Recap: 2021 FIERCE Advocacy Day on AB 490, Justice for Angelo Quinto Act, AB 118, C.R.I.S.E.S Act, SB 2 to Increase Police Accountability, Save Philippines Studies and Defend Ethnic Studies!

FIERCE Coalition Advocates for AB 490, The Justice for Angelo Quinto Act & SB 2, To Increase Police Accountability, and To Save Philippines Studies at CCSF

Last Wednesday, 4/28 the statewide partners of the Filipinx Igniting Engagement for Reimagining Collective Empowerment (FIERCE) Coalition and family of Angelo Quinto met with the legislators and staff of 10 offices to advocate for increased police accountability and to save the Philippines Studies Department at the City College of San Francisco (CCSF).

Calling in from all parts of California, our FIERCE Advocacy Day of Action included students, families, educators and nonprofit leaders that represent some of the largest FilAm and Pilipina/x/o nonprofits in the state, including Search to Involve Pilipino Americans (SIPA) in Los Angeles, Asian Pacific Islander Community Actions (APICA) in San Diego, Little Manila Rising in Stockton, Pin@y Educational Partnerships out of San Francisco, Philippine National Day Association and the Bulosan Center out of Yolo/Sacramento, the Filipino American Educators Association of California (FAEAC) and many more.

Expressed through opinion polls, surveys, our Statewide Policy Symposium held on March 7 and robust partnerships across California, we also mobilized around the importance of Ethnic Studies in public education while highlighting the urgency to Save Philippines Studies at CCSF.

We advocated for AB 490, The Justice for Angelo Quinto Act

Together, we amplified the voices of our students, members and families that watched local and national headlines surrounding the tragedy and unjust death of Angelo Quinto at the hands of Antioch Police Officers and demanded to see radical changes done to our law enforcement and justice systems for victims of police violence.

During our virtual FIERCE Advocacy Day, we met with Assemblymember Mike Gipson, the author of AB 490, The Justice for Angelo Quinto Act. Assemblymember Gipson also championed legislation last year to ban carotid holds in the state, see: AB 1196.

AB 490 seeks to ban positional asphyxia in all police departments and law enforcement agencies in California, with specific intention to eliminate knee-to-neck restraints which is the same restraint that claimed Angelo and George Floyd’s lives.

Current California law allows local police departments to adopt their own use of force policies.

The FIERCE Coalition Demand: For the immediate passage of AB 490, The Justice for Angelo Quinto Act, to ensure that no other innocent lives are lost due to lethal force.

We advocated for SB 2, To Increase Police Accountability

The FIERCE Coalition partners identified SB 2, authored by Senator Steven Bradford as another priority bill for our 2021 legislative agenda.

SB 2 seeks to amend California’s Tom Bane Civil Rights Act, the state’s counterpart to the Federal Civil Rights Act. The Bane Civil Rights Act forbids people from interfering with a person’s constitutional rights by force or threat of violence.

Under the Tom Bane Civil Rights Act, police officers that respond to emergency calls and incidents are protected under qualified immunity. This means that should a member of the public feel that an officer violated their civil rights during an interaction, there are no options for them to pursue civil justice because officers are protected under qualified immunity.

SB establishes a process for members of the public to pursue civil justice in instances of police misconduct. Misconduct includes: sexual harassment, racial discrimination, threats or coercion, evidence tampering and/or excessive or lethal force.

SB would establish a statewide process and Peace Officer Standards Oversight Committee to conduct inquiries on claims of police misconduct. The Oversight Committee would consist of members of the public and officers with powers to revoke officer certifications.

California is currently one of four states that does not have a public process to inquire or investigate on incidents of officer misconduct (the other 3 states are New Jersey, Hawaii, and Rhode Island).

Our FIERCE Coalition Demand: For the immediate passage of SB 2 to increase Police Accountability Standards in California.

Saving Philippines Studies at CCSF

The Philippine Studies Department is one of the two oldest Ethnic Studies departments at the City College of San Francisco.

It was established alongside African American Studies in 1970 and is the only department of its kind in the United States. The department currently has one full-time tenured faculty and two part-time faculty. 2020-2021 is the 50th anniversary of the department. We are in the final process of approvals to offer an Associates Degree in Philippines Studies and anticipate offering the degree in Spring 2022.

Due to the ongoing budgetary issues at CCSF, Dr. Lily Ann B. Villaraza, along with 162 of her full-time tenured or tenure track colleagues and 34 administrators, were sent a pink slip in early March. This is in addition to the hundreds of part-time faculty that will not receive course assignments in the fall.

Dr. Villaraza’s leadership is necessary to steward the new degree as well as the further growth of the department. This work cannot be done by part-time faculty. Despite promises that departments and programs would not be consolidated, the loss of the department’s sole tenured, full time faculty position would destabilize the progress made this year and potentially give justification for reduction down the road.

The FIERCE Coalition Demand: To rescind Dr. Villaraza’s pink slip and maintain funding support for the Department of Philippines Studies at CCSF.

