Happy Black History Month!

Happy Black History Month!

During the month of February, we honor and celebrate both the past and present contributions of our Black community. With this year’s theme being ‘Black Health and Wellness’, we acknowledge the legacy of not only Black scholars and medical practitioners in Western medicine, but also other ways of knowing (e.g., birthworkers, doulas, midwives, naturopaths, herbalists, etc.) throughout the African Diaspora, including activities such as rituals and initiatives that Black communities have done to be well. [ASALH]

Announcing Partnership with Stanford Cancer Institute (SCI) to Embark on a Major Action Study in Santa Clara County

January 26, 2022

We are ecstatic to announce our partnership with Stanford Cancer Institute (SCI) in a major year-long community action study focused on Cancer awareness and prevention with Filipina/x/o communities in Santa Clara County.

In a process that began over a year ago, L.E.A.D Filipino and SCI began discussions at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic and rise in anti-Asian hate sentiment.

Since the global outbreak, L.E.A.D Filipino has worked to serve local Filipinas/xs/os impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic through financial assistance, educational campaigns with Santa Clara County’s Public Health Department, and providing critical socio-emotional support to students, families, and seniors as the country faced sudden twists and turns, and most prominently – a reckoning with race. 

As one of the largest Asian Pacific Islander (API) groups in California at a population of 1.5 million and ~150,000 Filipinas/xs/os in Santa Clara County, not much is known about how Filipina/x/o communities approach Cancer prevention in their daily lives. Preventative measures include diet and lifestyle, exercise and movement, and regular health screenings. 

“Healthcare is a system that touches us all at some point in our lives. The necessity of ensuring our FilAm community accesses and navigates these systems to receive prevention (and intervention) services is one issue. The other is engaging them to understand the power they hold with their own health. Building this confidence means providing information on the various health services and resources available, educating around diet and lifestyle, and emphasizing regular medical screenings,” said Dr. Angelica Cortez, founder and executive director of L.E.A.D Filipino.

A leading champion and advisor for the study, Medical Director of the Stanford Cancer Center South Bay, Dr. Elwyn Cabebe remarked on the partnership, “As a Filipino American medical oncologist and a member of the community advisory board for the Stanford Cancer Institute (SCI), a key SCI mission is to conduct research in our ten-county “catchment area” and disseminate effective risk assessment, prevention and early detection practices to this and other populations in the state of California and beyond.  This pivotal study in partnership with community leader, L.E.A.D Filipino, is the first to look at unmasking the inherent barriers towards quality, life-saving cancer screening and care for the Filipino-American community.  This is one of many ongoing SCI projects looking to set an ambitious path towards ensuring health equity for minority and disadvantaged groups affected by cancer.”

On Cancer and its prevalence in ethnic communities, Dr. Cabebe stated, “It is due to a multitude of factors such as tobacco use, obesity, diet-associated tumors, wealth disparities, and environmental factors as well as others. In addition, effective health care delivery is also challenging in these communities. One study reported that almost half of minorities said it was at least somewhat important for them to be treated by a doctor who understood or shared their culture. But minority cancer survivors were 58% less likely than non-Hispanic white patients to be treated by a doctor who shared or understood their culture.”

Dr. Rachel J. Mesia, Program Director of Community Research and Capacity Building at SCI pointed at the discrepancies between FilAm representation in the healthcare workforce and invisibilization in health research, “This study is designed to bring more visibility to FilAm health by having community members inform about their knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs related to cancer. It is a powerful source of information for designing and implementing effective health interventions relevant for FilAms.”

The study will be driven by SCI and L.E.A.D Filipino’s Health Initiatives Team, led by community organizers and researchers Jennifer Cayanan and Michelle Nelmida. Both emerging leaders in the fields of healthcare. Jennifer shared her reflections on the journey ahead, “I am delighted that LEAD Filipino and Stanford Cancer Institute are partnering to do important and actionable research on the knowledge of Cancer in the FilAm community of Santa Clara County. As a rising professional in my field, I find it important now, more than ever, that we responsibly collect data for our community, by our community.”

