Recently, we’ve been introduced to the article of Jason Margolis of PRI’s The World, a global perspective read by American audiences. His story focuses on the Filipino American attempt of shedding what he saw was a disparity in their identity, from one which he describes as the “invisible minority,” to that of the Filipino American population that has been able to, or at least try to, make waves within the political sphere.
While the author recognizes the work of two current candidates, AAA-Fund-endorsed Rob Bonta and Dr. Jennifer Ong, of neighboring districts respectively, the candid approach of Mr. Margolis to idealize our political strides as the only way for Filipino Americans to be involved within the community is a little bit displeasing. While I truly agree that Rob and Jennifer are generating waves of change for our Filipino communities by possibly representing the first Filipino Americans in CA State Legislature, the article does present a small undermined sense that generations of Filipinos who have paved the way for these two candidates are not considered nor remembered. While Dr. Ong’s comments present a much more positive limelight, the article nixes Rob’s strong commitment to Filipinos and the AAPI community, sighting a seemingly misconstrued view that his campaign doesn’t focus on this historic moment for Filipinos.
As a strong supporter of Rob and his ethics, this abrupt lack of understanding at where he is coming from in his District 18 campaign is a bit of a shocker. While I don’t blame Mr. Margolis for his writing, I would like to defend Rob’s dedication to our communities and further tell our community members of the great lengths in which he has gone to defend the rights of AAPIs, especially Filipinos in gaining political and legal access as an attorney and a Vice Mayor of Alameda. His family has long worked with Filipino immigrants, creating programming that caters to our community needs, highlighting civic engagement as their goal, and arming Filipinos the understanding of how government works. While Mr. Margolis is indeed accurate of the stigma that Filipinos may have of politics from the skewed state of how our Philippine government may be working on, we can’t disregard the years of sacrifice and work Rob Bonta’s family has done through out the years before he even came close to running in public office.
So respectfully, I thank Mr. Margolis for allowing his readers to see what Rob Bonta and Jennifer Ong have been working on for the benefits of Filipinos, but I would also respectfully incline him to see the work that Rob has done far beyond the promises of his campaign. For actions speak louder than campaign rhetoric. Dr. Ong’s work is extraordinary. Rob’s work is unparalleled. But I believe that our candidates are far more than just their promises, but more so on their actions. So for us to shed our “invisible minority,” whatever that may entail, we must recognize the works of community leaders before the two standing in front of us now, celebrate the accomplishments of yesterday before we can even fathom at the opportunity of changing tomorrow.
– Jofil Borja