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Announcing 2017 Soledad Fernandez Scholarship

Thursday, March 2nd, 2017

IMG_5277(Click here to download the application)

Filipino Advocates for Justice (FAJ) started in Oakland in 1973 and opened a second office in Union City in 1983. 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 $5000 Soledad Fernandez Scholarship is endowed by the Cora and Pablo 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. Tita was 74 years old when they met her.

Soledad “Tita” 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 as a teacher. She worked as a cafeteria worker at Treasure Island. There, she worked hard, made many friends, and with her earnings, managed to buy a house and send all three children to college.

Tita was not one to dwell on her personal sacrifices or hardships. Her gentle smile said it all – persevere can transcend whatever hardships life presents. Her faith in her self and the universe made her a pillar of strength for her family and her friends.

“Remarkably,” says Cora, “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 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, family 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.”


DUE April 1st, 2017
Eligibility requirements:
Filipino descent (Full to 50% Filipino)
Cumulative GPA of B (3.0) or higher
Reside and attend high school in the SF Bay Area
If selected, attend an award ceremony and luncheon with scholarship benefactors
And the following year, attend the luncheon for the 2016 recipient

Note:  Gather #3, #4 and #5 below ASAP to have them ready to submit by the deadline date.  Mail the package to:

Filipino Advocates for Justice
310 – 8th St., Ste 309
Oakland, CA  94607
attention:  Scholarship
1. Cover Letter including the following:
a. Personal Information:
Phone Number
Email Address
Date of birth
Place of birth
b. Name of High School you are attending; name of college you will be attending
2. Essay – Statement of interest in the scholarship limited to 2 pages, single-spaced, typed or printed, include the following:
a. How are your values and personal characteristics similar to those of Soledad Fernandez?
b. Demonstrated sense of social justice, equality, or compassion for the less empowered or       marginalized of society.
c. Demonstrated community service experience
d. Demonstrated economic or financial need
e. What do you hope to do with your college education?
3.  Transcript of Academic Records directly mailed by high school to FAJ
4.  FAFSA or Guardian’s Income Tax Return5.  Letter of Admission to an accredited college or university. (Community College is acceptable, but grant is $2,500.)6.  Interviews will be conducted as needed.


DUE April 1, 2017

FAJ Selects New ED

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

13077051_1235603573118300_8071336776319867974_nDear community members,

Filipino Advocates for Justice (FAJ) board of directors and staff is very pleased to announce the hiring of a new executive director, Geraldine Alcid.  Starting March 6, she will be stepping into the role that Lillian Galedo has held for nearly 40 years.  As Lillian has done, Geraldine will continue to lead FAJ in the spirit of Bayanihan (people helping people) to foster a Filipino community with the power to advance social and economic justice, and to realize democratic and human rights for everyone.

Geraldine is keenly aware that the organization and its allies are facing a new political reality that will pose new and greater challenges in our fight for social and economic justice for all.  She is eager to ensure that FAJ can be a powerful partner in this fight.  We are confident that Geraldine’s experience, organizational knowledge, and values of shared leadership, social justice and collaboration are a great match for the work, staff, and the greater FAJ community.  Her leadership and management qualities will support Geraldine as a skillful change agent to preserve the core mission and programming while taking FAJ to its next levels of organizational infrastructure, strategic direction, and resource development.

If Geraldine’s name sounds familiar to you, it’s because she has deep roots with FAJ.  She served as Program Director for FAJ from 2006 – 2012, focusing on FAJs civic engagement work.  In that role, she provided leadership in numerous voter engagement efforts, including new access to Filipino voter data and shared state-wide analysis, Filipino voter mobilization and GOTV in multiple elections from2006-2012, participating in the Tagalog Language Advisory of Alameda County’s ROV, and coordinating volunteers with the Asian Law Caucus who poll monitored for language access.  She also led FAJ’s outreach for the 2010 census.  After leaving the Bay area briefly, she returned and worked alongside Lillian on fund development for FAJ.

