KAYA: Filipino Americans for Progress hosted the convening to discuss issues affecting Filipino Americans and the community’s mobilization ahead of the 2016 presidential elections.
Washington, D.C. (Oct. 13, 2015) — KAYA: Filipino Americans for Progress hosted the third annual National Filipino American Town Hall in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 2, bringing together leaders from across the country to discuss issues affecting the community and ways to mobilize Filipino Americans ahead of the 2016 presidential elections.
More than 200 leaders participated in events throughout the day, including both the KAYA town hall held at the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center and reception held at Capitale DC, as well as the first-ever celebration of Filipino American History Month at the White House hosted by the White House Office of Public Engagement and the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
The town hall included keynote remarks by Mark Pulido, City Council Member of Cerritos, CA, and a data presentation by Jessica Caloza, a KAYA board member, highlighting the community’s political participation and lack of representation in positions of influence.
Her presentation was followed by a panel discussion featuring Cerritos City Council Member Mark Pulido; Maj. Gen. Tony Taguba (Ret.), Chair of the Filipino Veterans Recognition and Education Projects; Rozita Lee, former Commissioner on the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific; Irene Bueno, co-founder and partner at Nueva Vista Group, LLC; Eric Salcedo, National Field Director at Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote (APIAVote) and Angelo Mathay, Associate Policy Analyst at the National Center on Immigration Integration Policy.
The panel not only highlighted the numerous issues that are affecting us today, but also the dearth of Filipino American leaders willing to take the challenge of representing us in local, state and federal governments. Although the community’s allies have been effective in advocating on behalf of the issues that affect us, Filipino American leaders will always be our most effective advocate in government.
“We are very heartened by the energy and excitement these leaders have shown towards the project of getting our own representatives elected into office,” said Genevieve Jopanda, KAYA National Co-Chair. “Now, it is our turn as leaders to make sure that the excitement we had during the town hall translates into action.”
After the town hall, KAYA hosted the AAPI Community Reception and Filipino Food Showcase, an event that highlighted the burgeoning Filipino food scene that is growing across the country. In addition to showcasing dishes from Washington, DC-area businesses such as Manila Mart, North Star Cafe and Grill and Purple Patch, the evening featured a number of dishes from renowned, Los Angeles-based Filipina American chef Cecilia de Castro. Chef Cecilia is one of the earliest pioneers of Filipino cooking in America and has worked alongside Wolfgang Puck for 30 years. Her work in the industry has been featured in publications such as Bon Appetit, Gourmet, Los Angeles Times, Daily News, Ventura County Star, Acorn, Santa Monica Courier and Asian Journal.
Proceeds from the fundraiser will go toward KAYA’s programs aimed at fostering emerging Filipino American leaders and increasing the number of Filipino Americans in all levels of government.
“The support we received in planning the national town hall shows that our community can rise to the challenge of mobilizing ourselves to political action,” said Romeo Ymalay, KAYA National Co-Chair. “Once again, the opportunity presents itself to us. It is now our responsibility to make the best of that opportunity.”