Tribute to Manang Dawn Mabalon


A Tribute to Dr. Dawn Mabalon

I didn’t know her well personally.

In fact, although I’d been in the same community spaces with her and had been utilizing her research since I was an undergrad five years ago, I barely had the courage to introduce myself to her this year at the FANHS Conference in Chicago.

She had just completed a workshop called, “Pinays in the Kitchen” with Ate Jo Boston (who I also met that day) and I awkwardly went up to her and thanked her for the work she did.  I know that conference presentations often take lots of prep time in the morning; so I told her I’d talk to her later and that she should eat – and no, she hadn’t eaten yet.  I’m glad I got to thank her that day, but I had no idea it would be the last time I would.

“All roads led to Stockton.”

During the second wave of Filipino immigration to the United States, nearly all Filipinos ended up in Stockton, California at one point in their lives.

It was the place where a Manong would go to find contact with old friends from the Philippines.  It was the starting point in America for many Filipino farm workers, and for many, it was where they were laid to rest. With the post-1965 “brain drain” of the Philippines, Filipinos started coming to the United States in larger waves, in different professions (doctors, lawyers, engineers).  Fewer came as farm laborers and they began to spread out in the U.S., in cities outside of the Central Valley.  But El Dorado Street continues to echo the spirit of the Manongs of the early 1900s.  That South Stockton neighborhood is now preserved as Little Manila.

Doktora Dawn Bohulano Mabalon was the co-founder of Little Manila Foundation, which is now one of the capitals to learn Filipino American history.

If you’ve been a student of any of LEAD Filipino’s educational programs, you are indirectly a student of Dr. Dawn Mabalon. 

Every year I incorporate Delano and Stockton into our curriculum.

Whether it’s a trip to Little Manila or Delano for the Manongs history tours, or my modules on Fil Am History and Movements, that research comes from Doktora Robyn Rodriguez (my own Fil Am professor at Davis), or from Doktora Mabalon’s Little Manila is in the Heartand the many documentaries she has voiced over.

This is a tragic, untimely loss to the community.  But we will continue to honor Doktora’s fierce legacy and passion to create Filipino Studies resources for future generations.  Doktora Dawn Bohulano Mabalon, maraming, maraming salamat for your tireless work in laying the foundation of Filipino American Studies.

I hope we make you proud.

Rest in love and power.

Jay Area
Head Organizer, Education Programs
LEAD Filipino


Students + Summer Paalam Party = Lit!

Congratulations to our Spring Training & 3rd AAP Cohort!

August 31, 2018

On Monday, August 20th, we celebrated the completion of two of our classes:  our Spring Training Leaders (February-May) and 3rd Awareness in Action Program Cohort (June-August) during our 3rd Annual Summer Paalam Party!

Becoming somewhat of a community tradition, our Summer Paalam (Goodbye) Party is not an affair to sleep on — we host a community kamayan feast, pack the evening with interactive activities, guest speakers, and an awards ceremony to recognize the completion of our students’ time, projects, and contributions to our growing organization.

There are no words to describe the elation we feel to see our organization grow.  This year’s Summer Paalam welcomed nearly ~50 participants — students, their loved ones, and our community partners that all helped to make our education programs this past year a success.

Congratulations to our three scholarship award winners: Amelia Huie, Lumbaya Cadwising, and Tyrell Malonzo, for receiving a monetary scholarship and recognition for the CA League of Cities Asian Pacific Islander Caucus.  We were honored to have El Cerrito Mayor Gabriel Quinto and Redwood City Councilmember Jeff Gee present the awards to our three students.

Award Winners
8.20.18: Congratulations to our three scholarship award winners: Amelia Huie, Lumbaya Cadwising, and Tyrell Malonzo, pictured with Angelica Cortez, Jay Page, El Cerrito Mayor Gabriel Quinto & Redwood City Councilman Jeff Gee.

While we’re sad to graduate another class of emerging and developing young folks, we hope that they each found a connection to the topics reviewed, historic aspects covered, and new level of conversations we discussed with respect to the Filipin@ experience, here in America. 

We wish you all the best, and please, always stay in touch!

Here are more photos from our Annual Summer Paalam Party!  Thank you to everyone that made this year memorable and filled with laughter.

