The People Power Revolution of the Philippines is the quintessence of nonviolent struggles against dictatorships. It began at the voting booth and ended with the exile of a tyrant, President Ferdinand Marcos.
In 1972, when I was 15, Marcos declared martial law. The reign of terror that plagued the next 14 years allowed no democratic process to change the leadership. However, growing pressure from the people and from foreign countries, including the United States, forced a presidential election. In 1986, I cast my first vote at 29 years of age.
There was widespread cheating, and Marcos was ready to proclaim his re-election victory in an extravagant celebration. I marched the streets of Manila shoulder to shoulder with nuns, teachers, students and street vendors, demanding that our voice be heard. The crowd swelled into a 2 million Filipino peaceful coup d’etat that ousted Marcos.
I immigrated to America in 1995 and relish in the lifestyle of my newly adopted homeland, which holds in high esteem life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Knowing the power of the ballot, I am determined to preserve the democracy I came for and to immerse myself in the political process – not just as voter but as candidate.
I am an Asian immigrant woman who has triumphed over lifelong adversities. I seek to serve as trustee for Area 5 of the Contra Costa County Board of Education. I will bring a unique point of view and a commitment to transparency and accountability. I will also provide diversity and balance to the board to ensure equal representation for our changing demographics.
Almost a quarter century later and halfway around the world, the patriot in me proudly lives on.
Cynthia Ruehlig, Antioch