National Ecumenical Forum For Filipino Concerns – Inland Empire (NEFFCON-IE)

National Ecumenical Forum For Filipino Concerns – Inland Empire (NEFFCON-IE)

In light of rising incidents of hate against AAPI communities and recent census data that Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders (AANHPI) are among the fastest growing racial groups in California and nationwide, NEFFCON-IE conceived a strategic plan to set-up a Philippine American Intercultural School - Inland Empire (PAIS-IE).

National Ecumenical Forum For Filipino Concerns – Inland Empire (NEFFCON-IE)

First of all, we do not claim to be the “right” or “best” people to launch and develop this intercultural school to combat racism. Other organizations like Asian Americans Advancing Justice have been conducting similar undertakings much longer and on a more broader and national scale. However, given our involvement in the Census 2020 Count (2020), Redistricting Campaign (2021), Vote Safe Recall Election (2021) and Stop Asian Hate activities, we have noticed that participation and involvement by the different Asian-American communities has been minimal. Though the Asian-American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander population (AANHPI) make up about 9% of the 4.5 million residents in the Inland Empire Region, their felt presence in these campaigns was even less. That said, since 2019, our organization has been able to develop closer and wider links with different AANHPI communities and organizations. On various campaigns, events and activities, we have developed partnerships with the Asian Pacific Ministry, Global Solidarity Committee and Office of Advocacy (3 departments under the Diocese of San Bernardino), the Asian Pacific Counseling and Treatment Center (APCTC), Asian Pacific Labor Alliance (APALA), and over 30 community-based and faith-based communities that have members from different communities of color. This closer link with the different communities would be one of the major factors that makes our organization uniquely positioned to carry out the mentioned program. The community links that were developed over the years would not have been possible without the commitment and community service experience of our key people that comprise the current Board and the PAIS-IE Workgroup. We have 3 individuals who are members of the clergy and are also parish administrators, 4 other individuals who have extensive organizing and management skills, and 3 individuals who have expertise in various social media platforms. Finally, and most importantly, all the work we do is quided by a fundamental belief that every human being has been created in the image of God, deserving of dignity and respect. This basic principle is what fuels the spirit of volunteerism in each of our members.

About the Organization:

First of all, we do not claim to be the “right” or “best” people to launch and develop this intercultural school to combat racism. Other organizations like Asian Americans Advancing Justice have been conducting similar undertakings much longer and on a more broader and national scale. However, given our involvement in the Census 2020 Count (2020), Redistricting Campaign (2021), Vote Safe Recall Election (2021) and Stop Asian Hate activities, we have noticed that participation and involvement by the different Asian-American communities has been minimal. Though the Asian-American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander population (AANHPI) make up about 9% of the 4.5 million residents in the Inland Empire Region, their felt presence in these campaigns was even less. That said, since 2019, our organization has been able to develop closer and wider links with different AANHPI communities and organizations. On various campaigns, events and activities, we have developed partnerships with the Asian Pacific Ministry, Global Solidarity Committee and Office of Advocacy (3 departments under the Diocese of San Bernardino), the Asian Pacific Counseling and Treatment Center (APCTC), Asian Pacific Labor Alliance (APALA), and over 30 community-based and faith-based communities that have members from different communities of color. This closer link with the different communities would be one of the major factors that makes our organization uniquely positioned to carry out the mentioned program. The community links that were developed over the years would not have been possible without the commitment and community service experience of our key people that comprise the current Board and the PAIS-IE Workgroup. We have 3 individuals who are members of the clergy and are also parish administrators, 4 other individuals who have extensive organizing and management skills, and 3 individuals who have expertise in various social media platforms. Finally, and most importantly, all the work we do is quided by a fundamental belief that every human being has been created in the image of God, deserving of dignity and respect. This basic principle is what fuels the spirit of volunteerism in each of our members.

