Hi friends :]
Hope ya'll had a fly wknd! I had to work a few hrs on Sunday, but last wknd still went by so slowly. All the fun stuff between Thursday and Friday made that easier to deal with 🎉
Had two more readings last week! 😮
One was a performance and art show hosted by Jusmun and Gagann last Thursday @ New Women Space. It was dubbed "Decolonize Your Body" and stood as an evening of reclaiming ownership over our bodies as women of color despite colonial + eurocentric standards.
Here's a photo of me with my friend Brittany! We were both selected for this intimate show :) She makes dope period art -- hence my excitement. HAH!
[photo coming soon. ya'll this computer sucks]
The other was a fundraiser hosted by my friend Isa! That was last Friday @ Mayday Space. It was a fundraiser (with plenty home cooked food!!!) for the spectrum of queer folks in Puerto Rico. The stage was just 😍
Here's a photo of me + Isa onstage!
[photo coming soon. ya'll this computer sucks]
Thankful for folks who provide an opportunity to share art, create dialogue, and make new friends all in one place.
I'm excited to announce my interview series!
Christine Delostrinos is the founder of Lightwork. Lightwork brings smiles to the LA community by offering bags of basic essentials (feminine products, warm hats, socks, PB&J sammies, reusable water bottles, etc.) to folks who need it most.
Here's her contact info, which will be repeated @ the bottom of her interview 😉
Scroll for the party ⬇️ christine's a trip
I read that you told funny jokes as a kid. dust off the vault!
As a kid, I would sneak in some puns or clever things to say. Or I would tell funny stories. I’d end up laughing, and then those around me would laugh. There is a saying among my friends and family along the lines of:
“Christine laughs the hardest at her own jokes. We just laugh 'cause she’s laughing.” So I guess the joke is me? 😂
talk to us about Lightwork’s mission and how your heritage + childhood have influenced it.
I am a Filipina born and raised in the East Bay Area, and I come from a close knit family. (Any Filipino will tell you "family" becomes a huge group of people at your house every weekend eating food.)
I believe that a lot of who you are as a person is a reflection of the tribe that raised you. My upbringing emphasized humility; serving others equaled success. Whether that meant making a meal for your Grandma or sending a "balikbayan" box (a box with new or used novelty items) back to the Philippines, it was a gesture that showed an individual that they are loved -- that they are "pamilya" (which means "family" in Tagalog).
Because of this, I see the importance in treating those who surround you like family. Lightwork’s mission is to spark love and light, and to empower our communities. Lightwork is based on this golden rule:
"to treat others the way you wish to be treated.” 💙
Also, I don’t know what it is about Filipino families and making their kid(s) an entertainment hub, but I would have to sing, dance and play the piano at most (and maybe every) family party. I hated it at first, but then I realized how happy it made my Lola ("Grandma" in Tagalog) and the rest of my family. I loved the energy that it brought to my family and to those around me.
What’s a successful Lightwork event look like to you?
A successful Lightwork event is when I look at everyone and see smiles; when I see people interacting who would have never spoken to each other otherwise; when the person receiving the materials finds out that we aren’t some big organization, but a small team of young individuals who just want to show some love.
What are some mental health challenges you’ve had to face since starting Lightwork?
Prior to Lightwork, I struggled with anxiety and depression.
I had my first anxiety attack in high school and was rushed to the emergency room. Since then, I've been aware of the power of the mind and how important it is to be sound within yourself.
I am my biggest critic and my worst enemy. But I always take a step back and remind myself that Lightwork is no longer just for me, but for the people. Once I remind myself of that purpose, everything else falls into place.
"When you come across a valley, remind yourself of the big picture." ⛰
It’s like climbing a mountain: You start at the bottom, and once you get to the top, you see this bigger picture. The “bottom” is actually the most exciting time of life. That means a breakthrough is near! A peak. A blessing.
How do you combat stress + anxiety while building a non-profit?
I remind myself why I am doing this. I try my best to be organized and present; I love lists and writing everything down. I've also been working on self-love and care.
"How can I share water if my own cup isn’t full?" 🌊
I recently went on an adventure to Cuba. After my trip, I realized that we need to take time for ourselves and take care of our physical and mental health. To me, that means eating well, sleeping, and surrounding yourself with things that inspire and push you to be the best version of you.
