"2016 State of UniPro" by Iris Zalun

Dear Friends,

UniPro has made significant progress across the country in our communities in 2016. Despite the numerous events, twists, and turns that have taken place throughout the year, UniPro's work never stopped, and only continued towards realizing one unified and engaged Pilipino America. Here's a rundown of all the amazing things that has happened in UniPro over the past year:

With this year being an important election year, our New York chapter focused its efforts on the UniVote initiative in order to bring Filipino Americans out to the polls. On March 26 at John Jay College, they hosted Filipinos in NY: Why We Matter, in collaboration with FANHS Metro NY and NaFFAA. As part of the city-wide APA VOICE coalition, UniPro NY phone banked, door knocked, and sent Election Day reminders to hundreds of voters. On November 8, the chapter co-sponsored AALDEF’s Asian American Exit Poll and several NY members volunteered in Chinatown to Woodside to Bayside to protect the Asian American vote.

Attending conferences is always a wonderful way to get re-inspired and connect with community members from other cities. NY members volunteered and spoke at FANHS’ 16th Biennial Conference at John Jay. The EPYC and NaFFAA conference, held in King of Prussia, PA in August, was no different. At EPYC, the NY chapter had the opportunity to lead an eye-opening discussion on Black Lives Matter. Later that month, NY celebrated its 7th anniversary with many friends and supporters at the 14th Street Y.

As always, support for other Filipino-led projects was a main priority, and UniPro NY was thrilled to co-sponsor Raised Pinay in March and April, as well as the Filipino American Book Festival in Jackson Heights’ Diversity Plaza on June 18. And speaking of supporting Filipino artists and writers, the chapter brought back its Book Club. So far they’ve discussed Anthony Ocampo’s Latinos of Asia and Lysley Tenorio’s Monstress, and they are now in the midst of reading Ninotchka Rosca’s State of War. 

Our Chicago team had been quietly building their chapter since 2015, and on April 23, they celebrated their launch at Vora with interactive networking and presentations. Seeing a desire for more professional development among second generation Fil Ams, Chicago then hosted their Networking & Professionalism Workshop Panel on August 13, featuring professionals working in various fields, followed by their Mentorship Social on October 20. 

In November, joined by members of the NY team, the Chicago chapter successfully led a workshop at the FACT Conference at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. The workshop engaged hundreds of students in a powerful discussion about racial and social justice issues in light of Donald Trump’s presidential win.

Our Seattle chapter is relatively new, but that didn’t stop them from hosting a number of events catering to diverse interests. They started with an Intergenerational Dialogue on January 22, allowing students and local community advocates to come together to discuss an issue common to many Fil Am organizations: the transition of generations in community leadership. On May 24, the chapter hosted a Know Your Labor Rights workshop to increase awareness of labor abuse, laws, and rights for local immigrant workers.

Professional development is important to UniPro nationally, as demonstrated by the Professional Mixer, a collaboration between UniPro Seattle and FYLPRO, held on July 7. Often a fulfilling professional life begins in college, and the Seattle team also facilitated a College 101 workshop on September 29. The event informed families about access to higher education and shared tips and tricks for applying to college.

Held annually in NY since 2011, the UniPro Summit is the organization’s biggest event of the year. For the first time ever, it was brought outside of NY, and our Seattle team took the opportunity to highlight their local community with UniPro Summit 2016: Reach, featuring keynote speakers, workshops, and cultural performances. Last but not least, our Seattle chapter worked hard throughout the year to build relationships with local and state government agencies, as well as community leaders and advocacy groups in the area. 

Our San Diego family kicked off 2016 by celebrating their one-year anniversary with a hike on February 6. On February 13, at AB Samahan’s 42nd Annual High School Conference, they presented the workshop Through Your Own Looking Glass, discussing identity, self development, and adapting to change. A few days later, UniPro San Diego was invited with other local leaders to see President Aquino in Los Angeles. On July 30, the team gathered outdoors once again for a fun and productive retreat at the beach. 

Immigration is a crucial topic for many Fil Ams, including in San Diego. On October 17, UniPro San Diego participated in "Fenced In", a dialogue on immigration policy, hosted by KAMP and San Diego Alliance. Later that month, they traveled to Seattle to host the workshop "Isang Bagsak - La Lucha Sigue: Solidarity Forever" at UniPro Summit 2016, focusing on the Delano Grape Strike - the movement that brought together Filipinx and Mexican farm workers in the fight for social justice - and the continued collaboration between the two ethnic groups in San Diego today. The team then continued the discussion by presenting the same workshop at the 6th Annual Ugnayan Conference.


If any of the issues or initiatives mentioned above matter to you, please donate to our holiday fundraising campaign or contact us to get involved! 2017 promises to be another busy year, especially with more chapters on the horizon (hello, Houston and Las Vegas!), and none of what we do would be possible without your support.


Iris Zalun
Board Chairperson
Pilipino American Unity for Progress, Inc. (UniPro)