I experienced the best weekend of my life in Chicago. The city’s crisp, cold air greeted my kasamas and I with open arms when we got off our flight. An energy circulated through the house as we settled in, preparing for the long day ahead. I had never been so excited for my birthday until our conference was around the corner.
The International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS) held their US chapters conference this past weekend. Our organization, the League of Filipino Students, flew out there this past weekend as members of ILPS, excited to engage and learn. The conference itself was very new to me; I had just joined LFS last semester and had yet to experience a national conference within anti-impe organizations. I was excited to learn and grow from the experience and reach out to the kasamas all over the country.
The panelists were enthralling, speaking to the conditions they faced as organizers and victims to the system we all live in. The cultural performances hit deeply. Local artists from the Elephant Rebellion, Monotone and L O Kari, spoke to the struggles of the people of Chicago and the roots of people of color in America. One of our own kasamas, Raymond, collectively sung and performed rev songs with other members of the conference. The conference shed light to the issues I had already learned within my organization in the broader context of what we were all working for: a world rid of imperialism.
When our collective did our debriefing at the end of our long Saturday, I was overwhelmed with emotions. Complete strangers had become my comrades within the span of 12 hours. My organization continued to support and care for me, instilling a continued feeling of resilient energy and love. I started to cry during my portion of debriefing, thankful for everyone around me. My feelings towards our collective and the community we were in were enforced through this experience; I am, and will never be, alone.
It was hard to leave Chicago, especially because we didn’t completely get to visit the city, but I know I’d visit soon. The energy of the people was strong, and the dedication to the anti-impe struggle the organizers of the area held was revitalizing. Chicago, 48 degree weather and all, was warm. The connections made in that city with kasamas all over the country and within my own collective will be unforgettable and my continued love to serve the people, reinforced. Now back in the Bay Area, I’m excited to apply everything I learned from this past weekend. I feel renewed in my love for the people and the society I’m working towards.
Thank you Chicago for everything. I’ll never forget my time there.