About Me | Biography & Mission Statement

I am a woman of color, a second-generation Filipinx-American, a precarious worker, journalist, and scholar motivated by urgent problems of our current historical moment to explore the emerging fault lines at the intersection of social, political, economic, and ecological systems. Using a range of communication venues & forms of media to engage different audiences, the goal of my socially engaged research & pedagogy is to empower students, activists, and local communities in developing situated methodological tools for strategic analysis & action; to fully realize their democratic potential and create the just, sustainable, and resilient communities we will need to weather the coming storms.

My non-traditional life trajectory has meandered through a wide range of life experiences, career paths, and economic sectors, including the performing arts, IT & telecommunications, finance & real estate, public relations & marketing, investigative journalism, agriculture, informal economies, national political campaigns and international policy. Having dropped out of high school, I self-educated and attended community college classes for much of my early adult life, before transferring to UCLA as a Geography/Environmental Studies major / minor in Urban Planning to study environmental justice and problems of modern megacities. My first trip to Brazil, on a study-abroad semester in Salvador, Bahia – one of the premier cities of the African Diaspora in the New World – radically changed my worldview in terms of the enduring role of subaltern history, cultural resistance and its inscription onto geophysical landscapes, and its heightened salience given current world-historical problems of climate change, social conflict & political upheaval. My subsequent research as a graduate student – at University of Chicago studying food justice on the South Side, and at UC Berkeley studying urban agriculture in the lower Amazon Basin, and now as I travel across the continental US to organize and advise locally based activists, community groups, and political organizations – continues to echo this fundamental theme.

Taking an unconventional, praxis-oriented & engaged approach that has evolved from my lived experience at the edge of exclusion in today’s neoliberal society, my research & pedagogy is fundamentally aimed at highlighting possibilities for innovative solutions to the multiple & compounded crises faced by excluded communities; and to articulate, valorize, and cultivate forms of knowledge & problem-solving that arise from these situated perspectives. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for; and a better world is indeed possible, if we fully recognize the inherent dignity, value, and potential contribution of every human being that lives on this earth.

“Philosophers have hitherto interpreted the world; the point is to change it.” –Marx’s 11th Thesis

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