Safeguard: Protecting the Dignity and Welfare of Filipino Workers

A #FilipinoAmerican story as told by community organizer and labor rights advocate, Aquilina Soriano. Read her full story below: "I grew up with a limited connection to my Filipino heritage, but I did not escape racism. I felt it growing up in white neighborhoods and more so in Hollywood, where racism is very blatant. When I starred as one of the troops in Troop Beverly Hills, it was a rare chance to play a Filipino character, as there were hardly any opportunities for Asian Pacific Islander actors. In college, I started reconnecting with the Filipino community and became active in social justice issues. It gave me a look at my family’s history through the lens of racism and discrimination. I went to the Philippines, spending time with farmers and workers and learning the situation there. When I went back to the United States, we launched the Pilipino Workers Center. I had a better understanding of the Filipino immigrant experience, especially how isolating it is for them here. I helped build an infrastructure where Filipinos workers can have a voice, develop their leadership skills, and fight for their rights. I learned to create a non-judgmental welcoming space to support the people who come to us. One was a human trafficking survivor, a woman enslaved as a domestic helper. When she won both her criminal and civil cases against her trafficker, it was so transformational for her—and for me who spent a lot of time with her through her trauma and her fight for justice. Filipinos are the fastest growing number of human trafficking cases here in Southern California. We are also receiving calls from all over the country from people needing our support. We’re growing our program and have many plans. We have a couple of million-dollar cases we plan to win for Filipino caregivers. We are building new work models based on the caregiver’s dignity. And we are pushing for the enforcement of legislation that I helped craft and pass—the California Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, which ended a 75-year exclusion from overtime protection for caregivers and nannies. We are the largest Asian Pacific Islander group in California. We are all sorts: from professionals to less-than-minimum-wage workers. We need to come together and demand that our community has the resources it needs and that policies address our needs. Imagine our impact, not just in the US but also in the Philippines, if we harness our power as such a huge community. About: Filipino American Disruptors is a month-long storytelling initiative powered by NextDayBetter x AARP AAPI Community celebrating the stories of Filipino Americans in a range of disciplines, from community activism to tech entrepreneurship. These forward-thinking individuals are trendsetters, trailblazers, and problem-solvers in their respective fields, helping to push America and the Filipino American community forward through their leadership, creativity, and innovation.NextDayBetter Storyteller: Candice Quimpo

Posted by AARP AAPI Community on Friday, October 27, 2017

Safeguard: Protecting the Dignity and Welfare of Filipino Workers

A #FilipinoAmerican story as told by community organizer and labor rights advocate, Aquilina Soriano.

“I grew up with a limited connection to my Filipino heritage, but I did not escape racism. I felt it growing up in white neighborhoods and more so in Hollywood, where racism is very blatant. When I starred as one of the troops in Troop Beverly Hills, it was a rare chance to play a Filipino character, as there were hardly any opportunities for Asian Pacific Islander actors.
In college, I started reconnecting with the Filipino community and became active in social justice issues. It gave me a look at my family’s history through the lens of racism and discrimination. I went to the Philippines, spending time with farmers and workers and learning the situation there.

When I went back to the United States, we launched the Pilipino Workers Center. I had a better understanding of the Filipino immigrant experience, especially how isolating it is for them here. I helped build an infrastructure where Filipinos workers can have a voice, develop their leadership skills, and fight for their rights.

I learned to create a non-judgmental welcoming space to support the people who come to us. One was a human trafficking survivor, a woman enslaved as a domestic helper. When she won both her criminal and civil cases against her trafficker, it was so transformational for her—and for me who spent a lot of time with her through her trauma and her fight for justice.

Filipinos are the fastest growing number of human trafficking cases here in Southern California. We are also receiving calls from all over the country from people needing our support. We’re growing our program and have many plans. We have a couple of million-dollar cases we plan to win for Filipino caregivers. We are building new work models based on the caregiver’s dignity. And we are pushing for the enforcement of legislation that I helped craft and pass—the California Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, which ended a 75-year exclusion from overtime protection for caregivers and nannies.

We are the largest Asian Pacific Islander group in California. We are all sorts: from professionals to less-than-minimum-wage workers. We need to come together and demand that our community has the resources it needs and that policies address our needs. Imagine our impact, not just in the US but also in the Philippines, if we harness our power as such a huge community.”

About:
Filipino American Disruptors is a month-long storytelling initiative powered by NextDayBetter x AARP AAPI Communityommunity celebrating the stories of Filipino Americans in a range of disciplines from community activism to tech entrepreneurship. These forward-thinking individuals are trendsetters, trailblazers, and problem-solvers in their respective fields, helping to push America and the Filipino American community forward through their leadership, creativity, and innovation.

NextDayBetter Storyteller: Candice Quimpo