What a pleasure it is to congratulate the raza’s class of 2016 at UCLA, which features –among others– the one and only Kim “Kalayaan” Mendoza!

Kalayaan’s ceremony brought a marvelous realization to mind: that there is an enormous transition taking place for the whole cast of people we recognize as The Community, or The People, or All of Us who are on this great road together.

Can you see it?! All around us there is change. All around us, there is a great transformation fluttering through the sky like the birds that dash past our windows or windshields in the morning.

In the blink of an eye, we are not a different people, but a people that have become –and are still– becoming the matter of a lifetime, and many lifetimes more.

At many points throughout the day, this becoming can be frightening; we not only find ourselves far and away from the people we once were, but we also feel far and away from the people we’re “supposed” to be.

But when we take a moment to look: at all of the birds, and all of the commuters, or — in this case — all of the graduates (of the class of 2016!) LIKE KALAYAAN, we find that the world is a beautiful continuum of change; no matter how much it appears to be the same, it’s actually different at each moment. Just like us. And it’s marvelous.

Even so, at points we’re not able to understand all this change, and our fear takes over, as fear took hold in Orlando this past weekend.

But love is still overcoming.

Love is the world, which we have the fortune not just to witness, but to contribute to. And love is everywhere, just waiting to be found and held up by our hearts.

As the days go on, at points it will become more difficult to hold on, but as the graduates can stand for their journey and everyone of their allies throughout it, we can stand up for our lives and our allies as well!

And we do stand up.

We stand up in open arms and ears for those mourning in Orlando, and for The People everywhere:

Because love is everywhere, and because this is it right here! This is it!

Thank you Kalayaan, and each and every other ‘me’,

J.T.

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