to sign more memos and orders that reopened the Dakota Access and Keystone XL Pipeline projects, and to expedite environmental review for “infrastructure projects” and for the construction of new factories and manufacturing facilities.

            Trump followed that up with his most controversial actions to date. He issued an order denying sanctuary cities—cities that refuse cooperation with ICE and INS investigations into undocumented immigrants—any federal funding, and an order to begin “immediate construction of a physical wall on the southern border.”

            He also issued orders temporarily suspending the US Refugee Admissions program, indefinitely suspending the admission of any refugees from Syria, and severely limiting the number of immigrants from a number of largely Muslim nations.

          All of this hasn’t been met lightly. On Saturday night, thousands gathered outside of airports across the nation such as Dulles in Washington D.C. and JFK in New York, and SFO in San Francisco, to protest the ban on refugees and immigrants.

          Meanwhile, the University of Michigan stated it will refuse to cooperate with immigration officials seeking information on its students, the Chief of the LAPD stated he hoped his officers wouldn’t become immigration enforcers, and the movement for California to secede and become its own nation, dubbed Calexit, gained steam as it received approval to begin collecting signatures for the 2018 ballot.

           This comes at a time when congress alongside security experts, are questioning Trump’s personal finances and conflicts of interest. Calls came in the week following the inauguration for Trump to release his tax returns, as has been customary for presidents to do in the past, but to no avail.

          Despite a petition breaking a new record and reaching over 368,000 signatures, Trump senior advisor Kellyanne Conway has stated that Trump will refuse to release his tax returns.

       Even with all of the controversy surrounding his actions, Trump shows little sign of stepping back from his goals. In the coming few weeks and months, we will undoubtedly see more executive actions and laws passed by the Republican congress that, whether or not they are good, will be controversial.

Black History month

by Bennie williams

The month of February brings holidays like Groundhog’s Day and the lovely Valentine’s Day. Along with these holidays, February is also Black History Month. This month we celebrate black history along with black culture. Black history is more than just slavery and Jim Crow, indeed, black people built the socioeconomic system that America runs on today


The origins of black history month began in 1915, 50 years after the abolishment of slavery. Harvard historian Carter G. Woodson and minister Jesse E. Moorland established the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. Later in 1926, the group sponsored the Negro History Week on the second week of February to acknowledge Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass’ birthdays. Years later in the 1970’s, Negro History Week turned into Black History Month when President Gerald Ford recognized as an opportunity to honor the “neglected accomplishments of black Americans”.

Black Inventions

Lewis Latimer- Carbon fission that went into Thomas Edison’s light bulb

Garrett Morgan- Traffic Signal

Daniel Hale Williams- Pericardium procedure; first open heart surgery

George E. Alcorn-  X- Ray spectrometer

Elijah McCoy- Train lubricator


Black Americans have been known have a big impact on the music industry today. However these music traditions date back to roots in Africa. Later, when Africans were removed from their lifestyles to slavery, slaves were able to create own music styles. These music styles began to unfold into the blues, gospel, and country music. The next music style to emerge was jazz. Jazz is a complex form of various instruments like the saxophone, trumpet, and percussions. Overall, each music innovation has ties to music roots in the African motherland.


Since the beginning of agricultural societies, Africans have been able to cultivate various crops that helped enriched other societies’ diets. African Americans have influenced the kitchens of America for years. During slavery, slaves were domestic servants to their slave owners by cooking and serving food. In addition, slaves also grew the crops used in American dishes originating in African regions. Soon when slavery was abolished, Americans found themselves fusing African cuisine traits into their dishes.


“I’m never sure if I actually have free time or I’m just forgetting everything I have to do.”  – Anonymous 


Cartoon contest winners!

Let’s give a big round of applause to the two people who applied for this contest, created these beautiful works and will be recieving free customized JSA merchandise for their participation.

Cartoon created by Shuxin Zhou

Cartoon created by Shuxin Zhou



Cartoon hand drawn by Anna Chang

Cartoon hand drawn by Anna Chang


“Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility, and most people are frightened of responsibility.” – Sigmund Freud