Five to Fight For

Original post on September 3, 2017

Hello Friends!

Now that the Felicia Chew For Tucson City Council campaigning is timed out, what next?

For me, I keep keeping on.

After the official ballot counts were posted on Friday (9/1/2017) night, my son and I attended one of my best friend’s* weddings on Friday night here at Tucson’s Fraternal Order of Eagles Tucson Aerie Number 180.

I was reminded that we have choices, and that we can make change — and I was reminded of why I fight — for our future and our future generations.

Tucson, it’s up to us to help continue the fight. Here are five issues (there are others) I learned about while on this wonderful adventure, along with my two cents:

1. Tucson House. Please bring back human beings for entry rights (signing everyone in and out), instead of the computerized entry system. Folks who don’t belong are finding their way into the building, and causing problems for residents. Longtime residents no longer feel safe.

2. Bicycle Patrols. Please implement programs directed toward reducing crime in Ward 3. The District has officers on bicycle; areas of Ward 3 (like my area of Campus Farm, and the Samos Neighborhood), would definitely appreciate some bicycle patrols. Pilot program, for TPD?

3. N 1st Ave and Fort Lowell (Methadone Clinic). Many general complaints. My thoughts: All of us in Ward 3 need to realize that clients of the Clinic attend for various reasons, and we should not judge our fellow Tucsonans for attending the Clinic. We should suppprt them and their decision to attempt to take back their lives, by participating in treatment.

4. Vote By Mail Program/Voter Participation. The Vote By Mail (VBM) program is not equitable (please see my previous comments on this page). But more importantly, many Ward 3 residents don’t vote — for a variety of reasons:

–(a) Cannot vote — no rights due to previous felonies or citizenship status; not registered to vote because they are part-time residents, or just moved;

–(b) Do not know it is time to vote — busy with daily life (and dealing with crises and mini-crises) and time just gets away, including the voting window;

–(c) Do not care to vote — a huge “It won’t make a difference”/”No one cares what I think”/”Why bother? The City (Government) is just going to do what it wants to do. They don’t care what we say” sentiment exists.

–(d) Don’t feel educated to vote. Despite attempts at hosting many forums, and providing newspaper coverage, many voters were not able to attend or view the forums.**

The largest turnouts were 75 or 80 audience members (many groupies).

Voter turnout for the City: 20%.
— One out of 3 (33%) women will experience Domestic Violence in her lifetime;
— One out of four (25%) men will experience Domestic Violence in his lifetime;
— One out of four Tucsonans (25%) lives in poverty (http://www.kvoa.com/story/33283962/tucson-poverty-rate-relatively-unchanged-over-three-years)

So, the 20% voter population (one out of five) does not speak to the general population (please bear in mind that Ward 3 has one of the highest numbers of reported cases of Domestic Violence).

As a Victim Advocate in the Courts, we advocate for the victim speaking, to share the true story and true problems that exist. In spite of how hard others may try to speak “for” the victim/survivor, there are gaps that frequently get overlooked, simply because it is hard work to communicate everything the victim/survivor has to say.

So please — have conversations with neighbors to develop a trust that is so sorely needed in our community!

My two cents: An olde town monthly fiesta that included Candidate and Issues Forums, food, information about what’s going on in Tucson, food trucks, music, food, speeches by candidates, food, games for all ages, food — Tucson, that could go a long way. Tucsonans like (love!) Festivals and Second Saturdays!

5. Transit, Transportation, and Walkability. I was asked at a Forum how I rated Walkability in Ward 3. I gave ratings across the board (because quite frankly, some areas in Ward 3 have more improvements than others — areas due to Resident Action and Participation).

We are improving, but we need to continue improving our transit system, fewer potholes, more bicycle lanes, and more pedestrian (and skateboard, longboard, roller skate, wheelchair, stroller, limited mobility) friendly paths.

*****

Kalamajong***, Tucson! Viva! (La revolucion!)

Felicia 🙂 ❤

*Amber and Raymond, go make your luck!)
**Shout out to Daily Star Reporter Joe Ferguson who was at all but two that I attended; and shout out to groups who livestreamed /recorded the forums — Forums and recordings available on the Campaign site chewfortucson.wordpress.com — You can create your own free website at wordpress.com
***Make it so!

