A Wrap: 2017 Awareness in Action Program


A Wrap: 2017 Awareness in Action Program

On Monday, August 28th, we celebrated the closing and completion of our 2nd Cohort of our Awareness in Action Program (AAP).

The concept of Awareness in Action is simple, yet the carry through is quite complex.

Through this program, we aim to build individual – and collective – awareness on issues of Filipin@ society, history and politics, among the young leaders in our community. In turn, we encourage that with their awareness, they take positive action in civics, community organizing and/or on their school campuses.

From July to August, on Monday evenings, for a total of 8 weeks we convened students from San Jose State, Santa Clara University, De Anza College, UCLA and Cal State East Bay in our civic leadership development and Filipin@ Studies program entitled, “Awareness in Action.” Each week, we covered different themes, issues and experiences relevant to Filipin@ narratives in America and our Motherland. Throughout the program, we also went on Community Exposure Tours and had the students complete a 3-part series “Filipino Communities Project”.

Our Awareness in Action Program (AAP) curriculum included:

  • Week 1: Filipin@ Identity: Asians or Pacific Islanders?
  • Week 2: Coalition Building, Court Rulings and Legislation
  • Week 3: Self-Care: Fil Ams and Mental Health (Santa Clara County ECCAC)
  • Week 4: Indak: Philippine Cultural Dance & Music (Kawayan Folk Arts)
  • Week 5: Pre- & Post- Colonial Philippines & Kasambahay Culture
  • Week 6: Here & Queer: LGBTQIA+ Allyship in Pilipinx Communities
  • Week 7: Where We At? Pin@ys in Civic & Policy Leadership
  • Week 8: 2nd Annual Summer Reception (Graduation Event)

During Awareness in Action, our team worked collaboratively with our local partners and also hosted a series of 3 Community Exposure Tours. These Tours were intentionally framed from the Filipin@ perspective and experience and covered various aspects of our struggle and success as a community. This summer, we took our students, members and families on the following Exposure Tours:

SF SoMa Pilipinas – July 29, 2017


One of our favorites – the South of Market (SoMa) Pilipinas Cultural District Tour was one of the first Filipin@ ethno-exposure tours to be offered to our community. Curated and created by Kuya MC Canlas, the SoMa Pilipinas Tour has been coordinated and offered to the public since the late-1980s. A point of entry for many newly-immigrated Filipin@ families throughout the greater part of the 1930s-1960s, the SoMa was home to a large Irish community that opened their arms and welcomed Filipin@s. From notable sites and landmarks such as the “Lipi ni Lapu Lapu” (Descendants of Lapu Lapu) mural, Bessie Carmichael Elementary, Victoria Manalo Draves Park and Mint Mall – to name a few – our group had a full day.  Shout out to Sandy Panopio, with the Bayanihan Community Center and Tony Robles, with the I-Hotel, for taking our families and students on an in-depth and interactive learning Tour of SoMa Pilipinas.

Watsonville Exposure Tour with FANHS Santa Clara Valley – August 12, 2017


A mere ~40 miles south of San Jose, Watsonville rests as an agricultural town and possesses a history unique to the Filipin@ American community. This past summer, LEAD Filipino teamed up with FANHS Santa Clara Valley and co-hosted a transformative and interactive afternoon Exposure Tour with the seniors of the Watsonville Filipino Community Center. Our attendees learned about the “1930 Watsonville Riots” that targeted – and killed – young Filipino bachelors that immigrated to the States for farm labor jobs. The public sentiments surrounding the presence of our young Manongs was akin to the xenophobic headlines and remarks we hear all too often today: “Those Filipinos are stealing our women and taking our jobs!” 

As community educators and advocates, we must work to ensure and fight against history repeating itself. Stay woke and pay attention to what’s happening today, folks.

Filipino Mental Health Initiative (FMHI) San Francisco – August 26, 2017


Our final Exposure Tour was graciously hosted by the staff of the Filipino Mental Health Initiative (FMHI) of San Francisco. Founded in 2012, the FMHI-SF was established by a coalition of mental health and wellness providers in San Francisco that cared for serving the needs of the Filipin@ American community. In discussions around mental wellness and self-preservation, the students and families learned methods to self-care and recognizing how to support those who may need valuable resources and services.

Filipino Communities Project

The Filipino Communities Project was interwoven throughout Awareness in Action to introduce and expose our students to various historic dates of significance, Filipin@ bayani and landmarks. Students were expected to author and post short passages with accompanying pictures on LEAD Filipino’s Instagram page. To check out the entries from our students’ Filipino Communities Project, click here to be redirected to our organization’s IG page.

API Caucus’ Scholar Award Winners


A resounding congratulations to our three API Caucus “Scholar Award” winners: Marissa Martinez, Eleaine Reyes and Karen Manalac (from left to right also pictured with El Cerrito Councilman Gabe Quinto and Angelica Cortez, LEAD Filipino).

Through a partnership with the API Caucus, LEAD Filipino was fortunate to be able to present $250 scholarships to three of our Awareness in Action Program (AAP) participants for their demonstrated civic leadership and commitment to uplifting Filipin@ communities.

Congratulations again!

Congratulations to our 2nd Cohort of AAP graduates:

  • Carlos Lopez
  • Chris Pascua
  • Daisy Ann Maxion
  • Dom Guevara
  • Eleaine Reyes
  • Hamilcar Cabusi
  • Janelle Gayac
  • Karen Manalac
  • Katelyn Cortez
  • Kat Garcia
  • Mario Hidalgo
  • Marissa Martinez
  • Melody Quezon
  • Rich Delan

We’re going to miss our Monday nights with folks, especially our impromptu dance parties consisting of hyphy get downs and salsa moves. To our 2nd Cohort, always remember that you have a family and home with LEAD Filipino. Best of luck and stay involved!


LEAD Filipino Team

LEAD Filipino
LEAD Filipino

We are a nonprofit that organizes for FilAm civic participation, grassroots leadership and direct community action out of San Jose, California.

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