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College Students: Food +Housing Insecurity (LA Times)

This 2018 Los Angeles Times video and photo-essay accompanied an article about a UC Berkley student, Ismael Chamu, struggling financially while trying to finish his undergraduate degree. Chamu, a first generation high school graduate says that he’s had to push his graduation date because of life circumstances. He proceeds to detail those circumstances, which include sleeping in a trailer with no running sewage, having an hour commute to campus, struggling to pay for groceries, parenting his younger siblings, getting minimal sleep. An emotional Chamu also talks about his dreams for the future–to live comfortably and have a home with a kitchen, running water, and bedrooms.

discussion

Describe Chamu’s daily life and struggles. Why does he claim that the average person would be surprised to learn about his living conditions?

Why does Chamu say that, for him, going to bed is a privilege? Why does he think it should be a right?

How have rising costs of living and gentrification contributed to Chamu’s family’s troubles?

At the end of the video, Chamu speaks of his determination and pride. Why do you think the video ends with these sentiments? How does Chamu’s story make you feel about your own life?