Advocating for Ethnic Studies in CA

Ethnic Studies centers the shared advocacy agenda of our FIERCE Coalition partners.

In these efforts, we are supporting and joining the advocacy of other leading organizations in the state that are calling to keep the integrity of Ethnic Studies intact while prioritizing students and educators in all spheres of our public education system – K-12, Community Colleges, and CSUs – in the process.

Our Next Steps

AB 490, The Justice for Angelo Quinto Act and SB 2, Police Certification have until May 10th to be removed from the Suspense files of both Assembly and Senate Appropriations Committees and advanced through our state’s legislative process.

It is imperative that the Chairs of both Senate and Assembly Appropriations hear from you:

  • Advocate for AB 490, The Justice for Angelo Quinto Act: Send a letter to Assembly Appropriations Committee Chair Lorena Gonzalez: approps.committee@assembly.ca.gov
  • Advocate for SB 2 to increase Police Accountability: Send position letter to Chair of Senate Appropriations Committee Anthony Portantino: sapr@sen.ca.gov
  • Support Saving Philippines Studies at CCSF: Send letter to:

Thank You to the 2021 FIERCE Coalition Advocacy Day Partners

  • Asian Pacific Islander Community Actions (APICA)
  • Asian Solidarity Collective (ASC)
  • Bayanihan Desert
  • Bulosan Center for Filipino Studies
  • Filipino American Educators Association of California (FAEAC)
  • Filipino Advocates for Justice (FAJ)
  • Filipino Mental Health Initiative-SF (FMHI-SF)
  • Justice for Angelo Quinto! Justice for All! Coalition
  • LEAD Filipino
  • Little Manila Rising
  • Pilipino American Los Angeles Democrats (PALAD)
  • Pin@y Educational Partnerships (PEP)
  • Philippine Studies at Community College of SF
  • Philippine National Day Association (PNDA)
  • Search to Involve Pilipino Americans (SIPA)
  • UCLA Pilipino Alumni Association
  • We Are Philippines Studies Campaign

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Celebrate Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month

In a movement that began in 1977 by congressional staffers and elected leaders, Asian American Heritage Week marked the first national observance of the rich contributions of Asians in America.

Decades later, Congress would pass in 1992, Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month as an official month of observance each year during the month of May.

During this time, May was selected for two important milestones in Asian history: On May 7, 1843 the first Japanese immigrant arrived to the United States and on May 10, 1869 the construction of the First Transcontinental Railroad driven by Chinese immigrant labor began.

Today, the Asian American Pacific Islander population rests at 17.3 million across the country. Census data and industry reports continue to support that the Asian American Pacific Islander community is the fastest-growing group in the United States. With rich histories and cultural traditions, please join us in celebrating Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month on Sunday, 5/16 during our monthly member meeting.

Mandatory Legislative Advocacy Trainings on 4/23 and 4/26

Calling all of our registrants for next week’s virtual FIERCE Advocacy Day with state legislator!

If you plan on participating – or sending an organizational representative to join our contingent as we engage directly with the elected officials and their staff to discuss our concerns around California Education and Police Accountability, they must attend a required Legislative Advocacy Training on Friday, April 23 or Monday, April 26 from 5:30-7PM.

RSVP for training: Angelica@leadfilipino.org

LEAD Filipino and FANHS Organize for Historic Naming of The Delano Manongs Park in San Jose

In a public process that started last year, founding LEAD Filipino organizer, Daniel Lazo saw an open call for the naming of a new park in the City of San Jose.

“I submitted “Delano Manongs” as the name for this new park near my childhood home because of my own personal connection to this significant part in our Filipino American history. I first learned about the manongs during my time in high school at the Filipino Youth Coalition in a small community space at Welch Park, where we learned about our history every week. When I was in college in 2015, I visited Delano for the 50th anniversary celebration of the grape strike. There, I met Marissa Aroy, a filmmaker who made the award-winning PBS documentary “Delano Manongs.” The name for this park is of inspiration from this documentary, giving appreciation to Filipino American farmworkers, such as Larry Itliong, Philip Vera Cruz and Pete Velsaco. This endearment does not only give appreciation to the Filipino American farmworkers who sparked the international five-year boycott on grapes, but also the Mexican and Latinx farmworkers, such as Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta. I see them all as my manongs and manangs who shaped who I am today as a Filipino American from San José.” – Daniel Lazo

The “turnkey” park was to be part of a new mixed-use development on North Capitol Avenue, a busy thoroughfare, in the Eastside of San Jose, in Council District 5. For those of us familiar with City of San Jose demographic and socioeconomic breakdowns, Council District 5 has large populations of Asian and Latinx working class communities and often has to advocate for increased social services, resources, and investment in an overlooked region of the nation’s 10th largest city. San Jose’s Council District 5 also has a sizeable FilAm population.

We also know of the rich history shared between Filipinx and Chicano communities in the context of California’s Labor History, which is a message of unity and solidarity that we reinforce and educate our members on in our programs. For these reasons and much more, we found our deep symbolic purpose in the naming of a new park to honor the legacy of the Manongs.

