To build a strong and empowered Filipino community by organizing constituents, developing leaders, providing services, and advocating for policies that promote social and economic justice and equity.
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Register Today for Kilusan!

“We have to look beyond symptoms . . . improve health where it begins . . . where we live, where we work, where we spend the majority of our lives . . . “ – Dr. Rishi Manchanda, ‘Upstream Doctor’

Kilusan1Join Filipino Advocates for Justice (FAJ) at a day-long conference on Saturday, June 20, at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center, 388 9th St., in Oakland Chinatown.

8:30 – 9:15 AM: Registration & Breakfast

9:15 – 9:20 AM: Welcome
* Nelson Layag, Board President, Filipino Advocates for Justice

9:20 – 9:30 AM: Opening Remarks
Speaker: Fatima Angeles, Vice President of Programs, The California Wellness Foundation

9:30 – 10:30 AM: Panel – Low-Wage Worker Health
Moderator: Mila Thomas, SEIU Local 1021
* Joyce Lam, Senior Community Organizer, Chinese Progressive Association
* Honor Nono, Worker Leader, People’s Association of Workers and Immigrants (PAWIS)
* Nixie Lagados, Worker Leader, Fight for 15

10:30 – 11:00 AM: Sustaining Healthy Activism through Mindfulness
* Jonathan Relucio, Yoga Instructor, Niroga Institute

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM: Panel – Healthy Environments
Moderator: Aileen Suzara, Board Member, Filipino American Coalition for Environmental Solidarity
* Mari Rose Taruc, State Organizing Director, Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN)
* Justin Rausa, Policy Director, Roots of Change

12:00 – 1:30 PM: Lunch and Caucuses  Speaker: Alex Briscoe, Director, Alameda County Health Care Services Agency

During the lunch hour, participants are encouraged to attend caucuses to discuss issues they are interested in exploring further. Caucuses will be proposed during registration and participants will be able to choose which caucus they would like to join.

1:30 – 2:30 PM: Panel – Youth Health
Moderator: Dr. David Rebanal, Senior Associate for Evaluation and Research, Health Equity Institute
* Chris Cara, Youth Services Director, Filipino Advocates for Justice
* Charisse Domingo, Community Organizer, Silicon Valley De-Bug
* Peter Le, Youth Board Member, California School-Based Health Alliance

2:30 – 3:00 PM: Sustaining Healthy Activism through Generative Somatics
* Jay Conui, Project Manager, Generative Somatics

3:00 – 4:00 PM: Panel – Immigrant Health
Moderator: Ben Cabangun, Capacity Building Manager, Asian & Pacific Islander Health Forum
* Akiko Aspillaga, Community Organizer, Asian Students Promoting Immigrant Rights Through Education (ASPIRE)
* Jidan Koon, Deputy Director, Mobilize the Immigrant Vote
* Louella Penserga, Director Policy & Planning, Alameda Health Consortium

4:00 – 5:00 PM: Caucuses & Networking
During this hour, participants will be able to join caucuses to further discuss issues they are interested in exploring. Caucuses will be proposed during registration, and participants will be able to choose which caucus they would like to join.

5:30 – 7:00 PM: Dinner Program Speaker:
* Dr. Art Chen, Family Physician and Senior Fellow, Asian Health Services

Register Today!



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Fifth Circuit Court Disappoints; But we continue to push for DACA/DAPA Implementation

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We knew it wasn’t going to be easy given the anti-immigrant sentiment in parts of the country and the pre-2016 general election posturing, but we are none the less disappointed that the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals (which covers Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas) denied President Obama’s request to lift a hold on the President’s Executive Order. The President’s Order extends work permits and protection from deportation to millions of undocumented young people and parents of US citizen or legal permanent resident children in our communities. Given the long overdue legalization of our undocumented brothers and sisters, President Obama’s proposal is a welcome alternative that would provide some relief for immigrant families.

The road to DACA+ and DAPA is not over. It will take longer than we want. But we are committed to pushing for DACA/DAPA’s implementation and continue to do outreach and education in the community to prepare for it’s eventual implementation. We urge the Department of Justice to continue its fight to lift the injunction on behalf of states like California — where most immigrants actually live. Unlike some states, we support and understand the value to the state’s economy of implementing DACA/DAPA

AANHPI Organizations Stand Up for Affirmative Action


Sign on in support of this statement!

120+ AANHPI organizations across the nation have signed the open letter to stand up for affirmative action and equal opportunity. Our communities are committed to equal educational opportunity and racial justice.

As individuals and organizations across the United States that serve and represent Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) communities, we believe that equal opportunity is a cherished principle in American society that must be protected. Our universities should reflect our diverse democracy and expand opportunities for those students who have overcome significant barriers. Rather than letting ourselves be divided, we must come together to ensure increased opportunities and success for all students. Read the Open Letter & See the List of Organizations

Save The Date! Saturday, June 20, 2015

Kilusan_SaveDateJoin Filipino Advocates for Justice (FAJ) as we celebrate our 42nd anniversary! Sponsorship opportunities are still available.

Facebook & Eventbrite (registration begins 4.27.15)



By Teresita Bautista


When I first was hired at OPS (Oakland Public Schools), I was asked to review a publication that Nilo worked very hard to produce, ‘Unfinished Revolution’.  It was not approved.   A small note bookmarked a reviewer’s comment: “What about the roads and schools that the U.S. built?”  I told my boss that the publication was good to go from my perspective.  It never saw the light of day.

I met Nilo in 1971 at the International Institute of the East Bay (IIEB), where, as a UC Berkeley work-study student, I had the task of creating a New Arrivals Committee to meet new immigrants and identify resources for people entering Alameda County.  He and other community representatives would attend monthly meetings, greet new immigrants from the homeland and provide leads to jobs, community resources, advice and support.

