Saturday, May 23, 2009

Reclaiming GUAHAN

*Image of Reclaim Guahan poster taken from the event's page on Facebook. I don't claim ownership of it.

This afternoon, I had a brief chance to catch an event I found out about via Facebook entitled "Reclaim Guahan: Chule Tatte Guahan." Not knowing much about the event, I made it a point to stop by and check it out after my Godmother's Golden Jubilee Celebration, since Skinner's is right across my Alma mater.

It was about 2PM, but already there were canopies set up, and individuals ready to begin the rally. I met up with Michael Bevacqua, one of the panelists I interviewed for another Women and Gender project, and my History professor Michael Clement (pictured above...and what a coincidence, right?)
What I wasn't too sure about was the intended purpose of the rally. Under the shade of one canopy were people I knew from UOG, all in the group known as Apathy is Easy; Under an adjacent canopy was the Guam Museum, with photographs from their archives. Vendors and their merchandise laid along the sidewalks, getting me even more confused.
And to make matters worse, I left my tape recorder at home.
I decided to ask Mike Bevacqua (in jumbled words because I was still confused) about the event, as Mike Clement asked me if I had a Vietnamese restaurant (it's a common question, and for all of you out there, no I don't own a restaurant, or know anyone so well to get you a discount...but in my opinion, the best Vietnamese lumpia is sold at Hoa Mai's in Harmon, across the Micronesia Mall...just that they add a little MSG).

In a nutshell, the idea of a rally was conceived through discontent with the lack of action within the Legislature in regards to certain issues. Eventually, this rally grew to encompass more causes, and is now this forum for the youth to get informed and their voices recognized.
I must admit though; whoever conceived the idea of this coalition of causes in one jam-packed event must be pretty damn smart. This was an opportunity for the youth to come out and express themselves via poetry [the poetry slam], music [performances from various bands], art [there were boards set up for people to paint their thoughts], or even by just conversing with one of the many committee members for more information.

Which was just what I did. After some hopping around, I was finally able to speak with two members: Selina Onedera-Salas, and Charissa Aguon (one of my classmates for EN310's Creative Writing course). They explained further that this event also included talks with guest speakers that range from University professors to community leaders.

The event was created with almost no budget, and within a month's time. But what was the goal of the entire project?

To showcase that we do have a voice, a say in the matter.

Up to now, people have noticed that there is, to some extent, blatant disregard for the voices of Guam and its inhabitants, which as we all know do not just mean the Chamorro people. Thus, the point of the rally was to provide a pulpit for our voices, and to arm the participants with knowledge of our rights, how the issues of today will shape our tomorrows, and point them to the resources or directions to take in order to do something about it.
I wasn't able to stay long due to prior commitments, but I was able to walk away with the belief that my voice matters.

But with only one individual voice, not a whole lot can be done. A collection of voices, frustrated over a myriad of issues, creates a commotion. The commotion grows louder, gaining more individual voices along the way, and eventually becomes a well-known ruckus. The now infamous ruckus must be dealt with, and goes head to head with the political bodies, this time stronger than just with one voice.

But how do we get more voices? How do we dispense more knowledge, to get this conversation going?

Before conceiving this blog, I presented a certain publication with an idea: to create a column that would showcase within each issue more information about the Decolonization process, the individuals behind it, and what people could do to support it. This was in an effort to try and get more people involved and aware of the plebiscite, and considering that the publication was somewhat popular, it would add a unique feature to it, an idea that no other publication had.

Well, long story short, the idea was shot down, and my other outlet (this blog) was created. And like I said in the previous post, the mission of this blog is to help those who are on the same boat as I am in trying to examine the choices surrounding decolonization in an effort to get some sort of dialogue going, and hopefully figure out for ourselves what our answers would be should the question ever arise.

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