LEAD Filipino

Paalam Group Photo.jpg
8.20.18:  Maraming salamat to everyone that attended our 3rd Annual Summer Paalam Party and a huge congratulations to our Spring Training and 3rd AAP Cohort program graduates!
Spring Training.jpg
8.20.18:  Our Spring Training Leaders – watch out for them – as they will be helping us to expand our education work to the East Bay. 
8.20.18:  You know you want some of this kamayan feast yum. 
Organizers at Paalam
8.20.18:  Thank you to our organizing team – we couldn’t do this work without each of you – for the time, talent, and treasure invested into LEAD Filipino. 

Special Thank You to our Supporters, Sponsors, & PartnersSalamat Supporters

Volunteer with us!

Register Voters at Monthly Naturalization Ceremonies!

August 31, 2018

Once a month, LEAD Filipino serves at the County of Santa Clara’s Naturalization Ceremony (held in Campbell, CA) to help register newly naturalized citizens to vote, and furthermore, educate them on their voting rights.

We’re always looking for helpful hands that would like to learn more about our organization and the ways that we involve our community in civic and public issues such as voter efficacy and awareness.

*For students looking for service opportunities, this is a great way to not only learn and meet community organizations, but to develop your own understanding of the power of civic engagement.  We are able to sign off on service hours!

If you’re interested, please don’t hesitate to contact us!


Natz. Ceremonies Coordinator


Celebrate our 3rd AAP on Aug. 20!

AAP 3rd Cohort Photo

August 11, 2018

For the past three summers our small – but mighty – San Jose-based grassroots organization has provided a free and accessible Filipino Studies and Civic Engagement course known as “Awareness in Action” for students, young adults, and families to come share, engage, and open their minds to the Filipin@ experience in America.

The Awareness in Action Program (AAP) is a labor of love developed by our group’s organizer-educators and led by Jay Page, our Head Organizer for Educational Programs. Throughout the year our organizing team works on creating, vetting, and presenting workshops that touch on aspects of Filipin@ history, sociology, psychology and identity to re-energize our Awareness in Action Program (AAP) every summer. In short, you don’t get the same AAP each year – as we constantly push ourselves to bring forth new content, relevant discussions, and dope guest speakers that activate our community’s fight in social, economic, and human justice.

Come Monday, August 20, we’ll be celebrating the completion of our 3rd Awareness in Action Program at Roosevelt Community Center in San Jose – kamayan style!

The Summer Paalam is open to everyone in our community.  We’ll be asking for small donations at the door to support our work, but no one will be turned away!  Come one, come all!

In Community,

LEAD Filipino


Filipin@ Voter Taskforce!

July 31, 2018

We’re currently looking for community members with an interest in diving into our organization’s efforts around ballot proposition analysis and the upcoming California State Election this November!

If you’d like to learn more about the opportunity, please message


Filipino Community Policy Symposium

Filipino Policy Symposium

We’re pleased to announce our co-hosting with UC Davis’s Carlos Bulosan Center for Filipino Studies in a Filipino Community Policy Symposium!

Filipino Community Policy Symposium

UC Davis

The Carlos Bulosan Center for Filipino Studies and LEAD Filipino are co-leading an inaugural Filipino Policy Symposium on Saturday, September 29 from 9:00am-6:00pm at UC Davis in Davis, CA. At an estimated population of ~1.5 million, the Filipino/a American community stands as the largest Asian group in California, and because of this, we are working to raise our community’s voice on statewide legislative and policy issues.
Rooting our Symposium in a shared understanding of civic engagement and participation, we will convene Filipino/a civic groups, workers’ centers, immigrant rights advocacy organizations, women’s groups, collegiate organizations, and small businesses from across the Bay Area to discuss policy issues of importance to our community.
From California’s General Election on Nov. 6, to the 2020 Presidential Race and Census, the movement to call for our collective voice, involvement, and progressive agenda has begun.

The Symposium will feature group brainstorms, discussions, and presentations on building a 2019 Filipino Policy Platform to push forward in Sacramento with legislators and policymakers in April/May 2019.
Such policy breakout sessions to be included:
* Immigrant Rights
* Workers’ Rights
* Gender Justice, Sexual Violence and Misconduct
* LGBTQIA Inclusion
* Cultural Competency and Language Access
* Ethnic Studies, K-12 Education
* Housing, Gentrification and Displacement
* Filipino/a Owned Small Businesses
* Health and Human Services

The Filipino Policy Symposium has four key goals/objectives:
  • Convene Filipino and Filipina CBOs, nonprofits, civic organizations, and small businesses to discuss key policy issues, needs, and concerns.
  • Develop a progressive CA state public policy agenda around major issues impacting the Filipino and Filipina community.
  • Establish a coalition of participating organizations.
  • Advance a “2019 Policy Agenda” for a hopeful Filipino Legislative Advocacy Day in Sacramento, led by LEAD Filipino in April/May 2019.

