The death of Cory Aquino saddens millions of Filipinos and believers in democracy worldwide. Her life and the peaceful People Power revolution continue to inspire many to work for peace, justice, freedom and equality, including those of us in the diaspora who are doing so in our adopted countries.
But what surprises me is how young Filipino Americans, who were children during that turbulent and hopeful time, thousands of miles away, are inspired by the late Philippine president and the movement she led. An activist for the Asian Pacific American community wrote, “Her rise to the Philippine Presidency through People Power inspired the world and created a new generation of Filipino activists around the world who now carry the legacy of the EDSA Revolution.”
I do remember it like it was yesterday, which is why Cory Aquino’s death seems to have come so out of the blue.
Through kindergarten and 1st grade, I watched along with my parents for news about the Philippines, even before I could divide, multiply, or construct compound sentences. I saw masses flood EDSA, people against tanks, rosaries against guns. I remember being awed, distressed, anxious– because this was my country in turmoil and uncertainty. I saw the brown faces behind the candlelight vigils, yellow ribbons against a blue tropical sky, hands shaping Ls for LABAN, hundreds and thousands of Filipinos, with fierce, joyous hope gleaming in their eyes. I remember seeing on TV her slight frame rallying crowds and defiantly speaking against Marcos, conferring with soldiers and nuns, hand in hand with students and socialites.
I remember her coming to Guam before the snap election, a gathering somewhere in Hagatna. Sitting on my father’s lap as people milled about, I caught a glimpse of her skirt, and even then, at that young age, knew the gravitas of this person, this phenomenon, and the sea of change right around the corner. She wasn’t perfect, many say, but who is? Her faith & steadfastness restored democracy and freedom to my homeland. Her rule was sincere, and her leadership continued on past her presidency and continued to hold succeeding presidents accountable.
So, salamat, Tita Cory. For the lessons in faith and the lifetime commitment to democracy. May you rest in peace with Ninoy and God.
A friend of Naomi posted
True heroes never really die; they pass on their knowledge, will & most importantly their courage to the next generation who will continue fighting the good fight whether it may be an individual or systemic one.