Thursday, October 11, 2012
Contact: Melissa Josue, KAYA National Communications Director


GOTV campaign featuring prominent Filipino American celebrities premiers during Filipino American History Month.

San Francisco, CA – With the start of Filipino American History Month, political grassroots organization KAYA: Filipino Americans for Progress (KAYA) debuted a get-out-the-vote public service announcement (PSA) featuring several prominent Filipino American celebrities to help encourage voter registration and awareness in the Filipino American community.

“ We need to make sure that our rapid population growth translates into increased electoral participation. Voter registration and voter turnout is the only way to ensure that the right leaders who make decisions about our livelihood, safety,and the future of our community get elected into office.” said KAYA National Co-Chair Genevieve Jopanda.

The video features actors Dante Basco and Michael Copon and singers Jasmine Villegas and AJ Rafael in a thirty-second spot that touches on their ties to the Philippines and the diverse reasons they vote, ranging from immigration reform to special education advocacy.

Short but powerful, the first-of-its-kind PSA hopes to reach and connect with Filipino American voters during Filipino American History Month, a time of pride and celebration for the Filipino American community, through a mix of art and activism.

“I think it’s important for us as Filipino Americans to vote because we have a low voter registration rate. We can have a lot of influence and need to voice our opinion,” said Villegas. “It’s especially important for young people to vote because unless you speak up you won’t be heard – voting is our chance to be heard.”

The Filipino American community represents a significant voting population. According to the 2010 Census, Filipinos number more than 3.4 million with the largest share being in California and fastest growth shown in Nevada. Filipinos are the second largest Asian American group after Chinese Americans.

In 2008, a National Asian American Survey (NAASurvey), showed that Filipino Americans were registered to vote at a higher rate to other Asian American groups (61% vs.54%). The NAASurvey also found that Filipino Americans were more likely to support a campaign, contribute money, and do community work.

Despite the promising numbers, however, efforts to increase Filipino American voter registration and turnout rates remain an important focus.

“The Filipino American community’s size has long been disproportionate to our political empowerment in the United States,” said Victor Zapanta, who directed and helped produce the video. “I hope that in some small way, this video helps fix that disparity by sending Filipino Americans to the voting booths this November.”

About the artists:

Danté Basco is an actor, voice actor, poet, and dancer. He is best known for playing Rufio in the 1991 live-action Peter Pan film , Hook. He is also well known for voicing Zuko in the Nickelodeon series Avatar: The Last Airbender, Zuko’s grandson, General Iroh II, in The Legend of Korra, and Jake Long from the Disney series American Dragon: Jake Long.

Jasmine Marie Villegas, also known as Jasmine V, is an R&B/pop singer who was recently signed to Sony Music.

AJ Rafael is a musician and Internet celebrity. He is best known for his original songs such as “I Just Want You” and “We Could Happen”.

Michael Copon is an actor, model, producer, and singer. He is known for his role of Felix Taggaro in the television series One Tree Hill, playing Vin Keahi in the television series Beyond the Break, and starring in Power Rangers: Time Force.

Production Team:

Vida Benavides , Executive Producer
Victor Diaz Zapanta, Producer, Director
Jian Zapata, Associate Producer
Daphne Domingo, Production Assistant
Terrina Gogue, Production Assistant

About Filipino American History Month:
Filipino American History Month, also known as the Filipino American Heritage Month, is celebrated in the United States during the month of October. The Filipino American National Historical Society established Filipino American History Month in the year 1988. In California and Hawaii, where a large number of Filipino Americans reside, Filipino American History Month is widely celebrated. Many Filipino American organizations in these states often initiate their own independent celebrations.

For more information and to register to vote, visit kayagrassroots.org.


Fil Am artists join KAYA: Filipino Americans for Progress in GOTV PSA campaign

KAYA has a new website at http://www.kayagrassroots.org

Visit http://www.kayagrassroots.org for election information and KAYA’s new website!


Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid rally in Nevada with Manny Pacquiao


Get out the Vote! RSVP to the Rally with Manny Pacquiao and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in Nevada!

