April 2019

Local artist paints mural memorializing late L.A. rapper

Rapper Nipsey Hussle is being mourned in the hip-hop community

When the news broke that Nipsey Hussle, an L.A. Grammy-nominated rapper, had been killed, the hip-hop community stood together in its mourning. Hussle was not only a rapper but a serious investor in his community; he sought ways to bring about fundamental social and economic change to the area.

230 miles north of where he was shot, people are paying their respect for him. One such individual is Fresno native and artist Frank Pardo, who painted a wall-sized mural of Hussle.

“I respect him, and I wanted to show my respect since he just passed away.” – Pardo

“I respect him, and I wanted to show my respect since he just passed away,” Pardo said.

Although Pardo didn’t listen to Hussle religiously, he is a fan of hip-hop and knew what Hussle’s death meant to the community, as well as the people he served in Los Angeles.

According to several news outlets in the L.A area, Hussle’s service to the community (aside from his music) included investing in a fish market to increase accessibility of healthier food, being a spokesman to the police department to create dialogue with residents and helping convicted individuals reintegrate into society.

The mural is located next to High City Smoke Shop, near the 99 Highway on Shaw Avenue. Pardo’s friend owns the smoke shop and was the one who suggested to Pardo to paint the mural after Hussle was shot two weeks ago.

The site has become a scene of respect: people from the community have left ornaments, glasses, icons and candles to demonstrate their sense of loss of the rapper. Some people have gathered here, both in an organized way and informally, to take a moment to honor Hussle.

The idea for this piece was to commemorate the rapper in the clouds, inspired by the recent nature of his death. He looks down to Earth with his eyes closed. “It almost looks like he’s praying,” Pardo said.

Pardo plans on adding to this mural. He recently included one of Hussle’s song lyrics: “This the remedy, the separation, 2Pac of my generation”. In addition, he would like to add more clouds in the section of the mural filled with empty blue sky.

Pardo got interested in painting murals in high school, getting his start in tagging. From there he honed his skill by painting things which interested him. Over time, portraits became his speciality. Pardo has painted other murals around Fresno, including a “Rick and Morty” mural in Tower District and a “Grinch” mural near Fresno High School. According to him, this Nipsey Hussle mural is one of his best works.

Pardo hopes that the art he produces brings some sense of joy or inspiration to its viewers. “As long as it makes them feel good, it makes me feel good. I guess that’s part of why I still do it. Maybe it inspires other people, like, they think ‘maybe I can do something like that too’,” Pardo said.

Pardo runs a paint stylist business called “Above Par Designs”,which specializes in designing store logos, signs and customizable items.

Domestic violence in the church

What to do if you are a victim of domestic violence

Understanding Domestic Violence: There Is Help, There is Hope

Domestic violence affects approximately 12 million individuals annually across the United States, irrespective of age, economic status, race, religion, education, gender, sexual orientation or any other sort of identity. While some may think of domestic violence as only physical abuse, it is actually a much broader topic. Domestic violence is the exploitation of power by one, typically an adult, member of an intimate relationship over the other. This type of control creates fear through violence and other forms of abuse. Such forms may include physical, psychological, financial, sexual, verbal and spiritual violence.

Abusive partners make it very difficult for the affected to leave the relationship. Many of those affected love their partner and, for this reason, believe them when they promise to change. Other obstacles may include a fear of injury or death to oneself (or loved ones), or isolation from family, friends and other resources. Those affected may also struggle with low self-esteem, self-blame, or strong religious and cultural values that make one feel that separation is not an option. These obstacles explain why, on average, it takes a survivor six to eight attempts to leave a relationship before they are successful.

For those in this situation, there are several ways to protect yourself. First: recognize the signs of an unhealthy relationship. Verbal criticism, harassment, being isolated from family and friends and denial of wrongdoing after abuse should all be considered red flags. It is important to be alert for signs that your partner may be enraged or violent. When you sense the tension building, figure out believable excuses to leave. If you are unable to do so, ensure you are primed for a safe escape if necessary. If at any point you feel you are in an emergency, call 911.

Domestic violence is the exploitation of power by one, typically an adult, member of an intimate relationship over the other.

Other safety precautions include evading small, enclosed spaces like closets or restrooms that do not have exits. Refrain from going to the kitchen, which can place you at risk of being victimized with a weapon (in this case, sharp kitchen utensils). If the partner has moved out, change the locks on your doors and get them for your windows. Plan an escape route and teach it to your children. Think about to whom or where you would go to if leaving becomes necessary. Identify three people or places you can trust in the event you must escape. Pack a bag with important items you would need, put it in a safe place or give it to a trusted friend or relative. Include cash, car keys, court documents, social security card, birth certificate, medical records and medicines). Establish a code word with your children, family and friends to let them know when you are not safe and they should call the police. If the partner contacts you, save their voicemails and emails. Change the passwords on your accounts frequently, and do not use the obvious i.e. (birthdates or favorite numbers) for them. Change your phone number; do not utilize social media. Turn off the locator on your mobile devices.

