top 9 of 2009
oh 2009, i’m a bit sad to see you go! i’ve gotta admit that 2009 has been real good to me. as this year closes, i’m left with all sorts of happy, fuzzy feelings that i couldn’t have anticipated as i was jumping up and down at home when 09 rang in. so, in an effort to document such a fantastic year, here’s a roundup of my nine most memorable moments of 2009, in ascending order of awesomeness:
Let me start off by saying that I was never about this hype. One of the first things I learned becoming involved in organizing is that it’s not about one person, but the collective action of a community, of a people. I’m not gonna talk about Obama being elected president (that’s too easy and frankly, overrated), but more so the lessons that this particular election taught us:
- Contradictions are the foundation for action.
- If a people really want it, they can make it happen.
- America, you’re still racist.
Sure, we’ve got the first black president in America’s history. But people are still broke, the war is still going, banks and corporations get bail outs, and we’ve still got a lot of work ahead of us to make that real change happen.
8. TAYO Lit Launch
I definitely have to give a shout out to the nice people over at www.tayoliterarymag.com for all the work they’ve put in to launch their inaugural issue this year. I was very proud to have been a part of magazine, and I sometimes still can’t believe they published my artwork! My dad keeps a copy of the magazine on our coffee table, to show guests :).
7. Chickenpox and the best series I’ve seen in a while
Ok, this isn’t memorable in a the happiest sense, but what started off as just a fever, quickly developed into full-blown chickenpox. Who the hell gets chickenpox as an adult?! I spent nearly 3 weeks quarantined at home this past July, and I missed the Beyonce concert because of it. (and if you know me at all, then you’d understand that this is a very serious crime!!). The upside to all this though, was that it gave me plenty of time to read the entire Sookie Stackhouse series – all 7 of them! My sister got me hip on these books since she was going through her vampire phase. The books are written well, the characters are interesting and fun to follow, and the stories have a good mix of fantasy, sex, drama, and mystery. I loved the books so much, that I ended up watching the HBO series based on the books – True Blood, and now I’m hooked!
6. 1968 Gallery – January 8, 2009
My growth and development as an artist this year has been such a transformative experience. I love what I have been able to create, and have been fortunate enough to be surrounded by artists with a strong purpose, grounded in community. The 1968 exhibit at the Asian Resource Gallery was the very first time I publicly showed my artwork and I was a nervous wreck, but I could not have picked a more perfect event to ground my identity in as an artist. 1968: Filipino Artists Commemorate An Era of Rebellion encompasses everything that I love: my community, good art, movement building, history, and resistance. As Chairman Mao said, “What we demand is the unity of politics and art, the unity of content and form, the unity of revolutionary political content and highest possible perfection of artistic form.” It is rare to witness such a revolutionary space with progressive artists, and I hope it is something we can recreate again in the future.
5. GABRIELA USA Founding Congress – March 29, 2009
After two years of laying groundwork, building organizations, planning, and coordinating with the Philippines, Babae San Francisco, Pinay sa Seattle, Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment NYC, and Sisters of Gabriela Awaken LA formed the first international chapter of GABRIELA Philippines in March 2009! For the past two years, these organizations have worked together to address issues that affect pinays in the US and the Philippines, empower women through signature events and projects, and organize pinays into a militant women’s movement. We’ve learned from each other’s strengths and held each other up during struggle, and solidifying our chapter is a testament to our commitment to advancing the rights and welfare of Filipino women and their families. Congress was overwhelming – a lot of labor, a lot of love, and a strong sense of sisterhood (the ugly cries prove it!). I’m honored to have witnessed such a momentous occasion, and proud to serve as a national officer.
4. 250+ Boxes of Relief Donations Shipped Out of the FCC
Typhoon Ondoy wrecked havoc on the Philippines, and the destruction and loss weighed heavily on my heart. The impact was devastating, but the outpour of love and support from kababayans anchored me during a very tumultuous time. Day by day, donations flowed into the Filipino Community Center (my place of work), and soon we had more goods than we can handle.
Every week, volunteers spent their time sorting and folding clothes, packing food, and raising money for the victims of the typhoon. The FCC was alive with energy! No thanks to GMA, her bureaucratic red tape, and the inept Philippine consulate of SF, the donations continued to accumulate, and we were forced to put our programs on hold until a solution to the shipping of the goods can be resolved. After two months of research, advocacy, and continued fundraising, we were finally able to get a shipping container and these boxes out and into the hands of those who need them most!! This was a grassroots effort from start to finish, and was so inspiring to see the dedication and commitment of our community.
3. Babae SF’s first Pinay Stories
I know, I know…it’s all I’ve talked about the past few months! It was amazing, fun, GREAT! View my blog HERE for why it was such a highlight of my year.
2. Seeing GMA’s face during a protest
Ok, I know we protest a lot. It comes with the territory when you’re an activist/organizer. We all know that when GMA’s busted ass rolls through our hood, we let out the red carpet (red, as in stained with the blood of her political killings) and give her a proper welcoming. So it was business as usual on July 31 when we got word that GMA was going to be in Palo Alto, and she was trying to keep her visit on the low-low. In a short three hours, we organize 30+ folks from all over the bay standing ready outside of the hotel. Picture me bullhorn in hand, chanting as loud as I can when her entourage of cars and police escorts turn the corner on the street we were on, and all of a sudden…I MAKE EYE CONTACT WITH HER!! There she was, inside an SUV with non-tinted windows, sitting smug in the back seat, and for a brief moment our eyes met. I gotta admit that I was really surprised (it’s unusual for her to travel in a car that doesn’t have tinted windows), and after a half second to process what just happened, I chased after her car a few steps down, chanting as furiously as I can. We waited outside of the hotel for three hours to see if we could catch a glimpse of her leaving, but we eventually left. The moment was brief, but sweet. I’ll never forget the look of surprise on her face that day!
1. Weezy F. Bunny
Of all the surprises and adventures that 2009 brought, none have been more satisfying and more fulfilling than having Weezy F. Bunny in my life! This little beige bunny instantly caught my attention as the only bunny of color in a box full of white bunnies at the pet store, but I fell in love when I saw that he had one wonky ear that stayed down, while the other ear was permanently perked up. Weezy is now a young man (in bunny years), and he brings little joys to my often hectic and stressful life. He has a strong personality, loves being cuddled, and really adds a little something special to my life. Maybe that’s the secret to living a healthy, happy life…get a pet!
and there you have it, folks! thank you for the memories, the laughs, and the overall awesome ride, 2009. i’m hoping that 2010 will follow in your footsteps and be equally fantastic and memorable. i’d love to hear from you, out there in internetland! what were YOUR favorite 09 moments? 🙂