Upon seeing this open call for park name submissions, Daniel submitted the option “The Delano Manongs” without giving much thought to its traction or the survey’s outcome.

As it turns out, “The Delano Manongs” caught the attention of hundreds of community members. “The Delano Manongs” was the top vote-getter in the first survey. We would later find out that the votes were close, so the City of San Jose determined to distribute a second public opinion survey. The second survey’s results were clear: “The Delano Manongs” was the top vote-getter once more.

These results were taken to the San Jose Parks and Recreation Commission on February 3, 2021, to which LEAD Filipino proudly stood with the Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS) Santa Clara Valley to advocate for the naming of The Delano Manongs Park in the City of San Jose and organized speakers to provide personal stories and reasons for the importance of a park naming. Following our testimonies and letters of support, the Commission voted unanimously in support of the naming, with an amendment to leave room for the installation of an art piece at The Delano Manongs Park.

Over two months later, the critical vote came to the Mayor and San Jose City Council.

On Tuesday, in 10-0 vote, the San Jose Mayor and City Council unanimously voted to approve the historic naming of a new park in the City of San Jose to “The Delano Manongs Park.”

This historic naming marks the first park to be named in honor of FilAm history in the City of San Jose.

To announce the naming of The Delano Manongs Park, District 5 Councilmember, Councilmember Magdalena Carrasco and the City of San Jose hosted a press conference, which two of our Board Members, Dr. Jen Briscoe and Alexandria Chu, attended on our behalf and delivered remarks.

LEAD Filipino Board Members, Dr. Jen Briscoe and Alexandria Chu, join Manong Ben, Councilmember Magdalena Carrasco, and Camille Llanes-Fontanilla of SOMOS Mayfair at the April 13th press conference on the historic naming of The Delano Manongs Park.

While we have the Tony Jacinto Saguig – Northside Community Center – and Filipino Community Center both in Japantown, the naming of The Delano Manongs Park in San Jose is the first park to be named to observe the contributions of FilAms to the Valley.

The message and legacy of the Manongs is one that influences LEAD Filipino’s programs, teachings, and mission. We teach our students and members about the courage, bravery and resistance of how the Manongs persisted and fought for worker rights – including equitable wages, livable work conditions, and time off.

As our founder, Gel Cortez stated “The naming of The Delano Manongs Park is a tribute not only to their generation, it speaks to and serves our generation. The naming of The Delano Manongs Park is not only for the FilAm community, it’s for communities across the region and nation that fight for more and fight for just causes like protecting our most vulnerable.”

Thank you to everyone that called in, submitted letters, and spoke at the Parks and Recreation Commission and Tuesday’s City of San Jose Council Meeting. Your voices and presence were heard and felt from our neighborhoods to our global diaspora. We couldn’t have done this without the outpouring of support and involvement in our civic process.

We will host an official launch of the park in the summer of 2021. Please be sure to get in touch with us to remain connected to those critical updates.

The Delano Manongs Park sits at the corner of Gimelli Way and North Capitol Avenue in Eastside San Jose.


Additional News Coverage of The Delano Manongs Park:

Read LEAD Filipino’s official support letter to the City of San Jose here.

Register for 2021 Virtual Advocacy Day!

Advocate with FilAm organizations statewide.

Join the FIERCE Coalition’s virtual Filipinx Advocacy Day on Wednesday, April 28 from 8AM-2PM (PST) with FilAm organizations from across California to speak directly with state legislators on Police Accountability in calls for Justice for Angelo Quinto and the many victims of police violence. 

Since 2018, the Filipinx Igniting Engagement for Reimagining Collective Empowerment (FIERCE) Coalition has advocated for Ethnic Studies, Tenant Protections, and Racial Equity at the state level. Past legislative priorities included AB 331, AB 1481, and AB 1482. 

An assembly of 25+ FilAm nonprofits, community-based organizations, and student groups, the FIERCE Coalition advances a progressive agenda that amplifies the FilAm voice in broader calls for racial justice and equity.

Participate in the virtual Filipinx Advocacy Day and meet other FilAms from your community and statewide!

No prior experience necessary as you will:

  • Receive legislative advocacy training 
  • Meet directly with state legislators with the guidance of a team lead
  • Connect with FilAms in your region
  • Build FilAm coalitions to push for progressive reform
  • Learn about our community’s policy priorities

Register for our virtual Filipinx Advocacy Day by April 16 to receive information on our mandatory legislative advocacy trainings!

Following your legislative advocacy training you will meet other members on your Advocacy Day team to review the program, legislative meetings, and policy materials. 

If you cannot join us for the entire virtual Filipinx Advocacy Day on April 28th, there are several ways to engage and show your solidarity with our statewide efforts. 

There are multiple ways to tap in:

  • Take a photo on 4/28 with a written sign and hashtag #2021FilAdvocacyCA and tag @FIERCECoalition
  • Submit legislative support letters to Angelica@leadfilipino.org
  • Attend 1-2 legislative meetings based on your availability
  • Help spread the word about the Filipinx Advocacy Day with your friends and increase our virtual presence