I have deep roots in the San Francisco Bay Area, growing up in Oakland, and attending the public schools there. Entering UC Berkeley as a Mechanical Engineering major, I quickly realized I wanted to dedicate my career to other goals. While I enjoyed the hands-on engineering projects in my high school’s vocational engineering academy, I did not have the passion to pursue it as a lifelong career.
When I took the introductory course for Asian American Studies in my first semester at UC Berkeley, many of my previous observations regarding the racism and stereotypes that my peers from high school faced were being validated and explained in new depth and detail. The absence of the Asian American experience in popular culture, as well as the history textbooks from my earlier school days became more apparent to me. Since then, I have grown to be very active, vocal, and generally passionate about raising awareness of marginalized communities, including the API (Asian and Pacific Islander) experience, and the challenges that result from a history of racism, stereotypes, and the denial of visibility.
When I met my, now, wife of ten years, these issues developed a deeper meaning for me. A 1.5 generation Filipina, her experiences, which I in-turn shared in our marriage, have exposed me to the challenges surrounding her siblings’ access to education, employment, and immigration to this country. For my own wife, a graduate of San Francisco State University with a B.S. in Computer Science, I saw employers discriminate against her, assume she would be passive and “unsuitable for the position.” Most importantly, I have seen the human cost these issues present to everyone in my family, and through my work as a scholar-activist in the greater Filipino American community.
I have cared deeply for exposing the importance of bilingual education and the maintenance of Tagalog for all generations of Filipino American youth. Namely, I have expressed this through my work with the Linguistic and Kultural Advocacy Society (LAKAS), and my MA thesis which documents a 15-year history of activism and educational policies surrounding the Filipino-English bilingual program in San Francisco public schools.
While I have taken leave from my scholarly work and activism, I am focusing on spending time with my wife and our two children, Ilaw and Tala. Raising our children to be bilingual, bi-cultural children takes thoughtful intent, especially without reinforcement of the heritage language at school. Nevertheless, despite my present departure from scholarship, I continue to think of myself as a scholar-activist—remaining critically thoughtful about society, our community and the education of my children as mixed-race Filipino Americans.
From scholar-activism, my professional career has, somewhat unexpectedly, led me into Information Technology. Most of my vocational and work experiences have been Technology related, although my passion is still rooted in the core values of Ethnic Studies, Asian American Studies, Multicultural Education, and most importantly the equity and justice that these fields seek. I have been fortunate to return to my Alma Mater, UC Berkeley, and former employer as the Technical Services Supervisor for Student Affairs IT. I get to combine my skills and passion—promoting diversity in IT, developing student technology services, especially for under-served and marginalized student populations, and working with a large student team to facilitate and support their development as professionals.