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Déjà Rae sugarcoats nothing. Her words express raw emotions that often get lost in the shuffle. Drawn to the human condition, she has an innate ability to craft some of the most complicated feelings into simple, eloquent words. Her writing reminds readers to embrace and accept their struggles. She shares thoughts on topics including faith, relationships and her journey to finding self-love. 

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Damilola Oseni sat on a cushioned bench in the brand-new Student Union. Her braids swung as she examined the new building — the high ceiling, the glossy white floors, the prison-made furniture. Anger — maybe disgust, maybe disdain — crawled up her throat like hot vomit.
“I know they have money, they just built this whole building,” she said, throwing her arms up. The Stony Brook Union cost $63.4 million to demolish and rebuild. The university seemed to produce the money with ease. Her first semester cost only a little over $5,000. They had nothing to give her.

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On June 6, the baby-boomer battles between left and right at a hallowed Long Island intersection collided with an outpour of younger people calling to end police brutality and systemic inequality. Over 250 peaceful protesters co-opted this battleground for a three-hour Black Lives Matter protest and unknowingly threw tradition by the wayside when nearly 100 of them crossed North Country Road — No Man’s Land — infiltrating the land held by the Patriots for nearly two decades. 

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The coronavirus swept the country, forcing me and almost everyone everywhere into quarantine – with shelter-at-home orders, remote learning for kindergarten-through-college classes and entire industries and small businesses shut down. I’m a creature of habit, but I’m adapting. Still, this change is different – scary, even – with health risks, uncertainty, rising death tolls and limited social contact with the outside world. 

But life in lockdown has had one silver lining for the Taku family. It has forced my family – all six of us – to eat dinner together at the dining room table almost every night. 

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