The search process was a challenging undertaking.  The board and staff both are cognizant of the challenges we all face in the years ahead.  It is clear to us that the successful transition from Lillian to Geraldine will require thoughtfulness and care.  Lillian has agreed to support that transition through June of 2017 in a part time capacity.  During this transition we know that Lillian’s support will embody the values she has brought to the job for nearly 40 years – empowerment, collaboration, leadership development, community organizing and advocacy.  We also know that after June, Lillian will continue to be on the front lines of social justice and will forever be FAJ’s ally in our relentless fight for justice.

Join FAJ’s board and staff in welcoming Geraldine to our organization. We look forward to introducing her to each one of you over the coming months. Please also join us on the evening of April 27 as we reflect on this important moment for FAJ — recognize Lillian’s 37 years, and welcome Geraldine as our new executive director.  If you have any questions or comments about this announcement, please email me at

In solidarity,
Nelson L. Layag,  Board President
Filipino Advocates for Justice

Join Us For

Tuesday, February 28th, 2017


Honoring our past, current, and future leaders
Thursday, April 27, 2017
6:30 – 10:30 PM
Oakland Impact Hub
2323 Broadway, Oakland, CA

Join Filipino Advocates for Justice (FAJ) for a special 44th anniversary event that marks a major leadership transition we are undertaking.

This special anniversary will honor Lillian Galedo, FAJ’s Executive Director for 37+ years who is retiring. The reception-style event also welcomes FAJ’s new executive director, and celebrate FAJ’s work moving forward.

Performances by some of Lillian’s talented friends who have also helped shaped the Bay Area’s social justice movement are:

  • Fatima Angeles & Ka ‘Ohi Nani o Mana’olana (‘a beautiful gathering of hope’)
  • The Ben Luis Band featuring a cameo by Bill Tamayo, former FAJ Board President
  • Joachim Luis, opera tenor
  • American Center for Philippine Arts
  • DJLN
  • Mistress of Ceremonies – Christine Cordero, Center for Story-based Strategy
  • Dominic Ainza, local award-winning chef and FAJ board member, will prepare reception-style offerings of delicious small bites and light fare.

Discounts and scholarships available for youth, workers, and other community members. Sponsorship opportunities available, please see: Sponsorship Levels and Ads. Contact Judith Olais at (510) 465-9876 or for more information.

Interested in volunteering for the event? Sign up here!

Support our work by making a donation here.


Tuesday, November 29th, 2016

Ready to fight back?

Support FAJ TODAY for what looks like a long and hard battle.  Help us strengthen our organizing and focus greater attention on the next generation of activists to protect the vulnerable and help re-build our democracy.You can help in two ways:



  • Sign up for upcoming calls-to-action (petitions, direct actions, marches, legislative visits, get out the vote etc.)
  • Donate any amount NOW to support FAJ’s organizing efforts to protect ours and other communities targeted by the Trump presidency.


President-elect Trump has threatened to: end DACA, cancel federal funding to Sanctuary cities, deport 2 million supposed criminal illegal immigrants, go after visa overstays and suspend immigration from terror-prone regions, repeal the Affordable Care Act, unravel policies aimed at slowing down global warming, deliver tax breaks to the wealthy, lay off federal workers, increase privatization, and so many more heartbreakingly dangerous policies.  And he is assembling the anti-immigrant, racist, pro-corporate team to carry out these dirty deeds.



We will build on the positive outcomes of our work in the last year:

  •  Helped pass SB 1015 (permanent overtime pay for domestic workers)
  • Passed 4 of the 5 measures we supported in the Nov 2016 election season. California Props 55, 56, 57 and Measure QQ in Union City all passed to help millions across the state live healthier and safer lives.
  • Registered 300 people to vote across five counties, including many new voters.
  • Help build an anti-eviction coalition in Alameda

Dixons Mabuhay“Why we’re voting:To honor the martyrs who died to allow us the right to vote! Mabuhay!