It is important for survivors to know that the abuse they suffer is not, by any means, their fault.  They are not alone. There are local and national agencies that can provide resources to domestic violence survivors. For 40 years, the Marjaree Mason Center has supported and empowered adults and their children affected by domestic violence in Fresno County, through safe housing, legal assistance, counseling and education.

There is a 24/7 crisis hotline available through dialing (559) 233-4357 (HELP). For those outside Fresno County, the National Domestic Violence Hotline can provide you with resource

assistance through the number 1-800 799-7233.

Rouby Mardirossian-Mavyan is a staff member for the Marjaree Mason Center and adjunct professor of social work at FPU

The process is just as important as the product

The story behind the Mennonite quilts sold at the MCC sale

The relief sale for the Mennonite Central Committee happens on the Fresno Pacific campus every April. As part of the sale donated quilts are auctioned off, an activity that often raising from $100 to over $5,000. The auction is known as one of the events that raises the most funds at the sale.

What not everyone knows, though, is the process of making the quilts.

“The process is just as important as the product,” Lori Esau, quilt chair of West Coast Mennonite Relief Sale and Auction, said.

According to Esau, quilting in Mennonite culture is about more than the quilt itself. It’s about women sitting down together and sharing their life stories and experiences.

“It brought women together … young women would sit across from an older woman and they would talk, and share and give wisdom about life. Even now I sit across women in their 90s, and I am made richer by sitting behind the quilt and sitting across from them,” Esau said.

Women are not the only ones always involved in the process. “Actually, there are some husband and wife teams that work on quilts … sometimes he does the cutting and she does the sewing,” Esau said.

The process of making these quilts is not done over a single night – or even a couple of months. The average time can range from up to two years depending on the size of the quilt, the amount of time dedicated to it and whether the women are working collectively or individually.

“I have done one before, and it took me a year. It’s just a very slow process and you want to do it well,” Esau said.

Women from all over California, and some from out of state, donate quilts to be auctioned. They spend more than just their time, effort and hands to get the job done.

“The women who donate these quilts spend their own money on fabric and their own money for batting. Some of them are sending it from somewhere, so they are donating their postage,” Esau said.

The making of a quilt requires different components that must be sewn together in order to have one cohesive fabric. The quilter must have a pattern in mind, and all the necessary tools and material in order to begin the quilting. The direction of the quilt can then go in multiple ways. Some of the different types depend on the process when tying the materials together.

Hand quilting, or sowing by hand, is the most traditional form of quilting but is also the longest. One can also use a long-arm machine quilter. This machine, though expensive, can even make stitches throughout the quilt.

A more modern form of quilting showcased at the MCC Sale is called prairie quilting. It is similar to traditional quilting and is done by hand, but the stitching is bigger and more colorful so as to become a part of the work instead of being hidden.

The quilts the women donate continue to be an integral part of the MCC sale.  “The money that we raise, such as the net proceeds, go towards the Mennonite Central Committee,” Steve Goossen, chairman of West Coast Mennonite Relief Sale and Auction, said, “it really is a great thing, not just for the purpose, but for what it does for the community. It brings in alumni and the rest of the community to participate in a great cause.”  

Next year will be the MCC sale’s 53rd anniversary, and we expect it to continue for many years to come.

“I have been participating and attending for over 50 years or so. It’s incredible to see how much it has grown, and how it continues to be such a success … It is just really great seeing the community come together and give back for a good cause,” Kevin Friesen, auction chairman of West Coast Mennonite Relief Sale and Auction, said.

Why don’t we travel?

The struggle of bringing the birdcage on the road

Students at Fresno Pacific University as well as student athletes are being deprived of one of the greatest community experiences that college has to offer: student sections. Earlier this year we talked about not having fans in the stands but just recently we had an opportunity that would’ve given our Women’s Basketball team support at the PacWest Tournament.

There was a bus scheduled to take a set of fans to the tournament for a day trip and it was canceled. While yes, it was during midterm break and many were off campus, many students still remained on campus that could’ve filled seats. The mentality with coaches is, “if we win, they will come” but that doesn’t seem to be the case at FPU.

The benefits that we have compared to a big school is that the players on the court are ones that we would have multiple classes with and create relationships with. At huge schools, you might only know the athlete by what you see on the screen and might only have had one class with them. FPU gives students the chance to connect with its athletes and have more than just fans in the stands.

Not only do the students get to be apart of the experience for the athletes but the professors do as well. Professors going to games means a lot to the athletes; everyone is pretty excited anytime they see Professor Q at a sporting event. So why would we deprive our athletes of the experience of taking their friends to watch them play?

The answer in the past has been “lack of interest” but if we deny even the possibility of going, then we will never gain the interest.

