Remembering Ms. Wilhelmina Van Hunnick

On Wednesday afternoon, I wrote Ms. Van Hunnick a quick postcard to tell her that I enjoyed being a judge at FBLA’s annual state leadership conference the week prior. Since she was on the board of directors for California FBLA, I thought she’d be there, but she was curiously absent from the weekend event.

Later that evening, I dropped the postcard into a postbox on my way to have drinks with Kenyon, Vickie and new roommate Lance. Vickie had wanted to go someplace “mistake-like� so there we were in the middle of loud and oddly clientele-d Bar on Church. While MIA blared, I received a phone call from Joanne, but could barely hear anything. I faintly caught her say, “I’ll text you,� and a few seconds later, I received it, a matter-of-fact message that was shocking and saddening: “Ms. Van Hunnick passed away. I’ll forward you the email with details.�

Over the din, I yelped. Or maybe screamed. And then hugged Kenyon. For a split second the memories flooded in, but the cacophony of the bar dammed my thoughts.

The following morning I woke up and drove to work numb. I thought about where I’d be if I hadn’t met Ms. Van Hunnick. I thought about all she had done to propel me to be successful. But it wasn’t until I got to work and sat down at my desk did I pause. When I stopped, I was inundated by sadness and mourning.

Five second later, Karla called my office line and said something like, “Look at how you are honoring her and her life.�

I didn’t speak. I couldn’t. But the floodgates released. And there I was in the middle of my office, balling, with salty streams running down my face. I hurriedly tried to wipe them away so my staff wouldn’t see, but it didn’t work. I think I scared them. They’d never seen me cry before (I hadn’t cried at work since 2007!).

When I joined a conference call after a 15-minute fit of tears, I had to put the phone on mute and my head in my hands to try to get myself together. It didn’t help that I suffered another loss just a week before—not as serious as a death—but it was still significant and sad. I contemplated taking the day off to process, but I think Ms. Van Hunnick would have kept working in a situation like this, and she would not have wanted me to let any of my kids down.

Ms. VH and Rey on 11/2/2008
Ms. VH and Rey on 11/2/2008

The Last

We used to affectionately call her Ms. VH, which kind of fit her no-nonsense and matter-of-fact style. I last saw Ms. VH on November 2, 2008, the Sunday after USC’s homecoming. I knew she was undergoing chemotherapy to fight her cancer, and I brought her some flowers and a USC teddy bear because she couldn’t make it to the homecoming—she loved going to the games, and was a Trojan, through and through.

When I look back on that visit, I didn’t realize it would be the last. When I first entered her house, I could tell that she was in pain. I’d never seen her walk with a walker before, yet she still offered to get me water from the kitchen when I could have easily gone into the kitchen myself. It pained me to see her like that, but I was grateful to have had the chance to see her that one last time. Even though physically, she seemed less agile and a little frailer, her mind was as sharp as ever. She was a fighter, and this time she was fighting a tough battle with cancer. I remember sensing that her spirit seemed strong. And in typical VH fashion, she rattled off names of people who I had not thought about in over ten years, and she recounted stories of weddings she’d been invited to, conferences she was attending, and the work that she was still doing with our high school. She was the same ol’ Ms. VH: devoted, passionate, ambitious.

The First

I suppose I can’t talk the last time I saw Ms. VH without talking about the first time. VH was an institution at John F. Kennedy High School in little La Palma, California. Her stark white hair and bulbous nose were the features that a caricaturist would probably display most prominently. She was fierce and strong on one hand and kind and warm on the other. She balanced both fairly well.

She taught me how to use Adobe Pagemaker in a class called Desktop Publishing, which was my introduction to the world of graphic design. I attribute that class to my eye towards design for all things, whether it’s designing a business card or curriculum for a program.

She encouraged me to join an organization at school called Future Business Leaders of America (yes, the same FBLA that I spoke about earlier), and FBLA became one of my vehicles for growing as a leader and a professional. We became close because I kept getting more and more involved, which meant that I stayed to work on campaigns or annual reports after school almost every day.

It was through FBLA that I grew to love business and entrepreneurship, and Ms. VH knew this. I remember driving around in a clunky old Anaheim Union High School District automobile to go to USC for the first time ever. She was an alum of the school, like I am now, and she shared the Trojan family with me even before I was admitted. She set up a private tour with some faculty at the business school, and even though I didn’t know it back then, I fell in love with SC when I was a sophomore in high school. I set my sights on that school, and after she wrote me a stellar letter of recommendation, I got in.