Your donation TODAY helps FAJ to:

  • Organize safe spaces for community political education
  • Recruit and train multi-generational volunteers who will speak up and push back
  • Strengthen coalitions in solidarity with other impacted groups
  • Develop a deeper capacity to engage our community in direct action.



SAN FRANCISCO, CA  (11/18/16) -- Domestic workers, their children and the clients with disabilities they care for celebrate passage of the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, SB 1015. Copyright David Bacon

SAN FRANCISCO, CA (11/18/16) — Domestic workers, their children and the clients with disabilities they care for celebrate passage of the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, SB 1015.
Copyright David Bacon

The stakes are high but WE are ready to stand together and fight back!
Ang tao, ang bayan ngayon ay lumalaban. In love and solidarity,


Filipino Advocates for Justice Pokemon

Every $25 donor will receive a limited-edition “FAJ Spirit Pokeman” sticker used in our voter registration drive.

Ang Tao, Ang Bayan, Ngayon Ay Lumalaban!! The People United WILL NEVER Be Defeated!!!

Thursday, November 17th, 2016


As we slowly recover from the shock of the Presidential election, we come together to share our fears, support each other, reject the racist, misogynistic, and xenophobic politics we just witnessed on a national scale and to assess what the immediate and long-term impact will be on our community.

As Filipinos in the broader social justice movement, we stand in solidarity with communities the new Administration has promised to attack: immigrants, Muslims, Blacks, Latinos, native people, LGBTQ, women and disability communities.  On day one President-elect Trump vows to: end DACA, cancel federal funding to Sanctuary Cities, begin deportation of 2 million supposed criminal illegal immigrants, and suspend immigration from terror-prone regions (which could be interpreted to include the Philippines).

In his first 100 days Trump promises to end the Affordable Care Act, unravel policies aimed at slowing down global warming, deliver tax breaks to the wealthy, increase privatization, expand the existing wall on our border with Mexico, and so many more heartbreakingly dangerous policies.

We have been here before.  In response to a rise in anti-immigrant policies in the 1990’s including Republican Governor Pete Wilson’s infamous prop 187, Californians built a movement that challenged all anti-immigrant policies and eventually booted some of the worst anti-immigrant legislators out of office.  It took a while, but today, CA has one of the most immigrant-sensitive legislatures in the country, many of who were involved in or inspired by the battles for immigrant rights of the 1990’s.   Nationally, our country recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of people’s civil rights victories like the Voting Rights Act, the Civil Rights Act, the end of the bracero program and the Immigration and Nationality Act, to mention a few gains.

We will power back from this seeming brink of disaster.  Educate, organize, and build coalitions, between the disenfranchised and intersectional movements, across race, gender and generations.  By resisting locally, we inspire resistance nationally.  Focus on galvanizing young people, immigrants and low-wage workers in our movement building work.  Show up in the streets, in the offices of legislators, and the voting booth.  Register and use your vote in every election.

The stakes are very high but we have faith that the social justice movement will fight back, recover from this setback and build the democracy we need.  It might take a generation, but we are a resilient people who are part of a resilient movement.

We will prevail guided by our Bayanihan values of social justice and human rights for all.  Ang tao, ang bayan nayon ay lumalaban.