Celebrate Oktoberfest with Hydra Mendoza at Social Kitchen & Brewery

Come celebrate Oktoberfest with Hydra Mendoza at Social Kitchen & Brewery
Thursday, Oct. 28 from 6:30pm – 8:30pm
Social Kitchen & Brewery
1326 9th Avenue (cross street Irving)
San Francisco, 94122. Continue reading

Hydra Mendoza and Phil Ting on “Ask an Expert on Education and San Francisco Schools

KAYA endorsed candidates, Phil Ting for San Francisco Assessor and Hydra Mendoza for San Francisco School Board will be taking and answering questions as a part of Reset San Francisco, who polled that education policy is one of the city’s most important issues.

Next Thursday, October 28 at 4pm, ask leading education expert and School Boardmember Hydra Mendoza during our third Ask an Expert live webcast. Hydra was Mayor Gavin Newsom’s Policy Advisor on Education.

You can submit your question online right now.

We agree that investing in our local schools is the best way to ensure that our children receive the education they need to prepare them for what lies ahead – and the best way to invest in the future of San Francisco’s economy.

You can join us online right now. Read what other San Franciscans have been saying about education at ResetSanFrancisco.org/Education.  And please RSVP to our Ask an Expert online conversation and send us your question today.

Rep. Honda endorsement statement for Jerry Brown for CA Governor

For Immediate Release

Contact:   Michael Shank

“As California comes down to the wire in choosing our next Governor – one who will free this state of its financial fetters and forge a new way forward, each endorsement matters mightily.  Serving as the Chairman of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, there is little surprise behind my wholehearted endorsement of Democratic Candidate Jerry Brown.  As Governor, Jerry Brown appointed an unprecedented number of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs), over 250, to government positions, boards and commissions – more than any Governor in California’s history.   Under Governor Jerry Brown’s leadership, we benefited from the first AAPIs to head California state departments and serve on University of California’s Board of Regents, the first two Chinese Americans to serve on the California Court of Appeals, the first Japanese American woman judge in California, and the first Filipino American to serve on the Superior Court in U.S. history.”

“Jerry Brown earned my support with his history of aggressively and effectively focusing on the needs of our AAPI community – all within one of the most diverse administrations in the nation.  For example, Brown implemented the nation’s first anti-redlining measure, prohibiting lenders from denying loans based on a neighborhood’s ethnic makeup.  Brown boosted economic empowerment opportunities for AAPIs by lowering taxes for, and by making loans more accessible to, AAPI small businesses.  Brown increased educational opportunities for AAPI communities by nearly quadrupling K-12 education funding and doubling higher education funding.”

“Jerry Brown’s record of accomplishment for our community matters.  So when it comes to electing a governor who will actively respect and reaffirm the rights and responsibilities of the AAPI community, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Results are what count, not rhetoric. Proof is what is important, not party politics.  This is why I was so disappointed with 80/20’s lack of vision in their recent decision to endorse Brown’s opponent, who has no real track record of accomplishment in addressing the needs of the AAPI community.   For any thoughtful Asian American, keen on discerning who is deserving of AAPI support, to ignore the “walk” in favor of mere “talk”, is disconcerting.  A campaign’s capacity to fill out a questionnaire – especially when matched against an excessively wealthy opponent who has spent in historic proportions – is no indication whatsoever of that candidate’s propensity to promote AAPI-friendly policies.  Failure to ferret out this truth does not well serve California’s AAPI community and is an offense to thoughtful civic engagement.  AAPIs deserve better, not only from their candidates, but from their community leaders as well. Jerry Brown embraced the goals of 80/20’s honorable pursuit of the empowerment of AAPIs during a time when AAPIs were invisible from the process – because he embraced the value of diversity.”

“It is time to bring Brown back.”

US Congressman Michael Honda (CA-15)

Can we count on your support?

It’s less than two weeks until the November election. KAYA is mobilizing to make an impact this November and we will train and provide the tools necessary to turn out a win for our endorsed candidates.

Click here to sign-up and join our mobilization efforts for Rob Bonta and Hydra Mendoza.

By joining our mobilization efforts, you’ll be learning valuable organizing skills, participating in helpful networking opportunities, and working with a knowledgeable and supportive team while making a difference in your community.

The need right now is critical. To make this successful, it is crucial we turn out in numbers and as a team.

Can KAYA: Filipino Americans for Progress count on your support?

RSVP at the link below and reserve a spot for this weekend or October 30 to help inform voters about important issues and the people running for office who are committed to our community.

Click here to sign-up and join our mobilization efforts for Rob Bonta and Hydra Mendoza.