On this Father’s Day weekend, MEDA encourages everyone to take time to celebrate the power of paternal love. We asked MEDA staff to tell what they learned from their dads and how that made them a better person. Here are a few stories.
Staff member: Max Moy-Borgen
Father’s name: David Aaron Borgen
“My father moved to San Francisco in the ‘70’s to study law at UC Hastings. He protested for low-income housing rights at I-Hotel before working for the Communications Workers of America union. My father held countless nationwide corporations accountable for labor-law violations and unfair practices, where low-income people of color, women and the disabled were not given the same opportunities for advancement, not promoted to management positions and, overall, were not treating the community with the basic dignity and respect that they deserved.
“My father has passionately fought for the diverse, low-income community for nearly a quarter century and it has been inspirational for me to witness how despite all of his long hours, travels, he manages to maintain such good humor. He taught me that the power people have when they come together can often overcome obstacles that may have seemed insurmountable. He prioritizes self care through family time–diet and exercise, taking us on hikes, camping trips, but also volunteering for door-to-door canvassing and phone banking. My father taught me the importance of community, hard work, staying focused on a goal, picking yourself up when you fall down and knowing when to take a break to continue forward.”
Staff member: Amelia M. Martínez C.
Father’s name: Germán G. Martínez
“My father, my strength, my hero … this is who Germán G. Martínez (photo, top) is to me. When I think of my father, I think of his smile, the love he gave to all and his laughter. Life wasn’t that easy for my father growing up in Panamá, but he always had the most positive attitude and beautiful smile that could fill any room he entered. Dad would always tell me to ‘roll with the punches.’
“I never understood what he meant by that until he became ill and, after an 18-year battle, passed away. Life always has ups and down, it always will, but if you don’t pick up and keep moving forward, you will never get anywhere. I always wondered why this man–who had every right in the world to be upset at the universe for slowly eating away at him and for bringing his world to a halt—managed to keep smiling. So, thank you, Dad, for teaching me to always smile, love and roll with the punches.”
“My dad has always been an excellent cook–making recipes from all over the world, exploring new cuisines and getting really into the art of making a fabulous meal. I used to hang out with him in the kitchen as a child, to learn from him and help him, read his cookbooks and challenged him to try out making new dishes. My friends and family can attest to the fact that I have picked up some great skills in the process, as cooking is one of my favorite things to do today.
“My dad was also always involved in the broadcast industry and an early adopter of all things technology related. We had computers early on, a ‘car phone’ when it was actually mounted in the car, and I had one of the first MP3 players—a gift from my dad—back when you could only play a few songs on them because that’s all they could hold. As a result, technology was always demystified for me—a likely factor in my career path and passion that sought to bring technology access and training to underserved communities from Honduras to Jamaica, Chicago and San Francisco. He always traveled for work and took us on exciting trips, and gave me the confidence to boldly explore the world, creating my passion for adventure, new experiences and new places that shapes my life today.”