In our professional lives, we're always told to stay away from controversial and divisive topics like religion, family, money, and politics. Rightly so, I mean, the current political climate of today is fraught with fake news, troll discourse and just... like... utter craziness and pandemonium, in general. But in my efforts to live a decompartmentalized life, a seamless life, if you will, I found a cause I could get behind 100% that cuts across most peoples' politics, and that is the power of culture over violence.
A few months ago, a friend of mine, Katrina Stuart Santiago got together for coffee with Celina Borromeo (and Kat's rescue dog too, Twenty!) and talked about the current political climate. Kat had just recently resigned from her columnist gig at the Manila Times and wanted to do something for the good of the country out of her newfound free(er) time. One of the things she came up with was the Cultural Workers Statement, that she was already sharing on her own personal social media accounts. She asked Celine and I to develop a website that could efficiently gather signatures of everyone who worked in culture-producing industries against violence. After a few days, the website was born!
Now this is something that was obviously done in our spare time, with no profit in mind and no bottomline to think about. And the community grew overnight. I guess what I'm trying to say is that, not everything has to be self-serving, profiteering or income-generating. Sometimes, it's good to just give back. Not only was it a venue for artists, writers, producers, and other people in the industry to put their feet down and declare that the culture of death and violence isn't a way to go but it was also a place where they could express their disdain for the impunity today's politicking machine encourages.
I'm very proud of this project. It's still an ongoing movement. The website is still up and no one has asked us to take it down (and Laaawddd help them if they do) but this is something that we should all reflect on. When it comes to politics, if you are in a position of power to do something, like you have a platform or a following and you can assert yourself or whatever you believe in and you can do it in a non-violent way, with the skills that you have, constructively and peacefully, you should. It's very fulfilling.
Click here to visit the website and sign the statement!
Have anything to share? Or want to help out with my other pro-bono work? Leave your comments in the comments section below. I'd love to hear from you!