In May 2015 there was a gathering of Co-Counselors in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, at which thirty of the International Liberation and Commonality Reference Persons talked about their work. The following are five of the talks. (Seven others were printed on pages 60-64 of the July 2015 Present Time.)

The International Liberation Reference Person for Pacific Islander and Pilipino/a-Heritage People

Mabuhay! That is a Tagalog1 word meaning many different things, but particularly “long life.”

My name is Teresa Enrico, and I am the International Liberation Reference Person for Pacific Islander and Pilipino/a-Heritage People. I get to talk to you about three of my favorite groups in the world—Pilipinos/as, Pacific Islanders, and Koreans. Yay! Those three groups represent over a hundred and fifty million people in Asia and the Pacific Islands plus a few million more in the diaspora around the world. We’re in a lot of places—doing a lot of work, a lot of things.

Just like you, we are are precious and significant, and we matter. We are humans, and we are fine examples of humans. We have very different cultures and languages, and there are many complexities in what we have figured out to do in the face of living life under harsh oppressions. Our oppressions have been the result of histories that have included colonization, racism, attempted genocide, war, and militarization. Gosh,2 it’s such a great list. And it also includes the sex industries, which have to do with3 sexism and male domination, of course, but also war, militarization, and imperialism. We are an amazing group of people, who in the face of all this have thrived the very best we could. With the RC tools we have, and that you will share with us, we have an opportunity to change the course of our history and our lives. And I look forward to doing that with you.

Part of my job is reminding our people that we are significant and that we matter. As I prepared this talk, I kept running up against a sense of insignificance and the feeling that we don’t matter. The way the recordings4 go is that I can’t tell5 that if we disappeared tomorrow it would matter.

And along those lines, one of the things we are facing is climate change. In the Pacific Islands, climate change is not something of the future. Many Pacific Islanders have had to leave their islands already. They are climate refugees. It’s not a thing of the future, and it’s something that a lot of people don’t know about.

And so with that, I’d like to say that I invite you to come and join me in thinking about our future. Salamat.6

Seattle, Washington, USA

1 Tagalog is the first language of about a fourth of the people in the Philippines and a second language of the majority,  
2 "Gosh" is an exclamation that expresses wonder or surprise.
3 "Have to do with" means are related to.
4 Distress recordings
5 "Tell" means perceive.
6 Salamat means "thank you" in Tagalog,

Last modified: 2022-12-25 10:17:04+00