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BNMA Fights the Blight

Stockton Mayor Ed Chavez and GM Tony Somera

Hi Uncle Tony,

I' m sorry this email is so late. It's just been one thing after another. On behalf of the Little Manila board, I just want to let you know how much we appreciate Bahala Na
® for all your planning, generosity and just plain hard labor. The building looks great, and the sign... man, the sign is just... wow. Fight the Blight was one of the smoothest and fulfilling events we've ever been a part of. The new paint and the  beautiful sign serve as a true beacon of hope that we can save our history and that we can come together as a community.

Unfortunately, we are also very disturbed by the lack of mention of Bahala Na
®'s efforts in The Record. I talked to Emil Guillermo and in his original story he did have Bahala Na® mentioned but was edited out by his editors (Emil was not happy about this). And the other story that ran was just plain bad reporting. I do know that Bahala Na® was in our press releases and was mentioned during the event several times. I guess in the future we just have to really spell it out for them. I do have an idea though why they may have not written about you, although it's just a theory. I got this thought at the end of the Barrio Fiesta as I was watching people walk by.

I think it has something to do with the Over-simplification of today's news. I know that news agencies are trying to tell a story in the simplest, most easy to digest way. Anyway, as I was watching people at Barrio Fiesta, I was blown away at the amount of people who wear our Little Manila shirts. And I just don't think they wear our shirts because they think it looks good, but I think they're making a statement. I truly think that Little Manila has become something that isn't stagnant or just a trend, especially since our t-shirt design is over three years old. Also, another thing I've noticed is that when strangers (regardless of race) ask me what I do and I tell them that I work for Little Manila, they actually know what I'm talking about! I think that Little Manila has become synonymous with the fight for our Filipino American history and heritage to not just a small group of people, but to our community at large.

It's unfathomable that this idea that a small group of people had has spread out into our community like wildfire in just three short years. It's all amazing, but at the same time it's eye-opening because from the very beginning I've stated on numerous occasions to our board that the things we accomplish should never be simplified or just attributed to Dawn Mabalon or Dillon Delvo. i always believed that even if we accomplish all our goals and dreams, but credit is given to just a few people then we've failed. We don't want the Filipino American community to be proud of Little Manila and its accomplishments, we want the Filipino American community to be proud of the Filipino American community and its accomplishments. We want Filipinos in Stockton to tell their grandchildren, "This is what WE did." That is true success.

In my speech from Fight the Blight, I said that it only takes a small group of people to put up signs and banners in a neighborhood, but it takes a whole community to save a neighborhood and its legacy. And that is why we are so grateful to Bahala Na
® Escrima. You guys get it! Especially since our community's history is plagued with crab mentality, I truly believe our generation can break this vicious circle. The simple and lazy way to tell this story is to just attribute everything to Little Manila. But yet, the better more enriching and truer story lies in how we all came together to accomplish an amazing goal. The Little Manila Foundation is dedicated to making sure the stories of the past, AND the stories of the present get told. We will make sure in the future that the better story gets told, even if we have to spell it out for them.

Thanks again for all you've done for our Filipino American community. We stand in awe of your dedication to the Filipino martial arts and Filipino American history. We can't wait to work on the next big thing with you!

Take care,