Sam Roderick Roxas-Chua
A Filipino born in Manila, Sam Roderick Roxas-Chua was adopted by a Chinese family that moved to Los Angeles when he was 11. "I went to Catholic school until fifth grade," he says. "But my grandma taught me Buddhist prayers." In his late teens, he felt a calling to be a priest, but a pastor told him that his homosexuality meant that he could never enter heaven. After moving to Seattle to finish college, he discovered the Dalai Lama on TV at 3am: "He was saying, 'You're OK, no matter who you are, or how bad you are.' I've practiced Tibetan Buddhism since 1999." Roxas-Chua met his partner, John Simpson, in Seattle, and in 2002 joined him in Eugene. When his mother died in 2005, he joined a bereavement support group at Sacred Heart. "It normalized the confusion, the loss," says Roxas-Chua, who trained as a volunteer to facilitate support groups and to give hospice patient care. Since 2008, he has made audio and video recordings of hospice patients telling their life stories. "Being aware of impermanence teaches you how to live," says Roxas-Chua, who has opened a ceramics studio since taking his first class at Clayspace in 2009. See his Wish People and other works in clay at wonderlandcraftstudio.com.