On September 30, 2021 Governor Newsom signed AB 490, The Justice for Angelo Quinto Act of 2021 into California State Law bringing a seven-and-a-half month long journey to a close – accompanied by a collective sigh of relief.
While we will never accept the loss of loved ones and family members at the hands of law enforcement officers, the importance of supporting families through these processes of grief, mourning, resilience, and connecting with other families that have endured pain and suffering becomes invaluable. During these moments of reprieve and successes – at least in the context of legislative achievements – we reflect on the events that led us here. Angelo should rightfully and righteously still be with us, but he isn’t. In our attempts to reconcile our pain – his family’s suffering – with some manifestation of restitution or justice, AB 490’s signage into law is symbolically and materially important to communities that have fought for police reform for decades.
In late-February 2021, Assemblymember Mike Gipson approached Angelo’s family and the Justice for Angelo Quinto! Justice for All! Coalition through which L.E.A.D Filipino led the public policy working group, to ask for support in naming his bill “The Justice for Angelo Quinto Act of 2021”, which would later become AB 490. It’s important to note that Assemblymember Gipson tried to pass a similar bill last summer, at the height of the country’s racial reckoning, but it was ultimately unsuccessful in gathering the necessary votes to reach Governor Newsom’s desk.
Between February-September 2021, L.E.A.D Filipino’s civic engagement team of organizers in both San Jose and Los Angeles, led the advocacy strategy and plan within the statewide Justice for Angelo Quinto! Justice for All! Coalition and in partnership with the FIERCE Coalition.
These activities involved constant oversight of the State Legislative calendar and following AB 490 through the annals of every amendment, committee record, and daily file. In these efforts, we organized with the Justice for Angelo Quinto! Justice for All! Coalition to coordinate letter writing campaigns, testimonies at Assembly and Senate Committee hearings, and directly contact legislators that would be voting upon AB 490 in committee.
We would soon grow to affectionately call AB 490 “Angelo’s bill.” During periods of intensity throughout the summer, there were times that we believed Angelo’s bill wouldn’t advance out of critical committees due to deadlines or politics. Each time we persisted and gave it our collective might: we would send tranches of letters, ask Coalition members to make calls to legislative offices on their lunch, and post and re-share information on our social media sites.
To everyone that made a call, signed a petition or letter, maraming salamat sa lahat – thank you so much for your time and heart. We did this together, for Angelo and everyone that we’ve lost to police violence.
Read more about L.E.A.D Filipino’s involvement in passing AB 490, The Justice for Angelo Quinto Act: