Fil Am Heritage Night with the SJ Quakes

Back at it again!

Filipino Heritage Night at the San Jose Earthquakes is back! 

Join the fun and come out and support the San Jose Earthquakes, us, the Filipino American National Historical Society Santa Clara Valley Chapter (FANHS-SCV), Filipino Youth Coalition (FYC), and the Bay Area’s Fil Am Community! 

Early Bird ticket prices start at $28, which includes a commemorative Filipino American Quakes Flag and access to participate in one of our on-field experiences during the national anthem! A portion of the ticket sales will benefit the organizations involved, to support their local programs catering to the South Bay Fil Am community. 

For any questions please contact Rohan Dorairaj at

To purchase go to:

Fil Am Heritage Day x San Jose Giants

July 22, 2019

We’re thrilled to announce that we’ll be co-hosting the first Fil Am Heritage Day with the San Jose Giants on Sunday, September 1st from 12pm-4pm!

In a newly minted partnership with the San Jose Giants, LEAD Filipino, the Filipino Youth Coalition (FYC), and PAWIS are teaming up to present the first Fil Am Heritage event with San Jose’s minor league baseball team — the Giants.

Sponsored by San Miguel Beer, with all proceeds directly benefitting the San Jose/South Bay Area’s network of Fil Am education, health, and human services providers, we hope that you will join us for a day of food, fun, and entertainment!

Buy your tickets today:

Seasonal Position! Census Engagement Organizer

July 12, 2019

We’re delighted to share that we have a seasonal Engagement Organizer position open with our small and growing organization!

This position, will run from mid-September through mid-December 2019 and will be instrumental in building LEAD Filipino’s San Jose/South Bay field presence on engaging the Fil Am community in the 2020 Census!

The Engagement Organizer will be the organization’s primary community liaison with student groups and college campuses across the San Jose/South Bay Area region.

Read more about the position here: Engagement Organizer.

We will be accepting applications till August 5th!


LEAD Filipino

2019 Fil Advocacy Day: Community Updates & Wins!

July 8, 2019

For those that have been following our organization’s journey alongside other formidable Fil Am CBOs, nonprofit agencies, small businesses, and student groups this past year, we have produced no shortage of articles and posts on the privilege we had in co-leading this past April’s 2019 Fil Advocacy Day.

With 12 other organizations on Tuesday, April 30th, 2019, we spent the day in California’s Capitol meeting with 25 legislators and staff on the three legislative items:

  • Assembly Bill (AB) 331 which would authorize an Ethnic Studies pilot program in 11 school districts, with the intention of mandating Ethnic Studies as a CA public high school graduation requirement in the 2024-25 academic year.
  • $5M to found a Domestic Workers Outreach & Education Fund for CA’s 300,000 domestic workers that are pushed to the margins daily with respect to much-needed resources, services, and support.
  • Tenant Protections & Anti Rent-Gouging Bills (ABs 1481 and 1482).

During the time (April 30th) that we were in the Capitol, all of our advocacy items were either facing definitive votes in committees, jumping significant political hurdles, or being suspended by other procedural barriers. Our advocacy and presence of ~60 students, seniors, adults, and families made the difference in directly speaking with legislators.

We’re proud to share some critical updates and outcomes from this past year’s 2019 Fil Advocacy Day platform. Since April 30th…

  • The Governor signed into the 2019-20 budget the granting of $5M to establish a Domestic Workers Outreach and Education fund! See the full press release from the California Domestic Workers’ Coalition (CDWC) here. We couldn’t be happier for such a victory for our community! Thank you to Megan and the CDWC team for helping educate our network on the urgency of forming a fund for our workers!
  • A $1 million budget request was made by Assemblyman Rob Bonta to support the Carlos Bulosan Center for Filipino Studies at UC Davis! Thank you to Assemblyman Rob Bonta for your support.
  • AB 331 passed out of the Assembly and Senate Education Committee. The bill currently awaits its second hearing date in the Senate’s Fiscal Committee, which is another substantial hurdle to clear.
  • AB 1481 (merged with 1482) cleared the Assembly and is currently awaiting its hearing date in the Senate’s Judiciary Committee. More updates to come. Thank you to Christian Ollano with PICO CA for providing our network with valuable legislative updates.

We truly could not have done this work, nor made this statement, without our 2019 Fil Advocacy Day partners — and for all of you being so down for this work, we thank you.

July 12th is a critical deadline for ABs 331 and 1482, as the Legislature has till July 12th to hear and report bills during this legislative session.

We will share updates as they come.


LEAD Filipino

Ethnic Studies IS Civic Engagement

June 28, 2019

Summer has officially begun for our small – and mighty – vessel!

We know this because the start of our summer Awareness in Action Program (AAP) happened this past week and we’re still reeling from meeting our participants, witnessing the successful first classes of both sites, and lastly, seeing our program grow to now be offered in Union City.

Our summer Awareness in Action Program (AAP) is an eight-week community-based course that combines Filipino Studies and Civic Engagement through weekly sessions, assigned projects, and immersion tours focused on our unique Fil history in California. Through discourse and dialogue, AAP touches upon issues of Fil Identity, Psychology, Generational Dynamics, and our shared Political History [and Future] – from the perspectives of our immigration stories, workplace/career, and community activism.

The program opened this past week with framing our next two months together with the openness to learn about ourselves, our families, and with this knowledge – answering for how we can continue to serve the public good, both responsibly and ethically.

With our AAP in San Jose meeting on Monday evenings and our AAP East Bay Cohort meeting on Thursdays, our organization is sure to have a full summer with weekly classes and community exposure tours in-between.

AAP fuses an Ethnic Studies pedagogy with actionable steps for our participants to engage, talk-through, and invoke an increased Fil Am presence in local civic issues, public service, and public policy change!


