Agam in America

By Red Constantino Hershey the dog ambled around looking for free hugs while the two itchy-foot girls -- Roda and Joyce, sprightly women with a shared, almost telepathic sense of brisk humor -- swooned from stall to stall looking for tiny bits of magic. John told me we're in the last days of crab season, just before the coming tide of oyster days. So we head to a rickety tent and pick up fat crab cakes near the church. Seared on both sides and bursting with flavor, the meal is surely an analgesic for jetlag. It's a two-inch all-crab patty between two buns -- no extenders -- and the only consideration is a sprinkle of Old Bay. It's the annual street festival of Takoma Park in Washington DC, and everything is groovily adrift, north of happy times. Past the Hebrew funeral home of Torchinsky, The Walking Sticks are playing on stage to a growing open air crowd. Smoke is billowing lazily from cook stoves, and food trucks line the streets with vegan, Ethiopian, Mexican, Thai offerings, and lobster rolls galore and all sorts of great East Coast fare. 20141005_121711 Lawn chairs are everywhere along with folding tables. On the ground people are splayed on straw mats and benches, wearing funny hats and sunglasses. Everywhere, trollies, trays and picnic baskets. The air is cold but the sun is out, strong and shining brightly and tempering the cool weather with crisp shadows and heat. Everyone seems to be talking to one another at the same time while others are shrieking and dancing and swaying while three bands scattered throughout the vast sprawl of the fiesta play the blues, jazz and funky verse. A foot army of shop browsers have been rolling in and out non-stop across shops selling trinkets, earthenware, goblets and t-shirts. Between vendors are different renditions of Roscoe the Rooster, fowl idol of the Park, who brings hope along with crystal power and yoga. In a few days we'll hold the first event in the US at Busboys on 5th and K St. It's about our new book, Agam: Filipino Narratives on Uncertainty and Climate Change , but it's also largely to raise support for the project RE-Charge Tacloban, to bring resources and focus on the city which, almost a year ago today, was the epicenter of the strongest typhoon ever to make landfall in recorded global history. Flattenened by supertyphoon Yolanda (international name, Haiyan), the city is today rising up to show that we can do more than just cower from, survive and cope with climate change. We can build back better. And brighter. Together. #
The book event in Washington DC is organized by the Climate Policy Program of the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), Sierra Club, and Oil Change International: "Join us as we host the release of a book about climate change, as we share in flowers from the rubble — from the ground, stories of pain, defiance and hope — the same elements that brought 400,000 of us weeks ago to the biggest people’s march on climate change in US history. This will be an evening of solidarity, mesmerizing images and readings.