To listen to the entire speech and read about the recovery of this speech, go here. It’s important to listen in its entirety because I don’t like the idea of fragmenting someone’s ideas for the sake of a soundbite. Frankly, I find it disrespectful to do so. Otherwise, you run into this mistake (I agree with the Michael Eric Dyson here. When we reduce Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech to a single set of lines, we lose the entire message completely.)

I have bittersweet feelings about today. Right now, I am in the state the was one of the last to recognize this holiday. 2016 barely started and I cannot help but reflect on the injustices that continue to haunt and affect people of color. I don’t have the words to express the anger, frustration, and disappointment. For now, I’m listening to this recovered speech.  If MLK could remain optimistic, then I’m hoping some of that will speak to me. Today.

Maraming Salamat,

Joanne L. Rondilla, Ph.D.

Mesa, AZ


shut it

Over the weekend, a mistake was made. A woman was mistakenly crowned Miss Universe. Profuse apologies followed. Eventually, Miss Philippines won the Miss Universe title. Social media continues to buzz. End story.

Dear People of the World: Feel free to talk about these series of events all you like. Before you do, I kindly as you to do the following things:

1) Note the correct spelling of the current title holder’s country: Philippines.

2) Note the correct way to address people from said country: Filipino or Pilipino (not Philippino, Philippians or any other variation of that).

3) Confused or bothered about the title holder’s last name and/or mixed race identity? Please read up on the colonial history of the Philippines. It may take a while, but at least you’ll be informed.

4) Keep your racist comments to yourself. No one likes reading uninformed bullshit.

Maraming Salamat (Many Thanks),

Joanne L. Rondilla, Ph.D.

Fremont, CA

the last dragon

This weekend, everyone is going crazy watching this:

Personally, I’m waiting for the hype to die down (and for the time to re-visit the original series). Though I will not be watching The Force, I will be watching something that has to do with The Glow:

Don’t judge. I’m well aware that The Last Dragon is one of those awesomely bad 80s movies. You either love it or you don’t. Well guess what side of the street I’m standing on. The Manpanion managed to grab some tickets to a 30th anniversary screening and Q&A event featuring W. Kamau Bell and Taimak. We can’t wait! (Yes, I’ll post a full report later.)

Maraming Salamat (Many Thanks),

Joanne L. Rondilla, Ph.D.

South San Francisco, CA


Confession: In high school and college, I was an artist. (As I write these words, the admission is still tough to wrap my head around.) Photography was my first love and I eventually majored in Art Studio. My areas of concentration were printmaking and performance. I gave up photography because at the time (in the 35mm days), supplies were expensive and the primary photo professor was a jerk. He was known to HATE commercial work, and there were notorious stories about him tearing up student projects, claiming they were shit.

Art classes critiques are hard enough. No one needs Professor Douchebag to add to the misery.

Still, I  often fantasize about what life would be like if I actually pursued photography. Would I have walked away from it the same way I did printmaking and performance? Who knows?

I will always be a lover and believer in the transformative ways of art. There are a lot of smart and creative people who illustrate this. Check out this interview with 2015 MacArthur Fellow LaToya Ruby Frazier.

I set out to retell the collapse of the steel mill industry, global economy, loss of social services, environmental racism and healthcare inequity through the bodies of three generations of Black women: Grandma Ruby, who lived from1925 and 2009 Mom, who was born in 1959 and myself, born in 1982). Our lives are markers on a historic timeline as Braddock shifted from a prosperous melting pot when my grandmother grew up to a segregated redlined community losing jobs and suffering from white flight when my mother grew up to dismantled steel mills, the War On Drugs and disinvestment at the local, state and federal levels by the time I grew up.

Her work shows us how art can be as effective and informative as the academic articles and books we write, and that our own families and experiences are central to understanding the major issues of the time. Perhaps it’s time that we all dust off that old trusty camera.

Maraming Salamat (Many Thanks),

Joanne L. Rondilla, Ph.D.

Goleta, CA

Itliong-Vera Cruz Middle School


Confession: Growing up, I was really lucky in that I was raised in pre-dominantly non-white, immigrant communities. In fact, I mostly grew up in areas where there were large concentrations of Filipino families, just like mine. Dededo, my home village is notorious for being Filipino-heavy. When I moved to Union City, California, the story continued.

This Friday, Alvarado Middle School (one of two middle schools in Union City) will be re-named to Itliong-Vera Cruz Middle School. It’s been a while since I have lived in Union City and I loosely followed the conversations surrounding the name change. (This is largely because my students at Berkeley would fill me in on this.) While I did not attend Alvarado Middle School, all of my cousins did. The name change makes sense, given the community makeup and history of Union City’s immigrant community. The middle school I attended was called New Haven Middle School. However, its name was eventually changed to Cesar Chavez Middle School. The newly named Itliong-Vera Cruz Middle School is a nice tribute to Filipinos in UFW’s legacy. I do hope to join the festivities on Friday. If that happens, I’ll post an update:)

Maraming Salamat (Many Thanks),

Joanne L. Rondilla, Ph.D.

Mesa, AZ

racial uniform


When you’re reading the news and you’re reminded of Ronald Takaki and his lectures/discussions on the racial uniform….

Sikh Broncos fans are denied entry to game ‘because of their turbans’ – and then stopped by the bomb squad on the way out!

K-pop group denied entry at LAX on suspicion of being sex workers, band says

A Hundred Years Later, “The Birth of a Nation” Hasn’t Gone Away