Bay Area Pinay leader recognized for outstanding efforts to help immigrants

SAN FRANCISCO — The executive director of the oldest non-profit corporation in Northern California just became the first Filipina to be recognized for an award by the San Francisco Immigrant Rights Commission.

“For us, the organization, this means a lot. And for the families, for them to know they have the support when they have some of their family members left behind in the Philippines, through all the struggles they are going through growing up in the South of Market that they have a community who support them,” said Carla Laurel.

Laurel is being recognized with the Emerging Leader Award for her work as executive director of West Bay Pilipino Multi-Service Center.

West Bay has been serving the Filipino community in San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood since 1968.

For the past 22 years — the San Francisco Immigrants Rights Commission has been protecting and enhancing the quality of life for all immigrants that come to the city.

“From language rights to inclusion and quality of life for our immigrant communities we have worked hard to ensure that immigrants are recognized for their many contributions and are treated with the dignity and respect we wish for all Americans.”

And like the immigrants rights commission — Laurel recognizes one of her immigrant staff members.

Laurel dedicated her award to Janice Madriaga, who came to West Bay as a young girl and has become a young woman giving back to her community as a recent San Francisco State University graduate without student loans.

“I’m humbled. I’m proud. But it’s also a moment of recognizing that even though we’re the largest immigrant community in San Francisco, we have a 100 year history in San Francisco and this is the first time? There’s a feeling too of we have to make sure people know we are here and that we matter.”

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