She nurtured my leader within. She could see the burgeoning leader hidden, tucked away, inside my quiet, awkward, immigrant-conscious high school self. And I wonder if my students can tell that I see the same thing in them sometimes.

But she wasn’t always right. She once told me during my junior year that I had to choose between being a California state officer for FBLA or being a second-year president of our 200-person band. How could I choose? I loved both. I remember going to class after that conversation, thinking that she was absolutely nuts, that she had no right to give me an ultimatum like that, and that there was no way that I was going to give either up. And I didn’t. But now I see that she had my best intentions in mind, and now I have the same kinds of conversations with my kids. “Prioritize, Sean, Yasmin, or insert student’s name here. It’s better to do a great job at one thing instead of a half-ass job at many things.” I think I still have a few more years before I truly learn that lesson, though.

The Best

Karla asked me, “What did you like best about her?�

And I replied, “She devoted her entire life to her work and her students. To FBLA. To JFK High School.�

She didn’t come from humble means—she grew up with money because her family had owned a lot of dairy farm land in the area, which translated into expensive Orange County real estate. I remember a story about how her father bought her a corvette for her sixteenth birthday or maybe it was her high school graduation, but she didn’t like the color, so she father got her a different one when she went to college. Although she didn’t have to work, she devoted herself to her students and chose to work every single day to be a true servant to youth and her community.

She saw my potential. She believed in me. And I only hope to live up to that potential that she saw. When I try to tell people about who she is, and why I am so affected by the passing of a teacher with a funny Dutch name, I tell them that she was to me as I am (or hope to be) to my students now. Because of her, I will always strive to motivate and inspire kids as much as she motivated and inspired me.

Someone recently told me that just because a loved one is gone that doesn’t mean you’re your relationship with that person ends. You’ll remember the things that she said to you, and that relationship will continue and will grow in a different way. I’ll end this post by sharing with you a message that I will always vividly remember from Ms. VH:

“Be Nice, be nice, be nice.�

Rest in peace, Wilhelmina Van Hunnick.

Essential Nature

National Monument with Rey & KarlaThe last few weeks have been felt like a glorious whirlwind. I crossed a few time zones, befriended some beautiful souls, and reunited with friends and family (some of whom I had not seen in over nine years).

Summer 2009 will mark my third summer in training as a Rap Director, and I have been so grateful for this opportunity. Not only have I gotten a chance to connect with a team of amazing leaders from across the nation, but the training and workshops have changed my life. Training is like a playground–you know the floor is made of that soft squishy stuff, and if you fall, it’ll hurt a little bit, but your team is there to help pick you back up. I have gotten to explore and learn the language and tools to communicate and build relationships with one person or an auditorium of people, and the funny thing is that everything I needed, I already had. I just had to unravel all the junk that’s been piled up around it.

Derek, one of my trainers and mentor, reminded us of two things:

  1. Apparently, Derek went to school with Barack Obama (Columbia), and he told us that Barack, when he was our age, was no different from us now. If he can make social change, then we can do it too.
  2. Our power lies in our hearts.

In yoga, we talked about the second point, and they call that the “essential nature,” which I learned after taking a 4-week long yoga immersion at Yoga Tree SF (it was really empowering, btw, and I recommend it). I had always been wrestling with the whole notion of opening up my heart. After training and the yoga immersion, a big question that was answered for me was “What is the capacity of my heart?”

Yoga Teacher Dina was describing the aim of meditation and breathing, and she said it is to realize our “essential nature.” Everyone has this vessel of light within that unfolds, and we have tens of thousands of rivers of energy flowing through our bodies. And the neat part is that this vessel of light… is limitless. I felt like a fountain, yet I felt re-energized as energy was flowing out. It was a completely new feeling. The revelation was deep.

Leading up to Rap Director Training in Chicago a couple of weeks back, I set a a couple of powerful intentions, which have since been coming into play on many different levels in my life:

  • I want to learn how to empathize rather than demonize with people who have seemingly differing or completely opposite views from my own.
  • I want to learn how to give love without expecting it in return.

