Heidi M. Pascual*
Publisher & Editor
* 2006 Journalist of the Year for the State
of Wisconsin (U.S.-SBA)
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Filipino and American Stories
Together Again after 50 Years

How do I describe my feelings upon seeing, hugging, and kissing my former high school
classmates who were out of sight after 50 years? Indescribable!
Class ’68 of Pedro Guevara Memorial High School held our Golden Jubilee February 17-18
at the Cultural Center of Laguna, but our section, College Preparatory Section 1, held our
exclusive gathering on February 16th with our class adviser/teacher, Mrs. Maura Britania, now
91 years old, at the home of our outstanding classmate, former Ambassador to Switzerland,
Cecilia Baltazar-Rebong.

I would aptly describe the whole event as one of my top happiest events in my life! Bonding
with old friends I haven’t seen in years, sharing experiences in high school and the years
after that, enjoying three full days of friendship and camaraderie, were more than enough to
make me cry for joy and gratitude to God. At 66, I am truly thankful I am still here, still relatively
in good health, able to walk straight, talk sense, and dance to a night of music. Tons of food,
raffle prizes, musical performances, and games made our gathering extra attractive, too!

While we all enjoyed the event, we also prayed for the souls of classmates who are already
Top: Attendees from Class '68 and teachers of Pedro Guevara
Memorial High School at the Grand Reunion last Feb. 1.7
Above: Heidi Pascual with Yolanda Salva, one of her best
friends in high school
in heaven, particularly those very close to many of us. We also missed the presence of many who were unable to come, especially the sick and
those from very faraway places. But with more than 230 attendees and 15 former teachers, the Grand Reunion of PGMHS Class ’68 was truly a
blast!
Asian Americans fill New Mexico State Capitol Chambers on
Anti-Racism Day


When we think about participating in democracy, the first thing that
comes to mind is voting. But there's more we can do. We can keep
our elected officials accountable by speaking to them in person.
Learn how New Mexico Asian Family Center took civic engagement
one step further by organizing a legislative visit to their state capitol
in Santa Fe.

Did you know 28,761 Asian Americans make up a small but mighty
community in New Mexico? Members from the Vietnamese,
Japanese, Cambodian, Afghan and Chinese communities made
Community members posed for a photo with State Senator Linda Lopez at the capitol.
their voices heard at the state capitol on Jan. 23 to celebrate Anti-Racism Day, declared by New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez in a signed
proclamation.

For many of the New Mexicans, it was their first time stepping foot in the halls of the New Mexico Capitol building when they arrived by bus to
Santa Fe from Albuquerque.


With the help of New Mexico Asian Family Center who organized the legislative visit, 50 community members learned about the history of racial
discrimination against people of color and the importance of forming coalitions in New Mexico. They also received a training which demystified
the process of contacting elected officials who must represent the concerns of Asian American constituents too.


"I learned that we should work together to stop racism. Also, we should talk to our representatives and senators on issues that are important to
us, and get them to take action," one attendee wrote about their visit to the state capitol.  


Community members spoke with State Senator Linda Lopez and Representative Jim Dines to advocate for change. Topics included anti-Asian
hate and an early child education bill.


The organizers also created space for people from different Asian ethnic backgrounds to bond and learn about each other while also building
bridges with the Latinx community. Ian Tateisi talked about the Asian American youth experience while Mula Akbar spoke about the impact of
hate crimes against the Muslim community.


This may be the first visit to the New Mexico state capitol for many, but it certainly will not be the last now that they know it is within their reach. If
anyone doubted it before, Asian Americans are indeed active members of the community and they will continue to voice their opinions.