COVID-19 Response

To our members, organizers, student leaders, and families —

Since the coronavirus shook our world globally, a mere several weeks ago, our organization – while being run through grassroots coordination – has worked tirelessly and sensitively to adjust our programs, postpone events, and prepare for our future together.

As we’re nestled in San Jose, resident in the County of Santa Clara, you can imagine that we’re monitoring and adhering to our local public health directives with bated breath. On Monday, March 16th, 5 Bay Area counties issued “shelter-in-place” orders which has rippled through our educational, public, and private systems. This order will remain in place till April 7th, with the high chances of an extension.

We’re certainly keeping a watchful eye on the minute-by-minute developments, but are well aware that we will continue to make organizational and programmatic decisions the best we can, with the information we have.

Recognizing that local, regional, state, and federal changes are quire dynamic, with ever-evolving protocols and safety measures, we want to remain an open, educational and community-based resource the best that we can, during this time.

At this time, we have postponed the following LEAD Filipino – collaborative and produced events:

  • Postponed: 2020 Annual Fly Pinays Leadership Summit (Announcing new date in April)
  • Postponed: Tech Tour with Cisco’s Filipino Professionals Network (FPN)
  • Postponed: 2020 Statewide Fil Advocacy Day in Sacramento

To coalesce with recent movements to shift programming and events to virtual settings, we’re planning to offer our following programs online:

  • Virtual: Census educational workshops
  • Virtual: Fil Steering Committee policy work groups on Civic Engagement

Please continue to stay vigilant, safe, and well during this time. Shelter-in-place orders aren’t a legal mandate, but please exercise judicious decision-making when choosing to go into stores or settings for your essential services, as limiting community exposure is the only way to suss out the increased transmission and infection rates that are consistently rising.

To ensure that you’re receiving our organization’s invitations on upcoming workshops and virtual sessions, please message us here.

Be well,

LEAD Filipino

2020 Annual Fly Pinays Leadership Summit Postponed

For the past several days, our Fly Pinays Planning Committee has monitored reports from the CDC, our respective County of Santa Clara Public Health Department, and consulted with medical and health professionals within our network. 

As the reported COVID-19 cases increase in Santa Clara County, the “home base” for our Annual Fly Pinays Leadership Summit, we’ve made the difficult decision of postponing Saturday’s Annual Fly Pinays to later this fall.  We will announce the new date later this week. 

This choice was not made lightly.

Yet, the decision was a collective one that supports LEAD Filipino’s priority to act responsibly and safely during a time now labeled as a “pandemic.”

We’re working on identifying a fall date, for the September-October timeframe and will share updates as they come.

To all of our 2020 Annual Fly Pinays supporters, please allow us till Thursday, March 12th to fully process all of the refunds from our Leadership Summit registrations.

Pre-Session with our Fly Pinays

Since 2017, we’ve hosted a “Pre-Session” with our Fly Pinays attendees — an intentionally intimate gathering meant to break the ice and introduce the purpose of our Fly Pinays program.

Earlier this morning, we hosted our 4th Fly Pinays-Pre-Session!

Since 2017, our volunteer-led Fly Pinays Organizing Committee has produced small Pre-Sessions to welcome our Leadership Summit attendees, lead ice breakers, and engage in fun, “getting to know you” activities.

In the weeks to come, we’ll be looking forward to our 2020 Annual “Be The Vision” Fly Pinays Leadership Summit that’ll be held at Mission College on Saturday, March 14th, you surely don’t want to miss our largest event of the year.

Register for our 2020 Annual Fly Pinays today!

2020 Annual Fil Policy Symposium Recap

On February 1, 2020 our organization held the privilege of communing with 21 Fil community-based organizations (CBOs), grassroots groups, nonprofit and student leaders at Cal State University, East Bay in the 2020 Annual Fil Policy Symposium.

The purpose of the Policy Symposium was two-fold: 1. To identify social issues impacting Fil Am communities and 2. Prepare for our Fil Advocacy Day in Sacramento on May 13, 2020!

The day was not only historic and symbolic, but memorable for numerous reasons. With 21 organizations represented, as a force multiplier, the Fil Policy Symposium boasted an attendance of ~150 individuals from across California.

The centering theme for the Fil Policy Symposium was a simple, but complex message: Addressing social issues that impact Fil Am communities across California.

With advocates, educators, and leaders from San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland, Sacramento, to Solano County, and San Jose, the content and the substance of the Fil Policy Symposium focused on the experiences, stories, and opinions of Fil Ams on intractable issues facing Californians today.

The Annual Fil Policy Symposium began with a guided meditation by Drs. Rod Penalosa and Jeannie Celestial and honoring of our ancestors, instilling the message that our powers, capabilities, and knowledge, wouldn’t be so rich without their sacrifices.

