Steven Raga



Iris Zalun




New York, NY - August 13, 2015 - On August 13, Pilipino American Unity for Progress, Inc. (UniPro) announced that its Board of Directors has appointed the organization’s new Executive Board for its 2015-2016 fiscal year. Kirklyn Escondo will assume the role of President, Stephanie Chrispin will serve as Vice President, and Alyssa Esteban will serve as Secretary General.

I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to serve the Pilipino American community in the capacity of UniPro President,” states Kirklyn. “It is an honor and privilege to work with such a passionate Executive Board and staff, and I look forward to building with other community members, leaders, and organizations towards a truly unified and engaged Pilipino America.”

The new Executive Board brings many years of Filipino American community experience to UniPro’s leadership. Kirklyn is a clinical researcher who has been involved in the community since her undergraduate career at New York University. She joined UniPro in 2009 as a member of the organization’s inaugural batch of interns, and since then, has served in the roles of Director of Community Building and Secretary General. Stephanie, who joined UniPro in 2012, works in the philanthropic sector; she is trained in nonprofit management and earned her MPA in Health Policy and Finance from NYU Wagner while serving as UniPro’s Director of Fundraising. Alyssa also joined UniPro in 2012. A graphic designer, she graduated from Rutgers University, New Brunswick, where she was President of Rutgers Association of Philippine Students (RAPS).

UniPro Eboard

(From left to right) Kirklyn Escondo, Stephanie Chrispin, and Alyssa Esteban

UniPro also announced its newest members on the Board of Directors. Co-founder and former Executive Director Bryan Lozano, former President Iris Zalun, and former Vice President Noel Aglubat join incoming Chairperson Steven Raga, Marisa McCloskey, and Maria Cruz Lee on the Board.

Under its new leadership, UniPro aims to continue promoting visibility and equity in the Filipino American community, especially by promoting civic engagement and raising awareness of social justice issues affecting Filipino Americans and other communities of color. The organization also aims to continue celebrating the local artists and storytellers who are sharing and archiving the community's experiences and contributions to the rich fabric of American society. UniPro kickstarted the fiscal year this month by collaborating with My Baryo, My Borough, a community-curated oral history initiative to archive the Filipino American experience in Queens, NY.  

For more information about UniPro, go to For more about My Baryo, My Borough, go to

Photo Credits:
Kirklyn's headshot: Chauncey Velasco (
Stephanie's headshot: Natalia Roxas (
Alyssa's headshot: Rexon Arquiza (


About Pilipino American Unity for Progress, Inc. (UniPro)

Pilipino American Unity for Progress (UniPro) is a New York City-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that envisions a unified and engaged Pilipino America. Founded in 2009, UniPro’s mission is to engage Pilipino Americans through collaboration, advocacy and education. It seeks to transform Pilipino students & young professionals into community leaders through its various programs, which incorporate professional development, history, and policy through the lens of the Pilipino experience. The organization allows Pilipino Americans the opportunity to explore their place in the community in the hope of owning their niche. Ultimately, UniPro asks Pilipino Americans to critically answer, “How do you define Progress?”



Speak & Be Heard: Meet The Judges

A few days ago, we introduced you to last year's Speak & Be Heard winner, Danielle Maglente, in order to give you an idea of the incredible spoken word poetry to expect from our contestants at this year's event. But in addition to the talented competitors, we're thrilled to introduce this year's judges which include Steven Raga (founder of UniPro) and Rosendo Pili (MC known as Mugshot) and Danielle Maglente. Emceeing the night will be Air Tabigue, comedian and emcee from the New York area. Please join us at Jebon Sushi on Februrary 1, 2013 at 7PM for 2013's UniPro Speak & Be Heard competition.

About the Judges:

46603554ab2362214cbbd5108c322f12_f227 (1)Steven Raga was the founding President for UniPro in 2009, and served as Executive Director until 2011. Currently, he is a member of UniPro’s Board of Trustees. As of 2012, Steven is serving as the founding National Chairman for Filipino American Civic Engagement (FACE) [] and Executive Director for Region 1 of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) []. He is also on the Board of Directors for the Filipino Children's Fund [], which works to improve the livelihood of impoverished families in the Philippines.

MugshotHeadshot“Before and when all else has failed, words are my first and last resort.” As an MC, poet, writer and educator, Mugshot lives by this credo and has dedicated his passion and energy to the written and spoken word. As an avid Queens New York native, his voice has been inspired by the diversity, culture and grit of his borough, as well as by the beauty and struggle of his immigrant upbringing. This is where the means of his perception has taken root, culminating in a mixture of urban angst, a haze of third world toddler-escent memories and the flowery pessimism of a poetic disposition.

Mugshot has rocked stages throughout the US with his crew, Deep Foundation, and has worked on several releases including Deep Foundation’s “The First Draft,” “Generation ILL” & Hydroponikz’s “Grown.” He is currently working on his solo debut project entitled “Punching Clocks” scheduled for release in 2013.

airtabiguepictureAir is a Filipino-American comedian, emcee and producer from Long Island, New York. He has performed and emceed numerous events for the Filipino and Asian Community, including the FIND, MAFA, NYC's Asian-Pacific American Heritage Festival, AsianinNY's Moon Festival and Fashion show and the 2011 and 2012 NYC Philippine Independence Day Parades. In 2011, Air was nominated for NYC's "Most Outstanding Filipino-American in Entertainment" for his accomplishments. He is currently performing with Pacific Punchlines: a hilarious group of API comics have banded together to bring standup comedy to school campuses.

headshotAt 21 years old, Danielle Maglente is currently a Senior at Seton Hall University, majoring in Philosophy and minoring in Political Science and Asian Studies. She has been involved in the Filipino Community since she was four years old, singing in local Filipino Independence days, various Performing Arts of the Philippines Inc. (P.A.P.I.) events, Shirt the Kids NJ in 2011, and serving as External PR and President of Seton Hall’s Filipino Club (FLASH). She wants to thank UNIPRO for allowing me to come back and judge this year’s SPEAK and BE HEARD Competition, and wants to wish good luck to all of the competitors!