FIERCE Coalition Advocates for AB 490, The Justice for Angelo Quinto Act & SB 2, To Increase Police Accountability, and To Save Philippines Studies at CCSF
Last Wednesday, 4/28 the statewide partners of the Filipinx Igniting Engagement for Reimagining Collective Empowerment (FIERCE) Coalition and family of Angelo Quinto met with the legislators and staff of 10 offices to advocate for increased police accountability and to save the Philippines Studies Department at the City College of San Francisco (CCSF).
Calling in from all parts of California, our FIERCE Advocacy Day of Action included students, families, educators and nonprofit leaders that represent some of the largest FilAm and Pilipina/x/o nonprofits in the state, including Search to Involve Pilipino Americans (SIPA) in Los Angeles, Asian Pacific Islander Community Actions (APICA) in San Diego, Little Manila Rising in Stockton, Pin@y Educational Partnerships out of San Francisco, Philippine National Day Association and the Bulosan Center out of Yolo/Sacramento, the Filipino American Educators Association of California (FAEAC) and many more.
Expressed through opinion polls, surveys, our Statewide Policy Symposium held on March 7 and robust partnerships across California, we also mobilized around the importance of Ethnic Studies in public education while highlighting the urgency to Save Philippines Studies at CCSF.
We advocated for AB 490, The Justice for Angelo Quinto Act
Together, we amplified the voices of our students, members and families that watched local and national headlines surrounding the tragedy and unjust death of Angelo Quinto at the hands of Antioch Police Officers and demanded to see radical changes done to our law enforcement and justice systems for victims of police violence.
During our virtual FIERCE Advocacy Day, we met with Assemblymember Mike Gipson, the author of AB 490, The Justice for Angelo Quinto Act. Assemblymember Gipson also championed legislation last year to ban carotid holds in the state, see: AB 1196.
AB 490 seeks to ban positional asphyxia in all police departments and law enforcement agencies in California, with specific intention to eliminate knee-to-neck restraints which is the same restraint that claimed Angelo and George Floyd’s lives.
Current California law allows local police departments to adopt their own use of force policies.
The FIERCE Coalition Demand: For the immediate passage of AB 490, The Justice for Angelo Quinto Act, to ensure that no other innocent lives are lost due to lethal force.
We advocated for SB 2, To Increase Police Accountability
The FIERCE Coalition partners identified SB 2, authored by Senator Steven Bradford as another priority bill for our 2021 legislative agenda.
SB 2 seeks to amend California’s Tom Bane Civil Rights Act, the state’s counterpart to the Federal Civil Rights Act. The Bane Civil Rights Act forbids people from interfering with a person’s constitutional rights by force or threat of violence.
Under the Tom Bane Civil Rights Act, police officers that respond to emergency calls and incidents are protected under qualified immunity. This means that should a member of the public feel that an officer violated their civil rights during an interaction, there are no options for them to pursue civil justice because officers are protected under qualified immunity.
SB establishes a process for members of the public to pursue civil justice in instances of police misconduct. Misconduct includes: sexual harassment, racial discrimination, threats or coercion, evidence tampering and/or excessive or lethal force.
SB would establish a statewide process and Peace Officer Standards Oversight Committee to conduct inquiries on claims of police misconduct. The Oversight Committee would consist of members of the public and officers with powers to revoke officer certifications.
California is currently one of four states that does not have a public process to inquire or investigate on incidents of officer misconduct (the other 3 states are New Jersey, Hawaii, and Rhode Island).
Our FIERCE Coalition Demand: For the immediate passage of SB 2 to increase Police Accountability Standards in California.
Saving Philippines Studies at CCSF
The Philippine Studies Department is one of the two oldest Ethnic Studies departments at the City College of San Francisco.
It was established alongside African American Studies in 1970 and is the only department of its kind in the United States. The department currently has one full-time tenured faculty and two part-time faculty. 2020-2021 is the 50th anniversary of the department. We are in the final process of approvals to offer an Associates Degree in Philippines Studies and anticipate offering the degree in Spring 2022.
Due to the ongoing budgetary issues at CCSF, Dr. Lily Ann B. Villaraza, along with 162 of her full-time tenured or tenure track colleagues and 34 administrators, were sent a pink slip in early March. This is in addition to the hundreds of part-time faculty that will not receive course assignments in the fall.
Dr. Villaraza’s leadership is necessary to steward the new degree as well as the further growth of the department. This work cannot be done by part-time faculty. Despite promises that departments and programs would not be consolidated, the loss of the department’s sole tenured, full time faculty position would destabilize the progress made this year and potentially give justification for reduction down the road.
The FIERCE Coalition Demand: To rescind Dr. Villaraza’s pink slip and maintain funding support for the Department of Philippines Studies at CCSF.
Advocating for Ethnic Studies in CA
Ethnic Studies centers the shared advocacy agenda of our FIERCE Coalition partners.
In these efforts, we are supporting and joining the advocacy of other leading organizations in the state that are calling to keep the integrity of Ethnic Studies intact while prioritizing students and educators in all spheres of our public education system – K-12, Community Colleges, and CSUs – in the process.
Our Next Steps
AB 490, The Justice for Angelo Quinto Act and SB 2, Police Certification have until May 10th to be removed from the Suspense files of both Assembly and Senate Appropriations Committees and advanced through our state’s legislative process.
It is imperative that the Chairs of both Senate and Assembly Appropriations hear from you:
- Advocate for AB 490, The Justice for Angelo Quinto Act: Send a letter to Assembly Appropriations Committee Chair Lorena Gonzalez: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Advocate for SB 2 to increase Police Accountability: Send position letter to Chair of Senate Appropriations Committee Anthony Portantino: email@example.com
- Support Saving Philippines Studies at CCSF: Send letter to:
Thank You to the 2021 FIERCE Coalition Advocacy Day Partners
- Asian Pacific Islander Community Actions (APICA)
- Asian Solidarity Collective (ASC)
- Bayanihan Desert
- Bulosan Center for Filipino Studies
- Filipino American Educators Association of California (FAEAC)
- Filipino Advocates for Justice (FAJ)
- Filipino Mental Health Initiative-SF (FMHI-SF)
- Justice for Angelo Quinto! Justice for All! Coalition
- LEAD Filipino
- Little Manila Rising
- Pilipino American Los Angeles Democrats (PALAD)
- Pin@y Educational Partnerships (PEP)
- Philippine Studies at Community College of SF
- Philippine National Day Association (PNDA)
- Search to Involve Pilipino Americans (SIPA)
- UCLA Pilipino Alumni Association
- We Are Philippines Studies Campaign