Greetings and welcome to the 85th Anniversary Gala of the Filipino Community of Seattle (FCS)! Tonight, we celebrate our accomplishments and honor those who have supported us and contributed to our success over the past year. For Filipinos across the globe and here at FCS, we share much in common in our strength and humanity to overcome challenges that might be seen as insurmountable. Our theme of Filipino Resilience reflects the spirit of Filipinos everywhere.
This past year a worldwide pandemic ended our sense of normalcy and created for many chaos and uncertainty with many lost homes, jobs, and lives. Rather than shutting down at a time when the community needed us the most, FCS responded with open doors and expanded services. Community members, donors and funders took notice and supported us.
During this pandemic, FCS pivoted and adjusted so seniors would continue to receive nutritious meals and we expanded to serve over 200 households. We assisted over 100 households with eviction prevention with the support of our funders. We developed an online curriculum for our STEAM program for our youth to keep youth engaged. Most recently, we launched a virtual health and wellness program for seniors.
We are also amid the largest project FCS has undertaken. The Filipino Community Village, a 94-unit affordable senior housing complex and STEAM lab for youth, is taking shape with completion in mid-2021.
We could not have done this alone. Volunteers, elected officials, donors and funders have been our partners in our work. Our strength is tied to the support of you and so many others. We continue to build momentum as a strong, sustainable agency focused on serving the community despite the challenges. This is the heart of our resilience at FCS!
On behalf of the board, staff, and volunteers of FCS, we thank you for your continued support. We look forward to better days ahead and we have so much to look forward to. Stay safe and healthy.
Aleksa Manila and Arnaldo Inocentes
Edwin Obras, Board President
Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil, Philippine Actors
Arnaldo! Drag Chanteuse
FCS Programs Highlights
Agnes N. Garcia, Executive Director
Raquel Bono, MD, Vice Admiral (Ret.) United States Navy
Armilito J. Pangilinan, Board Vice President of Executive Operations
Board of Directors Lifetime Achievement Award
Aleksa Manila and Arnaldo Inocentes
Arnaldo! started as a soloist with the Seattle Men’s Chorus (SMC) and has performed with SMC in some of the major concert halls in the US, Europe, New Zealand, and Australia. In 1995, Arnaldo! started a group called Cabaret Q where the “drag chanteuse” persona began. In 1999, Arnaldo! began his solo cabaret shows in Seattle’s Capitol Hill and has since performed his one person cabaret in Portland, Las Vegas, Palm Springs, Puerto Vallarta, New York, and Manila. Arnaldo! has also collaborated with various directors, choreographers, and songwriters in the Seattle area. In 2005, he completed the Cabaret…Summer Conference Workshop at Yale University. In 2006, Arnaldo! started the Pacific Northwest.
Cabraret Association and continues to organize “Seattle’s March is Cabaret Month” featuring local and visiting artists, 2007 marked Arnaldo!’s New York cabaret debut and in 2008, Arnaldo! was honored with a New York Backstage Bistro Award. 2014 – was Arnaldo!’s Manila debut where he received “Most Innovative Concert Artists” in Manila by Gawad Musika. In 2016, Arnaldo! was presented by The Filipino Community of Seattle with a Lifetime Achievement Award for promoting culture & the arts.
Aleska Manila is a chemical dependency counselor by day, drag diva by night. Aleksa Manila is a celebrated and respected drag personality. Originally from Manila, Philippines, she now calls Seattle, Washington home.
Over the years, she has been recognized for her community efforts in advocacy and social justice. In 2018, Aleksa was honored with Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan’s Pride Award for Outstanding Leader, Seattle Woman’s Pride for Community Champion, the Filipino American Student Association at the Universitry of Washington 100th Year Anniversary Recognition as one of 100 Cerntennials in advancing Filipino Americans, and the GSBA (Greater Seattle Business Association) Humanitarian Honoree for Community Leadership. She was also honored with the prestigious Dr. Bob Wood Award for Excellence in HIV Prevention in 2013, and was Grand Marshal at the 40th Seattle Pride Parade in 2014 alongside her hero, Mr. George Takei.
In 2012, she founded Pride ASIA whose mission is to celebrate, empower and nurture the multi-cultural diversity of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer communities through the Asian Pacific Islander lens.
