Page 6 - MANILA UP Vol 6 No 1 Full Issue
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               NAIIA LAJOIE

               While it is hard to believe that we are already well into the New Year, there still exists a cautious optimism in the
               early days of the new administration. Perhaps this is indicative of the emotional rollercoaster the nation endured
               during the past year(s). Though it is abundantly clear that much needs to be changed and done, President Biden
               and Madam Vice President Harris seem to be laying the groundwork for reform, starting with an administration
               that culturally reflects its constituents.

               In regards to the Filipino-American community, just take a look at the Fil-Ams serving in the Biden-Harris
               administration: Gloria Steele, acting administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
               Camille Calimlim Touton, deputy commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation. Veronica Valdez, special assistant
               to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs. John Santos, a special assistant at the
               Department of Veterans Affairs’ Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs. As well as Angela Dela Cruz
               Perez, a press assistant for the White House communications and press staff.

               The cultural diversity found within the cabinet extends far beyond Asian-Americans, and echoes the cries of the
               masses last summer: representation matters. As we now celebrate Black History Month, perhaps the celebration
               and conversation ought to surpass the allocated month of February; it should be a year round discussion.

               As our awareness grows, so too does the Manila Up! staff. Coming from an array of ethnicities, preferences,
               upbringings, educational backgrounds, and spiritual beliefs, we will do our part to continue sharing our
               individual experiences and opinions while also bringing you the diverse stories of so many others.

               Even though we cannot congregate to watch the Superbowl or go on a Valentine’s date, we can still come together
               in supporting local and POC-owned small business. We can show frontline workers that we care by continuing to
               social distance, fighting misinformation, and masking-up. We can turn out nation into a “vacci-nation”. In doing
               so, during this month dedicated to love, you can demonstrate that you truly love thy neighbor.

               Wishing you peace, patience, and kindness,

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