Sister Aunties Irene and Norliza have also been with the A.S.S. since it’s beginning! They spend a lot of time sewing together and occasionally even get their daughters involved in cutting supplies to make it a multigenerational affair. Together, these powerhouse Aunties have made over 6,000 masks!
Auntie Irene says about being in our Squad, “I learned from an early age the importance of valuing the lives of all people and giving to others in need. In 1975, when I was 3 years old I remember going to a Vietnamese refugee camp in Camp Pendleton California to help give out food. I know I was really little but I remember being so excited about passing out oranges because they were my favorite fruit. Being immigrants as well, my mother taught me and my sister that we needed to learn how to make things for ourselves, cook foods from our motherland, and fix things because she wanted us to always be strong independent women in a world she felt was dominated by men. Those 2 lessons early in life shaped my values today.
I learned to sew from my mother and although I took a long break, me sewing masks actually made my mom very happy to know that what she taught me as a child still stayed with me as an adult and is being taught to my 7 year old daughter. I love being an Auntie because we share a common value the making masks is political and that every community deserves to feel safe and protected. When I talk about my mask making, I really get choked up because I genuinely have love for every community I share them with.
I think the one I felt most sentimental about was the ones sent to San Quentin after I learned a good friend has a cousin locked up there. really have so much love for the community of Aunties we have built. Between me and my sister and all the masks we’ve made is a combined 6000 masks and I know we’re committed to continue to make them as long as there is a need.”