Monday, June 6, 2011


organizing is fucking hard.

there are days where i wake up and i'm thinking, "would life be happier and easier if i had an 8-hour day job?"

to put it simply, no.

work is love made visible ~ kahlil gibran

how do i deny this love? with love comes pain, hardship, and effort. so with organizing comes pain, hardship, and effort. all worth it in the end... i hope.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

humor and laughter is extremely important to me.

the end.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

ode to New York

To be fair to my other love, New York, here is an ode to my hometown. Don't want my friends thinking I turned my back on NY for LA in my previous post.

As I've mentioned in my other blogs, I was raised in Queens and spent a lot of my time in Downtown Brooklyn and Chinatown. New York raised my sister and me to be pretty tough cookies. Just like they say, "If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere."

I saw a lot growing up in New York. My first fist fight was in the third grade, watched my dad get jumped by five teenagers when I was 7-years old, I thought i was going to die in the 5th grade because these girls wanted to jump me over a stupid rumor, my mom pulled a knife on a customer for stealing from the nail shop, our house was wiped clean by robbers, and much more. I went to four different schools in the span of 3 years from NY to LA. I'd like to blame my gaps on the lack of education continuum.

Nonetheless, there is so much I owe to NY for who I am today.

New York is one of those places where you look down and mind your own business in the train. Gotta be smart where ever you go because you never know what you'll run into - a pick pocketer, someone who might jump you, or steal your purse. But its not all bad! Don't get me wrong. As tough as people may seem to be, New Yorkers do care and will intervene when necessary. We have big mouths and boy will we use it!

I love that NY folks, we keep it real. We'll say it like it is and won't beat around the bush. We've got attitude and will use it when necessary. We're also trained at negotiating deals, its just the nature of everyday hustling in the City.

We grow up learning how to dance on the streets, but also have the best and most premiere dance institutions in the world. And gang tagging isn't territorial like it is in LA. New York still embodies the five elements of hip hop for the most part: MCing, DJing,graffiti, breakdancing, and beatboxing. You'll see it at parties, you'll see it on the streets, you'll see it on the buildings, you'll see it on the trains.

New York.. is... beautiful. Four seasons with spring and fall being my favorite seasons. To witness the fall foliage is breathtaking. I do admit that winters are BRUTAL, especially when you're trying to lead rallies outdoors! Everywhere you turn, you will see something that sweeps you off your feet - whether it be the skyline, the bridges, the struggling everyday working people, the multiculturalism...

Like I said in my last post, multiculturalism is what I love MOST about NY. Flushing, Queens is home to the most amount of languages/dialects spoken in the world (Cantonese, Haka, Korean, Vietnamese, Spanish, Tagalog, Hindi, Gujarati, Urdu, Punjabi, Bangla, French-Creole, Spanish in its various accents, Polish, Croatian, Russian, and much more!). What I love more is that we're forced to live together in a tight-knitted space and we're forced to get along (...for the most part).

I had many opportunities to move back and I never did. I started high school in LA and went back to NYC at least once to twice a year since. I guess I never returned because my family kept me busy and feeling obligated to support them. One day though... one day...

And what's a blog about NY without some Ella and Louie and of course.. Biggie...

Monday, January 24, 2011

to live and LOVE in LA

I write a lot about deep depressing things, but I (consciously) try really hard to take my social work strengths-based approach to life. These last two or three years, I started to really open up my heart to LA. I am definitely a NYC girl at heart. As my childhood friend, Eddie, would say, "You can take the girl out of the hood, but you can't take the hood out of the girl!" Still, I believe I've acquired a personality that embraces the best of both coasts.

I was raised in Ridgewood, Queens, but spent a lot of my childhood in Downtown Brooklyn at my parents' nail salon. I grew up in a sea of Chinese (Canto, Mandarin, Taiwanese, Fujian, Haka), Koreans, Filipinos, Puerto Ricans, Colombians, Dominicans, Italians, Polish, Haitians, Jamaicans, and West Indians. I love that in my parents' salon I heard Malaysian, Vietnamese, and Cantonese and when I walked downstairs from our salon, I would hear the Haitian purse shopkeeper speak French Creole, walk a few steps and hear a Dominican guy speak Spanish in his Brooklyn accent, and a few more steps and hear the Russian Jewish electronic store owner speak Russian. I loved that about NY, despite my family experiencing some rough times.

When I moved to LA (San Gabriel specifically) from NY, I had a culture shock. It was as though I walked into the motherland - a sea of only Chinese and Vietnamese people. I hated that our ethnic enclaves were so segregated. I hated that I assumed the girls were ditsy and the guys were self-absorbed. I hated that I had to drive everywhere. I hated that we had two seasons: hot and hotter. I hated that everyone was high on vitamin D and the sun and everyone was just so god damn happy all the time.

However, it was these last few years where I branched out and dove into "my community" of organizing where I met the most wonderful people who helped me to fall so madly deeply in love with LA. My friends, who are born and raised in LA, have been there for me through all my darkest years. I love that they stand side-by-side with me in the struggle for a better world... for a better LA.

To address the more specific attributes of LA that I love...

