poetry & tsismis: emily's blog

October 24, 2013

THANK YOU 18 Million Rising!

MARAMING SALAMAT/MANY THANKS to 18 Million Rising for this Filipino American History Month honor! 🙂

I am so humbled: http://18mr.tumblr.com/post/64986501646/emily-lawsin-professor-poet-and-force-of

Emily Lawsin is today’s Filipino American History Month Hero

http://18mr.tumblr.com/post/64986501646/emily-lawsin-professor-poet-and-force-of

From: http://18mr.tumblr.com/post/64986501646/emily-lawsin-professor-poet-and-force-of

“Emily Lawsin, professor, poet, and force of nature, is today’s Filipino American History Month Hero! To say that Emily is a powerhouse is to understate her value to Detroit, the University of Michigan, and the Filipino American community. In addition to teaching in A/PIA Studies, she is a cofounder of the Detroit Asian Youth Project and serves on the Board of Trustees of the Filipino American National Historical Society. Her writing can be found online at emilylawsin.com

For Filipino American History Month, we’re highlighting Fil-Ams who are carrying on a proud legacy of activism & organizing. Who’s your hero?”

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October 3, 2012

Day 3 of Filipino American History Month: Screen a Film! Filipino Americans: Discovering their Past for the Future

October is Filipino American History Month! I’ve accepted Kevin Nadal’s (fellow FANHS Trustee) challenge of posting a photo of something Filipino American every day. (If you accept the challenge too, on Instagram or Twitter, use the hashtag #fahm2012.) Today is October 3rd, so here’s my 3rd FAHM installment:

On our revamped Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS) website, there is a list of ways you can observe Filipino American History Month, here: http://fanhs-national.org/fahm2012.html

The easiest thing to do — for all ages — is to screen a film. You can watch it by yourself, but it’s more fun to watch with others, then have a discussion. Our FANHS chapters throughout the country have done this for many years, often partnering with another organization, or a local school or community center. In the 21 years since FANHS started observing Filipino American History Month, many more films have been made by or about Filipino Americans. (There have even been Filipino Americans who have won Academy Awards for production and design.) Here is a great FANHS film that you can use for starters.

Filipino Americans: Discovering their Past for the Future 

Produced by Filipino American National Historical Society
and JF Wehman & Associates/MoonRae Productions, National Video Profiles, Inc. (54 minutes, 1994)

“THREE STARS!” – Video Rating Guide for Libraries

Winner of CINE Golden Eagle Award in History, and Bronze Award, Houston International Film Festival/Worldfest

Film description:

This fascinating documentary explores hidden pages in American history and delves into the 400-year-old chronicle of one of the largest ethnic groups in the United States. Interviews with historians, readings from historical letters and transcriptions, combined with more than 300 archival photos reveal Filipino Americans in Hawai’ian plantations, California migrant farms, Alaskan fish canneries and Louisiana shrimp fishing.

FILIPINO AMERICANS: DISCOVERING THEIR PAST FOR THE FUTURE documents their involvement during World War II and their contributions to the advancement of labor organizations. Family units and strong social bonds helped them survive while dealing with discrimination and hard economic times. This video illustrates how Filipino American history has contributed to the American way of life and is an essential component of United States history.

“It is rich United States history and it’s a story that should be told…Filipino Americans have been a quiet voice in promoting their contributions to American society. This video will hopefully open America’s eyes to what Filipino Americans have gone through and contributed.”

– Fred Cordova, Author/Historian and Founding President Emeritus of FANHS

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Currently, the film is only available on VHS video cassette, for purchase through the FANHS National Office in Seattle, on Ebay, or through the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM), here. When it was produced in 1994, AT&T agreed to sponsor it to help fund its distribution; they ended up giving videos to their customers who had Philippine international calling plans (so ask your relatives, they might have it). Some university and public libraries have it too; if your local library doesn’t carry it, ask them to purchase one from CAAM. The film later aired on PBS and someone I don’t know posted that in 4 parts on YouTube, here. (Yeah, I don’t know if that person has the copyright permission to post it, but bahala na. And just so you know: FANHS is a totally volunteer-run organization, with an office and archives, and no salaried staff and no regular source of funding, so when you purchase products from the national office or one of the 30 FANHS Chapters, you are helping preserve even more of Filipino American history. All donations are tax-deductible too.)