Following our guided meditation, the program featured two opening segments. Dr. Robyn Rodriguez, the founding Director of the Bulosan Center for Filipino Studies at UC Davis, provided the keynote remarks on the importance of representing, as a resonant hymn in her words that reverberated through the auditorium was that “Representation doesn’t mean they are representing” in the context of public policy and legislative engagement for the Fil Am community.

Next, Angelica “Gel” Cortez, LEAD Filipino’s founder walked the audience through connecting personal purpose to public policy. She reviewed the core concepts of community organizing and power that continued to undergird the Policy Symposium’s repeated message of addressing social issues together.

Vanessa Carr, an organizer on our Civic Engagement Team and staff member for California Governor Gavin Newsom’s team provided an update on the Sacramento Budget Process and how that influences our legislative advocacy.

To continue providing a learning and educational space for our audience of students, educators, and advocates (yes, for you advocates that attended, we know that some of the content was all too familiar to you and we thank you for being charitable with us!) the Symposium’s featured short TED-style talks by Fil Am leaders that currently engage in local and regional policy advocacy work. Dillon Delvo, the Executive Director of Little Manila Rising were among our presenters.

Fil Policy Symposium attendees were able to self-select and attend two different breakout sessions that addressed social issues that our statewide Steering Committee identified as critically important to our community:

  • Housing Justice
  • Immigrant and Workers’ Rights
  • Civic Engagement and 2020 Census Education
  • Mental Health and Wellness
  • Ethnic Studies
Tracie Noriega, President of the Filipino American Educators Association of California (FAEAC) leads the breakout session on Ethnic Studies.
Dillon Delvo, ED of Little Manila Rising, Katie Mendoza, Alan Gouig and Vanessa Carr of LEAD Filipino, and Leo Asican of the Bulosan Center co-lead the Civic Engagement and Census breakout session.
DJ Kuttin’ Kandi of the San Diego based Asian Solidarity Collective led the Housing Justice breakout session.
Bossin Up on Advocacy Panel, moderated by Kevin Suarez with LEAD Filipino and panelists: Tracie Noriega, FAEAC; Jed Davis, CHLA; DJ Kuttin’ Kandi, ASC; and Alex Magsano with Migrante Napa County.

The 2020 Annual Fil Policy Symposium is only the beginning of our group’s year-round efforts as a leading partner in the state’s Steering Committee. We were delighted to meet several of you at the Policy Symposium and can only hope to continue working alongside you and your organizations as we engage and prepare for our 2020 Annual Fil Advocacy Day in Sacramento on May 13, 2020.

Maraming salamat to everyone that attended. We look forward to seeing all of you on May 13, 2020 at our State Capitol in Sacramento!

LEAD Filipino

Announcing our 2020 Fly Pinays Awards!

Leadership, Education, Activism, and Dialogue (LEAD) Filipino needs help finding our “2020 Fly Pinay of the Year” that models our organization’s core values of civic engagement and leadership across Fil Am communities.

LEAD Filipino’s Annual Fly Pinays was established in 2017. Nestled in the South Bay Area, and held every March during Women’s Herstory Month, the Annual Fly Pinays Leadership Summit gathers ~200 Filipina women and college students in shared experiences related to sisterhood and mentorship. Featuring women leaders from across all sectors and industries and students from nearly all of the colleges in the region, the Annual Fly Pinays celebrates Pinay stories, achievements, and positivity. LEAD Filipino will be hosting its 4th Annual Fly Pinays Leadership Summit at Mission College on Saturday, March 14th, 2020 and will be introducing our 2020 Annual Fly Pinays Awards!

Help us find our “2020 Fly Pinay of the Year” to be honored at our 2020 Annual Fly Pinays, in front of a crowd of ~200.

We’re currently accepting nominations for candidates that demonstrate the following criteria:

  • Leads civic movement(s) in her community or field.
  • Educates and inspires others in her community or field.
  • Activates Fil Am culture and traditions in her craft, designs, or work.
  • Designs spaces that facilitate meaningful dialogue for community members.
  • Practices the acts of sisterhood and mentorship.
  • Builds the capacity of those they serve, thereby strengthening the future of Fil Am community leadership.

Nominations will be open till February 1, 2020.

Maraming salamat for helping us find our 2020 Fly Pinay of the Year!

Seeing in 2020 Roadshow

Did you know that every country administers a Census count? Albeit on different frequencies, the reality is that every national government works to understand and gain a pulse of their people. The U.S. is surely, no different.

On April 1, 2020, the U.S. will disembark on conducting its decennial count. Colloquially known as the “2020 Census”, our approach on socializing the Census into our community has been to distill the need-to-know details, including how the Census will affect each of us.

From the context of a Fil Am, to the perspective of a college student, a young family, aging seniors, to the community services that undergird our neighborhood’s functioning, the 2020 Census has serious implications for our American society.