In a similar sentiment, Michelle Nelmida remarked that “Through this action study, we will address the health needs of FilAm communities and understand the underlying factors, attitudes, and behaviors that lead to high Cancer risk. As an organization that advocates for advancing civil rights, racial equity, and economic stability for FilAms, we are excited to take on a community-based research approach to address these disparities using a health equity lens.”

Both groups hold strong relationships with local community-based organizations, grassroots organizations, faith-based congregations, and industry associations to begin the field work and electronic survey distribution efforts.

The action and community-based study begins March 1.   

Advisory Committee members include Dr. Elwyn Cabebe, Medical Director of Stanford Cancer Institute; Dr. Jennifer Briscoe of TeleCare and L.E.A.D Filipino’s Board of Directors; Dr. Joan Brown of University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine; and Razelle Buenavista or Asian American Recovery Services-HealthRight 360 and L.E.A.D Filipino’s Board of Directors.


San Jose Sharks’ Filipino Heritage Night

Looking for a belated holiday gifting opportunity?

Join us for the San Jose Sharks’ FilAm Heritage Night on Thursday, January 13th at 7PM vs. the New York Rangers! We’ll be right at the front entrance with the special giveaways and info about our org of course!

You, your friends, and family will have access to discounted seats at our annual Filipino Heritage Night and will also receive a special giveaway item at Section 115 on game night along with seeing local Filipino American singer Brian Dublin, who will be performing our national anthem. There will also be fun activities such as Zamboni rides, video board messages, and post-game photos!

Bring your friends and family and have a great evening with the Sharks! See you there! 😄🏒

Purchase your tickets as low as $35 now at https://fevo.me/filipinoheritagesharks and get a limited edition #FilAm and #SJSharks themed beanie!

[Please note: Tickets prices vary depending on your seating preference.]

2021 Impact Snapshot

2021 brought many gifts to our organization.

From welcoming new members and families, to becoming an official 501(c)(3) nonprofit entity, hosting two back-to-back virtual advocacy events statewide, celebrating the naming of Delano Manongs Park in San Jose, fostering a new partnership with Stanford Health Care and contributing to the passage of AB 490, The Justice for Angelo Quinto Act, our 2021 Community Report attempts to capture the feelings, emotions, and gratitude that we hold to be able to carry this work on with and for all of you.

We look forward to reconnecting in the new year. Maraming salamat sa lahat!

Pan de Sal Bake Fest Success!

Our Pan de Sal Bake Fest, a.k.a #PandeReplay, was an ultimate success!

Many thanks to Chef Kristen Dominguez with The Filipino Kitchen for partnering with us in a special edition workshop focused on all-things-wonderful: Filipino food! Through this holiday partnership, Chef Kristen brought the Filipino culinary arts to our organizers and families.

In a hybrid event, Chef Kristen was able to engage an in-person and virtual audience in preparing, making, and baking a Filipino staple: Pan de Sal. Additionally, she baked extra flavors, Ube and Pandan.

To those that tuned in, we’ll be uploading the recording later this week – so be on the lookout.

FAHM 2021 Recap

A week after the close of Filipino American History Month (FAHM), we sit with deep gratitude and reflection on the past month’s activities, excitement, and unity that we experienced with our community. It is widely known across FilAm community circles – regionally, state- and nation-wide that October is “off limits” for everyone’s social calendars because of the sheer fact that we’re all producing community events and public celebrations for FAHM.

Not to be conflated with “Heritage”, Filipino American History Month purposefully and intentionally calls out the historic triumphs, struggles, and contributions of Filipinas/xs/os in America. With a history spanning over 400+ years, one could easily understand why we have much to celebrate and honor. To be sure, one month is certainly not enough, but we use the time to engage our communities in education, discussions, and information that reminds ourselves of the legacies that our FilAm forebears left to guide us and future generations.

For the first time in recent history, we committed to hosting a month-long series of community events to bring FAHM celebrations to San Jose and surrounding communities. Through a local collaboration known as Filipino American Communities Together San Jose (FACT-SJ) we combined our resources, relationships, and expertise with several key organizations to produce, what we believe will become a mainstay in the City of San Jose’s public FAHM celebration!

