⪻ she | siya ⪼ I am a 1.5 generation Filipino-Chinese American immigrant, born in Makati and raised in Southern California. I write, paint, cook, express. Professionally, I am with a national nonprofit organization working on public health, behavioral health, and health justice issues. My background is in education, research, medicine, and health policy and law. Casually, I am a cat lady.
Based in Los Angeles, California.
Tomorrow is the official U.S. Election Day of 2020 and I’ve been volunteering at the polls at a local center in Los Angeles. I just got home an hour ago, and it’s almost 10 PM here. Tomorrow’s going to be an even longer day, and while we expect that many have already mailed in their absentee ballots, it’s gotten even busier over the last few days. There are over 6 million registered voters in LA County alone.
We’ve registered many first-time voters, eager to have their voices heard for the first time during this momentous election. Personally, it’s my first time volunteering at the polls. I wouldn’t have even known that volunteering as a poll worker was a thing, had it not been offered to me when I had to sort out my registration a couple of months ago.
I’m proud to be part of this election, doing my part in some way, no matter how the elections turn out. I’ve spent many afternoons and weekends canvassing and phone banking for local candidates I believe in. There’s a fervor that’s palpable with so many during this cycle, and it’s exciting to see so many younger people involved. Two of the volunteers at our center are college freshman. When I was their age 16 years ago, there’s no way volunteering for anything election-related would have even occurred to me, nor would I have wanted to.
The times are a-changin’. It’s been a polarizing election cycle, with families and friendships being blown apart with outspoken beliefs—some of mine included. Regardless of how the votes tally, the U.S. has been building up a collective sense of existential crisis that will require repair for decades to come. Whether we can come together and rebuild bridges is another story, or maybe it requires demolishing old bridges to build new paths? I won’t pretend to know the answer. All we can do now is brace ourselves for what’s to come.
In between the rush of work, I found some time yesterday to slow my pace and seek silence. I thought I’d share some rooftop views of the city: on one side, the sun stretching out its rays with a final exhale before meeting the horizon; on the other, the city welcoming a quiet stillness before nightfall.
I often find it hard to sit still. It’s so easy to get caught up in everything and with everyone, especially during these times that require so much delicate attention, reflection, and action. Yesterday and today, I’m spending some time thinking about my own origin story and the labor of my ancestors bringing me to this time and place. What will my own descendants say about today? What do we have the license to rewrite and retell?