Often, when I deliver a talk about The Labor of Care, I can’t help but get choked up about the lives and sacrifices of the women in the book. And during my last stop on this semester’s book tour in Portland, it was no different. More so because I began with the story of my own mother, Mama Irma, and her journey to the US with three young kids in tow. I’ve dragged Cy to almost every book talk so I know the logistics entailed in traveling with an infant. So to think about my own mother’s bravery, audacity and tenacity to schlep all three of us across the Pacific Ocean, I give her HELLA props.

I think sharing my own biography and reflecting on the stories in the book allowed people to connect to the book in different ways. Whether it was their own migration story, their own epistemological truths, their own journey to seek out new knowledge production, the Portland crowd seemed to engage with my work in so many different ways.

Photo credit: Patrick Villaflores Image description: Copy of the evening’s paper program in the foreground and VFM speaking in the background

It was important to me to know that the book could relate to people who are non-Filipino, non-migrant. And many of the attendees were just that. Still they connected in some way.

More importantly though, a great showing of Filipino community and organizations came: GABRIELA PDX, Anakbayan PDX, Portland Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines, Kaibigan at PSU. And also colleagues and grinds too! I was so proud to share this work with them and because of them–they whose stories are parallel with the ones in the book. Especially told Center stage as a keynote in a city that often invisibilizes Filipinos.

For the Filipino community in Portland (yes, they’re there) and the comrades who helped watch Cy during my academic talks, I was so honored to represent their experiences.

Now, time to grade and sprint to the finish line of the semester!

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