Today, I was supposed to be launching my not-just-another-travel-blog with a post about what it’s like to be Filipinx American and not have traveled (heh, see what I did there?) the expected path. Given the current social climate in the USA, I understand that it’s not about me right now.
If you’ve been living under a rock or are here from the future, for the last few weeks the Black American community has suffered traumatic injustices due to police brutality in the killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd. The collective hurt, anger, and sadness from these latest attacks on Black lives (because police brutality that targets the Black community is unfortunately not something new) have resulted in a resurgence of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, especially in the last week. Peaceful protests and demands for justice & change from the Black community and their supporters have led others to looting, rioting, and further police brutality.
Because of that, now more than ever people across the WORLD – not just in the USA – have come together in unity with the Black community. Wanting to stand in solidarity, the majority of us non-Black people have also had to face some difficult realities about the roles we and our communities have played, whether intentionally or not, in the continued oppression of Black people for the last hundreds of years.
I am among the many who have been vocal in my support of my Black friends, the Black community, and #BlackLivesMatter during their time of need. I have been doing homework and research on how to be anti-racist and an ally. I have been holding space for those that need it.
But I have also been struggling. As a Filipinx American, I have felt pulled in all different directions in recent days. I am standing in solidarity with Black people helping them to fight their fight; I am fighting against increased anti-Asian racism and violence (stemmed from the COVID-19 pandemic which is still very real); I am fighting the anti-Blackness in my very own Filipinx communities; and I am navigating being in an interracial relationship with a white man who will never fully understand the all the intricacies that come with the struggle of being a woman of color. I have cried, I have gotten angry, I have felt guilty for my cowardice in the past, and I have learned some hard truths about the Filipinx culture I am proud to claim and be part of.
However, thanks to so many out there doing THE WORK, there are so many resources on the interwebz and social media so that we can educate ourselves and don’t have to ask the Black community to tell us how to show up and show out for them. (Srsly, don’t do this.) As we all should, I have been making it my own responsibility to learn how to actively be anti-racist, how I can be an ally, and specific to being a Filipinx American – how to start UNlearning the colonial mentality that is so deeply engrained in our behaviors and thinking even when we don’t realize it.
Like I said though, right now it’s not about me. Just last month I finally found a purpose and vision for this blog, my social media platform, and my eventual podcast that I’ve been wanting to do for over a year. I strive to write about traveling the world and living abroad in a unique way; a way that creates connections with people you’ve never met or places you’ve never been. I want to highlight the perspectives that aren’t usually seen or heard “on the ‘Gram” – the specific experiences (no matter how small) that moved you, changed you, or even broke you.
And the recent movement to #AmplifyMelanatedVoices sums it up perfectly: I particularly want to create this space to shine the light on BIPOC, WOC, and Filipinx voices. Because another reality is: though not impossible for minorities and people of color, travel and living abroad is another privilege more widely accessible to white people.
So especially this week, I say to the Black community: I SEE YOU & I HEAR YOU. For this month, I’d like to write about YOUR travel stories in my weekly posts. If you’d like to share your travel story with me or know of a Black traveler whose story should be heard, send me a DM on Instagram!
And I hope that BIPOC, WOC, and Filipinx from all over the world will trust me with the honor of telling your travel tales and showing everyone that #itsasmallworldAVAall.