In support of the Bay Terrace Senior Center
Today I attended and spoke at my first city council meeting in Downtown San Diego. I moved around my hours at work so I would be able to attend. When I agreed to speak, I didn’t know who else would be present. Normally this would scare me away, but I had a feeling that what I had to share was important. I was very nervous.
Due to the one-minute time limits per speaker, I was not able to finish what I wanted to share with the council. I’ll share my full piece with you here.
Good afternoon, council president and councilmembers.
My name is Maureen Gladys Abugan. I grew up in D4. I went to Nye, O’Farrell, and Morse. My dad was in and out of my life, and my mom worked the night shift at the Naval Hospital, so it was mostly my grandparents who raised my siblings and me. They immigrated here in 1987 from the Philippines for the sole purpose of helping my mom raise her three kids.
I am 27 years old now and I am here on behalf of my grandmother, who is my last living grandparent. My grandmother has become a recluse in our home. She often talks to herself and is prone to severe anxiety and panic attacks. Most of my conversations with her are attempts to calm her down. When I told her that a senior center was going to be built, she was happy. She said, “That’s good. If I go then I can talk to people.”
My grandmother crossed an ocean for me to live a good life.
She is now 79 years old. Her husband, my grandfather, and many of her friends have already passed on. The least I could do to show love, respect, and gratitude for her — and for all the elders from our community — is to stand here and advocate for the full funding, building, and ongoing support of a senior center in Bay Terraces, just blocks away from where my family lived.
Our elders deserve to have a dedicated place with they can build community with one another. It is our collective responsibility to make sure that the Bay Terraces Senior Center is built well and built sustainably. This is how we can support our elders, just as they have supported us all these years.
Thank you for listening.