Engaging sets with original poems in solo and/or duo formats. Main talking points cover the intersections of social justice, self-expression, and power dynamics.
Creating a Safe Space to Share Your Stories and Build Community
From 2009-2010, Stephanie and Eddy coordinated weekly workshops and monthly open mics as part of a spoken word organization, Uncultivated Rabbits, at UC Irvine. Under the annual Festival of Philippine Arts and Culture (FPAC) by FilAm Arts, they were co-curators of the Literary Arts from 2014-2017. Since 2012 to the present, they have served as the co-founders and co-directors of Sunday Jump, the longest-running Filipino-founded open mic series in Historic Filipinotown, Los Angeles.
Our journeys are driven by our identity. By remembering the past, honoring the present, and imagining the future, participants will develop a basic understanding of their truth and goals. First, we establish the conditions of a safe space for attendees. Then, we dive deep into writing exercises and an open mic format to express stories in a safe and creative environment. Sharing our unique stories is a basic building block of what it means to create a community.
Keeping the Peace in Stressful Situations
Stephanie and Eddy have organized the annual Justice for Filipino Veterans (JFAV) March in Los Angeles from 2012-2019. They both participated in various actions and coordinated contingents in support of pro-people issues. As a direct provider of family counseling, Eddy is trained in evidence-based practices, such as motivational interviewing, and they combine clinical knowledge and life experience to ensure the safety of others in active mobilizations.
Being an activist can be stressful when you’re balancing school, work, and organizing. As activists aiming to create systemic change for communities long seeking justice, the work we do is bound to get pushback from those upholding the status quo. What do you do when a comrade is having trouble finding that balance, or is in crisis? Or when an agitator is derailing your org’s message? Whether talking one-to-one with a friend or marching in the streets with your fist up, de-escalation training provides skills that can be used in many situations. Participants are provided scenarios and given hard skills for learning and practicing how to verbally de-escalate a situation. Open learning environment in which people of all skill levels are welcome.
Making the Government Work For Us
In collaboration with Justice for Filipino American Veterans (JFAV) in Los Angeles and Ugnayan Youth for Justice and Social Change in New York, Eddy participated in grassroots lobbying in support of two bi-partisan bills, the Filipino Veterans of World War II Congressional Gold Medal Act and the Filipino Veterans Fairness Act. In 2016 and 2017, Eddy traveled to Washington D.C. and presented to both Democrat and Republican staff representatives about the ongoing struggle for full equity.
Nothing changes unless your voice is heard. Lobbying is just one way to do that. Meet face to face with elected government officials and their representatives and influence decision makers to propose, pass, defeat, or change laws. Part of lobbying is doing the research, knowing the issue, and taking action. And you don’t have to be a professional to do it; anyone can.
Justice For Our Veterans
Having served in the United States Armed Forces Far East (USAFFE) during World War II, Stephanie’s late grandfather, Marciano Alvarez, was one of 250,000 Filipino veterans denied full recognition and equal benefits by the Rescission Act of 1946. Since 2012, Stephanie and Eddy have directly worked with WWII veterans in Los Angeles and San Francisco with advocacy efforts, such as social events and community forums. Eddy lobbied in Washington D.C. to call for Congresspersons to endorse the Filipino Veterans of World War II Congressional Gold Medal Act in 2016 and the Filipino Veterans Fairness Act in 2016 and 2017.
Since the Rescission Act passed in 1946, our Filipino American veterans have had their military service gone unrecognized by the US. Learn about the issue and the actions taken to achieve justice for our aging veterans, widows, and their families.
The Legacy of the Delano Manongs
Stephanie’s late grandfather, Alejandro Sumiog Sajor, was one of the agricultural workers known as the “sakadas” in the sugarcane fields of Hawaii in the 1940s. In 2013, Stephanie and Eddy organized as members of the AB 123 Southern California Coalition via letter writing and phone banking that was signed by then Governor Jerry Brown to include the contributions of Filipino Americans to the farm labor movement in California’s educational curriculum. Their poem, “A Letter to Manong Larry Itliong,” was highlighted as an opening performance to the film debut of the Delano Manongs, directed by Marissa Aroy, at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival in 2014.
Everyone remembers Cesar Chavez as the leader of the United Farm Workers. But what about Larry Itliong, Philip Vera Cruz, and the Delano Manongs? Uncover where the true origins of the momentous labor movement began — with the Filipino agricultural workers and the Delano Grape Strike of 1965.
Learning From the Past to Inform the Present
Since 2013, Stephanie and Eddy have been informed by direct experience and educational research in the practice of allyship and autonomy with anti-racist organizations in Los Angeles including but not limited to Black Lives Matter: Los Angeles (BLMLA), White People 4 Black Lives (WP4BL), and Act Now Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER) Coalition. Previous engagement in actions included rallies at LAPD Headquarters, marches across Leimert Park, Pershing Square, and Los Angeles City Hall, and art showcases and community fair fundraisers to support local organizing efforts.
From the Buffalo Soldiers during the Philippine-American War to the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, the black community has literally put their own lives on the line so that Filipinos could have independence and freedom. How do we show up for black lives today?
Our History is Not Just an Elective
Eddy is an alumnus of Filipino Heritage Studies at James Logan High School in 2006, which is the only high school in the nation to have an Ethnic Studies Department. From 2012-2019, Stephanie and Eddy organized SIKAP or CCAPS (California Coalition Advancing Pilipinx Studies) to unite student and community organizations to share resources and raise awareness about the impact of Ethnic Studies through Pilipinx Visibility Weeks coordinated in-person and online. Past organizations of SIKAP included Cal Poly Pomona Pilipino American Studies Kollective, Cal Poly Pomona Chi Rho Omicron, Claremont Colleges Kasama, CSUDH Pagsikapan, CSUF Pilipino American Students Association, CSULA Kalahi, CSULB Kappa Psi Epsilon, CSUN Filipino-American Student Association, KmB / Pro-People Youth, Lakas Mentorship, MSMU Pangkat, Roybal Learning Center Filipino Club, UCI Kababayan, UCLA Kappa Psi Epsilon, UCLA Samahang Pilipino, UCR Katipunan PSO, UCSB Kapatirang Pilipino, and USC Troy Philippines.
Everyone benefits from taking an ethnic studies course; whether pursuing a career in the social or physical sciences, cultural competency is relevant to all professional fields. Ethnic studies should be a requirement, not an elective! This workshop examines Pilipinx Studies, discussing its historical characteristics, importance, and development while presenting avenues to actively establish and sustain our relevant education. We will provide organizing skills and how they translate on and off campus.