So, have you seen the film? What are your thoughts about it? Please leave comments below. Mabuhay and salamat.

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#FilipinoAmericanHistoryMonth  #fahm2012  #fahm

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To read my other posts on Filipino American History Month, click here:

https://divadiba.wordpress.com/tag/filipino-american-history-month/

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www.emilylawsin.com

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October 2, 2012

DAY 2 of Filipino American History Month: Read a Good Book – Tomorrow’s Memories: A Diary, 1924-1928

It’s Day 2 of Filipino American History Month and I’m going to try to drop some knowledge more regularly on this blog, at least during October.

Since I am a professor/lecturer and poet, folks often ask me what books they should read to learn more about Filipino American history. Short of handing them a syllabus (or the reading list that IS actually printed in the back of my first book), I often tell them some basic standard texts, that anyone of any age could read and appreciate: Filipinos: Forgotten Asian Americans by Fred Cordova, America Is In The Heart by Carlos Bulosan, Philip Vera Cruz: A History of Filipino Immigrants and the Farmworkers Movement by Craig Scharlin and Lilia Villanueva, The Filipino Americans by Barbara Posadas, and the list goes on. If they’ve taken any kind of Asian American Studies class or even just read my posts on this blog, they might have heard of those books or read them already. Then I like to pull out one of my favorite books, Tomorrow’s Memories: A Diary, 1924-1928, by Angeles Monrayo Raymundo (University of Hawai’i Press, 2003).

I am proud to have helped and relentlessly encouraged Angeles’ eldest daughter, Rizaline Raymundo, to publish the book. Riz had first typed excerpts of her mother’s handwritten diary and published them in the Filipino American National Historical Society Santa Clara Valley Chapter Journal in the early 1990s. When I first read the diary excerpts, I knew that students and countless others would appreciate the rarity of having history told from a young, female perspective. Now you can too:

Tomorrow’s Memories: A Diary, 1924-1928

by Angeles Monrayo

Edited by Rizaline R. Raymundo, with historical essays by Jonathan Okamura and Dawn Mabalon (2003)

From the Publisher, University of Hawai’i Press:

http://www.uhpress.hawaii.edu/p-2788-9780824826710.aspx

“I would like to read about me–what everyday things happened to me–when I am an old woman. Right now I am only 11 years, 5 months.” ~Angeles Monrayo, 1924

“Angeles Monrayo (1912–2000) began her diary on January 10, 1924, a few months before she and her father and older brother moved from a sugar plantation in Waipahu to Pablo Manlapit’s strike camp in Honolulu. Here for the first time is a young Filipino girl’s view of life in Hawaii and central California in the first decades of the twentieth century—a significant and often turbulent period for immigrant and migrant labor in both settings. Angeles’ vivid, simple language takes us into the heart of an early Filipino family as its members come to terms with poverty and racism and struggle to build new lives in a new world. But even as Angeles recounts the hardships of immigrant life, her diary of “everyday things” never lets us forget that she and the people around her went to school and church, enjoyed music and dancing, told jokes, went to the movies, and fell in love. Essays by Jonathan Okamura and Dawn Mabalon enlarge on Angeles’ account of early working-class Filipinos and situate her experience in the larger history of Filipino migration to the United States.”

#fahm #fahm2012 #FilipinoAmericanHistoryMonth

I hope you add this to your reading list, if you haven’t read it already, then tell me what you think of it!

www.emilylawsin.com

For more on Fiipino American History Month, see: www.fanhs-national.org

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October 1, 2012

October is Filipino American History Month!

