Filipino Migrant Center

Filipino Migrant Center

FMC has over ten years of experience conducting education, outreach, programs, and technical assistance to low-wage workers in Southern California. Since our staff, board, and volunteers come from the very communities we serve, there is a strong cultural understanding when working with the Filipino community. The majority of our staff

Filipino Migrant Center

FMC has over ten years of experience conducting education, outreach, programs, and technical assistance to low-wage workers in Southern California. Since our staff, board, and volunteers come from the very communities we serve, there is a strong cultural understanding when working with the Filipino community. The majority of our staff and a few board members have rich experience in grassroots organizing and have worked on-the-ground alongside community members to advocate for a wide array of issues spanning from immigration and workers rights to health and environmental justice. This cultural competency is especially helpful in our intergenerational approach to organizing because we also understand the dynamics of working with Filipinos from different age groups and backgrounds. Despite our limitations of having a relatively small staff, one of our biggest strengths is our volunteer base. Out of the 120+ volunteers on our roster, at least 50% of them have received prior services as a client. More importantly, many of our volunteers have also transformed into youth and worker leaders through our programs. For example, the Roque family, youth artists, and other immigrant workers we are working with on the Liwanag (Light) project and Stop Asian Hate campaign are long-term FMC community members who were first served through our labor trafficking and wage theft campaigns. Although they are continuously impacted by the changing conditions brought on by the pandemic, through continuous engagement in our programs and services, together, we continue to build our long-term resilience and capacity to stand up for our rights as an AAPI community.

About the Organization:

FMC has over ten years of experience conducting education, outreach, programs, and technical assistance to low-wage workers in Southern California. Since our staff, board, and volunteers come from the very communities we serve, there is a strong cultural understanding when working with the Filipino community. The majority of our staff and a few board members have rich experience in grassroots organizing and have worked on-the-ground alongside community members to advocate for a wide array of issues spanning from immigration and workers rights to health and environmental justice. This cultural competency is especially helpful in our intergenerational approach to organizing because we also understand the dynamics of working with Filipinos from different age groups and backgrounds. Despite our limitations of having a relatively small staff, one of our biggest strengths is our volunteer base. Out of the 120+ volunteers on our roster, at least 50% of them have received prior services as a client. More importantly, many of our volunteers have also transformed into youth and worker leaders through our programs. For example, the Roque family, youth artists, and other immigrant workers we are working with on the Liwanag (Light) project and Stop Asian Hate campaign are long-term FMC community members who were first served through our labor trafficking and wage theft campaigns. Although they are continuously impacted by the changing conditions brought on by the pandemic, through continuous engagement in our programs and services, together, we continue to build our long-term resilience and capacity to stand up for our rights as an AAPI community.

organizational budget

$500,000 - $1 MILLION

existence for

11-15 YEARS

Organization benefits AAPIs residing in the following state(s):

California

organizational budget

$500,000 - $1 MILLION

existence for

11-15 YEARS

Organization benefits AAPIs residing in the following state(s):

California

The Issue:

On May 13, 2022, two Filipino immigrant caregivers were attacked alongside their daughter by a white male late at night at a McDonald’s drive-through in Los Angeles. The Roque family was physically assaulted, called anti-Asian racial slurs, received threats of violence, and had property damaged. In their attempt to defend themselves and escape, the assailant took hold of the father, Gabriel, and tackled him to the ground, fracturing his rib, then put the mother, Nerissa, in a chokehold. While they managed to free themselves from the assailant with the help of bystanders, the Roque family remains deeply traumatized yet determined to seek justice so this does not happen to another Asian family again. This story is only one of many stories of violence that Filipino immigrant workers face. It is also a story of hope—how immigrant workers not only contribute to providing essential services to society, but also contribute to the fight for justice. The Filipino community has been one of the most impacted by COVID-19, especially frontline immigrant workers in the healthcare, domestic work, food, and grocery service sectors. In the last few years, Filipino Americans have been highlighted in the media because, while they make up four percent of registered nurses nationwide, they account for about 25 percent of registered nurses who have died of COVID-19. In another unfortunate statistic, Filipinos now rank third among Asian ethnicity groups with the most reported cases of anti-Asian hate crimes in the U.S., which significantly increased during the pandemic. Despite the worsening situation among Filipino and AAPI immigrant workers as a whole, these stories of struggle are often rendered down to statistics and left untold, let alone the stories of Asian immigrant workers coming together to fight back and organize for genuine change.

The Solution:

We believe that people who are most affected and impacted by social injustices should lead in developing long-term strategies to change systems of inequality. To shed light on the plight of Filipinos and bring about positive change for low-wage Asian immigrant workers, we are using creative storytelling and grassroots campaigning centered around developing immigrant leaders and empowering the community through advocacy and action. FMC is collaborating with immigrant youth filmmakers and artists to produce “Liwanag (Light)” , a documentary and storybook that highlights the plight of Filipina frontline workers in LA during the COVID-19 pandemic whose lives could not simply go back to "normal" as they continue to experience physical and mental health issues, workplace challenges, and trauma from racist attacks against the Asian community. We intend to support the immigrant youth artists, who will play a key role in lending their talents and skills to create film and art that serve as vehicles for social change. Our goal is to hold interactive community film screenings and exhibits across Southern California in which the immigrant youth artists will help to facilitate discussion to deepen our understanding of issues among immigrant workers. Furthermore, we plan to educate the community on the roots of anti-Asian hate and forced migration and unite community members toward sustained action. We will target holding forums among immigrant workers and develop solutions alongside them to address workplace issues and anti-Asian hate. More importantly, we hope to bring national attention to the case of the Roque family, garner greater support to influence legislation, and build an organized community of Filipinos and allies that is united in demanding health and safety protections for immigrant workers and fighting against racist attacks toward the Asian community.

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