I think an update on how these intentions have been playing out would be too exhaustive at this hour of night, but let’s just say they are a work in progress. In the meantime, check out the pictures from my 10-day trip from California to DC to Chicago after the jump:

Continue reading Essential Nature

Seven Years Later

March 6, 2009 marked the seven year anniversary of a life-changing accident that forever altered the course of my life and I’m sure several others’. To celebrate my Rebirthday this year, I’m taking a multi-city trip first to Santa Rosa for our chorus retreat, then to Washington, DC to visit Karla and friends, and then to Chicago (where I am now) for College Summit Rap Director Training.

I wanted to share with you all a message and reminder that I got from Kristy last Friday, that includes an old email from me and an old post from Ryan about our paths and processes. Happy Reading.

With love,


hey guys,

today is our anniversary. our “re-birthday”, as rey calls it. i did some research, and found an old email from rey i wanted to share, as well as a blog post from ryan. i’m not the best writer, so i’ll let their words do the talking. i know that facebook can often be quite impersonal, but it’s been one of the best ways i know to keep in touch. i hope this email, today, finds you well and happy.


email from rey, 2004:
Remember two years ago?

Everyday, the scars on my face, chest and legs remind of a rainy March 6, 2002. There’s no longer any pain, other than the occasional ache, but if the body is able to feel the opposite of pain, that’s what I feel—I guess you can call it love.

These scars are devoid of pain and are instead filled with the love that I felt two years ago—and the love I continue to feel today. Whether it’s philos—the love between friends and family—or eros—the love between lovers—I still am holding on to the love you gave me, not for sentimental or nostalgic reasons, but because it reminds me everyday of what is important in life.

We almost died two years ago. Let’s not euphemize the situation—we almost died. But thanks to the grace of God, we are alive today.

I hope you’re living your life everyday as if you are fully alive. Not like you’re almost alive or like you’re almost dead. I hope you feel worthy enough to eat the freshest strawberries, juiciest pears, and creamiest cheesecakes. I hope you feel adventurous enough to climb the highest point you can climb—whether it’s in Idyllwild, on the Eiffel Tower, or on Mt. Fuji. I hope you are caring enough to look after a friend who’s sick (or hungover) or call up an old friend or family member for the sole reason of saying “Hello.� I hope you’re generous enough to feed someone who’s hungrier than you or to realize that there are people who are hungrier than you. I hope you feel silly enough to sing your favorite song out loud in public or make a funny face to a kid who least expects it. I hope you’re brave enough to do something different and challenging and not easy, like learning a foreign language or growing up. I hope you cry, laugh, punch a wall, hug someone, or show your emotions and your heart to someone, anyone, because letting that person into your heart is the first step to love.

I hope you feel like you deserve love—and not just any love, but the love that consumes your every muscle and bone. The love that makes you feel like you’re gliding in air. The love that fills up your lungs and when you’ve breathed in too much of it, you feel suffocated and fulfilled at the same time because of the intensity of it. You deserve love and happiness. As my good friend Cindy once told me, “You need to be ridiculously happy.� And if you’re not, ask yourself, “Why not?� And then change it. You deserve it. You deserve love.

So this is my present to you all on our so-called “Re-Birthday.� Take from it what you will, and, above all, take it as my love for you. Thanks for reading and God bless.

Warmest Regards,


Continue reading Seven Years Later

On Becoming a New American Part 2

Tomorrow, February 11, at 3 pm I’ll be heading to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office to “appear for an interview on [my] Application for Naturalization” (aka take my test for American citizenship).

I can’t exactly put to words how I feel about this impending moment. Imagine patiently (and sometimes impatiently) waiting, wishing, wanting, praying for something to happen for 19 years.

Nineteen years I’ve waited for this moment.

Even though the test itself is going to be cake, I can’t help but feel this overwhelming sense of anxiousness, nervousness, sleeplessness, giddiness. I think about all of the bumps on the road that my family and I traversed to eventually lead me (to lead us) to this day, this test, this final formality, and my heart feels an overwhelming sense of desire to breathe a deep and ancient sigh of relief. Like I had been holding my breath for nineteen years, waiting for someone to pinch me and tell me that it wasn’t all a dream.

I feel eight years old again. Open, curious, excited, happy. And falling-over dizzy because I can finally see that the world is truly full of endless possibilities. There’s so much possibility and love that I can hardly take it all in.