In her professional career, Aleksa when “not-in-face” is the Program Manager at Public Health – Seattle & King County focused on the sexual health of transgender women in King & Snohomish counties (National HIV Behavioral Surveillance); worked as Program Manager of the Immigrant, Refugee & Undocumented Outreach Program, Program Coordinator of Project NEON and Program Supervisor of Addiction Services at Seattle Counseling Service where he dedicated 16 years in behavioral health and social service. He provides training and consultation with emphasis on LGBTQ cultural competency, harm reduction, addiction and behavioral health from a social justice perspective.
Elizabeth Javidando LaCount
Medium: hand painted wood platter with resin overlay
Medium: original painting in acrylic on canvas
27” x 27” framed.
For its 85th Anniversary, the Filipino Community of Seattle is honoring individuals and group of individuals who have shown courageous leadership, volunteered to ensure services are delivered despite the pandemic, and provided support to advance the mission of the organization and the welfare of the community it serves.
The Board of Directors Lifetime Achievement Award
A special award established by the FCS Board of Directors to honor an exemplary individual whose life has been dedicated to uplifting the lives of Filipinx, Filipinx Americans and other members of the community. Our honoree is a visionary world citizen, philanthropist, and servant leader. She has a proven track record of working to ensure that FCS is a stable organization that continues to do what it does best, serving and meeting the needs of the community.
Honoree: Alma Q. Kern
Visionary world citizen, philanthropist, servant leader.
Since 1993, Alma has been a regular presence at the Filipino Community of Seattle. She immigrated to the US in 1975, and her experiences as an immigrant have helped shape her love of the organization and the Filipinx community. She feels that Filipinx are under-appreciated and often not seen as contributors to their adopted country. Helping to undo stereotypes motivates Alma to remain involved in this cause. She believes strongly in our Filipino-ness and is proud of Filipinos’ abilities to excel. Her interactions and relationships at the Community Center also lift her up and give her energy, especially when she sees the volunteers and staff who are working hard to be of service to others.
Alma holds dear the values of fairness and justice, inclusiveness and faith in God. Her actions and decisions are guided by two questions: “Who does it benefit?” and “What is the cost to others?” Her favorite quote is, “Do not wait for someone to give you a rose, go make your own rose garden.” These values, guiding questions, and belief in self-advocating are the touchstones for her service to others.
Alma’s experience speaks for itself. She has been involved with the FCS for more than 25 years. She was a volunteer prior to being elected as a Board Member in 1998. She was elected twice as a Vice President in 2002 and 2005 and elected twice as President in 2008 and 2011. She was an active volunteer and one of the initiators of the Filipino Youth Empowerment Program, a multi-service program for youth. She chaired the Capital Campaign that raised more than $2.5 million for the renovation of the Filipino Community Center. The renovation, which included building a second floor, was completed in 2008. This increased the footprint of the center as the added square footage allowed for an expansion of community services.
When Alma was President, the FCS leadership envisioned a broader Filipino Community Village. In preparation for the fruition of this vision, and with her guidance, FCS purchased the three properties behind the community center. Those properties are now the land where the Filipino Community Village Senior Housing and Innovation Learning Center are being built. Alma co-chairs the Capital Campaign that raised about $5 million for the construction of the Innovation Learning Center. The construction of the building began in December 2019 and will be available for occupancy in June 2021.
In 2006-08, Alma was elected the Chair of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA), the premier organization and voice of Filipino Americans. With her leadership, NaFFAA focused on the creation of a national coalition that empowered Filipino Americans to advocate actively for the passage of the Filipino WWII veterans equity bill; youth participation; and the funding and implementation of a national pilot project for a community-based tutoring program for Filipino American students, and a national assessment survey of Fil-Am students’ academic achievements. In 2008, she testified before the Veterans Committee of the US Senate in support of the Veterans Equity Bill, which was passed a year later.
Prior to being a National Chair of NaFFAA, Alma was the Region 7 Chair in 2004-2006. During her term, Region 7 focused on voter registration, veteran’s equity, and immigration issues. The chapter conducted community education on human trafficking and domestic violence in partnership with the Asian Pacific Islander Women Safety Center (now API-Chaya); and supported an entrepreneurship training program for youth in partnership with the Filipino American Chamber of Commerce of the Pacific NW. In 2005-2006, Alma co-chaired the Program Committee of the NaFFAA Empowerment Conference Global Pinoy Convention in Hawaii.