In love and solidarity,


The Potential of the Filipino Electorate

Thursday, September 8th, 2016

Click the image above to download the infographic

The Bumoto Ako: Filipino Electorate data illustrated the potential of the Filipino vote here in the Bay area and the amount of work needed for our community to realize that potential. The report is expansive and gives an overview of the Filipino elecotrate across the Bay an masse as well as individual county breakdowns. A few highlights, however are:

  1. We can make a difference
    Several electoral districts across the Bay – such as San Mateo’s 5th and Alameda’s 2nd Supervisory Districts – have sizable populations of Filipino registered voters of 5% or greater. Local elections and measures are decided by very small margins and Filipinos can be the deciding factor in these districts and districts across the Bay.
  1. We aren’t registered
    Approximately 50% of Filipinos capable of voting in the Bay are not registered to vote. Only two counties – San Francisco and King’s Counties – are over 50%.
  1. We are majority immigrant voters
    The data shows that in the 14 counties where the information was available, the majority of Filipino registered voters are naturalized citizens. Immigrant communities are invested in the electoral process and are using their right to vote.

 Download the pdf HERE.

For individual or specific pages contact Sammy at

Data gathering made possible by a grant from Wells Fargo Bank.

Executive Director Job Announcement FAJ

Thursday, August 25th, 2016

Filipino Advocates for Justice (FAJ) is seeking an executive director to build on the legacy of its current long-time leader, Lillian Galedo, who will leave the position on December 31, 2016. The ideal candidate will lead FAJ in fostering a Filipino community with the power to advance social and economic justice, and to realize democratic and human rights for everyone. In addition the executive director will build strong partnerships with FAJ’s constituents, community partners, Board, and staff.

Classification:             Full-time, exempt
Starting Salary:           $63,000, with benefits
Earliest Start Date:     October 1, 2016

Organizational Summary: 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 for all.

Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Filipino Advocates for Justice, formerly Filipinos for Affirmative Action, was established in 1973 in response to the discrimination and alienation faced by the influx of immigrant newcomers from the Philippines. Our work is grounded in the spirit of Bayanihan (people helping people). For over 40 years, we have been an advocate for immigrant and civil rights for the Filipino community and served the more vulnerable in our community by helping recent arrivals, youth and low wage workers navigate the challenges and hurdles of life in the US.

With an annual budget of $550k, Filipino Advocates for Justice uses multiple strategies to strengthening the Filipino community, including: 1) civic/voter engagement and advocacy; 2) leadership development; and 3) direct services.

Position Summary:  The Executive Director (E.D.) reports to the Board of Directors, and is responsible for the consistent achievement of FAJ’s mission, financial and programmatic objectives.  The E.D. will bring strong skills, knowledge, and deep experience in nonprofit administration, as well as a passion for empowering the Filipino community, immigrants, low wage workers, youth and families.  This includes a grounding in the complex social, political, and economic issues facing youth, families, immigrant low wage workers, and a body of knowledge and experience in social change, community organizing, and advocacy.   In addition, the Board is looking for a skillful change agent to preserve the core mission and programming while taking FAJ to its next levels of organizational infrastructure, strategic direction, and resource development.  The E.D. ideally brings a strong base of knowledge of and ability to navigate the socio-historical landscape of the East Bay and the San Francisco Bay Area at large.



I Leadership, Strategic and Business Planning

  1. Develop, maintain, and support a strong Board of Directors and serve as organizational liaison to board level committees or establish staff designee(s) as appropriate.
  2. In conjunction with the Board and staff, guide organizational direction including strategic program and business planning processes.


II Program Development and Administration

  1. Assures that FAJ has a long-term strategy for making consistent and timely progress in achieving its mission.
  2. Provides leadership in developing program, organizational, and financial plans with the Board of Directors and staff, and oversees the implementation of plans and policies.
  3. Oversees the maintenance of official records and documents, and ensures compliance with federal, state and local regulations.
  4. Maintains a working knowledge of significant developments and trends related to FAJ’s programmatic strategies.
  5. Ensures the development and implementation of strong program evaluation procedures and measureable outcomes consistent with FAJ’s mission and goals and contract obligations.


III Budget, Finance and Other Legal Compliance

  1. Develops and assures the maintenance of sound financial practices.
  2. Works with staff, Finance Committee and the Board in preparing an annual budget.
  3. Oversees expenses and revenue to ensure that the organization operates within budget.
  4. Assures organization is in compliance with local, state and federal guidelines as it relates to financial reporting, business licensing, maintaining liability coverage and other legal and ethical standards of nonprofit organizational management.