October is Filipino American History Month! The year 2012 marks 425 years since the first documented landing of Filipinos in what is now known as the continental United States. The Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS) has been observing October as FAHM for the past 21 years, since 1991. You can read and download FANHS’ original resolution for Filipino American History Month on my main website: http://emilylawsin.com/resolution-on-filipino-american-history-month/

The United States Congress passed the Resolution to Recognize October as Filipino American History Month nationally in 2009, 2010, and 2011. Thank you to all the D.C. and nationwide friends of the Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS) who made it possible. Click here to read the September 29, 2010 Congressional Record: http://tinyurl.com/FAHM2010, here to download the full text from 2009: http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getpage.cgi?dbname=2009_record&page=H12172&position=all and here for the Senate Resolution from October 5, 2011: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?r112:S05OC1-0040:/.

And just in time for history month, our FANHS website has been revamped and is back online with lots of good info on how our 30 chapters and affiliates across the country are observing Filipino American History Month. There is even a list on what you can do to organize, commemorate, and participate. Thanks to FANHS National President Mel Orpilla (Vallejo, CA) and FANHS National Secretary Patricia Espiritu Halagao (Honolulu, HI) for their work on revamping the FANHS website. Click the FANHStastic photo below and check it out! (And no, I did not know they would be posting a photo of my old FYA Drill Team on the FANHS website. But yes, that’s my FYA fam and me! Can you tell which one is me? YAY!) 🙂

* * *Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS) Website Revamped! www.fanhs-national.org

Click photo to go to revamped http://www.fanhs-national.org website.
(Yes, there’s a hyphen in the website name,
but NOT in Filipino American National Historical Society, got it?)

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 Twitter Hashtags #FAHM or #FilipinoAmericanHistoryMonth

Filipino American National Historical Society Facebook Page

and

Filipino American History Month Facebook Page

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www.emilylawsin.com

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October 7, 2008

Remembering Uncle Sam + Poem

Remembering Uncle Sam + Poem

I lost a lot of important people in my life this last year, including my mother, who I will definitely write more about, here or elsewhere, at another time. And today, as always, I’m remembering my “Northridge/FANHS-L.A. Dad”, Uncle Sam.

It’s been exactly one year since I received the phone call from Uncle Fred Cordova about his brother, Sam Balucas, who passed away October 7, 2007, in Southern California, at the age of 75. “Uncle Sam”, as many of us called him, was a fellow Trustee and National Treasurer of the Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS) and President of the FANHS-L.A. Chapter.

I would have never survived the nine years that I lived in Los Angeles without Sam. By way of background: I had the good fortune of being raised in “SHE-attle”, Washington, a major port of entry for thousands of Filipino immigrants since the early 1900s. I grew up on the Filipino Youth Activities (FYA) Khórdobah Drill Team, the only one of its kind in the nation. The FYA Cabataán Folk Dancers started in 1957, and the FYA Drill Team followed in 1959. In the form of what I call a pioneering cultural/freedom school, the FYA was founded by Fred and Dorothy Laigo Cordova with other Seattle families. They wanted to teach their children pride in our cultural heritage at a time when racism and discrimination made it not so popular to do so. The FYA later became a United Way social service agency. As many Seattle Pinoys are, I am actually related to Auntie Dorothy by marriage (through my Floresca sisters and Ordonia cousins). Ever since I was 12 years old, Uncle Fred and Auntie Dorothy have been my mentors, then my college professors at the University of Washington, and then the officiant and godparents at my wedding. With the FYA drill team, we traveled everywhere, including Washington DC and California, where as Maharani/Team Leader, I must have briefly met Fred’s brothers, Phil Ventura and Sam Balucas.

So when I moved to UCLA for graduate school, Uncle Fred, the archivist and information specialist that he is, sent me with a care package and a list of phone numbers. He said, “These are my brothers in L.A, call them, and they will take care of you.” And take care of me, they did.

A couple of years later, when we chartered the FANHS-Los Angeles chapter in 1993, Uncle Sam served as our first chapter Treasurer. He went on to serve two terms as FANHS-LA Chapter President before he became a National Trustee/Treasurer and then was re-elected L.A. Chapter President the year before he died.