Through the years, Alma has been involved in founding many different organizations, committees, and projects to address community needs. These include: the Stewardship Committee of St James Cathedral, which raises awareness of parishioners to live their lives as true disciples of Christ (2006-2009); Filipino Advisory Council of the Seattle Police Department, which advises the Chief of Police on matters important to the Filipinx community like gang activity, human trafficking, emergency preparedness, and citizens’ police training (1997-2013); Filipino Domestic Violence Education Committee, which educates the community on issues like domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking (1995-2010); and the Washington-Pangasinan Sister State Association, which provides scholarships to poor but deserving students attending the Pangasinan State University (1995-2015).
Alma was one of the founding mothers of the Asian Pacific Islander Women Safety Center (now API-Chaya) and the Filipinos Against Violence – two organizations that were formed to address gender-based violence and human trafficking. In 2002-2005, she served as a Washington State Commissioner on Asian and Pacific American Affairs, providing advice to the governor on matters important to Asian Americans, such as, quality of and access to education, human services for immigrants, veterans’ issues and health issues.
Alma has also been involved with other non-profit organizations in various capacities. Among those organizations are Asian Counselling and Referral Service (2000-2001); Rainier Valley Community Development Fund (2004-2006); Shared Multicultural Center (2011-2013); Southeast Seattle Education Committee (2009-2013); Pacific Asian Empowerment Program (2003-2010). She is particularly proud of her role as a board member of Fulcrum Foundation (2010-2013), the archdiocesan organization that raises funds to provide scholarships to Catholic students in need.
Alma has received recognition and awards from many organizations, such as, Most Outstanding Alumna Award, St. Scholastica’s College (2014); Presidential Awardee, Philippines for Outstanding Organization for Overseas Filipinos, Commission on Filipino Overseas, Office of the President (2012); Asna (Outstanding Pangasinense) Award for International Leadership, Province of Pangasinan (2010); Prominent Filipino American Leader, City of Seattle (2007); Outstanding Filipino American Woman of the Year, Filipino American Council, San Francisco, CA (2007); Carabao Award, National Federation of Filipino American Associations (2004); Gawad Kalinga Hero (2004); Alpha Phi Omega Leadership Award (2003); Volunteer of the Year, Seattle Police Department (1999); Community Service Award, International Channel (1999)
With her Pangasinan roots, Alma speaks fluent Pangasinense; and having lived in Indonesia for nine years (1979-1988) working as a technical consultant in population planning and women’s health services for USAID and Catholic Relief Services, she is also fluent in Indonesian. A woman with a keen business sense, Alma co-owned and published the Filipino American Herald (1998-2018), a Pacific Northwest-based Filipinx newspaper; and owned and managed Jade King (1994-2008), a Filipinx food distribution company serving Washington, Oregon, and Alaska. She is currently a co-owner and board secretary of International Market Brands, a privately owned export company of food products.
Alma graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Social Work from the University of the Philippines in 1969. She completed her Master of Public Health degree from the University of Pittsburgh in 1979.
When not busy serving the community, Alma enjoys spending time with her family – husband Jim (to whom she has been married for 48 years), and two sons– an electrical engineer and a computer engineer – and their families. Alma has six grandchildren.
THE BAYANIHAN AWARD
An annual award established for the purpose of recognizing the outstanding work of individuals, group of individuals, or organizations. Honorees have impeccable standing in the community as a role model for the Filipinx/Filipinx American community members, especially the youth, and supported and promoted the work of FCS.
Community Leadership Award: Significant and enduring contribution to the empowerment of Filipinx and Filipinx American community through leadership, training, and advocacy.
Honoree: Lauri Young
Lauri Young served on the FCS Board of Directors from 2016 to 2019 and she made an impact on the organization to last a lifetime. She brought her vision of inclusion, empowerment, and social justice to the forefront of her work to make FCS a better organization. Her passion to connect with staff, volunteers and program participants made her not just a familiar face at FCS but also created a warm and welcoming space and environment for all. Lauri mentored staff and volunteers and was always an early supporter of new programs and initiatives, both financially and with her time.
