Where did the Summer go? Moving Forward and Getting Involved!
By Paulo Pontemayor, Interim KAYA National Chairman
Like many things, time flies when you’re having fun. KAYA: Filipino Americans for Progress has had a busy summer which causes us to ask ourselves—“Where did summer go?” As the interim chair of KAYA: Filipino Americans for Progress, I am happy to report that we have been busy!
As an all-volunteer organization, KAYA continues to lead the way on advancing progressive Filipino American policies in immigration reform, recognition for our Filipino World War II Veterans and working to elect candidates who understand the struggles, hopes and aspirations of the more than 3.4 million Filipino Americans in the United States.
We have been busy this summer—check out the pictures and updates below:
We were at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia where we met with many national and local leaders like California Assemblyman Rob Bonta, Labor leader Dolores Huerta and members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.Events such as the Filipino American meet up with Filipino Americans for Hillary and the AAPI Caucus allowed us to more specifically bring up issues of concern for Filipino Americans and build community.
Unfortunately, at the DNC, we learned of the tragic passing of Kaya member and Filipino American community stalwart Joe Montano. Those of us at the DNC mourned his loss, including his boss and Vice Presidential candidate Senator Tim Kaine, who spoke lovingly of Joe to the VA state delegation during the Convention.
We traveled west to the battleground state of Nevada, where recent data show that Filipino Americans make up almost 9% of the state’s population. We heard from Presidential candidates Jill Stein, Gary Johnson, former President Bill Clinton and Trump campaign surrogate Sean Reyes who serves as the Attorney General of Utah.
KAYA believes that Voter Registration is the beginning of a lifetime of civic engagement so we were able to register voters at the Filipino Community of Richmond’s Festival on August 13 in Henrico, Virginia which is a major battleground state.
On Sunday, 8/28 KAYA led a contingent to canvass for the Hillary and the Virginia Democrats to Manassas—a highly contested area that will determine who controls Congress next year. We assembled a team to knock door to door in the neighborhoods helping to turn Virginia blue. Of course no KAYA event would be complete without food, so we had lunch at a local, Filipino small business in the area sharing canvassing stories, lumpia and fellowship!
While political engagement, voter outreach and policy development are the main things KAYA is known for—we also take time to support and mentor the next generation of progressive Filipino American leaders. Now in its 7th year, the KAYA Leadership Program (KLP) is the only program of its kind that has helped lead educational and professional development programming specifically for Filipino American, Asian American and Pacific Islander Summer interns in the nation’s capital. Through these sessions, we equip our next generation of leaders with networking and leadership skills while building community.Living and working in the nation’s capital has its challenges which KAYA understands, so we help make the process feel more like home. Thanks to all our volunteers and participants!
Last but not least, I must mention our highly successful KAYA Kamayan events. Since June, we have hosted these fundraisers that promise small intimate gatherings, wonderful conversation, community building and most of all—GOOD FOOD! Thanks to the generosity of several of our KAYA members who have agreed to be chefs and hosts, we continue to raise both the funds for our programming and the bar for the #FilipinoFoodMovement which has continued to grow in influence and taste. We will be planning our next KAYA Kamayan at the end of September so please stay tuned and sign up for our listserve to get all the details!
KAYA: Filipino Americans for Progress is now heading into the crucial weeks of the 2016 Elections. Get involved either through volunteering to phonebank or door knock (link), attend our upcoming events and most of all donate to support our work (link). Share our posts on Facebook, Retweet us on Twitter, and follow us on Instagram. Better yet, sign up for our list serve to get the most up-to-date opportunities and information. Hope you all had a great summer and let’s all work together the next couple of week to advance our progressive Filipino American policies!