IP DEI Call to Action
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Iskwelahang Pilipino
Iskwelahang Pilipino joins the chorus of voices across the nation calling for justice, condemning systemic racism, and denouncing violence. As a Filipino cultural school serving families with ties to the Philippines, we recognize that our children and families straddle two or more cultures, and must do the hard work of negotiating difference every day. Our membership is diverse, but we share the same hope for our children to thrive in a world free of violence and hate. To make this a reality, we must work for lasting change and an end to racism and xenophobia.
Iskwelahang Pilipino has worked for cross-cultural understanding for 45 years.
IP programs are built on our long-held belief that children are stronger and better equipped to navigate the world when they have the opportunity to learn about their culture and heritage in a nurturing environment. We want each student to find “a community and many reasons to be proud.” We hope each new generation establishes a foundation to serve as a source of empowerment, resilience, and fellowship – a defense against bullying and hate.
IP has always been an anti-bias institution at its core. But we can do more.
A reflection on recent events offers us a path to action. The Filipino American community shares the pain caused by structural racism and xenophobia, yet many of us are uncertain about how to respond. Difficult questions arise, and the search for answers can feel daunting. What is fueling anti-Asian violence? What does it mean to be anti-racist? How does systemic racism affect Filipinos? How is our community connected to the outcry for justice following the senseless loss of Black lives? What insight can we gain by learning more about struggles for civil rights and equity? What are the historical connections shared by Filipinos with other communities of color? How can we support each other and our children through this difficult time? What work can we do as individuals, students, families? As a community? IP must create space for exploring such questions.
The work begins within the IP community.
As a school, let us begin by deepening our own cross-cultural and cross-racial understanding. As parents, let us support each other by sharing resources and strategies as we guide our children through this difficult time. As a community, let us take action.
Let us start by making space for caring and constructive dialogue on race and ethnicity. We will offer opportunities for families to explore the history of Filipinos in America with empathy and sensitivity, recognizing that we are a mix of immigrants, second and third generation Filipino Americans, multi-racial, multi-ethnic, multi-national and adoptive families. Some of us live in intergenerational households where all may not be familiar with America’s history of xenophobic stigmatization, systemic racism and injustice against people of color. We may not think of ourselves as a racial and ethnic minority. And, because our tradition has been to emphasize the positive by focusing on ethnic pride and cultural celebration, we may find these topics difficult to discuss.
Insight can be found close to home. We can learn much from the Philippines’ history of struggle against oppression. Our youth can guide us on the pathway to change. At IP, our students have explored how Filipino American history is intertwined with the struggle for civil rights, justice, and equity. They have studied Filipino involvement as leaders in the American labor movement, as beneficiaries of the Black struggle for freedom, and as partners with communities of color in the fight for equality.
Iskwelahang Pilipino invites you to join a conversation to deepen our understanding and strengthen our commitment to a better future.
As a community member, you can begin with these first small steps, for example:
- Share equity, inclusion and anti-bias resources for families and children on the IP Community Facebook Group
- Reply to requests for your input on activities and events, such as IP parent or student surveys
- Volunteer to lead a discussion, screen a film, or discuss an article with members of the IP community
We acknowledge there is much more work to be done to dismantle the obstacles to true equity and justice. Ultimately, these obstacles cannot be addressed by any one community. Let us begin with ours.
“America is not a land of one race or one class of men. We are all Americans that have toiled and suffered and known oppression and defeat, from the first Indian that offered peace in Manhattan to the last Filipino pea pickers. America is not bound by geographical latitudes. America is not merely a land or an institution. America is in the hearts of men (and women) that died for freedom; it is also in the eyes of men (and women) that are building a new world. … America is also the nameless foreigner, the homeless refugee, the hungry boy begging for a job and the black body dangling from a tree. America is the illiterate immigrant who is ashamed that the world of books and intellectual opportunities is closed to him. We are that nameless foreigner, that homeless refugee, that hungry boy, that illiterate immigrant and that lynched black body. All of us, from the first Adams to the last Filipino, native born or alien, educated or illiterate — We are America!”
Carlos Bulosan, America is in the Heart, 1946
Reporting an Incident & Additional Resources
MA Resources: For more information on the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Asian American Commission has compiled resources and information on reporting incidents. You can find them here: https://www.aacommission.org/resources/anti-asian-hate-resources/
Resources Gathered by the IP Community: This is a Google Doc where you can find resources recommended by community members. You are welcome to share resources via the IP Facebook Group or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1jhKJI0gdBKSOOd84bnL3nsm08dVKVJtIn1xpyDqTHIY/edit?usp=sharing
Connecting Filipino Families for 45 Years and Counting
Closed IP Facebook Group (Members Only)
Public Facebook Page
Temporary Mailing Address
109 Davis Road
Bedford, MA 01730, USA
Donating to IP
If you would like to support our work, please donate with PayPal, a debit or credit card or you may mail a check payable to Iskwelahang Pilipino.