Sumulat Para Mamulat (To Write is to be Awakened): Social Justice through Letter Writing

Workshop description: Letter-writing can create social change, whether by relaying our demands to those in power or by expressing solidarity to those who need it. Join this workshop to learn about social justice movements fighting for our rights and welfare in the Philippines and in Canada, and write letters that will make an impact.

Jestinne Punzalan: Jestinne (she/her) is a Filipinx youth who is a settler on Kwantlen, Katzie, Semiahmoo, and Tsawwassen First Nations unceded lands (so called Surrey, BC). She is a Registered Social Worker and graduated with a Bachelor of Social Work degree from the University of Victoria. She is currently employed in the healthcare field. Outside of social work, Jestinne is also involved in many volunteer based projects. She is a co-creator of Shades of Sustainability, a community project that centers BIPOC communities in the environmental movement through storytelling and dialogue. She is a member of Sulong UBC’s education committee and help organize the group’s educational sessions. She is also a member of Sliced Mango Collective, as the communications coordinator! As an immigrant youth who is a part of the Filipino diaspora, she found herself separated and uneducated about Filipino history and current political and social events occurring back home. She wanted to not only learn and re-learn her culture, but to also be a part of that change to create more spaces for other Filipino youth to learn and explore their community and culture. She is excited to be a part of Pinoys on Parliament!

KC Gagatiga: KC Gagatiga was born in Manila, Philippines. KC uses He/She/They pronouns. He is pursuing a Bachelors of Applied Science in Electrical Engineering and a Bachelors of Science in Computing Technology. Having lived their early childhood in what is now known as the Philippines, they understood that the reason for their migration had roots in the impoverished conditions and lack of opportunities back home. Growing up in Mississauga, Ontario, she quickly realized that many kids of immigrants, like herself, struggled with their identities. With first and second generation Filipinos, many sought connection to their motherland but access to such historical and cultural information was lacking. Being a graduate of the International Baccalaureate program, he realized that it was not sufficient to only be taught a STEAM education in order to succeed. It was through his journey of discovering the rich history of the Philippines, and the cruel repercussions of colonialism that he was able to find empowerment in being Filipino. Cultural and Historical teachings of one’s heritage must supplement education in order to foster critical thinking and to understand what it means to be a global citizen.