By Luckie Lovette
For most students at McClymonds, tattoos represent overcoming trauma or celebrating memory. The tattoos range from symbols like ankh to dates, names of loved ones or flowers.
Ask any student at McClymonds why he or she decided to get a tattoo and the responses range from remembering loved ones to celebrating newborns.
As for its legality, none of the students knew that in California, it is illegal for anyone under 18 (with or without parental permission) to get a tattoo. Most Mack students have had their tattoos done by friends or at tattoo parlors that cater to minors.
There’s nothing new about tattoos. Look at Japanese art and you’ll see warriors with tattoos of their battles or Polynesian tribes where the word tattoo derives from tatus.
Tattoos are trendy today, especially among teens. With or without parental permission, some kids sneak out and get tattoos, hiding them with long sleeve shirts. Or it could be a simple “ink hook up.” In most cases, people preferred their name or that of their loved one to be inked on their body. People chose to get their arms, hands or shoulders designed in special cursive letters, graffiti letters, or fun letter and number fonts.
Gradually, tattoo lovers started exploring new ideas.
However, most students says they have been discriminated against and profiled because of their body art; adults think that a person who has a large tattoo must be affiliated with gangs and violence, which is not true for most people. Some argue that it’s just art, and not prison related.
Monte Smith, a senior
Smith says his arm tattoos represent “Family, reminiscence, lost loved ones and prosperity.”
Jermaine McCaints, a senior
Says his tattoos represent “Family”, with special colors of roses, which cost over $300 “Family is important to me because we all stick together as one,” said McCaints.
Lavance Warren, a junior
His tattoo reads: “Rose.” He dedicated his art to his grandmother to remember her. “I got my tattoo to remember my grandmother for making a big impact on my life,” said Warren.
Luckie Lovette, a senior
His tattoo reads “1800”. Which is the block of 18th street and Linden. “It’s home,” said Lovette. Although the tattoo is designed in a style of a gang banger, it was transformed to remember his childhood home. “It give an appearance of an illusion to make people think twice what am I?” said Lovette.
Erin Nicholson, a senior
Her tattoo reads “De’miyah” which is the name of her niece.
“She’s my love, she’s my first niece, and she’s my little angel. I got her name tatted so I can remember her everyday,” said Nicholson.
Jonae Scott, a senior
Has a tattoo of her niece’s name “Ja’dore.”
“It means I own my skin, and I love my niece, she means everything to me,” said Scott.
Shamiela Watkins, a senior
“It just simply means a symbol of life,” said Watkins .
“Some get tattoos for the heck of it but I got mine to enjoy the quality of a positive life,” said Watkins.
“It didn’t hurt as much, but it was worth the cost,” said Watkins.
Why I miss San Francisco
Even the new Bay Bridge can’t compete with views from San Francisco
opinion piece by Marlena Younger
I miss the views. Stunning vistas, dotted hills, the blueness of the Bay, Ocean Beach with its limpet shells and sand dollars.
And then there’s the mobility of living in San Francisco: the buses are cheaper and it feels safer, less violent.
On a typical morning on Potrero Hill, I could jump out of bed and race down the street to Potrero Hill Neighborhood House to take a Zumba class. It’s high energy dance with samba music, Latin jazz, Cupid shuffle. Cafés like JB’s Place open in the wee hours. People mill around Safeway on 17th and Potrero street.
My neighborhood in north Oakland (ice city: “we ain’t no squares we polar bears” Mistah Fab) is less lively and more dangerous. There’s a gang injunction that limits the freedom of lots of youths and people in their 20s in your neighborhood.
My job in San Francisco was where I danced — helping people do the homework and teaching hip hop dancing. I combined strong academics — I don’t even have Spanish this year. And although the pay is the same, my after-school job in the East Bay is in San Leandro, an hour and a half from my house.
It’s fun living in north Oakland, but I also miss all of my friends and family, and on top I miss being in the hood. I miss going everywhere and knowing everybody.
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Tagged AC Transit, ice city, latino, Marlena Younger, north oakland, Potrero Hill, San Francisco, San Francisco. McClymonds, summer job, Zumba