AB 490 Awaits Governor Newsom’s Signature

Sept 13, 2021 | Governor Newsom has 30 days to sign AB 490 into California State Law

After nearly 8 months of consistent and enduring advocacy efforts our statewide community of FilAm organizers, advocates, educators, students and families breathed a collective sigh of relief.

Our relief is not rooted in finality, but an acknowledgement that we have reached a point in our state’s legislative process that not many do.

Getting AB 490 to the Governor’s desk is consequential to our shared efforts but more so, paramount to the larger fight for real and accountable police reform in a politically-splintering California. Governor Newsom has 30 days to sign Angelo’s bill.

Since February, we’ve coordinated direct advocacy efforts across our local, regional, and state networks to push AB 490, The Justice for Angelo Quinto Act of 2021 through California’s politically fraught legislative process. We uplifted this critical work in the name of seeking Justice for Angelo and all that we have lost to police violence – we did this work directly with Angelo’s family: Tita Cassandra, Tito Robert, Sister Bella, Brother Andre, Auntie Dianna, and the many individuals that have become our family throughout the past year.

These activities at times required immediate letter submissions, speaking with legislative staff, mid-day committee hearings and waiting in phone queues of hundreds of Californians, Justice for Angelo Quinto! Justice for All! Coalition meetings until the wee hours, rapid text messaging planning with the FIERCE Coalition, and more efforts that made all the difference along the way.

We learned critical lessons throughout this legislative cycle. When we needed partners to step up and help retool our strategy, they showed up and applied local pressure, made direct contact, and one-on-one phone calls to legislators and their staff. These various touch points and a coordinated approach to our statewide advocacy platform required all of our voices and it truly shaped the impact of getting AB 490 to the Governor’s desk. Here is a recap of important legislative actions that we were a part of throughout the 2021 legislative session:

TIMELINE OF COMMUNITY & LEGISLATIVE ACTIONS

February 2021: We sign onto the letter of 130+ FilAm organizations and nonprofit partners in denouncing the Antioch Police Department; the Justice for Angelo Quinto! Justice for All! Coalition is formed and establishes its membership.

March 2021: Angelo’s Birthday Memorial is held in Antioch, California; the virtual Filipinx Policy Symposium is held with guest speakers Attorney General Rob Bonta, Assemblymember Alex Lee, and many statewide community leaders to address Police Accountability and specifically call for the support of AB 490, The Justice for Angelo Quinto Act; AB 988, The Miles Hall Lifeline Act; and SB 2, Police Decertification.

April 2021: We produce the Filipinx Advocacy Day and bring a statewide assembly of 30 FilAm organizations to meet directly with state legislators to advocate for AB 490, SB 2, AB 988 and Ethnic Studies. Read about our policy platform and Advocacy Day here.

May 2021: We follow AB 490 through the Assembly Public Safety Committee and organize testimonies.

June 2021: We coordinate phone calls to the Assembly Appropriations Committee Members and send direct letters to the Chair to remove AB 490 from the Appropriations Suspense file; we gather 40+ speakers to testify during the Assembly Appropriations Committee to speak in support of Angelo’s bill.

The community supports the family’s End the Cover Up event at Antioch Police Department, marking six months without knowing Angelo’s official cause of death.

July 2021: We gather 100+ signatures in support of AB 490 as it enters the Senate and is first heard in the Senate Public Safety Committee. View the letter here.

August 2021: We organize a Southern California-focused call campaign directed toward Senator Portantino and urging him to advance AB 490 through the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Angelo’s family also announces their action of filing a Federal Civil Rights Lawsuit with counselor John Burris on August 9, 2021.

The Justice for Angelo Quinto! Justice for All! issues a statement denouncing the retirement of Jim Perkinson, the Antioch Police Officer that killed Angelo, statement here.

September 2021: On September 13th, AB 490, The Justice for Angelo Quinto Act is enrolled for Governor Newsom’s signature or veto.


We write this short piece to give credence and love to the grassroots partners and organizations that pushed Angelo’s bill through the legislative process.

Policy advocacy isn’t for the faint of heart and one that that resounded through our work was ensuring that Angelo’s family knew that they weren’t alone in their horrific tragedy, and that a community across California stood for – and with – them.

Thank you to everyone that we’ve had the privilege to work with throughout this legislative session. We’re learning each day and couldn’t find better kasamas to build and break barriers with!

Sulong!

LEAD Filipino

Libroration Book Club

When a few folks gather together to share knowledge, exchange ideas, hear opinions, heal, and create space an activation known as “The [Libro]ration Book Club” is born.

We’re so delighted to announce that through our 2021 AAP Cohort, we will be hosting virtual book discussions the 3rd Wednesday of each month from 6-8PM (PST) centered around books through The Libroration Book Club.

