Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
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.”
Homecare Workers AND CLIENTS DESERVE JUSTICE:
- 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.
(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
“I will see you all on the road” — Undocumented API leaders encourage community members to seize opportunity of AB 60 licenses
Oakland – A diverse alliance of local organizations serving Chinese, Korean, and Filipino communities gathered at Oakland’s Asian Resource Center today to raise awareness of the opportunity offered by California’s Safe and Responsible Driver Act (AB 60), which allows undocumented Californians to apply for a driver’s license.
Sonny Villar, an 11-year resident of California and leader with Filipino Advocates for Justice, spoke in both English and Tagalog of his struggles as a caregiver and how obtaining an AB 60 license will transform his life.
“This is my dream, to have a driver’s license and have the ability to go where we want to go,” Villar stated. “As soon as I heard about getting a license, I went and got a birth certificate and copy of my passport. I recommend for everyone who is going to get a license to prepare themselves. And I suggest that people study very hard, because you can’t get a license if you don’t pass the test.” (Detailed document requirements are available here.)
Villar concluded his remarks to applause as he declared, “I will see you all on the road.”
In a year of numerous disappointments Filipino Advocates for Justice celebrated a few bright spots that we proudly share with you.
On November 4th we helped defeat Measure KK in Union City. We fought big money and won! By defeating this well financed campaign FAJ youth helped protect Union City’s hills from more development. faj also helped caregivers fight wage theft by winning over $100,000 in stolen wages. Please see the video above to see our Civic Engagement highlights of 2014,
Share in our victories by making a year-end donation of $100 or more to sustain FAJ’s caregiver and civic engagement work. It’s also easier now to set up a monthly donation online.
Caregivers continue to be active in the implementation of the Domestic Worker’s Bill if Rights. We also added a wellness component to address chronic illness and stress. We continue to educate over rep youth annually about the risks of alcohol and other drug use, and prevention of HIV/STDs, pregnancy, violence and obesity. With much excitement, youth will also start a community garden in 2015.
Help FAJ continue developing youth and worker leaders, something we have done for over to years. Donate today at www.filipinos4justice.org or by mailing a check to: 310 8th Street, Suite 308 Oakland CA 94607. If your employer collects donations through United Way of the Combined Federal Campaign, choose to designate your contribution to FAJ at #3092.
Happy Holidays and thanks so much for your generosity over the years.