M.Evelina Galang Silenced Stories
In Angel De La Luna Evelina Galang weaves a narrative of an untold story about a 14 year old Filipino girl. Galang wrote this story because “I want them to see that for Angel, she is finding her voice and learning that her voice matters. We don’t have to stay silent, we can make our thoughts known and in this way we can help create change, we can, as the great master Ghandi says, Be the change.”
Evelina Galang is an author, educator, and speaker. She wrote her young adult story Angel De La Luna and the 5th Glorious Mystery. She writes to “recognize the voices of the girls and women who have been traditionally silenced.” In Angel De La Luna, Angel is grieving for her father, and is working through her relationship with her mother. She is also discovering the history of her Filipino people, the colonization of the Spanish conquistadors, and discovering the meaning of the American dream. This story ties in profound messages for the reader to discover Angel’s personal story as well as Angel’s community.
Being silenced is a strong theme in Angel De La Luna. Galang wrote, “So I bang on the drums and the silences between them grow. First the silence comes from their bedroom. Then silence appears at the dinner table. And then in the car. Silence invades the house and quiets everything. The words have left the house. The voices go low.” Galang wrote Angel so more voices that have been silenced to be heard. She wants issues of love, hate, history, and justice to be heard.
Galang stated that, this particular story is about Angel and the relationship between her and her mother, and the silences between them. Mothers and daughters have a famous love-hate relationship going on until they work it out. You will find stories of people who were of Filipino ancestry, and about people who were born in the Philippines. But you did not get that story of the Filipino youth growing up here or the Filipino youth that were born in the United States. So stories of Filipinos youth growing up in the U.S. were missing, and those were the stories that I was looking for as a young reader.
It was important for Evelina to write these stories about the young woman so that stories from the present were represented and stories from the past were represented. One story that was important for Galang to share was the relationship between Angel and her mother. “When I began to write about Angel, I knew the beginning and I knew the end. I wanted to write about what it would take to get Angel and her mom back together again. She was really angry with her mom throughout the story. So that is one kind of silence I wanted to explore.”
“Another silence I wanted to explore were the female characters in the book. Such as I wrote stories about the comfort women. I did a lot of research, and I met women several women from WWII who were comfort women. They were silent for at least 50 years, and they never had a chance to tell their story. These women were exposed to being in slave camps when they were 14 years old or Angel’s age. For 50 years these women didn’t tell their stories because they were afraid of being ostracized from their families. So when those stories started to break, I was really committed to helping the women tell their stories, in an effort, for it to never happen again. That’s another aspect of stories of women who have been silenced.”
I come from a big family of storytellers and readers. I write stories that aren’t heard. People of color have been positioned to not be heard, to be raised up with a wall, and to be invisible. So I love language, I love stories. It’s what I love to do, that’s why I write so stories of silenced women and so people of color can be heard.
The American Dream
The American Dream is taught to children all across the world. For some this dream is attainable and for others, it is not. For many immigrants the American Dream is just a dream and impossible to obtain. For Angel she has no desire to obtain the American Dream. She wants to fight for her people. The reason for Angel fighting for her own culture was because the story takes place in 2000 and 2002. “After the Spanish and the U.S. came and occupied the Philippines, the formal education in the Philippines was in English. So there you are, you can’t get to speak your native tongue, because it had to be in English. The girls in Angel were going to a progressive school where they were encouraged to speak Togalo, which is the national language. So Angel has this advantage that she is polygloattan. She can preserve her own culture and will not worry about speaking just American English.”
“This story is really about how Angel the personal choices that Angel’s mother made for her children. It’s important to recognize in this story that love motivates us to do things for one another and it’s not always apparent. But once you hear one another’s stories, you start to see how strong love is, can be, can work in favor of family. So maybe the message has to do with hearing one another, listening, and knowing our stories. Once you know your family’s story, you can see how the choices are made out of love.”
Please click here to learn more about Evelina Galang