Search to Involve Pilipino Americans (SIPA)

Search to Involve Pilipino Americans (SIPA)

For over 50 years, SIPA has been rooted in what is now designated as Historic Filipinotown in Los Angles, with a mission to enrich and empower generations of Pilipino Americans and others by providing health and human services, community economic development, arts and culture, and a place where people of

Search to Involve Pilipino Americans (SIPA)

For over 50 years, SIPA has been rooted in what is now designated as Historic Filipinotown in Los Angles, with a mission to enrich and empower generations of Pilipino Americans and others by providing health and human services, community economic development, arts and culture, and a place where people of all backgrounds come together to strengthen community. SIPA was established in 1972, after the Civil Rights Movement and during the rise of the Asian American movement in Los Angeles when a coalition of progressive and passionate individuals within the Filipino, Asian American and Pacific Islander communities came together. Guided by the leadership of founders and social workers Royal Morales and Al Mendoza, the coalition organized the growing Filipino-American community through SIPA. In the 80s-90s, increasing violence impacted the Los Angeles neighborhood of then Westlake, Rampart and Echo Park, stemming from poverty, the war on drugs, police corruption and subsequent gang activity. SIPA served as a safe zone and pillar of strength for the community, meeting the basic needs of its residents. Then and now, SIPA continues to ensure that the needs of underserved Filipinos are addressed, especially for youth and their families, guided by the indigenous values of kawanggawa (compassionate action), damayan (engage), and pagtutulungan (help).

About the Organization:

For over 50 years, SIPA has been rooted in what is now designated as Historic Filipinotown in Los Angles, with a mission to enrich and empower generations of Pilipino Americans and others by providing health and human services, community economic development, arts and culture, and a place where people of all backgrounds come together to strengthen community. SIPA was established in 1972, after the Civil Rights Movement and during the rise of the Asian American movement in Los Angeles when a coalition of progressive and passionate individuals within the Filipino, Asian American and Pacific Islander communities came together. Guided by the leadership of founders and social workers Royal Morales and Al Mendoza, the coalition organized the growing Filipino-American community through SIPA. In the 80s-90s, increasing violence impacted the Los Angeles neighborhood of then Westlake, Rampart and Echo Park, stemming from poverty, the war on drugs, police corruption and subsequent gang activity. SIPA served as a safe zone and pillar of strength for the community, meeting the basic needs of its residents. Then and now, SIPA continues to ensure that the needs of underserved Filipinos are addressed, especially for youth and their families, guided by the indigenous values of kawanggawa (compassionate action), damayan (engage), and pagtutulungan (help).

organizational budget

$1 MILLION - $2 MILLION

existence for

31+ YEARS

The Issue:

Historic Filipinotown in Los Angeles is located adjacent to the communities of Echo Park, Silverlake, Westlake and Rampart Village. It is a community that has historically served as home to new immigrants from the Philippines in the late-1960s to early-1970s and continues to hold cultural and historic significance for Filipino Americans throughout Southern California. Historic Filipinotown remains a predominantly immigrant neighborhood, with a large majority (63%) being foreign born, with (66%) being Latinx, and another (25%) being Asian, and of which 64% are Filipino. Over a third (38%) of households are linguistically isolated, over twice the level for the County. The poverty rate of is 26%, is over 1.5 times that of the County’s rate of 16% (UCLA, Asian American Studies Center). 92% of households in Historic Filipinotown are renters, with the median annual income being $26,700 (LA Times). SIPA conducted a community needs assessment in 2021 amidst the pandemic in order to understand what the immediate needs were of residents of Historic Filipinotown. The data showed that basic needs continued to be an issue, which included access to care, food, safety and economic stability. SIPA shifted our work to address these needs by introducing a new department, Health and Wellness, focused on addressing these very issues while providing ongoing COVID vaccine education and resources. Mental health also rose to the top especially for teen and transitional age youth, which prompted SIPA to create a new program called “Walang Hiya” or “Without Shame”, which integrates Ethnic Studies with mental health education and strategies for coping and well-being. Every step of the way over the past three years, SIPA has listened actively to the needs of the community and responded with new programs and increased capacity to support. Every program SIPA runs today is in response to the demands of the community including the Youth Leadership Institute, short term counseling, themed support groups, affordable housing and cultural programming.

The Solution:

Guided by its pillars, SIPA serves approximately 3800 low-income, multi-ethnic youth and families of color in the Historic Filipinotown community of Los Angeles, and Filipino Americans throughout Los Angeles County. Programs include: Mental Health Outreach: Programs and services to support well-being and destigmatizing mental health including short-term counseling, psychoeducational workshops, in-language case management, trainings and support groups Youth Programs: Programs for youth 6-18 including after school program, Filipino Summer Program, Walang Hiya teen wellness program, cultural education workshops including dance, martial arts, food & music, enrichment and academic supports, LGBTQ parent groups and Abriendo Puertas parenting classes Community Celebrations: Open to all people served by SIPA and the general community including Family Day, Asian Pacific Am Heritage Month, Holiday Toy Distribution Affordable Housing: SIPA has 20 years experience of operating and providing supportive services to affordable housing communities in Los Angeles. SIPA recently opened HiFi Collective, providing permanent supportive housing to 63 residents. Health and Wellness: COVID-19 vaccine education and resources, and health education, food distribution, access to care and referrals for linguistically isolated residents of Historic Filipinotown As SIPA enters into this new phase the organization felt it necessary to revisit the organization’s purpose and role given the country’s continued struggles with systemic forms of oppression including anti-Asian violence, anti-Blackness, state sanctioned violence, anti-immigration policies and attacks on LGBTQ people and legislation protecting them. SIPA is in the process of strategic planning to identify its new vision, mission, pillars of work and priorities for the next three years.

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