My heart is full. Has been full for a few weeks or maybe months now (maybe even years?). I’m thankful for my beautiful family who endured the struggle, who never gave up, and who constantly teach me about the true meaning of family–now I can rightfully join you all! I’m thankful to my coaches, mentors, team, you know who you are–constantly pushing and challenging me to shine. I’m thankful for friends new and old, for walking with me and sometimes carrying me when all I wanted to do was slap you away.

When I walk into that sterile government office tomorrow, I’ll be bringing you all with me in my heart, mind, and soul, because you’ve always been with me.

Here’s to releasing, nay, exhaling the last 19 years and starting a brand new chapter–a chapter from an eight year-old boy’s dream, from a mother’s wish, and from a father’s determination.

Related Post: On Becoming a New American

New Years Goals 2009

I hope the world is ready for me in 2009. Seriously.

It’s going to be a year of change, hope and love, and I want to play a huge part of the collective awakening of the world. For the last few weeks, I’ve been thinking about what I want to accomplish this year in conjunction with what’s on my plate personally and professionally. After four years of working at BUILD, I’m entitled to a three-month sabbatical (which is awesome in any profession, but a dream-come-true in the nonprofit sector!). I’m still solidifying what I want to do during that time off (and all of the logistics involved), and I’ve got lots of ideas already. And with this tremendous luxury to not have to worry about my work for 25% of the year, I have the capacity to focus my life in other directions and expand in other ways.

As I do every year during my reflection time, I started by re-examining my goals and values from last year and then brainstorming new goals that fit with my revised personal values. I’ve largely kept my personal values unchanged, except for a few semantics, and created eight challenging goals.

Personal Values

  • Challenging Adventures – I live for new and challenging experiences, whether that’s professionally or personally, with others or in another country. The thrill of adventure stimulates my soul.
  • Contribution to the World – I live to make lasting, positive impacts on society’s most pressing problems.
  • Expressing Creativity – Being able to express myself artistically, musically or professionally keeps me inspired.
  • Lifelong Learning – I love to learn. I am energized by the steady and deliberate journey from ignorance to competence to mastery.
  • Quality – I choose to live a full and quality life, which is neither excessive nor is it below my standards of excellence.
  • Family & Friends – Above all, my life is about the people I choose to journey with. They are my heart.

New Years Goals 2009*

  1. Spend more time with family members
  2. Improve my Tagalog comprehension and speaking abilities so that I can hold a conversation with my grandmother
  3. Get more involved and make a positive impact in the gay community by doing gay rights advocacy work
  4. Improve my singing abilities and sing a solo at a concert
  5. Do relief work in a developing country
  6. Fall in love and be in a committed, loving relationship
  7. Strengthen myself spiritually, mentally, and physically by practicing yoga more deeply and seriously

*I actually can’t display one of my goals because it contains sensitive information.

So there are my new goals for 2009. As a sneak preview for what’s ahead in 2009, it’s my grandmother’s (dad’s mom’s) 80th birthday, the first big family wedding is happening in Australia (I’ll be a groomsman for my cousin Michael), it’ll be my fifth year working at BUILD and third year with SFGMC, and I’ll probably be getting my American citizenship (FINALLY!) sometime in the first quarter.

I’m extremely excited about 2009, and if you’ve got goals for 2009, I’d love to hear about them!

Happy New Year and Happy New World!

End of the Year Check-in 2008

I love the transition from one year to the other because it’s the best time for reflection. 2008 has been an amazing year, and part of me is sad to see it go. I recapped with Karla about some of the greatest things that happened in 2008:

  • Applying for my citizenship!
  • Getting my DAD, mom and brother to come to my SFGMC concert!!! Huge step.
  • Becoming site director at BUILD.
  • Rap directing with BFF Karla at USC and then the spiritual events at UNC Asheville with Zenia.
  • Witnessing my first (and not last, damnit) gay wedding, along with 4 other regular ol’ straight weddings.
  • Miami! And the liberation that ensued.
  • Mmm… savoring my birthday bacon brownie cake surrounded with love…
  • And so much more…