IV Fundraising

  1. Ensures that adequate funds are available to achieve the organization’s programs and objectives.
  2. In conjunction with staff and Board, establishes a fundraising plan in advance of each fiscal year.
  3. Leads efforts to implement fundraising plan, including: corporate and foundation fundraising;
    event sponsorships; and individual donor program.


 V Human Resources

  1. Oversees recruitment, employment, and performance of all personnel, both paid staff and volunteers.
  2. Directly supervises program staff as well as consultants in the areas of finance, human resources and fundraising.
  3. Ensures job descriptions are developed, regular performance evaluations are held, and sound human resource practices, partners and policies are in place.
  4. Encourages staff and volunteer professional development and to relate evolving skills to FAJs mission and goals.


VI Communications & Field Building

  1. Keeps the Board fully informed on the condition of the organization and all important trends/factors impacting its operation.
  2. Assures the activities of the organization as well as its programs and goals are well publicized to its constituents, stakeholders, and funders through effective communication tools including but not limited to writing blogs; op-eds; newsletter pieces.
  3. Establishes working relationships, collaborations, and alliances with diverse community groups and social justice partners to implement FAJ’s strategic initiatives.
  4. Represent FAJ at high priority meetings (e.g. partners, funders, and field)



  • A proven track record of social justice organizing, particularly involving immigrant and low wage worker rights, affordable housing and tenants rights, civic engagement, youth organizing, and health and economic justice.
  • Experience in a senior level position in a nonprofit or equivalent experience.
  • An unwavering commitment to the mission and goals of FAJ.
  • A strong work history with the Filipino community, human services and/or social change efforts.
  • Skills, experience, and past success with fund resource development. This includes, but is not limited to, corporate, private foundations, government contracts, and developing individual giving.
  • Strong understanding of local, state, and federal policy pertaining to social justice issues such as immigration, low-wage workers, health, and housing.
  • Proven track record of developing, strengthening and evaluating successful youth programming; civic engagement /community organizing; and immigrant and workers rights.
  • Strong skills in staff management, facilitation, conflict resolution, and team building.
  • A strong network of individuals and institutions active in FAJ’s fields of practice and a history of establishing and leveraging community partnerships.
  • Excellent written/verbal communication.
  • Experience with marketing the message of an organization including through writing, presentations, online tools, and organizational literature.
  • Experience overseeing the operations of a small non-profit to its ensure fiscal health and sustainability.
  • College degree or equivalent experience.



We offer a generous benefit package which includes medical, dental, vision, paid holidays, vacation and sick paid time off.  FAJ is an Equal Opportunity Employer. For more information about us please go to

To apply:

Please use the Subject Line: “FAJ Executive Director Search” and submit a cover letter, writing sample, and resume to

Application Deadline: Position will be open until filled.

Alameda County Board of Supervisors Votes to Support AHEAD Act

Friday, August 12th, 2016

Oakland, CA – Yesterday, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to support the Accounting for Health and Education in Asian Pacific Islander Demographics (AHEAD) Act, authored by Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland). This act, Assembly Bill 1726, requires California’s public institutions of higher education and the state’s public health agencies to collect, analyze, and report data for more Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) subgroups.

Eddy Zheng, co-director of the Oakland-based Asian Prisoner Support Committee, stated, “The Alameda County Board of Supervisors recognizes that AB 1726 is important for our communities because it allows for equal access to culturally competent resources for the Southeast Asian, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander subgroups that have been frequently marginalized due to the model minority myth.”

“The unique needs of our community are often overlooked in many health studies which can make addressing health disparities among subgroups very difficult,” said Chris Cara, Youth Services Director of Filipino Advocates for Justice based in Oakland. “AB 1726 would shine a light on those disparities.”