If you ever went to a FANHS Conference (held every two years), Sam, a widower, was usually the one counting the money or buying all the ladies drinks (probably so FANHS could make its quota on the bar tab). When my partner and I decided to move to the Valley to be closer to my work (CSUN) and a rental opened up one block away from Sam’s house, we jumped on the chance to live so close to him.

Whenever any students would meet Sam, or his brothers, sisters, or cousins,

Back L-R: Sam Balucas, Emily, Darline & Phil Ventura. Front: Fred & Dorothy Cordova, at FANHS Conference in Honolulu, July 1, 2006

they would be amazed at meeting a Filipino American elder that “didn’t have an accent”, because Sam was SECOND GENERATION. He and his siblings are from what we call the “Bridge Generation”, those Pinoys — Filipino Americans — born in the U.S. to the pioneers of immigrants before 1945. You can read more of Sam’s obituary HERE. Leave it to Sam to pass away during October, which FANHS established as Filipino American History Month, a nationwide observance.

Below is a poem that I wrote amidst a flood of tears on the day that Sam died. It is titled “Tale-Gating” because Uncle Sam was famous for “tail gating” and hosting huge Superbowl parties, as well as telling the funniest tales. I tried to remember all the moments I was blessed to share with him… His daughter, Sami, was kind enough to ask me to read this at the funeral last year. I will always be grateful to her and her family for sharing their dad with us.

Here’s to you, Uncle Sam. I know you’re cookin’ up a storm with my mom, Thelma, and many others in heaven. “Love you darlings.”

 

“Tale-Gating with Sam”

In Memory of Edward Samuel Balucas

August, 1932 – October 7, 2007

© by Emily P. Lawsin

“Social change begins in the kitchen.”

~ Joan May T. Cordova, 1989.

This is a poem for Uncle Sam,

who drove me up and down long and short paths,

crossing highways and building roads

to his Bridge Generation and so many more in the Southland,

the only way a Pinoy ever could: through food.

Half the time we talked about Filipino Americans,

the other half the time, he cracked jokes, or nuts, or ice,

while all the time, we talked about food,

all kinds of food: his nilaga and sinigang, his brother Phil’s mongo, and garlic rice.

Dinuguan became “did not go on”, pusit became “opposite”.

It was like growing up in Seattle again listening to his brother Fred’s jokes.

We shared recipes while driving to meetings,

cooking techniques while flying to conferences,

called each other when we found a yummy new restaurant in the Valley,

jumped in his truck to get a few fresh Tilapia fried at Seafood City market.

He showed me how to poke the eyeballs to test if the fish was still fresh,

then he screamed when its gills moved; he laughed about his fishing trips with Jerry,

asked me if my dad ate the eyeballs too. Who’s doesn’t?

One minute he explained tax forms and financial statements

and the next minute we compared grocery prices and the quality of Albertson’s meats.

We set up booths at festivals and community centers,

just so we could people-watch and tsismis.

A Santa Claus twinkle in his eye lit up his hacking laugh over a cooler at our feet,

with enough sandwiches, water, and sodas for the whole barrio.

While sharing 100 Ways to Tell You’re Filipino

and 100 ways to cook asparagus,

he talked story about growing up brown in the delta,

and the politics of water-cooler trash talk at Hughes Aircraft, many years after he retired.

He spoke proudly of his grandkids and his “girls”,

his daughters, who, whether they know it or not,

through his stories and their actions,

taught me to be a better daughter myself.

Sam was more than our President/Treasurer/Manong/Brother/Uncle/Friend/Cook/Taxman/Fisherman.

He was our Dad too,

who gave birth to a whole new generation

of Los Angeles Pinoys and definitely Pinays

who are proud to share his-story,

who bless the day we first met

in his kitchen.

I love you and will miss you, Uncle Sam,

but I know you’re saving us all a seat at the table.


October 7, 2007 – Detroit

www.emilylawsin.com

 

 

Click HERE to Read My Previous Blog Post: Podcast of Spoken Word Performance at East Meets West Show

 

 

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