Angelica “Gel” Cortez
LEAD Filipino

AB 331 Clears CA State Senate Education Committee!

We’re delighted to share that yesterday – June 26, 2019 – Assembly Bill 331 passed with a 4-0 vote out of the California State Senate Education Committee!

This means that AB 331 continues through our state’s legislative process in its journey to hopefully becoming California state law.

The next hurdle for AB 331 will be the State Senate’s Fiscal (Appropriations) Committee. Legislative bills that have a dollar amount tied to them, in which case AB 331 is estimated to cost ~4 million to implement, all need to clear the Fiscal Committee.

Our organization will continue to engage with our partners and statewide networks to bring updates to our members, students, and families. We thank everyone for the ardent support and enthusiasm being brought to our shared advocacy efforts.

Should AB 331 pass, California will be leading the way in ensuring that our diverse state of 40 million equally celebrates and recognizes the historic contributions of minority communities that built and shaped our shared culture, society, and successes.

About AB 331: Authored by Assemblyman Jose Medina, a lifelong educator and former Ethnic Studies teacher in K-12 education, AB 331 would mandate Ethnic Studies as a California public high school graduation requirement in the 2024-25 academic year. Students could fulfill this requirement via Social Studies, English, and Art classes, where shared learning on the histories of multicultural and multiethnic communities would be celebrated and understood.

Register for our 2019 AAP!

Register here:

Since 2016, we’ve been rockin’ with y’all to bring the South Bay community an eight week Filipino Studies and Civic Engagement course.

From topics on Fil Am Identity, Psychology, to our Waves of Immigration, and today’s Political context, AAP is where you’ll find our group this summer – in both San Jose AND Union City.

The program is curated, created, and led by organizers that have studied and practiced in the fields of Education, Sociology, Asian American Studies, Psychology, Political Science, Public Health, and much more.

Shadow Day with Cisco’s FPN

Last Friday, May 31st, the members of Cisco Systems’ Filipino Professionals Network (FPN) hosted ~15 of our student organizers and leaders in a day of roundtable conversation on professional development, personal journeys, and the importance of community participation in choosing one’s own profession.

The day began with brief introductions between our students and the FPN members. It was clear from the beginning that San Jose State University was in the house! (2/3 of our group are/were Spartans and 1/3 of the FPN members were alums).

Shortly after, we were joined by Fly Pinay Lorissa Horton, Cisco’s Vice President and General Manager of their WebEx Team Collaboration. She called into our session from Europe — how fortunate we were! In her role, Lorissa oversees ~700 employees across the globe. Tying in elements of her personal and educational background, growing up in Washington State, Lorissa shared how mentor influences exposed her to opportunities that personally interested her, and by virtue, nourished her professional ambitions.

Lorissa shared several substantive and inspiring remarks for our group. Among the most salient for our group — that she purposely hires individuals to her team that have studied disciplines and have worked in fields entirely different from her own to ensure the diversity of thought, opinion, and leadership, across her international team.

After meeting and engaging in a conversation with Lorissa, our group was led by Natal with the Cisco Team, a leading Product Engineer with the company. Natal took our group on a series of interactive mini-tours, where we learned about the hardware and software that Cisco develops that touch our lives in ways unseen, yet wholly felt.

Next, Ron Snyder and his team that lead emergency response — as part of Cisco’s broader Corporate Social Responsibility — volunteer deployment and strategy took our group on a private tour of one of Cisco’s Emergency Network Response Vehicle (NERV). We learned about Cisco’s technological and communication-infrastructure assistance offered abroad in areas that have been struck by natural disasters.

Cisco’s Emergency Network Response Vehicle (NERV)

Following our tour, we were treated to a spectacular lunch and informal roundtable conversation with FPN’s members. The dialogue traversed topics related to college leadership activities, transferring skills obtained in extra-curricular initiatives, and everyone’s respective paths into Cisco (we had Psychology, Communication, and Organizational Development majors sharing their journeys into Cisco).

Our day was concluded in an intimate conversation with a leading HR professional with Cisco. Among her words, she provided insights on Cisco’s hiring process, recruitment methods, and future opportunities for working with Cisco. After a day spent with many, many familiar FPN faces — many of which that have supported LEAD Filipino in a variety of our community programs — we all saw how we could contribute to an ethos, mission, and value system such as Cisco.

After all, they were founded in San Jose AND their logo is based off the Golden Gate Bridge. 🙂

A huge shout out to Jenn Mendoza with Cisco and FPN — from start-to-finish she organized a wonderful day for our Fly Pinays mentees, organizers, and student leaders. Thank you to Jenn and the FPN members!

In Community,

LEAD Filipino

Civic Leadership Forum

On May 3rd, our founder, Angelica “Gel” Cortez, guest spoke at Ding Ding TV’s “Civic Leadership Forum” on the the Issues Impacting Asian Americans Heading into the 2020 General Election. Gel participated alongside other esteemed leaders in the Asian American community, including Cathy Peng, the CEO and Founder of ROCS Global and Soma Chatterjee the Diversity Ambassador with India Currents.

In a 50-minute panel session that was filmed live at Ding Ding TV’s studios in Santa Clara, California, Gel, Cathy, and Soma spoke about issues impacting electoral engagement, voter education, and civic leadership across Asian Americans.

Centering the conversation on the importance of coalition building and creating alliances across Asian/Pacific Islander communities, each panelist shared their perspective on the principles and values of supporting each other in light of the 2020 General Election and Census, which unleashes a series of implications for Asian American communities nationwide.

A huge shout out to Civic Leadership USA for inviting Gel to participate in such a valuable and timely discussion. We look forward to our continued work together!