“Make America Better”

This is a re-post of a comment to a comment to a post regarding the recent overruling of the banning of MAS in the Tucson Unified School District (Tucson, Arizona)

*****

Comment above states: “DA Morales I want to have kids have equal opportunity for success not be relegated to being a victim with no opportunity. That’s what education does. I am the first person in my family with a college degree. We were taught hard work in my family, but we started close to the bottom. Doesn’t matter where you start in America you can get ahead.”

I used to believe in the “pull yourself up by the bootstraps through education” story as well. Ironically, it is through education that I learned about the glass ceiling and implicit bias. Yes, everyone *can*”get ahead” … but…

Here is a perspective that I do not see taught regularly: Getting ahead can be going in a straight line, but imagine that you are on a sphere. Eventually, getting ahead brings you back to the same point on the sphere. Now consider standing on the sphere, but moving in a spiral, up, away from the sphere. The final destinations are countless. That’s the difference — most minorities and women are kept on the sphere, and there is a “glass ceiling” that keeps them there.

I have no problem with a policy that states: “No hate crimes, equal opportunity.” and that is what the policy states. My concern is that society creates victims and the cycle ensures there are always victims (cycle of domestic violence, cycle of poverty).

We have fears that someone else getting “ahead”, (e.g. the piece of the pie) means that we don’t “get ahead” (any pie, when there are other bakeries right next door.) We limit others because of our perspectives.

We see “hard work” as completion of Tasks A, B, C. We don’t recognize those who accomplish the same goal by accomplishing Task Z.

We must be mindful, letting go of our egos. We must recognize that our perspectives are limited.

The English teacher in me asks that we remember the stories we hear and movies we watch, when we shout: “Don’t open that door!” because we know what is on the other side, and that help is in the way.

I suppose that is what teaching six years of “Romeo and Juliet” — while listening to student perspectives and encouraging questions –does to a person; that is what 20 years of teaching young people to think, apologizing for past wrongs of society, and encouraging “alternative” pathways.

Tucson, we can do better.
America, we can do better.
World, we can do better.

“Make America Great Again”? No… “Make America Better”.

Viva! (la revolucion)
❤ Felicia
www.chewfortucson.wordpress.com

Felicia’s Story

Click here to Follow Felicia on Facebook!

Click here to read about Felicia’s Work in the Community!

Click here to support Felicia’s small business!

**Note to Readers:

There may be incidents in my story where you cringe.  As I wrote them, I cringed too. I share my story, including the cringe parts, because they take away the power of guilt and shame, and they give way for the truth — the truth that we are people who can only do the best that we can, with the resources and knowledge that we are aware of.  It is whether we choose to continue those cringe causing activities, or choose other paths when faced with similar choices, that make our present selves, creating our character.  We have the ability to make choices.  We have the ability to seek resources and knowledge.  The problem is that we are too afraid to share who we are, and therefore limit the relationships we cam have with others.

I invite you to read my story, and to share yours, whether it is through conversation, art, music, film, clothing, food… whatever venue you choose.

My only request is that your choices consider this very important question:  Is it safe?

Risk taking is another discussion, and I am not saying that we should hide in fear.  Risk taking looks different to everyone.

Thrill seeking to get that high can be a result of fear of addressing real life issues.

I encourage question asking, and I apologize for bullies who made you feel like you could not ask questions.

Viva!
❤ Felicia

*****

My Story:

Born Felicia Jane Chew on March 1, 1971, youngest daughter of three.  Two older brothers, and parents who immigrated from China.

Dad immigrated as a young boy, and Grandfather owned a laundry shop.  On Dad’s side, we are the descendants of the Chinese equivalent of Dartagnan, of the Three Musketeers.

Mom is the youngest of nine siblings, and immigrated in her 20’s, fleeing the change of Communist China.

I was the rebel of the family, and always very busy.  Piano lessons, ballet and tumbling classes, activities at the Parks and Rec Programs, and a product of dual culture – American amd Chinese.

As a young boy, Dad experienced racism.  Coupled with other personal reasons, Dad spoke only English to me and my brothers.  Mom spoke Chinese to us, as we teased her for her broken English.

I was the rebel because I saw the meanness, and I did not want to experience it.  I wished my name was Linda, and that I had blonde hair, and a ski jump nose.  I wished I was white.

