Progressive Voice is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of their organizations or ARLnow.com.
By: Niharika Chibber Joe
It was a proud week for Virginia when our Senator and former Governor Tim Kaine accepted the Democratic Party’s nomination for Vice President of the United States.
That same week was also one of shock and grief as we learned that Joe Montano, one of Senator Kaine’s key aides – and his staff representative in Arlington and across Northern Virginia – had passed away. Senator Kaine’s moving remarks at the Virginia delegation breakfast was a testament to the love that so many felt and feel for Joe.
I would like to put into my own words what the loss of Joe meant to so many people in this area – especially to Asian Americans:
Our dearest friend, Democratic Asian-Americans of Virginia (DAAV) co-founder, AAPI stalwart, community leader, Virginia Democrat, and all-round inspirational kuya Joe Montano was laid to rest in his beloved Norfolk, Virginia, on Sunday, August 7, 2016. He was 47 years old.
Hundreds of friends and colleagues from all walks of life joined the Montano family amidst crying, hugging, laughing, and even dancing and basketball to bid farewell to Joe. Only Joe, say his friends, could pack a church and a high school gym to capacity; shut down major streets; have his Senator and boss, Tim Kaine, deliver a heartfelt eulogy for him; and have everyone in tears and laughter at the same time.
The outpouring of camaraderie, love, and support from Washington, D.C., through Northern Virginia, and all the way down to Norfolk and Virginia Beach in the wake of Joe’s passing has been nothing short of remarkable. But then, Joe was a truly remarkable person.
He was the guy whose laugh long preceded his entrance into a room. He was always the first to jump up to serve his community and the first to lend a hand. He brought people together. He was a uniting presence in the way he lived. And in death, he has united a community of friends and family from each facet of his wonderfully spirited, indefatigable life.
A proud Filipino American, Joe was passionate about social justice issues. He most recently served as Northern Virginia Regional Director of Constituent Services for Senator Kaine.
In a statement released shortly after Joe’s death, Senator Kaine said, “Joe was an outstanding representative of this office, enthusiastic servant of the people of Northern Virginia, and admired colleague by all who worked with him. We will remember him by his positive energy, tireless work ethic, and infectious smile.”
Joe’s best friend Marlan Maralit spoke of him with passion. “Joe Montano’s was a purpose driven life where his actions were explicit and not far from his vision for the world — a world where he was quickly becoming an emerging voice for communities fighting for a seat at the table.”
At DAAV, Joe was our go-to guy. He was our sounding board, our adviser, our galvanizer, our rock. He was selfless and dedicated and he immediately put everyone at ease. He was the commanding presence in a room full of people, yet, he was quietly comfortable chatting with high school students.
He fired up volunteers the same way he fired up elected officials — like no other — with a passionate, loudly delivered call to action. He mentored and inspired the next generation, led by example, and encouraged them to give back to their communities. And he did it all with kindness and compassion – with that bright Joe Montano grin, never uttering a negative word.
With Joe’s passing, the Democratic Asian Americans of Virginia have not only lost our star community organizer and activist — we have lost our best friend. Joe is irreplaceable. We miss him dearly. Yet in his honor DAAV members look forward to building on his decades of hard work to elect Democrats at every level across the Commonwealth of Virginia and at the national level.
Maraming Salamat, Joe Montano! Thank you for your tireless service. Rest in peace, dear friend. Your spirit will live on with us. We will not let you down! #LiveLikeJoe #BeLikeJoe
Niharika Chibber Joe is a South Arlington resident. In 2014-15, she served as Secretary of the Democratic Asian Americans of Virginia.
In loving memory of Joseph Robert Kapacziewski, who passed away in 2023 at the age of 41.
In loving memory of James Stuart Edmonds, who passed away in 2023 at the age of 84.
A man was shot in front of a lounge on Columbia Pike early this morning, continuing a string of violent incidents.
Good Friday evening, Arlington. Today we published articles that were read a total of 17124 times… so far. 📈 Top stories The following are the most-read articles for today —…
YULA’s ultimate frisbee spring season is now open for registration. We offer programs for middle and high schoolers – open to all players, whether they are new or have previous experience.Middle SchoolIn the Middle School league, mixed-gender teams practice once during the week and have games on Sunday afternoons. Spring league is a fun, safe, and positive environment. The season begins mid-March and wraps up with a tournament in early June. There are several options for practice days, so we can often work around schedule conflicts with other sports & activities.High SchoolThe High School program is organized by school of attendance and teams are classified by gender. New players will learn the basics in a supportive, welcoming environment. Experienced players will continue to develop their skills, and enjoy competition with other high school programs. The season concludes with a state level championship tournament in late May.All players are guided by experienced coaches who emphasize sportsmanship and good spirit. Ultimate is a fun sport with great camaraderie!YULA does not want finances to limit anyone from participating. Our middle school program offers a “Pay What You Can” cost structure and our our high school program is offering a $50 discount to new players.Visit our website to register and learn more. Sign up with a friend, but don’t delay, the season starts in March!http://www.yula-ulti.org
The Arlington-Aachen High School exchange is returning this summer and currently accepting applicants.
The sister-city partnership started in 1993 by the Arlington Sister Cities Association, which seeks to promote Arlington’s international profile through a variety of exchanges in education, commerce, culture and the arts. The exchange, scheduled June 17th to July 4th, includes a two-week homestay in Aachen plus three days in Berlin. Knowledge of the German language is not required for the trip.
Former participants have this to say:
_”The Aachen exchange was an eye-opening experience where I was fully immersed in the life of a German student. I loved biking through the countryside to Belgium, having gelato and picnics in the town square, and hanging out with my German host student’s friends. My first time out of the country, the Aachen exchange taught me to keep an open mind, because you never know what could be a life changing experience.” – Kelly M._
Valentine gifts for someone special or for yourself are here at George Mason University from noon -4pm on February 14, 2023. Satisfy your sweet tooth with Kingsbury Chocolates, find a handmade bag from Karina Gaull, pick up treats from Village