We couldn’t have done this work without our key partners in community: Filipino American National Historical Society – Santa Clara Valley, Filipino Youth Coalition, Bayani ng Kabataan Filipino American School of San Jose, Kawayan Folk Arts, Pinoytown SJ Historical Tours, Filipino Community Center, and Akbayan SJSU.

Check out our recap below to read more about our FAHM activities throughout October 2021.


On Saturday, October 23, 2021 we joined FANHS-Santa Clara Valley and our Delano Manongs Park Committee members in hosting a community event focused on raising awareness and funds for the continued artistic development of Delano Manongs Park in Eastside San Jose.

Hosted at Camino Brewery in San Jose, the community event brought nearly 75 guests out in a variety of engaging and learning activities, including a silent auction of local FilAm art and goods, Filipino food, and a showing of the award-winning “Delano Manongs” documentary. We were fortunate to have many community members attend from across the region (and even the country, with community leaders attending from Houston and Queens). A timely community gathering, our event was hosted right before Manong Larry’s Birthday, which is October 25th.

To join our efforts in fundraising and working toward further visual activation and representation at San Jose’s Delano Manongs Park, read more about the Delano Manongs Park Committee here.


On Thursday, October 28, 2021 made possible through a partnership with San Jose Councilmember Magdalena Carrasco and her fabulous team, the FACT-SJ Collaborative hosted a festive, vibrant, and jubilant Flag Raising and Lighting Ceremony at San Jose City Hall. Many hands touched the success of this special community event. We can’t describe the appreciation and reward we felt to see over 100 guests join us for the Flag Raising and Lighting Ceremony at San Jose City Hall.

A special thank you to all of the contributors and speakers that made the Flag Raising & City Hall Lighting Ceremony a complete community success:

  • Philippines Consul General Neil R. Ferrer
  • Vice Consul General Vanessa
  • Vice Consul General Adrian Baca
  • Dr. Melissa Ann Nievera-Lozano, FANHS-SCV
  • Camille Valerio, LEAD Filipino
  • Manong Robert Ragsac, Pinoytown SJ Tours
  • Santa Clara County Poet Laureate Janice Sapigao
  • FAHM Poet Laureate Keana Aguila Labra
  • Anna Versoza, Akbayan SJSU
  • Philippine cultural dances from the Filipino Community Center
  • Barya Kitchen Food Truck
  • Kawayan Folks Arts
  • Ann Reginio, singer of “Lupang Hinirang”, Bayani ng Kabataan Filipino American School of San Jose
  • Ava Mallo, singer of “Star Spangled Banner”, Bayani ng Kabataan Filipino American School of San Jose

A huge thank you to Councilmember Magdalena Carrasco and her team – we couldn’t have pulled off such a beautiful and wondrous event without your partnership. Thank you to Wendy Ho of Supervisor Otto Lee’s Office, Assemblymembers Ash Kalra and Evan Low, and Senator Dave Cortese for the commendations and celebrating Filipino American History Month with our community.


October 26, 2021 | Community Leaders L to R: “Kuya” Ron Muriera, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, Dr. Rowena Tomaneng, Trustee “Tita” Thelma Boac, Dr. Angelica Cortez, and San Jose Councilmember Magdalena Carrasco

Tuesday, October 26, 2021 wasn’t a normal Council Meeting in San Jose – it was a special one! At the start of the Council Meeting, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo and Councilmember Magdalena Carrasco led the rest of the Council in honoring the historic contributions of Filipina/x/o Americans in San Jose and the United States and issued a proclamation to our local FilAm community.

Councilmember Magdalena Carrasco proudly spoke about the shared and strong histories between Chicano and Filipino communities and how the two groups fought for worker’s rights and influenced many of the modern labor laws that modern society benefits from today. Delano Manongs Park is located in Councilmember Magdalena Carrasco’s District (5) and we look forward to continuing our partnership with her and her office when the Park officially opens in early 2022.

