*This month’s blog spot writing prompts were provided by @the.drtherapinay on IG, make sure to give them a follow!*

What am I grateful for this month?

I am most grateful for all of the wonderful and supportive communities I am part of. Shout out to Seven Oaks Met and Maples Met staff and students for their unwavering pursuit of educational excellence. My artistic community: B.O.S.S. Dance Team, Graffiti Art Programming, Synonym Art Consultation, QPOC, and FridayKnights for their dedication to improving our city using arts rooted in social justice. To my newest communities: Kultivation F.A.M.D. and Winter Legacy Circle. I am so thankful to have met such an inspirational group of Filipino/a/x working together to heal our ancestral trauma and celebrate our modern day achievements. Together with these groups of people, I am living my dreams and making moves toward my life goals.

What stressors worked itself out?

I felt the stress of being sick with a lingering cough and runny nose this month. Was it my packed schedule? I’m sure a part of it was, but there has also been a bad bug going around the community. I want to also acknowledge that I am continuing to challenge the colonial/religious idea that ‘idle hands are the devil’s work.’ I don’t need nor want to be working, hustling and grinding all the time.

How did I express love this month?

I expressed love this month, by not trying to power through my sickness. I tried to slow down as much as I could, when I could. While also not talking negatively to myself. A part of success and sustainability is taking rest when I need it and practicing self love and care - by getting sleep, drinking water, eating good meals, seeing my therapists, stretching, moving, dancing, listening to music, reading, writing and loving.

What can I do to address colonial mentality, specifically colorism or anti-Kayumanggi / anti-blackness beyond February & into this year?

"Did you know that colorism is a manifestation of internalized oppression."

- Heather Rebecca Wilson

As today marks the last day of Black History month, I have been thinking about and reflecting on how I can continue to address colonial mentality, specifically colorism or anti-Kayumanggi / anti-blackness. I feel especially sensitive to this topic as I am a Filipinx-Canadian settler on Treaty 1 territory whose arts practices are rooted in hip hop culture.

A MUST READ: “Black History and the Filipin@ Community,” by E. J. R. David Ph.D.

How do we build empathy and love for others? As a Filipinx, how can I live in ‘kapwa’? We need to educate and remind ourselves about the history and experiences of those most disenfranchised and marginalized so that we may understand. Decolonizing is not just inserting a land acknowledgement here and there or saying you've taken a few classes so now your entitled to teach and profit from that cultural lesson, but it is a daily practice in learning and questioning. A reminder of who you are, where you are, why you are there, and what you need to do create equity in your community with the privilege and power you have.

Today, Esie Mensah, a dancer and choreography I look up to posted an IG story talking about "Culture appropriation VS Appreciation." She points out that respectful cultural work includes asking oneself:

1. What is my intention?

2. What is my purpose?

3. How am I giving back?

What are your answers to these questions when it comes to the work that you do?

My intention is to fight for social justice.

My purpose is to heal myself and help heal my kapwa.

I am giving back through my work and my leadership.

We must continue to activate our ancestral knowledge.

"Dance backward into time to learn how to teach youth for the future."

- Indigenous Proverb

"I tell my students, 'When you get these jobs that you have been so brilliantly trained for, just remember that your real job is that you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else. This is not jus a grab-bag candy game."

- Toni Morrison

To my indigenous and black brothers sisters, I pledge to continue to do all that I can to combat mining of the human spirit that aims to destroy 'kapwa' with each other and our mother earth.

A MUST LISTEN TO: John Trudell - Mining of the Human Spirit

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