organizational budget

$50,000 - $100,000

existence for

0-5 Years

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

California

organizational budget

$50,000 - $100,000

existence for

0-5 Years

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

California

The Issue:

According to Stop Asian Hate, a nonprofit group that tracks self-reported hate and discrimination against AAPI communities across America, 10,905 hate incidents were reported between March 2020 and December 2021. Additionally, California leads all states in the number of hate incidents by a wide margin with over 3,500 hate incidents. The vast majority of hate incidents involve conduct that is not criminal and take place in spaces open and accessible to the public. Moreover, hate incidents reported by women make up nearly two-thirds of all reports in the state, and majority of these reports are accounts of verbal harassment or name calling, including sexist slurs, in public. Although the rise in anti-Asian hate incidents have been due to the tacit support of the Trump administration, the history of Anti-Asian racism and discrimination dates back to the middle of the 19th century at the same period Asians started immigrating to the U.S. From the time Chinese laborers began looking for work opportunities abroad in the aftermath of the Opium Wars to the subsequent waves of Asian immigration in the US seeking similar opportunities, Asian immigrants have faced hostility from white residents who saw them as an economic, health and moral threat. Laws such as the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, The Gentlemen’s Agreement of 1907, the 1917 Immigration Act, the Immigration Act of 1924 and Executive Order 9066 (1942) are a few examples of oppressive policies that targeted Asians. These policies, in turn, has contributed to the permeation of racist values and norms in American society today. Anti-Asian racism is but a manifestation of a racism that has existed in U.S. society even before Asians immigrated to America. Unlike the past, today’s racism is not always obvious. It can be slippery, elusive to observation and analysis. Twenty-first-century racism has disguised itself, calling itself by other names and cloaking itself behind seemingly “race-neutral” laws, policies, practices and language. But it is still with us, influencing our relationships, our institutions, and our world. Combatting racism, and in particular anti-Asian hate, compels change at different levels - individual, interactional, institutional and collective action.

The Solution:

In light of rising incidents of hate against AAPI communities and recent census data that Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders (AANHPI) are among the fastest growing racial groups in California and nationwide, NEFFCON-IE conceived a strategic plan to set-up a Philippine American Intercultural School - Inland Empire (PAIS-IE). The school's mission is to address the path of unity in diversity through intentional intercultural dialogue and mutual sharing of their ethnic and national histories, dreams and aspirations inspired by the struggles of their peoples in their home countries for a better life. Key to this intentional intercultural learning process is immersion into the participants' ethnic and national origins. Participants will be given the opportunity to develop and present their own ethnic cultural histories in whatever format or platform they deem effective to achieve this deeper and richer understanding. Although it is called a “school” it will not be a traditional school. It will be an alternative educational endeavor where our “teachers” are the “Trusted Messengers”, people that community members regard as credible sources of information, our “classroom” are the different ethnic communities that populate the Inland Empire region (Riverside and San Bernardino Counties), and our students/participants are individuals who will make a commitment to share not only what they have learned to their particular respective cultural groups, but will motivate and invite others to undergo the same experience. Among the Asian-American communities we will be inviting participants are: Indonesian-Americas, Chinese-American, Vietnamese-American, Japanese-American, Korean-American, Thai-American, Indian-American (India), Pakistani-American, Malaysian-American and Filipino-American. Among the Pacific Islander communities, we will be inviting: Samoan-American, Native-Hawaiian, Chamorro, Tongan-American and Fijian-American. Participants from the different Hispanic/Latino communities, American Indians, Muslim-Americans, African-Americans and European-Americans are also invited. We started the PAIS-IE Program in November 2021 through December 2021(Phase 1). There were 7 topics/sessions. Four of these sessions were done in a hybrid format (virtual and face-to-face). Total number of participants that attended were 16. Nine instructors facilitated the classes. Another series of topics is planned on November 18 – 20, 2022 (Phase 2). This will be a live-in seminar/retreat style event beginning Friday afternoon until Sunday afternoon.

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