Amelia Blanquera, a writer, activist, and beloved daughter and sister, passed away on March 9, 2017 at home in Brooklyn, New York, due to natural causes. She was born on Valentine's Day, 1970 in Quezon City, Philippines, to Flordelis and Arturo Blanquera. Raised in Ewing, New Jersey, Amelia graduated from New York University in 1992 and earned her juris doctor from Brooklyn Law School in 2000.
Amelia worked in publishing while pursuing her law degree and passing the New York State Bar Exam. For 12 years, she spent her time in corporate law and contributed to large-scale litigation cases. She began publishing her writing in The New York Times, Orion, The Nervous Breakdown, McSweeney's Internet Tendency, and Climbing Magazine. Following a life-long dream to become a writer, she enrolled at Columbia University School of the Arts in 2014 in the Master of Fine Arts non-fiction program. In 2016, Amelia served as co-president of Our Word, a student organization in the Writing Program, whose mission is to enrich the School of the Arts' literary community through outreach, and also served on the Columbia Office of University Life's Race, Ethnicity, and Inclusion Taskforce. Amelia discovered a love of teaching, from her workshops through Gotham Workshop to teaching at Columbia University and at the New York University Access Program. She was also featured in articles in O, The Wall Street Journal, The Daily Beast, and the New York Post where her humor and endless curiosity was evident.
Amelia was an active member of her neighborhood in Fort Greene, maintaining a vegetable plot at the Clifton Place Community Garden and serving as Vice-President of the Board of the Brooklyn-Queens Land Trust. Her experience with the BQLT inspired her thesis project called CITIZEN GARDENER.
Amelia was an avid traveler, spending several months in the Philippines reconnecting with her heritage, and traveled widely in Brazil, Spain, and in the US, camping and climbing in upstate New York. She spent time traveling to England and to Maine with her boyfriend, Ian Harmon.
Amelia's earthly body was cremated after a private family ceremony at Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn on March 16, 2017. Despite a sudden snowstorm the night before, the sun shone bright on this sacred place, and her loved ones felt peace as her last rites were given.
A public memorial will be held Saturday, April 29 at 2 pm at Columbia University, Earl Hall.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation in Amelia's honor to the Brooklyn Queens Land Trust, BQLT.org; or Our Word through the Columbia University School of the Arts Writing Program, giving.columbia.edu/giveonline/.
Amelia is survived by her parents, Flordelis and Arturo Blanquera; her brother Ben and his wife Sandy; her brother Arturo Jr. and his wife Shannan; her sister Ardel Jala and her husband Fred; as well as numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts and uncles.
Published by New York Times from Mar. 31 to Apr. 1, 2017.