Letter on Future Hiring for the City of San Jose’s Director of the Office of Racial Equity

On June 16, 2020, of the City of San Jose’s $4.1B annual budget for the 2020-21 year, the City Council voted to allocate $1.5M in one-time funds to develop a new Office for Racial Equity.

As the City of San Jose’s staff works expeditiously to shape a job description to assist in the search for a new Director to lead the City’s efforts on Racial Equity, we recognize that in the middle of a global pandemic, with drastically increasing unemployment and foreclosure rates, that our interdependent community will need to continue to make complex and challenging decisions in the public sphere.

Unequivocally, the members of LEAD Filipino laud the initiative of the San Jose Council in authorizing funds to spur the creation of an Office for Racial Equity. While we believe that the Office for Racial Equity should have a dedicated funding stream to support ongoing – and future – intervention, public safety, wellness, and empowerment efforts in the City of San Jose, this is a solid start.

Here is the letter that our organizers and advisory Board submitted to the City of San Jose staff on recommendations related to the design of the Director role.

Queermmittee Meeting on August 10th!

Join us in our virtual space on Monday, August 10th from 6pm-7:30pm as we begin forming our regular Queermmittee schedule of activities and initiatives, including the planning of a 2021 Queer Conference and defining our advocacy platform for the Annual Sacramento Legislative Advocacy Day with our host of partners from across California.

Don’t sleep on this!

Official Statement on Growing Reports of Sexual Assault in South Bay Community

In the past several weeks, our organization has remained watchful and vigilant of the growing cases of sexual assault victims and survivors coming forward in our broader, San Jose/South Bay Area community.

We’re keenly and sensitively aware of the organizations and their leaders that have found themselves at the crossroads of horrific, emotional, and painful stories that have been shared with them. When these trangressions and violations occur in our community, they’re felt by all.

Due to these recent and growing cases in our broader community, we’re taking every opportunity to check and position our organization to not only continue preventing harm and thwarting bad actors, but to ensure that we have processes and policies in place to protect everyone’s wellness, safety, and happiness.

To the survivors and victims, even if we don’t know you – and you don’t know us – please know that we commend your courage and stand with you, even during the moments where you might feel alone.

If you or someone you know is in danger, experiencing sexual violence, or is in an abusive relationship, please share these local San Jose/South Bay Area resources with them.

There are community advocates and trained workers available to help:

  • Asian American Recovery Services: 415-762-3700 | Website
  • Next Door Solutions to Domestic Violence: 408-279-2962 | Website
  • YWCA Silicon Valley: 800-572-2782 | Website

AB 1460 Support Letter

Our organization has prepared and submitted the following support letter to California Governor, Gavin Newsom:

On behalf of the members of LEAD Filipino, we write to request your signing of Assembly Bill 1460, a hallmark bill that would mandate Ethnic Studies as a graduation requirement across all 23 California State University (CSU) campuses beginning in the 2021-2022 academic year. 

LEAD Filipino celebrates and uplifts the leading tenets of Ethnic Studies.  These tenets promote positive self-efficacy, community empowerment, and collective pride in the contributions of communities of color in California’s (and the United States’) rich tapestry of experiences, backgrounds, and beliefs.  

Knowing that Filipinas/xs/os first stepped onto North American soil in 1587, to then settle in the Louisiana Bayous, to continue to serve as imported labor in the Hawaiian plantations and Alaskan canneries, to then fight in the Second World War without question, to only be met with violence and prejudice, provides a basis for our community to understand our historic contributions to the United States of America.  To know our Filipinx history is to embrace the strife, resilience, and splendor that defines our Filipinx roots.  The pride we feel is the pride we seek to share, and Ethnic Studies provides for students that seek to understand and see themselves in dominant culture.  Ethnic Studies creates belonging and instills pride.

Since 2016, LEAD Filipino has served over 1,000 students, adults, and families in critical education and services derived in Ethnic and Filipinx Studies.  

Founded on the principles of Ethnic Studies, our organization’s programs, services, and mission continue to elevate the importance of educating our members on the often underrepresented and untold stories of Filipinx and broader communities of color.  The experiences of communities of color are omitted in mainstream educational curriculum, including santionced history books, media and film shown in classes, and assigned literature.  

Empirical studies show that when minority students see their stories reflected in course material and their instructors, they demonstrate increased engagement, higher literacy, and motivation (National Educational Association, 2013).  We recognize that the inclusion of Ethnic Studies pedagogy and curriculum facilitates positive self-identity, increases social and academic integration, and improves educational outcomes thus closing the achievement gap (Baker, 2008; Bowman et al., 2015).  

AB 1460 signals a critical step in our shared history, as it moves California into a higher level of consciousness, emotion, and understanding of ourselves and each other — and right now, we all need healing. 

We hope that you’ll consider signing AB 1460. 

***

To read more about AB 1460:

Queermmittee Launch

Although Pride Month has come to a close, the work of promoting and elevating the voices of our LGBTQIA+ community doesn’t stop.

