When I first heard about the earthquake from a fellow diasporic Filipino, the first thing that crossed my mind was “Oh no, was anyone in my family hit?” I called my father this morning and he said that, though many people had died, it mainly hit those in Cebu and Bohol, and no one from Bicol, where my family is mostly concentrated. I could breathe a little again, but still wanted to send a heartfelt prayer on my Facebook to the over 150 deceased and the countless survivors of the quake, in English and Cebuano.
When “natural disasters” or international tragedies like these happen, I’ve seen folks removed from the situation who find it as an interesting fact that can be relayed as a tidbit of news, forgetting that there are many immigrants and folks of colour who have families back in their “motherland”. To understand diversity not only means accepting immigrants, migrant workers, and settlers of colour on this land, but to really support and comprehend their lives so as to make them feel welcome. I appreciated that Jer’s Vision let me write this blog and my thoughts about it, but mostly to know that as part of the Jer’s Vision family/staff, my family is also theirs.
In the wake of a national holiday that prides itself on being about gratitude –and believe me, I have so much to be grateful for, least of all that my family in Bicol was spared from a 7.2 magnitude earthquake– let’s also remember what it means to share in our blessings and support relief efforts, whether it’s aid to earthquake survivors or being their for your Cebuano friends.
Maraming salamat po,
Lukayo Faye Estrella