Filipino Americans on the Move …
Youth Leaders, Wise Investment
My wife and I recently spent about two months in Los Angeles to welcome our newest grandson. What a blessing indeed to experience God’s amazing grace and we are thankful for answered prayers. It is a joy and a privilege to be grandparents.
While in Los Angeles, we also learned the current Attorney General of California is Robert Andres Bonta, a Filipino born in Quezon City in the Philippines. He is the first Philippine born lawyer to occupy the office of Attorney General in one of the largest states in our nation. As we all know, the previous occupiers of this important office are three well-known public officials: Vice-President Kamala Harris, Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra and former Governor Jerry Brown. Bonta was appointed Attorney General by California Governor Newsome in 2021 and Bonta is now running for the position. At the recently held California primary, Bonta garnered 57 percent of the votes against well-known candidates and he is more than likely to win election to a full term as California’s Attorney General.
According to his personal profile, Bonta worked his way through college and graduated with honors from Yale University then attended Yale Law School. When his parents moved to California from the Philippines, they found a home in a trailer near the United Farm Workers headquarters in northern California. There his parents worked alongside Cesar Chavez, Dolores Huerta and Philip Vera Cruz, all respected labor movement leaders. Bonta’s passion for social justice and fairness was instilled in him by his parents, who served on the frontlines of some of America’s most productive social justice movements, instilling in him the lessons they learned from the United Farm Workers and the civil rights movement. Bonta’s parents lit a fire inside him to fight against injustice — to stand up for those who are taken advantage of or harmed. That is why he decided to become a lawyer — to help right historic wrongs and fight for people who have been harmed. Bonta has been a national leader in the fight to transform the criminal justice system. He has led statewide battles for racial, economic and environmental justice. Bonta has also worked to further the rights of immigrant families and working Californians. Before becoming the Attorney General, he served in the California State Assembly for ten years.
My primary reason for highlighting Bonta’s personal story of hard work, perseverance, education and passion for public service is to encourage, remind and inspire our young Filipino Americans they too can achieve their God-given potential, if we all come together to support, mentor and guide them.
One way to support and inspire our young students to become future leaders is the awarding of scholarships to graduating high school seniors seeking higher education to move them forward to their chosen careers. Organizations such as Binhi at Ani, Filipino Catholic Clubs, Maui Filipino Chamber of Commerce Foundation, Maui Filipino Community Council and others have annual or ongoing projects committed to raising funds to honor and support youth scholars, providing our young people direct acknowledgement of the deep pride felt by our community, their parents, families and friends, for their commitment to dedicate years of effort to do their very best. Beyond the educational funds, a number of these organizations also promote leadership development through a variety of activities with the mission to train, mentor and inspire our youngsters to strive to become effective community leaders.
When we do this in unity and with purpose, there will indeed be a brighter future for Filipino Americans!