International Women’s Day…
To all the women out there, Thank You. While I don’t want to take away from the significance of this specific day, this isn’t just a one time deal for me. It’s no exaggeration when I say that I’m extremely blessed to be surrounded by so many strong, resilient women and am reminded of this on an almost daily basis.
This is for the kasamas (comrades) who I organize with. These strong women have carried on the militant tradition and spirit of those that came before us and continue the fight for freedom. In addition to that, they’ll not only check a random dude for getting out of line, but they’ll also let the male kasamas know if we’re subconsciously exerting our own male privilege as well. It’s not in a way that’s meant to antagonize, but rather, to help us realize our shortcomings in this patriarchal society and work to become better people and organizers.
This is for my co-workers who, despite being in a sexist, hypocritical environment, will speak their minds and never hold back. Now although they don’t need me to play the role of Male Savior, the least I can do is get their back and let it be known that I don’t want any part of the “boys club” that I’m often invited into joining. This is no joke y’all — my actual manhood was called into question because I adamantly disagreed with some outdated, ass-backwards notion of gender roles in a relationship. Even though it was presented in a joking fashion, I know that the sentiment was still there, “Look here — let me tell you what it means to be a MAN.” To my female co-workers: you know I got your back!!
This is for my friends who’ve become extremely successful in their careers and did it because they earned it through hard work, not because they’re just another pretty face (as some of their male counterparts have implied).
This is for my aunt, who is not only a breast cancer survivor, but who recently got a kidney transplant after waiting for over ten years. She never gave up throughout the process and she’s still fighting to this day.
This is for both of my grandmothers, who were left with the tremendous task of raising all the kids while their husbands were forced to leave the Philippines in search of better work opportunities abroad. Although my grandfathers provided the financial support, the role that my grandmothers took on can never be overlooked.
This is for my mom. I will never be able to fully put into words what she means to me and how much of an impact she’s had in shaping the person that I am today. Whenever the weight of the world becomes too much to take on by myself, she’s always there to lighten the load and put things into perspective. Like I said in a song I wrote for her a few years ago, “even though most of the time it’s over the phone / it’s the sound of [her] voice that I associate with home.” She always has a way of making everything alright.
This is for all the strong, beautiful women out there. Thank You.