SAN FRANCISCO — A national Filipino organization conducted a day-long forum focused on civic leadership and empowerment within the Filipino-American community.
“Spark, connect, empower:” this is the theme of the Northern California Civic Leadership
Forum — an all-day event by the Philippine consulate in San Francisco, and the National Federation of Filipino American Associations or NaFFAA, the partnership aims to inspire the community’s next generation of leaders.
“Our role is really to help unite and engage diverse Filipino-American individuals and organizations and encourage them to get involved around leadership developments, civic engagement, and advocacy,” said Jason Tengco.
A highlight of the event was to see Filipino-American leaders of various elected and appointed positions such as council members, mayors, and the state legislators.
“One thing we always talk about in terms of Filipino community is that we’re pretty much invisible in terms of politics and leadership but what I think today demonstrated is that we have people,” saidDr. Rod Daus-Magbual. “And we had people who came out of the shadows and put faces to names, that was really important.”
NAFFAA has said it is their mission to see more Fil-Ams in office, representing any political party.
“We need more representation in government, whether it’s local or state, like Assemblyman Rob Bonta. The fact that we also never had a full-blooded Filipino-American member of Congress is just a huge gap for our community as when we compare ourselves to other communities like the Chinese, Korean, south Asian communities. Filipinos still have a long way to go.”
“I’ve promised that while I was the first I wouldn’t be the last,” said Bonta. “And I will continue to support Filipino-Americans who want to step up and raise their voice and be in elected office.”
In an effort to strengthen the personal and professional development of young Fil-Ams — last year, NaFFAA launched its inaugural Empowering Pilipino Youth through Collaboration, or
EPYC Ambassadors program — which consists of a mix of a dozen college students and young professionals.