Noelle Monge, who is a sophmore and English major at Boston University, is one of six young Guam residents who speak out about the island in a New York Times article that appeared on August 20, 2017, Young Voices on a Targeted Island: 'Very Lucky to Be From Guam'. CFJ's Eduardo "Champ" Calvo is Noelle's proud grandfather. CFJ's Jennifer Calvo and Christian Calvo are her aunt and uncle.
The full article, including a photo of Noelle is available here. This is what Noelle had to say to the Times:
"My strongest and fondest memories as a kid are memories of my family. I remember chasing my cousins around the neighborhood during weekly family dinners and riding with my great-grandpa during the Liberation Day parades. Family was the best part of growing up in Guam because it was all around. And it wasn’t just blood relatives, but family friends and my parents’ co-workers. Everywhere you went, there was a familiar face with an endless amount of smiles and good vibes.
As a whole I think Guam is pretty centrist. I don’t really think people cling to partisan political identities like on the mainland, and people act more on emotional connections and have diverse opinions.
I hope people realize and remember that Guam is a real place with the most genuine people. We are not uncivilized, insignificant numbers who wouldn’t matter as casualties of war. I also hope that they stop the stereotyping of islanders. Since the recent threat from North Korea, I have seen so many ignorant social media posts that maybe wouldn’t be posted if people just educated themselves more about our U.S. territory.
A lot of people off-island question our calm reaction to the threats. I think we are calm because of the strength that runs through our blood and our land. Just three generations ago, my great-grandmother endured Japanese occupation during World War II. She’s thriving and alive today, and stands as an inspiration to keep on and carry on in the face of danger and oppression. I also think that the beauty nature has gifted us acts as a daily reminder to appreciate every day we’re alive and healthy."