Our History



Salamat sa iyong oras.  We appreciate your time, thank you for visiting our website. We are Leadership.  Education.  Activism.  & Dialogue [Filipino].  Or simply, LEAD Filipino.  Our community work is dedicated to creating spaces that show what it means to “Lead Filipino” through action, information, and grace.  We focus our programs on developing the social and cultural lenses of Filipinas/xs/os while addressing how we can be change agents from within.  Bound by the charge of growing Filipina/x/o leadership, our small and mighty vessel is run by a group of committed volunteers.  Our programs and core services are based in San Jose, California, but we’re pleased to share that members in Los Angeles and Portland continue to remain engaged and active leaders within our organization.

To give context on LEAD Filipino’s beginnings and mission, I’d like to share a bit about what influenced me to form this budding organization.

In late-2015, I asked close friends and colleagues to consider joining LEAD Filipino’s Organizing and Advisory Teams.

In each individual meeting, I asked how they envisioned building a continuum of cultural pride, personal success, and civic representation for Filipinas/xs/os in our community.  As the largest Asian subgroup in California, and the second largest — and growing — Asian subgroup in the United States, I was driven to challenge the perception that Filipinas/xs/os are marked as “passive” and “unseen” across professional sectors and key decision-making tables.  For these reasons, we have set out to disprove our historic and current naysayers.  With histories stretching back to 1587, at the landing of Morro Rock, Filipinas/xs/os have deep roots in America’s rich tapestry.  We are among some of America’s first innovators, inventors, and entrepreneurs.  We have faced ridicule, subversion, and violence.  We have also laid our footprints in the sprawling fields of the West.  We represent some of the first waves of the Asian diasporic experience in America and continue to leave indelible marks in our shared history.

LEAD Filipino wants to create change.  In doing so, we are thoughtfully bringing programs and services that reflect our experiences, narratives, and triumphs, while also turning our focus on future movement, action-based research, and strategic coalitions.  Through our work, we strive to incite individuals in their localities to take a stand and get involved in larger causes.  We focus on developing the social awareness, civic engagement, and local exposure of Filipinas/xs/os in San Jose and beyond (thanks to today’s tech tools).

We each hold our own destiny.  We define our own paths.  As leaders, we take this journey, we strive to support and equip Filipinas/xs/os with a stronger sense of cultural pride, greater awareness in how our community can interact with public policy change, a deeper understanding of the history of our diaspora in the United States. We base all of our programs in the three centering Ethnic Studies questions, promulgated by the late Dr. Dawn Mabalon: Who are you? What’s your family’s story? What positive social change can you make?

We are grateful for your support and belief in LEAD Filipino.

Lubos na gumagalang (Respectfully yours),

Angelica “Gel” Cortez, MPA