As the weather bounces back and forth between springlike and polar vortex (if you don’t live in the mid-Atlantic, this kind of winter weather is VERY typical for January-March), it can be really difficult to make plans.
You never know what you’re going to get — do you need to wear your snow boots and get all bundled up like you’re braving a blizzard? Or can you skip the coat altogether and walk around like it’s mid-April? Anyway, enough of the boring talk about weather, here is where to find me this month.
The Aesthetic Distance Podcast - new episodes every Thursday
I can’t believe it but I’m already on my 9th episode! Don’t forget to keep up with the latest episodes by checking out my Podcast page or by subscribing on iTunes, Soundcloud, Stitcher and wherever you listen to your podcasts. I’m working on getting my show on Spotify so look for it there very soon.
In my last two episodes, I’ve talked to the Nerds of Color about the role of comic books in social justice education and I’ve talked to the editor of The Baltimore Beat about why the left is so divided on Kamala Harris.
The Seventh Biennial Filipino American Studies Gala - February 16, 2019
Every two years, the Filipino Cultural Association (FCA) at my alma mater, The University of Maryland - College Park, hosts the Filipino American Studies (FAST) Gala.
This biennial gala both celebrates the creation and supports the continuation of the FAST program at the university. The program will have been taught for 12 years as of 2019. It has also contributed to scholarships in honor of Filipino community leaders to help students continue forward with their studies.
This program wasn’t available when I was a student at University of Maryland and it’s so important to me that it continues. The Filipino American community is diverse across socioeconomic status and across generations. Our community is diverse because of our mixed racial and ethnic origins but we are united by Filipino American history — a history of struggle against colonialism and racism, a history of resilience in the face of grave injustice and a history of advocacy for equality.
Cultural identity is something I advocate for and is at the heart of most of my writing and activism. I believe it is crucial for the next generation to have this program so they don’t fall into the trap of having to choose between white acceptance/assimilation or total isolation as so many generations that came before them had to do.
Another reason I’m excited about this gala is because celebrated AAPI activist, Jon Melegrito, is the keynote speaker. Jon is also my editor at the Manila Mail newspaper, where I am a contributing writer. The beneficiary for the gala is Mabuhay, Inc., a group that I recently discovered and befriended. They run a weekly Filipino Cultural School and Tagalog language class for children that my own kids are now a part of!
Baltimore Asian Pacifika Arts Collective - General Auditions, February 10-12, 2019
Because Asian American representation in the arts is also something I am interested in and advocate for, I’d really like to see a huge turnout at the general auditions for the next two Baltimore Asian Pacifika Arts Collective (BAPAC) productions.
BAPAC is a talented group of Asian Americans involved in musical theater, dramatic theater, film productions, comedy improv, you name it, they do it. I met them at the Charm City Night Market festival last September when I was the cohost and then we kept bumping into each other at all the Asian American and Filipino events around the city. I’ve since become good friends with several of the cofounders and am really excited about their upcoming productions.
This mother’s story about her 10 year old son, Nico, and his aspirations to be an actor really moved me to tears and it would mean so much to me if you read it too. It is truly one of the most inspirational stories I’ve ever read and made me want to become a supporter of BAPAC and get more involved in their productions and activism in the community.
Auditions will take place at the Cohesian Theater in Baltimore and all ages are welcome. Here is the official announcement and requirements for auditions. My kids and I will be attending their February 12th audition date! Look for us there and say hi!
Katipunan Filipino Cultural School - February 24, 2019
The 7th session of the Katipunan Filipino Cultural School for kids is coming up! Our school has grown so much in the past few years and we continue to add more lessons and excursions to our curriculum. Our next session will focus on the history of pre-colonial Philippines and Filipino American history.
Me and the other cofounders of the school recently met with the Embassy of the Philippines in Washington, D.C. to discuss partnering with them on some field trips for our students this year. I can’t reveal too many details yet, but we are planning an amazing excursion for our students and their families on November 10, 2019! it’s going to be a big one so save the date and start getting excited!!
Elaine Castillo “America is Not The Heart” Book Discussion - February 28, 2019
The Katipunan of Maryland is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year. It’s been an honor to be the Public Relations Officer of such a prestigious organization and to be carrying on my mother’s legacy.
Last year, Filipino-American professor and Katipunan board member, Dr. Mary Anne Alabanza-Akers, applied for a $10,000 grant from the Maryland Humanities Council and were approved! The grant money will be used toward a project that she and I have been working on called “Locating Filipino Americans in Maryland: Our Immigrant Journeys.” It will document our multifaceted experiences as a people who left our ancestral homeland to settle here in the United States. The project will include a series of events to take place throughout 2019: book conversations, personal interviews, a storytelling forum, an art exhibit, author Elaine Castillo’s visit, and a book launch.
The first event under the grant will take place on February 28th at the Baltimore County Public Library - Cockeysville Branch from 6:30 - 8:30 PM. Dr. Alabanza-Akers and I will be discussing Elaine Castillo’s novel, America is Not the Heart.
Check out the Facebook event page for the book conversation.
*Side note: you may remember that I was on Buzzfeed News live morning TV show, AM2DM, talking about this book with host Saeed Jones last April.