My parents were born in the Philippines and immigrated to Canada in the 1970s.  My sisters and I were born in Winnipeg, Manitoba and were raised in Vancouver, BC.  We were lucky enough to spend a lot of time in the Philippines as we grew up.  We were exposed to Filipino ways of living first hand. 

This helped us really understand the language, culture, and traditions.  So yes, we ate rice every day with a spoon and fork, we “blessed” our elders and answered with “Opo”, and we took off our shoes when we entered a house. My parents wanted us to embrace our culture, while other parents who had immigrated from the Philippines tried to assimilate in Canada.
 
I love how Canada is so multicultural and I have many friends from different countries. I was always so proud to represent the Philippines!  There was so much to talk about- the Good, the Bad and the Ugly. From the delicious food and amazing beaches to the colonization of our people and government corruption.  When I meet newly arrived Filipinos, they would be so surprised at how much I know about our country and culture. I told them that it is important to keep our Filipino culture and customs alive in Canada because we would not want to lose our identity.

 In the mainstream media, people of colour barely get recognized. I always wanted to see more multicultural people on the radio, the big screen, board of directors, and at decision-making tables that can add value and opinion on important matters. These conversations were often heard among fellow Filipino friends. I would always ask “How can we inspire the next generations to reach their full potential and create a movement within our community?”

When I was approached to be part of the Next Day Better Vancouver Team, I knew it could be the vehicle to answer my question. Next Day Better is a story telling platform for multicultural creative speakers to discuss important and difficult local and global issues in a safe and positive space.  We want to build bridges between communities and facilitate joint efforts to fight injustice and spark action.  We also include a food element in the program featuring local Filipino chefs, since food  is such a huge part of our culture and gatherings.

By having this kind of events people will acquire knowledge and awareness.  Next Day Better connects a large network of peers and liked-minded change makers.  We provide opportunities by sharing resources and  collaborative efforts for social change to build more inclusive communities.  This will also promote respect for diversity. We want to fuel people with inspiration which they can apply in their everyday life so they can take the steps to make the next day better in their own way.

I am very excited about the upcoming Next Day Better events in Vancouver. Stay tuned. www.nextdaybetter.com

I leave you with one of my favourite quotes by Maya Angelou, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”


Sammie Jo Rumbaua is a new single mom,  entrepreneur and community organizer. She owns and operates an event planning company with her sisters called, Power of Threee. She also works at Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood House helping Vancouver’s most vulnerable population. For updates on upcoming projects,  please check out www.sammiejo.ca


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