She was also a strategic policy advisor. She promoted strengthening human resources policies and procedures. With her courageous leadership, she steered FCS to challenge the status quo and set the organization on track towards equity and accountability. Lauri’s efforts have led to an organization that is a well-respected and financially stable community resource. Her work towards the advancement of FCS is evident in the strength of the current leadership of the organization.
Lauri is a lifelong Seattle resident and lives in South Seattle with her family.
Achievement in Literature, Arts and Culture Award: Promotion of Filipino culture in the mainstream, in diverse settings resulting in increased understanding and awareness of Filipinx/Filipinx American heritage, values, and culture.
Honoree: Adrian Alarilla
Adrian Alarilla is writer, filmmaker, and a scholar of Filipino migration history. Born and raised in Manila, Philippines, he migrated to the United States in 2007. Although his first few years stateside were challenging as he struggled to adapt to a new environment and country, it only strengthened his resolve to continue doing meaningful work for his community, wherever he may be. Finding a vibrant and active Filipino community in Seattle, he became part of Kaya Collaborative. He has collaborated with Pinoy Words Expressed Kultura Arts He also started volunteering for the Pagdiriwang Philippine Festival at Seattle Center to help organize a film component for the event. As founder and director of the Diwa Filipino Film Showcase of Seattle, he decided to focus on “independent short films from the Philippines and the Filipino diaspora that celebrate the Filipino diwa, or spirit in Tagalog.” When he started doing his MA in Southeast Asian Studies at the University of Washington, he also helped establish and direct the SEAxSEA (Southeast Asia x Seattle) Film Festival on campus, as a way to show more Filipino (and Southeast Asian) representation. He also became Filmmaker Liaison (2016), and later Programming Manager (2017) for the Seattle Asian American Film Festival (SAAFF), advocating for Filipinx filmmakers who were greatly underrepresented, even in the Asian American film festival circuit.
His films have been shown in Manila, Iloilo, Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago, New York, Tijuana, and Phnom Penh. Talking about Adrian’s short film To Manong Carlos (To Brother Carlos) (2013), Mauro Tumbocon Jr, the Festival Organizer of the Filipino International Cine Festival (FACINE), said that it was “powerful in its visual poetry and insight into the process of moving – the pain of loss, the anxiety that comes with new experience… with this, his paean to the legacy of Filipino American poet writer, Carlos Bulosan, he seems now able to resolve the guilt of leaving and embrace his new life in America…” The film was part of a citywide celebration of Carlos Bulosan’s 100th birthday that same year, being screened at the Filipino Community Center of Seattle as part of Talambuhay: Our Stories, Our People. Queer Transnational Love sa Panahon ng Social Media at Globalisasyon (Queer Transnational Love in the Time of Social Media and Globalization) premiered at the 2017 SAAFF. Film critic and journalist Persis Love described it as “Insightful and erudite, a cathartic examination of a relationship.” Since 2014, he has also been working on his first full-length documentary project, Kung Saan Man Tayo (Wherever We Are).
In 2018, he moved to Hawaiʻi to pursue his PhD in History. He became Graduate President of the UHM Alpha Beta Epsilon Chapter of the Phi Alpha Theta National History Honors Society, Secretary of the UHM Student Media Board, and even worked as Programming Intern for the Hawaiʻi International Film Festival. He collaborated with local Filipinx artists such as Rebecca Goldschmidt, and helped run Pag+mul+mula+an (Place of Plants) in 2020, a safe gathering space where community members can critically explore and reflect on what it means to be Filipinx in Hawaiʻi. In 2019, he started working for the College Opportunities Program (COP), a federally funded program that allows students from disadvantaged backgrounds an alternative pathway to attend college at UHM. As their Teaching Assistant, Adrian worked directly with students, many of them Native Hawaiians and Filipinos, to not only teach them about world history, but to also encourage them to be critical of their own histories. He plans to return to Seattle as soon as he is finished with his studies to give back to the community that he loves.
Bayanihan Frank Palisoc Award for Volunteerism and Community Service
Selfless giving of dedicated volunteer service hours out of love for our community and altruism with no expectation of monetary compensation or its equivalent.
