Don’t You, Walang Hiya [Spoken Word]

Writing poetry and spoken has always been a HUGE part of my life and who I am. I was never able to really express my feelings, but when I put pen to paper, everything made sense. With my newest piece “Don’t You, Walang Hiya” I wanted to address and break the stigmas and stereotypes people have about Greek life, especially ethnic-based Greek organizations. This is only my point of view on the social issue, but someone’s gotta say something because I’m tired of being seen as one thing, when I represent something bigger than myself and the Greek letters I wear.

I used to walk around campus
Passing others on foot, on wheels
Their eyes automatically shift angles from my face to my chest
But I didn’t show any cleavage
My breasts are completely covered but they still stare

A full body scan when I walk out my front door
Eyes to chest
Scanning left to right
Confused looks
Familiar looks
Looks of disapproval, disgust
Sideways glares followed by the eye roll
Then come the whispers
You’re stuck up
They’re cliquey, exclusive
They see a united front of womxn wearing foreign characters and think cult
Think every possible stereotype
Slap on any sticky label they see on TV
Don’t you just party?
Did you pay for your friends?
Oh my gosh do you step?!
Did you get hazed?
Fill our mouths with their words and paint a picture of our personalities calling it art
Pero hindi nila alam
They don’t know
As they scan ethnic Greeks with their presumptions
Disregarding me as a person with a purpose
They didn’t notice my head held high
The confidence in my shoulders
The strength in my steps
They just saw the taboo symbols on my chest
They don’t even give me or any ethnic Greek a chance to explain when they ask
…So what exactly do you do? Why are you part of a sorority anyway?

Well you judgmental, naïve, ignorant person…let me tell you
First and foremost, this piece is based off of my perspective on this social issue
And mine alone
I cannot speak for my sisters because we each have our own voice
No cookie-cutter shape to fill
No two sisters identical, but put us each together and we are one sisterhood

My name is Venice Anne Dela Paz Santos
I was born in San Mateo Rizal, Philippines
Immigrated with my family to the United States when I was only six months old
Pero marunong ako mag usap ng Tagalog
Infused Taglish, o po at mano po, ulam at kanin
Spoon and fork but kamayan with fish
Dasal palagi at salamat sa Diyos para sa lahat
Had a Filipino flag jacket, spoke the language, and ate the food
Shit that was all I needed to encompass my Filipino Pride
But little did I know even my Pinay identity was limited
Uneducated about our history
Because I never read it in textbooks
My parents never talked about it
I don’t even know if they knew it themselves
Came to UC Davis and was hit by culture shock
Even Davis had a bigger Filipino American community than the 626
Seven organizations at the time, but only one really caught my attention
Without a hesitation I signed my name up for more information
Opened my eyes to my people
Undocumented in history
Yet striving for equality
Silenced political views
Yet fore fronting the path towards freedom
Unyielding resilience

World War 2 Veterans of the Philippines
Some things we do are
Hold luncheons, participate in marches, protests, and parades
Share oral history with Manongs and Manangs to bridge the generation gap
Did you know Filipinos fought alongside Americans while under attack
But today they are still left standing with empty hands
Reaping no benefits
But honestly, forget the money
Acknowledge their combat instead
Give them the recognition, the valor, the honor
Preferably before all of them are dead
Kawawa, masakit talaga but it’s true
You heard it here because you probably haven’t heard it anywhere else
We, Filipinos, tend to be a silenced people
At least that’s what others seem to think
But as a Kappa, I use my voice
Inner strength fueling me to achieve my dreams
Prosper individually and collectively
Where else are you gonna find a group of confident, driven womxn
Driven Colored womxn
Driven Pinay womxn
Speaking for ourselves, each other and those without a voice
Support for the community we live in
Support for each other
Seen me shed tears of hurt, triumph, relief and sorrow
Said every fear was an opportunity for growth
Passionate, Inspiring, Motivating
Aquino, Silang, Tandang Sora
Today stands a Kappa
Modern day Prominent Pinays

My sisters are some of the strongest human beings I know
They push me to be a better me everyday
This is the least I could say
To tell you the truth
I could go on and on about what our organization does
What it means to me
How it’s changed my life
But yet you still wouldn’t understand
You may not believe me
But at this point, I could care less
I know who we are
And I’m proud to be a part of it
I don’t need your affirmation, acceptance or approval
Kasi, Wala akong hiya pag sinusuot ko yung letters ko
I have no shame when I wear my letters
Even if others wanna bring shame upon me

Venice (she/her/hers) was born in the Philippines but came to the U.S. when she was 6 months old. She’s a simple SoCal kid who loves hats, Nike elite socks and fresh kicks. “Writing poetry and spoken has always been a HUGE part of my life and who I am. With my newest piece “Don’t You, Walang Hiya” I wanted to address and break the stigmas people have about Greek life. I am proud UC Davis graduate. I am a proud Kappa sister. I am a proud Pinay. #PoetryThroughLinguistics Youtube

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