Here’s my annual update on New Years Goals from 2008

  • Save enough money to have 3 months worth of emergency funds by June 2008Yes, with extra to boot during this economically challenging time period.
  • Hold a full-length conversation in Spanish, in a Spanish-speaking countryYes, sort of. I get a B for holding minor conversations with a few folks in Mexico.
  • Be in a quality relationship for longer than 5 weeks, if the opportunity arisesYes, sort of. Again, I get a B in this.
  • Continue spending quality time with my familyYes, but I could have done a better job.
  • Invest in and build deeper friendships (with special emphasis with friends in the Bay area)Yes! I think I built a really supportive network of new friends here in the Bay Area, and it seems to be getting stronger each day.
  • Visit another countryYes. I went to Cancun for Shanif’s wedding.
  • Get more sleepNo. Big fail. Although, I sleep a lot when I’m not working… =P
  • Do a handstandYes, sort of! With an assist!
  • Get a new job at an organization that I am passionate aboutYes! Yes! Yes! This was my secret goal, which I didn’t want to post at the beginning of the year, but I did move into my new site director role at BUILD, which are both an organization and position that I am passionate about.

Out of the nine goals, I accomplished eight of them, which is a far cry from my eleven out of twenty last year. It really helped to focus my goals and really send out my intentions to achieve them.

Again, 2008 was truly a blessed year, and I cannot wait for the challenges and gifts in store in 2009.

Best Posts of 2008

Here’s a round-up of my favorite posts of 2008:

  1. Personal Philanthropy Plans
  2. An e-Conversation about Gay Marriage
  3. Help! My dad wants to vote for McCain!
  4. On Becoming A New American
  5. Me, Inc. Workshop at Summer Search Alumni Summit 2008
  6. The State of the American Education System is a Disaster…
  7. Honoring our Tribal “Elders�
  8. Babies Are Resilient

The year 2008 in pictures

This year was particularly beautiful and blessed for me. From growing new and old friendships, seeing family from the Philippines, singing with the chorus in Miami, and even experiencing the unbelievably spiritual and life-changing College Summit workshops at USC and North Carolina.

There’s a ton to be thankful for this year. Remember when that jerk hit and totaled my car? Or when I went on vacation in Hawaii by myself? I nearly forgot till I saw the pictures.

This year was also the year of the Marriage. I attended five weddings from May to November, and also got a glimpse of how some Californians felt about gay marriage from the passage of Proposition 8. How fitting it was then, that I got to attend my first gay wedding–Erwin and Coy’s. Although their wedding wasn’t as traditional or filled with bells and whistles like the other straight weddings I went to (like Shanif and Chris’s in Cancun, which was off the hook!), Erwin and Coy’s will always have a special place in my heart because of the meaning and the possibility it opened up.

The journey has been a winding, yet fruitful one this year. Happy birthday to me, and Merry Christmas to all! I’m extremely excited to see what 2009 will have in store.

Kitchen Shot #2

AG and Rey @ Lyndsey's Birthday Party

My daily viewSlush Float from Rainbow Drive InFrom the top of Diamond Head

The Open RoadFamily Picture

We are so proud of you, Billy!IMG_5518

SFGMC at Gospel Awards Rehearsal50 Peer Leaders at College Summit USC

College Summit UNC Asheville 2008Tony at the Brooklyn Museum Metro StopIn The Heights - Set of the new musicalRunway 3Watching the small ensembles

USF with Celine, Roland and Carlo

Mike & Alex at their wedding receptionErwin & Coy walk down the aisleJeffrey & Rey go to Alcatraz

3 of the Crazy 88 @ Halloween of course

Jeff & Cindy at their receptionKevin, still losing his mind at Cindy's weddingMs. Van Hunnick & ReyRey & Regan at USC Homecoming 2008Philip, Lyndsey, Adriana and Rey at the Westin CancunBeautiful Bride ShanifMom, King and Mrs. Birdie at ThanksgivingMrs. Birdie and MomThe Faustino Men

Rey & Richie before the concertCarlos, Rey and Briceyda @ BUILD's Holiday Sales Bazaar 2008Happy Birthday, Rey!

An e-Conversation about Gay Marriage

Last night, after our SFGMC concert in Santa Cruz, I got home, logged on to Facebook, and saw that a friend from high school posted a video about how Rick Warren supports Prop 8–with the following comment attached: “Another awesome video w/Rick Warren!

Disgusted, shocked, and fatigued from the concert,  I commented “This hate speech makes me sick.” This set off a flurry of comments from three other folks including, “D,” the one who originally posted the video. And after the jump, you’ll find the conversation.

But above and beyond that, no matter your religious background, your stance on gay marriage, or your stance on the definition of marriage, we cannot continue living in a society where gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people–real people–are living in fear for their lives because messages of intolerance, which are masked by religion, continue being passed around. These messages get misconstrued and promote hate.

