Princess Fernandez: Inktober/Fil-Am History Month Mash-up: Days 1-4

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DAY 1: Rise

Dawn Mabalon sits herself at the seemingly impossible Great American Dinner Table. She put us back into the conversation, sa mga salas, the ones we claimed as ours long ago. Without her, there would be no “Bebot: Generation One” music video.

Ruby Ibarra weaves herself a tapestry of hardcore Pinayhood. Circa91 exposes the brutality and beauty of being a diasporic brown woman through language and collaboration. Each echoing “someday” claims our place in the generations to come.

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DAY 2: NO.

Barbara Jane Reyes constantly tinkers at the real-as-day concept of Pinayist poetics. She sharply examines our struggles, value systems, and capabilities as Pinays. Her words supply readers with armor, and we fortify our boundaries.

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DAY 3: Home

Nora is in search of “home”. Lou bravely builds and claims hers. Nora is an orphan living among the dead in the Philippines. Lou can’t imagine living anywhere but San Francisco. What if they met? I’ve always imagined Nora meeting other Fil-Am Middle Grade protags like Lou, or Sab, or Apple, or Virgil, or Alex, or Ming and Sol. They’re growing in numbers. They’re all searching for a safe place to belong even when their circumstances don’t want them too. And in them, is a home for young, brown readers.

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DAY 4: Human [Zoo]

“It’s a performance…” Aimee Suzara writes. Dark kids in cages, humans in cages doing what they’re told and whom they are told to be. Souvenir puts voices back into this forgotten community. It matters who controls the narrative—who’s doing the gazing, the directing, the performing, the curating. It matters when a girl wants to trade her dark skin, dark hair, dark eyes, to sculpt her face and hips and disappear. It matters to know we are enough and not for everyone, that they aren’t worthy of our fullness.

Princess Fernandez is a Pinay writer from San Diego with a B.A. in Creative Writing from the University of California, Riverside. Her poetry has appeared in MOSAIC Art & Literary Journal #55, Ano Ba Zine #3, and Hay(na)ku Anthology 15, with an upcoming publication in The New Generation Fil-Am Community by Dwight Ong. Fernandez also does creative and community work S.T.R.O.N.G. Edutainment (Stories That Root Our Next Generation), a 501c3 non-profit based in Riverside that creates diverse literature and media to inspire young readers to protect the people and the planet.