In Pursuit of Social Equity and Cultural Pluralism
By Aurelio Solver Agcaoili
Let it be on record now: that the idea of Nakem Youth began in 2006 at the 1st Nakem International Conference, the seed of that idea sown in the succeeding years that the Nakem grew roots in the Philippines through the 2nd and 3rd Nakem Conferences, the seed blooming into a young plant at the 4th Nakem Conference, and then nurtured to grow at the first-ever Nakem Youth organizational meeting held at the University of Hawaii at Manoa on December 5, 2009, from 6:00 PM-9:00PM.
We record the event with the meeting of several young people, with Jeffrey and Rachelle facilitating.
We record the place: Spalding Hall 257, at the UH Manoa campus by Maile Way.
With them were Calvin Rilveria, James Funtanilla, Donnie Dadiz, and Clifford Badua. Two young students joined them: Isaiah Pascua and Jacky Gallinato. I was there to serve as a witness, with Jeff and Rachelle, program directors. I am to serve as executive director per Jeff and Rachelle’s wishes.
On December 4, Jeffrey, Rachelle, and I met to discuss about the concept of Nakem Youth as an organization, as the youth arm of Nakem Conferences, and as the youth organization that will make a difference in the pursuit of the same Nakem vision of diversity, cultural pluralism, social equity, linguistic justice, education to democracy, and heritage rights.
We said it allowed in that meeting: that while Nakem Youth will journey with Nakem Conferences on that same road that leads to freedom, this youth organization will explore avenues that lead to the recognition of the abilities and competencies of the young in effecting the much needed social change for the many communities long deprived of their basic right to their ideas, the right to their sense of what is just and fair, the right to their languages and cultures, the right to their social spaces that make them realize that community is meant people, traditions, heritage, dreams, visions, purposes, and the collective quest for that which is true and good.
We have so many dreams for Nakem Youth.
We dream of this youth organization as the first-ever to recognize that the right to citizenship is intertwined with the right to one’s own language and culture even as we recognize our obligation to come into a communion with the larger culture where we find ourselves.
For Nakem Youth, these realities are not incompatible but come as complementary to each other, completing what is to be completed, building up from what is in there, and forging a future from the promises and possibilities of the present.
At Nakem Youth, we dream, and in that dream, we hand in to the young the key to a new world that reveals to us the vastness of a tomorrow that has yet to unfurl before us.
At Nakem Youth, we dream of a Youth Community Language Program that will put together a long-term program for heritage language education.
At Nakem Youth, we dream of a Nakem Youth People’s Theatre that will showcase both the terpsichorean and dramatic abilities of our youth even as they use these abilities to education our communities of the many issues affective everyone. At the Nakem Youth People’s Theatre, theatre is for the community, for education, for social transformation.
At Nakem Youth, we dream of a youth publishing collective, the Nakem Youth Press, that will transform our writings into books and other more permanent printing forms. We will utilize the writings of the youth for educational intervention purposes as well as for our literacy programs.
At Nakem Youth, we dream of a political arm, the Nakem Youth Solidarity Program, that will raise the level of social consciousness of the youth pertaining to social issues, global and local, issues that affect our communities, and issues affecting the meaning of our faith.
At Nakem Youth, we dream of an educational arm, the Nakem Youth Education Forum, that will put in place capacity building measures for our young with respect to having access to both formal and informal education that will prepare them for responsibilities in both the government and the private section.
Today, the core group of the Nakem Youth has been formed.
The next step is how this makes this group ready to face up to the challenges of sustaining the dream, of making this dream a reality.