Voices from the Pilipinx diaspora
Voices from the Pilipinx diaspora
When Philip and Ligaiya first presented the question of what to do for our next issue, I initially had an idea to do something comedic. I wanted to do something goofy and fun, like parody the Jollibee mascot and illustrate the first of a cartoon/photo series entitled “Shit Pilipinx Parents Say,” but there was something in the air that steered us in a completely different direction. Perhaps it was the string of devastating blows dealt to the Black community that resonated so closely with other communities of color, when shooting after shooting left many horrified, enraged, and even more distrustful of our justice system. Perhaps it was the growing culture of xenophobia and misogyny spearheaded by Donald Trump and his supporters, fueling closeted bigots and insulting large populations of the country. Or maybe it was something more personal. Maybe, as we watched our friends and family suffer in silence and accept a fate of feeling inferior, our suppressed anger finally spilled out after generations of internalized colonialism.
Then the presidential election happened and...
We. Were. Livid.
Many of us in communities of color recognize that systemic racism is no new phenomena, but now it has a face. And while my colleagues and I were shocked, we sure as hell weren’t going to let that deter us. We were already angry about the injustices we faced as individuals and a community, but the election of Trump served as a searing reminder that what we were trying to talk about needed to be addressed more than ever. We were filled with a sense of urgency to harness our distress into action and our passion into mobilization.
We invited others to join us in putting our collective rage on full display. We wanted to write it, draw it, photograph it, protest it, sing, and dance it. We wanted to rid ourselves of these oppressive feelings, so we wouldn’t succumb to bitterness and loss. We wanted to express our rage to lift people up and to let others know their anger is valid, their anger is justified, their anger is needed, and that they’re not alone.
There’s no denying the specificity of Pilipinx issues – the presence of assimilative attitudes, intergenerational traumas, and the unique cultural stigmas that adversely affect us. But there’s also the intersection of social tribulations that impact not only Pilipinx groups, but Latinx, Middle Eastern, Black, and other Asian groups in very similar ways – like xenophobia, gentrification, and discrimination. It’s important we recognize these commonalities and differences, but above all, it’s important we voice these pains and frustrations. We need these platforms of expression to break the barriers that stifle us, so we could pave the way for healing and improve the well-being and progress of our people.
I hope that by sharing our experiences we would encourage you, the reader, to think about your own life, how you choose to interact with others, and why we decided to share these works with you.
- Brian Braganza
A photographer, filmmaker and queer woman of color, Ligaiya lives and works in Bushwick, Brooklyn, near her Apong’s apartment and her family’s first home. She wonders about inherited memory, intergenerational trauma, and the decolonial imagination. Pet Peeve: White bro backpackers who brag about how cheap their travel is, and then complain when things aren’t up to “First World Standards.”
A visual artist and writer from the San Gabriel Valley of Los Angeles County, Brian currently resides in Brooklyn, NY, and enjoys dog memes and riding his bicycle with The Book Keepers Bicycle Club. His pet peeve is when restaurants charge exorbitant prices for skimpy portions, and when people gesticulate with utensils while they talk.
Philip lives in Brooklyn. He is a MFA candidate at Columbia University. Since childhood, he has always picked out the peas from his cup of noodles and thrown them into the trash.