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: