October is Pilipinx American History Month, or PAHM, for short. I was first introduced to this concept during my freshman year of college, when I entered the Pilipinx community and was interning for Pilipinx American Alliance, or PAA for short. This event happened in the month of October, as well as Filipinx Empowerment Day (FED) and the Grace Asuncion Memorial Scholarship event. PAHM was a time of making sure people knew of our Pilipinx presence on campus, especially with our presence of about 3% of the student population at UC Berkeley. We have a dedicated day where take up all of the Sproul steps, table with all our organizations, and have performances of Pilipinx cultural dances, songs or poetry, all for the general Berkeley campus to see. It’s an empowering event, even with the smallest impact we can make.
In addition to my first exposure to PAHM and those events held by PAA, we also had an impromptu fundraiser for the typhoon that hit the Philippines back in Fall 2013. We made ribbons in the shape of breast cancer awareness ribbons, and wrote #savethephilippines on them. I remember tabling each week while accepting donations for these ribbons. There was a day that a student came up to us and gave us over $100 in donation because his loved ones in the Philippines were directly affected by the typhoon. He wanted to ensure his money went to the right organization that would give these donations directly to those who needed it. This was so important to our mission, considering that some organizations that accepted donations did not use the money effectively, and it was much better to donate to grassroot organizations to ensure the money was being utilized properly. It was also important because I saw my involvement in this event as such an eye opening experience as a freshman in college – I saw people who were truly affected by natural disasters, even if they weren’t the ones in the storm themselves. I could see how interconnected he felt, and how the conversations I’d have with anybody who stopped by our table was one brought out of curiosity and support. There was genuine concern for the unfortunate, natural disaster that occurred, and I felt solidarity in the pain that affected our community.
And that’s what I truly believe PAHM is about: Community.
Community serves a huge role in why I do anything I currently do or have done:
I work at a public health non profit that serves the Micronesian community, providing them healthcare and managing a diabetes wellness center to provide intervention in their community lifestyles.
I interned at a non profit in Sydney, Australia that serves the communities of Aboriginal folx and the underserved, to help them with their literacy and provide them with the necessary skills needed to feel like they can communicate confidently.
I volunteered at a crisis hotline because I believe that people within their respective communities, who are struggling to reach out, deserve a safe space to talk to an anonymous stranger, ask for resources and coping skills if needed, and ultimately feel validated for the feelings they are experiencing.
I started my blog so I could serve a community that wants to learn more about eco-conscious living and navigating their Pilipinx identity.
See how much community fuels me?
Now, let me get to my biggest point for writing this introductory post about PAHM: jotting down my own goals within this month of October. Though I know I should allow myself to forgive in case I don’t complete my goals, I wanted to hold myself accountable by writing this post to at least bring awareness to what I have planned for this busy month.
So what is it that I have planned?
Outside of my 9-5 job, I want to work on my blog part time. I have a few Pilipinx networking events that I’ll be attending.
Oct 7th will be the 1st Annual Entrepinay Conference, where I won a scholarship to be sponsored to go – in exchange for my help and a blog post recapping one of their workshops 🙂
Oct 13th, I will be going to a Pilipinx networking event with the Halo Halo Collective and meeting people from a wonderful instagram community that I’ve found to be so supportive as well.
By the end of October, I will be applying to be part of a non profit, Skin Coloured Magazine, a non profit magazine geared toward creating a magazine and weekly blog posts “that aims to empower and embrace POC and youth from all walks of life by encouraging them to tell their stories, express themselves through art and speak on issues that affect their communities.”
These are the 3 main events I will be immersing myself in, to help me regain a sense of my culture. To help me remember who it is I am, what my goals are for my life, and the people that I want to impact.
On the side of these big projects will be smaller projects that I want to commit to as well, but I do want to be realistic with where my time is going. I will continue with increasing my Tagalog vocabulary, with apps such as Drops and Memrise. If I find the time to go to the library, I may check out a book on Filipino culture as well. Let me know if you have any suggestions for me!
This is going to be a busy month for me, but I’m honestly so excited for all that’s going to come. I know I said the same thing for the month of September, but after a tough month of reflecting, I think I’m recharging more quickly and am in a better state of mind. (Be on the lookout for a #selfcareseptermber recap post I’ll be writing soon). Like I said, there is definitely a chance that I will experience burnout and forget my reasoning for doing this all in the first place, but hopefully with this post being published, I’ll have a place of reference to ensure I am still aware of what my greater goal is.
What are your plans for this month, whether you identify as Pilipinx or not? I’d love to know, because setting your goals in the beginning of the month always helps with getting more perspective on this journey we find ourselves on. Much love and power to you.
[Originally published Oct 1, 2018. This blog post was reposted from my old wix site, also hosted at http://erilm.com]