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 Keeping our neighborhoods clean as we commemorate Memorial Day and continue

to celebrate AAPI Heritage Month
By: Vince Yuen, Community Organizer

 

May is an exciting month for the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. Not only is May AAPI Heritage Month, a month-long celebration that pays tribute to the generations of AAPIs who have shaped our nation’s 

history, it is also when we honor and recognize our brave men and women who sacrificed for our freedom. As we commemorate Memorial Day, celebrating what our community has achieved and sacrificed, I encourage all of us right here in California to do our part in honoring our community by keeping it litter free and beautiful. 

 

As a long-time community organizer dedicated to mobilizing residents to keep our communities clean, I know the holidays can create a bit more trash than we would like. Not only does litter and debris create  an unwelcoming and unattractive atmosphere for us, but it also damages the environment and can be harmful to wildlife. So, whether you’re out on a fishing trip, road tripping or having a barbeque with your family at the park during this extended Memorial Day weekend, please remember we all have a part to play in keeping our community at its best. To help, here are some simple tips we can all practice to keep our community litter- and debris -free. 

 

 1.   Pack out what you bring in. Litter builds up and easily ruins our environment. To prevent this, bring a trash bag with you on your outings to ensure you’re able to easily dispose of your trash. Whether you’re outdoors hiking or picnicking or on a road trip, be responsible and pick up after yourself. I encourage you to go the extra mile and pick up litter you see, even if it’s not yours. Picking up even one piece of trash can make a drastic change if we all work together. 
 2.   Choose reusable over single-use items. This sustainable practice reduces waste and helps prevent harmful toxins from getting into our water and recreational spaces through litter. Plus, reusable items are more economical in the long run. 
 3.   Properly dispose of trash, recycling, and broken large items like canopies, chairs, and coolers. Plastic is one of the main contributors to waste and litter. Recycling contributes to a healthier environment when done correctly. Trash and recycling should not mix, and improper sorting can lead to more trash, so please sort your items beforehand, especially if you use cans or plastic water bottles. Leaving large and/or broken items at beaches or parks can be considered illegally dumping, even if it’s near a trash bin, and you could be fined up to $10,000. Don’t take the risk—take it home to dispose of properly.
 4.   Secure your load. Make sure you are properly tying down items to your vehicles to prevent them from falling off onto highways and roads during transit. This small step of extra care can go a long way towards keeping our roads safer and cleaner. 
 5.   Teach your children or families how to be litter conscious. Change starts with you, and this is something I practice in my house too. Pick up small, littered items such as bottle caps, food wrappers, and cigarette butts and dispose of them. Encourage your family to pick up after themselves and educate them on how they can contribute to a cleaner California. 

 

I have made it a priority in my house to maintain and beautify our public spaces. I encourage my family to do the same. I do this because I believe change starts with us, and by motivating our families to do the same, we can create a ripple effect that will also inspire others to participate.

 

We all want to live in a healthy, clean, and beautiful community. Let’s be diligent and do our part to keep our communities clean, preserving our resources for our children and their futures. Not only is it our responsibility, it’s also the right thing to do. By making small changes and utilizing sustainable practices, we can keep our spaces clean for future generations. 

 

If you would like to join the statewide movement to keep California litter free, organize a cleanup in your neighborhood or order cleanup kits, visit Clean California’s website at CleanCA.com. 

 

Have a wonderful, clean Memorial Day Weekend, and let’s make zero litter in California our goal!

 

Vince Yuen, Community Organizer and Founder, Refuse Refuse 
Vince Yuen is a regular Californian who cares about creating a clean environment for future generations. He started out by cleaning his block with his two daughters. Through these local clean-up efforts, he discovered others who felt the same way and were already picking up trash.  Word spread to neighbors from all over the city. They came together and joined the Refuse Refuse movement to keep their city clean. Yuen discovered that caring for San Francisco was one of his greatest passions. He established Refuse Refuse in March 2021 and has organized over 1,500 community cleanups. Through a collective community-driven effort of 10,000 volunteers, Refuse Refuse has collected more than 425,000 gallons of litter. Learn more about Vince Yuen and his work at Refuse Refuse by visiting www.refuserefusesf.org.

 


 

We are here to help you, Mailbox-Genius - Your Mail Business Center!

 

NATIONAL CITY —In today’s fast-paced world, managing your personal business can be a hassle . Worry no more! At Mailbox Genius, we are Your Mail Business Center,  your one-stop solution for all mailing and money services and office needs.