Our organization is delighted to announce the launch of our Queermmittee, a space for all LGBTQIA+ community members and allies to engage in conversations and action based on shared interests, values, and experiences. A new space that we’re developing this year, we call anyone in that seeks to help us design experiences that nourish, convene, and uplift our LGBTQIA+ and allies in the San Jose/South Bay community and beyond.

Our Queermmittee will host its first virtual meeting in August! To get involved in these efforts, please contact Celeste Francisco on our team:

Celeste Francisco
Queermmittee Lead Organizer & Education Team
celeste@leadfilipino.org

Maraming Salamat: Filipinx Community Town Hall

Hi Kasamas —

On behalf of LEAD Filipino, we would like to graciously thank everyone that participated in this past Wednesday’s Statewide Filipinx Community Town Hall.

In the final hours leading up to the Town Hall, we received notice that our registrations had exceeded 500! To quickly respond to these growing demands, we pivoted and opened a new “virtual meeting” space, which included an entirely new Zoom link. Despite our best efforts to message these new meeting details to everyone, it appears that our initiative fell short. To those that weren’t able to join us due to the sudden change, we deeply apologize for the mishap and miscommunication.

We fully intend to host another Filipinx Community Town Hall, as all of your energy, momentum, and excitement continues to inspire us in our social service and community work that we provide in our neighborhoods and localities.

To get in touch with us, please do reach out!

LEAD Filipino

Filipinx Community Town Hall!

Register for a Virtual State Assembly: A Filipinx Community Town Hall

Date:
Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Time:
4pm-6:15pm

Register:
http://tinyurl.com/y7ozyr9a

We’re honored to continue serving alongside the members of the statewide Filipinx Policy Steering Committee — 19 other Fil community-based organizations (CBOs), nonprofits, grassroots and collegiate groups from across California to call on all members of the Filipinx community and our allies to engage in a statewide conversation on how our community will participate in the Movement for Black Lives.

Those involved in the journey of our Filipinx Policy Steering Committee know that after an amazing 2020 Filipinx Policy Symposium on February 1 at CSUEB that we wholeheartedly intended to execute another Filipinx Legislative Advocacy Day in Sacramento.

Despite these huge shifts and the status of our country (and world’s) changes, we’re working to constantly redefine and re-engineer our organizing efforts to continually engage our community in issues of statewide and public importance.

Please join us and our 19 other partners in a robust statewide dialogue on the impacts of COVID-19 on Filipinx communities across California, critical updates to our 2020 Policy Platform, and again — raising how we will show up and support the Movement for Black Lives.

Statement of Solidarity: Black Lives Matter

Leadership, Education, Activism, and Dialogue (LEAD) Filipino, a San Jose-based community organization of students, young adults, and families decry the atrocities that continue to target Black American communities.  

We stand alongside our brothers and sisters, in the Movement for Black Lives, to demand justice for George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and to call for an immediate end to racist policing.  Our hearts reside with the families and friends of those we’ve lost to the depraved hands of state sanctioned racism and violence.

Lest we not forget our own histories and our families’ diasporic experiences from the Philippines to America. These stories hold the indelible marks of our community’s receipt of prejudice and racist-fueled actions. From anti-miscegenation laws, deceptive ploys that reduced a Filipinx to nothing more than cheap labor, and reneging on countless agreements made with our people, such as the Rescission Act of 1946.

Our community bears witness to the impacts of forced migration, immigrant acculturation, and American assimilation so as not to attract ire…but to survive. To not be different. This is the time to rise and stand up — because we are different. Be different and STAND for the virtue, the value, and the promise to recognize that strikes against Black American communities painfully reverberate through all of us.

Sign the petition that urges to have all of the police officers involved in George Floyd’s murder charged and fired immediately. 

Please consider donating to the organizations that are working to provide legal counsel, services, and financial resources for those deeply affected:

Official George Floyd Memorial Fund
I Run with Maud Memorial Fund
NAACP’s Legal Defense and Educational Fund
Reclaim the Block
Southern Poverty Law Center

Ang Tao, Ang Bayan, Ngayon Ay Lumalaban! The People United, Will Never Be Defeated!

Sulong! (Pushing Forward!)

LEAD Filipino

###

Register for our 2020 AAP!

Register for our 2020 AAP today!
(Sign up here)

Since 2016, our organization has proudly put our shoulders to the wheel to design and produce our summer Awareness in Action Program (i.e., AAP) which combines tenets on Filipinx Studies and Political/Civic Engagement for the San Jose and broader Bay Area communities.

During times of uncertainty, we become better, not bitter, and because of this we’ll be bringing our 2020 AAP to the hands of the community via Zoom. Using a blend of instructional modalities, including interactive sessions, guest speakers, breakout groups, and other forms of asynchronous learning, we hope you’ll join us in our 2020 AAP, which begins on Friday, June 12.

Centering on the historical experiences that shaped the narratives of the Filipinx diaspora in America, AAP frames the course through the principles of Ethnic Studies by answering the fundamental questions: “Who am I?” “What is my family’s story?” “What can I do to evoke positive change?”

To read more about our Awareness In Action Program (AAP), click here.