Broad themes that will be covered through facilitated sessions include, but are not limited to: FilAms in the diaspora, identity, confidence and self-esteem, socioeconomics, politics, culture, art and society.

2021 LIBRORATION BOOK CLUB DATES:

Wednesday, October 20th, 2021 from 6:00-8:00PM (PST)

Wednesday, November 17th, 2021 from 6:00-8:00PM (PST)

Wednesday, December 15th, 2021 from 6:00-8:00PM (PST)

SIGN UP FOR LIBRORATION BOOK CLUB HERE:


Congratulations to our 2021 AAP Cohort!

Congratulations to our 2021 AAP Cohort!

On Wednesday, September 1st, we celebrated the completion of our 2021 Awareness in Action Program (AAP) Cohort with our participants from across the Bay Area region, state, and country!

This past summer’s 2021 AAP brought a depth and level of closeness and openness that we haven’t otherwise experienced – and it’s something that we revere and honor. Together, our 2021 AAP shared personal stories and experiences around mental health, generational nuances within their families, and many even discovered aspects of their own immigration stories that they hadn’t previously known.

Our virtual Salamat at Paalam [Party] included sounds by DJ Chrstvn and a keynote speech on putting one’s awareness into action delivered by L.E.A.D Filipino Board Member, Meredith Curry.

A staple program in our organization, the Awareness in Action Program (AAP) is an interdisciplinary community-based program that encompasses Filipina/x/o identity, society, history, and culture. In weekly sessions, participants engage in large and small group discussions, hear from guest speakers, and develop a workshop around aspects of the program that speak to them the most.

AAP started in Eastside San Jose, during the summer of 2016 with 5 participants. The next summer we more than tripled our enrollment with 22 participants from local organizations, colleges and universities – where we would meet for weekly classes and organize Ethno-Exposure tours throughout the course of the program. Past AAP Exposure Tours included trips to South of Market (SoMA) Pilipinas, Little Manila in Stockton, Agbayani Village in Delano, and Historic Filipino Town in Los Angeles.

While COVID-19 threw a curveball at all of us – in more ways than one – we’re reminded that the pandemic also brought many gifts and privileges. Among those privileges is the connection and existence of technology that enabled us to continue our programming online.

In spite of the global shutdown, we launched our first-ever AAP last summer 2020. For the first time, we brought regular programs to statewide and national audiences.

A core principle of our AAP is to incite our participants to continue their civic engagement and public leadership within their localities and communities, whether this is through board or commission service, community organizing, or volunteering for an issue-based or candidate campaign.

We’re excited to stay in contact with our 2021 AAP Cohort and learn about the many feats and achievements that are coming each of their way!

Sulong!

Dr. Cortez to present “Filipinos first, Americans second: Ang Kuwento Ko, Ang Komunidad Ko, At Ang Ating Pamana!” via livestream with De La Salle University’s Filipino Studies Department

About Dr. Cortez’s presentation, “Filipinos first, Americans second: Our Story, Our Community & Our Legacy!”

From Dr. Cortez (to De La Salle University, Department of Filipino Studies):

Thank you so much for the opportunity. On Thursday, 8/26 (Wednesday, 8/25 in the U.S.) I will speak at De La Salle University in the Philippines – via livestream – with their Department of Filipino Studies. This is very special to me. My Grandfather was too a La Sallian!

My lecture is entitled “Filipinos first, Americans second: My Story, Our Community, and Our Legacy!” I will speak on the duality of being a FilAm: being Filipino in America and being American in the Philippines – and the cognitive and emotional dissonance that happens when attempting to reclaim our identity and heritage as Filipinos in the diaspora.

As FilAms we seek connections to our cultural identity through language, food, traditions, and community. We’re enriched by knowledge, activism, and service that advances FilAm wellbeing, protects our rights, and lifts our economic prosperity – but what happens when we visit our homeland? We’re viewed as Americans first, Filipinos second. And in America, we’re conjoined across and within other communities in a shared struggle for liberation, exploited for a profit and imported for our labor, and in America, we’re Filipino.

My piece, we’re Filipinos first, Americans second.

I will share about the hearts and minds of @lead_filipino and the larger San Jose/Santa Clara Valley FilAm community and the dope plans we have for our future. 

L.E.A.D Filipino joins hundreds of other nonprofits to call for the immediate closure of the Reid-Hillview Airport in Eastside San Jose!

Our Founder and Executive Director, Dr. Gel Cortez, submitted this letter to the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors on our organization’s behalf earlier today.

We unequivocally stand with the hundreds of community members, nonprofit agencies, and grassroots organizations in a unified demand to immediately close the Reid-Hillview Airport in Eastside San Jose!

