A March for the history books

2020 is a month I will never forget for the rest of my life. The COVID-19 Pandemic reached my local community and shut it down. Although the pandemic altered my life it did not define it. In this blog spot I will be sharing some of the highlights and lessons learned this month.

The beginning of the month was exciting as the Kultivation F.A.M.D. Festival x CBC Pop-Up Bureau launched at Garden City Mall. After only a few months of planning, our organization was hosting several events bringing the Filipin@ community and beyond together. It was a pleasure meeting all the artists, entrepreneurs, makers, creators, fitness gurus, musicians, DJs, and writers. Although we have decided to postpone the festival until 2021, we continue to meet and plan activations for our community.

Congratulations to Chloe, Andrew, and Joy for winning the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce’s Spirit of Winnipeg Award: Design and Building Award! I was so honoured to be able to attend the event with you two. Thanks Liz! I also had a great time DJing the First Friday event with Kilma and Anthony OKS’ EP Release that weekend. For my set at Anthony OKS’ event, I decided to put together a special International Womxns Day Mix of contemporary Womanist Hip Hop and R&B music. You can check it out on Mixcloud https://www.mixcloud.com/Kilusan/international-womens-day-2020-mix/

I also want to say thank you to Jill Groening and Joelle Jobin, for my feature in the March/April Dance Current.

On Wednesday, March 11th, I was in a staff meeting and we were discussing the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of us thought that it wouldn’t reach Winnipeg, but one of our coworkers was trying to explain to us that it was not “if” it came, but “when.” The next day, the first confirmed case of COVID-19 happened in Winnipeg and it was a woman who had travelled to the Philippines. Large upcoming events began to be cancelled and by Friday, the provincial government announced that schools would be closed for three weeks. Since then, they have announced they will be closed indefinitely. The days to follow would be emotionally taxing, as I could not help but feel anxious, worried, uncertain and fearful about the future. Questions that came up for me included: Will I be allowed to work from home to minimize the risk of catching the virus? How long will we have to socially distance? When will children be allowed to go back to school? What if my parents get sick? What if I get sick? What if someone is xenophobic or racist to me because I’m Filipino? Will I be lonely? What will life look like now?

Over the past few weeks, I have been working to create a new rhythm for my life. Planning for this overhaul started with looking at who I am and what I need to feel well. Number one was to get my space right, so I cleaned, organized and made my place into an office/dance & fitness studio/dance club/movie theatre. As a person that gets energy from spending time with people, I knew that maintaining my connection with family and friends would be pivotal to my success. Thankfully we have the internet, and we are all only a video or phone call away. I also know that I need to move and keep active, so I’ve been taking tons of dance and fitness classes online. Over the past few weeks, I have been able to have dance rehearsal with B.O.S.S. Dance Team, party with my Q.P.O.C. family, take fitness and dance classes with some of my favourite teachers around the globe, and connect with family and friends. I’ve also been spending a lot of time listening to music, dancing, laughing, going for walks, and writing. I’d like to share some links to some of the people who have helped me find happiness and regularity over the past few weeks:

B.O.S.S. Dance Academy - Hosting family friendly dance classes

EasyMoBee - DJ, Music Producer, Drummer, Avid Collector of Vinyl 30 Years of Music Production. Hosts Time Machines Sessions 11 PM CST - Late everyday. Disco, Rare Groove, Deep House

Talib Kweli - One of my favourite artist, hosting occasional DJ sets. Tonight he is doing a Bill Withers Tribute starting at 7 PM CST

DJ Emskee - Monday-Friday 11 AM- 12 PM CST Hip Hop Power Hour!

Other DJs that I’m tuning into: QuestLove, Fly Lady Di, DJ Bles-sed, Starting from Scratch,

Dance Teachers: Adryano_afrogrooes, Bizzy Boom, Raoul Wilke, B-Girl Momo, Anna Bernard, Esie Mensah, Leah McFly Waackeisha, and Sekou Heru

Fitness Teachers: TeamFitPack, Team La Shea

We have to continue to train our body, minds, and spirits to be strong during this time. But also, It’s okay to have moments of weakness where you cry or eat that whole bag of chips. This is hard, but we will get through this together. Speaking of together… #TogetherWeRise

This morning I finished watching an incredibly inspiring training event about pivoting, resilience and life problem-solving. I highly recommend watching this. Thank you to Nicole Mapu for sharing with me and for also killing her section of the training event! Channeling our divine feminine energy is crucial to our success and resilience.We will rise out of this adversity together and become stronger because of the process! I will be watching this again and would love to have a conversation about this. Let's do this!

Key questions for us all during this time:

1.) What is really working for you right now?

2.) Who do you love to support?

3.) What do we want in our life? If we can answer this, we can reverse engineer our plan to get there.

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