The trip was initially planned because the Women’s Basketball team made the tournament which means that there was a special occasion to go and support. Why is this service not sponsored regularly so that we could have continuous support for our athletes?  

Student Life does a great job of creating a community for those that live on campus but one of the biggest parts of our community is sports. Especially in a college community, student sections are almost a right of passage for a college experience

Some female artists contribute to their own objectification

Oversexualization of women in the music industry

In an industry where women make up only 28 percent of the publishing and record label workforce, female artists often struggle to gain credibility and success. When the growing fantasy of a hyper-sexualized world is thrown in the mix, it’s no surprise that women are often portrayed as objects rather than people. In today’s society, most women are expected to rely on their appearance to be successful. Most of the pressures that they face come from the male-dominated nature of the industry; however, some prominent female artists are doing more harm than good in combating these issues.

From Miley Cyrus to Nicki Minaj, some number of women have willingly put their bodies on display to capture their audiences’ attention. One female artist who’s rapid rise to fame is due in part to her sexualized image is Cardi B. To be fair, Cardi had a sexualized image before she started producing music. It wasn’t just a byproduct of the pressure experienced within the industry.

We should be concerned about the example it sets

Cardi B has embraced her image and claims that she uses it to empower women. Despite her supposedly good intentions, her actions may be contributing to a bigger issue: that of women being viewed and treated as objects.

On March 1st, Cardi B released the new music video for her song “Please Me” with Bruno Mars. Given the title of the song, it’s unsurprising that the lyrics, outfits and choreography are highly explicit. In fact, that is the most concerning thing about this video: none of it is surprising. We expect to see barely-clothed women dancing atop men. We expect to hear lyrics about sex and the desire to be pleased by others. All of this is becoming the new norm, and that’s something women need to be cautious of.

From the video’s beginning to its ending, there are a few differences between the way men and women are portrayed that raise red flags. The first and most obvious is the manner in which Cardi and Bruno are dressed. Cardi has a skin tight and skimpy leather outfit on, and is wearing ripped fishnet tights. Bruno, however, is completely covered with jeans and a button up shirt.

The choreography presents another issue. The way Cardi and her backup dancers move their bodies is incredibly sexual, especially when viewed in the context of the lyrics. The way Bruno Mars and the other men dance is nowhere near as raunchy. Even the album art shows Bruno looking down at Cardi in a way that gives off a feeling of objectification.

The message that such imagery sends is unsettling, and we should be concerned about the example it sets for young people. Seeing women portrayed in an oversexualized way can lead young men to feel as though they are able to treat them as objects for their own pleasure. Sexual objectification is not only harmful because it hinders serious female artists in the music industry, but it may also lead women to develop health-related issues such as poor body image, depression, eating disorders and substance abuse.

It’s important to promote body positivity and non-conformity to the society’s vain expectations. Women should be able to feel pride in their bodies. But if a female artist, in an attempt to criticize the way the music industry oversexualizes women, instead objectifies herself, is there anything good being accomplished? Such hypocrisy can discredit other female artists who genuinely seek to combat this problem.

After long delay, construction of greenhouse begins

After seven years of delay, the construction of a greenhouse on campus is underway. The structure will be designed for biology research, community gardens and housing a diverse collection of plants for instructional use.

The Academic Success Center (ASC) is also considering landscaping the space surrounding it to create a socializing area. “We’re hoping that the whole area can become an outdoor place where people can hang out. SI and tutoring could happen out there… it may bring an energy to that whole strip,” said Karen Cianci, dean of natural sciences.

The greenhouse will be completed within the next few weeks, while the surrounding area will be designed and landscaped throughout the spring and summer.

According to Gary Metcalf, director of facilities and services, the greenhouse is the ideal size for FPU’s science program. “It’s easy to use and it doesn’t have a lot of maintenance costs. Given all of our options, and the programs that they’re looking at for this, it’s the ideal fit,” Metcalf said.

The idea for a greenhouse started back in 2012, when biology and environmental science professor Dr. Michael Kunz and former biology professor Dr. Ruth Dahlquist first proposed it. Dahlquist and Metcalf researched different designs of university greenhouses. To acquire funds Cianci wrote FPU’s first grant proposal under Title V, which distributes money from the U.S. Department of Education to Hispanic-serving Institutions. Once the money, around $9,000, was acquired, Cianci purchased the materials for the greenhouse and had them shipped to facilities.

However, the 2012 grant did not include funds for permits and site landscaping, which cost an additional estimated $9,000. Fresno Pacific did not have money for these extra costs at the time, so the materials were kept in a garage for safekeeping. The money to legally secure the area and prepare for installation was recently acquired, and after city officials approved plans for the area construction could finally begin. The project took additional time because the original design had to be updated to comply with 2019 city codes and regulations for infrastructure. The project has required a lot of time and patience to coordinate with city officials and comply with regulations, so the people responsible for bringing it to FPU are happy that this project can finally be completed.