So I get it. Protect the word “marriage.” Let’s say you can have it. Now what? What are we doing as a state, as a society, as humans, as a nation to make sure that we are all being protected? That we all get the same rights, feel the same value, and get the same chance at love, family, and peace that is afforded to heterosexual people.

Well, I’ll tell you what’s been done: a whole lotta yelling, blaming, finger-pointing, and arguing. But at the end of the day, it’s people making one-on-one connections with each other that will be the difference. As Karla reminded me tonight (as she usually does when she brings me back to the ground), that was the failure of the No on 8 campaign. We invested a lot of our money on flashy ad campaigns, while the Yes on 8 folks took it to the streets, for real (as evidenced by my 30-minute argument on the streets of Hacienda Heights with a family of Yes on 8ers).

Let’s take it to the streets then. Like how SFGMC went to Modesto and is going to the Central Valley and Sacramento to promote peace and tolerance. You don’t have to be gay or agree with gay marriage to promote peace and tolerance.

I’ll end my diatribe with a snippet of how I ended my conversation with “D”:

“We are now on the brink of a huge social change movement, the likes of which our generation has never seen. Whether or not you agree with gay marriage, are your everyday actions furthering a nation and society that you aspire to have? Or are you just sticking with the way it’s been (and the “definition”) because that’s what you know and have known?

This is a challenge, not just for you, but for our entire generation.”

Hit the jump for the entire e-conversation.

Continue reading An e-Conversation about Gay Marriage

Join me on World AIDS Day for SFGMC’s 30th Anniversary Concert

Dear Friends,
I invite you to join me next Monday, Dec 1, as my chorus takes center-stage at Davies Symphony Hall in celebration of our thirtieth anniversary and to mark World AIDS Day.

San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, the first of its kind, is setting a high-water mark for the gay choral movement, with award-winning Broadway composer, Steve Schalchlin‘s new work: New World Waking! Songs on the road to peace. In  addition to New World Waking, our second half will feature a tribute to those lost to the AIDS pandemic and will conclude with an upbeat selection of holiday music.

Here are sneak previews of the concert:

Our special guests for the momentous occasion include:

I cannot tell you how much heart and soul that we have poured into this event, and you really have to be there to experience the emotions from the sounds, music and words. When I first heard and sang some of the songs we will be performing, I literally cried, not out of sadness, but out of sheer joy and touching emotion. The works are beautiful, fun, emotive, and life-changing.

I honestly, hope you can join me on Dec 1 for this unique event. With all of the hatred in our world these days, especially against homosexuals as we saw with the passage of Prop 8, this concert is a spiritual reminder for our community that we can and will rise up. I guarantee you will be moved.

With love and light,

How to buy tickets
Tickets for the 30th Anniversary Concert start at $20 and are available from the community box office at the LGBT Community Center (1800 Market), by phone at (415) 865-2787, or online at A portion of all proceeds will assist HIV/AIDS charities Under One Roof, Meals of Marin, and the Positive ResourceCenter.

What if I can’t make it to this concert?
Let’s be real. What else are you doing on a random Monday night? Look at your schedule again… OK so you really can’t make it? Well luckily, we will still have our traditional holiday concerts on Dec 24. This concert will be shorter, and we will play only selections from New World Waking! and lots of holiday music.

We’ve also got three away shows that you can probably go to: Dec 6 in Modesto, Dec 13 in Santa Rosa, and Dec 20 in Santa Cruz. All of the away shows benefit local AIDS organizations.

Didn’t you audition for a solo?
I did, and try-outs were a really good experience. I was chosen to be the understudy for a phenomenal song called “Gabi’s Song (Will it Always be like this)” and might get the opportunity to sing it at one of the away shows. Obviously, I’ll keep you abreast in the event that I do get to sing it at some point.

About New World Waking
In thirteen emotional, genre-transcending songs, New World Waking! explores violence in our community and in the world and celebrates the individuals who stand up to it and change the world in the process. New World Waking! Two songs tell the true stories of ordinary mothers who fought against the homophobia their gay sons faced and both women will be in attendance on December 1st. McGuire explains: “The chorus was so moved by the stories that they clubbed together and have donated their own money and air miles to make this happen. This spiritual connection to the incredible music and the stories is something we invite you to share with us. New World Waking! tells us that, in the face of hatred and adversity, one person truly can make a difference.