 

Located conveniently in National City at the Galleria on E Plaza Blvd we offers private and business mailboxes with real street addresses. Say goodbye to missing deliveries or worrying about security. With our mailboxes, you receive a reliable and professional street address that provides a robust presence for businesses and ensures personal mail is handled with utmost care and privacy.

 

At Mailbox-Genius, we understand that time is money. That’s why we offer seamless package shipping and receiving services via FedEx and UPS. Whether you're sending a birthday gift or receiving business inventory, our flexible shipping options cater to all your needs promptly.

 

Need a document notarized? Our on-site Notary services are here to assist you, ensuring that your documents are legally attested without any hassle. Furthermore, our center is equipped with state-of-the-art facilities for faxing, copying, and printing documents, making it easy for you to handle all your office tasks under one roof.

 

Looking to travel? Get your passport photos quickly with our efficient photo service, designed to meet all government requirements, ensuring a smooth application process.

 

And that's not all – we also partner with RIA, offering reliable money transfer services to help you manage your finances or support loved ones abroad efficiently and securely.

 

Visit us today at 2720 E Plaza Blvd, Ste N, National City, CA 91950 or call us at 619-535-1783 let us do the work for you.   Also coming soon GENIUS INC. PRINT SHOP for business cards, posters, flyers, and wedding invitations!

 

 

 

 


 

 

My Long and Winding Road to Here

Contributed by Marissa Bañez

 

SAN DIEGO,CA -    How did I get here?

    From an early childhood in the 1960s spent in a small house literally built by my grandfather in Baguio City, to the immigrant neighborhoods of downtown Los Angeles, to the idyllic rarefied setting of Princeton University, to the highly-charged environment of a large international law firm as a litigator, and, finally, to being an award-winning children’s author currently developing a children’s musical based on my book in my “golden years”. . . as I reach my 65th year, I laugh, shake my head, give thanks, and repeatedly ask myself, “how did I get here?”

    Luck?  Divine intervention? Coincidences?  

    Absolutely.  

    One example:  After taking five years off from work until my daughter started kindergarten, someone suggested I first try working with a placement office to ease my way back into legal practice. The day after I emailed my resume, I was told that a well-regarded firm was looking for an attorney with my exact qualifications.  I later learned that while I was typing my resume, the firm’s hiring partner was about to hire someone who didn’t meet all the criteria.  Then, for some reason, he felt compelled to make one last effort to get the right person.  On the same day that I submitted my resume, he sent in his request to the placement office. The universe did its thing and eighteen years later, I’m still at the firm.

    Hard work?  Of course.  

    I took three separate bar exams (California, New Jersey, and New York) and passed each one the first time around.

    As a litigator, working until 3 or 4 a.m. and being ready only 4 or 5 hours later to start the next day is not unusual, especially when there is a trial.

    As a mom of a little girl, I wrote original stories and created puppet shows for my daughter and her friends. Now, I write my stories, work closely with my illustrator, do a lot of book promotional work, and create dialogue and lyrics for the musical.  This labor of love often takes me into the wee hours too.  

    Connections?  Definitely.

    A former colleague, fellow author, and friend introduced me to our mutual publisher.

    My childhood friend’s talented musician husband wrote a beautiful song about my book.

    A colleague who also happens to own a stage theater production company spoke about my book to actors and other associates, all of whom are excited about a children’s musical.

    Support from family and friends?  Unquestionably.
    Without going into details that would fill volumes, I can categorically say that I am blessed with the best and most supportive family and friends, without whom I couldn’t have accomplished half as much and certainly not with as much fun.

    My book, Hope and Fortune, tells of a little girl who has lost her way and encounters 12 multicultural, multiracial, and multigenerational fairies of different shapes and sizes who give her life advice to get her back on her path.  Each fairy represents a principle or ideal.  The first is the Fortune Fairy of Hope, drawn to look like my late Filipina mother and, by her dress, represents the Filipino culture.  Her advice: “Give yourself permission to cry.  Just know that things will get better as time goes by.”  The guidance given by all the fairies constitutes a distillation of principles I have lived by or aspire to live by.  I HOPE the book inspires young children and leads them to a path in life filled with good FORTUNE.  After all, they are principles that have gotten me here.  

    Marissa Bañez is Angelica’s mom, a litigator with a large international firm, an award-winning children’s author and, hopefully, a soon-to-be playwright.  Her second book, Hues And Harmony (How the Rainbow Butterfly Got Her Colors), which deals with multiraciality, belonging, and, ultimately, love, will be published by Black Rose Writing on July 20, 2023.  Visit www.marissabanez.com to learn more.

 

 

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