This Week in Southeast Asian Studies (TWISEA)
April 12, 2016
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Language Study & Activism

"Through her struggle, I now understand that my liberation as a Filipina American is tied up within my mother and the larger struggle of immigrant women here locally and globally,” said Michelle Jaquish
Michelle Jaquish is an MA student in Social Work. She’s also a FLAS awardee, studying Tagalog for this academic year. With social work on her mind, Michelle plans to apply her language study to activism.
Michelle decided to pursue an MA in Social Work after her stint with AmeriCorps. For three years, she “worked with homeless youth and provided tutoring services to elementary students that fell through the cracks.” “It broke my heart to watch our youth of color struggling while they were taking their MAP [Measures of Academic Progress] tests... I saw how overworked and under-resourced teachers were and kept questioning why this was happening,” she said.
Also through AmeriCorps, Michelle found her identity. As part of her work, she had to complete a “race history project” on where she grew up then share it with her family members. This was not an easy task for Michelle. She had a lot of confusion around her identity as a mixed race person, and she grew up in Bellingham, “which is very white-dominated.” “I had to interrogate these internalized views I grew up with, learn about the trauma and pain my mother went through as an immigrant from the Philippines, and how it impacts how I see myself racially today, and presented everything to my 50-person AmeriCorps team,” explained Michelle.
During her last year at AmeriCorps, Michelle continued to “unpack what being Filipino meant.” She discovered GABRIELA Seattle, “a collective of Pin@ys celebrating our multifaceted identities, revolutionary history, and rich culture.” “It is through GABRIELA Seattle that I was able to connect to other Filipinas in Seattle, and continue building with other groups organizing against imperialism and for racial, gender, and economic justice,” she said.
As Michelle continued to dig deeper, she realized that learning Tagalog was an important piece. Learning the language, however, was extra difficult. “A heritage student…I was definitely harder on myself.” But knowing the language has helped Michelle connect with her mother and improved their relationship. In a sense, Michelle finally understood the hardship that her mother experienced when she immigrated to the US 27 years ago. This understanding also brought a new aim. “Through her struggle, I now understand that my liberation as a Filipina American is tied up within my mother and the larger struggle of immigrant women here locally and globally,” said Michelle.
This July, Michelle and other members of GABRIELA Seattle will travel to the Philippines to learn and collaborate with other indigenous organizations through the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines. If you'd like to learn more about the trip and/or support Michelle, please contact her at
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Upcoming Events (2)

Movie Night

The Vertical Ray of the Sun

Thursday, April 14, 6:00 - 9:00 pm
Thomson 101
It has been 15 years since the movie made its debut in France and Vietnam. But the story of three sisters in modern-day Hanoi seeking advice from each other on every subject, even the most intimate, and each having a secret is still very relevant. Love, family and loyalty are constantly questioned -- what matters most?

Come join us. Popcorn will be provided.

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Back to the Source: Music from Central Java

Friday, April 22, 2016, 8:00pm

Wayward Music Series at the Chapel Performance Space
Good Shepherd Center, 4649 Sunnyside Ave N, Seattle

Tickets at the door, $5–15
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Recommended Resources (2)

This section lists news items and other recently-published resources that have been recommended by faculty and grad students over the past week. To submit an item for next week, email

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Fellowships and Funding (2)

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For general information on funding sources, including FLAS, visit the SEAC website
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Conferences and Calls for Papers (1)

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