Solidarity Statement for Los Gatos Mayor Marico Sayoc

Ms. Laurel Prevetti
Town Manager
Town of Los Gatos
110 E. Main Street
Los Gatos, CA 95030

October 21, 2021

Ms. Prevetti,

The students, families, organizers, and Board of Directors of Leadership, Education, Activism and Dialogue (L.E.A.D) Filipino, a local nonprofit organization write to express our disappointment in the Town of Los Gatos’ chilling silence around the recent harassment and cyberbullying toward Mayor Marico Sayoc and her family. We submit this public inquiry request to understand what policies and protocols Los Gatos has instituted to ensure the safety and well-being of your elected officials. Please find our official letter attached to this message.

The recorded broadcasts from recent Town Council meetings, specifically the sessions from September 7, 2021 and October 5, 2021 reveal deeply troubling interactions. What we witnessed was Los Gatos’ reticence and tolerance of blatant disrespect and disregard for social decorum and basic human decency. As Mayor Sayoc was screamed at, as residents spoke out of turn – shouting from across the chamber, and the name-calling ensued, the silence from the Town staff and administration was haunting. At L.E.A.D Filipino, we work to increase our community’s civic participation at every level, with organizers that work as legislative staffers, on campaigns, and in policy advocacy, therefore we are no strangers to the public process. 

We know that when a community member exceeds their allowable public comment time, that their microphone is cut. We know that when disturbances are heightened, residents are escorted out of governmental chambers. We have witnessed members of the public speak out of turn, only to be quickly redirected by the administrative staff in attendance. We know that there are basic protocols in place to ensure that a minimum level of decency is observed – these guidelines are customary in local, county, and state governance. 

Which is why the complete silence – while Mayor Sayoc endured repeated missives, intimidation, and jeers – leaves us without words and many demands. These actions and disturbing displays, probe further inquiry and we want answers. We find your silence alarming, upsetting, and severely disappointing. During a time of increased attacks and violence toward Asian Americans, with Los Gatos having its own anti-Asian hate incident toward a Filipina in February, we are concerned for Mayor Sayoc and her family’s safety. Hatred, harassment, and cyberbullying has no place here, and as stewards of your municipality, we need your leadership right now. 

We stand with Mayor Sayoc and furthermore, stand for the safety and emotional well-being of her and her family. We write to you on behalf of our local organization, but united with several thousand Filipina/x/o American families, leaders, small business owners, and nonprofit organizations from across California and the country. Remaining accountable means calling out blatant hatred when it rears its ugly head, may we focus on the public policy issues at hand and thwart the usage of emotional violence the way we have seen recently. Confronting and combating hatred is greater than any one of us – it needs all of us. 

In addition to submitting this letter to you, we will also send copies of our letter to the California Commission on Asian Pacific Islander Americans, Asian Americans Advancing and National Federation of Filipino American Associations. 

We would like a written response to the following questions:

  1. What is the Town of Los Gatos’ policy on harassment of elected officials?
  2. Does this policy extend to family members of elected officials?
  3. Do you acknowledge that elected officials in Los Gatos have been subjected to bullying and harassment at public meetings during the pandemic?
  4. If so, what actions have you and your staff taken to prevent the bullying and harassment of elected officials?

L.E.A.D Filipino is a nonprofit organization that works to increase the civic participation, grassroots leadership, and direct action of Filipina/x/o Americans and broader community members. Since 2015, we have served hundreds of students and families regionally and statewide. 

We look forward to hearing from you.

Warm regards,

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

Delano Manongs Park Fundraiser & Screening

L.E.A.D Filipino and the Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS) Santa Clara Valley Chapter, in partnership with the community-driven and volunteer-led Delano Manongs Park (DMP) Project Committee are hosting a community fundraiser and film screening this Saturday, October 23.

Join our Delano Manongs Park Fundraiser & Screening to enjoy Filipino food, meet community members, and hear exciting updates from the DMP Project Committee on the continued artistic development of San Jose’s Delano Manongs Park, including the various park-related initiatives that the Committee is fundraising for.

Saturday, October 23, 2021
4:00 – 7:00 PM (PST)

Camino Brewery Co.
718 S. 1 Street
San Jose, CA

Register here: bit.ly/dmpfilmscreening