We will join everyone in testifying at tonight’s Board of Supervisors Meeting on the issue.


August 17, 2021

The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors
70 W. Hedding Street
San Jose, CA 95110

RE: Reid-Hillview Airport agenda item 37

On behalf of the members, youth, and families of L.E.A.D Filipino a San Jose-based nonprofit, I write in support of Item 37 on the August 17, 2021 Board of Supervisors agenda that calls for the closure of Reid-Hillview Airport as soon as January 1, 2022. I and many of our members, youth, and families reside in the Eastside of San Jose.

No level of toxic lead emissions belongs in neighborhoods and communities.  The belief that we should continue to make accommodations for the Reid-Hillview Airport at the expense of youth and families – the majority being people of color and minority groups is baffling and misguided.  

During a time of need, most especially in the larger context of addressing integrative community health, racial equity, and the region’s housing shortage, we demand the immediate closure of Reid-Hillview Airport.

There are more than 12,000 children who live within a one-and-a-half mile radius of Reid-Hillview Airport. More than 17,000 residents, just under one-third of the population, living within the same one-and-a-half-mile radius of the airport are from working class communities of color.

The toxic effects of lead have been widely accepted for decades. Lead paint has been banned in the United States since 1978. Leaded gasoline in cars and trucks has been banned since 1996. And yet, in 2021, in the heart of Silicon Valley, thousands of children, most of them from lower income households and communities of color, are exposed to toxic lead fumes from private planes flying out of Reid-Hillview almost every day.

The new report from Dr. Sammy Zahran at Colorado State University and his team that concludes that “under periods of high piston-engine aircraft traffic, children proximate to Reid-Hillview Airport experience an increase in (blood lead levels) on par with the children of Flint (Michigan) during the (Flint Water Crisis)” is both a deep cause for alarm and a call to action for the Board of Supervisors.

This is an environmental justice issue and an equity issue. The airport is surrounded by neighborhoods where almost half of the residents have only a high school diploma or less, and more than three-quarters of them speak a language other than English at home. At Donald J. Meyer Elementary School, which is located immediately adjacent to the end of the airport’s runway, more than 88% of students are considered socioeconomically disadvantaged and qualify for free or reduced-price lunches.

What is even more appalling is that these same neighborhoods on the Eastside of San Jose have borne the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic in our county. The ZIP code that surrounds Reid-Hillview on three sides, 95122, has the highest rate of COVID cases per 100,000 people in Santa Clara County. The total number of cases in that single ZIP Code is 8,267, more than the total in all of Palo Alto, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Mountain View, Cupertino, and Saratoga combined.

We stand with the grassroots groups, civic organizations, nonprofit agencies, and community leaders and urge you to approve Item 37 on tonight’s agenda.


In Community,

Dr. Angelica Cortez
Founder & Executive Director
L.E.A.D Filipino

Angelo Quinto’s Family Files Federal Civil Rights Lawsuit

On Monday, August 9 our organization stood with Angelo’s family, community, and the Justice for Angelo Quinto! Justice for All! Coalition in the announcement of the family’s decision to move forward with filing a Federal Civil Rights Lawsuit against the City of Antioch’s Police Department.

This announcement comes 8 months after Angelo’s horrific death at the hands of Antioch Police Officer Jim Perkinson, who recently retired from the Antioch Police Department after 20 years in the force. Perkinson’s retirement now protects his pension and assets; should any charges be brought against him by the DA or if he is convicted, his pension and assets will be protected.

The members of L.E.A.D Filipino continue to stand with Angelo’s family as they fight through this tragedy.

Listening & Action Sessions

From January-February 2021, Santa Clara County alone received 731 reports of anti-Asian assaults and attacks.

While our organization has now been educated on the legal definitions that distinguish how the law views a “Hate Crime” versus a “Hate Incident”, we denounce any actions that alienate, berate, or inflict harm and pose threats to community members – and in this particular context, our larger Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community.

Back in March, our local policy organizing team hosted several Listening Sessions with FilAm families, seniors, and students. We created a space that welcomed everyone into an emotionally safe environment where our members could speak frankly and openly about their experiences with law enforcement, their opinions on ways to combat hatred, and how to increase awareness – and celebration – of multiculturalism within the Asian American community.

L.E.A.D Filipino was one of the “Bend the Arc” grant recipients awarded from the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office. These grants were awarded to grassroots and nonprofit groups that advance initiatives and programs that address racial equity and justice.

Through the funding of the “Bend the Arc” grant, we will continue the work of our Listening & Action Sessions throughout this summer and fall. By learning about the needs and experiences of the FilAm community, we will communicate all that we hear to local policymakers as we all work toward stopping Asian Hate.

To arrange a Listening Session with our team, please contact Camille@leadfilipino.org