It was inspiring to see the Liberation Queen candidates on Guam featured in last Sunday’s paper. What many on Guam may not know is that we also select a Liberation Queen in San Diego, California.
Since 1953, the Sons and Daughters of Guam Club in has crowned a Liberation Queen of their own. Traditionally, the SDGC Liberation celebration is a formal affair highlighting World War II veterans and the coronation of the winning candidate. As I have watched the Liberation court over this past year, I have seen that the pageant tradition is much more than a contest. It is a bonding experience for our community.
Liberation candidates begin their campaign months in advance. Their outreach and fundraising efforts bring together friends and relations from far and wide. The girls and their families work closely with the Guam Club, becoming an important part of the organization in the course of their campaigns. You will regularly see Queen candidates gracing public events, offering their musical talents, even serving lunch at the regular senior (manamko’) luncheons. Lasting relationships are created, including close camaraderie among the competing candidates.
Anissa Acfalle is this year’s Liberation Queen Chairperson who will guide the girls vying for the 2014 title. Anissa herself ran for Liberation Queen in 1985.
“I was a princess and loved every minute of my campaign. During my campaign Auntie Lupe Perez was queen chair and, to be honest, it’s because of her and the experience I had as a candidate that made me passionate about Liberation.”
Anissa’s two sister’s in law were each royal princesses at one time, and in 2007 her daughter, Alissa Acfalle was crowned Liberation Queen. Between her daughter and her fellow candidate, Christina Gerber, a record $97,000 was raised for the club that year. This entitled the pair to travel to Guam for the island’s Liberation Day festivities. Their Chairperson and mentor was Julie Holowitz.
Says their mentor, Anissa Acfalle, “We are proud of our lineage and our commitment to our community but most of all, being able to have represented our people during this most important time, which was when our island was liberated.”
For this historic 70th Liberation celebration, I wanted to introduce the two San Diego Queen candidates, Ferlyn Quitagua and Mauryn Mantanane.