Honoree: Volunteers of the Senior Lunch and Food Bank Program
The FCS Senior Lunch and Food Bank is a program that used to serve around 60-70 seniors at the Community Center at 5740 Martin Luther King Jr Way S, Seattle. Three times a week, seniors gather to enjoy each other’s company, to exercise, to tsismis, to proudly talk about their children and grandchildren, to commiserate about things that bother them, to eat hot lunch together, and to take home fresh food to sustain them through the week. The program is a lifeline for some of our parents, lolos, lolas, tiyas, and tiyos.
Early in March 2020, Covid-19 forced the FCS to close the Community Center to protect the staff and those who visit and do business with the organization. This meant that the seniors who regularly come to socialize and sustain each other were no longer able to interact and enjoy hot meals together.
Realizing what was being lost, the FCS management and staff, worked creatively to ensure seniors are still staying healthy. To keep the seniors safe, FCS adapted its program delivery: hot meals and bags of food items are instead delivered by volunteers to their homes or through curbside pickup. Due to the pandemic, the number of senior households that require support has increased to more than 200. About 96% of seniors are Filipinos while the rest are a mix of Caucasian, Vietnamese, Chinese and Black Americans.
Because of limited funds, FCS has a relatively limited number of staff working on the Senior Lunch and Food Bank program, so it relies heavily on volunteers. Volunteers have been the backbone of the program. Along with the staff, they are the ones that make program work. They work hard to ensure our seniors are getting the socialization and nutrition they need to keep them healthy. They have shown amazing altruism and courage during these times despite the danger of Covid-19. Every Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday they come to the community center to work diligently and selflessly to ensure those 200 + seniors get their nutritious hot meal, and some vegetables and produce.
The FCS Board of Directors and staff are profoundly grateful to the following Senior Lunch and Food Bank Program volunteers who have given their time and energy in ensuring that the program functions well during the pandemic:
CHAMPIONS OF FCS AWARD
Champions of FCS are individuals who provided outstanding leadership to advance the mission and goals of our organization. They are public elected officials who we acknowledge for their advocacy and contributions to ensuring vital projects of FCS are successful. The following individuals have been instrumental to help us successfully complete our Filipino community Village Capital Campaign. Their support has helped us realized a vision – 94 units of affordable housing for senior and a dedicated learning space for our youth.
Honoree: David Frockt, WA State Senator – 46th District
First elected to the Washington State House of Representatives in 2010, Sen. Frockt was appointed unanimously by the Metropolitan King County Council to represent the 46th District in the state Senate in 2011. Voters have retained him since. He currently sits on the Health & Long-Term Care Committee and the Ways & Means Committee (Vice Chair, Operating, Capital Lead).
From 1998 to 2000, Sen. Frockt practiced employment and business law at Riddell. In 2000 he joined a boutique litigation practice in Seattle, eventually becoming one of the principal partners in the firm. Bergman, Draper & Frockt became one of the leading Northwest law firms representing asbestos cancer victims, many of whom were union workers from the industrial trades in shipyards, power plants, refineries, and paper mills around the Puget Sound. Sen Frockt has since left the firm to accommodate his public service obligations. He and his wife Rebecca live in North Seattle and are the proud parents of teenage twins.
Honoree: Steve Tharinger, WA State Representative – 24th District
Rep. Tharinger is a former small business owner and three-term Clallam County Commissioner. He was first elected to the House of Representatives in 2010 representing the 24th Legislative District, which includes all of Clallam and Jefferson counties and a portion of Grays Harbor County.
As chair of the House Capital Budget Committee, Rep. Tharinger helps write the state’s capital investment budget, which builds schools, colleges, parks, and other state facilities plus making investments in our natural resources. He also serves on the Health Care and Wellness and Appropriations committees.
At the state level, Rep. Tharinger served on Salmon Recovery Funding Board, helped write the state’s new Alzheimer’s plan, co-chairs the Joint Legislative Executive Committee on Aging and Disability, and is a member of the Dementia Action Collaborative. He is a member of the Sequim Sunrise Rotary and a state-certified, volunteer mediator with the Peninsula Dispute Resolution Center. He received his Bachelor of Arts from Colorado College.
Agnes Vining, Gala Event Chair
Adrian Alarilla, Designer
Wilmer Galindo, Designer
Tessie Dantes Era
Agnes N. Garcia
Armilito J. Pangilinan