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Ethnic Studies

Ethnic Studies is the heart of LEAD Filipino.

We believe that an informed citizenry drives the might of a functioning democracy.

To educate and inform our membership, LEAD Filipino produces several learning modalities that expose and engage our community in understanding that FilAm history, Black and Brown history, IS American history.

Recognizing that mainstream history books are written from the victor’s perspective, influenced with a Euro-centric bias, LEAD Filipino believes that revolutionary voices not traditionally represented or taught in classrooms, needs to be revised – needs to be reconciled.

Due to this firm belief, LEAD Filipino dedicates its statewide organizing and advocacy work to amplifying the work of local Ethnic Studies educators and nonprofits that teach in classrooms and can bear witness to the healing and transformational powers of Ethnic Studies.

Starting in 2016, we helped coordinate letter writing efforts and roundtables to engage the San Jose community in conversations around AB 2016, which launched the California Department of Education’s formation of an Ethnic Studies model curriculum to be taught as an elective in K-12 California public schools.

In 2018, we worked with the Bulosan Center for Filipino Studies to form the statewide FIERCE Coalition, an assembly of 25+ FilAm nonprofits, community and grassroots organizations, to bring a voice around Ethnic Studies at the state level. Because of this, we were able to bring 60+ students and families to Sacramento in April 2019 and met with Assemblymember Jose Medina, the author of AB 331, an attempt to mandate Ethnic Studies as a high school graduation requirement in California.

April 2019: FIERCE Coalition meets with Assemblymember Jose Medina, AB 331 Author to Mandate Ethnic Studies as a High School Graduation Requirement

We honor the stories of luminaries and visionaries that are often not told or taught, for these stories that are omitted, serve as sources of power and transformation for students and families that see themselves in the American experiences of leaders like Carlos Bulosan, Grace Lee Boggs, Yuri Kochiyama, Malcolm X, Marcus Garvey, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and more figures in our history that are often underrepresented.

Learning about our FilAm history, understanding our community and family contributions, and pursuing ways in which we will facilitate positive social change, motivates our mission and empowers our values of social justice and racial equity.

Rooted deeply in this value system that it is incumbent upon us to own and learn our stories, Ethnic Studies drives our mission and informs our practice.

Our organization’s educational programs and services are founded on the teachings and tenets of Ethnic and Filipinx Studies. In this beliefs, we center our curriculum and related frameworks on three grounding questions of Ethnic Studies, as formulated by the late Pinay scholar and inspiration, Dr. Dawn Mabalon:

  1. Who am I?
  2. What is my family’s story in the United States?
  3. What positive changes can I make in my community?

Read our official organizational support letters for Ethnic Studies: