when i got something so say. or not. but good chances are: i'm probably procrastinating.

current mental state:
robo.to/jaahsten

 

Any Awareness is Good Awareness: My thoughts on the #ALSIceBucketChallenge & other internet “trend activism”.

As I totally understand & respect some of the reasons from those choosing not to participate in the #ALSIceBucketChallenge (whether it be the drought, animal testing, some folks just doing it because it’s cool, etc.), you cannot deny the impact it has made for a cause that was once underfunded; as well as unknown by many. Whether the intentions of the water dumpee were vain, misguided, trivial, for popularity, or for actual awareness, the overall campaign actually worked: empirically, more people are aware and/or donating, previous to this challenge.  If you need more details of how it impacted the organization monetarily, you can read this article: http://www.forbes.com/fdc/welcome_mjx.shtml

There are many other deserving charities out there that would benefit from even a quarter of the attention or donations the ALS Association. Many of them try to do similar things like using their own hashtags, having people replace their profile pictures with symbols, holding 10K’s, holding bake sales—I don’t see why there needs to be many critics out there judging something that worked, if not just to find a way to call out the narcissists.

I’m not coming out for or against dumping ice water on my head to raise awareness, but I think rather than vilifying participants by blanket-labeling all of them “slacktivist”, or the whole challenge “trend activism”, we should find other ways to help underfunded charities be as successful. If you happen to get nominated and/or it still really bothers you—use that opportunity to show your support to the ALS Association by donating or just by respectfully declining but showing your support to the organization; or any other charitable organization, for that matter. I don’t think anyone should hate you for wanting to promote ANY good cause.

While I know these internet “awareness drives” are temporary and some people will forget why they’re doing this in the first place, one thing I learned as an activist is that some of the people you engage will unfortunately lose sight of their original purpose & leave—however, the ones who stick around, the ones you truly touch, will be the ones to keep the cause alive.

One of the many criticisms I heard is that some people just do the challenge to avoid donating.  I do not doubt that that may be the case for some people, but consider this: I remember one of the last big campaigns that many of my friends participated in, myself included, was for marriage equality.  Almost everyone who supported marriage equality replaced their profile with a red equal sign.  For a good few weeks, my Facebook feed was red.  Now, just like many profile change/hashtag/ice bucket campaigns, it had its critics; one of them being that it won’t do anything, won’t have a serious impact, it’s only temporary, etc.  As I do admit it was somewhat “trendy”, even if that campaign didn’t have a serious impact (which, in my opinion, it had), as someone part of the LGBT community that would hope to someday legally get married to the man I love, I felt good to see how many people in my life support my lifestyle, even if, whether they knew it at that time or not, I was the only person in their life that was gay.  Even if it was just for a few weeks, that is something I will remember for a lifetime & something that will keep me going and fighting everyday for that cause.

I don’t have ALS, nor do I knowingly have someone in my life with ALS.  However, all the money raised and all the participant’s intentions aside, I know that the videos alone will positively impact those affected by ALS, and encourage themselves, their family, their friends, and/or ALS Research supports to fight another day.

So, rather than hating everyone for filling up your Facebook feed with ice water dumping videos, just applaud the ALS Association for their clever marketing and let everyone have their fun (remember?  Facebook is supposed to be fun!). If it still really bothers you, get off of Facebook for a few days so it can die down, and in the meantime, come up with another idea to raise money & awareness that doesn’t require getting shirtless or wet for ALS research or another equally deserving organization.

fOtherwise, I’m sure we all can appreciate a wet t-shirt on a hot celebrity, whether or not it’s for charity.

Had some fun with photoshop this morning.

Had some fun with photoshop this morning.

A Lament to My Ading, Kyle Farol

I’ve been trying to wrap my head around the fact that my college-bound baby cuz passed away suddenly last Monday night. It was just a few weeks ago that I was having brunch with him asking if he was excited to start UCI this fall quarter. Even when I see him lay there, I still can’t believe it.

Kyle— Even if it may not seem like it to everyone around me, I’ve been grieving all week, trying to hold it together. A blog post isn’t enough to explain how I feel right now (plus, I honestly don’t know if I have the strength to speak at your eulogy tonight), but even though I wish you were still here, playing with your little brothers with me, I wanted to thank you for teaching me more about myself, and most importantly, life; especially in the course of this past week.

I know that it was rough for you growing up, in & out of hospitals, but you also taught me to be tough. I’ll take care of your little brothers for you as much as I can, but I can tell you already taught them well and they can take care of themselves, as well as your parents, soon, if not now.

I regret that I haven’t spent as much time with you as much as I wanted to, especially recently, but I hope that I was able to teach you a few things while I watched you grow up into the awesome, educated, handsome, & tough little man you became.

Kyle, I miss you. We all do. But I believe that, even though your physical self isn’t alive, I know your energy is still with us; and as you probably already know: Energy can neither be made nor destroyed (Nerd Alert!). Plus (and I know it’s a bit cliché), I know your soul is resting in a better place—free of worries, hardships, and hospitals; someplace peaceful where you can sit back, relax, play Pokemón on your DS, & read Harry Potter as you watch over all of us.

Again, thank you, cuz. I love you, miss you, & I look forward to reuniting with you when it’s my time.

Rest in peace, Ading.

Love,
Manong Justin

just so you’re clear about where i stand with a certain chicken sandwich…

yesterday was Chick-Fil-A appreciation day.  Long story short, I aired my feelings on a Facebook status update.  After receiving a ton of positive responses, I responded to one in particular, not necessarily negative, but one sort of defending the company based on the 1st amendment.  I’ve responded back via the comment section, but just so I can express to everyone how why I came to the decision why I chose not to go there in the first place (along with other notorious companies/corporations), here is that response:

first off, thanks so much to everyone. i woke up to so much positive support coming from a lot of people, friends & family, who I’m so glad to know is on my side. i’m so overwhelmed to know how many people know where i’m coming from, it’s

 restoring my fate in humanity a bit more.

i know everyone is entitled to their own opinion. i’m sure there are many good people who work for Chick-Fil-A who are either gay and/or does not support what their CEO stands for. What I had a problem with is that people taking advantage of the fact that yesterday’s “Appreciation Day”, thinking it was a chance to make their voice be heard (via the 1st Amendment) without knowing how their actions affect not only me, but many people in the world who are also in the LGBT community.

Without having to go TOO much into it and making this response a full-on essay, a lot of Chick-Fil-A’s profits are donated to two groups: The Family Research Council & the Marriage & Family Foundation—BOTH of which “missionary work” in America & around the world promote the idea that homosexuality should be a crime. Money, that comes from purchasing what seems to be a harmless little sandwich, is donated to these organizations who promote these ideas in different countries. That’s what I’m talking about when I say “voting with your dollars”. This has been going on for years (which is why I have never really eaten there in the first place).

So yes, people are entitled to their own opinions. Yes, not everyone in the company may not have the same ideals as that CEO. And yes, the media may have overblown the controversy. But you know what? I’m glad the media overblown something like this, and I hope they do expose a lot of what these companies stand for so we know where our money is going after we purchase a combo meal. I don’t want my purchasing power to effect ANY group negatively whether it be LGBT, Asian-American, African-American, etc.

It’s not just a chicken sandwich or just 1st Amendment argument. You’re effecting my life & the lives of millions of the LGBT community around the wold.


To sum up, it’s one thing to consciously know where your money is going to and how it’s effecting people and actively supporting it, but it’s another to know that same information but being ignorant or apathetic about it.  Please, think before you act (or purchase).