Charmaine Runes loves telling stories, especially with data. She is currently a research analyst at the Urban Institute and enjoys yoga, climbing, and cooking plant-based meals in her free time. She is a Macalester College graduate and calls Washington, DC, home.

Bitter Melon is in the Heart
By Charmaine Runes

Even though I never learned how to speak any Filipinx languages, the names of everyday dishes like pancit and kaldareta roll off my tongue with relative ease. Some of my strongest memories are of me waiting for my mother in our car after she had spotted a malunggay tree in a neighbor’s yard.

Imagining Beyond the Bottom Line
By Charmaine Runes

I was too close to the edge of my seat not to fall out, and when I finally did, my partner next to me returned my grin. The film we were watching had my support long before I walked through the movie theater doors, but seeing someone who looked just a little bit like me drew me deeper into the story.

This Land is Not Our Land
By Charmaine Runes

As a third-culture kid, I hold a fluid definition of home — one that stretches and surrounds the Philippines, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and the United States.