Peyton Stotelmyre / Daily Nexus

I am moved by the protests that are happening right now across the country in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. However, I don’t feel comfortable going out to protest in person because of the current pandemic. What are some ways that I can show my support/get more involved with the movement?

First off, thank you for showing support and interest in this issue. As someone who comes from an African American background, it gives me hope to see the world take up this cause and stand in solidarity. I completely understand your apprehension to protest because COVID-19 is still at large in this country. Our health is important, and there are plenty of other ways to contribute at home. 

I would like to emphasize that one of the most imperative steps you can take is to become educated regarding the systemic racism and inequality in our society. White privilege is not something to be ashamed of but instead something non-people of color can become educated about and recognize to help fight racism in America. Currently, streaming platforms such as Amazon Prime and Netflix are offering movies such as “Just Mercy” and “13TH” that highlight injustices in our prison system. I also encourage you to look into books such as “The Hate U Give,” by Angie Thomas, and “Unbreakable Resolve: Triumphant Stories of 3 True Gentlemen,” by Daniel Rideau, Jerome Morgan and Robert Jones. These texts and movies aid non-POC in understanding the everyday challenges that Black people face in the United States. 

Having difficult conversations with friends and family who disagree with the movement is another way to help the cause. While everyone may not see eye to eye, it is important that this fundamental human rights issue is addressed and the correct information is spread. Some other methods can include donating to Black Lives Matter organizations, signing petitions and, most importantly, practicing your American right to vote for candidates that align with the cause. I also encourage you to support Black-owned local businesses that have been affected by COVID-19, especially ones in Santa Barbara.  

While social media and the news cycle may slow down coverage regarding this topic, it is important that we never give up on this cause and continue to show support. Since our founding, racism has existed in the United States’ systems and culture, and it is up to our generation to be the change in this world.  


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Hey, AJ! One of my housemates moved back to the Netherlands after her semester abroad at UCSB. The house misses her like hell. Any advice on how we can cope? 

I’m sorry! I know it can be tough to have to say goodbye so soon. Thankfully, FaceTime and Zoom can help us stay in touch even when we cannot be physically together. Having game nights, cooking sessions or movie nights over Zoom can make you feel like she never left. When my best friend moved away for college, one idea we had was to send monthly friendship boxes. During finals week, we would ship each other self-care items and snacks to help cheer the other up. This helped us to always keep each other in our thoughts. 

Another way to communicate is by sending letters. When my other friend was sent to the army, we would send long letters and photos regarding updates in our life. This made our conversations feel more meaningful. No matter how far the distance, a simple message showing you care helps keep a friendship bond strong. It’s also important to focus on the memories you made with her, and how in the future there will always be time to make more. As my friends and I were all moving off to different places in life for college and careers, I kept saying to them, this is not goodbye, but a to be continued


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Should I be rethinking my addiction to Puff Bars because of Corona? I don’t know if I can live without nicotine but I’m too young to die.

Without even factoring in COVID-19, I would recommend trying to quit smoking. Nicotine is linked to cancer and heart and lung diseases. These issues alone can shorten your lifespan significantly. Now with COVID-19 spreading through the world, our bodies need to be at their strongest to fight off this disease. The coronavirus is a respiratory disease that targets the lungs, and with weaker lung capacities from vaping, you are at risk to have more severe symptoms that can turn fatal. The World Health Organization recommends quitting tobacco use immediately. Within 20 minutes of quitting, one’s elevated heart rate and blood pressure drop. After just a few weeks of not smoking, circulation improves and lung capacity increases. I understand how addicting nicotine can be, but I urge you to seek nicotine replacement therapies and the support of loved ones for quitting tobacco use.  


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Frosted tips: hot or not?

While I can’t speak for everyone else, I know that whenever I see anyone with frosted tips, I assume they are going through a life crisis. Frosted tips to me are like cutting your own bangs, a last resort for excitement and change in one’s life. Now if you were Justin Timberlake in the 1990s, that would be a whole different story, but I don’t think this trend is coming back any time soon. If you want to dye your hair, I’d recommend something more natural and subtle like highlights. However, before you get in that salon chair, think long and hard about your decision. Speaking as someone who dyed their hair red in high school during a rebellious stage, it takes a lot of time and money to reverse. 

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AJ is the advice guru of the Daily Nexus. Multiple writers contribute to Ask AJ. If you know who they are, keep it to yourself. Remember, snitches get stitches.