Our “Seeing in 2020” roadshow has aimed — and will continue to aim — to bring the realness of the Census to the hands of Fil Am collegiate organizations, grassroots groups, and professional associations that are interested in learning the basics of this powerful, authoritative tool, known as the 2020 Census.

So far we’ve engaged the Fil Am student organizations at:

  • California State University, East Bay
  • De Anza College
  • San Francisco State University
  • San Jose State University
  • Santa Clara University
  • Stanford University

Shout outs to our Census field organizers, Katie Mendoza and Alan Gouig, who have led workshops at the colleges and universities listed above — and who will continue to strengthen and re-envision our Census education work in the coming months.


LEAD Filipino

Fly Pinays Committee Retreat

Last month, we hosted our Annual Fly Pinays Committee Retreat, which has become a welcome tradition for the talented and bright volunteers that put their shoulders to the wheel to make our Annual Fly Pinays a booming event!

Our 2020 Annual Fly Pinays Program Director, Marissa, led the group in a half-day of brainstorming, questionstorming, and planning around outreaching for our Fly Pinays format, substance, and content.

We’re delighted to welcome 12 new leaders to our Fly Pinays Planning Committee for our upcoming 2020 Annual Fly Pinays, which marks the 4th year that our organization has curated an event reflective of Pinay experiences across all sectors.

Check us out, here we are holding our Passion Planners!

In Community,

LEAD Filipino

Census Activation with Kappa Psi Epsilon!

Last night marked the beginning of our Fall 2019 Census Outreach and Engagement campaign with Fil community-based and student organizations — woohoo, sound off!

Katie Mendoza, an organizer on our Civic Engagement Team (also a graduate student in SFSU’s MPA program and a staff of Filipino Advocates for Justice), led our first Census Activation with Kappa Psi Epsilon at SFSU last night. Katie’s workshop included contextual information on California’s Bay Area Fil Community, the importance of the Census, and a technical timeline of the Census’ deployment in April 2020.

LEAD Filipino’s Census Education & Outreach Campaign:

From October through January, our Civic Engagement Team will be hitting the field and leading curated Census Activations/Workshops within our neighborhoods and communities on the Filipin@ community’s relationship to the 2020 Census (which begins on April 1, 2020).

Did you know that the Census is like a high school reunion? It’s completely abstract, happens every 10 years…and people only think about it, when it’s right around the corner — EXCEPT that the Census has deep implications for social service financial resource allocation to cities, counties, and states; the Census determines district boundaries for congressional seats; and the Census tells us how many people live in the U.S. and where — with specific details on race, ethnicity, age, and socioeconomic status.

With 1.5 million Filipin@s in California, our community — alike others — has a big stake in the outcome of the Census, particularly with ensuring that our community is counted.

The 2020 Census will be the first in its 230-year, 22 times implemented, history that it’ll be completely paperless. Because of this, the state of California has identified 7 unique categories of “hard to count communities” and Filipin@s hit 3 of these 7 categories. The hard to count categories are:

  • Homeless community members
  • Seniors and aging adults
  • Multi-generation households (includes college dormitories, apartments, and condominiums)
  • Undocumented community members
  • Low socioeconomic status community members
  • Young children (mainly under 5 y/o)
  • Non-english speaking community members*

The 2020 Census questionnaire will be offered in 12 non-English languages: Arabic, Chinese, French, Haitian, Creole, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog, and Vietnamese.*

In the coming months we’ll be leading Census workshops with:

  • De Anza College (Nov 2019)
  • California State University East Bay (Nov 2019)
  • Stanford University (Nov 2019)
  • Santa Clara University (Nov 2019)
  • San Francisco State University (happened Oct. 28, 2019)

For more information on our Census work, please contact Angelica Cortez at

FAHM x Career Day x FGN

On Friday, October 4th, through the leadership and efforts of Alex Bautista, on our Board of Directors, one of our lead interns Shivangi Sharma, and the members of the Filipino Googler Network (FGN), we co-hosted ~25 college students and recent graduates in a Career Day.

With special shout outs to Shivangi, who interned with our organization this past summer-fall, we were able to host students from Mission College, De Anza College, St. Mary’s College, and San Jose State University. Another huge thanks to Alex for her gracious support and belief in our community work.

Oriented around Fil Am History Month (FAHM), our Career Day featured Filipin@ “Googlers” (i.e., professionals that work at Google) that volunteered their time to provide one-on-one career guidance and engage in small group discussions. Such topics that were covered included pivoting and re-inventing one’s career, college majors/minors not aligning with future professions, and deviating from parental expectations on career choices.

Our day ended with a cherry on top: with a kamayan style FEAST and karaoke.

Maraming salamat to FGN — we look forward to continuing to build in community with all of you!