NaFFAA conference highlights immigration, political empowerment and youth engagement

CARSON, CA — For three days, the Pinoy-hub of Carson, California was ground zero for hundreds of Filipinos tackling the most pressing community issues and concerns through the National Federation of Filipino American Associations’ (NaFFAA) 13th National Empowerment Conference recently.

“Just the look when you come in everything is organized and there’s an excitement in the air,” says Loida Nicolas Lewis.

The non-partisan Filipino American organization unveiled its new executive director, ready to take over the role from Jason Tengco.

Carissa Villacorta is an author and publicist, “a community builder” in her own words.

“I would like to serve by listening, listening to what we need how we can best really help improve their lives, it’s a dream if we get people to vote people more engaged in society, people to improve their lives economically we empower the whole community and its really like to serve your community is to serve your child and serve your child is to serve the community.”

The recent NaFFAA summit also encouraged Filipinos to be more politically empowered by participating in the upcoming census and elections, even encouraging qualified participants to run for office.

The conference also put great importance to youth engagement and leadership.

“I think this convention served as a good tool for the young educators who would like to pursue their chosen profession in such that the Filipino American community would be able to benefit more on this type of discussion on education,” said Marilyn Doromal.

“To meet each other to know what issues we face and to find ways to collaborate with each other and to engage,” says Cornelia Soberano.

One of the issues discussed at the summit was the Trump administration’s decision to end the Filipino World War II veterans’ visa parole program — which expedited the reunification of the vets and their children.

“We’ve worked so hard with that over the past couple of years, that’s one of our few initiatives that as Filipino Americans we came together despite what your political affiliation and just like that it’s gone. It’s simply unacceptable so really asking our members whether they’re young or an older generation we really gotta come together make sure that we fight for that,” says Brendan Flores
NaFFAA President and Chairman.

NaFFAA is calling on the community to sign letters of support for the veterans at bit.ly/filvetrepback, as it also continues to look at other immigration-related issues.

Whether it’s local or international causes, participating in the census or election, or a change to a personal lifestyle. Ultimately NaFFAA is hoping for everyone to be involved in building a bright future for Filipino Americans.

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