Please contact for more details!

Welcome to Katie Mendoza!


July 16, 2018

A special welcome to Katie Mendoza, as she joins our intern team this summer-fall!

During her internship, Katie will be supporting the work of the Filipino Policy Symposium, Voter Outreach, and our Fly Pinays Program.  We look forward to working alongside Katie these next several months!

A bit about Katie:

Alma Mater: San Jose State University
Major: Psychology // Minor: Child and Adolescent Development
Community Organizations: Kappa Psi Epsilon

Our 3rd AAP has begun!


June 25, 2018

Our 3rd summer Awareness in Action Program (AAP) has officially begun (as of last Monday, June 25th)!

We’re so excited to welcome our 3rd Cohort of AAP participants, who are students and young adults hailing from across the Bay Area.  What do they all have in common?  A shared interest and desire to learn more about Filipin@ experiences through lenses of sociology, psychology, and anthropology.

In this eight week program, AAP participants will attend weekly classes on a range of cultural, historical, and political lectures and presentations, will attend two Exposure Tours, and will complete the Filipino Communities Project.

Interested in participating?  It’s not too late!

Join us on Monday, July 9 from 6:30pm-8:30pm at Asian American Recovery Services in San Jose to confirm your spot in this year’s program!


November’s Election & Filipin@ Voters

July 2, 2018

Dear Kasamas —

While 2018 certainly isn’t a presidential election year, there’s much to be said in terms of its importance – and most especially, its role on the statewide level in California!

With our ~1.5 million-strong Filipin@ community residing in the Golden State, we’re working to create positive attention and education around California’s November Election, but we can’t do it without you.

This summer-fall, we will be launching a team of community members to create and distribute a “Filipin@ Voter Guide” that will include impartial analysis on all of California’s statewide ballot measures and statewide races to ensure that our community has the information, education, and resources needed to vote with confidence.

Why is the November Election important?

Great question!

Come November, California voters will be deciding upon EIGHT of our statewide office positions.  These elected offices have considerable influence and impact on statewide laws and policies and range from Governor, to Treasurer, to who leads our state’s public education system.

Here’s a list of the EIGHT positions with the top two candidates that Californians will be voting on in November:

  1. CA Governor – Top 2 Candidates:
    1. Gavin Newsom
    2. John Cox.
  2. CA Lieutenant Governor – Top 2 Candidates:
    1. Eleni Kounalaki
    2. Ed Hernandez
  3. CA Secretary of State:
    1. Anthony Padilla
    2. Mark Meuser
  4. CA State Attorney General – Top 2 Candidates:
    1. Xavier Becerra
    2. Steven Bailey
  5. CA State Controller:
    1. Betty Yee
    2. Konstantinos Roditis
  6. CA State Treasurer:
    1. Fiona Ma
    2. Greg Conlon
  7. CA Superintendent of Public Instruction:
    1. Marshall Tuck
    2. Tony Thurmond
  8. CA State Insurance Commissioner:
    1. Ricardo Lara
    2. Steve Poizner

The sign of true change is what happens in our neighborhoods and communities.

Each of these EIGHT statewide elected positions can – and will – create change in our communities across California.

LEAD Filipino’s role in this upcoming election is to INFORM all of you. With the impartial information we provide, we hope to empower voters when they go to cast their ballots.

Get Involved! Filipin@ Voter Outreach & Education Team

Starting this August, we will be assembling a team of community members, student leaders, and all interested individuals that would like to take part in steering our South Bay-focused Filipin@ voter outreach and education work from September-November.

As a member of this team, you will take part in LEAD Filipino’s civic projects related to California’s November Election.  These projects will include:

  • Becoming an expert on (1) statewide ballot measure/initiative.
  • Presenting on your ballot measure at a community-wide Voter Education & Registration event in October.
  • Attending team meetings to learn about the other statewide ballot measures that your team members will be working on.
  • Helping to distribute LEAD Filipino’s Voter Guide electronically to your networks, colleagues, and loved ones.
  • Supporting LEAD Filipino’s community-wide Voter Education & Registration event in October with setup and cleanup needs.

As the largest Asian group in California, we’ll be working across our coalition partners to activate the Filipin@ vote this coming November.

Questions? Message