2016 was the most heart-wrenching, gut-twisting election year in my life, and also the year I was sworn in as a lawyer. For these reasons, I wanted to volunteer my time and share my money in a way I was never before able, willing, and/or motivated to do, with organizations whose work, values, and goals I admire and respect. I wanted to be a part of keeping the good things going. So last year, along with setting up monthly donations to the ACLU and Planned Parenthood and signing up to be an ACLU volunteer/volunteer attorney with Jacob, in October I also committed to a six-month long volunteer opportunity with a local nonprofit, the Social Justice Fund, and got involved with the Filipino Lawyers of Washington whose theme this year is “Stand Up. Speak Out. Help Others.” This is gonna be long AF but I want to talk about the Social Justice Fund and Filipino Lawyers of Washington because the work these orgs do means a lot to me. I want to end this post with plugs into how I’ve begun to get involved with politics, too, aside from just reading the news and sharing things on social media.
About Social Justice Fund – The aim of my particular project within SJF, the Gender Justice Giving Project, is to award multi-year grants to other nonprofits in our region (WA, OR, ID, MT, WY) whose work focuses on the intersection of gender, sex, race, class, and immigration issues, led by those who are most directly impacted by these issues. I have met a lot of people from different walks of life all interested in learning about social justice and raising money for a good cause. The The money my group and I raise goes to fund programs that, for example, empower LGBTQIA+ youth of color with leadership training, or improves access to health care for immigrant communities and people who are pregnant, birthing, and parenting in prisons. My group and I also recently hosted a screening of the documentary, Free Cece, at the Northwest Film Forum. The film, produced by Laverne Cox, is about a black trans woman who survived an assault, was imprisoned in a men’s prison, and treated unjustly by the criminal justice system. I’ve volunteered more or less 80 hours with this nonprofit since i started, but it means a lot to me do to so, plus I’ve learned how to review grants, and in a way, learn how to write one by reviewing so many that are good and not-so good. A good skill to have in my back pocket!
Back to the point – Donald Trump’s presidency is a direct attack on so many people. If you are able to donate, I hope you consider donating to SJF. Any amount of any size is welcome, as long as it means something to you. The Satterberg Foundation has already matched all donations that came in before Jan 14, and we are *so close* to achieving our goal of raising $245,000! Seriously, any contribution of any size is most welcome and appreciated. To donate or just read up on me and my project-mates, see http://socialjusticefund.org/support-gender-justice-giving-… !
About Filipino Lawyers of Washington – I’m a first generation Filipino-American and first in my family to practice law. It made so much sense to join this organization! I also love that FLOW is so active with volunteering and participating in the Asian American community. This year, with all the things going on in politics, we want to dedicate ourselves to realizing our theme, “Stand Up. Speak Out. Help Others.” We are planning to host legal clinics, participate in at least one volunteer opportunity a month, rev up our mentorship program, and continue our work with national bar associations. In addition, we plan to host a variety of social events that highlight the richness of Filipino culture. It’s all about strengthening community, within the Filipino community and outside of it, too. And it’s all about being brave and courageous, using our power and voices to help others. I’m looking forward to inviting people to team up with FLOW in any of our volunteer opportunities… Our goal is to be a resource to tap others into ways they can get involved in community service and volunteering! It can also a good way to explore cultures and spaces that people are not familiar with, but want to learn more about.
Getting Involved – Now is the time to do things you didn’t used to do before. I know what it’s like to be scared or shy or nervous to get involved in things or say stuff out loud. I know deep conversations about sensitive topics like race, gender, sex, class, and immigration can be hard and scary. But getting active in our communities, speaking up, reaching out, educating ourselves, learning from others, and showing compassion is what will save this country. SO GET INVOLVED!!! Some things I’ve done :
- Register on https://swingleft.org/ to see how you can make a difference in your nearest swing district;
- check out Calls for Action on Facebook for phone numbers and scripts you can use to contact your congress people on important issues;
- see https://www.indivisibleguide.com/ for advice from former congressional staffers on best practices for making Congress listen!
- 2016 was also the year I committed to participating in a large-scale march/protest. Jacob’s mom Deb invited me to go with her to DC for the Women’s March on Washington, where I took the above photo. That whole experience and the commentary/controversy surrounding it is a post for another day! But I decided that I will join more of protests, rallies, and marches because it really helps to make a statement to our government that what they are doing is NOT ok, and it feels good to be in physical solidarity with others who support the things you value, too.