I hated other Asians, especially the ones who talked too loud, farmer blew their noses, and were recent immigrants.  I made fun of them, called them names.  I was not one of them.  I was an ABC (American-Born Chinese) American.  They were FOBs  (Fresh Off the Boat) not Americans.

I was ashamed to be Chinese.

It wasn’t until my junior and senior years in high school that my tune started to change.  And it wasn’t until Year 3 at the University that it changed even more.

I started as an Econ major… hated math, but wanted to be the CEO of a prospering business.  I wanted the American Dream – the two BMWs in the driveway, house with white picket fence, 2.2 kids, manicured lawn, perfect husband.

I became an Asian-American Studies Major, which is where I realized I was not alone in self-hate, but also recognized that there were peers who wanted to cause serious damage to others who dared to breathe in their space.

I hated the word Diversity.  I hated it because I saw people talking about change and helping others,  but really had no idea what they were talking about.  Instead of making things better, they were further dividing people.

Assimilation had failed in the 60’s. It was failing in the 90’s.

“If you keep doing what you’ve done, you’re gonma keep gettin’ what you got.”

I joked that I graduated with two degrees: My B.A. and my MrS.  Our oldest son was born. We got married. We moved around several places, I worked several jobs. We bought a new house in a great neighborhood at a great price (courtesy of California funding programs).

I taught in the next town over, made rapid advancement at the school.

But we had challenges.  I attribute them to undiagnosed and untreated depression, uncontrollable rage, improper resources, loopholes, rule-following, religion…. but the primary challenge was Fear.

We left to build a 100% off the grid home in the Cibola National Forest.  The real reason was due to a belief that the world was going to end, and the government was not going to protect us, so we were going to need to protect ourselves.

About my religious journey:

Several of my family relatives are Christians. Every year, each of us cousins would be proselytized by a particular auntie prior to receiving our Christmas red envelope. In Grade 4, a friend invited me to church, and I attended for a year. In Grade 12, I went to church with another friend, became a youth leader, and was connected with a church in my University town. I did not like that church, and went to another one instead. I became a youth leader, a worship team leader, a bible study leader for the Asians in the Fellowship, met my ex-husband.

I had grown up with mixed messages about religion:

I grew up with the story of one of my Christian aunties not giving shelter to my mother and grandmother. This story is still unresolved.

Another story is from after graduating from University — one of my best friends wanted to be a full-time staff member of the Fellowship we participated in. She was told no. I was disheartened. But she went on to seminary, met her busband, and they are pastors in their own churches now.

Another story begins in 2008 — my family became involved in a church that promoted the teachings of two books: How To Train Up Your Children and Created To Be His Help Meet .

Things were changing in my life, and they were not for the better. I left the Cibola National Forest and moved to Tucson.

Tucson, Arizona
I came to Tucson in February 2011. I filed for a divorce, which was granted in November 2011.

I worked several different jobs, ran for City Council in 2017, and started up this website.

I currently live in Tucson, Arizona, in a 2 bedroom home built in 1948, and I am working on helping my community be a better place. I invite others to “chew on ideas, chew on food, chew’s wisdom because our children are watching.”

I will be adding to my story, because I believe that transparency, facing fears, and breaking stigmas of guilt and shame, will create communities for #EachOfUs and #AllOfUs. We will have homes, not just houses.

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Viva! (la revolucion)
❤ Felicia
http://www.chewfortucson.wordpress.com

December 1, 2017 – First Fridays with Felicia

Thanks for coming out tonight to join me at First Fridays with Felicia. Thank you for sharing stories — accomplishments, challenges, hopes, and resources.

Highlights included a visit from Santa, enjoying homemade hummus, and sharing streudal and wine.

Celebrations include, a birthday, a 501(c)4, being connected with one another.

Our stories demonstrated the desire to bridge the gaps that exist in #OurTucson —
1. The need for policies for all people.
2. The desire for our children to have stories that grow them into good people.
3. The need for U of A students to vote (in Tucson).
4. The need for for tweens and teens to have something to do in Tucson.
5. The need for transportation system that is equitable for people, regardless of physical and mental capabilities.
6. The need for more responsive and attentive local government.
7. The hope for a teen center in Tucson.
8. The hope for more gun sense in America.
9. The hope for a more sustainable Tucson.
10. The need for more conversations and mindfulness.

I look forward to next month’s First Fridays with Felicia.

I say “Viva!” You say “La revolucion!”

Viva!
❤ Felicia