My utmost condolences to Loni Ding's famiy. My gratitude toward her is unspeakable. I tried to express this during my acceptance speech at the 2009 Northern California EMMY Award. But words cannot describe what she had done for me. Knowing Loni, a video would make her proud. This video is my last glimpse of Loni in March 2009 when the Asian American Studies department at UC Berkeley honored her for her dedication.Isadora Quanehia Ding Welsh, or Ding Bick Lon, known as Loni Ding, passed away peacefully on February 20, 2010 at Summit Hospital in Oakland, following a stroke. She was 78.
I got to know Loni from my days as a student at UC Berkeley. Whether it was fate or chance, I was looking for a non-requisite courses to fit my interests. Upon reading the description of her class, I knew that this class is for me. In fact, it was only one of a handful of classes that include video production and social justice at Berkeley. This is a school known for its intellectual might not technical trade. My time in Loni's class was a defining moment in finding my voice, my self.
Loni was a light that infused me to continue with my work to complete BOLINAO 52. She did it by examples and most importantly through her character. Loni's dedication to her students was unbounded. My personal experience was 2001 Spring Finals. We were burning the midnight candle in a computer lab at Etcheverry Hall to edit our final projects. Technical issues were mounting, tempers flew wildly and tensions were high. Our TA ditched us. And there were a bunch of student racing against time to complete their voices on borrowed equipments and hijacked facility. As the night burned deep into early morning hours, there was Loni resting on two classroom chairs lining together. She was there with us through the night. At close to 70 years old, Loni hung with us all the way through. Undoubtedly, it was not a requirement for professors at UC Berkeley to sleep on chairs in classroom during finals with students. But Loni did it anyway because that was who she is.