Support California’s Prop 16 “Opportunity for All”

The members, organizers, and families of LEAD Filipino unequivocally support the passage of Prop 16.

An issue that has been long-fought on California’s political stage, we laud the leadership of the Honorable Dr. Shirley Weber.  Her championing of ACA 5 translated into Prop 16, which will be decided upon by millions of California voters this fall. 

In response to the perennial question that incites ire, feeling, and emotion across all settings: “Should race matter or not matter in public admissions?” we extend the discussion in this piece.

We’re reminded every day that we live in a society that appraises, ranks, and assigns [superficial] value to each of us based on our race and gender.  On issues of income inequality, data shows us that race and gender matter.  On issues of executive leadership across all fields, reports show us that race and gender matter.  On issues of promotions and hiring, evidence supports that race and gender matter. 

To help illustrate the beliefs that power our supportive position, we invoke the oversimplified and ever-popular adage, “Actions speak louder than words.” We say, “Actions speak louder than words” as a rejoinder to the opponents of Affirmative Action that cite credence to color-blindness, under the auspices of meritocracy. If race doesn’t matter, then why does empirical data and studies continue to show that ethnic minorities and women are consistently underrepresented in spaces of student admissions in universities and executive leadership? In this case, actions continue to speak louder.

In today’s climate, empirical studies and our observations show us that quality of “merits” reside in a collection of assumptions, such as suggesting that every individual has access to shelter, food, income, and socio-emotional support from loved ones. Under this guise, dominant American ideation proselytizes and praises “merit” in relation to hard work. (Bonus points if you overcame adversity and still finished college, secured a job, and own a home in California!)

Meritocracy negates the realities and influences of equity.

Meritocracy assumes that we each have access to shelter, food, income, and love. However, reality shows us repeatedly, that our world deals each of us a different hand. Affirmative Action orients our decisions around considerations of equity. Equity asks us to recognize that not everyone has the same economic and socio-emotional starting points. For instance, Filipinas/xs/os could not own land or property in the United States till post 1964 Civil Rights (and the same goes for all communities of color). Contrasting these experiences with individuals that had access to own, sell, and manage land at the start of the Union, only accounts for one of the historic factors that have contributed to the equity disparities that we see today. Bringing these historical influences into the fore, equity considers how minority communities were outlawed, creating economic disenfranchisement and exclusion — which we know impacts access to financial resources, home ownership, and opportunity . Meritocracy asks that we ignore these starting points and consider instead, both lived experiences as equals.

Prop 16 not only shapes our collective consciousness on equity, it forces those in power to address questions of access, inclusion, and opportunity across public universities, employment, and contracting awards in California.

With growing evidence that suggests California’s ban on Affirmative Action has not only hurt minority representation, but has contributed to the widening equity and opportunity gaps in higher education, professional fields, and contract awards, LEAD Filipino commits to galvanizing our resources and team to spreading the importance of Prop 16 in our shared future.

LEAD Filipino will join a host of San Jose/South Bay nonprofits, civic groups, and student organizations on Wednesday, September 23rd from 5pm-7pm in a Silicon Valley-focused virtual Town Hall on raising voter awareness around Prop 16. We hope to see you there!

Props to Puso To Puso: Second Episode!

This past Saturday, August 15th, we were pleased to present the second episode of our three-part “Puso To Puso Talks” which was our organization’s response to having to postpone our 2020 Annual Fly Pinays Leadership Summit.

Prioritizing the need to continue holding space for our Fly Pinays community, our student leaders conceived of our “Puso To Puso Talks” which were to be short, 60-90 minute live episodes focusing on one of our three Fly Pinays themes: Mental Health, Ethnic Identity, and Personal Development.

Last Saturday, on the topic of “Personal Finance” we were joined by guest speaker Derica Malaca, a trained Financial Coach and Nonprofit Professional, that shared how she paid off her personal debt with a series of different strategies related to tucking away a percentage of her income, cost-saving, and looking for ways to passively grow her money.

In addition to hearing and learning from Derica, we would like to give special love to the many, many Fly Pinays organizers that helped to ring in the success of our second “Puso To Puso”:

  • Omilani Alarcon, our hostess with the mostest, our emcee!
  • Adelina Tancioco, Founder, Surrendered Healing for leading our Grounding Activity and Opening Meditation
  • Mer Curry, Founder, AdvancED Consulting for leading our Closing Activity
  • And to our Fly Pinays organizing committee: Marissa Martinez (Fly Pinays Director), Isabel Bagsik, Jessica Yumul, Camille Ann Valerio, Chloe Agdipa, Jenn Cayanan, Michelle Dionisio, and Maxine Gutierrez.

In community,

LEAD Filipino

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