Alameda County-based organizations representing diverse Asian American and Pacific Islander communities pushed the Board of Supervisors to endorse the bill, including Asian Health Services, Asian Prisoner Support Committee, AYPAL, and Filipino Advocates for Justice.

The U.S. Census Bureau has identified 23 distinct communities within the Asian American population and 19 within the NHPI population. Between 2000 and 2010, the Asian American population grew by 34% and the Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (NHPI) population grew by 29%, making these among the fastest growing

ethnic groups in California. However, many of California’s state agencies place all of these groups into the same category of “Asian/Pacific Islander.”

Without the collection and reporting of state data on smaller Asian American and Pacific Islander subgroups, their needs are likely to be overlooked or underestimated. Among adults age 25 or older in Alameda County, 32.4% of Asian Americans hold a bachelor’s degree or higher. Among Cambodian Americans in Alameda County, the rate is just 9.9%. While only 14.8% of Alameda County’s Filipino population relies on public health care, over 30% of the Vietnamese population in Alameda County depend upon public health care. [1] Unless these trends are revealed through disaggregated data they remain invisible.

AB 1726 is sponsored by Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum, California Pan-Ethnic Health Network, Empowering Pacific Islander Communities, and Southeast Asia Resource Action Center. The bill is supported by a coalition of over 100 Asian American, Pacific Islander, and Native Hawaiian organizations in California and from civil rights, education, and health leaders, including the California Teachers Association, Campaign for College Opportunity, PolicyLink, American Cancer Society Action Network, Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF), and Western Center on Law and Poverty.

The bill is set to be heard by the full California State Senate later this month. Once it passes through the California Senate, it will head to Governor Brown’s desk for a signature.

[1] American Community Survey, 2010.

Contact: Christopher Cara, Youth Services Director, Filipino Advocates for Justice, 510-487-8552.

Download press release here.

DAPA/DACA+ Decision

Friday, June 24th, 2016

Filipino Advocates for Justice is angered and saddened — but not defeated — by the Supreme Court’s split decision (4 – 4) in the case of United States v. Texas.  This decision blocks the implementation of President Obama’s humanitarian efforts to expand DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and provide relief from deportation for parents of American citizens and legal permanent residents through a program called DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans).  The decision means that DACA expansion and DAPA are still on hold.  The case will now be sent back to the Texas district court to determine the whether the programs are constitutional.  The original DACA program, launched in 2012, is still available and is NOT affected by the Supreme Court’s decision.

“This decision hurts because we fought hard to protect young people and families from deportation.  But we are warriors.  We will organize harder, raise our voices louder, and come together even stronger than before.  This includes getting out the vote for leaders who will fight for the rights of immigrant communities,” said Beatrice Sanchez a DACA recipient.

“This decision does not change the existing DACA program,” says Rachel Aceberos, FAJ Immigration Counselor.  “Eligible undocumented immigrants should continue to apply for and renew DACA in order to access its many benefits.  For those who are DACA eligible, don’t be discouraged.  The more young people access DACA, the clearer it is that relief from deportation is needed and that we need a real legalization program.”

While this decision is a temporary setback, immigrant communities, our allies, and others committed to human rights will double our efforts to push for immigration policies that uphold the dignity of immigrants.  This is a call to action for the new American majority to use our vote this November to remove immigrant-hating legislators — particularly Governors – and replace them with public officials who recognize the contributions of and embrace immigrant communities.

In this light, we applaud the more rational direction of the California State Legislature who, just yesterday, passed the Dignity Not Detention Act (SB 1289).  SB 1289 prohibits municipalities from contracting for-profit immigration detention companies (like GEO Group and CCA), requires all detention facilities in California to uphold humane standards, and allows immigrants to sue if their rights are violated.


Beyond the elections FAJ will continue to fight for the protection and expansion of immigrants’ rights including fair and humane legalization of the undocumented.




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