Having a non-profit -- or just being an individual in this world -- calls for authenticity, and you can’t be that until you are genuine with yourself. Authenticity is only found in spending time with yourself.
Talk to us about some climactic points for Lightwork. What Lightwork moments are you particularly proud of?
Every event is climactic for Lightwork. Every opportunity to share Lightwork’s story is climactic. I always thought it was going to be an annual event or a one time thing, but one event led to another, which led to meeting someone new.
I don’t know what moment I am particularly proud of. I am truly thankful for all the moments, which is overwhelming in the most beautiful way.
"Someone can donate $5 tonight and I would probably cry in gratitude." 🌞
For folks planning their own community projects, what are three key factors they should be sure of from the get-go?
If you have passion, you have the will. Passion resonates, and that is what people relate to; it's what people feel. That passion will encourage others to believe in not only you, but in your movement.
Be ready to work. Starting a nonprofit or community project is different than starting a business. There are many similarities, but the biggest difference is that you are not selling a tangible benefit. You will wonder why individuals are spending so much money on new shoes or night's out, but don’t do anything when you bring up your project.
Investments are never easy, and there are a lot of politics in the nonprofit world. The politics will test your faith in humanity and in your purpose. But that is why you are passionate and committed. You're committed to working hard and to reaching out to anyone and everybody for help.
Being fearless is to be vulnerable. If you are talking about your project to everyone you meet, it means that you are fearlessly living your truth. You may feel or sound crazy when you are speaking to others about your dreams, but crazy gets you places.
During my freshmen orientation in high school, someone said,
“there are three types of people in this world. one is watching, one is putting on the show, and one is doing nothing.”
When starting a movement or a project, you commit yourself to being in the rink and not outside watching.
With passion, commitment, and fearlessness, you will cross paths with the right people and moments. To get started, find an organization you believe in and don’t be afraid to ask them questions. Send that email. Make that phone call. I believe in throwing a net and seeing what you catch. Don’t be picky.
What are some ways folks around the 🌎 can support Lightwork?
I am open to all collaborations, and to having a Lightwork ambassador or event at any location. On our website, there's an option to donate or deliver items to what we are working on at the moment. Lightwork is also open to all help (internal volunteers) to assist with the organization and lend a helping hand.
Another way to support Lightwork is to do some lightwork in your own community! Find something you believe in and engage. It’s easy to find something you relate to or have a passion for and join them.
I’ve seen some posts on your insta dedicated to Tupac Shakur. Can you tell us about how he intersects with your values?
I never realized how many Tupac references I've made! But my favorite one is when Tupac was being interviewed and he said,
“I'm not saying I'm gonna change the world. but I guarantee that I will spark the brain that will change the world.”
Tupac was ahead of his time. He had a way with storytelling, and I think that’s why people related to him so much. His poetry speaks volumes. If you listen to his interviews, Tupac had a heart for his community and for the people. That resonates with me a lot. We need to use the gifts that God has given us to inspire others to be better human beings or to be more socially aware.
I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for… What? (This can be more than one thing, person, place, etc.!)
I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for God, my family and my friends, and all the people that I have met through my Lightwork journey.
"Also, I wouldn't be here if it weren't for all the people who pushed me to my weakest points." 🤔
I am a reflection of all those I have crossed paths with. Some may have been a bigger influence and some may have been smaller, but I am a culmination of it all. And I am thankful for it all.
My parents! I don’t know where I would be if I didn’t have their support in all the crazy things I do. I moved out at the age of 17; they didn’t even know what college I was going to. They still don’t know what I am doing, but they show up every time! That unconditional support and love is something that I am forever thankful for.
I wouldn’t be where I am if it wasn’t for them and their faith in me as a person, and I hope to make them proud one day.
Ya'll feeling it yet?
I know I am. Big ups to Christine for her specificity and openness to this interview. I could feel her energy while editing this jam 💖
Lightwork is coming to Brooklyn, like, tmrw. If you're NYC-local, give this link a hit to find out more! Let's do this, ya'll. As promised, here's a repeat of Christine's contact: