Over Labor Day weekend, I posted a call on my Facebook author page asking for responses to “what feminism means to me.” About ten minutes later, I heard from my friend Angela Kūliaikanu’u Alforque, who formerly taught Theatre Arts and directed the Ethnic Theatre program at Sacramento City College, and who now teaches at the Parker School in Waimea, Hawaii. This is what she sent me:
More than coconut bras and grass skirts: “14 extraordinary women in Hawaii history everyone should know.”
I read the article. You should too, because I bet most of these women are unknown to you. (I was familiar with Patsy Mink, who’s featured in FEMINISM FROM A to Z, and Mazie Hirono. That’s it.) Then I followed up with Angela, and asked if she had a more specific response to my question. This was her answer:
Hi, again! I have been thinking about your question since I read your post this morning. I also have been consumed this weekend by thoughts on immigration, Filipina/o American history, DACA, Labor Day, and the unique subsets of privileges and oppressions that underscore my past and present feminist practices. In short, I do not have a concise response to your question. If you can make conclusions about what feminism means to me, at least presently, from my fb and instagram posts in the past few days, I invite you to refer to and repost them. Aloha!
Sometimes pictures speak louder than words, and reveal more complexities and nuances. So I’m sharing a series of images and captions Angela posted on her Instagram account just before Labor Day:
Filipina/o immigrant and domestic workers cleaning our rooms, making our beds, resisting sexual assault, and fighting for justice in your hotels, here in the U.S. and abroad.
Decades and generations of intelligent, skilled, caring Filipina/o immigrants and Filipina/o-Americans providing critical health care in the U.S.
Fish brought to us, and justice fought for us, by Filipino cannery workers and union organizers.
Produce brought to us, and justice fought for us, by Filipino and Mexican workers. Artwork by Angelo Lopez.
I stand with DACA.
WOW. Angela’s posts remind me that words aren’t everything, and that there are many forms of communication and expression.
Thank you, Angela! Aloha.
Angela Dee Kūliaikanu’u Alforque was born in San Francisco and grew up in South Sacramento, California. She earned her B.A. in Drama/Social Science and M.A. in Multicultural American History & Performance from Sacramento State University; and an Ed.D from Saint Mary’s College of California. She trained and worked as a singer, actor, dancer, teacher, choreographer, director and playwright, and served as Theatre Arts/Ethnic Theatre Professor at Sacramento City College; Associate Director for the Sinag-tala Filipino Theater & Performing Arts Association; and member of Ebó Okokán Afro-Cuban Drum & Dance Ensemble. In 2012 she moved to the “Big Island” of Hawai`i and since then has served as Performing Arts Director at Parker School. She lives in Waimea with her husband, Mario Hill, their daughter, Malaya, and their dog, Kenobi.
FEMINISM FROM A to Z is now available for pre-order!