The efforts of this committee evolved into the Filipino Immigrant Services (FIS) Project, an agency beyond the walls of IIEB.  FIS the agency had Vicky Santos as its first Executive Director and was housed in downtown Oakland near City Hall.  Nilo, not only was a founding member of the non-profit Filipinos for Affirmative Action (FAA, now Filipino Advocates for Justice) that sponsored FIS, but he took on the arduous task of shepherding FAA’s incorporation papers.  He typed and retyped them on his hard working electric typewrite in his small studio around the corner from the Oakland Museum, and he literally walked the papers through Sacramento, from department to department, in one day!

Nilo left OPS to open what seemed to be a fun business, making and selling leche flan. (I once saw and bought the tasty product in Piedmont Grocery.)  I didn’t see him much over the next few decades until I happened to attend a program at Pusod in Berkeley in the early 2000s.  By then, Nilo had been taken ill by a terminal disease, but was still endeavoring to edit a manuscript for David Martinez.  ‘A Country of Our Own’ was published shortly after.

As I value pioneering efforts of Filipinos active in the 1970s, I salute Nilo for standing up to cronyism, colonial mentality, racism, and other beliefs that held back community building at the time.

His legacy, to me, continues to be that of the pioneers who came in the early 1900s, whose labor was spent on the side of justice and equality.  I know his last couple of decades was difficult, poor health always is no guarantee of seeing the brighter side of things.

I do say, “Thank you for leading a life of service, Nilo.”

Immigration Resource Fair this Saturday!


Thursday April 2, 2015 DACA/DAPA Educational


Click the image above to download the flier

Justice for Homecare Tribunal March 19, 2015



  • Over 460,000 seniors and people with disabilities receive support through California’s In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program.
  • IHSS clients have had their hours of support cut, despite a multi-billion dollar budget surplus.
  • Many homecare workers makeminimum wage, and most do not get any sick days, vacation time, health care, or retirement benefits.
  • 90% of all homecare worker arewomen and 73% are people of color.

Because someday we will all need care!

BAY AREA: RSVP here by 5pm, Thursday, March 12.
9:00am — Depart from SF & Oakland
11:00am — Lunch 
12:30pm — Justice Homecare Tribunal
3:00pm — Return to SF & Oakland




On February 16, 2015, U.S. District Court in Texas Judge Hanen blocked the implementation of President Obama’s plans for expanded DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and a new program for undocumented parents of LPR and US citizen children in the U.S., called DAPA (Deferred Action for Parental Accountability). This throws into question the likely start dates of programs that could stabilize the status of nearly 5 million potentially eligible undocumented.  The Court’s order does not affect the current DACA program.  Individuals eligible under guidelines established in 2012 may continue to apply for the first time or for DACA renewal.

FAJ condemns this overt attempt to prevent the undocumented from coming forward.
While we welcome President Obama’s announcement to appeal Judge Hanen’s decision, immigrant advocates need to hold Republicans — AND Democrats — accountable for protecting the undocumented who have been living on the margins, vulnerable to exploitation and abuse, for decades.  Politicians are again playing politics with the lives of undocumented families for political gain as the country approaches the November 2016 general election.

The benefits of DACA are well established and should be protected and expanded.  Since 2012, 550,000 young DACA recipients have received work authorization, protection from deportation, and eligibility for a driver’s license.  In California alone approximately 1,214,000 are believed to be eligible for one of the deferred action programs.

Undeterred, FAJ joins social justice activists in continuing to fight for and prepare for the new DACA/DAPA programs as we also advocate for full and permanent legal status for the undocumented.   We owe this to the DREAMER’s vision of equality for all.

Soledad Fernandez Scholarship Application 2015


(Download the application by clicking the image above)

Filipino Advocates for Justice (FAJ) was started in 1973 in Oakland and opened a second office in Union City.  FAJ’s mission is to build a strong and empowered Filipino community by organizing constituents, developing leaders, providing services, and advocating for policies that promote social and economic justice and equity.

The Soledad Fernandez Scholarship is a philanthropic project of one of FAJ’s founders, Cora Tellez. The $5,000 scholarship is a project of the Tellez family who were inspired by Soledad Fernandez’s “zest for life and love for her family” among other qualities.  Soledad provided loving care for Cora and Pablo’s infant son for which the Tellez family is eternally grateful.

Soledad (“Tita” to the Tellez family) came to America after World War II with three young children. She was joining her husband who preceded her to the United States. Her excitement at finally joining her husband and starting a new life together was short-lived. A month after her arrival, her husband died making her the sole breadwinner for her family.

While college-educated with a degree in teaching, Tita was unable to find work in her profession. She finally found employment as a cafeteria worker at Treasure Island.  There, she worked hard, made many friends, and with her earnings, managed to support her family, buy a house, and send all three children to college.

Tita was not one to dwell on her personal sacrifices or the hardships she faced.  Her gentle smile said it all – persevere and transcend whatever hardships Life presents to her. Her faith in her self and the universe made her a pillar of strength for her family and her friends. The Tellez family first met Tita when she was 74 years old.

“Remarkably,” according to Cora Tellez, “she volunteered to care for our infant son and he was cherished and loved as though he were Tita’s own grandson. We were struck by her zest for life, her love for her family, her intelligence, her intellectual curiosity, her interest in people, and her all-consuming love for baseball!  She spoke three languages fluently. Her home was the gathering place for friends, families and newly arrived Filipinos seeking opportunities in America.  A woman of grace and courage, Tita was always interested in young people – what they thought of the world, how they saw life and trends. She was also very interested in how young people in America were coping with the opportunities and challenges presented to them. Tita was proud of being a Filipina in America.”

Deadline April 1, 2015

Download application Here

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