LA, I love that street art is anywhere and everywhere we go. You encourage us to use the left side of our brain and to appreciate the the stories told in your murals and guerrilla art.
LA, I love that I can drive (though quite some time) to different ethnic enclaves and get some of the BEST Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Ethiopian, Salvadoran, Cuban.. MEXICAN(!) food.
LA, I love that I can drive 20 minutes to go to the mountains for a hike or 20 minutes to go to the beach or 20 minutes to nightlife.
LA, I love that organizations here actually work together (they don't often in NYC, sadly).
LA, I love that you have some of the best dance choreographers in the country and I love that clown walking and krumping started right here.
LA, I love that your farmers' markets are all year round.
LA, I love that your weather allows me to bike (almost) whenever I want.
LA, I love that there is an extremely rich hystory of struggle and triumphs and reasons why we continue to fight.
LA, I love your communities, my communities. I now embrace our ethnic enclaves because I understand that these are survival mechanisms.

Yet... despite the love I have for you, I do want to tell you why I still hate you.

LA, I hate that you have the largest population of homeless residents in the entire nation and people here won't even think twice when they engage in consumerism.
LA, I hate that your City invests more on a subway for the wealthy who won't even take public transportation anyway and won't invest in fixing your bus system. You have the most poorly designed public transportation system.
LA, I hate that you have soooooo many cars (yes, I'm guilty of this sometimes) and NO bike lanes. My helmet won't save me here!
LA, I hate that our gang territories and violence is generational when the history of the Black Panther Party struggle was to bring about a revolution in LA. Instead, it is now divided into the bloods and crips and hundreds of rival gangs.
LA, I hate that your police force has the highest release of firearms on unarmed citizens and is known for your high incidences of police brutality.
LA, it devastates me that you have one of the worst public education systems in the country.

Nevertheless, I genuinely believe that there is still hope in LA...

And how's a blog about LA not gonna end with some Tupac (sorry my east coast Biggie/Junior Mafia folks)!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Gil Scott-Heron - Comment #1

So let me start of by saying that nearly 36 years after the Japanese, French, American occupation of the motherland, Viet Nam, I am still very conscious of the generational consequences of the war on the kids in Viet Nam as well as those who are now part of the Vietnamese diaspora.

In the name of "freedom" and "democracy" that was claimed to be the reason for over 3 million deaths, I still believe that I should have been born and raised in Viet Nam in the name of peace.


Gil Scott-Heron
Comment 1

Poem here says, Comment #1 uh Comment #2 is dynamite but Comment #1 is the one we decided to use here this evening because it makes a comment if you listen closely on what is now being advertised in East Harlem as the Rainbow Conspiracy a combination of the Students For A Democratic Society, the Black Panthers, and the Young Lords and this is my particular comment about that conspiracy, Comment #1.

The time is in the street you know. Us living as we do upside down. And the new word to have is revolution. People don't even want to hear the preacher spill or spiel because God's whole card has been thoroughly piqued. And America is now blood and tears instead of milk and honey. The youngsters who were programmed to continue fucking up woke up one night digging Paul Revere and Nat Turner as the good guys. America stripped for bed and we had not all yet closed our eyes. The signs of Truth were tattooed across our open ended vagina. We learned to our amazement untold tale of scandal. Two long centuries buried in the musty vault, hosed down daily with a gagging perfume. America was a bastard the illegitimate daughter of the mother country whose legs were then spread around the world and a rapist known as freedom, free doom. Democracy, liberty, and justice were revolutionary code names that preceded the bubbling bubbling bubbling bubbling bubbling in the mother country's crotch and behold a baby girl was born, nurtured by slave holders and whitey racists it grew and grew and grew screwing indiscriminately like mother like daughter everything unplagued by her madame mother. The present mocks us, good Black people with keen memories set fire to the bastards who ask us in a whisper to melt and integrate. Young, very young, teeny bopping revolt on weekend young dig by proxy what a mental ass kicking they receive through institutionalized everything and vomit up slogans to stay out of Vietnam. They seek to hide their relationship with the world's prostitute alienating themselves from everything except dirt and money with long hair, grime, and dope to camo-hide the things that cannot be hidden. They become runaway children to walk the streets downtown with everyday Black people sitting on the curb crying because we know that they will go back home with a clear conscience and a college degree. The irony of it all, of course, is when a pale face SDS motherfucker dares look hurt when I tell him to go find his own revolution. He wonders why I tell him that America's revolution will not be the melting pot but the toilet bowl. He is fighting for legalized smoke, or lower voting age, less lip from his generation gap and fucking in the street. Where is my parallel to that? All I want is a good home and a wife and a children and some food to feed them every night. Back goes pale face to basics. Does Little Orphan Annie have a natural? Do Sluggos kings make him a refugee from Mandingo? What does Webster say about soul? I say you silly chipe motherfucker, your great grandfather tied a ball and chain to my balls and bounced me through a cotton field while I lived in an unflushable toilet bowl and now you want me to help you overthrow what? The only Truth that can be delivered to a four year revolutionary with a whole card i.e. skin is this: fuck up what you can in the name of Piggy Wallace, Dickless Nixon, and Spiro Agnew. Leave brother Cleaver and Brother Malcolm alone please. After all is said and done build a new route to China if they'll have you.

Who will survive in America?
Who will survive in America?
Who will survive in America?
Who will survive in America?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

love and anger.

For a very long time, I had only two emotions: love and anger. It was only recent that other emotions that I had as a child resurfaced: happiness, humor, hope, fear (yeah I wasn't even scared of shit in the last few years!), empathy, disappointment, satisfaction, euphoria..etc. It is nice to finally re-feel my heart and soul experience emotions other than love and anger.