Category Archives: Community Updates


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


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


KAYA has a new website at

Visit for election information and KAYA’s new website!


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.

Filipino American History Month Recognized by U.S. Senate Resolution

On Wednesday, September 29, the U.S. Senate unanimously approved a resolution honoring Filipino American History Month.  Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin (D-IL) introduced Senate Resolution 669, “Recognizing Filipino American History Month in October 2010.”

KAYA Launches Nationwide GOTV Campaign with, EngageHer

September 29, 2010 (San Francisco, CA) — Leveraging the digital social networks popular among students, Youth Charge Now! today launches a nationwide campaign to educate and encourage youth to become leaders in civic engagement.  In partnership with, Engage Her ( a national organization promoting leadership among multicultural youth and communities has partnered with dozens of organizations aimed at the millions of Asian American and Pacific Islander youth new to the political arena.

The Youth Charge Now! campaign is encouraging Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) students to recruit others to the campaign, including $500 in cash and the chance to win a Kollaboration Concert at their college or university.  Kollaboration ( is a popular concert series incorporating hip hop and rap music performed by AAPI youth in venues across the United States.

Mable Yee, CEO and founder of Engage Her, stresses that in California all the combined multicultural communities now constitute the dominant majority. The U.S. Census Bureau is projecting by year 2052 or sooner, the rest of the nation will look like California’s population.

“We must pay attention to this huge seismic shift in our population and ensure our leadership reflects the needs of this rapidly growing population in our nation,” says the former tech entrepreneur and marketing executive. She adds, “Because AAPI youth makes up the fastest growing percentage of multicultural communities, it is critical to reach this influential group using Social Media and personal networks.”

The campaign will use digital tools, such as texting, YouTube videos and enlist popular YouTube celebrities to create a national network of connections around civic engagement and voting.

The Youth Charge Now! campaign has signed up the leading APIA national youth and community partners – including APIAVote,  ECAASU, MAASU, KAYA: FILIPINO AMERICANS FOR PROGRESS and The campaign also offers an optional voter registration through’s United We Win and partners with VoteAgain 2010 with their 35+ youth partners to promote voting in the midterm elections targeted to multicultural communities.  “We are pleased to partner with Youth Charge Now! to encourage our members to promote leadership and civic engagement expanding to the college and youth sector” says Brad Baldia, KAYA leadership team member and  President of National Association of Asian American Professionals (, the largest AAPI professional association. The long-term goal of the campaign is to mobilize APIA youth to become involved and supportive of key issues that face our youth.

Sponsors include Globaltel Media,, and Southwest Airlines. For more information visit and

Contact info:

510-918-3700 mobile

Moving America Forward with our AAPI Communities

Democrats are moving America forward — fighting to fix the damage the Republicans heaped upon the Nation during the last decade.  And because we’re Democrats we know it will take the entire community to work towards that effort.   Democrats are made up of the culturally diverse communities in  the United States and are providing materials that are inclusive of our non-English speaking constituencies.   Many of our Asian American Pacific Islander communities require translated materials so we have made our Moving America Forward campaign toolbox available in Bengali, Chinese, Hindi, Korean,  Tagalog, Urdu and Vietnamese.  We are counting on our organizers to use this material to help fight the Republicans who have become the “party of no” under the Obama Administration. Rather than offer solutions and/or bipartisan support, Republicans have blocked legislative progress at every turn.  So this Fall we’re counting on you to work with us as we “Move America Forward!” [reposted from]

AAPI Communities to Benefit from Patients’ Bill of Rights

As of this week, sixteen million AAPIs can expect to benefit from the reduction of preventable diseases and conditions through the Patients’ Bill of Rights. When congressional Democrats and President Barack Obama enacted the Affordable Care Act six months ago, the new law included a “Patients’ Bill of Rights” to protect consumers and patients from some of the insurance industry’s most abusive practices. This series of provisions prioritizes preventive care and recourse for patients that have been unfairly denied claims.

AAPI communities are needlessly left vulnerable to treatable diseases and avoidable conditions because of the prohibitive cost of preventive care or because their insurance plans just won’t cover regular screenings. The Patients’ Bill of Rights will help to eliminate disparities that exist among Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders by requiring providers to provide cancer screenings and preventive care without copayments or deductibles. As of this week, when individuals and families enroll in a new health plan, that plan will be required to cover certain recommended services without copayments or deductibles.

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States, and AAPI communities suffer from disparities in screening and incidence rates.  Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are less likely than other groups to get screened for cancer.
Asian American women get recommended mammogram and Pap smears at a lower rate when compared to white women. Vietnamese American women have a cancer incidence rate five times that of white women – higher than any other ethnic group in the United States. The Patients’ Bill of Rights ensures that new health plans cover regular mammograms for women over 40 and Pap smears to reduce the rate of cancer as well as the HPV vaccine to prevent cervical cancer.

For colorectal cancer screenings, AAPI communities are screened at a rate of 42 percent while white Americans are screened at a rate of 59 percent. To increase the chances of catching early signs of colon cancer, the reform bill has new regulations to ensure that new plans offer screening tests for adults over 50.

When compared to white Americans aged 40 and older, Asian American and Pacific Islanders are more likely to have Hepatitis B, but the Patients’ Bill of Rights will require new plans to cover the Hepatitis B vaccination.

Some Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders also suffer from an unacceptably high rate of infant mortalities. To promote healthy pregnancies, the Patients’ Bill of Rights will ensure that mothers have access to the services they need including screening for conditions that can harm pregnant women or their babies like iron deficiency and hepatitis B.

The Patients’ Bill of Rights provisions that go into effect this week will save lives and help to reduce the disproportionately higher health risks that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders experience. [reposted from DNC]